Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!-- Phil Plait, in his 2010 “Don’t Be a Dick” (“DBAD”)speech

Phil Plait
Astronomer; Skeptic

Phil Plait (photo from eSkeptic)The best idea ever thought of in the history of humanity is useless unless someone communicates it. It will die in the test tube. And in our case, what we're communicating here to people is not necessarily something they want to hear. And so, our demeanor — how we deliver this message — takes on crucial, crucial importance.
-- Phil Plait, in his 2010 “Don’t Be a Dick” (“DBAD”) speech

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1858-1947)
German physicist and Nobel laureate, who was the originator of the quantum theory

Max PlanckReligion belongs to that realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and therefore is closed to science.
-- Max Planck, Where is Science Going?, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

The history of all times and nations teaches us that exactly in the naïve, unshakable belief, furnished by religion in active life of believers, originate the most intense motives for the most significant creative performance, not only in the field of arts and sciences but also in politics.
-- Max Planck, from lecture Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag, Leipzig (1958), S 5, quoted from Adam Roman, "Remarkable attitude of Max Planck to religion" (18 July 2001)

Under these conditions it is no wonder, that the movement of atheists (Gottlosenbewegung), which declares religion to be just a delibarate illusion, invented by power-seeking priests, and which has for the pious belief in a higher power nothing but words of mockery, eagerly makes use of progressive scientific knowledge and in a presumed unity with it, expands in an ever-faster pace its disintegrating action on all nations of the earth and on all social levels. I do not need to explain in any more detail that after its victory not only all the most precious treasures of our culture would vanish, but -- which is even worse -- also any prospects at a better future.
-- Max Planck, from lecture Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag, Leipzig (1958), S 7, quoted from Adam Roman, "Remarkable attitude of Max Planck to religion" (18 July 2001)

An important scientific innovation rarely makes its way by gradually winning over and converting its opponents: it rarely happens that Saul becomes Paul. What does happen is that its opponents gradually die out and that the growing generation is familiarized with the idea from the beginning.
-- Max Planck, The Philosophy of Physics (1936) page 97. Quoted from Michael Shermer, Why People Believe Weird Things (1997), the chapter titled, "How Thinking Goes Wrong"( page 60).

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Plato (ca BCE 428-347)
Greek philosopher

PlatoFor though a man should be a complete unbeliever in the being of gods; if he also has a native uprightness of temper, such persons will detest evil in men; their repugnance to wrong disinclines them to commit wrongful acts; they shun the unrighteous and are drawn to the upright.
-- Plato, acknowledging that atheists can lead an honest life, quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 22

We have already stated summarily what the punishment should be for temple-robbing, whether by open force or secretly. But the punishments for the various sorts of insolence in speech or action with regard to the gods, which a man can show in word or deed, have to be proclaimed after we have provided an exordium. Let this be it: "No one believing, as the laws prescribe, in the existence of the gods has ever yet performed an impious action willingly, or uttered a lawless word. Anyone acting in such a way is in one of three conditions: either, first, he does not believe the proposition aforesaid; or, second, he believes that though the gods exist they have no concern about men; or, third, he believes that they can easily be won over by the bribery of prayer and sacrifice"
-- Plato, The Laws, Book X (§885B), quoted from Antony Flew, "The Presumption of Atheism," in God and Atheism (1984)

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
American writer known especially for his macabre poems and short stories

After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on the topics of God and the soul, the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be the least easily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment.
-- Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia, (1844-49), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

The idea of God, infinity, or spirit stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception.
-- Edgar Allan Poe, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

The pioneers and missionaries of religion have been the real cause of more trouble and war than all other classes of mankind.
-- Edgar Allan Poe, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

No man who ever lived knows any more about the hereafter ... than you and I; and all religion ... is simply evolved out of chicanery, fear, greed, imagination and poetry.
-- Edgar Allan Poe, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Rabbi Daniel Polish

