Why be born again, when you can just grow up?
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Being descended from Apes is no shame, but being dumb as an Ape is unfortunate.
[Steve Geller] off talk.origns
Faith is an absolutely marvelous tool.
With faith there is no question too big for even the smallest mind.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
[Philip K. Dick]
I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours. [Stephen Roberts]
It has been said that the fundamentalist mind is like concrete;
all mixed up and permanently set.
It is a heretic that makes the fire, not she which burns in it.
We want to shear the Lord's sheep of their wooly, fuzzy thinking, not stampede them
-so we can't use chainsaws. [Max G. Webb]
I do not feel obliged to believe that same God who endowed us with sense, reason,
and intellect had intended for us to forego their use. [Galileo]
I have always admired the insular closed-mindedness which fundamentalists possess,
a quality which allows them to filter the chaff from the wheat-- and eat the chaff.
John Wesley said that if you give up the witchcraft, you must give up the Bible.
He is right. The choice is easy for me. [Rupert
The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even
to this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one.
I have little confidence in any enterprise or business or investment that promises
dividends only after the death of the stockholders. [Robert G.
God is an invention of Man. So the nature of God is only a shallow mystery.
The deep mystery is the nature of man. [Nanrei Kobori]
Abbot of the (Buddhist) Temple of the Shining Dragon
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. [Delos
I find 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.
One can often recognize herd animals by their tendency to carry bibles.
[Allen Wheelis] The Signal
We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the
extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment
Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms.
The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed.
The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments. [Ayn Rand]
Fear prophets ... and those prepared to die for the truth, as a rule make many others
die with them, often before them, and at times instead of them. [Umberto Eco]
Koranic teaching still insists that the sun moves around the earth.
How can we advance when they teach things like that?
Nasrin ]Time magazine,31st Jan 1994
Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do. [Bertrand
The Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have
blue eyes and red hair... Yes, and if oxen and horses or lions had hands and could paint
with their hands, and produce works of art as men do, horses would paint the forms
of the gods like horses, and oxen like oxen... [Xenophanes]
6th century B.C.
If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color. [Mark Schnitzius] off
Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal
that has the True Religion--several of them.
[Mark Twain] Letters from the
I believe I found the missing link between animal and civilized man.
It is us. [Konrad
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never
used any other, and I trust I never shall.
Age of Reason
To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature,
and it remains premature today. [Isaac Asimov]
Once there was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled.
This time is called the Dark Ages. [Richard Lederer]
Some people, apparently, masturbate with their intellects. I prefer to use my hand.
It takes less time, and has a more satisfying outcome. As an added advantage,
I am rarely tempted to show people the end product.
[Eric Shafto], responding to Why should we believe in evolution? post.
I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.
What sort of designer creates wasps that eat their prey alive, spiders that eat their
ants that kill off large populations of their male larvae, and bedbugs that engage in
homosexual stabbing rape? .... Well, I'd argue that the design of these behaviors must
say something about the designer. Wouldn't you? [Unknown] off talk.origins
...besides, any intelligent designer who would wrap the prostate gland around the
must have a wicked sense of humor. [Bob Park] on if "irreducible
complexity" in nature
must come from an "intelligent designer."
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.
To recognize that nature has neither a preference for our species nor a bias against it
takes only a little courage [James Randi]
You pronounce sentence upon me with greater fear than I receive it.
to his inquisitors
The Church has always been willing to swap off treasures in heaven for cash down.
In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments - there are consequences.
Imagine the Creator as a low comedian, and at once the world becomes explicable.
Is it consistent to say that a design cannot exist without a designer but that a
Does not a designer need a design as much as a design needs a designer?
Does not a Creator need a Creator as much as the thing we think has been created?
....Can we find "design" in the fact that every animal lives upon some other-
drop of every sea is a battlefield where the strong devour the weak?
Over the precipice of cruelty rolls a perpetual Niagara of blood. Is there
"design" in this? .
Nature, so long as we can discern, without passion and without
forms, transforms, and retransforms forever. She neither weeps nor rejoices.
She produces man without purpose, and obliterates him without regret.
She knows no distinction between the beneficial and the hurtful.
Poison and nutrition, pain and joy, life and death, smiles and tears are alike to her.
She is neither merciful nor cruel. She cannot be flattered by worship nor melted by
She does not know even the attitude of prayer. She appreciates no difference
between poison in the fangs of snakes or mercy in the hearts of men.
Only through man does nature take cognizance of the good, the true, and the beautiful...
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious
To be good is noble, but to teach others how to be good is nobler-- and less trouble.
Popular theology... is a massive inconsistency derived from ignorance...
The Gods exist because nature herself has imprinted a conception of them
on the minds of men. [Cicero]
De Natura Deoru
A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. [Oscar Wilde]
Pray: To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner,
confessedly unworthy. - [Ambrose Bierce]
The Puritan through Life's sweet garden goes
To pluck the thorn and cast away the rose.
To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world,
is just as base as to use force. [Hypatia]
(c. 370-415 CE)
... there could be talking bunny rabbits, spiders who write English messages in their
and for that matter, melancholy choo-choo trains. There could be, I suppose,
but there aren't-- so my theory doesn't have to explain them. [Daniel Dennett]
The fundamental cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid are cocksure,
while the intelligent are full of doubt. [Bertrand Russell]
Exploring the universe through meditation,
is like studying human relationships through masturbation.
I do not find in our particular superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature.
They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology. [Thomas
It is all over with priests and gods when man becomes scientific.
Moral: Science is the forbidden as such -- it alone is forbidden.
Science is the first sin, seed of all sin, the original sin.
This alone is morality. "Thou shalt not know"
-- the rest follows. [Friedrich
Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under
the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition. [Isaac Asimov]
I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven
of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.
Edison] Colombian Magazine
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because
I notice it always coincides with their own desires. [Susan B. Anthony]
We are the universe experiencing itself.
That's why we're here. [Carl
The old is the ignorant enemy of the new. The old has pedigree and respectability;
it is filled with the spirit of caste; it is associated with great events, and with great
it is entrenched; it has an income -- it represents property. Besides, it has parasites,
and the parasites always defend themselves
Once people get hung up on theology, they've lost sanity forever
[Gore Vidal] Secular Humanist
It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me,
it is the parts that I do understand. [Mark
In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always
in allegiance to the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own.
