Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

I'm sure that with enough brainwashing and blind faith there are ways for the more devout believer to brush off the magnitude of the quotes below. Perhaps he'll say he needs more context. Perhaps she'll say that the argument presented is one-sided. Perhaps, in quiet denial and defiance, he will simply close this page resigned to remain proudly ignorant. The way I see it, these are the words of many of the greatest thinkers of recorded history. Its almost 2009. Its really time we turn on our minds. God is an addiction from which we must break free.

WAKE FROM YOUR SLEEP

Abraham Lincoln
-- 1809-1865 (Sixteenth President of the United States)
  • "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
  • “It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to Infidelity.”
  • “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.”
Albert Einstein -- 1879-1955 (Theoretical Physicist and Nobel Laureate)
  • "I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religion than it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
  • "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotism."
Plato -- 428-348 BC (Classical Greek Philosopher, mentor of Aristotle, and student of Socrates)
  • “For though a man should be a complete unbeliever in the being of gods; if he also has a native uprightness of temper, such persons will detest evil in men; their repugnance to wrong disinclines them to commit wrongful acts; they shun the unrighteous and are drawn to the upright.”
Thomas Jefferson -- 1743-1826 (Architect, Inventor, Archaeologist, Founding Father, Author of the Declaration of Independence, Political Philosopher, Third President of the United States, and Founder of the University of Virginia)
  • “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”
  • “The hocus-pocus phantasy of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.”
  • "The Christian god can easily be pictured as virtually the same god as the many ancient gods of past civilizations. The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel, vengeful and capricious. If one wishes to know more of this raging, three headed beast-like god, one only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."
  • "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."
  • "Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies."
  • "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerve in the brain of Jupiter. But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors."
Siddharta [Buddha] -- 563-483 BCE (Spiritual Teacher and Founder of Buddhism)
  • "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it .. or who said it .. no matter if I have said it .. unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
  • “Doubt everything. Find your own light.”
  • “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions only because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Benjamin Franklin -- 1706-1790 (American Founding Father, Author, Printer, Satirist, Political Theorist, Diplomat, Statesman, Scientist, Enlightenment Figure, Inventor, Activist, and Founder of the American Public Library)
  • "I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life, I absenteed myself from Christian assemblies."
  • "Lighthouses are more helpful then churches."
  • “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.”
  • “Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so; It is not so. It is so; it is not so.”
Gandhi -- 1869-1948 (Spiritual Leader of India and Pioneer of Civil Disobedience)
  • “The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.”
  • “Do you think I am superstitious? I am a super-atheist.”
  • “The concepts of truth may differ. But all admit and respect truth. That truth I call God. For sometime I was saying, "God is Truth," but that did not satisfy me. So now I say, ‘Truth is God.’”
Upton Sinclair -- 1878-1968 (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author of ‘The Jungle’)
  • “There are a score of great religions in the world, each with scores or hundreds of sects, each with its priestly orders, its complicated creed and ritual, its heavens and hells. Each has its thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of "true believers"; each damns all the others with more or less heartiness -- and each is a mighty fortress of graft.”
Henry David Thoreau -- 1817-1862 (American Transcendentalist, Philosopher, Naturalist, and Author of ‘Walden’ and ‘Civil Disobedience’)
  • "There is more religion in men's science than there is science in their religion."
Andrew Carnegie -- 1835-1919 (Industrialist, Philanthropist, and founder of Carnegie Mellon)
  • "I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life."
Blessed Mother Teresa -- 1910-1997 (Albanian Catholic Nun and Nobel Laureate)
  • "Where is my faith? Even deep down… there is nothing but emptiness and darkness... If there be God — please forgive me."
  • “Such deep longing for God… Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal.”
  • "If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."
  • “In my own soul, I feel the terrible pain of this loss. I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.”
Pope Pius XII -- 1876-1958 (Leader of the Roman Catholic Church 1939-1958)
  • “Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid ... research and discussions ... with regard to the doctrine of evolution.”
Max Planck -- 1858-1947 (German Physicist, Nobel Laureate, and Founder of Quantum Theory)
  • “Religion belongs to that realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and therefore is closed to science.”
  • “An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning.”
Richard Dawkins -- 1941- (British Ethologist, Evolutionary Biologist, Popular Science Writer, and Oxford Professor)
  • “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
Gertrude Stein -- 1874-1946 (American Author and Poet)
  • “There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.”
Edgar Allen Poe -- 1809-1849 (American Poet, Editor, and Author)
  • “The idea of God, infinity, or spirit stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception.”
  • “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.”
Noam Chomsky -- 1928- (American Linguist, Philosopher, Cognitive Scientist, Author, and Political Activist)
  • “It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies . . . as for the various religions, there’s no doubt that they are very meaningful to adherents, and allow them to delude themselves into thinking there is some meaning to their lives beyond what we agree is the case.”
Blaise Pascal -- 1623-1662 (French Physicist, Mathematician, and Religious Philosopher)
  • “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.”
George Orwell -- 1903-1950 (English Author of ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘1984’)
  • “In 1984, the concept of Big Brother is a parody of God. You never see him, but the fact of him is drilled into people’s minds that they become robots, almost. Plus . . . If you speak bad against Big Brother, it’s a Thought-crime.”
  • “One defeats a fanatic precisely by not being a fanatic oneself, but on the contrary by using one’s intelligence.”
  • “What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?”
  • “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Jean Jacques Rousseau -- 1712-1778 (Genevan Enlightenment Philosopher, Writer, and Composer)
  • “Christ preaches only servitude and dependence.... True Christians are made to be slaves.”
Robert Frost -- 1874-1963 (Pulitzer Prize-Winning American Poet)
  • “I turned to speak to God, About the world’s despair; But to make bad matters worse, I found God wasn’t there.”
  • “Forgive, O Lord, my little jokes on Thee, And I'll forgive Thy great big one on me.”
P.T. Barnum -- 1810-1891 (American Showman and Founder of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus)
  • “The orthodox faith painted God as a revengeful being, and yet people talk about loving such a being.”
Francis Bacon -- 1561-1626 (English Philosopher, Statesman, Scientist, Lawyer, Jurist, Author, Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England)
  • “Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men.”
  • “Truth can never be reached by just listening to the voice of an authority.”
  • “Knowledge is power. (Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.)”
Aldous Huxley -- 1894-1963 (English Writer, Humanist, Pacifist, and Intellectual)
  • "You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, intelligent enough."
  • “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
  • “Maybe this world is just another planet's hell.”
Robert Pirsig -- 1928- (American Philosopher and Author of ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’)
  • "When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion."
Isaac Asimov -- 1920-1992 (American Physicist and Science-Fiction Author)
  • "I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
  • “Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”
  • “If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.”
Mikhail Gorbachev -- 1931- (Russian Politician, General Secretary of the Communist Party of The Soviet Union, and Final Head of the USSR)
  • "Nature is my god."
Marie Curie -- 1867-1934 (Polish Physicist, Chemist, Nobel Laureate, and Pioneer in Radioactivity)
  • “[Pierre Curie]. . .belonged to no religion and I did not practice any.”
Kurt Vonnegut -- 1922-2007 (American Author of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’, ‘Cat’s Cradle’, and ‘Breakfast of Champions,’ and Honorary President of the American Humanist Association)
  • “Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.”
Ernest Hemingway -- 1899-1961 (Pulitzer Prize-Winning American Writer, French Expatriate, WWI Veteran, and Nobel Laureate)
  • "All thinking men are atheists."

Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso -- 1935- (Spiritual Leader of Tibet)
  • “God in the sense of Creator or something absolute, that is difficult to accept.”
Carl Sagan -- 1934-1996 (American Astronomer, Astrochemist, Author, Astronomer, Natural Scientist and SETI Promoter)
  • "My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn't believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I'm agnostic."
  • “The method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it, with it's skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age.”
  • “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”
Steven Pinker -- 1954- (Canadian-American Psychologist, Cognitive Scientist, and Popular Science Writer)
  • “I never outgrew my conversion to atheism at 13, but at various times was a serious cultural Jew.”
Daniel Dennett -- 1942- (American Philosopher)
  • “God is like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether.”
Ayn Rand -- 1905-1982 (Russian-American Novelist, Philosopher, Playwright, and Screenwriter)
  • "Faith is the commitment of one's consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof. A mystic is a man who treats his feelings as tools of cognition. Faith is the equation of feeling with knowledge."
Bertrand Russell -- 1872-1970 (British Philosopher, Logician, Mathematician, Historian, Social Activist, and Pacifist)
  • "I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out."
  • "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
  • "We may define faith as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of faith. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence."
  • “One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.”
Dr. Francis Crick -- 1916-2004 (English Molecular Biologist, Physicist, Neuroscientist, Nobel Laureate, and Co-Discoverer of DNA)
  • “If revealed religions have revealed anything it is that they are usually wrong.”
  • “A knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do. And if some of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?”
Lucretius -- 99-55 BC (Roman Poet and Philosopher)
  • "Nature does all things spontaneously, by herself, without the meddling of the gods."
George Carlin -- 1937-2008 (American Comedian)
  • "Religion is just mind control."
  • “I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood.”
  • “And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”
  • “If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed.”
Grover Cleveland -- 1837-1908 (22nd and 24th President of the United States)
  • “I know that human prejudice -- especially that growing out of race and religion -- is cruelly inveterate and lasting.”
Cicero -- 106-43 BC (Roman Statesman, Lawyer, Orator, Political Theorist, Philosopher, and Roman Constitutionalist)
  • “In this subject of the nature of the gods the first question is: do the gods exist or do they not? It is difficult, you will say, to deny that they exist. I would agree, if we were arguing the matter in a public assembly, but in a private discussion of this kind it is perfectly easy to do so.”
Voltaire -- 1694-1778 (French Enlightenment Writer and Philosopher)
  • "Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror."
  • "Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.”
  • “The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.”
Epicurus -- 341-270 BCE (Greek Philosopher and Founder of Epicureanism)
  • “Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is God both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”
  • “If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another.”
Rev. Jerry Falwell -- 1933-2007 (American Evangelical Christian Pastor, Televangelist, Conservative Pastor, and Founder of Liberty University)
  • “I feel most ministers who claim they've heard God's voice are eating too much pizza before they go to bed at night, and it's really an intestinal disorder, not a revelation.”
Charles Darwin -- 1809-1882 (English Naturalist and Father of Modern Biology)
  • “Generally an agnostic would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”
  • “I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long-continued culture.”
  • “When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled.”
  • “It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science.”
  • "I do not believe in any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle -- 1859-1930 (Scottish Author and Creator of Sherlock Holmes)
  • “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement. Insensibly, one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts.”
  • “Dogmas of every kind put assertion in the place of reason and give rise to more contention, bitterness, and want of charity than any other influence in human affairs.”
Emily Dickinson -- 1830-1886 (American Poet)
  • “Faith is Doubt.”
Sir Julian Huxley -- 1887-1975 (English Evolutionary Biologist, Humanist, and Internationalist)
  • “The sense of spiritual relief, which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a supernatural being, is enormous.”
René Descartes -- 1596-1650 (French Philosopher, Mathematician, Scientist, and Writer)
  • “The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries.”
Demosthenes -- 384-322 BC (Greek Statesman, Lawyer, Logographer, and Orator)
  • “A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true.”
Galileo Galilei -- 1564-1642 (Tuscan Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Philosopher, Scientific Revolutionary, Father of Modern Science, Father of Physics, and the Father of Astronomy)
