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George Bernard Shaw
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The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that
a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.
In your Salvation shelter I saw poverty, misery, cold and hunger. You gave them bread and treacle and dreams of heaven. I give from thirty shillings a week to twelve thousand a year. They find their
own dreams; but I look after the drainage.
All the sweetness of religion is conveyed to the world by the hands of storytellers and image-makers. Without their fictions the truths of religion would for the multitude be neither intelligible nor
even apprehensible; and the prophets would prophesy and the teachers teach in vain.
Whoever admits that anything living is evil must either believe that God is malignantly capable of creating evil, or else believe that God has made many mistakes.
At present there is not a single
credible established religion in the world.
We know now that the soul is the body, and the body the soul. They tell us they are different because they want to persuade us that we can keep our souls if we let them make slaves of our bodies.
What is wrong with priests and popes is that instead of being apostles and saints, they are nothing but empirics who say "I know" instead of "I am learning," and pray for credulity
and inertia as wise men pray for scepticism and activity.
Common people do not pray; they only beg.
All great truths begin as blasphemies.
I'm not a teacher: only a fellow-traveller of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead -- ahead of myself as well as you.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.
Science becomes dangerous only when it imagines that it has reached its goal.
Education: A succession of eye-openers each involving the repudiation of some previously held belief.
You are all fundamentalists with a top dressing of science. That is why you are the stupidest of conservatives
and reactionists in politics and the most bigoted of obstructionists in science itself. When it comes to getting a move on you are all of the same opinion: stop it, flog it, hang it, dynamite it, stamp it out.
All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing
institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.
He is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature.
The early Christian rules of life were not made to last, because the early Christians did not believe that the world itself was going to last.
A miracle is an event which creates faith. Frauds deceive. An event which creates faith does not deceive; therefore it is not a fraud, but a miracle.
The Jews generally give value. They make you pay; but they deliver the goods. In my experience
the men who want something for nothing are invariably Christians.
What is laisser-faire but an orthodoxy? The most tyrannous and disastrous of all the orthodoxies, since it forbids you even to learn.
Self-denial is not a virtue: it is only the effect of prudence on rascality.
Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't!
What a man believes may be ascertained, not from his creed, but from the assumptions on which habitually acts.
I believe in Michael Angelo, Velasquez, and Rembrandt; in the might of design, the
mystery of color, the redemption of all things by Beauty everlasting, and the message of Art that has made these hands blessed. Amen. Amen.
The national anthem belongs to the eighteenth century. In it you find us ordering God about to do our political dirty work.
My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.
Every step of progress means a duty repudiated and a Scripture torn up.
The Christian doctrine of the uselessness of punishment and the wickedness of revenge has not, in spite of its simple common sense, found a single convert among the nations.
The fires of Smithfield and the Inquisition were lighted by earnestly pious people who were kind and good as as kindness and goodness go.
Beware of the man whose god is in the skies.
What bereaved people need is a little comic relief, and this is why funerals are so farcical.
Don't order any black things. Rejoice in his memory; and be radiant: leave grief to the children. Wear violet and purple.... Be patient with the poor people who will snivel: they don't know; and they
think they will live for ever, which makes death a division instead of a bond.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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