The very fact of there being more than one revelation is sufficient to raise doubts
in the minds of reasoning people as to the validity of any of them.
[Aletheia, M.D.] Rationalist's Manual
If God wants us to do a thing, He should make his wishes sufficiently clear.
Sensible people will wait till He has done this before paying much attention to Him.
In looking for an answer, we cannot simply postulate the existence of what
we are trying to explain. [off talk.origins]
Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too
to the first comer: there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long
until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged
for fidelity and happiness. [George Santayana]
Skepticism and Animal Faith
They were allowed to stay there on one condition, and that is that they didn't eat of
of knowledge. That has been the condition of the Christian church from then until now.
They haven't eaten as yet. As a rule they do not.
A dogma is the hand of the dead on the throat of the living.
Everywhere in the world there are ignorance and prejudice, but the greatest complex
of these, with the most extensive prestige and the most intimate entanglement with
traditional institutions, is the Roman Catholic Church. [H.G. Wells]
A hundred thousand lemmings can't be wrong.
Those who believe in hell can never know truth, for they are blinded by fear.
[Emmet F. Fields]
...and when you tell me that your deity made you in his own image, I reply
that he must be very ugly. [Victor Hugo], writing
No wild beasts are as hostile to men as Christian sects in general are to one another.
The destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor, whether he soweth grain or
An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
[John Buchan] British statesman, author
Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell
that whenever a man preached a heresy, or proposed to worship any other God that
they should kill him; and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself
and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that
the Jews crucified him; I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had
What right would this god have to complain of a crucifixion suffered in
with his own command? [Robert G.
Ingersoll] Some mistakes of Moses
When people learn no tools of judgment and merely follow their hopes,
the seeds of political manipulation are sown. [Stephen Jay Gould]
Consider the ignorance of the average fundamentalist.
Then realize that by definition fully half of them must be even dumber than that.
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.
Ignorance is the mother of devotion. [Dean Henry Cole]
A god's primary function is to confirm for us deeply held beliefs that we can't let go
even in the face of overwhelming evidence. When you are totally and absolutely convinced
of something fundamentally unreasonable, it helps to believe you have divine guidance.
With soap, baptism is a good thing. [Robert G. Ingersoll]
When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not
itself so that its professors are obliged to call for the help of the civil power, 'tis a
I apprehend, of its being a bad one. [Benjamin
A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of
But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with
religion - any religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by
cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm
fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have
Theists have good reasons for not believing in every god but their own.
Atheists make no exception for the last one. [Brett Lemoine]
There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the
of life without the help of comfortable myths.
Russell] in Human Society in Ethics and Politics.
The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any
because it seeks to turn other ideas --uncertainty, progress, change -- into crimes.
Philosophy is questions that may never be answered.
Religion is answers that may never be questioned.
Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. [Benjamin
To love justice, to long for the right, to love mercy, to pity the suffering, to assist
to forget wrongs and remember benefits, to love the truth, to be sincere,
to utter honest words, to love liberty, to wage relentless war against slavery in all its
to love wife and child and friend, to make a happy home, to love the beautiful in art, in
to cultivate the mind, to be familiar with the mighty thoughts that genius has expressed,
the noble deeds of all the world, to cultivate courage and cheerfulness, to make others
to fill life with the splendor of generous acts, the warmth of loving words, to discard
to destroy prejudice, to receive new truths with gladness, to cultivate hope,
to see the calm beyond the storm, the dawn beyond the night,
to do the best that can be done and then to be resigned
- this is the religion of reason, the creed of science. This satisfies the brain and
It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of
[Calvin] Calvin and Hobes by Bill Waterson
A mystic is a person who is puzzled before the obvious but who understands the
Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger. [Abbie Hoffman]
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]
Is God willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is impotent.
Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Whence then is evil?
The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent
During the minute that it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are
eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are
being devoured from within by rasping parasites, thousands of all kinds are dying of
starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this
will automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of
and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical
and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get
and you won't find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice. The universe that we
has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no
no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.
[Richard Dawkins] God's
Utility Function, Scientific American, November 1995
Pursuing the religious life today without using psychedelics drugs is
like studying astronomy with the naked eye...[Timothy
I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his own creation.
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 blindfolded fear.
Jefferson] Letter, 10 Aug. 1787
To be patriotic, hate all nations but your own; to be religious, all sects but your
to be moral, all pretenses but your own. [Lionel Strachey] British writer
A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven.
An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking
the name of the Lord in vain-- then have a heart attack at that moment-- and be damned
for eternity. Is that the system? [Robert A.
Heinlein] A Comedy of Justice, 1984
The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic
who cares not whether there is a God or not. [Eric Hoffer]
Every church that has a standard higher than human welfare is dangerous.
A heretic is a man who sees with his own eyes.
Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.
Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they
are capable of being 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.
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written,
or badly written. That is all. [Oscar
A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress
any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. [Carl Sagan] Contact
Your grasp of science lacks opposable thumbs. [B Waggoner] on talk.origins
I insist that, if there is an infinitely good and wise God, he beholds with pity the
of his children. I insist that such a God would know the mists, the clouds, the darkness
enveloping the human mind. He would know how few stars are visible in the intellectual
His pity, not his wrath, would be excited by the efforts of his blind children, groping in
night to find the cause of things, and endeavoring, through their tears, to see some dawn
of hope. Filled with awe by their surroundings, by fear of the unknown, he would know
that when, kneeling, and pouring out their gratitude to some unseen power, even to a
visible idol, it was, in fact, intended for him. An infinitely good being, had he the
would answer the reasonable prayer of an honest savage, even when addressed to
wood and stone. [Robert
G. Ingersoll] Ingersoll-Black Debate 1881
If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.
...Logic is not satisfied with assertion.
It cares nothing for the opinions of the "great,"
nothing for the prejudices of the many,
and least of all for the superstitions of the dead.
In the world of Science, a 'fact' is legal tender.
Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.
[Herman Melville] Moby Dick
Any frontal attack on ignorance is bound to fail because the masses are always ready
to defend their most precious possession-- their ignorance.
