Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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Frederick J Hacker
American psychiatrist

In this grandiose identification with a sacred cause and its representatives, the terrorist, by giving up his individual responsibility, and individual interest, experiences the "high" of "liberation" from his individual problems, guilts and anxiety.
-- Frederick Hacker, Crusaders, Criminals, Crazies: Terror and Terrorism in Our Time (1976)

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John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1892-1964)
Scottish-born naturalized Indian geneticist known for work as geneticist and application of mathematics to science

J. B. S. HaldaneThe wise man regulates his conduct by the theories both of religion and science. But he regards these theories not as statements of ultimate fact but as art-forms.
-- J B S Haldane, closing words of "Science and Theology as Art-Forms" in Possible Worlds and Other Essays (1927), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Religion is still parasitic in the interstices of our knowledge which have not yet been filled. Like bed-bugs in the cracks of walls and furniture, miracles lurk in the lacunae of science. The scientist plasters up these cracks in our knowledge; the more militant Rationalist swats the bugs in the open. Both have their proper sphere and they should realize that they are allies.
-- J B S Haldane, Science and Life: Essays of a Rationalist (1968)

Scientific education and religious education are incompatible. The clergy have ceased to interfere with education at the advanced state, with which I am directly concerned, but they have still got control of that of children. This means that the children have to learn about Adam and Noah instead of Evolution; about David who killed Goliath, instead of Koch who killed cholera; about Christ's ascent into heaven instead of Montgolfier's and Wright's. Worse than that, they are taught that it is a virtue to accept statements without adequate evidence, which leaves them a prey to quacks of every kind in later life, and makes it very difficult for them to accept the methods of thought which are successful in science.
-- J B S Haldane, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

While I do not suggest that humanity will ever be able to dispense with its martyrs, I cannot avoid the suspicion that with a little more thought and a little less belief their number may be substantially reduced.
-- J B S Haldane, Possible Worlds, "The Duty of Doubt" (1927), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

In fact, words are well adapted for description and the arousing of emotion, but for many kinds of precise thought other symbols are much better.
-- J B S Haldane, The Inequality of Man, "God-Makers" (1932), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

A fairly bright boy is far more intelligent and far better company than the average adult.
-- J B S Haldane, quoted in: New York Times (13 June 1948), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Now my own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
-- J B S Haldane, Possible Worlds, title essay (1927), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

An inordinate fondness for beetles.
-- J B S Haldane, having been asked what inferences could be drawn about the nature of God from a study of his works, quoted in: Reader's Digest (February 1979), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

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Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1889-1951)
American publisher of Freethought literature, creator of the Little Blue Book

Emanuel Haldeman-JuliusTheism tells men that they are the slaves of a God. Atheism assures men that they are the investigators and users of nature.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism" (rev. C Walker, 2001)

Religion glorifies the dogma of a despotic, mythical God. Atheism ennobles the interests of free and progressive Man. Religion is superstition. Atheism is sanity. Religion is medieval. Atheism is modern.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism" (rev. C Walker, 2001)

We are well aware that religion is not as bad an influence as it was a short time ago, as history is counted. But it is a sufficiently bad influence even in modern times, and its reduced viciousness (in practice) is due plainly enough to its reduced power.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism" (rev. C Walker, 2001)

Fortunately, there are old terrors and powers that religion no longer can exercise so effectively as it did only a few score years ago. But the atmosphere and the attitude of bigotry remain. If religion cannot ordinarily invoke the armed force of law to punish heretics, it still plays upon the psychology of fear and predominantly its influence is to frighten men and distort their views and poison every process of their reasoning.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism" (rev. C Walker, 2001)

The church has contributed nothing to civilization. It has progressed somewhat, and it has become a little more decent, in reflection of the movements of civilization that have taken place outside of the church and usually in the face of the strong opposition of the church. But the church has always resisted the process of civilization. It has struggled to the last ditch, by fair means and foul, to preserve as long as it could the vestiges of ancient and medieval theology, with all the puerile moralities and harsh customs and medieval styles of belief.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Church Is a Burden, Not a Benefit, In Social Life"

To proclaim himself an agnostic, while to some it might appear more respectable and cautious, would be to say in effect that he hadn't decided what to believe.
-- Emanuel Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism" (rev. C Walker, 2001)

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Henry Hallam (1777-1859)
British historian

Persecution is the deadly original sin of the Reformed churches, that which cools every honest man's zeal for their cause in proportion as his reading becomes more extensive.
-- Henry Hallam, Const. Hist. vol. i. ch. 2, quoted from W E H Lecky, Rationalism in Europe, vol. ii. p. 60-61 (footnote)

Every cathedral or monastery had its tutelar saint, and every saint his legend, fabricated in order to enrich the churches under his protection, by exaggerating his virtues, his miracles, and consequently his power of serving those who paid liberally for his patronage. Many of those saints were imaginary persons; sometimes a blundered inscription added a name to the calendar, and sometimes, it is said, a heathen god was surprised at the company to which he was introduced, and the rites with which he was honored.
-- Henry Hallam, Middle Ages, p. 603, quoted from John E Remsberg, The Christ, p. 357

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Louis Joseph Halle (b. 1910)
American diplomacy advisor, naturalist; associate of Dean Rusk

It is almost impossible to convince people who are under the influence of ideological bigotry that whose whom they regard as belonging to the enemy species are human.
-- Louis J Halle, The Ideological Imagination (1972), thanks to Laird Wilcox, ed, "The Degeneration of Belief"