  • "They know that it is human nature to take up causes whereby a man may oppress his neighbor, no matter how unjustly. ... Hence they have had no trouble in finding men who would preach the damnability and heresy of the new doctrine from the very pulpit."
  • “You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."
  • “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
  • “In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
Nietzsche -- 1844-1900 (German Philosopher and Classical Philologist)
  • “Faith means not wanting to know what is true."
  • "The most serious parody I have ever heard was this: In the beginning was nonsense, and the nonsense was with God, and the nonsense was God."
  • "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."
  • “Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in "another" or "better" life.”
  • “What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?”
George Bernard Shaw -- 1856-1950 (Irish Playwright and Orator)
  • "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
  • "No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means."
Ethan Allen -- 1738-1789 (American Revolutionary and Guerilla Leader)
  • “I have generally been denominated a Deist, the reality of which I never disputed, being conscious I am no Christian, except mere infant baptism makes me one; and as to being a Deist, I know not strictly speaking, whether I am one or not.”
Rev. Doctor Bird Wilson -- 1777-1862 (Post-Founding Episcopalian Minister)
  • "The founders of our nation were nearly all Infidels, and that of the presidents who had thus far been elected [Washington; Adams; Jefferson; Madison; Monroe; Adams; Jackson] not a one had professed a belief in Christianity....Among all our presidents from Washington downward, not one was a professor of religion, at least not of more than Unitarianism."
John Quincy Adams -- 1767-1848 (Sixth President of the United States)
  • “There is in the clergy of all Christian denominations a time-serving, cringing, subservient morality, as wide from the spirit of the gospel as it is from the intrepid assertion and vindication of truth.”
Robert Oppenheimer -- 1904-1967 (American Theoretical Physicist and Scientific Director of the Manhattan Project)
  • “There must be no barriers to freedom of inquiry. There is no place for dogma in science. The scientist is free, and must be free to ask any question, to doubt any assertion, to seek for any evidence, to correct any errors.”
Helen Keller -- 1880-1968 (Deaf-Blind American Author and Activist)
  • "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."
Vladimir Nabokov -- 1899-1977 (Russian Novelist)
  • “The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”
Herman Melville -- 1819-1891 (American Novelist, Short Story Writer, Essayist, and Poet)
  • “I'll try a pagan friend, thought I, since Christian kindness has turned out to be hollow courtesy.”
Sir Isaac Newton -- 1643-1727 (English Physicist, Astronomer, Mathematician, Natural Philosopher, Alchemist, and Theologian)
  • “If the ancient churches, in debating and deciding the greatest mysteries of religion, knew nothing of these two texts, I understand not why we should be so fond of them now the debate is over.”
  • “I know not how I seem to others, but to myself I am but a small child wandering upon the vast shores of knowledge, every now and then finding a small bright pebble to content myself with while the vast ocean of undiscovered truth lay before me.”
James Madison -- 1751-1836 (Fourth President of the United States and Founding Father)
  • "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."
  • "In no instance have the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."
  • “Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.”
John Adams -- 1735-1826 (Second President of the United States and Founding Father)
  • "The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."
  • "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it."
John Locke -- 1632-1704 (English Philosopher and Enlightenment Thinker)
  • "Every sect as far as reason will help them, gladly use it; when it fails them, they cry out it is a matter of faith, and beyond reason."
  • “New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.”
Lucius Annucus Seneca -- 4 BC-AD 65 (Roman Philosopher, Statesman, Dramatist, and Tutor and Advisor to Nero)
  • “Religion is considered by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.”
Christopher Hitchens -- 1949- (British American Author, Journalist, and Literary Critic)
  • “What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.”
Karl Marx -- 1818-1883 (German Philosopher, Political Economist, Historian, Sociologist, Humanist, Political Theorist, Revolutionary, and Founder of Communism)
  • "The wretchedness of religion is at once an expression and a protest against real wretchedness. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feeling of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people."
Andy Rooney -- 1919- (American Radio and Television Writer, Humorist, and Commentator)
  • “I am an atheist. I don't understand religion at all. I'm sure I'll offend a lot of people by saying this, but I think it's all nonsense.”
Gore Vidal -- 1925- (American Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright, Essayist, and Politician)
  • “Once people get hung up on theology, they’ve lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.”
  • “I'm a born-again atheist.”
  • “Once people get hung up on theology, they've lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.”
Leo Tolstoy -- 1828-1910 (Russian Novelist)
  • "To regard Christ as God, and to pray to him, are to my mind the greatest possible sacrilege."
  • “Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless.”
Protagoras -- 490-420 BC (Greek Philosopher)