[Hendrik Willem van Loon]
God has no religion. [Mahatma
A vast number of clergymen and laymen are perfectly satisfied. They have no doubts.
They believe as their fathers and mothers did. The "scheme of salvation" suits
because they are satisfied that they are embraced within its terms. They give themselves
no trouble. They believe because they do not understand. They have no doubts because
they do not think. They regard doubt as a thorn in the pillow of orthodox slumber.
Their souls are asleep, and they hate only those who disturb their dreams.
He who possesses art and science has religion;
he who does not possess them, needs religion.
The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don't understand it.
I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice
whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes;
but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.
Why should I fear death?
If I am, death is not.
If death is, I am not.
Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?
[Epicurus] Greek philosopher
So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of
Anybody who believes that the earth is less than 10,000 years old needs psychiatric
[Francis Crick] Nobel
prize-winning biologist, co-discoverer of DNA
Faith is to the human what sand is to the ostrich..
...doubting Thomas, on the other hand, required evidence.
Perhaps he should be the patron saint of scientists.
A cult is a religion with no political power. [Tom Wolfe]
Calling the theory of evolution "only a theory" is, strictly speaking, true,
but the idea it tries
to convey is completely wrong. The argument rests on a confusion between what
means in informal usage and in a scientific context. A theory, in the scientific sense,
is "a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a
of phenomena" (Random House American College Dictionary. ) The term does not
tentativeness or lack of certainty. Generally speaking, scientific theories differ from
scientific laws only in that laws can be expressed more tersely. Being a theory implies
self-consistency, agreement with observations, and usefulness. (Creationism fails to be
a theory mainly because of the last point; it makes few or no specific claims about what
we would expect to find, so it can't be used for anything. When it does make falsifiable
predictions, they prove to be false.)
Lack of proof isn't a weakness, either. On the contrary, claiming infallibility for
conclusions is a sign of hubris. Nothing in the real world has ever been rigorously
or ever will be. Proof, in the mathematical sense, is possible only if you have the luxury
defining the universe you're operating in. In the real world, we must deal with levels of
certainty based on observed evidence. The more and better evidence we have for something,
the more certainty we assign to it; when there is enough evidence, we label the something
a fact, even though it still isn't 100% certain.
FAQ from talk.origins archive
When we make mistakes they call it evil. When God makes mistakes they call it Nature!
Jack Nicholson in [TheWitches of Eastwick]
Businesses come and go, but religion will last forever,
for in no other endeavor does the consumer blame himself for product failure.
When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman
in the audience stood up and said, "Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics
or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?
My earlier views at 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.
Lincoln ] letter to Judge J.S. Wakefield, after the death of Willie Lincoln
My husband is not a Christian but is a religious man, I think. [Mary Todd Lincoln]
Chemistry is applied theology. [Augustus Stanley]
The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all
[Alfred North Whitehead]
And suppose after all that death does end all. Next to eternal joy, next to being
with those we love and those who loved us, next to that is to be wrapt in the dreamless
drapery of eternal peace. Next to eternal life is eternal sleep. Upon the shadowy shore
of death the sea of trouble casts no wave. Eyes that have been curtained by the
dark, will never know again the burning touch of tears. Lips touched by eternal silence
will never speak again the broken words of grief. Hearts of dust do not break...
That which is certain is not science.
That which is science is not certain.
The inhabitants of the earth are of two sorts:
those with brains, but no religion,
and those with religion, but no brains.
(973-1057) The blind Syrian poet.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers
the Younger] (4 B.C.-65 A.D.)
Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an
is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits.
former evangelist, author
Whenever this world is sacrificed for the sake of another- a mistake has been made.
Every man thinks God is on his side.
The rich and powerful know he is."
Anouilh] (1910- ) French playwright
God, to me, it seems, is a verb, not a noun, proper or improper. [Buckminster
In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it
would be perverse
to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow,
but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
[Stephen Jay Gould]
Christian Fundamentalism: The doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful,
knowledgeable, universe spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about
my sex life. [Andrew Lias]
Religion is a byproduct of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a
necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? [Arthur C. Clarke]
The mind of the fundamentalist is like the pupil of the eye:
the more light you pour on it, the more it will contract.
Don't tell me God works in mysterious ways, there's nothing so mysterious about it.
He's not working at all. He's playing. Or else He's forgotten all about us...
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 divine system of creation?
[Joseph Heller] Catch-22
The typical imperative from biology is not "thou shalt....," but
[Steven Pinker] How the Mind Works
For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and
He chose nothing. [George
Santayana] The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare
Reason is not one tool of thought among many, it is the entire toolbox.
To advocate that reason be discarded in some circumstances is to advocate that thinking be
discarded- which leaves one in the position of attempting to do a job after throwing away
the required instrument. [George Smith]
Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith.
I consider the capacity for it terrifying. [Kurt Vonnegut Jr.]
What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears.
The Temple of My Familiar
The original sin was not in eating of the forbidden fruit,
but in planting the tree that bore the fruit.
Men become civilized not in proportion to their willingness to believe
but in proportion to their readiness to doubt. [H.L. Mencken]
So, when someone asks a Humanist, "What is the purpose of life?" the Humanist
answer, Life is not purpose, life is art. The meaning is found in the doing.
Traveler: God has been mighty good to your fields, Mr. Farmer.
Farmer: You should have seen how he treated them when I wasn't
The people, ideas, things, and actions we love do not depend for their worth on how
they last or their supposed cosmic significance. They are things in themselves to be
for their own sakes. Life is an art, not a task. Life is for us, not for the universe.
And life is for now, not for eternity.
In religion we believe only what we do not understand, except in the instance
of an intelligible doctrine that contradicts an incomprehensible one.
In that case we believe the former as part of the latter.
If the lord had meant us to have faith, he'd have given us lobotomies. [Zlatko]
Genes are not puppet masters; they acted as the recipe for making the brain and body
and then they got out of the way. They live in a parallel universe, scattered among
with their own agendas. [Steven Pinker]
How the mind Works
If Jesus had been killed 20 years ago, Catholic school children would be
wearing little Electric Chairs around their necks instead of crosses. [Lenny Bruce]
The present life of man, O king, seems to me, in comparison of that time which is
to us, is like the swift flight of a sparrow through the room wherein you sit at supper in
with your commanders and ministers, and a good fire in the midst, whilst the storms of
and snow prevail abroad; the sparrow, I say, flying in at one door, and immediately out at
another, whilst he is within, is safe from the wintry storm; but after a short space of
weather; he immediately vanishes out of your sight, into the dark winter from which he
had emerged. So this life of man appears for a short space, but of what went before,
or what is to follow, we are utterly ignorant.