The public schools of this country serve the admirable function of bringing together on common ground students from a diversity of cultural and religious backgrounds. The introduction of public prayer into such a setting jeopardizes the sense of community and unnecessarily intrudes an emotional and divisive factor.
-- Daniel Polish, testimony on behalf of the Synagogue Council of America September 8, 1980, US House of Representatives, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

James Knox Polk (1795-1849)
The 11th President of the United States (1845-1849)

United States Flag

Thank God, under our Constitution there was no connection between Church and State, and that in my action as President of the United States I recognized no distinction of creeds in my appointments to office.
-- James K Polk, from George Seldes, The Great Quotations (1067) P 169, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Katha Pollitt
American feminist author; poet; cultural and political critic; columnist for The Nation

Katha PollittI'm anticlerical, not antireligion. If somebody believes there is God, I'm not interested in trying to persuade that person there is no intelligent design to the universe. Where I become interested and wake up is about the temporal power of religion, things like prayer in schools, or Catholic-secular hospital mergers.
-- Katha Pollitt, quoted in Natalie Angier, "Confessions of a Lonely Atheist," New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2001

As Stephen Jay Gould pointed out in Time, in no other Western country is the teaching of Evolution regarded as controversial. Throughout the world, one way or another, most Christian denominations have managed to reconcile belief in God with belief in the mechanisms of natural selection. A French or German or Scandinavian politician who called for students to entertain as a reasonable deduction from existing evidence the proposition that Earth is at most 10,000 years old would be bundled off to a mental hospital.
-- Katha Pollitt, "Weirding Out on Creationism," The Nation (September 20, 1999)

Right now religion has the romantic aura of the forbidden -- Christ is cool. We need to bring it into the schools, which kids already hate, and associate it firmly with boredom, regulation, condescension, makework and de facto segregation ... Prayer in the schools will rid us of the bland no-offense ecumenism that is so infuriating to us anticlericals: Oh, so now you say Jews didn't kill Christ -- a little on the late side, isn't it?
-- Katha Pollitt, The Nation (December 26, 1994), quoted from Tim Madigan, "Five Arguments in Favor of School Prayer," from the newsletter of the Shreveport Humanists

In a better world, science teachers would teach creationism along with evolution as an exercise in critical thinking.
-- Katha Pollitt, "Weirding Out on Creationism," The Nation (September 20, 1999)

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Marco Polo (1254-1324)
Venetian traveler, born of a merchant family, son and nephew respectively of jewel merchants Niccolò and Maffeo Polo; Marco's written account of his travels to and from China gave Europeans an unprecedented sense of familiarity with Asian culture, thereby stimulating Asian trade

The Old Man kept at his court such boys of twelve years old as seemed to him destined to become courageous men. When the Old Man sent them into the garden in groups of four, ten or twenty, he game them hashish to drink. They slept for three days, then they were carried sleeping into the garden where he had them awakened.
     When these young men woke, and found themselves in the garden with all these marvelous things, they truly believed themselves to be in paradise. And these damsels were always with them in songs and great entertainments; they; received everything they asked for, so that they would never have left that garden of their own will.
     And when the Old Man wished to kill someone, he would take him and say: "Go and do this thing. I do this because I want to make you return to paradise." And the assassins go and perform the deed willingly.
-- Marco Polo, describing his visit to Assassin (Hashishin) Hasan-i Sabbah in Alamut in 1273, the "beverege" was most likely Hashish mingled with a strong belladonna-based plant (per CW), quoted from Edward Burman, The Assassins: Holy Killers of Islam

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Polybius (BCE 200?-118)
Greek statesman and historian, probably the first to advocate the separation of powers

Since the masses of the people are inconstant, full of unruly desires, passionate and reckless of consequence, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods, and the belief in punishment after death.
-- Polybius, Histories (ca. BCE 125), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Alexander Pope (1688-1744)
English poet known for brilliant verse and stinging satire

Alexander PopeSlave to no sect, who takes no private road,
But looks through Nature up to Nature’s God.
-- Alexander Pope, espousing Deism in his Essay on Man, epistle iv. line 331, quoted from John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Sir Karl Raimund Popper (1902-1994)
German-English philosopher known for his contributions to the understanding of scientific reasoning and his attacks on historicism