  • “As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist.”
Federico Fellini -- 1920-1993 (Italian Film Director)
  • “Like many people, I have no religion, and I am just sitting in a small boat drifting with the tide.”
Pearl S. Buck -- 1892-1973 (American Sinologist, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer, and Nobel Laureate)
  • ”When men destroy their old gods they will find new ones to take their place.”
  • “Believing in gods always causes confusion.”
Napoleon Bonaparte -- 1769-1821 (First Consul of the First French Republic and Emperor of the First French Empire)
  • "Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."
  • "All religions have been made by men."
  • “As for myself, I do not believe that such a person as Jesus Christ ever existed; but as the people are inclined to superstition, it is proper not to oppose them.”
James Joyce -- 1882-1941 (Irish Expatriate Author)
  • "For me there is only one alternative to scholasticism -- skepticism."
Hippocrates -- 460-370 BC (Greek Physician and Father of Medicine)
  • “Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it.... We will one day understand what causes it, and then cease to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.”
John Lennon -- 1940-1980 (English Singer, Songwriter, Actor, and Peace Activist)
  • "Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try, no hell below us, above us only sky.”
  • "God is a concept by which we measure our pain.”
George W. Bush -- 1946- (Forty-Third President of the United States)
  • “Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all.”
Thomas Hobbes -- 1588-1679 (English Philosopher and Modern Founder of the Social Contract Theory)
  • “Religions are like pills, which must be swallowed whole without chewing.”
  • “Fear of power invisible, feigned by the mind or imagined from tales publicly allowed, [is] religion; not allowed, superstition.”
Victor Hugo -- 1802-1885 (French Poet, Playwright, Novelist, Essayist, Statesman, Activist, and Exponent of the French Romance)
  • “There shall be no slavery of the mind.”
  • “Every step which the intelligence of Europe has taken has been in spite of the clerical party.”
  • “The true division of humanity is between those who live in light and those who live in darkness. Our aim must be to diminish the number of the latter and increase the number of the former. That is why we demand education and knowledge.”
Frank Lloyd Wright -- 1867-1959 (American Architect, Interior Designer, Writer, and Educator)
  • "I believe in God, only I spell it Nature."
Lord Byron -- 1788-1824 (British Poet and Leading Figure in Romanticism)
  • “If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom.”
  • “I do not believe in any revealed religion. I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without the absurdity of speculating upon another.”
  • “We have fools in all sects, and impostors in most; why should I believe mysteries no one can understand, because written by men who chose to mistake madness for inspiration and style themselves Evangelicals?”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe -- 1749-1832 (German Polymath)
  • “Strictly speaking, you only know when you know little. Doubt grows with knowledge.”
  • “We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things: and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to erase them.”
  • “The web of this world is woven of Necessity and Chance. Woe to him who has accustomed himself from his youth up to find something necessary in what is capricious, and who would ascribe something like reason to Chance and make a religion of surrendering to it.”
Warren G Harding -- 1865-1923 (Twenty-Ninth President of the United States)
  • “In the experiences of a year of the Presidency, there has come to me no other such unwelcome impression as the manifest religious intolerance which exists among many of our citizens. I hold it to be a menace to the very liberties we boast and cherish.”
Stanley Kubrick -- 1928-1999 (American Film Director, Screenwriter, and Producer)
  • “I will say that the God concept is at the heart of 2001 but not any traditional, anthropomorphic image of God. I don’t believe in any of Earth's monotheistic religions, but I do believe that one can construct an intriguing scientific definition of God, once you accept the fact that there are approximately 100 billion stars in our galaxy alone, that each star is a life-giving sun and that there are approximately 100 billion galaxies in just the visible universe.”
Charles Bukowski -- 1920-1944 (German American Poet, Novelist, and Short Story Writer)
  • “For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our education system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.”
Mark Twain -- 1835-1910 (American Author and Humorist)
  • “A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.”
  • "Faith is believing something you know ain’t true."
  • "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be -- a Christian."
  • "If there is a God, he is a malign thug."
  • "It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."
  • “When one reads Bibles, one is less surprised at what the Deity knows than at what He doesn't know.”
Sam Harris -- 1967- (American Non-Fiction Writer and Philosopher)
  • “It is safe to say that almost every person living in New Orleans at the moment Hurricane Katrina struck shared your belief in an omnipotent, omniscient, and compassionate God. But what was God doing while Katrina laid waste to their city? Surely He heard the prayers of those elderly men and women who fled the rising waters for the safety of their attics, only to be slowly drowned there. These were people of faith. These were good men and women who had prayed throughout their lives. Do you have the courage to admit the obvious? These people died talking to an imaginary friend.”