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Billings Learned Hand (1872-1961)
American jurist; his influence was so great that he was sometimes called the "tenth man" of the US Supreme Court

Learned HandHeretics have been hateful from the beginning of recorded time; they have been ostracized, exiled, tortured, maimed and butchered; but it has generally proved impossible to smother them; and when it has not, the society that has succeeded has always declined.
-- Learned Hand, address (attributed: source unknown)

All discussion, all debate, all dissidence tends to question and in consequence, to upset existing convictions; that is precisely its purpose and its justification.
-- Learned Hand, thanks to Laird Wilcox, ed, "The Degeneration of Belief"

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Robert T Handy
Professor of church history

The passage of the First Amendment is the single most dramatic and significant turning point of a revolutionary transition to religious freedom.
-- Robert T Handy, "Religious Freedom's Magna Charta" in Union Seminary Quarterly Review 38 (1984) p. 303, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Inasmuch as we Americans have grown up under the conditions of religious freedom, we often too easily forget that it came about only after centuries of struggle. Freedom in matters of religion was bought at a price -- and for some courageous persons in the past, the cost was high.
-- Robert T Handy, Foreword to Glenn T Miller, Religious Liberty in America Westminster Press, (1976) p. 11, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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Barry Hankins
Associate director of the J M Dawson Institute of Church State Studies at Baylor University, Waco, Texas

As recently as the early 1980s Jerry Falwell insisted repeatedly that he believed in the separation of church and state.... Falwell's situation was akin to that of the 1950s and 1960s when left-wing political activists found it necessary to say that they really were good Democrats and not communists. In other words, separation of church and state was akin to mom, baseball, and apple pie -- so thoroughly American that even those seeking significant changes in church-state law started by professing their allegiance to the ideal.
-- Barry Hankins, "Separation of Church and State Is Not Just for Liberals ... The Power Choice" in Liberty Magazine (date unknown), describing how Separationism was popular until the 1980s. (The Falwell quip is from Jerry Falwell, Ed Dobson, and Ed Hindson, The Fundamentalist Phenomenon: The Resurgence of Conservative Christianity (Garden City, NY: Doubleday-Galilee, 1981), p. 189. In a five-point list of "how the Moral Majority stands on today's vital issues," Falwell and the other two authors cited as number one, "We believe in the separation of Church and State.")

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Garrett Hardin
Pioneer in the science of human ecology

Garrett HardinIt takes five years for a willing person's mind to change. Have patience with yourself and others when treading in an area protected by a taboo.
-- Garrett Hardin (attributed: source unknown)

The morality of an act is a function of the state of the system at the time it is performed.
-- Garrett Hardin (attributed: source unknown)

I started being an activist for legalized abortion in 1963. I spent most of my external time on that issue until the Supreme Court reached the famous 1973 Roe v Wade decision. I thought the fight was all over. Well, I was wrong. At the time, my wife and I were active in Planned Parenthood. She was on the local board of directors. The question came up in Planned Parenthood as to what our position should be on abortion. Some wanted to stay clear of it entirely because they realized there would he a lot of opposition. Fortunately, Planned Parenthood decided that it was a question of women's rights. Abortion is above all other things a method of birth control. To put it another way, it's a backstop for any system of birth control when the rest of the system fails. That decision to support the woman's right to abortion put Planned Parenthood in a dangerous position. As opposition developed, the opponents then went on to say that everything Planned Parenthood was doing was just window-dressing for their principal interest -- killing babies. No president could now accept such a position.
-- Garrett Hardin, interview by Frank Meile, "Living Within Limits & Limits on Living: Garrett Hardin on Ecology, Economy, and Ethics," Sceptic, Vol 4., No. 2 1996, pp.42-46, answering the question: "In the early sixties, former presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower were the honorary cochairmen of Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood clinics are now being routinely picketed and in some cases bombed. How has family planning become a dirty word?"

In the specific case of abortion, the matter is particularly easy in that no woman wants a late abortion. Once abortion was made legal, the age of the aborted fetus went down. The slope slipped in the other direction. If we legalize RU-486 and other similar new drugs, the age will fall to one week or less and start approaching zero. The slippery slope will slide in the other direction. The only reason we have late abortions is because we make early abortion difficult.
-- Garrett Hardin, interview by Frank Meile, "Living Within Limits & Limits on Living: Garrett Hardin on Ecology, Economy, and Ethics," Sceptic, Vol 4., No. 2 1996, pp.42-46, discussing the "slippery slope" of the abortion argument (see also Positive Atheism's discussion of the Slippery Slope argument)

Religious reasons, which is no reason. I notice Skeptic had a review of Dennett's book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Religious reasons amount to what Dennett terms "skyhooks." Do you believe in skyhooks? I don't.
-- Garrett Hardin, interview by Frank Meile, "Living Within Limits & Limits on Living: Garrett Hardin on Ecology, Economy, and Ethics," Sceptic, Vol 4., No. 2 1996, pp.42-46, discussing reasons for keeping an anencephalic child, Miele had mentioned that "Well, there are religious reasons"

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Warren G Harding (1865-1923)
The 29th President of the United States (1921-1923)

United States Flag

Warren G. HardingIn 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.
-- Warren G Harding, address, March 24, 1922, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom, also quoted from James A Haught, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
English author

Thomas HardyIf but some vengeful god would call to me
     From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,
Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,
     That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"
 
Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,
     Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;
Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I
     Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.
 
But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,
     And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?
-- Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,
     And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan.
These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown
     Blisses about my pilgimage as pain.
          -- Thomas Hardy, "Hap"

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