Karl Popper (photo: The Karl Popper Institute)A system [is] empirical or scientific only if it is capable of being tested by experience. These considerations suggest that not the verifiability but the falsifiability of a system is to be taken as a criterion of demarcation.... It must be possible for an empirical or scientific system to be refuted by experience.
-- Karl Popper, The Logic Of Scientific Discovery, thanks to Laird Wilcox, editor, "The Degeneration of Belief"

We have the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should tolerate even them whenever we can do so without running a great risk; but the risk may become so great that we cannot allow ourselves the luxury.
-- Karl Popper, paraphrase by Richard Robinson, An Atheist's Values (page 215)

I see now more clearly than ever before that even our greatest troubles spring from something that is as admirable and sound as it is dangerous -- from our impatience to better the lot of our fellows.
-- Karl Popper, The Open Society And Its Enemies (1950), thanks to Laird Wilcox, editor, "The Degeneration of Belief"

The moral decisions of others should be treated with respect, as long as such decisions do not conflict with the principle of tolerance.
-- Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (US edition, page 508), quoted from Richard Robinson's An Atheist's Values (page 218)

The use of violence is justified only under a tyranny which makes reforms without violence impossible, and should have only one aim, that is, to bring about a state of affairs which makes reforms without violence possible.
-- Karl Popper, The Open Society (US edition, page 340), quoted in Richard Robinson's An Atheist's Values (page 252). Robinson continues: "This implies both that violence may be right under a tyranny and that violence is never right under a democracy. I have found by writing to him that Dr Popper allows one case where violence may be right even under a democracy, namely where the country is about to cease to be a democracy and some illegal action might prevent this. The disappearance of the Czechoslovak democracy in the 1940's suggests this. By legal means the Communist Party gained control and ended democracy. It seems that this could not have been prevented by any legal means, but could have been prevented by some illegal action."

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Ezra Loomis Pound (1885-1972)
American poet, critic

Ezra PoundReligion, oh, just another of those numerous failures resulting from an attempt to popularize art.
-- Ezra Pound, letter (undated), to Pound's fiancée, Mary Moore (from the Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania), in Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 1, ch. 8 (1988), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

A heroic figure ... not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him.
-- Ezra Pound, describing Jesus Christ, to the father of Pound's bride-to-be, Dorothy Shakespear, explaining his reasons for not wanting a church wedding, in: Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 13 (1988), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Judge Charles Price
Circuit Court judge who ruled against Judge Roy Moore's practice of posting an abbridged version of the Protestant listing of the first stone tablets of the Hebrew Ten Commandments on his courtroom wall

Judge Charles PriceThe court states ... to those who have asked the court by phone calls, individual and multiple signature letters, and postcards to "save the Ten Commandments," ... that the Ten Commandments are not in peril. They are neither stained, tarnished, nor thrashed. They may be displayed in every church, synagogue, temple, mosque, home and storefront. They may be displayed in cars, on lawns, and in corporate board rooms. Where the precious gift cannot and should not be displayed as an obvious religious text or to promote religion is on government property.
-- Judge Charles Price, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Price Wins Profiles In Courage Citation"

[Judge Roy Moore] has unequivocally stated that the plaques are not in the courtroom for a historical, judicial or educational purpose, but rather, and clearly to promote religion.
-- Judge Charles Price, quoted from Bill Poovey, "Judges Battle Over Courtroom Display of Ten Commandments" (February 28, 1997)

It is obvious that the sole purpose of the plaques hanging in the courtroom in such a fashion in purely religious.
-- Judge Charles Price, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Rules That Decalogue Is A Religious, Not Historical Statement" (February 13, 1997)

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Robert M Price
American Bible scholar who later renounced his Christian faith; director of the Center for Inquiry in New Jersey

