"Something to think about" archive

[1, 2, 3]

Note: The following quotes got chosen for the message and not for historical purposes. Unlike other areas in the Freethinkers site, no one here has thoroughly checked the sources. If you wish to use these quotes as reliable sources, please research them for accuracy, especially the quotes without citations. Just to keep you on your toes, you'll see a few colorful characters making brilliant and noteworthy statements. Ed.

I'd much rather have questions I can't answer than answers I can't question.

--Max Tegmark

There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.

--Stephen Hawking (in an interview with Diane Sawyer)

The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.

--Bertrand Russell (The Triumph of Stupidity)

It's a strange myth that atheists have nothing to live for. It's the opposite. We have nothing to die for; we have everything to live for.

--Ricky Gervais

Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue.

--Robert K. Merton

What one believes is irrelevant to physics.

--Stephen Hawking (in the movie, The Theory of Everything)

The duty of man who investigates the writings of scientists, if learning the truth is his goal, is to make himself an enemy of all that he reads and… attack it from every side. He should also suspect himself as he performs his critical examination of it, so that he may avoid falling into either prejudice or leniency.

--Ibn al-Haytham (965-1040 CE)

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

--Mahatma Gandhi

The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.

--Neil deGrasse Tyson

Do not do to others that which angers you when they do it to you.


Now, we scientists… take it for granted that it is perfectly consistent to be unsure — that it is possible to live and not know. But I don't know whether everyone realizes that this is true. Our freedom to doubt was born of a struggle against authority in the early days of science. It was a very deep and strong struggle. Permit us to question — to doubt, that's all — not to be sure. And I think it is important that we do not forget the importance of this struggle and thus perhaps lose what we have gained. Here lies a responsibility to society.

--Richard Feynman (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out)

Nothing feels better than being certain, but science has taught us over the years that certainty is largely an illusion. In science, we don't "believe" in things, or claim to know the absolute truth. Something is either likely or unlikely, and we quantify how likely or unlikely. That is perhaps the greatest gift that science can give.

--Lawrence M. Krauss (in the Annual Edge question of 2017)

There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, and science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.

--Stephen Hawking (to Diane Sawyer, ABC News, June 2010)

Fear an ignorant man more than a lion.

--Turkish proverb

Thinking is the basis of every social relationship and cultural institution we have. It is also the foundation of science. But our habitual identification with thought—that is, our failure to recognize thoughts as thoughts, as appearances in consciousness—is a primary source of human suffering. It also gives rise to the illusion that a separate self is living inside one's head.

--Sam Harris (Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion)

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.


In the human brain, all, all control is ultimately by emotion. It is by the modulation and competition and negotiation between different affective states and neuromodualator floods. There's no boss in there, there's no cop that's prioritizing. What does the prioritizing, what lets you concentrate on one thing or distracts you, what thrills you or depresses you, this is what determines what you think about next, not any other sort of master program. So it means that the idea of the emotionless computer brain is bad science fiction.

--Daniel Dennett, when asked "How does emotion affect consciousness" (Discussion on the Mind with Daniel Dennett & Stanislas Dehaene)

Hitler was clearly a Christian believer. You can say he was an adherent of a dark and twisted sect of Christianity. But to try and deny his Christian beliefs and roots is simply a crime against history.

—Richard Carrier (No, Hitler Wasn't a Pantheist)

The possible's slow fuse is lit by the imagination.

--Emily Dickinson

You don't have to believe in science. Science proves things to you. It doesn't require an act of faith.

--Salman Rushdie (Bill Maher Live DNC Special Edition: July 28)

Everyone is always asking me to believe in things— family, gods, kings, myself. It was often tempting until I saw where it got people, so I said no thank you to belief.

--Tyrion Lannister (a character in The Game of Thrones)

Lest we think science has effectively communicated the biological basis of human behavior, consider this: It is one thing to convince people that the dichotomy of biology versus choice made no sense at the start. Why, but the unmasked biological system, is doing the "choosing"?

--Thalia Weatley (Associate professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College)

People are disturbed, not by things, but by the principles and notions which they form concerning things. Death, for instance, is not terrible, otherwise it would have appeared so to Socrates. Rather, the terror consists in our belief that death is terrible.

A. C. Grayling (The Good Book: A Humanist Bible, Wisdom 9:6-7)

When they say "I'll pray for you," give that wonderful reply: "I'll think for you."

--Richard Dawkins

Fear an ignorant man more than a lion.

--Turkish proverb

The age of believing is over. We're in the age of knowing.


The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.

--Jidda Krishnamurti

King Arthur was essentially created by assembling pieces from numerous facts and myths, into a new unified—and unifying—myth that had great cultural resonance, persisting even to this day. This myth essentially became historicized by a culture-wide application of an affective fallacy: the more powerfully a story affects a people, emotionally and morally, the more it is believed to be real.

--Richard Carrier (On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt)

Tolerance and freedom of thought are the veritable antidotes to religious fanaticism.

--Paul-Henri, baron d Holbach

As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion. If we had put the energy on earth and on people that we put on mythology and on Jesus Christ, we wouldn't have any hunger or homelessness.

--Butterfly McQueen

I do not believe anything. Most people, even the educated, think that everybody must "believe" something or other, that if one is not a theist, one must be a dogmatic atheist, and if one does not think Capitalism is perfect, one must believe fervently in Socialism, and if one does not have blind faith in X, one must alternatively have blind faith in not-X, or the reverse of X. My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence.

--Robert Anton Wilson

A poet once said, "The whole universe is in a glass of wine." We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!

--Richard Feynman

I don't have any beliefs or allegiances. I don't believe in this country, I don't believe in religion, or a god, and I don't believe in all these man-made institutional ideas.

--George Carlin (quoted from Reuters/Variety "Notable Quotes" for April 25, 2001)

We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.

--Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama, 1988)

The worst government is often the most moral. One composed of cynics is often very tolerant and humane. But when fanatics are on top there is no limit to oppression.

--H. L. Mencken

Thanking god for sparing you in a natural disaster is like sending a thank-you note to a serial killer for stabbing the family next door.

--Betty Bowers (America's best Christian)

We are allowed to question people about their politics or ethics and expect them to defend their beliefs, or at least hold their own in any other important matter by recourse to evidence, yet somehow on the massive subject of God and how he might have us behave, all rational discussion must stop the moment we hear 'I believe'.

--Darren Brown

It has been said that America is a country for the poor, not for the rich. There would be more correctness in saying it is the country for both... but, proportionally, more for the former than for the latter.

--James Madison

Catholic nuns and priests vowing amoeboid asexuality seem no more or less weird than Heaven's Gate members who also make that choice. Mormon extraterrestrial cosmology seems as batshit crazy as Scientology, etc. Religions and cults all use the same techniques of brain damage, or "mind control"; i.e., they all instill "faith based" B.S.—Belief Systems.

--Robert Anton Wilson (TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution)

Physics is mathematical not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little; it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover.

--Bertrand Russell

Here's what would actually be exceptional: Don't bomb hospitals filled with medical professional volunteers and civilians, including children. Don't ignore the fact that the gun fetish in the United States is causing bodies to be stacked like cordwood because the NRA, along with the gun manufacturers and distributers who back them, throw weight in DC. This nation is about as exceptional as the Mob: We rob, we intimidate and we kill for profit. We kill ourselves at home and kill others abroad. We are not special. We are dangerous.

--William Rivers Pitt (The Deadly Fraud of "American Exceptionalism")

The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.

--Abu Ala Al-Ma'arri

Human brains are as individualized and unique as human fingerprints. we all live in different sensory universes, and nobody has a guarantee that his/her universe corresponds more exactly to the alleged "real universe" than anybody else's.

--Robert Anton Wilson (TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution)

I do not believe in the Bible as a divine revelation and therefore not in Jesus Christ as the son of God.

--Charles Darwin (responding to a question from barrister Francis McDermott)

Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.

--Jon Stewart (from goodreads)

If only I wasn't an atheist, I could get away with anything. You'd just ask for forgiveness and then you'd be forgiven. It sounds much better than having to live with guilt.

--Keira Knightley

 He's a politician. That's a notch below child molester.

   --Woody Allen (Annie Hall)

Doubt as sin. -- Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature -- is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.

--Friedrich Nietzsche (Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality)

Don't believe anything you read on the net. Except this. Well, including this, I suppose.

--Douglas Adams

Universal definition of Religion:

Religion is an illusion created to help people avoid reality.

--Harry H. McCall (The Quest for a Universal Definition of Religion: Solved)

I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me 'Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid' - then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.

--Douglas Adams

When arguments and evidence keep changing but the answer is invariant, that's a really strong indicator of motivated belief, where the evidence follows from the answer rather than the answer coming from the evidence.

--Valeria Tarico

do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.

--Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)

We know accurately only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases.


Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.

--Bertrand Russell

I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.

--John Cage

The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.

--George Bernard Shaw

The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

--Stephen Hawking

Hi, I'm Amy Schumer and I'm proud to say I'm a feminist. That's why today I'm hosting my very own gangbang to prove that women are not objects. Look men, you are not penetrating our vaginas. We are engulfing your penises.

--Amy Schumer

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.

--Denis Diderot

Because of your strawman argument, you have not earned the right of a reply. If you wish to engage in intelligent conversation, first you have to get the premises correct, otherwise it makes you appear ignorant. Go away angry if you wish, but you have not communicated anything here except to establish your naivety of the argument.

--Dr. Ben Dover

It was the belief of all sects at one time that the establishment of Religion by law, was right & necessary; that the true religion ought to be established in exclusion of every other; and that the only question to be decided was which was the true religion. The example of Holland proved that a toleration of sects, dissenting from the established sect, was safe & even useful. The example of the Colonies, now States, which rejected religious establishments altogether, proved that all Sects might be safely & advantageously put on a footing of equal & entire freedom.... We are teaching the world the great truth that Govts do better without Kings & Nobles than with them. The merit will be doubled by the other lesson that Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Gov.

--James Madison (Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822, from The Writings of James Madison, Gaillard Hunt)

Why can't I leave religion alone? Because it storms its way into my children's schools, it weasels its way into my government and its followers demand I can't do what I want with my body. Right now people are being tortured, beaten, raped and murdered in the name of religion. Is that reason enough?

--Allie Jackson

In the way that the Pope is inerrant,
it can slowly become quite apparent,
If you open its drawers, its windows and its doors,
A church can become almost transparent.

--Daniel Dennett

Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.

--Ernest Hemingway

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous.

--David Hume

You don't need something more in order to get something more.

--Murray Gell-Mann (Beauty and truth in physics)

Although the existing races of man differs in many respects, as in color, hair, shape of skull, proportion of the body, Etc., yet if their whole structure be taken into consideration they are found to resemble each other closely in a multitude of points. many of these are of so unimportant or of so singular a nature, that it is extremely improbable that they should have been independently acquired by aboriginally distinct species or races. The same remark holds good with equal or greater force with respect to the numerous points of mental similarity between the most distinct races of man.

--Charles Darwin (The Descent Of Man, 1871)

Could a being create the fifty billion galaxies, each with two hundred billion stars, then rejoice in the smell of burning goat flesh?

--Ron Patterson

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

--Albert Einstein

Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?

--Carl Sagan

Imagine there's no heaven.
It's easy if you try.
No hell below us, Above is only sky.
Imagine all the people, living for today

imagine there's no countries.
It isn't hard to do.
Nothing to kill or die for,
And no religion too.
Imagine all the people,
Living life in peace.

--John Lennon (from the song, Imagine)

"All the ideologies and religions have their own answers for the big questions, but these are usually bound as a dogma to some kind of tribe," he said. "Religions in particular feature supernatural elements that other tribes – other faiths – cannot accept … And every tribe, no matter how generous, benign, loving and charitable, nonetheless looks down on all other tribes. What's dragging us down is religious faith.

--E. O. Wilson (from International Business Times)

The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus.... the library of books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of the books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information-not one! by accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. in the augustan age, historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded, yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life.

--Moncure D. Conway 1832-1907

If we live in a world where certain things are not subject to question, we live in a world where thinking has stopped.

--Lawrence Krauss (in the film, The Unbelievers)

Ignorance is not just what you don't know, it's also what you won't know.


What we combat is a delusion. A delusion held so fiercely, attacking it can induce protest, rage, oppression, even violence, in the believer's desperate attempt to stop their ears from being genuinely confronted with the truth. In reality, theism only serves a moral agenda now. No one believes in god with any fervor without using it to anchor forceful beliefs about how society should conform to the theist's will. That is theism's only real purpose: a vehicle by which to rationalize and justify all of one's prejudices and presumptions, which are too dear to them to abandon--but the only rationale for holding them anymore is offered by this or that religion, so to religion they must go. The rest of us simply abandon our prejudices and presumptions.

--Richard Carrier (Anti-theism with Dr. Carrier)

I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for each other.

--Katharine Hepburn (Ladies Home Journal, 1991)

The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man.

--Thomas Jefferson (to Jeremiah Moor, 1800)

An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.

--Thomas Paine (Dissertations on First Principles of Government, July 7, 1795)

If you're incompetent, you can't know you're incompetent. […] the skills you need to produce a right answer are exactly the skills you need to recognize what a right answer is.

--David Dunning

Religion, comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.

--Sigmund Freud

What matters is not what life does to you, but rather what you do with what life does to you.

--Edgar Jackson

Religion is the worst enemy of mankind. No single war in the history of humanity has killed as many people as religion has. Not to mention it set science back by a 1000  years.

--Bill Murrey

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.

--Mark Twain (in Eruption

When we found that there were practically no genetic differences between groups except skin color and body form and a few things like that, it became a great deal less likely and less interesting to talk about genetic differences between groups. And the consequence is that from the biological standpoint those major so-called races - black, brown, yellow, white, and red - were not biologically interesting.

And that in turn meant that the differences that people were constantly emphasizing for social purposes were social constructs which almost certainly didn't have any biological basis. And therefore we should stop talking about major races because to talk about major races gave the impression that there were big differences between these groups in things that mattered - I mean, skin color, after all, doesn't matter except in some vague aesthetic sense - but things that really mattered: people's characters, their intelligence, their behavior, whether they're going to compete with other people or not and so on. The evidence then became that there weren't any interesting differences in such things, and so we should stop talking about race.