  • “120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer.”
  • “The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.”
  • “Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to "never doubt the extended of God" should be obliged to present evidence for his existence -- and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl -- once in a million years -- casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.”
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard -- 1813-1855 (Danish Philosopher and Theologian)
  • “Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect.”
Steve Wozniak -- 1950- (American Computer Engineer and Co-Founder of Apple Inc.)
  • “I am also atheist or agnostic (I don't even know the difference). I've never been to church and prefer to think for myself.”
Bill Gates -- 1955- (American Business Magnate, Philanthropist, and Chairman of Microsoft)
  • “Oh, I guess agnostic, atheist: I must be one of those things.”
  • “I'm not somebody who goes to church on a regular basis. The specific elements of Christianity are not something I'm a huge believer in.”
  • "Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
Robert E. Lee -- 1807-1870 (US Army General and Governor of Virginia)
  • “Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom of opinion have always proved themselves intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?”
Christopher Reeve -- 1952-2004 (American Film Actor, ‘Superman’)
  • “Even though I don't personally believe in the Lord, I try to behave as though He was watching.”
Woody Allen -- 1935- (American Film Director, Writer, Actor, Comedian, and Playwright)
  • “Not only is there no god, but try getting a plumber on weekends.”
  • “How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?”
James Buchanan -- 1791-1868 (Fifteenth President of the United States)
  • “I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion.”
Henri Frederic Amiel -- 1821-1881 (Swiss Philosopher, Poet, and Critic)
  • “Emancipation from error is the condition of real knowledge.”
  • “A lively, disinterested, persistent liking for truth is extraordinarily rare. Action and faith enslave thought, both of them in order not to be troubled or inconvenienced by reflection, criticism or doubt.”
Carl Jung -- 1875-1961 (Swiss Psychiatrist and Founder of Analytical Psychology)
  • “The word "belief" is a difficult thing for me. I don’t believe. I must have a reason for a certain hypothesis. Either I know a thing, and then I know it -- I don’t need to believe it.”
Immanuel Kant -- 1724-1804 (German Philosopher and Enlightenment Thinker)
  • “The wish to talk to God is absurd. We cannot talk to one we cannot comprehend -- and we cannot comprehend God; we can only believe in Him. The uses of prayer are thus only subjective.”
  • “The death of dogma is the birth of morality.”
  • “Reason can never prove the existence of God.”
St. Thomas Aquinas -- 1225-1274 (Italian Catholic Priest, Theologian, and Philosopher)
  • “What can be accomplished by a few principles is not effected by many. But it seems that everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God did not exist. For all natural things can be reduced to one principle, which is nature, and all voluntary things can be reduced to one principle, which is human reason, or will. Therefore there is no need to suppose God's existence.”
Robert Ingersoll -- 1833-1899 (Civil War Veteran, Political Leader, and Orator)
  • "The inspiration of the Bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it."
  • "Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?"
John Updike -- 1932- (Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer and Critic)
  • “Whenever religion touches science, it gets burned. In the sixteen century astronomy, in the seventeenth microbiology, in the eighteenth geology and paleontology, in the nineteenth Darwin's biology all grotesquely extended the world-frame and sent churchmen scurrying for cover in ever smaller, more shadowy nooks, little gloomy ambiguous caves in the psyche where even now neurology is cruelly harrying them, gouging them out from the multifolded brain like wood lice from under the woodpile. Barth had been right: totaliter aliter. Only by placing God totally on the other side of the humanly understandable can any final safety for Him be secured.”
Susan B. Anthony -- 1820-1906 (American Civil Rights Leader and Suffragist)
  • "I was born a heretic. I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows."
Vincent Van Gogh -- 1853-1890 (Dutch Post-Impressionist Artist)
  • "I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create."
William Howard Taft -- 1857-1930 (Chief Justice, Governor General of the Philippines, Secretary of War, and Twenty-Seventh President of the United States)
  • "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."
Aristophanes -- 446-386 BCE (Greek Comic Playwright known as the Father of Comedy)
  • “Shrines! Shrines! Surely you don't believe in the gods. What's your argument? Where's your proof?”
Pope John Paul II -- 1920-2005 (Catholic Pope)
  • “Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical [of Pius IX], new knowledge has led to the recognition in the theory of evolution of more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.”
Aristotle -- 384-322 BC (Greek Philosopher, Student of Plato, and Teacher of Alexander the Great)
  • “Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.”
  • “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