Robert M. Price (portrait from Internet Infidels)It is quite likely, though certainly by no means definitively provable, that the central figure of the gospels is not based on any historical individual. Put simply, not only is the theological "Christ of faith" a synthetic construct of theologians, a symbolic "Uncle Sam" figure, but if you could travel through time, like Superboy, and you went back to First-Century Nazareth, you would not find a Jesus living there.
     In broad outline and in detail, the life of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels corresponds to the worldwide Mythic Hero Archetype in which a divine hero's birth is supernaturally predicted and conceived, the infant hero escapes attempts to kill him, demonstrates his precocious wisdom already as a child, receives a divine commission, defeats demons, wins acclaim, is hailed as king, then betrayed, losing popular favor, executed, often on a hilltop, and is vindicated and taken up to heaven.
     These features are found world wide in heroic myths and epics. The more closely a supposed biography, say that of Hercules, Apollonius of Tyana, Padma Sambhava, of Gautama Buddha, corresponds to this plot formula, the more likely the historian is to conclude that a historical figure has been transfigured by myth.
     And in the case of Jesus Christ, where virtually every detail of the story fits the mythic hero archetype, with nothing left over, no "secular," biographical data, so to speak, it becomes arbitrary to assert that there must have been a historical figure lying back of the myth.
     Specifically, the passion stories of the gospels strike me as altogether too close to contemporary myths of dying and rising savior gods including Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Hercules, and Asclepius. Like Jesus, these figures were believed to have once lived a life upon the earth, been killed, and risen shortly thereafter. Their deaths and resurrections were in most cases ritually celebrated each spring to herald the return of the life to vegetation. In many myths, the savior's body is anointed for burial, searched out by holy women and then reappear alive a few days later.
     Specifically, the passion stories of the gospels strike me as altogether too close to contemporary myths of dying and rising savior gods including Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Hercules, and Asclepius. Like Jesus, these figures were believed to have once lived a life upon the earth, been killed, and risen shortly thereafter. Their deaths and resurrections were in most cases ritually celebrated each spring to herald the return of the life to vegetation. In many myths, the savior's body is anointed for burial, searched out by holy women and then reappear alive a few days later.

-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

I do not expect that the mere fact that I was once an evangelical apologist and now see things differently should itself count as evidence that I must be right. That would be the genetic fallacy. It would be just as erroneous to think that John Rankin must be right in having embraced evangelical Christianity since he had once been an agnostic Unitarian and repudiated it for the Christian faith.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

"Heresy," by the way, simply means "choice." It came to mean "thoughtcrime," implying it was blasphemy to presume to choose your own belief instead of swallowing what the bishops spoonfed you.
-- Robert M Price, Deconstructing Jesus, p. 32

In broad outline and in detail, the life of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels corresponds to the worldwide Mythic Hero Archetype in which a divine hero's birth is supernaturally predicted and conceived, the infant hero escapes attempts to kill him, demonstrates his precocious wisdom already as a child, receives a divine commission, defeats demons, wins acclaim, is hailed as king, then betrayed, losing popular favor, executed, often on a hilltop, and is vindicated and taken up to heaven.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

Second, the "historical Jesus" reconstructed by New Testament scholars is always a reflection of the individual scholars who reconstruct him. Albert Schweitzer was perhaps the single exception, and he made it painfully clear that previous questers for the historical Jesus had merely drawn self-portraits. All unconsciously used the historical Jesus as a ventriloquist dummy. Jesus must have taught the truth, and their own beliefs must have been true, so Jesus must have taught those beliefs. (Of course, every biblicist does the same! "I said it! God believes it! That settles it!"). Today's Politically Correct "historical Jesuses" are no different, being mere clones of the scholars who design them.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

I wonder how appropriate it is to try to "argue someone into the kingdom." Many apologists hotly deny any such charge, but I don't believe them. The tenor of almost all apologetics literature makes it plain that this is their intent.
-- Robert M Price, Beyond Born Again, p. 63, quoted from Internet Infidels

The very admission of the need to harmonize is an admission that the burden of proof is on the narratives, not on those who doubt them. What harmonizing shows is that despite appearances, the texts still might be true.
-- Robert M Price, Beyond Born Again, p. 75, quoted from Internet Infidels

If, when we compare two versions of a story, the second known to be a retelling of the first, and find that the second has more of a miraculous element, we may reasonably conclude we have legendary (or midrashic or whatever) embellishment. The tale has grown in the telling. This sort of comparison is common in extrabiblical research and no one holds that it cannot properly indicate legend formation there.
-- Robert M Price, Beyond Born Again, p. 118

Short Graphic Rule

Personal Relationship? Channeling? Figment!