--Richard Lewontin

The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

--Mark Twain (a Biography)

The Foole doth thinke he is wise, but the wiseman knowes himselfe to be a Foole.

--Shakespeare (As You Like It)

The world keeps happening in accordance with its rules; it's up to us to make sense of it and give it value.

--Sean Carroll

If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world.

--Christopher Hitchens

Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.

--Robert Green Ingersoll

Time makes more converts than reason.

--Thomas Paine (Common Sense, Introduction to the 3rd Edition)

We believe in nothing so firmly as what we least know.

--Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (Essays)

Overall, the evidence for a historical Jesus crumbles upon inspection, while the evidence against starts to look more convincing. The earliest documents, the authentic letters of Paul, show no definite knowledge of Jesus having visited earth recently, and contain many passages implying he hadn't. The Gospels are complete fictions, and Acts almost entirely so. And nothing else in the NT attests to a historical Jesus that was definitely written in the first century. In fact, the forged letter of 2 Peter fabricated a testimony to a historical Jesus to combat fellow Christians who were denying it. Now why would you need to do that if he really existed? It's a serious question. There is no definite answer. But it still raises the pall of suspicion higher. Outside the NT all the evidence for Jesus is either definitely fabricated or under a very strong suspicion of such, or else just repeats (and sometimes elaborates, often ridiculously) what was claimed in the Gospels (and thus cannot corroborate them). And all of it dates after the first century (even the passages in Josephus--as I have demonstrated under peer review, they were added more than a century later). And that's it. That's all there is. We have some clues in second century Christian writings that Jesus was originally conceived as a cosmic entity and not an earthly man. So the question is, was that actually the case? I think the preponderance of evidence says yes.

--Richard Carrier (Anti-theism with Dr. Carrier)

Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.

--Victor J. Stenger

We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.

--Buckminster Fuller

In matters of religion it is very easy to deceive a man, and very hard to undeceive him.

--Pierre Bayle

A truth is not hard to kill, and a lie well told is immortal.

--Mark Twain

One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision.

--Bertrand Russell

I will never require you to believe anything. It will only ever be about how compelling is the evidence to you.

--Neil deGrasse Tyson (in a talk with Richard Dawkins)

Every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out, 'It is a matter of faith, and above reason.'

--John Locke

Avoidable human misery is more often caused not so much by stupidity as by ignorance, particularly our own ignorance about ourselves.

--Carl Sagan

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.

--Mary Elizabeth Frye

To be conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.

--Benjamin Disraeli

What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.

--Robert Kennedy

Supreme excellence in war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

--Sun Tzu

Man shouldn't be the servant of knowledge. Knowledge should be the servant of man.


black·track | blak'trak |


The act of changing one's mind because President Obama has agreed with you.

See also: pulling a one-hatey, Kenyan Boomerang

--From Real Time with Bill Maher

If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for the truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.

--H.P. Lovecraft

Morgan Spurlock: What makes you believe that there's life out there.

Jill Tarter: Wrong, wrong verb. I don't know whether there's life out there, so I don't believe one way or another. We're actually just trying to ask a question of the universe and see if we can use our scientific tools to get an answer.

--Jill Tarter, astronomer, asked by Morgan Spurlock on his show, Inside Man, "UFOs"

Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.

--Robert Green Ingersoll

What's the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we're willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?

--Sherwood Rowland, climate scientist

They came with a Bible and their religion-- stole our land, crushed our spirit. . . and now tell us we should be thankful to the 'Lord' for being saved.

--Chief Pontiac (1769)

People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's Ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; its about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.

--Neil Degrasse Tyson

As long as there are those who are willing to shed blood and take innocent life in the name of religion — in the name of God — the world will never know a true and lasting peace.

--Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

--Harlan Ellison

What of it, if some old hunks of a sea-captain order me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighted, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? Do you think the archangel Gabriel thinks anything the less of me, because I promptly and respectfully obey that old hunks in that particular instance? Who aint a slave? Tell me that. Well, then, however the old sea-captains may order me about--however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way other served in much the same way--either as a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other's shoulder-blades, and be content.

--Ishmael in Moby Dick (Chapter 1)

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

--Albert Einstein

Had Christianity not existed to seize power when it did (and assuming no horrid analog arose in its place to do so), we would be living now in a world 1500 years more technologically and scientifically advanced--and 1500 years more politically and socially advanced. We would not be struggling in every domain of our lives with the wreckage of inhuman attitudes about sexuality or social justice or liberty, inhuman attitudes entrenched in our culture and thus our psyches solely because of Christianity. All the battles we are fighting today, against the abuse of the poor, against war mongering, against hostility to sexual freedom and enjoyment, against oppression of women and gays, would have been resolved centuries ago, in favor of human liberty. Christianity has been holding us back. It holds us back still.

--Richard Carrier (Anti-theism with Dr. Carrier)

Science should be taught not in order to support religion and not in order to destroy religion. Science should be taught simply ignoring religion.

--Steven Weinberg

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.

--Viktor E. Frankl

If you have nothing in quantum mechanics you always get something. It's that simple.

--Lawrence Krauss (A Universe From Nothing)

My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them.

--Abraham Lincoln (in a letter to Judge J.S. Wakefield, after the death of Willie Lincoln)

The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

--Mark Twain

This contradiction lies here: they wish God, and they wish humanity. They persist in connecting two terms which, once separated, can come together again only to destroy each other. They say in a single breath: "God and the liberty of man," "God and the dignity, justice, equality, fraternity, prosperity of men" -- regardless of the fatal logic by virtue of which, if God exists, all these things are condemned to non-existence. For, if God is, he is necessarily the eternal, supreme, absolute master, and, if such a master exists, man is a slave; now, if he is a slave, neither justice, nor equality, nor fraternity, nor prosperity are possible for him. In vain, fling in the face of good sense and all the teachings of history, do they represent their God as animated by the tenderest love of human liberty: a master, whoever he may be and however liberal he may desire to show himself, remains none the less always a master. His existence necessarily implies the slavery of all that is beneath him.

Therefore, if God existed, only in one way could he serve human liberty -- by ceasing to exist.

--Mikhail Bakunin (1814-1876)

The test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.

--Chuck Palahniuk (Diaries)

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

--Maya Angelou

What we observe is not nature herself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.

--Werner Heisnberg

The respect of those you respect is worth more than the applause of the multitude.

--Arnold Glasow

You simply cannot invent any conspiracy theory so ridiculous and obviously satirical that some people somewhere don't already believe it.

--Robert Anton Wilson (Everything Is Under Control)

The true logic of this world is the calculus of probabilities.

--James Clerk Maxwell In James Clerk Maxwell and Peter Michael Harman (ed.), The Scientific Letters and Papers of James Clerk Maxwell, Vol. 1, 1846-1862- (1990), 197.

All phenomena are real in some sense, unreal in some sense, meaningless in some sense, real and meaningless in some sense, unreal and meaningless in some sense, and real and unreal and meaningless in some sense.

--Robert Anton Wilson (Nature's God)

I am convinced that it is impossible to expound the methods of induction in a sound manner, without resting them upon the theory of probability. Perfect knowledge alone can give certainty, and in nature perfect knowledge would be infinite knowledge, which is clearly beyond our capacities. We have, therefore, to content ourselves with partial knowledge—knowledge mingled with ignorance, producing doubt.

--William Stanley Jevons (The Principles of Science: A Treatise on Logic and Scientific Method, 2nd edition, 1877)

The USA should invade the USA and win the hearts and minds of the population by building roads, bridges, and putting locals to work.

--Paul Myers

Trout, incidentally, had written a book about a money tree. It had twenty-dollar bills for leaves. Its flowers were government bonds. Its fruit was diamonds. It attracted human beings who killed each other around the roots and made very good fertilizer. So it goes.

--Kurt Vonnegut (Slaughterhouse 5)

It is the mark of an educated mind, to entertain a thought without accepting it.


The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion.

--Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)

Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.

--Ernest Becker

Long experience has taught me this about the status of mankind with regard to matters requiring thought: the less people know and understand about them, the more positively they attempt to argue concerning them, while on the other hand to know and understand a multitude of things renders men cautious in passing judgment upon anything new.

--Galileo (Letter written to Don Virginio Cesarini)

A man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask and he will tell you the truth.

--Oscar Wilde

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

--John Adams (letter to Jonathan Jackson, Oct. 2, 1789)

With over 30,000 different denominations and sects to choose from, Christianity bears no orthodoxy, no consistency and no authority whatsoever. It has hundreds of 'official' denominations who disagree, sometime violently on all foundational tenets of the religion. Given the general level of ignorance people have about the religion they adopt and their propensity for moulding it to be what they want it to be, one could argue that each Christian has their own denomination. We can state confidently, with evidence and reason that Christianity hasn't a clue what it believes or why. Until the Christianity's can actually internally agree and harmonise what they believe and state why, they all remain a laughably absurd and unsubstantiated proposition to those who do not believe. Your argument is not with atheists, it's with the other 29,999 sects who view your Christianity as a joke.


I've run into folks who insist that science is "just another religion". I know it's mostly just cheap rhetoric, but let's take them at their word. Ok, science is a religion. Fine. I count myself a member of the Religion of Science. And maybe you count yourself as a member of the Religion of Roman Catholicism. As a non-member of your religion, I am disallowed from benefiting from your religion's vital soul-saving practices, like confession, communion, answered prayers, etc. And that seems fair and reasonable, right? Similarly, as a non-member of the Religion of Science, you will be disallowed from benefiting from my religion's vital body-saving practices, like hip surgery, cataract surgery, blood transfusions, hand sanitizer, seatbelts and airbags, electricity in general, etc. It's back to the cave for you!

Fair enough? Until you convert to my "religion", you, my friend, are bodily doomed. But that's not a problem, right, because the soul is far more important.

--by therealtrypto

No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.

--Winston Churchill

The alleged JESUS was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers hookers and crooks; wasn't American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (Mat. 6:5-6); but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired brown-skinned homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shamming Middle Eastern Jew.

--John Fugelsang ("The alleged" added, Ed.)

Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.


It's always amusing to read these synopses and critiques of the problems of fitting inconvenient aspects of reality with the nature of an omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent god. I find my patience wears thin after a short read and I want to scream at the authors, "can't you see? you've demonstrated the absurdity of your god, can't you understand that the simple and most reasonable resolution to all your problems is that Your God Does NOT Exist?"

Why does God not reveal himself more often? Simplest answer: because he does not exist. Why does God allow evil? Simplest answer: because he does not exist. Why does God allow believers to lose their faith? Simplest answer: because he does not exist. Why does God not heal the sick? Simplest answer: because he does not exist. Why is the Bible inconsistent? Simplest answer: because God didn't write it (because he does not exist), rather these are human fables and tales.

Yet apologists and religious philosophers prefer to construct rivers of fabulating argument to try to shore up their Fortress of Faith on the Island of Insanity that is the Crumbling Church of Christianity. Faith is their defense against reason.

--Sam Millipede

This is love.
This is love.
This is shitting, pissing, fucking all over each other, licking and spitting up Gerber baby food, not worrying if the plastic tarp is on the floor,
'cause baby, this is love.

--Kurt Cobain (from the documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck)

If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

--Lao Tzu

Because today we live in a society in which spurious realities are manufactured by the media, by governments, by big corporations, by religious groups, political groups... So I ask, in my writing, What is real? Because unceasingly we are bombarded with pseudo-realities manufactured by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated electronic mechanisms. I do not distrust their motives; I distrust their power. They have a lot of it. And it is an astonishing power: that of creating whole universes, universes of the mind. I ought to know. I do the same thing.

--Philip K. Dick

Back when the Bible was written, then edited, then rewritten, then rewritten, then re-edited, then translated from dead languages, then re-translated, then edited, then rewritten, then given to kings for them to take their favorite parts, then rewritten, then re-rewritten, then translated again, then given to the pope for him to approve, then rewritten, then edited again, the re-re-re-re-rewritten again...all based on stories that were told orally 30 to 90 years AFTER they happened.. to people who didn't know how to write... so...

--David Cross

The Gothic idea that we are to look backwards instead of forwards for the improvement of the human mind, and to recur to the annals of our ancestors for what is the most perfect government, in religion & in learning, is worthy of those bigots in religion and government, by whom it is recommended, & whose purpose it would answer. But it is not an idea which this country will endure.

--Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestly, 27 Jan. 1800

War does not determine who is right, only who is left

--Winston Churchill

Death does not concern us because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist.


In order to form an immaculate member of a flock of sheep one must, above all, be a sheep.

--Albert Einstein

Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you.

--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Life is like a game of cards. The hand that is dealt you represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.

--Jawaharlal Nehru

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy, which has marked the present age, would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination so far that we should never again see the religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.

--George Washington (letter to Edward Newenham, October 20, 1792)

You either have a god who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a god who simply watches and says: "When you're done I'm going to punish you." If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That's the difference between me and your god.

--Tracie Harris

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

--Isaac Asimov's character, Salvor Hardin

If a molecule becomes too complex, they hand it over to the chemists. If it becomes too complex for them, they hand it to biologists. And if the system is too complex for them, they hand it to psychologists ... and so on until it ends up in the hands of historians or novelists.

--Noam Chomsky (in reference to Chomsky's assertion that many components of human nature are too complicated to be researchable.)

As a scientist, I don't believe anything. Science shouldn't use the word belief. There are things more likely and less likely. Science can say nothing with absolute certainty.

--Lawrence Krauss (In a debate with a Muslim)

Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins.

--Christopher Hitchens

While there is nothing inherently dishonest about quoting from the works of another to support one's position, there is great dishonesty in the all too common leap of reason that speaking the words of another imbues the speaker with some superior facility of his own. One has only to recognize that an entire profession of men relies on such conceit every Sunday to see the folly in such thinking.

--Richard Dawkins

Due to the efforts of many smart people over the course of many years, scholars who are experts in the fundamental nature of reality have by a wide majority concluded that God does not exist. We have better explanations for how things work. The shift in perspective from theism to atheism is arguably the single most important bit of progress in fundamental ontology over the last five hundred years.

--Sean Carroll (On Templeton)

Let me just tell you something -- for hundreds and thousands of years, this kind of discussion would have been impossible to have, or those like us would have been having it at the risk of our lives. Religion now comes to us in this smiley-face, ingratiating way-- because it had to give so much ground and because we know so much more. But you've no right to forget the way it behaved when it was strong, and when it really did believe that it had god on its side.