[The Venerable Bede] Ecclesiastical
Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities.
Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it.
But if they called everything divine which they do not understand,
why, there would be no end of divine things. [Hippocrates] c.460-377
Armies of Bible scholars and theologians have for centuries found respected employment
devising artful explanations of the Bible often not really meaning what it says.
[J.S. Bullion, Jr.]
The four points of the compass are logic, knowledge, wisdom, and the unknown.
Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one
is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable.
[Roger Zelazny] Lord of Light
Garbage In -- Gospel Out
The missionaries go forth to Christianize the savages
--as if the savages weren't dangerous enough already.
There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless,
and predatory as it is - in our country particularly, and in all other Christian countries
somewhat modified degree - it is still a hundred times better than the Christianity of the
Bible, with its prodigious crime- the invention of Hell. Measured by our Christianity of
bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the Deity nor His
Son is a
Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The
of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilt.
[Mark Twain] Reflections
If you don't think that logic is a good method for determining what to believe,
make an attempt to convince me of that without using logic. [Brett Lemoine]
Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain--This life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
[The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam]
A blow to the head will confuse a man's thinking, a blow to the foot has no such
this cannot be the result of an immaterial soul. [Heraclitus 500 BC]
Theology is but the ignorance of natural causes reduced to a system.
[Baron Paul Henri T.
If priests had not been fond of mutton, lambs never would have been sacarified to god.
Nothing was ever carried to the temple that the priest could not use,
and it always happened that god wanted what his agents liked. [Robert G. Ingersoll]
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. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees
of uncertainty about different things, but I am not absolutely sure of anything and there
many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why
we're here... I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened not knowing things,
by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is
as far as I can tell. It doesn't frighten me. [Richard P. Feynman]
Demons do not exist any more than gods do, being only the products of the psychic
of man. [Sigmund Freud] New York
Times 6 May 1956
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, Time April 11, 1988
Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're
to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you
save it for someone you love. [Butch Hancock]
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. [Francis Bacon]
Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe
that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" [Douglas Adams]
If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach in the public
tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools and next year you can
make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may
books and the newspapers... Ignorance and fanaticism are ever busy and need feeding.
Always feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers; tomorrow
the private. The next day the preachers and the lecturers, the magazines, the books,
the newspapers. After a while, Your Honor, it is the setting of man against man and
creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward
to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men
who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.
Darrow] at the Scopes Monkey Trial, 1925
Religions are like farts. Yours is good, but everyone else's stinks.
God says do what you wish, but make the wrong choice and you will be tortured for
eternity in hell. That sir, is not free will. It would be akin to a man telling his
do what you wish, but if you choose to leave me, I will track you down and blow
your brains out. When a man says this we call him a psychopath and cry out for his
imprisonment/exceution. When god says the same we call him "loving" and build churches
in his honor.
(Chuck) Easttom II]
Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented
(Hurting yourself is not sinful--just stupid.)
...a doctrine which is able to maintain itself not in clear light but only in the dark,
will of necessity lose its effect on mankind, with incalculable harm to human progress.
In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give
the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which
in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests.... The further the spiritual
evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine
religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith,
but through striving after rational knowledge.
[Albert Einstein], address at the
Princeton Theological Seminary, 1939
Miracles happen to those who believe in them.
Otherwise why does not the Virgin Mary appear to Lamaists,
Mohammedans, or Hindus who have never heard of her.
[Bernard Berenson] 1865-1959
Everything is more or less organized matter. To think so is against religion,
but I think so just the same. [Napoleon
The world presents enough problems if you believe it to be a world of law and order;
do not add to them by believing it to be a world of miracles.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice [Louis D.
Use against heretics the spiritual sword of excommunication,
and if this does not prove effective, use the material sword.
[Pope Innocent III] 1161-1216
When the Albigenses Christians in southern France wouldn't conform to official
[Pope Innocent III]
sent troops to exterminate them. After the town of Beziers was
captured, soldiers asked their papal adviser [Arnaud-Amaury] how to distinguish
the faithful from the
heretics among the townspeople. The command:
"Kill them all. God will know his own." (Tuez-les tous; Dieu
reconnaitra les siens.)
It was done.
It never ceases to amaze me at how many religions depend upon circumcised penises.
You will find men like him in all of the world's religions. They know that
we represent reason and science, and, however confident they may be in their beliefs,
they fear that we will overthrow their gods. Not necessarily through any deliberate act,
but in a subtler fashion. Science can destroy a religion by ignoring it as well as
by disproving its' tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware,
the nonexistence of Zeus or Thor, but they have few followers now.
[Arthur C. Clarke] "Childhood's
All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination,
and poetry. [Edgar Allan Poe]
The God whom science recognizes must be a god of universal laws exclusively,
A God who does a wholesale, not a retail business. He cannot accommodate his
processes to the convenience of individuals.
[William James] The Varieties of Religious Experience
When Jesus assumes control, many seem to enter another dimension,
which is not so much a twilight zone as one of pure darkness.
[Biblical Errancy] issue-5,
Marx was wrong. Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Opium suggests something
soporific, numbing, dulling. Too often religion has been an aphrodisiac for horror,
a Benzedrine for bestiality. At its best it has lifted spirits and raised spires.
At its worst it has turned entire civilizations into cemeteries.
[Phillip Adams] Adams
Whenever governments adopt a moral tone, as opposed to an ethical one --
you know something is wrong. [John Ralston
Saul] The Unconscious Civilization
The aims of scientific thought are to see the general in the particular
and the eternal in the transitory. [Alfred North
The question is not whether man descended from the apes
...but when he's going to quit descending.
Science tells us what we have reason to believe. Not what we have a duty to believe.
Not what experts, in their pontificating wisdom, instruct us to believe.