[Excerpt]:
"You ask me how I know he lives?" asks the revival chorus. "He lives within my heart." Exactly! A figment.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

[Excerpt]:
The piety of "having a personal relationship with Christ" ... is alien to the New Testament... [but] evangelicals elevate it to the shibboleth of salvation! Unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, buster, one day you will be boiling in Hell. Sheesh! Talk about the fury of a personal savior scorned!
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

[Excerpt]:
But if they did really refer to some kind of a "personal relationship," it would in effect be a case of channeling. I suspect this is why fundamentalists who condemn New Age channelers do not dismiss it as a fraud..., but instead think that Ramtha and the others are channeling demons. If they said it was sheer delusion, they know where the other four fingers would wind up pointing!
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

[Passage]:
The alternative is something like channeling. You have "tuned in" to the spirit of an ancient guru, named Jesus, and you are receiving revelations from him, usually pretty trivial stuff, minor conscience proddings and the like. Some sort of imaginary telepathy.
     In fact I don't believe most evangelical pietists mean anything by "having a personal relationship with Christ" than a fancy, overblown name for reading the Bible and saying their prayers. But if they did really refer to some kind of a "personal relationship," it would in effect be a case of channeling. I suspect this is why fundamentalists who condemn New Age channelers do not dismiss it as a fraud pure and simple (though obviously it is), but instead think that Ramtha and the others are channeling demons. If they said it was sheer delusion, they know where the other four fingers would wind up pointing!
     Especially in view of the fact that the piety of "having a personal relationship with Christ" and "inviting him into your heart" is alien to the New Testament and is never intimated there as far as I can see, it is amazing to me that evangelicals elevate it to the shibboleth of salvation! Unless you have a personal relationship with Jesus, buster, one day you will be boiling in Hell. Sheesh! Talk about the fury of a personal savior scorned!
     No one ever heard of this stuff till the German Pietist movement of the Eighteenth Century. To make a maudlin type of devotionalism the password to heaven is like the fringe Pentecostal who tells you can't get into heaven unless you speak in tongues. "You ask me how I know he lives?" asks the revival chorus. "He lives within my heart." Exactly! A figment.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

Short Graphic Rule

Christ of Faith and History Fit Mythic Hero Archetype

[Excerpt]:
It is quite likely ... that the central figure of the gospels is not based on any historical individual. Put simply, not only is the theological "Christ of faith" a synthetic construct of theologians, a symbolic "Uncle Sam" figure, but if you could travel ... back to First-Century Nazareth, you would not find a Jesus living there.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

[Passage]:
It is quite likely, though certainly by no means definitively provable, that the central figure of the gospels is not based on any historical individual. Put simply, not only is the theological "Christ of faith" a synthetic construct of theologians, a symbolic "Uncle Sam" figure, but if you could travel through time, like Superboy, and you went back to First-Century Nazareth, you would not find a Jesus living there.
     In broad outline and in detail, the life of Jesus as portrayed in the gospels corresponds to the worldwide Mythic Hero Archetype in which a divine hero's birth is supernaturally predicted and conceived, the infant hero escapes attempts to kill him, demonstrates his precocious wisdom already as a child, receives a divine commission, defeats demons, wins acclaim, is hailed as king, then betrayed, losing popular favor, executed, often on a hilltop, and is vindicated and taken up to heaven.
      These features are found world wide in heroic myths and epics. The more closely a supposed biography, say that of Hercules, Apollonius of Tyana, Padma Sambhava, of Gautama Buddha, corresponds to this plot formula, the more likely the historian is to conclude that a historical figure has been transfigured by myth.
     And in the case of Jesus Christ, where virtually every detail of the story fits the mythic hero archetype, with nothing left over, no "secular," biographical data, so to speak, it becomes arbitrary to assert that there must have been a historical figure lying back of the myth.
      Specifically, the passion stories of the gospels strike me as altogether too close to contemporary myths of dying and rising savior gods including Osiris, Tammuz, Baal, Attis, Adonis, Hercules, and Asclepius. Like Jesus, these figures were believed to have once lived a life upon the earth, been killed, and risen shortly thereafter. Their deaths and resurrections were in most cases ritually celebrated each spring to herald the return of the life to vegetation. In many myths, the savior's body is anointed for burial, searched out by holy women and then reappear alive a few days later.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