--Christopher Hitchens

Religious apologists complain bitterly that atheists and secularists are aggressive and hostile in their criticism of them. I always say: look, when you guys were in charge, you didn't argue with us, you just burnt us at the stake. Now what we're doing is, we're presenting you with some arguments and some challenging questions, and you complain.

--A.C. Grayling

The typical person has no trouble believing without knowing. What people need to realize is simply that you do not need to believe to know.

--Neil deGrasse Tyson

Christianity is the best way to cure gayness. Just get on your knees, take a swig of wine and accept the body of a man into your mouth.

--Stephen Colbert

Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary, great minds with the ordinary.

--Blaise Pascal

One of the complaints leveled against me is, "Oh, Bill, you're such a meanie. Why do you have to go after religion? It gives people comfort; it doesn't hurt anything." Okay, well, other than most wars, the Crusades, the Inquisition, 9/11, arranged marriages to minors, blowing up girl's schools, the suppression of women and homosexuals, fatwas, ethnic cleansing, honor rape, human sacrifice, burning witches, suicide bombings, condoning slavery, and the systematic fucking of children, there's a few little things I have a problem with.

--Bill Maher

Atheism is the only world-view or religious view that is not tolerated within the SS.

--Heinrich Himmler, in a letter to a pastor in 1937 (Waffen-SS)

Most abortions are spontaneous and they happen naturally within the human body. Most women who have such an abortion never even know it because it happens in the first month. It's very, very common. So in fact the biggest abortionist, if in fact god is responsible for what goes on in your body, is then, god.

--Neil deGrasse Tyson

Kill a man, one is a murderer;
Kill a million, a conqueror;
Kill them all, a God.

--Jean Rostand (1894-1977)

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

--George Bernard Shaw

So… you think Adam and Eve were the first people on Earth, 6000 years ago and no-one has evolved since. Let me ask you, out of Adam and Eve, which one was black, which one was white, and which one was asian?

--Matt Searies

The system of the Catholic Clergy… selects, cultivates, protects, defends, and produces sexual abusers.

--Richard Sipe, former Benedictine Monk, mental health counselor (from Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God)

Outside we pause for prayers. Around midpoint in my tour I stopped praying, having noticed none of my squadron leaders joined in. I also noted that some of those who had prayed most fervently got killed. I saw that praying gave comfort, but no favor whether one lives or dies. I also knew my mom was praying for me—and she had surely earned more points with God than I. And weren't the Germans praying to the same God as our side?

--William Lyons (from P-51 Pilot: A Day in the Life)

It's natural to worry about physical stuff like weaponry and resources. What we should really worry about is psychological stuff like ideologies and norms. As the UNESCO slogan puts it, "Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed."

--Stephen Pinker (The Real Risk Factors For War)

It does require maturity to realize that models are to be used, but not to be believed.

--Henri Theil

To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human.

--from the movie, Matrix

Dan Barker's Wager:
Suppose there is a god, but he is only going to reward those people who have enough courage not to believe in him. This god is no less likely than Pascal's. By believing in a god, Christians are risking eternal torture! Whey they die, they will be very surprised (so will atheists).

I have concluded through careful empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me, keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less that I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I am capable of. I believe they know everything I do and think and they still love me and I've concluded, after careful consideration, that this person keeping score… is me.

--Adam Savage (at the 2012 Reason Rally)

Praying to god is flattering one self into thinking that with words we can change all of nature.


We never fully grasp the import of any true statement until we have
a clear notion of what the opposite untrue statement would be.

--William James

Faith means not wanting to know what is true.

--Friedrich Nietzsche

A world that can be explained even with bad reasons is a familiar world. But, on the other hand, in a universe suddenly divested of illusions and lights, man feels an alien, a stranger. His exile is without remedy since he is deprived of the memory of a lost home or the hope of a promised land. This divorce between man and his life, the actor and his setting, is properly the feeling of absurdity.

--Albert Camus

Gods don't kill people. People with Gods kill people.

--David Viaene

Knowledge keeps no better than fish.

--Alfred North Whitehead

Gods always behave like the people who created them.

--Zora Neale Hurston

I have never felt comfortable around people who talk about their feelings for Jesus, or any other deity for that matter, because they are usually none too bright... Or maybe "stupid" is a better way of saying it; but I have never seen much point in getting heavy with either stupid people or Jesus freaks, just as long as they don't bother me. In a world as weird and cruel as this one we have made for ourselves, I figure anybody who can find peace and personal happiness without ripping off somebody else deserves to be left alone. They will not inherit the earth, but then neither will I... And I have learned to live, as it were, with the idea that I will never find peace and happiness, either. But as long as I know there's a pretty good chance I can get my hands on either one of them every once in a while, I do the best I can between high spots.

--Hunter S. Thompson

If there's a remedy when trouble strikes,
What reason is there for dejection?
And if there is no help for it,
What use is there in being glum?

--Shantideva (Indian Buddhist scholar, 8th-century)

Theology is ignorance with wings.

--Sam Harris

Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy.

--Carl Sagan

Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.

--Republican Barry Goldwater

There is no end to what can be accomplished if you don't care who gets the credit.

--Art Rennison

The most preposterous notion that Homo sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

--Robert A. Heinlein

Why does a young Muslim, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up in a bus full of innocent passengers? In our countries, religion is the sole source of education, and this is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources—I am referring to scientific sources—to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist, and killed his humanity; it was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings, and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim. When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse 'They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternative sides cut off,' regardless of this verse's interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed, or its time, you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist.

--Dr. Wafa Sultan (Ex-Muslim)

The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.

--William Harwood (Dictionary of Contemporary Mythology, London, 1st Books, 2002)

This 'crime' called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves.

--Robert Ingersoll

Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, "Yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down. Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.

--Dan Barker

A common argument for why religion and science are compatible is that there are scientists who believe in religion and religious people who believe in science. It's like saying that Catholicism and pedophilia are compatible because there are a lot of Catholic priests who are pedophiles.

--Dr. Jerry Coyne

They scorn all possessions without distinction and treat them as community property. They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So, if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time.

--Lucian of Samosta on the followers of the new religion, Christianity

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will love on in the memories of your loved ones.

--Marcus Aurelius

We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us.

--George Eliot

Nothing is too wonderful to be true if it be consistent with the laws of nature.

--Michael Faraday

Montaigne's axiom: "Nothing is so firmly believed as that which least is known."

To say, therefore, that thought cannot happen in an instant, but requires a time, is but another way of saying that every thought must be interpreted in another, or that all thought is in signs.

--Charles Sanders Peirce, 1868

Now, I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, to take one example, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

--Barack Obama

Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect that core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit with the core belief.

--Frantz Fanon

Whenever people are certain they understand our peculiar situation here on this planet, it is because they have accepted a religious Faith or a secular Ideology (Ideologies are the modern form of Faiths) and just stopped thinking.

--Robert Anton Wilson (Cosmic Trigger Vol. 2, 1991)

"There are two great powers," the man said, "and they've been fighting since time began. Every advance in human life, every scrap of knowledge and wisdom and decency we have has been torn by one side from the teeth of the other. Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.

--Philip Pullman (The Subtle Knife)

Christianity is the best way to cure gayness. Just get on your knees, take a swig of wine, and accept the body of a man into your mouth.

--Stephen Colbert

That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.

--P.C. Hodgell

How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables.

--Michel De Montaigne

Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that's also the definition of delusion.

--Richard Dawkins

Some believers accuse skeptics of having nothing left but a dull, cold, scientific world. I am left with only art, music, literature, theatre, the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit, sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination, dreams, oceans, mountains, love, and the wonder of birth. That'll do for me.

--Lynne Kelly

Science alone of all the subjects contains within itself the lesson of the danger of belief in the infallibility of the greatest teachers of the preceding generation.

--Richard Feynman

You won't like me when I'm angry because I always back up my rage with facts and documented sources.

--The Credible Hulk

Well, while I'm here I'll
                 do the work--
And what's the work?
      To ease the pain of living.
Everything else, drunken

--Allen Ginsberg (Memory Garden, October 1969)

When a person is determined to believe something, the very absurdity of the doctrine confirms them in their faith.


Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. What if someone says, "Well, that's not how I choose to think about water"? All we can do is appeal to scientific values. And if he doesn't share those values, the conversation is over. If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn't value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?

--Sam Harris

When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.

--Robert M. Pirsig

A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.

--Mark Twain

It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not record the tragic fact, that men have gone to war and cut each other's throats because they could not agree as to what was to become of them after their throats were cut.

--Walter P. Stacy (1925-1951)

We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate.

--Ronald Reagan, (Speech to Temple Hillel and Community Leaders, Oct. 26, 1984)

I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one.

--Sam Harris

All through the centuries, scholars and scientists have been imprisoned, tortured and burned alive for some discovery which seemed to conflict with a petty text of Scripture. Surely the immutable laws of the universe can teach more impressive and exalted lessons than the holy books of all the religions on earth.

--Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Our story is the story of the universe. Every piece of everyone, of everything you love and everything you hate, of the thing you hold most precious, was assembled by the forces of nature in the first few minutes of the life of the universe, transformed in the hearts of the stars or created in their fiery deaths. And when you die, those pieces will be returned to the universe in the endless cycle of death and rebirth. What a wonderful thing it is to be part of that universe. What a story, what a majestic story.

--Brian Cox

It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.

--Bertrand Russell

No amount of belief makes something a fact.

--James Randi

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.

--Charles Darwin

Imagine someone said the source of right and wrong is divine decree (killing is wrong because God said it is wrong), well then you have to ask, why did God say it was wrong? Did he have a good reason, or was it just a whim? He could have just as easily said that it's right to go out and kill and rape and torture, in which case it would be right because he said it was right. Now if you recoil at that suggestion: If you say, no it would still be wrong, even if God said it was right, or you say God wouldn't have commanded us to kill and rape because he had a reason not to give us that command, well we can appeal directly to the reason and skip the middle man.

--Stephen Pinker (Can Science Tell Us Right From Wrong?)

My own opinion is that belief is the death of intelligence. As soon as one believes a doctrine of any sort, or assumes certitude, one stops thinking about that aspect of existence.

--Robert Anton Wilson, (Cosmic Trigger, 1977)

I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.

--Paul Dirac

I have made a great discovery. I no longer believe in anything. It is not the object that matters to me but what is between them: it is this "in-between" that is the real subject of my pictures. When one reaches this state of harmony between things and one's self, one reaches a state of perfect freedom and peace--which makes everything possible and right. Life then becomes perpetual revelation.

--George Braque

Evolution is almost universally accepted among those who understand it, almost universally rejected by those who don't.

--Richard Dawkins

Religion does three things quite effectively: divides people, controls people, deludes people.

--Carlespie McKinney

I listen to all these complaints about rudeness and intemperateness, and the opinion that I come to is that there is no polite way of asking somebody: have you considered the possibility that your entire life has been devoted to a delusion? But that's a good question to ask. Of course we should ask that question and of course it's going to offend people. Tough.

--Daniel Dennett

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side, consequently it was proper to thank the Lord for it.

--Mark Twain on the meaning of Thanksgiving

For most Christians, the Bible is like a software license. Nobody actually reads it, they just scroll to the bottom and click "I agree."

--Forest Whitaker

The day that you stop looking -- because you're content God did it -- I don't need you in the lab. You're useless on the frontier of understanding the nature of the world.

--Neil Degrasse Tyson

If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.

--Dr. Gregory House M.D. (from the TV show "House")

We have a choice. We have two options as human beings. We have a choice between conversation and war. That's it. Conversation and violence. And faith is a conversation stopper.

--Sam Harris

The gods that we've made are exactly the gods you'd except to be made by a species that's about a half chromosome away from being a chimpanzee.

--Christopher Hitchens (Hitchens debates Barry Brummett)

Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result -- eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly -- in you.

--Bill Bryson

If every trace of any single religion were wiped out again and nothing was passed on, it would never be created exactly that way again. There might be some other nonsense in its place, but not that exact nonsense. If all of science were wiped out, it would still be true and someone would find a way to figure it out again. Without hype, Lot's salt-heap ho would never be thought of again. Without science, the Earth still goes around the sun and someday someone will find a way to prove that again.

--Penn Jillette (in God, No!)

This book doesn't have any answers!

--Homer Simpson (as he flips through the bible, from The Simpsons Movie)

If you talk to God, you are praying. If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.

--Thomas Szasz (professor of psychiatry)

Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday singing, "yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up must come down. Amen!" If they did that, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.

--Dan Barker

I'll tell you what you did with Atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were a woman, crushed their scrotums of they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive. And you have the nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you.

--Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair

Atheism is the arrogant belief that the entire universe was not created for our benefit.

--Michael Nugent (responding to the question of why atheists are so arrogant.)

The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.

--William Harwood: Dictionary of Contemporary Mythology, London, 1st Books, 2002

People are entirely too disbelieving of coincidence. They're far too ready to dismiss it and to build arcane structures of extremely rickety substance in order to avoid it. I, on the other hand, see coincidence everywhere as an inevitable consequence of the laws of probability, according to which having no unusual coincidence is far more unusual than any coincidence could possibly be.

--Isaac Asimov

Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, and little minds discuss people .

--Eleanor Roosevelt

If all atheists left the USA, it would lose 93% of the National Academy of Sciences but less than 1% of the prison population.

--via TweetDeck

God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on.

--Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Truth is treason in the empire of lies.

--Ron Paul

Religion just amounts to bad science, in the end. It’s our most primitive effort to describe our origins and the reasons for why things happen. When you don’t understand the weather, when you don’t understand why crops fail, when you don’t understand the origins of disease, you make up explanations. And this is religion. When you develop a methodology by which these things can be understood, you rely on honest observation and clear reasoning, and this is science.

--Sam Harris (Interview)

For God’s sake, even the scientists are trying to find ways and means to improve the human conditions on this earth. Such as curing diseases, even conquering death. Now we are told that scientists are playing God. Well, if God would only stop wasting his powers fooling around and begin to play the role of God himself, we would have no need of scientists trying hard to make this world a better place than what the religious morons have made of it during these past centuries!

--Poch Suzara

For what a man would like to be true, that he more readily believes.