  • “Prayers and sacrifices are of no avail.”
Larry King -- 1933- (American Television and Radio Host)
  • “I remember always questioning the Bible. I thought the God of the Bible was vindictive and petty -- that "smite my enemies" and "pray only to me" stuff. I couldn't accept faith blindly, which you were required to do as an Orthodox Jew. The older I got, the less religious I got.”
Thomas Edison -- 1847-1931 (American Inventor and Businessman)
  • "Religion is all bunk."
  • “There is no expedient to which a man will not go to avoid the real labor of thinking.”
  • “Incurably religious, that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people.”
  • “I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson -- 1803-1882 (American Essayist, Philosopher, Poet, and Transcendentalist Movement Leader)
  • “We must get rid of that Christ, we must get rid of that Christ!”
  • “The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.”
T.S. Eliot -- 1888-1965 (British American Poet, Dramatist, Literary Critic, and Nobel Laureate)
  • “Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”
  • “To justify Christian morality because it provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion.”
Thomas Paine -- 1737-1809 (English Revolutionary, Pamphleteer, Radical, Inventor, and Intellectual)
  • "The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall."
  • "Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."
  • "All national 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."
Joseph Stalin -- 1878-1953 (General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee)
  • "You know, they are fooling us, there is no God... all this talk about God is sheer nonsense."
Jared Diamond -- 1937- (American Evolutionary Biologist, Physiologist, Biogeographer, Lecturer, and Pulitzer Prize-Winning Nonfiction Writer)
  • “It is often government that organizes the conquest, and religion that justifies it.”
Dr James Watson -- 1928- (American Molecular Biologist, Nobel Laureate, and Co-Discoverer of DNA)
  • “I don’t think we’re anything, we’re just products of evolution. You can say ‘Gee, your life must be pretty bleak if you don’t think there’s a purpose’ but I’m anticipating a good lunch.”
  • “The luckiest thing that ever happened to me was that my father didn't believe in God, and so he had no hang-ups about souls. I see ourselves as products of evolution, which itself is a great mystery.”
  • “Today, the theory of evolution is an accepted fact for everyone but a fundamentalist minority, whose objections are based not on reasoning but on doctrinaire adherence to religious principles.”
Woodrow Wilson -- 1856-1924 (President of Princeton University and the Twenty-Eighth President of the United States)
  • “May it not suffice for me to say ... that of course like every other man of intelligence and education I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should be raised.”
Richard P Feynman -- 1918-1988 (American Physicist and Nobel Laureate)
  • “God was invented to explain mystery.”
  • “You see, one thing is, I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”
Charles Schulz -- 1922-2000 (American Cartoonist known for ‘Peanuts’)
  • “And those sickly-sweet images of invisible deceased grandparents looming protectively over the kids. Oh, I can't stand that. You could get diabetes reading them, couldn't you?”
  • “The term that best describes me now is ‘secular humanist.’”
Sigmund Freud -- 1856-1939 (Austrian-Jewish Psychiatrist and Founder of the Psychoanalytic School of Psychology)
  • "Neither in my private life nor in my writings, have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever. "
  • “The rest of our enquiry is made easy because this God-Creator is openly called Father. Psycho-analysis concludes that he really is the father, clothed in the grandeur in which he once appeared to the small child.”
Salman Rushdie -- 1947- (British Indian Novelist and Essayist)
  • “God, Satan, Paradise, and Hell all vanished one day in my fifteenth year, when I quite abruptly lost my faith . . . and afterwards, to prove my newfound atheism, I bought myself a rather tasteless ham sandwich . . . no thunderbolt arrived to strike me down . . . from that day to this I have thought of myself as a wholly secular person.”
  • “I don't think there is a need for an entity like God in my life.”
Oscar Wilde -- 1854-1900 (Irish Playwright, Poet, Short Story Writer, and Novelist)
  • "When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it."
  • “Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived.”
Emile Zola -- 1840-1902 (French Writer, and Major Figure in the Political Liberalization of France)
  • “Has science ever retreated? No! It is Catholicism which has always retreated before her, and will always be forced to retreat.”
Virginia Woolf -- 1882-1941 (English Novelist and Essayist)
  • “I read the book of Job last night — I don't think God comes out well in it.”
Tennessee Williams -- 1911-1983 (Pulitzer Prize-Winning American Playwright)
  • “All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent.”
Thomas Henry Huxley -- 1825-1895 (English Biologist and Supporter of Charles Darwin)
  • "That it is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can provide evidence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts and in my opinion, is all that is essential to agnosticism."
Archbishop Desmond Tutu -- 1931- (South African Cleric, Activist, and Nobel Laureate)
  • "God, we know you are in charge, but why don't you make it slightly more obvious?"
Charlie Chaplin -- 1889-1977 (Academy Award-Winning English Comedic Actor and Director)
  • "By simple common sense I don't believe in God."