Short Graphic Rule

Christ Redrawn as Human -- Like So Many Gods Before Him

Jesus was eventually "historicized," redrawn as a human being of the past (much as Samson, Enoch, Jabal, Gad, Joshua the son of Nun, and various other ancient Israelite gods had already been). As a part of this process, there were various independent attempts to locate Jesus in recent history by laying the blame for his death on this or that likely candidate, well known tyrants including Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, and even Alexander Jannaeus in the first century BCE! Now, if the death of Jesus were an actual historical event well known to eyewitnesses of it, there is simply no way such a variety of versions, differing on so fundamental a point, could ever have arisen!
     And if early Christians had actually remembered the passion as a series of recent events, why does the earliest gospel crucifixion account spin out the whole terse narrative from quotes cribbed without acknowledgement from Psalm 22? Why does 1 Peter have nothing more detailed than Isaiah 53 to flesh out his account of the sufferings of Jesus? Why does Matthew supplement Mark's version, not with historical tradition or eyewitness memory, but with more quotes, this time from Zechariah and the Wisdom of Solomon?
     Thus I find myself more and more attracted to the theory, once vigorously debated by scholars, now smothered by tacit consent, that there was no historical Jesus lying behind the stained glass of the gospel mythology. Instead, he is a fiction.
-- Robert M Price, "Christ a Fiction" (1997)

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Joseph Priestly (1733-1804)
English-American scientist, natural philosopher, and theologian, whose views that religion and reason do not contradict probably prevented Thomas Jefferson from being a full-blown or "strong" atheist

Joseph PriestlyAs I conceive this doctrine to be a gross misrepresentation of the character and moral government of God, and to affect many other articles in the scheme of Christianity, greatly disfiguring and depraving it; I shall show, ... that it has no countenance whatever in reason, or the Scriptures; and, therefore, that the whole doctrine of atonement, with every modification of it, has been a departure from the primitive and genuine doctrine of Christianity.
-- Joseph Priestly, from Ira V Brown, Joseph Priestley: Selections from His Writings (1962) pp 289-290. Priestley and Jefferson believed that the very nature of atonement suggests that God, not humanity, was a failure.

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Matthew Prior (1664-1721)
English diplomat and poet

Matthew PriorMatthew PriorThat if weak women went astray,
Their stars were more in fault than they.
-- Matthew Prior, showing the real reason behind our failures, which others tend to attribure to our passions: "Hey, babe! What sign are you?" (pick-up line, ca. 1977), in "Hans Carvel" (1701), quoted from John Bartlett, Familiar Quotations, 10th ed. (1919)

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Richard Anthony Proctor (1837-1888)
British astronomer and writer, who, on finding that he would need to support his family by his writing (due to an investment mishap), grudgingly forsook the writing style "requiring arduous study" for a more popular style; wrote Myths and Marvels of Astronomy

Richard ProctorAstronomy ... is of all others the science which seems to present to us the most striking instance of waste in nature.
-- Richard Proctor, Our Place Among Infinities (1875), p. 40, quoted from Woolsey Teller, The Atheism of Astronomy: A Refutation of the Theory that the Universe is Governed by Intelligence (1938)

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Protagoras of Abdera (ca. BCE 480-411)
Greek philosopher; professional sophist

Concerning the gods I am unable to discover whether they exist or not, or what they are like in form; for there are many hindrances to knowledge, the obscurity of knowledge and the brevity of human life.
-- Protagoras, the opening sentence in Protagorus, "Concerning the Gods"; in (reference) Diels & Kranz, Protagoras B 4; in "Atheism in Antiquity" by Jan N Bremmer; in The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (paperback edition) edited by Michael Martin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 2009) pages 12-13.