--Francis Bacon

Christian faith requires that faith persists in the face of the impossible, and that humans have the capacity to simultaneously believe in two contradictory things.

--Søren Kierkegaard

Our poets do not write about it; our artists do not try to portray *this remarkable thing.* I don't know why. Is nobody inspired by our present picture of the universe? The value of science remains unsung by singers…. This is not yet a scientific age.

--Richard P. Feynman

It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue but something more than in that proportion.

--Adam Smith, Father of Capitalism

New Year's Resolution: To tolerate fools more gladly, provided this does not encourage them to take up more of my time.

--James Agate

Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

A philosopher should be a man willing to listen to every suggestion but determined to judge for himself.  He should not be bound by appearances, have no favourite hypothesis,  be of no school and in doctrine have no master.  He should not be a respecter of persons,  but of things. Truth should be his primary object.

--Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

Religion fails because it separates questions of right and wrong and good and evil from the actual reality of human and animal suffering. The Catholic Church is more concerned about preventing contraception than preventing child rape; it’s more concerned about preventing gay marriage than genocide. This is a real inversion of priorities that completely falsifies any discussion of morality in the church. The moment you’ve linked morality to the well-being of conscious creatures, you see that the practices of the church don’t maximize human well-being. The church is as confused in talking about morality as it would be in the physics of the transubstantiation. They could use the word "physics" over and over again, the same way they use the words "morality" and "values," but no physicist would be obligated to take them seriously, and I’m arguing that no serious conversation about morality can include the priorities of the church.

--Sam Harris (Interivew)

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.


What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

--Christopher Hitchens

Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all.

--Gene Roddenberry

The more religious you are the more small minded you happen to be.

--John Shelby Spong (The Bible, It Ain't Necessrily So!)

Let us therefore reject all superstition in order to become more human; but in speaking against fanaticism, let us not imitate the fanatics: they are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors. Let us assuage their ills, and never embitter them, and let us pour drop by drop into their souls the divine balm of toleration, which they would reject with horror if it were offered to them all at once.


[All religions] make the same mistake. They all take the only real faculty we have that distinguishes us from other primates, and from other animals—the faculty of reason, and the willingness to take any risk that reason demands of us—and they replace that with the idea that faith is a virtue.  If I could change just one thing, it would be to dissociate the idea of faith from virtue—now and for good—and to expose it for what it is: a servile weakness, a refuge in cowardice, and a willingness to follow, with credulity, people who are in the highest degree unscrupulous.

--Christopher Hitchens

Beliefs are what divide people. Doubt unites them.

--Peter Ustinov

I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.

--Anne Rice (on her renouncement of Christianity)

Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses. We should get rid of it as quick as we can.

--Author Arthur C. Clarke (Popular Science, Aug. 2004)

As the son of a woman who was changed forever by her time in a concentration camp, I am wary of flags, wary of national pride, wary, frankly of god. Six days out of seven, I am an atheist. On the seventh day, I am an agnostic. I believe in holy writ in any language because I believe in poetry, and the power of myth and allegory to express idea that ordinary narrative cannot express. But organized religion makes my chest tighten. I freely grant it produces more figures like Mother Teresa and Saint Francis than it does Torquemadas and Hitlers and Osama bin Ladens, but I fear the scars left behind by the latter are beyond the healing balm of the former. Between Crusades, jihads and pogroms, the great religions have muddled their missions - and their messages - in ways that are impossible to explain away.

--Peter Freundlich, Washington Post, October 7, 2001

Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of awesome mystical power. We know this because they manage to be invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can’t see them.

--Steve Eley

Fuck religion, even the Bible tells you you're all sheep. Did you ever stop to think what that meant?

--Ben Sanger

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.


Distilled from an enormous mass of data in half a dozen disciplines, the conclusion emerges that the traits supposedly differentiating distinct racial types—skin color, hair texture, nostril size, eye shape—are, both literally and figuratively, superficial. They constitute surface adaptations to climatic differences rather than thoroughgoing distinctions in basic qualities and they involve "most likely only a small bunch of genes." (p. 13). Nor do these adaptations occur in sharply defined types but rather they vary across the world along many gradients. Despite the various visible and invisible differences among groups, the genetic similarities among today's billions of descendants of those ancient Africans outweigh the surface differences so overwhelmingly that genetically "homogeneous races do not exist."

--Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (Genes, Peoples, and Languages)

I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion.

--James Buchanan

The other animals hated Moses because he told tales and did no work, but some of them believed in Sugarcandy Mountain, and the pigs had to argue very hard to convince them that there was no such place.

--Animal Farm, George Orwell

We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.

--Barack Obama (Obama in a Turkey press conference, 2009)

In a flat universe the total energy of the universe is precisely zero. Because gravity can have negative energy so the negative energy of gravity balances out the positive energy of matter. What's so beautiful about a universe with a total energy of zero? Only such a universe can begin from nothing. . . the laws of physics allow the universe to begin from nothing. You don't need a deity. You have nothing, zero total energy, and quantum fluctuations can produce a universe.

--Lawrence Krauss (A Universe From Nothing)

There is a direct relationship between warfare and religion.

--Malcolm Potts (Ask a Scientist: Sex and War)

If science disappeared from human memory, we would soon be living in caves again. If theology disappeared from human memory, no one would notice.

--Terry Sanderson (Theology – truly a naked emperor)

Almost every week, I go and debate with spokesmen of religious faith. Invariably and without exception, they inform me that without a belief in supernatural authority I would have no basis for my morality. Yet here is an ancient Christian church that deals in awful certainties when it comes to outright condemnation of sins like divorce, abortion, contraception, and homosexuality between consenting adults. For these offenses there is no forgiveness, and moral absolutism is invoked. Yet let the subject be the rape and torture of defenseless children, and at once every kind of wiggle room and excuse-making is invoked. What can one say of a church that finds so much latitude for a crime so ghastly that no morally normal person can even think of it without shuddering?

--Christopher Hitchens (Tear Down That Wall)

Forget Jesus, the stars died so that you could be here today.

--Lawrence Krauss (A Universe From Nothing)

The Bible is a pretty rotten guide as to how we should treat each other.

--Stephen Pinker (The Stuff of Steven Pinker: Language, Dignity, and Thought)

Race is a social concept, not a scientific one.

--Craig Venter

Had Christianity not interrupted the intellectual advance of mankind and put the progress of science on hold for a thousand years, the Scientific Revolution might have occurred a thousand years ago, and our science and technology today would be a thousand years more advanced.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (The Christian Delusion)

Just because nobody complains doesn't mean all parachutes are perfect.

--Benny Hill

"Always" and "never" are two words you should always remember never to use.

--M. Kendig (Wendell Johnson)

Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years.

--Jeff Burroughs

Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest.

--Albert Szent-Gyorgi

Prayer has no place in public school, just like facts have no place in organized religion.

--Superintendent Chalmers

What do you call a man who knowingly allows a malevolent individual to prey on children? What term can be coined for a man who upon finding out that a perverted priest has violated a child, moves said priest to new hunting grounds? How do you address someone who knowingly sends a serial child molester into a parish with an elementary school? What term can accurately describe a man who sends a child raping priest out of his country to prey upon the children of poor indigent people; whose only hope in life is an afterlife in heaven? Sadly, there is one answer to all of these questions, you call him bishop!

--Vinnie Nauheimer (A Unifying Theory of Roman Catholic Clergy Abuse)

Words are a very recent invention, one of the most recent products of blind, purposeless natural selection.

--Daniel Dennett (The Evolution of Why)

A man full of faith is simply one who has lost the capacity for clear and realistic thought.

--Henry Mencken

I am confident that those who believe in belief are wrong. That is, we no more need to preserve the myth of God in order to preserve a just and stable society than we needed to cling to the Gold Standard to keep our currency sound. It was a useful crutch, but we've outgrown it. Denmark, according to a recent study, is the sanest, healthiest, happiest, most crime-free nation in the world, and by and large the Danes simply ignore the God issue. We should certainly hope that those who believe in belief are wrong, because belief is waning fast, and the props are beginning to buckle.

--Daniel Dennett (The folly of pretence)

The basic ethics of an open and free society are to be prepared to defend what you believe with reasoned argument from public evidence, be prepared to change your mind, and be tolerant of diverse views on questions the evidence does not suffice to decide. Religious faith that promises great gifts in a mythical hereafter as the reward for adherence to unverifiable claims contradicts these ethics. In fact it is science that practices the generosity and inclusiveness that religions teach, and for that reason will triumph, because ultimately human beings prefer to be reasoned with rather than coerced and manipulated.

--Lee Smolin (Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith?)

Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine.

--Arthur Schopenhauer

As I once put it to theologians at a meeting at the Vatican: theologians have to listen to scientists, because if they want to try to create a consistent theology (and while I have opinions about whether this is possible, but my opinions about this are neither particularly important nor informed) they at least need to know how the world works. But scientists don't have to listen to theologians, because it has no effect whatsoever on the scientific process.

--Lawrence Krauss (Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith?)

An idea does not gain truth as it gains followers.

--Amanda Bloom

All thinking men are atheists.

--Ernest Hemingway

Religion does three things quite effectively: divides people, controls people, deludes people.

--Carlespie McKinney

Human biological variability is continuously distributed; human biological classifications are arbitrary; and it is scientifically impossible to demonstrate the existence of races.

--Eliene Sousa Azevedo

Sometimes the maintenance of a belief is deemed so important that impressive systems of propaganda are erected and vigorously defended by people who do not in fact share the belief that they think is so important for society to endorse. For instance, imbecile monarchs have been kept on their thrones by widespread conspiracies of oblivion and deception when it has been deemed too socially disruptive to confirm to the populace what everybody suspects: the king is an idiot.

--Daniel Dennett (The folly of pretence)

What major institution most deserves the title of greatest force for evil in the world? In a field of stiff competition, the Roman Catholic Church is surely up there among the leaders.

--Richard Dawkins (from "Give us your misogynists and bigots")

One reason why God is loved by believers is because of his alleged all knowing intelligence. But why should intelligence be considered important as an object of love? We can just a well love the beauty of a tree or a galaxy without any intelligence attached. What if the creator of the universe has no intelligence at all? How would that distract from Creation or the love? What if God consisted of the universe itself, evolving as time progressed. Scientists could continue admiring the universe, and the religions could simply attach the word "God" to the universe and worship "It" just as they did before without all the magic, superstition, and time-wasting prayer.

--Ignots Pistichio

Illegal aliens have always been a problem in the United States. Ask any Indian.

--Dave Duffy

There is so much in the bible against which every instinct of my being rebels, so much so that I regret the necessity which has compelled me to read it through from beginning to end. I do not think that the knowledge I have gained of its history and sources compensates me for the unpleasant details it has forced upon my attention.

--Hellen Keller

The last god will expire with the last man.

--Michel Onfray

Christians who are against homosexuality should be in favor sex change operations, right?

--Pelican the Politician

[Large corporate boardroom filled with suited executives]

Exec #1: Item six on the agenda: "The Meaning of Life" Now uh, Harry, you've had some thoughts on this.

Exec #2: Yeah, I've had a team working on this over the past few weeks, and what we've come up with can be reduced to two fundamental concepts. One: People aren't wearing enough hats. Two: Matter is energy. In the universe there are many energy fields which we cannot normally perceive. Some energies have a spiritual source which act upon a person's soul. However, this "soul" does not exist ab initio as orthodox Christianity teaches; it has to be brought into existence by a process of guided self-observation. However, this is rarely achieved owing to man's unique ability to be distracted from spiritual matters by everyday trivia.

[long pause]

Exec #3: What was that about hats again?

--From Monty Python's, "The Meaning of Life"

The concept of race must be rejected not for its misuse for political reasons, but because many decades of scientific research has demonstrated that it is scientifically misleading in evaluating human biological variability.

--Gianfranco Biondi and Olga Rickards, "The Scientific Fallacy of the Human Biological Concept of Race"

If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.

--Rene Descartes (Principles of Philosophy)

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

--Barack Hussein Obama, 20th of January, 2009

Reason is non-negotiable. Try to argue against it, or to exclude it from some realm of knowledge, and you’ve already lost the argument, because you’re using reason to make your case. And no, this isn’t having "faith" in reason (in the same way that some people have faith in miracles), because we don’t “believe” in reason; we use reason.

--Steven Pinker (Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith?)

There are some people that if they don't know, you can't tell 'em.

--Louis Armstrong

Don't regard yourself as a guardian of freedom unless you respect and preserve the rights of people you disagree with...

--Gerard K. O'Neill

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.

--Saul Bellow

We know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers.

--Barack Hussein Obama (Inauguration speech, 20th of January, 2009)

Quantum mechanics is so profound that it genuinely changes the laws of logic. In classical logic a statement is either true or false, there's no real sense of in-between. But in quantum mechanics you can have statements or propositions encoded in wave functions that have different components, some of which are true, some of which are false. When you measure the result is indeterminate. You don't know what you are going to get. You have states, meaningful states of computation, what you can think of as states of consciousness, that simultaneously contain contradictory ideas and can work with them simultaneously. I find that concept tremendously liberating and mind expanding. The classic structures of logic are really far from adequate to do justice to what we find in the physical world.

--Frank Wilczek (The Nobel Prize and After)

Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion, several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.

--Mark Twain

Religion is not merely the opium of the masses, it's the cyanide.

--Tom Robbins

If the words 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on.

--Terence McKenna

Why are there arguments for God's existence? People don't argue over things they know exist. An argument for God is simply a hidden admission that he or she doesn't know. The very fact that there is an argument at all is evidence for agnosticism and doubt.

--Ignots Pistachio

Gods don't kill people. People who believe in gods kill people.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but none of us is entitled to our own facts.

--Daniel Patrick Moynihan

I always tell the truth. Not the whole truth because one can't. To say everything is impossible. There aren't enough words. It's this impossibility which brings truth close to the "real."

--Jacques Lacan

We 'feel free' because we lack the very language to articulate our unfreedom.

--Slavoj Zizek

An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody will see it.

--Mahatma Gandhi

Our enemies’ opinion of us comes closer to the truth than our own.

--François La Rochefoucauld

Now imagine these same circuits become hyperactive as sometimes happens when you have seizures originating in the temporal lobes (TLE or temporal lobe epilepsy). The result would be an intense heightening of the patient's sensory appreciation of the world and intense empathy for all beings to the extent of seeing no barriers between himself and the cosmos—the basis of religious and mystical experiences. (You lose all selfishness and become one with God.) Indeed many of history's great religious leaders have had TLE.