Not what some admired authority, like Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking, believes.
No, science tells us what there is good REASON to believe. [Richard Dawkins]
We do not ask to be born; and we do not ask to die. But born we are and die we must.
We come into existence and we pass out of existence. And in neither case does
high-handed fate await our ratification of its decree. [Corliss Lamont]
The educated man ceases to be religious. [Percy Bysshe Shelley]
Those who invalidate reason ought seriously to consider whether they argue against
with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle that they are
dethrone: but if they argue without reason (which, in order to be consistent with
must do), they are out of reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational
[Ethan Allen] (1738-1789)
[John Catalano] The World of
Faith is powerful enough to immunize people against all appeals to pity, to
to decent human feelings. It even immunizes them against fear, if they honestly believe
a martyr's death will send them straight to heaven. What a weapon! Religious faith
a chapter to itself in the annals of war technology, on an even footing with the longbow,
the warhorse, the tank, and the hydrogen bomb. [Richard
Dawkins] The Selfish Gene
Christian: I'll pray for you.
Atheist: Then I'll think for both of us
We may define "faith" as the firm belief in something for which there is no
Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that
and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to
substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead
to strife, since different groups, substitute different emotions. [Bertrand Russell]
What I'm saying is, if God wanted to send us a message, and ancient writings were
the only way he could think of doing it, he could have done a better job.
Dr. Arroway in [Carl Sagan's]
Contact (New York: Pocket Books 1985)
A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of
A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it
is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.
Beware of the man of one book. [Thomas
The Declaration of Independence was a denial, and the first denial of a nation,
of the infamous dogma that God confers the right upon one man to govern others.
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.
Being omnipotent means never having to say you're sorry.
One might be asked- How can you prove that a god does not exist?
One can only reply that it is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved.
[David A. Spitz]
Your petitioners are Atheists and they define their ideas as
An Atheist loves his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows
that heaven is something for which we should work now--here on earth
--for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist knows that he can get no help
through prayer but that he must find within himself the inner conviction
and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue it and to enjoy it.
An Atheist knows that only in a knowledge of himself and a knowledge of
his fellow man can he find the understanding that will help to a life of fulfillment.
An Atheist seeks to know himself then and his fellow rather than
to know a god.
An Atheist understands that a hospital must be built instead of a church.
An Atheist knows that a deed must be done instead of a prayer said.
An Atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.
He wants disease conquered, poverty vanquished, war eliminated.
He wants man to understand, love and accept all of mankind. He wants
an ethical way of life. He knows that we cannot rely on a god, channel
action into prayer, or hope for an end to our troubles in a hereafter.
He knows that we are not only our brother's keepers--but keepers of our own
lives foremost, that we are responsible persons and that the job is here
and the time is now. [Murray vs.
Curlett]374 U.S. 203 (1963)
He that supps with the devil must have a long spoon. --E.
...And let us do away forever with the idea that to care for the sick, for the helpless
It is not a charity. It is a duty. It is something to be done for our own sakes. It is no
a charity than it is to pave or light the streets, no more charity than it is to have a
sewers. It is all for the purpose of protecting society and of civilizing ourselves.
Somehow, the Bible forgets to tell us that Noah's family was lousy, poxy, and had
the crabs. An oversight, I guess. [Joel Hanes]
Would an infinitely wise, good and powerful God, intending to produce
commence with the lowest possible forms of life; with the simplest organism that can be
imagined, and during immeasurable periods of time, slowly and almost imperceptibly
improve upon the rude beginning, until man was evolved? Would countless ages thus be
wasted in the production of awkward forms, afterwards abandoned? Can the intelligence of
discover the least wisdom in covering the earth with crawling, creeping horrors, that live
upon the agonies and pangs of others? Can we see the propriety of so constructing the
that only an insignificant portion of its surface is capable of producing an intelligent
Who can appreciate the mercy of so making the world that all animals devour animals;
so that every mouth is a slaughter house, and every stomach a tomb?
Is it possible to discover infinite intelligence and love in universal and eternal
It seems to me that with or without religion good people will behave well
and bad people will do evil things. But for good people to do evil things,
that takes religion. [Steven
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores
the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.
I think there's been great harm done by using some of the discoveries of science.
But I think there's a profound difference between the role of science in this respect
and that of religion. Science merely amplifies the capabilities of human beings.
Science gives us the ability to do ill and to do good more than we had, and to question
science in this respect is like questioning whether people ought to have two hands
or just one, because with two hands they could do more evil than they can with just one.
On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from
beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing
another for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely
the comprehension of the human mind. [Thomas
They express a preference for 'natural' methods of population limitation,
and a natural method is exactly what they are going to get. It is called starvation.
[Richard Dawkins] The Selfish
It is error alone that needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
Jefferson] Notes on Virginia, 1782
<In regard to the Trinity>; Tom, had you and I been 40 days with Moses, and
beheld the great
God, and even if God himself had tried to tell us that three was one . . . and one equals
you and I would never have believed it. We would never fall victims to such lies.
Adams] letter to Thomas Jefferson
I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public
of the United States. [Thomas
There may be Gods, but they care not what men do."
Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves.
Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child."
[Robert A. Heinlein]
Notebooks of Lazarus Long
A strange mystery it is that Nature, omnipotent but blind, in the revolutions of her
hurryings through the abysses of space, has brought forth at last a child, subject still
to her power, but gifted with sight, with knowledge of good and evil, with the capacity
of judging all the works of his unthinking Mother. In spite of Death, the mark and seal
of the parental control, Man is yet free, during his brief years, to examine, to
to know, and in imagination to create. To him alone, in the world with which he is
acquainted, this freedom belongs; and in this lies his superiority to the resistless
that control his outward life....
....on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and
reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned
to-day to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it
only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day;
disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of fate, to worship at the shrine that
hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the
wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces
for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding
the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious
Russell] A free Man's Worship 1903
Religion is a major weapon in the war against reality.
The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain
-the second time around. [Herb
Although it is said that faith can move mountains, experience shows that dynamite works
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called
imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice
of another person-perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia,
the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you.
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people,
citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time,
proof that humans can work magic.