About the gods I have no means of knowing either that they exist or that they do not exist or what they are like to look at; many things prevent my knowing -- among others, the fact that they are never seen and the shortness of human life.
-- Protagoras, quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), page 21

As to the gods, I have no way of knowing either that they exist or do not exist, or what they are like.
-- Protagoras, On the Gods, quoted from James A Haught, "Breaking the Last Taboo" (1996)

Man is the measure of all things, of the reality of those which are, and of the unreality of those which are not.
-- Protagoras, quoted from Jim Herrick, Against the Faith (1985), p. 21

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Bill Pryor
Alabama Alabama attorney general appointed by Governor Fob James; supporter of Judge Roy Moore's use of the courtroom and courthouse to advertise the Christian religion and proclaim its supremacy over other religions

     • See Bill Pryor's Scary Quotations

Bill PriorNo man is above the law.
-- Bill Pryor, regarding Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore's refusal to obey the law after Moore's eight associate justices withdrew their support of Moore's move to use the lobby of the Alabama State Courthouse to advertise the Christian religion, contrary to state and federal law, contrary to the rights guaranteed to all American citizens, in Jeffrey Gettleman, "Thou Shalt Not, Colleagues Tell Alabama Judge" (The New York Times: August 21, 2003)

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Samuel Putnam
Former Congregationalist minister; author of 400 Years of Freethought (1894)

The doctrine of the unity of God is ever an advance upon the doctrine o the trinity of God. It is a step toward the destruction of God.
-- Samuel Putnam, in his 400 Years of Freethought (1894), page 28; excerpted by PAM

The doctrine of the unity of God logically tends to Pantheism, as it did in the philosophy of Averroes [Ibn Rushd (ابن رشد), 1126-98], and Pantheism eventually becomes atheism.
-- Samuel Putnam, in his 400 Years of Freethought (1894), page 28; excerpted by PAM

Yet I doubt not thro' the ages one increasing purpose runs,
And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of the suns.
-- Samuel Putnam, on the title page of his 400 Years of Freethought (1894); excerpted by PAM

The last superstition of the human mind is the superstition that religion in itself is a good thing, though it might be free from dogma. I believe, however, that the religious feeling, as feeling, is wrong, and the civilized man will have nothing to do with it.... [When the] shadow of religion disappeared forever ... I felt that I was free from a disease.
-- Samuel Putnam, My Religious Experience (1891), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief; excerpted by PAM

The moment that one loses confidence in God, or immortality in the universe, [one becomes] more self-reliant, more courageous, and the more solicitous of aid where only human aid is possible.
-- Samuel Putnam, My Religious Experience (1891), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief; excerpted by PAM

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

 

The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea

Please Feel Free
to Grab a Quote
(or Maybe Three)

Grab some quotes to embellish your web site,
to use as filler for your group's newsletter,
or to add force to your Letters to the Editor.

Use them to introduce the chapters of a book or
accent the index or margins of a special project.

Poster your wall!    Graffiti your (own) fence.
Sticker your car!!
Poster your wall.    Graffiti your (own) fence!!!

That's what this list is for!
That's why I made it!

In using this resource, however, keep in mind that
it's someone's life's work, a hedge against old age.

If you decide to build your own online
collection, then find some new material!
Dig up quips that haven't yet been posted!

 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 
 

Biographical sketches, source citations, notes, critical editing, layout, and HTML formatting are copyright ©1995–2010, by Cliff Walker, except where noted.

 
 

AndCopy Graphic Rule

 

There's something to be said
for doing your own work.

 

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!