--V.S. Ramachandran (Self Awareness: The Last Frontier)

For those who understand, no explanation is necessary. For those who refuse to understand, no explanation is possible.


If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.

--Robert G. Ingersoll

If this is your God, he’s not very impressive. He has so many psychological problems; he’s so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He’s a pretty poor excuse for a Supreme Being.

--Gene Roddenberry

Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not even listen to anyone seriously that came and talked about such a thing.

--Dwight D. Eisenhower

The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.

--Albert Einstein

Religion can make people feel as if they don't need to live their own lives because there's something better coming along after.

--Jimmy Carr

I can’t embrace a male god who has persecuted female sexuality throughout the ages; and that persecution still goes on today, all over the world.

--Amanda Donohoe

All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

--Thomas Paine

One man’s magic is another man’s engineering. Supernatural is a null word.

--Robert Heinlein

They who have put out the peoples eyes reproach them of their blindness.

--John Milton

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.

--Steven Weinberg

Religion is the end of love and honesty, the beginning of confusion; faith is a colorful hope or fear, the origin of folly.

--Tao Te Ching

I’ve met many believers and many cats, but the wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.

Morality is doing what's right, regardless of what you are told. A lot of religious morality is doing what you are told, no matter whether or not it is right.

--J. Anderson Thomson (Why we believe in gods)

There was a time when I believed in the story and the scheme of salvation, so far as I could understand it, just as I believed there was a Devil. Suddenly the light broke through to me and I saw a silly story, and each generation nowadays swallows it with greater difficulty. Why do people go on pretending about this Christianity?

--H. G. Wells

Whenever "A" attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon "B," "A" is most likely a scoundrel

--H.L. Mencken

In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies.

--Ruth Gledhill (Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side')

To date, despite the efforts of millions of true believers to support this myth, there is no more evidence for the Judeo-Christian god than any of the gods on Mount Olympus.

--Joseph Daleiden

If you value faith over science, next time you get sick, skip the hospital . . . Go to Church instead.


It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

--Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.

--John F. Kennedy

Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism.

--Isaac Asimov, "On Religiosity"

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

--Albert Einstein

When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? It is because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.

--J. Krishnamurthi

You do not need the bible to justify love, but no better tool has been invented to justify hate.

--Richard A. Weatherwax

To use the term blind faith, is to use an adjective needlessly.

--Julian Ruck

I know of no crime that has not been defended by the church, in one form or other. The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless.

--Robert G. Ingersoll

If one were to take the bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the bible seriously, one must be already mad.

--Aleister Crowley

Shepherds don't look after sheep because they love them — although I do think some shepherds like their sheep too much. They look after their sheep so they can, first, fleece them and second, turn them into meat. That’s much more like the priesthood as I know it.

--Christopher Hitchens (in a debate with Rabbi Wolpe on God)

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.

--Albert Einstein

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood.

--Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25 (passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 1948)

It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from falling into error.

--U.S. Supreme Court, in American Communications Association v. Douds, 339 U.S. 382,442

Crime is contagious.... if the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law.

--Justice Louis Brandeis

He's not a Republican, he's a Republican't.

--Author Unknown

Obama's main opponent in this election on November 4th is not John McCain, it's ignorance.

–Michael Moore (on Larry King Live)

Bumper sticker:

A working person voting Republican is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.

--Texas Guinan

I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.

--Adlai Stevenson (campaign speech, 1952)

A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they're dead.

--Leo Rosten

The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.

--P.J. O'Rourke

Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.

--John Quinton

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.


A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.

--Franklin D. Roosevelt (radio speech, 26 October 1939)

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

--John Kenneth Galbraith

Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.

--William E. Gladstone

All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.

--Albert Einstein

As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.

--H.L. Mencken

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

--Bertrand Russell

The establishment of Christianity arrested the normal development of the physical sciences for over fifteen hundred years.

--Andrew Dickson White

I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will - and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.

--Gene Roddenberry

The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty.

--Stephen Hawking

If child molestation is actually your concern, how come we don’t see Bradley tanks knocking down Catholic churches?

--Bill Hicks

If you believe in the existence of fairies at the bottom of the garden you are deemed fit for the bin. If you believe in parthenogenesis, ascension, transubstantiation and all the rest of it, you are deemed fit to govern the country.

--Jonathan Meades

Mythology is what we call someone else’s religion.

--Joseph Campbell

Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.

--Robert Heinlein

The people whose business it is to ask why-- the philosophers-- have not been able to keep up with the advance of scientific theories.

--Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe)

What is it exactly that the Vice President does?

--Sarah Palin on CNBC (McCain's choice for V.P.)

I know of no crime that has not been defended by the church, in one form or other. The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless.

--Robert G. Ingersoll

I see no light behind that terrible curtain. I do not think one religion better than another, and I think the Christian religion has brought far more misery, crime, and suffering, far more tyranny and evil, than any other.

--Eliza Lynn Linton (letter to clergyman, 1897, as quoted in Mrs. Lynn Linton: Her Life, Letters and Opinions)

[T]hat no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief: but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil

--Thomas Jefferson (The Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom)

Force always attracts men of low morality.

--Albert Einstein

Divine sanction for "purity of race" was most forcefully expressed by Hitler's fanatical Christian supporters, the Deutsch Christen, who described race, nationality, and nation, as "orders of life given and entrusted to us by God." God's law required them to resist all admixture, "the danger of racial mixture and bastardization."

--Ashley Montagu (Dangerous Myth: the fallacy of Race)

The world over has always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

--Bill Clinton (in a speech at the 2008 DNC convention)

The only true shield standing between women and the bible, that handbook for the subjugation of women, is a secular government. U.S. citizens must wake up to the threat of an encroaching theocracy, and shore up Thomas Jefferson's 'wall of separation between church and state.'

--Annie Laurie Gaylor

Religion disapproves of original thought the way Dracula does sunlight.

--Pat Condell

The supreme arrogance of religious thinking: that a carbon-based bag of mostly water on a speck of iron-silicate dust around a boring dwarf star in a minor galaxy in an underpopulated local group of galaxies in an unfashionable suburb of a supercluster would look up at the sky and declare ‘It was all made so that I could exist!'

--Peter Walker

There are no factual assertions that religion can reasonably claim as its own, off limits to science.

--Daniel C. Dennett (An Interview with a 'Dangerous' Man)

History is replete with examples of empires mounting impressive military campaigns on the cusp of their impending economic collapse.

--Eric Alterman

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.

--Oscar Wilde

A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privelege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege.

--F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)

A Pledge is an invitation to hypocrisy.

--Alan Dershowitz (talking about government pledges like the Pledge of Allegiance)

The belief that all higher life is governed by the idea of renunciation poisons our moral life. . . . If we do not live for pleasure we will soon find ourselves living for pain. . . .

--Rebecca West

We have fought long and hard to escape from medieval superstition. I, for one, do not wish to go back.

--James Randi

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

--Thomas Jefferson

Our children are not born to hate, they are raised to hate.

--Thomas della Peruta

Feelings and thoughts concerning such a concept as race are real enough, and so, it may be pointed out, are feelings and thoughts concerning the existence of unicorns, pixies, goblins, satyrs, ghosts, Jews, blacks, Catholics, and foreigners in general. Endowing a feeling or a thought about something with a name and thereby imputing to that something a real existence is one of the oldest diversions of humankind. Humans impose on nature the limitations of their own minds and identify their views with reality itself. Pixies, ghosts, satyrs, Aryans, and the popular conception of race represent real enough notions, but they have their origin in traditional stories, myths, or imagination.

Language, especially seduces us into believing that every noun is a thing, that that things are enduing and permanent. Error, imagination, emotion, and rationalization are among the chief components of these notions. Facts, it should always be remembered, do not speak for themselves, but invariably through an interpreter. The word "fact" (facere) originally meant a thing made; we still make our own "facts," but fail to realize how much of ourselves we put into them or how much others have put into them.

--Ashley Montagu (Dangerous Myth: the fallacy of Race)

Probably it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another.

--F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)

Anybody who wants religion is welcome to it, as far as I'm concerned--I support your right to enjoy it. However, I would appreciate it if you exhibited more respect for the rights of those people who do not wish to share your dogma, rapture, or necrodestination.

--Frank Zappa

I have no faith in the sense of comforting beliefs which persuade me that all my troubles are blessings in disguise. . . . Creeds pretend to explain the total universe in terms comprehensible to the human intellect, and that pretension seems to me bound to be invalid. . . .

--Rebecca West

Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter.

--Robert G. Ingersoll (A Christmas Sermon)

The worst crimes were dared by a few, willed by more and tolerated by all.


A nation which thinks that it is belief in God and not good law which makes people honest does not seem to me very advanced.

--Denis Diderot

Distilled from an enormous mass of data in half a dozen disciplines, the conclusion emerges that the traits supposedly differentiating distinct racial types—skin color, hair texture, nostril size, eye shape--are, both literally and figuratively, superficial. They constitute surface adaptations to climatic differences rather than thoroughgoing distinctions in basic qualities and they involve "most likely only a small bunch of genes." Nor do these adaptations occur in sharply defined types but rather they vary across the world along many gradients. Despite the various visible and invisible differences among groups, the genetic similarities among today's billions of descendants of those ancient Africans outweigh the surface differences so overwhelmingly that genetically "homogeneous races do not exist."

--Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (Genes, Peoples, and Languages)

Religion has run out of justifications. Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, it no longer offers and explanation of anything important.

--Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great)

The Holy Inquisition did not end in 1819, as most historians claim; the U.S. government has taken over where the Vatican left off.

--Robert  A. Wilson (TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution)

If Jesus was hung, would we pray to a rope?

--Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip

No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.

--Oscar Wilde

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

--George Carlin

From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.

--F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)

If you are killing people in the name of anything, you are seeking happiness and liberty at the ultimate expense of someone else's happiness and liberty.

--Michael Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil)

To predict ultimate [oil] reserves, we need an accurate prediction of future science and technology. To know ultimate reserves, we must first have ultimate knowledge. Nobody knows this, and nobody should pretend to know.

--M. A, Adelman (The Real Oil Problem)

The kind of fraud which consists in daring to proclaim the truth while mixing it with a large share of lies that falsify it, is more widespread than is generally thought.

-- Marcel Proust (Remembrance of Things Past [1913-26], cited in The Great Thoughts, edited by George Seldes)

No religion has ever given a picture of deity which men could have imitated without the grossest immorality.

--George Santayana (Little Essays, No. 24, "Pathetic Notions of God")

Belief Systems contradict both science and ordinary "common sense." B.S. contradicts science, because it claims certitude and science can never achieve certitude: it can only say, "This model"-- or theory, or interpretation of the data-- "fits more of the facts known at this date than any rival model." We can never know if the model will fit the facts that might come to light in the next millennium or even in the next week.

--Robert Anton Wilson (TSOG: The Thing That Ate The Constitution)

It's a hell of a thing, killing a man. Take away all he's got an all he's ever going to have. We all have it coming kid.

--Clint Eastwood (as William Munny in the movie Unforgiven)

No man who ever lived knows any more about the hereafter... than you and I; and all religion ... is simply evolved out of chicanery, fear, greed, imagination and poetry.

--Edgar Allan Poe

With a corporation growing into maturity, you definitely feel a sense of creative pride, but alongside that pride you also feel a chill. Something complex and even alive has come into existence, but it is no longer governed by intuitively familiar human motives and values. Instead, it is a sophisticated, complex, adaptive, continually evolving system-- a sort of mindless yet intelligent being-- governed by an array of internal and external programming.

--Ted Nace (Gangs of America: The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy)

Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.

--George Carlin

We can never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was 'legal,' and everything the Hungarian freedom fighters did was 'illegal.' It was 'illegal' to aid and comfort a Jew in Hitler's Germany, but I am sure that if I lived in Germany during that time I would have comforted my Jewish brothers even though it was illegal ... we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.

--Martin Luther King Jr.

The Rule of Law was consciously evolved only during the liberal age and is one of its greatest achievements, not only as a safeguard but as the legal embodiment of freedom.

--F.A. Hayek (The Road to Serfdom)

I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.

--George Carlin

There’s a few hedge fund managers out there who are masters at knowing how to exploit the peak [oil] theories and hot buttons of supply and demand and by making bold predictions of shocking price advancements to come, they only add more fuel to the bullish fire in a sort of self fulfilling prophecy.

--National Gas Week, September 5, 2005

Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.

--George Washington

That's the kind of God you people talk about - a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a supreme being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His system of creation?

--Joseph Heller (Catch-22)

I am certain that none of the world's problems have any hope of solution except through all of the world's individuals becoming thoroughly and comprehensively self-educated. Only then will society be able to identify, and intercommunicate, the vital problems of total world society. Only then may humanity effectively sort out and put those problems into an order of importance for solutions that will work for all life on Earth.

--R. Buckminster Fuller

Peak Oil advocates do not rely on science or reason. Instead, they propagate their fear about petroleum availability based on unfounded beliefs. Unfortunately, many oil speculators believe this nonsense and, as a result, it helps drive up oil prices. Peak Oil fanatics do not produce solutions, they are, in fact, part of the problem.

--Pelican the Politician

Science is the greatest of all adventure stories, one that’s been unfolding for thousands of years as we have sought to understand ourselves and our surroundings. Science needs to be taught to the young and communicated to the mature in a manner that captures this drama. We must embark on a cultural shift that places science in its rightful place alongside music, art and literature as an indispensable part of what makes life worth living.

--Brian Grene (Put a Little Science in Your Life)

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.

--Bertrand Russell

There is no Energy Shortage. There is no Energy Crisis. There is a Crisis of Ignorance.

--R. Buckminster Fuller

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes

--Gene Roddenberry

But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose - which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell, possibly. It doesn't frighten me.

--Richard Feynman

The better is enemy of the best: religion may make many people better, but it is preventing them from being as good as they could be. If only we could transfer all that respect, loyalty and intense devotion from an imaginary being - God - to something real: the wonderful world of goodness we and our ancestors have made, and of which we are now the stewards.

--Daniel Dennett (Is religion a threat to rationality and science?)

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep-seated need to believe.