Other notable Skeptics: Alfred Hitchcock, Democritus, Marlon Brando, Fidel Castro, Jean Luc Godard, Michael Crichton, Brian Eno, Mao Tse-tung, Francois Mitterrand, Arthur Miller, Randy Newman, Eddie Vedder, Roman Polanski, Ron Reagan Jr., Larry Flynt, Billy Bragg, Katharine Hepburn, Bruce Willis, Warren Buffett, Howard Hughes, Dave Matthews, Vic Chesnutt, Billy Joel, Paul Watson, Michael Stipe, Lance Armstrong, Ani DiFranco, Bob Geldof, Adam Carolla, David Cronenberg, John Malkovich, Ricky Gervais, Ira Glass, Bob Odenkirk, George Soros, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Antonio Banderas, Richard Dreyfuss, Richard Branson, Ted WIlliams, Henry Rollins, Matthew Sweet, Rodney Dangerfield, Janeane Garofalo, Micky Dolenz, Tom Lehrer, Bruce Lee, Angelina Jolie, Howard Stern, Vincent Bugliosi, Kathy Griffin, Bjork, Dov Charney, Noel Gallagher, David Gilmour, Diane Keaton, Joe Simpson, Robert Smith, Trent Reznor, Chris Robinson, Roger Waters, Zac Efron, Bill Nye, Neil Peart, Sean Penn, Keanu Reeves, Steven Hawking, Steven Jay Gould, Winston Churchill, Matt Groening, and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on ad infinitum...