[Carl Sagan] The
Persistence of Memory, Cosmos
Atheism is a non-Prophet Organization
I have seen several entirely sincere people who thought they were (permanent)
Seekers after Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously,
profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment
--until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth.
That was the end of the search. The man spent the rest of his life hunting up
wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather. If he was seeking after political Truth
he found it in one or another of the hundred political gospels which govern men in the
if he was seeking after the Only True Religion he found it in one or another of the
three thousand that are on the market. In any case, when he found the Truth he sought
but from that day forth, with his soldering-iron in one hand and his bludgeon
in the other
he tinkered its leaks and reasoned with objectors."
[Mark Twain] What is Man?
The theory that you should always treat the religious convictions of other people with
finds no support in the Gospels.
[Arnold Lunn] British author (1888-1974)
My dog was first in his class at Harvard Divinity School.
...in a general sort of way everyone knew they were going to die,
even the common people. No one knew where you were before you were born,
but when you were born, it wasn't long before you found you'd arrived
with your return ticket already punched.
Faith: Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without
of things without parallel. [Ambrose Bierce]
It was the schoolboy who said, 'Faith is believing what you know ain't so'.
Look, friends, the only possible way to enjoy life is not to be afraid
A zest for living requires a willingness to die; you cannot have the first without the
The '60s and '70s and '80s and '90s can be loaded with the zest for living, high
and gutsy adventure for any truly human person. "Truly human"? I mean you
of cavemen who outlasted the saber-tooth, you who sprang from the loins of the Vikings,
you whose ancestors fought the Crusades and were numbered the Golden Horde.
Death is the lot of all of us and the only way the human race has ever conquered death
is by treating it with contempt. By living every golden minute as if one had all eternity.
[Robert A. Heinlein]
World Science Fiction Convention Speach, Seattle, 1961
The church must take from the New Testament the supernatural;
the idea that an intellectual conviction can subject an honest man to eternal pain;
the awful doctrine that the innocent can justly suffer for the guilty, and (it should)
the remainder to be discussed, denied or believed without punishment and without
No one will object to the preaching of kindness, honesty and justice.
To preach less is a crime, and to practice more is impossible.
Ingersoll] What We Must Do to Be Saved (1880)
Moral indignation: jealousy with a halo. [H.G. Wells]
It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible,
and that all who look upon that book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation
of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of
but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold
the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government
made by the people for the people. [Robert G. Ingersoll]
It is possible to pay another man's debts on his behalf, but it is not
possible to make a guilty man innocent by suffering in his place."
[Carl Lofmark] What is the Bible?
Animals learn death first at the moment of death;...
man approaches death with the knowledge it is closer every hour,
and this creates a feeling of uncertainty over his life, even for him
who forgets in the business of life that annihilation is awaiting him.
It is for this reason chiefly that we have philosophy and religion."
We are surrounded and embraced by her:
powerless to separate ourselves from her,
and powerless to penetrate beyond her.
Without asking, or warning,
she snatches us up into her circling dance,
and whirls us on, until we are tired
and drop from her arms.
The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment
by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.
[Judge Louis Brandeis ]
"In God We Trust."
'I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true.'
...The alternative is to suppose not "intelligent design"
but, at best, "whimsical design" and, at worst, "sadistic design."
Pass the Lord and Praise the Ammunition [Ed Sorel]
This is no time for making new enemies
[Voltaire] (on his
deathbed, after being asked to renounce the Devil.).
Maybe nature, though dominated by darkness, has always contained
seeds of light, seeds of intellect and love, which over the ages grow
until they transcend their base embodiment.
What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday
and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow.
Our life is the creation of our mind.
Belief is one of the most powerful organtic forces in the multiverse.
It may not be able to move mountains exactly.
But it can create someone who can.
Death stood alone, watching the wheat dance in the wind.
Of course, it was only a metaphor. People were more than corn.
They whirled through tiny crowded lives, driven literally by clockwork,
filling their days from edge to edge with the sheer effort of living.
And all lives were exactly the same length. Even the very long
and very short ones... From the point of view of eternity, anyway.
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs
imagine that their croaking brings spring. [Robert G.
It's easier for the eye of a rich man to pass through a camel
than for a needle to enter heaven.
They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him
as somewhat of a recluse. [Emily Dickinson]
While human life, resulting from a series of evolutionary accidents,
is arguably meaningless, individual human lives are not. Those accidents
have bequeathed an extraordinary degree of consciousness, which in turn
has granted us an enhanced capacity for both sympathy and suffering.
Using the one to relieve the other invests our lives with a purpose which
surely requires no celestial justification. Nor do we need God to tell us
to protect other species and beautiful landscapes:
we can do so simply because we love them.
[George Monbiot] The Guardian, May 25, 2000
We need higher-order thinking skills to distinguish;
rational beliefs from superstitions;
science from folklore;
theory from dogma;
evidence from propaganda;
probability from certainty;
data from assertions;
credibility from incredibility.
Wherever we see the hand of man, of directed intelligence, at work,
we see a collapsing of complexity, the smooth monoculture
of suburban lawns, the reduction of diversity in service to efficiency:
invariably, the selection of the one right or optimal path to the solution
of an object, as opposed to the multiform, multipath fuzzy logic of
unceasing attempts over generations to approximately solve life's puzzles,
in necessarily many different ways, all at once. Look at our DNA! Vast
of our genetic inheritance include left over droplets of abandoned code,
both self-generated and acquired from viral infections in the dim days
on the Savannah as we grew into our dubious humanity. A life-stew
in which the animal, the bacterial, and the viral are mashed together,
cooked and stirred: and not crafted. [Jack Baltimore]
A theologian is like a blind person in a dark room searching for a black cat
which isn't there... and finding it!
Why is it that almost every human culture yet discovered has found it
necessary to believe in an afterlife of some sort, but not a
'before-life?' Why are there so many versions of Heaven, Paradise and
The Great Beyond, but almost none about The Great Before ...
[Judith Hayes] Where Were You Before You Were You?
What was the creator thinking of when he put nipples on men?
The human race is intoxicated with narrow victories, for life itself
is a string of them, like pearls that hit the floor when the rope breaks,
and roll away in perfection and anarchy.