--Carl Sagan

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.

--Chapman Cohen

For God so loved the world that he drowned everyone in it.

--Athwart Babbit

Faith is a blind man reaching forward, expecting to shake someone's hand.

--Greg Jensen

History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it.

--Lazarus Long (in "Time Enough for Love," by Robert Heinlein)

This imperviousness to reason is, I think, the property that we should most fear in religion. Other institutions or traditions may encourage a certain amount of irrationality - think of the wild abandon that is often appreciated in sports or art - but only religion demands it as a sacred duty. This might not matter if the activities that composed religion were somewhat insulated from the rest of the world the way they are in sports and art. Then we could treat religious allegiances the way we treat differences in taste: if you have a taste for kick boxing or heavy metal bands, that's your business. Knock yourself out, as we say, it's only a game. Not so with religion. Its arena includes not just the participants but all of life on the planet. Given that, it's troubling to note how avidly some people engage in deliberate make-believe in order to execute the prescribed duties.

--Daniel Dennett (Is religion a threat to rationality and science?)

Ridding oneself of beliefs, frees the mind.

--You, in the future

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

--Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

[R]eligious faith can give people a sort of hyperbolic confidence, an utter unconcern about whether they might be making a mistake, that enables acts of inhumanity that would otherwise be unthinkable.

--Daniel Dennett (Is religion a threat to rationality and science?)

If Jesus were alive today, he'd probably be an atheist.

--Richard Dawkins

Putting God ahead of humanity is a terrible thing.

--Steven Weinberg (The Atheism Tapes)

The purpose of education is actually not to validate ignorance, but to overcome it.

--Lawrence Krauss, physicist (discussion with Richard Dawkins)

If religion isn't the greatest threat to rationality and scientific progress, what is? Perhaps alcohol, or television, or addictive video games. But although each of these scourges - mixed blessings, in fact - has the power to overwhelm our best judgment and cloud our critical faculties, religion has a feature of that none of them can boast: it doesn't just disable, it honours the disability. People are revered for their capacity to live in a dream world, to shield their minds from factual knowledge and make the major decisions of their lives by consulting voices in their heads that they call forth by rituals designed to intoxicate them.

--Daniel Dennett (Is religion a threat to rationality and science?)

When the power of love overpowers the love of power, we will know peace.

--Jimi Hendrix

The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it.

--Robert G. Ingersoll

We should be agnostic about those things for which there is no evidence. We should not hold beliefs merely because they gratify our desires for afterlife, immortality, heaven, hell, etc.

--Julian Huxley

It used to be the case that we tended to excuse drunk drivers when they crashed because they weren't entirely in control of their faculties at the time, but now we have wisely inverted that judgment, holding drunk drivers doubly culpable for putting themselves in that irresponsible position in the first place. It is high time we inverted the public attitude about religion as well, finding all socially destructive acts of religious passion shameful, not honourable, and holding those who abet them - the preachers and other apologists for religious zeal - as culpable as the bartenders and negligent hosts who usher dangerous drivers on to the highways. Our motto should be: Friends don't let friends steer their lives by religion.

--Daniel Dennett (Is religion a threat to rationality and science?)

Mayhem abounds in the cosmos: monstrous gamma-ray bursts, deadly pulsars, matter-crushing gravitational fields … galaxies that collide and cannibalize each other, explosions of supermassive stars … The evidence all points to the fact that we occupy not a well-mannered clockwork universe, but a destructive, violent and hostile zoo … the universe wants to kill us all.

--Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist

We don’t know the final laws yet, but as far as we have been able to see, they are utterly impersonal and quite without any special role for life.

--Steven Weinberg

The one experience that I hope every student has at some point in their lives is to have some belief you profoundly, deeply hold, proved to be wrong because that is the most eye-opening experience you can have, and as a scientist, to me, is the most exciting experience I can ever have.

--Lawrence Krauss, physicist (discussion with Richard Dawkins)

A person in a uniform is merely an extension of another person's will.

--Philip Slater

Religion is like farting: we like our own but hate everyone elses.

--Homer Simpson

The laws of evolution can also determine the initial state. The universe can spontaneously create itself out of nothing... we think we have solved the mystery of creation.

--Stephen Hawking

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

–Julia Ward Howe

To be a pacifist regarding war, you must be an activist against religion.

--Erik Victory

During my recent trip to Iraq, just before the latest outbreak of violence, a senior U.S. military officer told me that when he asked an Iraqi official, “Why is it that we’re using our U.S. dollars to pay your people to clean up your towns instead of you using your funds?”, the Iraqi replied, “As long as you are willing to pay for the clean-up, why should we do it?”

--Sen. Carl Levin (in his statement in the Senate Hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker, 8 Apr. 2008)

Life is but a momentary glimpse of the wonder of the astonishing universe, and it is sad to see so many dreaming it away on spiritual fantasy.

--Carl Sagan

If you pray for rain long enough, it eventually does fall. If you pray for floodwaters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers.

--Steve Allen

When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realised that the Lord doesn't work that way so I stole one and asked Him to forgive me.

--Emo Philips

Peace is the virtue of civilization. War is its crime.

--Victor Hugo

Our civilization is not Christian. It does not come from the skies. It is not a result of "inspiration." It is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge that is to say, of science. When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellowmen, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized."

--Source: Reply to questions from the Indiannapolis clergy, printed in "The Iconoclast", Indiannapolis Indiana

Religion is the one place where people are honored for their ignorance.

--Ignots Pistachio

Either by designer you have something particular in mind, a god who is benevolent or jealous, or humorous, or you have nothing in mind. If you have nothing in mind, lets not talk about it, and if you have something in mind, then the question arises: well why is that true? So I don't see that having a designer puts us at rest. I think we're in the tragic position of not being able to understand, at the deepest possible level, why things are the way they are, and we'll just have to live with that. But saying, well, there's a designer doesn't settle it. It doesn't help.

--Steven Weinberg (The Atheism Tapes)

Religion may demark how far we have come. The point is not to free religion of encumberances, but to free ourselves of the condition which makes religion possible.

--Christopher Elliot Gray

Politicians should read science fiction, not westerns and detective stories.

--Arthur C. Clarke

[I]t is the least secure societies that tend to be most fundamentalist.

--David Sloan Wilson (Where angels no longer fear to tread)

The war in Iraq might be remembered as one of the five biggest blunders in history.

--Chuck Hagel, Republican Senator

And on that Friday, the people wept with joy at the revelation that Christ, that irritating little bastard, was about to die on the cross. And they felt Good that day, so they called it Good Friday. Amen.

--John 18:41 (a discovered lost verse of the Bible)

I'm sure we would not have had men on the Moon if it had not been for Wells and Verne and the people who write about this and made people think about it. I'm rather proud of the fact that I know several astronauts who became astronauts through reading my books.

--Arthur C. Clarke, Address to US Congress, 1975

The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and ironically, the more real.

--Lucian Freud

If you really believe that death leads to eternal bliss then why are you wearing a seat belt?

--Doug Stanhope

Experience is information from the inside; physics is information from the outside.

--David Chalmers

What Christians love to call "New Atheism" is not new at all. It only seems new to them because atheism has been suppressed so long from their lives that they feel shocked to discover that lots of people disagree with them, people who do not own beliefs of gods and superstitions.

--Ignots Pistachio

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven."

Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there. How can anything creative, anything vital, useful and beautiful come from the poor in spirit? The idea conveyed in the Sermon on the Mount is the greatest indictment against the teachings of Christ, because it sees in the poverty of mind and body a virtue, and because it seeks to maintain this virtue by reward and punishment. Every intelligent being realizes that our worst curse is the poverty of the spirit; that it is productive of all evil and misery, of all the injustice and crimes in the world. Every one knows that nothing good ever came or can come of the poor in spirit; surely never liberty, justice, or equality.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

If you are in possession of this revolutionary secret of science, why not prove it and be hailed as the new Newton? Of course, we know the answer. You can't do it. You are a fake.

--Richard Dawkins on pseudoscience

Even wild beasts are not as ferocious as these Christians in their hatred for one another.

--Ammianus, 4th century Roman historian

Religion will die out when we stop worrying about death.

--Christopher Hitchens (Christmas with Christopher Hitchens)

I am a little baffled as to why it is called the "New Atheism." There is a very long tradition of free thinking, and the arguments made against religion tend to be the same but made over and over again. But I think what has happened is that there have been a number of good, articulate books--Hitchens, Dawkins, Dennett, Sam Harris, and so on. What they have discovered to their own great surprise is that in the United States, and right across the South too, there are an enormous number of people who also think this way. I don't think they have suddenly been persuaded by this rash of books--the feelings were there anyway--but they didn't have a voice, they didn't have a focus. When Hitchens took his book across the Bible Belt and debated with Baptist ministers in churches, there were huge audiences, most of whom, it seems, from when they spoke to him afterwards, were somewhat irritated that the place in the United States that they lived in was called the Bible Belt. I think there was something there that people had not taken into account. Quite heartening really, given that America is meant to be a secular republic with a strong tradition of upholding all freedom of thought.

--Ian McEwan (in an interview with The New Republic)

The belief in God is not therefore based on the perception of design in nature. Belief in design in nature is based upon the belief in God. Things are as they are whether there is a God or not. Logically, to believe in design one must start with God. He, or it, is not a conclusion but a datum. You may begin by assuming a creator, and then say he did this or that; but you cannot logically say that because certain things exist, therefore there is a God who made them. God is an assumption, not a conclusion. And it is an assumption that explains nothing.

--Chapman Cohen (Deity And Design)

Evil never feels safe unless it wears the mask of divinity.

--Walter Wink

Science tells us what we can know, but what we can know is little, and if we forget how much we cannot know we become insensitive to many things of great importance. Theology, on the other hand, induces a dogmatic belief that we have knowledge where in fact we have ignorance, and by so doing generates a kind of impertinent insolence towards the universe. Uncertainty, in the presence of vivid hopes and fears, is painful, but must be endured if we wish to live without the support of comforting fairy tales. It is not good either to forget the questions that philosophy asks, or to persuade ourselves that we have found indubitable answers to them. To teach how to live without certainty, and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can still do for those who study it.

--Bertrand Russell (from the introduction to "History of Western Philosophy"

There are, of course, many sins one can commit in the eyes of religion. Among the greatest is the sin of having an original thought. Religion disapproves of original thought the way Dracula disapproves of sunlight.

--Pat Condell

So you discard the old testament? But not the new? You can't have it both ways, all or none. You can't pick and choose what to believe in. Well, you can, but then that makes it basically your own religion, and by definition that makes it your own imagination.


Have not all theists painted their Deity as the god of love and goodness? Yet after thousands of years of such preachments the gods remain deaf to the agony of the human race. Confucius cares not for the poverty, squalor and misery of the people of China. Buddha remains undisturbed in his philosophical indifference to the famine and starvation of outraged Hindoos; Jahve continues deaf to the bitter cry of Israel; while Jesus refuses to rise from the dead against his Christians who are butchering each other.

--Emma Goldman (The Philosophy of Atheism)

To the believers it is true.
To the wise it is false.
To the leaders it is useful.

--Senaca, on religion

Faith and knowledge are related as the two scales of balance; when the one goes up, the other goes down. . . . The power of religious dogma, when inculcated early, is such as to stifle conscience, compassion, and finally every feeling of humanity. . . . For, as you know, religions are like glow worms; they shine only when it's dark. A certain amount of ignorance is the condition of all religions, the element in which alone they can exist.

--Arthur Schopenhauer (Parerga and Paralipomena,1851)

You know, this war is so fucking illegal.

--SPC Pat Tillman

Don't get me wrong. I’m not saying religion doesn’t have its uses. Personally I turn to it whenever I want my intelligence insulted. And the holy scriptures come in very handy when I need to justify behaviour I’m ashamed of.

--Pat Condell

There is no absolute knowledge. And those who claim it, whether they are scientists or dogmatists, open the door to tragedy. All information is imperfect. We have to treat it with humility. That is the human condition; and that is what quantum physics says. I mean that literally.

--Jacob Bronowski (The Ascent of Man "Knowledge or Certainty")

The intellectual freedom of Europe died with the establishment of the Christian Church. Bible in hand, the Church met every new idea with a "Thus saith the Lord." On the ruins of the ancient civilisation, she placed the flag on an interested dogmatism, and opened one of the most hideous chapters in the history of mankind. Enquiry was forbidden, freedom of speech was taboo, a premium was offered for cowardice and hypocrisy, a tax was placed upon intellectual sincerity. Intolerance became a virtue and persecution a habit.

--Chapman Cohen (The Meaning and Value of Freethought)

If we go back to the beginning we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them, and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests.

--Baron d'Holbach

The Bible has been used for centuries by Christians as a weapon of control. To read it literally is to believe in a three-tiered universe, to condone slavery, to treat women as inferior creatures, to believe that sickness is caused by God's punishment and that mental disease and epilepsy are caused by demonic possession. When someone tells me that they believe the Bible is the literal and inerrant word of God, I always ask, 'Have you ever read it'?

--Bishop John Shelby Spong

Those who know, know-- and those who know not will simply not believe.

--Robert Anton Wilson (email to the universe)

We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or omniscient - that we are only 6 percent of the world's population; that we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind; that we cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity; and therefore there cannot be an American solution to every world problem.

--John F. Kennedy

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

--Charles Darwin

Certain ideals that are prominent elsewhere are rather conspicuously absent from the synoptic gospels. These include beauty, truth, knowledge, and reason...

--Richard Robinson (as quoted from Christopher Hitchens', The Portable Atheist)

A conservative government is organized hypocrisy.

--Benjamin Disraeli

Never can Christianity, under whatever mask it may appear -- be it New Liberalism, Spiritualism, Christian Science, New Thought, or a thousand and one other forms of hysteria and neurasthenia -- bring us relief from the terrible pressure of conditions, the weight of poverty, the horrors of our iniquitous system. Christianity is the conspiracy of ignorance against reason, of darkness against light, of submission and slavery against independence and freedom; of the denial of strength and beauty, against the affirmation of the joy and glory of life.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

Considerable progress was made in the old Greek and Roman civilisations in the way of establishing freedom of thought. Neither had anything in the shape of a sacred book warning men not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, and, in Greece particularly, every question of religion, ethics, science and philosophy was discussed with the freedom that Europe subsequently lost and has never altogether regained. Indeed if it were possible to revive an Athenian of, say, the time of Socrates and place him in the centre of Europe at any date from the 5th to the 16th century, and if he had seen the prison, the stake and the torture chamber being used to prevent criticisms of religion, he would have thought that the world had been overtaken with an epidemic of insanity.