11 comments:

Tufty said...

An impressive range of quotes :-)

Hopefully 2009 will be the year it all starts to change.

Tufty
(see my blog against atheophobia)

Kathryn said...

In Catholic school, I got an F in religion and an A in science, because I thought it would be funny to answer the questions on our religion tests with scientific answers... though I couldnt fully grasp my science class because I couldnt understand how it could be so. I memorized it, I KNEW what the book said... but I didnt know how to believe it. (Which I suppose would make me the opposite of you)

And yet in real life I can't deny the existance of God. If you think that makes me ignorant, well then, I'm glad to be ignorant. What harm is it to anyone if I believe in a power greater than man? It doesnt change the way I live, though I do live with the knowledge that I will be punished for my life. If I'm wrong, I wont burn in any hell, I would just die and be buried, because either the Lord is real as I believe Him to be, or he's not, there is a Heaven and Hell or there is not, there isn't a third option for me. Either I am going to burn in hell, or I don't have a soul & shall simply be buried. Both options sound pretty crappy to me, and yet I choose to believe.

Funny thought, not really related to anything else I have said... Some Jehovahs witnesses came to the door the other day, and I always smile and nod and just let them talk or tell them I'm busy. I wonder what they meet when they knock on your door.

Claire Humpage said...

"God is an addiction from which we must break free"
I have been thinking about this the last few days and i have to say i disagree with you.....for me God is not an addiction.

"Other notable Skeptics"
Why are they anymore noteable than other non believers just because they are famous. I really dont see why people like , Angelina Jolie, Howard Stern and Bruce Wilis were within that!

Anonymous said...

in reply to claire- I agree, not only that but Woody Allen? Mikey Mikey, if you want me to take you completely serious, including quotes from Woody Allen should be rethought, that man is an idiot. Famous yes, but still, an idiot.

You did have alot of people I've spent my life respecting in there too though, so I'll give you that. I can only hope that they are the ones who are wrong though.

Claire Humpage said...

In response to the above, yes there were people on that list who i have also respected but i personally just because i respect someone doesn't mean they will shape my beliefs. Nor does it mean i will view them as idiots for not believing in what i choose.
Mikey you have asked me what i will do if i am wrong about God......you need to realise we have nothing to lose (its not a cult) and everything to gain.

Bruna de Souza Leão said...

hm.. i totally agree with Claire. she said everything about i believe to..

xoTLExo said...

I agree with Clair and reading this stuff makes me really sad. :(

kd said...

God is an addiction from which we must break free.

This quotation is enough for me, without all the other supporting evidence you offer. :]

lisa said...

aren't we all skeptics, including Christians? i mean to even have those quotes from mother teresa on there... i respect such honesty! i think it would be completely abnormal for even the strongest Christians to not struggle with doubt.

emikoala said...

Thomas Jefferson was also the author of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, the first document of its kind in America. It was one of the three things he requested be engraved on his tombstone (along with the Declaration and UVA - no mention of his Presidency). He was an enlightened man, greatly ahead of his time, who was no slave to religion but was not threatened by religion either.

noellehere said...

call the feeling of god what you want. Every quote cried for truth, if truth is god, then god is truth.. yes! Or not to believe anything til you prove it to be true to your own experiences from life, yes! you search for truth, light, your soul, you will find exactly that. There are words, quotes, famous names , people who I now admire and had never heard of before all sorts of shit. But the common theme I found was truth. True people seeking true results. All with different defintions of a light or sort of freedom from being yourself. the soul being set free. To me, that's me that's God. you can call it whatever you want, but the god I know and love, as long as you got that covered, you're covered. Just like the new age way of thinking, christians don't have to stay set back in the stone ages. We can update the bible a bit. IF he can forgive a murderer, not to sure he'd mind an updated bible, especially for some new aged truth. maybe with new true stories and a pixstar advertisment campagin, we might have some REAL people back on our side... FOR REAL.