[Mark Helprin] Memoir From Antproof Case
What was God doing (in His Time) for an eternity in His past
before He Created the Universe Ex Nihilo? God existed by Himself
through an Eternity before the Creation without needing a Universe.
Why did He suddenly desire to create the Universe?
[Peter A. Angeles] The Problem of God: A Short
Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural,
the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible,
the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains.
Some would ask, how could a perfect God create a universe filled
with so much that is evil. They have missed a greater conundrum:
why would a perfect God create a universe at all?
[Sister Miriam Godwinson] But for the Grace of God
Imagine a vine that grows at one end and decays at the other.
The end that grows is heresy, the end that rots is orthodox.
The dead are orthodox, and your cemetery is the most perfect type
of a well regulated church. No thought, no progress, no heresy
Slowly and silently, side by side, the satisfied members peacefully decay.
There is only this difference - the dead do not persecute.
Ingersoll] Heretics and Heresy
What schools need is a moment of SCIENCE. [bumper sticker]
I believe in life BEFORE death. [bumper sticker]
in a cruel God makes a cruel man. [Thomas Paine]
Each of us is a tiny being, permitted to ride on the outermost skin of
one of the smaller planets for a few dozen trips around the local star.
...The longest-lived organisms on Earth endure for about a millionth
of the age of our planet. A bacterium lives for one
of that time. So of course the individual organisms see nothing of the
overall pattern-continents, climate, evolution. They barely set foot on
the world stage and are promptly snuffed out- "yesterday a drop of
as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote, "tomorrow a handful of ashes."
If the Earth were as old as a person, a typical organism would be born,
live, and die in a sliver of a second. We are fleeting, transitional
creatures, snowflakes fallen on the hearth fire. That we understand
even a little of our origins is one of the great triumphs of human
insight and courage.
Sagan] Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, pp. 30-31
Religion is Myth-information.
I was born right the first time. Bumper
Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers."
You have no right to erect your tollgate upon the
highways of thought.
Ingersoll] The Ghosts", 1877
Suppose a man had been convicted of murder, and was about to be hanged --
the governor acting as the executioner; and suppose that just as the doomed
man was about to suffer death some one in the crowd should step forward
and say, "I am willing to die in the place of that murderer. He has a family,
and I have none." And suppose further, that the governor should reply,
"Come forward, young man, your offer is accepted. A murder has been
committed and somebody must be hung, and your death will satisfy
the law just as well as the death of the murderer."
This doctrine is the consummation of two outrages --
forgiving one crime and committing another.
Ingersoll] Heretics and heresies
Beauty in things exists in the mind which contemplates them.
Extremism means borders beyond which life ends,
and a passion for extremism, in art and in politics,
is a veiled longing for death.
There is to me no evidence of the existence of any power superior
In my opinion the supernatural does not exist. Still, we can wish in spite of,
or against, evidence, and we can hope without it.
People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern:
to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves,
for a few minutes anyway, free and happy.
Not a single one of your ancestors died young.
They all copulated at least once.
The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss,
while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits
everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only
by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith."
Ingersoll] The Gods
I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers
carried in the starless night, -- blown and flared by passion's storm,
-- and yet, it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.
Everybody hates death, fears death, but only those, the
know the life after death and the reward after death, would be
the ones who will be seeking death.
Atta] in a hand-written document found in luggage
belonging to Atta which had been placed on the wrong plane,
always noticed that the people who have the smallest souls
make the most fuss about getting them saved.
Belief is not a voluntary thing. A man believes or
disbelieves in spite of himself.
They tell us that to believe is the safe way; but I say, the safe way is
to be honest."
Ingersoll] Some Reasons Why I Am a Freethinker", 1881
You are never dedicated to something you have complete
(No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow.
They know it's going to rise tomorrow.) When people are fanatically
to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals,
it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.
M. Pirsig], Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance.
Shaw] is said to have remarked after observing the objects
cast off by visitors to Lourdes, 'all those canes, braces and crutches,
and not a single glass eye, wooden leg or toupée.'
man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion.
The fossil record shows that the Genesis version of creation is manifestly wrong
if read literally, and one is left either questioning the authority of the Bible or
recognising that it is a prolonged exercise in metaphor -
and as such open to endless interpretation.
1776 our fathers endeavored to retire the gods from politics. They
that "all governments derive their just powers from the consent of the
This was a contradiction of the then political ideas of the world; it was, as
an act of pure blasphemy...
We cannot trample upon others rights, without endangering
and no man who will take liberty from another, is great enough to enjoy liberty
The order of things should be reversed; the seventh day should be the day of
and the other six the Sabbath. [Thoreau]
The lover knows much more about absolute good and universal beauty than any
or theologian, unless the latter, too, be lovers in disguise.
[George Santayana] The
Life of Reason: Reason in Society
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.
[Vladimir Nabokov] Speak Memory 1951
"Frustra fit perplura, quod fieri per pauciora".
(It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.)
"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"
(Plurality should not be posited without necessity.)
[William of Occam] 1300-1349
Self-organization and emergence arise out of complex adaptive systems that
and learn as they change. As a complex adaptive system, the cosmos may be
giant autocatalytic (self-driving) feedback loop that generates such emergent
properties as life. We can think of self-organization as an emergent property
and emergence as a
form of self-organization. Complexity is so simple
it can be put on a bumper
sticker: life happens.
[Michael Shermer] Scientific American, Jan 2003
And yet, and yet . . . Denying temporal succession, denying the self,
astronomical universe, are apparent desperations and secret consolations.
is not frightful by being unreal; it is frightful because it is irreversible and
Time is the substance of which I am made. Time is a river which sweeps me along,
but I am the river; it is a tiger
which destroys me,
but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me,
but I am the fire.…
[Jorge Luis Borges]
essay: "A New Refutation of Time," 1946
It is a conflict between competing certainties:
between followers of Faith, who know because they believe,
and followers of Reason, who believe because they know.
Fifty Percent of State Marriages End in Divorce. Are You Worried We Can Do
[ Pro gay marriage sign- San Francisco city hall, 2/14/2004]
If we won't play god, who will?
Watson] concerning the redress of "genetic injustice" on
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail.