--Chapman Cohen (The Meaning and Value of Freethought)

The relations between Islam and Christianity, both Orthodox and Western, have often been stormy. Each has been the other’s Other. The 20th-century conflict between liberal democracy and Marxist-Leninism is only a fleeting and superficial historical phenomenon compared to the continuing and deeply conflictual relation between Islam and Christianity.

--Samuel P. Huntington

Religion also flatters our solipsism, and our selfishness, and our self-centeredness, while pretending to teach us to be modest. That's the joke of it. By pretending to say, "Be modest and humble," it promotes the most fantastic arrogance and self-centeredness and conceit.

--Christopher Hitchens (Christmas with Christopher Hitchens)

I have far more reason to blame Stalin's killings on Christianity than on atheism. Why? Because Stalin's education and upbringing came from Christianity and atheism has nothing at all to do with morality or immorality. Atheism doesn't produce right and wrong choices. Atheism simply means an absence of a belief in gods. Period. However, Stalin had to get his morality (or immorality) from somewhere, and where else except Christianity could he have gotten it? Stalin grew up as a Christian. He even went to a seminary! But since I don't have direct evidence that his former Christianity caused his atrocities, I should not make the claim. I do, however, have some evidence that his immoral actions resulted from his paranoia. But to blame Stalin's actions on atheism has no bases from evidence at all. At all.

--Ignots Pistachio

Scientology and all the other cults are one-dimensional, and we live in a three-dimensional world. Cults are as dangerous as drugs. They commit the highest crime: the rape of the soul.

--L. Ron Hubbard Jr. (the son of the founder of Scientology)

About the gods I have no means of knowing either that they exist or that they do not exist or what they are to look at. Many things prevent my knowing. Among others, the fact that they are never seen.

--Protagoras (Essay on the Gods, 5th Century B.C.E.)

Had there been a Lunatic Asylum in the suburbs of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ would infallibly have been shut up in it at the outset of his public career. That interview with Satan on a pinnacle of the Temple would alone have damned him, and everything that happened after could have confirmed the diagnosis. The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a Lunatic Asylum.

--Havelock Ellis (Impression and Comments)

If ignorance of Nature gave birth to gods, then knowledge of Nature is calculated to destroy them.

--Baron d'Holbach

The Christian religion and morality extols the glory of the Hereafter, and therefore remains indifferent to the horrors of the earth. Indeed, the idea of self-denial and of all that makes for pain and sorrow is its test of human worth, its passport to the entry into heaven.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

If, as the true believers claim, the word 'gospel' means good news, then the good news for me is that there is no gospel, other than what I can define for myself, by observation and conscience. As a freethinking human being, I have come not to favor or fear religion, but to face and fight it as an impediment to civilized advancement.

--Steve Benson (From Latter-Day Saint to Latter Day Ain't)

My 'morals' were sound, even a bit puritanic, but when a hidebound old deacon inveighed against dancing I rebelled. By the time of graduation I was still a 'believer' in orthodox religion, but had strong questions which were encouraged at Harvard. In Germany I became a freethinker and when I came to teach at an orthodox Methodist Negro school I was soon regarded with suspicion, especially when I refused to lead the students in public prayer. When I became head of a department at Atlanta, the engagement was held up because again I balked at leading in prayer, . . . I flatly refused again to join any church or sign any church creed. From my 30th year on I have increasingly regarded the church as an institution which defended such evils as slavery, color caste, exploitation of labor and war.

--W.E.B. Du Bois (from The Autobiography of W.E.B. DuBois)

Is not the Church to-day a masculine hierarchy, with a female constituency, which holds woman in Bible lands in silence and in subjection? No institution in modern civilization is so tyrannical and so unjust to woman as is the Christian Church. It demands everything from her and gives her nothing in return.

--Josephine K. Henry (letter responding to Frances Willard's praise of the bible)

Toward no crimes have men shown themselves so cold-bloodedly cruel as in punishing differences of belief.

--James Russell Lowell (Literary Essays, Witchcraft)

. . . the mysteries, on belief in which theology would hang the destinies of mankind, are cunningly devised fables whose origin and growth are traceable to the age of Ignorance, the mother of credulity.

--Edward Clodd

Isn’t it amazing how self-pitying and self-aggrandizing the religious freaks in this country are? It’s not enough that they can make straight-faced professions of “faith” at election times and impose their language on everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to the currency. It’s not enough that they can claim tax exemption and even subsidy for anything “faith-based.” It’s that when they are even slightly criticized for their absurd opinions, they can squeal as if being martyred and act as if they are truly being persecuted.

--Christopher Hitchens

The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic.

--Bertrand Russell (from "An Outline in Intellectual Rubbish," Unpopular Essays,1950)

Sweep aside those hatred-eaten mystics, who pose as friends of humanity and preach that the highest virtue man can practice is to hold his own life as of no value.

--Ayn Rand (character John Galt in Atlas Shrugged,1957)

...the ultimate decision about what is accepted as right and wrong will be made not by individual human wisdom but by the disappearance of the groups that have adhered to the "wrong" beliefs.

--F.A. Hayek

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiment in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated. I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy which has marked the present age would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination, so far that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.

--George Washington (letter to Sir Edward Newenham, Oct. 20, 1792)

. . . Prayer seems to me a cry of weakness, and an attempt to avoid, by trickery, the rules of the game as laid down. I do not choose to admit weakness. I accept the challenge of responsibility. Life, as it is, does not frighten me, since I have made my peace with the universe as I find it, and bow to its laws. The ever-sleepless sea in its bed, crying out 'How long?' to Time; million-formed and never motionless flame; the contemplation of these two aspects alone, affords me sufficient food for ten spans of my expected lifetime. It seems to me that organized creeds are collections of words around a wish. I feel no need for such. However, I would not, by word or deed, attempt to deprive another of the consolation it affords. It is simply not for me. Somebody else may have my rapturous glance at the archangels. The springing of the yellow line of morning out of the misty deep of dawn, is glory enough for me. I know that nothing is destructible; things merely change forms. When the consciousness we know as life ceases, I know that I shall still be part and parcel of the world. I was a part before the sun rolled into shape and burst forth in the glory of change. I was, when the earth was hurled out from its fiery rim. I shall return with the earth to Father Sun, and still exist in substance when the sun has lost its fire, and disintegrated into infinity to perhaps become a part of the whirling rubble of space. Why fear? The stuff of my being is matter, ever changing, ever moving, but never lost; so what need of denominations and creeds to deny myself the comfort of all my fellow men? The wide belt of the universe has no need for finger-rings. I am one with the infinite and need no other assurance.

--Zora Neale Hurston ("Religion," from Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942)

[N]ow at least, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it. The texts remain; it is the practice that has changed. Why? Because the world has corrected the Bible. The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession--and take the credit of the correction. As she will presently do in this instance.

--Mark Twain (Europe and Elsewhere, 1923)

I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.

--Bertrand Russell

It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality.

--Baron d'Holbach (1723-1789)

Compared with Socrates and Bruno, with the great martyrs of Russia, with the Chicago Anarchists, Francisco Ferrer, and unnumbered others, Christ cuts a poor figure indeed. Compared with the delicate, frail Spiridonova who underwent the most terrible tortures, the most horrible indignities, without losing faith in herself or her cause, Jesus is a veritable nonentity. They stood their ground and faced their executioners with unflinching determination, and though they, too, died for the people, they asked nothing in return for their great sacrifice.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

Since genetic diversity roughly correlates with time available for evolutionary change, genetic variety among Africans alone exceeds the sum total of genetic diversity for everyone else in the rest of the world combined! How, therefore, can we lump "African blacks" together as a single group, and imbue them with traits either favorable or unfavorable, when they represent more evolutionary space and more genetic variation than we find in all non-African people in all the rest of the world?

--Stepthen Jay Gould (I Have Landed: The End of a Beginning in Natural History)

You see, these misguided creatures [the Christians] start with the general conviction that they are immortal for all time, which explains the contempt of death and voluntary self-devotion which are so common among them; and then it was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws. All this they take quite on trust, with the result that they despise all worldly goods alike, regarding them merely as common property. Now an adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who has seen the world, has only to get among these simple souls, and his fortune is pretty soon made; he plays with them.

--Lucian (The Death of Peregrinus, circa 165 C.E.)

Interestingly, every practicing religious person out there only seems to refer to their own religion in the debate. There's never any mention of all the others. My whole take on the situation is that while every religion claims to be the truthful one, not every one can be. Thus, they all must be a fraud.

--Creeper Rangoon

It is a fine thing to face machine guns for immortality and a medal, but isn't is a fine thing too, to face calumny, injustice and loneliness for the truth which makes men free?

--H. L. Mencken

Historically, freethought has become identified with the rejection of religious doctrines. This is because it is from the side of religion that the impulse to intolerance has come. Human society is born in the shadow of religious fear, and in that stage the suppression of heresy is a sacred social duty. Then comes the rise of a priesthood, and the independent thinker is met with punishment in this world and the threat of eternal damnation hereafter. Even to-day it is from the religious side that the greatest danger to freedom of thought comes. Religion is the last thing man will civilise.

--Chapman Cohen (The Meaning and Value of Freethought

Priests should be held accountable for their prayerful success rate just as any CEO of a corporation holds responsibility for his or her performance. After paying tithing fees for years, Christians might be shocked to discover the dismal performance record of prayer.

--Ignots Pistachio

The point I'm making is that not only is there no evidence that atheists do, as a matter of fact, kill in the name of atheism, it would not be rational for anybody to do so whereas it would be very easy to be rational to kill in the name of religion.

--Richard Dawkins (at AAI 07)

There is, then, nothing mysterious about the fact of morality. There is no more need for supernaturalism here than there is room for it in any of the arts and sciences. Morality is a natural fact; it is not created by the formulation of "laws"; these only express its existence and our sense of value. The moral feeling creates the moral law; not the other way about. Morality has nothing to do with God; it has nothing to do with a future life. Its sphere of application and operation is in this world; its authority is derived from the common sense of mankind and is born of the necessities of corporate life. In this matter, as in others, man is thrown back upon himself and if the process of development is a slow one there is the comforting reflection that the growth of knowledge and of understanding has placed within our reach the power to make human life a far greater and better thing. If we will!!

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equalled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism?

--Ayn Rand

Everywhere and always, since its very inception, Christianity has turned the earth into a vale of tears; always it has made of life a weak, diseased thing, always it has instilled fear in man, turning him into a dual being, whose life energies are spent in the struggle between body and soul. In decrying the body as something evil, the flesh as the tempter to everything that is sinful, man has mutilated his being in the vain attempt to keep his soul pure, while his body rotted away from the injuries and tortures inflicted upon it.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

As a non-believer, who do I give thanks to on Thanksgiving day? I give thanks to my parents, friends, and associates, but never to imaginary gods who have yet to produce a single benifit to mankind.

--Ignots Pistachio

Even if Hitler and Stalin were atheists, they didn't do their terrible deeds in the name of their atheism anymore than they did them in the name of their moustaches. But I want to make an additional point. It's extremely hard to think of any rational person killing in the name of atheism, but it's very easy to think of a rational person killing in the name of religion. How could it ever be rational to kill in the name of atheism? It would not be rational for anybody to do so whereas it would be very easy to be rational to kill in the name of religion.

--Richard Dawkins (at AAI 07)

People have suffered and become insane for centuries by the thought of eternal punishment after death. Wouldn't it be better to depend on blind matter (...) than by a god who puts out traps for people, invites them to sin, and allows them to sin and commit crimes he could prevent. Only to finally get the barbarian pleasure to punish them in an excessive way, of no use for himself, without them changing their ways and without their example preventing others from committing crimes.

--Baron d'Holbach (Systeme de la Nature, 1789)

If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we're going?

--Justin Brown

To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die.

--Oscar Wilde

Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their rediness to doubt.

--H.L. Mencken

No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish.

--David Hume (Of Miracles, from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748)

If 50 million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.

--Anatole France

It is said that men may not be the dreams of the Gods, but rather that the Gods are the dreams of men.

--Carl Sagan

Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.

L. Ron Hubbard in 1949 (the science fiction writer who later founded the Church of Scientology)

If the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would be neither created nor destroyed. It would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?

--Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe)

Women, who are the prime victims of religion and, perhaps, in some Stockholm syndrome effect, often form the most fervent advocates of the very thing that degrades them. I believe that, in the end, it will be women who will turn this around. This should be the final stage of feminism. For a feminist to still believe in god is like a freed slave still living on the plantation.

--Matthew Chapman (in a speech at the AAI 07 conference)

Vietnam should remind conservatives that whenever you put your faith in big government for any reason, sooner or later you wind up an apologist for mass murder.

--Karl Hess

Whoever sincerely aims at a radical change in society, whoever strives to free humanity from the scourge of dependence and misery, must turn his back on Christianity, on the old as well as the present form of the same.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

There's no point of having faith if you have evidence.

--Richard Dawkins (Deschner Preis acceptance speech)

Faith is not the result of fuzy thinking. It is the cause of it.

--Dan Barker (Losing Faith in Faith)

The first point to remember is that there is no such thing as good in the abstract. A thing is good in relation to its consequences, or as it realizes the end at which we are aiming. . . . These ethical and religious philosophers who "blather" about the "reality" of good in itself, are talking nonsense. It is not possible to do right in scorn of consequences because it is the consequences that make the action either good or bad. It may be unpleasant or dangerous to do what is right, and we admire the one who does right in such circumstances, but this does not affect our standard.

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

God hated the world so much that he sent his only son so that whoever does not believe in him will perish and be denied eternal life.

--God's Ex-wife

Historically, the most terrible things--war, genocide and slavery--have resulted from obedience, not disobedience.

--Howard Zinn

What an immense mass of evil must result...from allowing men to assume the right of anticipating what may happen.

--Leo Tolstoy

Whoever sincerely aims at a radical change in society, whoever strives to free humanity from the scourge of dependence and misery, must turn his back on Christianity, on the old as well as the present form of the same.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

Faith is to the human what sand is to the ostrich.

Beliefs may have an evolutionary advantage for young children to help them survive because it allows them to quickly assimilate their parents protective ideas, but only to the extent similar to drinking their mother's milk to help them grow muscle and fat. After weaning, milk drinking is not necessary and, similarly, beliefs aren't necessary either.

--Ignots Pistachio

So morality existed in fact long before it was defined or described in theory. Man did not first discover the laws of physiology in order to realize the need for eating or breathing, to digest food or to inhale oxygen. Nor did the rules, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, etc., first make stealing and killing wrong. A moral law makes explicit in theory what is implicit in fact. The fact creates the rule; it is not the rule that creates the fact.

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

Perhaps surprisingly, the omission of God was not a major source of controversy at the Constitutional Convention.

--Susan Jacoby (Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism)

We are back again with the old and simple issue of the natural versus the supernatural. This is one of the oldest divisions in human thought, and there is no logical compromise between them. Morality either has its foundations in the natural or in the supernatural. In asserting the first alternative I do not mean to imply that there is a morality in nature at large. There is not. Nature takes no more heed of our moral rules and judgements than it does of our tastes in art or literature. A man is not blessed with good health because he is an example of lofty morality, nor is he burdened with disease because he is a criminal in thought and act. Nature is neither moral or immoral. Such terms are applicable only when there is conscious action to a given end. Nature is amoral, that is, it is without morality. The common saying that nature "punishes" us or "rewards" us for this or that is merely a picturesque way of stating certain things; it has no literal relation to actual fact. In nature there are no rewards or punishments, there are only actions and consequences. We benefit if we act in one way; we suffer if we act in another. That is the natural fact; there is no ethical quality in natural happenings. Laws of morals are human creations; they are on all fours with "laws" of science -- that is, they are generalizations from experience.

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

The money man gives to get him into heaven is what he ought to use to improve the earth.

--Lemuel K. Washburn

The superstitions of religion are the most powerful ideas ever created and produces the environment that allows other superstitions to grow, including astrology, pseudo-science, and quack medicine.

--Ignots Pistachio

Do not all theists insist that there can be no morality, no justice, honesty or fidelity without the belief in a Divine Power? Based upon fear and hope, such morality has always been a vile product, imbued partiy with self-righteousness, partly with hypocrisy. As to truth, justice, and fidelity, who have been their brave exponents and daring proclaimers? Nearly always the godless ones: the Atheists; they lived, fought, and died for them. They knew that justice, truth, and fidelity are not conditioned in heaven, but that they are related to and interwoven with the tremendous changes going on in the social and material life of the human race; not fixed and eternal, but fluctuating, even as life itself.

--Emma Goldman (The Philosophy of Atheism)

From Afghanistan the holy order was given to annex two famous achievements of modernism – the high-rise building and the jet aircraft – and use them for immolation and human sacrifice. The succeeding stage, very plainly announced in hysterical sermons, was to be the moment when apocalyptic nihilists coincided with Armageddon weaponry. Faith-based fanatics could not design anything as useful or beautiful as a skyscraper or a passenger aircraft. But, continuing their long history of plagiarism, they could borrow and steal these things and use them as a negation.

--Christopher Hitchens

Oh you much knowing tube, more valuable than any scepter.

--Johannes Kepler, astronomer (in an ode about the telescope)

What was it God revealed to man? He did not reveal science. The whole structure of physical science was built up very gradually and tentatively by man. He did not teach man geology, or astronomy, or chemistry, or biology. He did not teach him how to overcome disease, or its nature and cure. He did not teach him agriculture, or how to develop a wild grass into a life-nourishing wheat. He did not teach man how to drain a marsh or how to dig a canal so that it might carry water where it was needed. He did not teach him arithmetic or mathematics. He taught him none of the arts and sciences. Man had no revelation that taught him how to build the steam engine, or the aeroplane, or the submarine, the telegraph or the wireless. All these and a thousand other things which we regard as indispensable, and without which civilization would be impossible, man had to discover for himself.

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.

– Lao Tzu

You can make anybody believe what you want them to believe. People want to believe. We have to be very careful because as we all know, in the word believe is another word, and that word is: lie.

--Criss Angel, illusionist

Where Are They?

Where are the sons of gods that loved the daughters of men?
Where are the nymphs, the goddesses of the winds and waters?
Where are the gnomes that lived inside the earth?
Where are the goblins that used to play tricks on mortals?
Where are the fairies that could blight or bless the human heart?
Where are the ghosts that haunted this globe?
Where are the witches that flew in and out of the homes of men?
Where is the devil that once roamed over the earth?
Where are they? Gone with the ignorance that believed in them.

--Lemuel K. Washburn

No great dependence is to be placed on the eagerness of young soldiers for action...fighting is agreeable to those who are strangers to it.


Much as I am opposed to every religion, much as I think them an imposition upon, and crime against, reason and progress, I yet feel that no other religion had done so much harm or has helped so much in the enslavement of man as the religion of Christ.

--Emma Goldman (The Failure of Christianity)

A Church without a lightning conductor is at a disadvantage with a brothel that possesses one.

--Chapman Cohen (Morality Without God)

I’ve been to Uganda and to North Korea and to Eritrea, countless horror spots around the world. Everywhere you go, you meet volunteers who are giving up their lives for other people. Most of them are secular. I don’t think that proves anything about secularism. But the ordinary action of helping a fellow creature in distress doesn’t require faith at all. It just doesn’t.

However, the evil things missionaries do are definitely done because of religion. When Mother Teresa said abortion and contraception were equivalent to murder and were the greatest threat to world peace—nobody could have said anything with such wicked consequences! She tried to demolish the only cure for poverty that we know for sure exists, which is the empowerment of women. I’m not particularly a feminist, but if you get women off the animal cycle of reproduction and give them some say in how many children they’ll have, immediately the floor will rise. And if you throw a handful of seeds and some credit to these ladies, the village will be transformed in a couple of years.

--Christopher Hitchens (Transcending God)

During times of war, hatred becomes quite respectable even though it has to masquerade often under the guise of patriotism.

--Howard Thurman

Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.

--George Washington

What can one say... about a religion that describes its adherents as a flock?

--Christopher Hitchens

No Catholic-born Nazi-- not Goebbels, Himmler, or Bormann; not even Adolf Hitler, who died with his name still on the rolls of the Catholic Church, and for whom the Catholic primate of Germany ordered the Requiem sung after his suicide-- was ever excommunicated for being a Nazi. But, as Hans Kung observed, Pius XII "did not show the slightest inhibitions after the war, in 1949, about excommunicating all Communist members throughout the world at a stroke."

--James Carroll (Constantine's Sword : The Church and the Jews: A History)

I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an Agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure - that is all that agnosticism means.

--Clarence Darrow

If you perform a rain dance and it rains doesn't mean that your dance caused the rain. The same goes with "answered" prayers. Confusing correlations with causations represents one of the most common human errors of logic.

--Ignots Pistachio

Brain development is under genetic control and it is known that some brains are more prone to religious belief and experience than others. For example, people with unstable temporal lobes are more likely to report mystical, psychic and religious experiences, and to believe in supernatural powers, than those with stable temporal lobes.

--Susan Blackmore (The Meme Machine)

But most remarkable of all are those patients who have deeply moving spiritual experiences, including a feeling of divine presence and the sense that they are in direct communion with God. Everything around them is imbued with cosmic significance. They may say, "I finally understand what it's all about. This is the moment I've been waiting for all my life. Suddenly it all makes sense." Or, "Finally have insight into the true nature of the cosmos." I find it ironic that this sense of enlightenment, this absolute conviction that Truth is revealed at last, should derive from limbic structures concerned with emotions rather than from the thinking, rational parts of the brain that take so much pride in their ability to discern truth and falsehood.

--V.S. Ramachandran (Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind)

[T]hose who know, know-- and those who know not will simply not believe.

--Robert Anton Wilson (Email to the Universe)

As always, in one of the great and enduring ironies of American history, secularists stood in the forefront of efforts to uphold the constitutional rights of disdained religious minorities.

--Susan Jacoby (Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism)

… mid-eighteenth century America had a smaller proportion of church members than any other nation in Christendom….in 1800 [only] one of every fifteen Americans was a church member

--Richard Hofstadter (Anti-Intellectualism in American Life)

Why, as a moral or practical matter, did Pius XII excommunicate all Communists in the world in 1949, including millions who never shed blood, but not excommunicate a single German or non-German who served Hitler-- or even the Catholic-born Hitler himself-- as the millionfold willing executioners of the Jewish people?

by Daniel J. Goldhagen (A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair)

If you are one of those who think that free will is only really free will if it springs from an immaterial soul that hovers happily in your brain, shooting arrows of decision into your motor cortex, then given what you mean by free will, my view is that there is no free will at all. If, on the other hand, you think free will might be morally important without being supernatural, then my view is that free will is indeed real, but just not quite what you probably thought it was.

--Daniel C. Dennett (Freedom Evolves)

In reality, and ironically, it is absolute moralities that leave us with nothing but conflicting opinions and no moral compass. Nowhere is this problem more evident than in religion.

--Michael Shermer (The Science of Good and Evil)

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity.

--John Adams

Have you read Camus’s La Peste? At the end, the plague is over, the nightmare has dissipated, the city has returned to health. Normality has resumed. But he ends by saying that underneath the city, in the pipes and in the sewers, the rats were still there. And they’d one day send their vermin up again to die on the streets of a free city.

That’s how I feel about religion. Thanks to advances of science, education, political tolerance, pluralism and so on, religion can now be one option among many—who cares who’s a Unitarian or who’s a Congregationalist? But in the texts, the actual texts, there is always this toxin that’s ready to be revived. What I say is, “Do you believe this stuff or don’t you?” In other words, “In what respect are you different from a humanist?” The authority of the texts is always on the side of the extremists, because they do say what they say. So be aware of this danger. That’s all I’m arguing.

--Christopher Hitchens (Transcending God)

Philosophy is what you do when you don't know what the right questions to ask are.

--Daniel C. Dennett (Susan Blackmore interviews Daniel Dennett)

The West is endangered, primarily, by the religious fragmentation of the human community, by religious impediments to clear thinking, and by the religious willingness of millions to sacrifice the real possibility of happiness in this world for a fantasy of a world to come. We are living in a world where untold millions of grown men and women can rationalize the violent sacrifice of their own children by recourse to fairy tales. We are living in world where millions of Muslims believe that there is nothing better than to be killed in defense of Islam. We are living in a world in which millions of American Christians hope to soon be raptured into the sky by Jesus so that they can safely enjoy the holy genocide that will inaugurate the end of human history. We are living in a world in which a silly old priest, by merely giving voice to his religious inanities, could conceivably start a war with 1.4 billion Muslims who take their own inanities in deadly earnest. These are real dangers. And they are not dangers for which more “Biblical faith” is a remedy.

--Sam Harris (Pope ‘Rottweiler’ Barks)

One thing that Christians are constantly fooled by: The characters God and Satan are one in the same in the Bible. Without the rose colored glasses of faith, this is very apparent. If there is a Devil, what better way to convince people than to create a book where the main character is disguised as a god and to push faith over reason?

--The Heretic Hermit

Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there.
Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn’t there and shouting “I found it!”

--Unk the unknown

Here is my challenge. Let Gerson name one ethical statement made, or one ethical action performed, by a believer that could not have been uttered or done by a nonbeliever. And here is my second challenge. Can any reader of this column think of a wicked statement made, or an evil action performed, precisely because of religious faith? The second question is easy to answer, is it not? The first -- I have been asking it for some time -- awaits a convincing reply. By what right, then, do the faithful assume this irritating mantle of righteousness? They have as much to apologize for as to explain.

--Christopher Hitchens (An Atheist Responds)

Atheism is a necessary condition for emancipation of the mind, but it’s not a sufficient one. You can free yourself from superstition and still end up a nihilist or a hedonist or a Stalinist. What’s innate in our species isn’t the fault of religion. But the bad things that are innate in our species are strengthened by religion and sanctified by it. The fact is, we are a mammalian species one half-chromosome away from chimpanzees, and it shows. Curing ourselves of religion is only a small step along the road. Fortunately, our brains seem to be evolving.

--Christopher Hitchens (Transcending God)

Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.

--James Madison (A Memorial and Remonstrance 1785)

The only thing that the church has saved so far is itself.

--Lemuel K. Washburn

America’s favorite religion is scientifically unsupported, philosophically suspect at best, disreputable at worst, and historically fraudulent.

--Delos B. McKown, Ph.D., Former clergyman

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.

--James Madison (letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774)

We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.

--William Faulkner

[T]here doesn't need to be a God for me...

--Angelina Jolie

You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.

--Erma Bombeck

We're no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave; we're the land of the fearful and the home of Big Brother. We're no longer the shining beacon of democracy that inspired nascent democracies for over 200 years; we're now the example repressive dictatorships use to justify espionage against and torture of their own citizens. We're no longer a land of laws governed by We, The People, protected from our government by our Constitution; we're now a land of "leaders" who claim they owe "no accountability" to Congress or the people who elect them.

Very quickly, under the radar but in a deep and real way, we're moving from being a liberal democracy to a conservative theocratic corporatist/fascist state.

--Thom Hartman ('You Have No Rights')

A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.

--Arthur C. Clarke

Worship God. It’s easier than thinking.

--Chapman Cohen (1868-1954)

I believe there is something out there watching over us. Unfortunately, it's the government.

--Woody Allen

A professorship of theology should have no place in our institution.

--Thomas Jefferson

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

--Delos B. McKown, Ph.D., U.S. professor, philosopher, author, former clergyman

In the world of religion, the gods always appear tiny compared to the universe of science. The Judeo-Christian war-god resembles a crude, jealous, hormone driven entity, very much in the image of the Bronze-Age people who created him, whereas science reveals the grander and solemnity of an immense universe, far beyond the comprehension of monotheists and their flat, dimensionless world. And if the quantum theorists prove correct, even a creation god universe pails in comparison to the multi-universes created by unintelligent chance within the sub-atomic structure of spacetime.

--Ignots Pistachio

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.

--James Madison (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, 1785)

[P]hilosophy consists of the history of failed models of the brain.

--E.O. Wilson (E.O. Wilson + Daniel Dennett)

[1, 2, 3]