In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always
The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source
of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
....We therefore invoke this council and all of our leaders to be guided and
by the invaluable lessons of history, the honest insights of science, the
of logic, and the heart and soul of our shared humanity, compassion and
So rather than clasping your hands, bowing your heads and
closing your eyes,
open your arms to that which truly makes us strong - our diversity. Raise your
and open your eyes to recognize and fully understand the problems before you
know that ultimately, solutions to human problems can come only from human
[Michael R. Harvey]- Atheists of Florida to the Tampa City
Council, July 2004
Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It's where belief stops,
because it isn't needed any more.
No man can regard the way of war as good. It has simply been our way.
No man can evaluate the eternal contest of weapons as anything but the
sheerest waste and the sheerest folly. It has been simply our only means
of final arbitration. Any man can suggest reasonable alternatives to the
of arms. But we are not creatures of reason except in our own eyes.
Religious belief rests on a foundation of faith. Seeking empirical
for support of one's faith-biased beliefs therefore could be considered
Or even blasphemous.
[Steve Mirsky] Scientific American Feb. 2005
CAUTION! Dark ages in mirror may be closer than they appear.
[Steve Mirsky] Scientific American Feb. 2005
Were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of
the science against which it had vainly struggled- the civilization of
modern Europe might fall as did that of Rome.
[Winston Churchill] As a reporter confronting Islamic terror in
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of
erected on the simple principles of nature ... [In] the formation of the
governments ... it will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service
interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of heaven ...
These governments were
contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses."
[John Adams] A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the
United States, 1788.
I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the
abuses of grief
which the history of mankind has preserved -- the Cross. Consider what
that engine of grief has produced! [John Adams] in a letter to Thomas
theologians tell us that God is female.
But what about the devil? What about her?
Winston Churchill was brought up in the Church of England, but was
He once commented that he had made "so many deposits in the bank of Religion" as
that he had been "confidently withdrawing from it ever since, never bothering to
balance--there might indeed be an overdraft." In a short story written in 1947,
referred to himself as "Episcopalian" (the North American version of the
which is an even more curious reference. Churchill's religion could best be
described as an
"optimistic agnostic." He wrote once that he was "not a pillar of the Church but
more of a
flying buttress--I support it from the outside."
Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to
drown His own?
[Robert Green Ingersoll]
who prays for Satan?
Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity
to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?
It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die.
That is true, it's called Life.
When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a
The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has
We are known
among the stars by our poems, not our corpses. No creature who began
who was selected through millions of years of unprecedented
hardship and change for ruggedness,
ruthlessness, cunning, and adaptability,
and who in the short ten thousand years of what we may call civilization
has achieved such
wonders as we find about us, may be regarded as a creature
[Robert Ardrey] African Genesis
God didn't stop communicating truth vital to human well-being thousands
of years ago, when people preserved insights on animal skins.
God communicates through science. Facts are God's native tongue.
Who of us would let a first-century dentist fix our children's teeth?
Yet every day we let first-century theologians fill our children's brains.
I'm a polyatheist- there are many gods I don't believe in.
It says we the people, not we the people under
God has no power over the past except to cover
it with oblivion.
[Pliny the Elder]
Whether we like it or not, we're all going to go (die).
The big question we still have to ask is not where we're going,
but what are we doing here in the first place? -Art Buchwald
The meaning of life is a life of meaning.
I shall tell you a great secret my friend. Do
not wait for the last judgment,
it takes place every day.
- Albert Camus
...No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven
don't want to die to get there.
And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever
And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the
single best invention of Life.
It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for
the new. Right now the new
but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the
old and be
Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's
life. Don't be trapped by dogma-
which is living with the results of other people's thinking.
Don't let the noise of others' opinions
drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the
courage to follow your
heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly
want to become.
Everything else is secondary.
- Steve Jobs Excerpt from his
Commencement Address, Stanford University, 2005
all, the real question is not whether the Bible is inspired, but
whether it is true. If it is true,
it does not need to be inspired. If it is true, it makes no
difference whether it was written by a
man or a god.
The multiplication table is just as useful, just as true as
though God had
arranged the figures himself.
If the Bible is really true, the claim of inspiration need not
and if it is not true, its inspiration can hardly be
[Robert [Robert G.
"For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the
And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality
I have a
deep affinity have no different
quality for me than all other people. As far as my
experience goes, they are
also no better than other human groups,
although they are protected
from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise
I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them,"
Einstein] from handwritten letter in German to Jewish philosopher Eric B.
Jan. 3, 1954
as translated from German by Joan Stambaugh.
Those who can make you believe absurdities-
can make you commit atrocities.
On the politics of austerity: "I hear
things like, 'You starve them now and they'll be
prosperous later.' I don't
believe it for a minute. I mean, having seen life on earth,
seen how things go, I think that is just appalling, and we are doing nothing but
future when we deprive the vulnerable
Robinson] The Economist, Dec 2013
If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant
society against the onslaught of the intolerant,
then the tolerant will be destroyed, and the tolerance with them... We
claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant.
[Karl Popper] philosopher
An idea isn’t responsible
for the people who believe it.
The Purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to
Did you know that you can recycle your dog and cat poop?
It's easy! Put it to good use and mail it to:
Westbro Baptist Church
3701 SW 12th Street,
Topeka KS 66604
Remind yourself constantly of all the physicians, now dead, who used to knit
over their ailing patients; of all the astrologers who so solemnly predicted
their clients doom;
the philosophers who expatiated so endlessly on death and immortality; the great
commanders who slew their thousands; the despots who wielded powers of life and
with such terrible arrogance, as if themselves were gods who could never die;
which have perished completely, Helices, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and other without
After that recall one by one each of your own acquaintances; how one buried
only to be laid low himself and buried in turn by a third, all in so brief a
space of time.
Observe in short how transient and trivial is all mortal life; yesterday a drop
tomorrow a handful of spice and ashes. Spend therefore, these fleeting moments
as nature would have you spend them, and then go to your rest with good grace,
as an olive falls in its season, with the blessing for the earth that bore it
and a thanksgiving
to the tree that gave it life.”
[Marcus Aurelius] - Roman Emperor
Fear does not prevent death, fear prevents life.
An interesting list of Famous Dead
Wikipedia List of Atheists
Chuck Williamson- 2017/03/25
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