Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Prince Gautama Siddharta [Buddha] (563-483 BCE)
Founder of Buddhism

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions only because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.
-- Gautama Siddharta, quoted from thinkexist.com

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Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus (CE 25-101)
Latin epic poet; consul; proconsul in Asia Minor

Silius ItalicusIt is when we are in misery that we revere the gods; the prosperous seldom approach the altar.
-- Silius Italicus, Punica (ca. CE 75)

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Dr. Paul D Simmons
Professor of Christian Ethics, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Paul D. SimmonsThe incestuous marriage of religion and politics in our country seems to be the ruination of each.
-- Paul D Simmons, Report from the Capital, 40, April 1985: 11, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Puritanism never dies; it lives to kill the freedom of the human spirit in the name of Christian orthodoxy.
-- Paul D Simmons, address, Greenville, MS, November 6, 1986, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Fanaticism in the name of religion seems to be the great temptation of the age. It is religion without integrity: misled, misguided, angry, insolent, vindictive, hateful, vengeful. It is a crusade in the name of God to rid the earth of all infidels and unbelievers who dare defile the rare atmosphere of heady faith. Dissent is not tolerated. Intelligence is frowned upon unless it is dogmatic and closed. Disturbing questions, clear thinking and common sense are thought to be irreverent, insolent and disrespectful of proper authority.
     This fanaticism blends politics with religion until basic and important distinctions are blurred. Zealous nationalism takes on the face of fervent religion; patriotism is baptized as kingdom service; love of country is tantamount to love of God and military ventures are regarded as pure paths of martyrdom and Christian service.
     Such religion has an ugly face -- the scowl of the true believer -- the smirk of the conscienceless killer who can do no wrong for it is done in the name of a higher purpose that justifies the wanton act.
-- Paul D Simmons, Report from the Capital, 40, April 1985: 11, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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George Gaylord Simpson
Paleontologist of Harvard

George Gaylord Simpson and friendMan stands alone in the universe, a unique product of a long, unconscious, impersonal, material process with unique understanding and potentialities. These he owes to no one but himself, and it is to himself that he is responsible. He is not the creature of uncontrollable and undeterminable forces, but is his own master. He can and must decide and manage his own destiny.
-- George Gaylord Simpson, Life of the Past (1953), p. 155

The fact -- not theory -- that evolution has occurred and the Darwinian theory as to how it occurred have become so confused in popular opinion that the distinction must be stressed.
-- George Gaylord Simpson, This View of Life: The World of an Evolutionist (1964), p. 10

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Upton Sinclair (1878-1968)
American novelist and socialist

Upton SinclairThere are a score of great religions in the world, each with scores or hundreds of sects, each with its priestly orders, its complicated creed and ritual, its heavens and hells. Each has its thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of "true believers"; each damns all the others with more or less heartiness -- and each is a mighty fortress of graft.
-- Upton Sinclair, quoted from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, also James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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William G Sinkford
President of the Unitarian Universalists Association

But "religious language" doesn't have to mean "God talk." And I'm not suggesting that Unitarian Universalism return to traditional Christian language. But I do feel that we need some language that would allow us to capture the possibility of reverence, to name the holy, to talk about human agency in theological terms -- the ability of humans to shape and frame our world guided by what we find to be of ultimate importance.
-- William G Sinkford, a remark "misunderstood" by the Fort Worth Star Telegram as meaning he sought to place the word God into the "UUA Statement of Principles"; subsequently picked up by wire services, this caused no small stir among UU allies worldwide; to develop language describing the atheistic equivalent of "reverence" for Nature is among Positive Atheism's core values (see the final portion of "The Semantic Dance of Pantheism," particularly the last two or three volleys), in his sermon, "The Language of Faith," given at First Jefferson Unitarian Universalists Church in Fort Worth, Texas (January 12, 2003)

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Gary Sloan
Retired English professor from Ruston, Louisiana

Science not only hasn't found God, it isn't even looking for him.
-- Gary Sloan, "The Bible-Belting of America," Skeptic, vol. 8, #2

For most cosmologists, a supernatural God is an unnecessary hypothesis. For most Americans, He is an unassailable fact. The American belief machine apparently has a fail-safe component. Nothing shuts it down.
-- Gary Sloan, "The Bible Belting of America," Skeptic, vol. 8, #2

One can't logically argue that because something highly improbable happens, some occult force had to make it happen that way.
-- Gary Sloan, "The ABCs of Nontheistic Evolution," American Atheist, Winter 2000-2001

True believers aren't about to be seduced by the facts.
-- Gary Sloan, "Did Jesus Exist and Does it Matter?" in Impact Press (December 2000-January, 2001)

Their belief in Jesus gives them an indefatigably sympathetic confidant, assuages their fear of death and bereavement, wards off existential angst, assures cosmic purpose, and aligns them with the good guys. So handsome are the psychological pay-offs of belief that many, perhaps most, devout orthodox Christians are impervious to all countervailing logic and evidence. Their will to believe vanquishes every disquieting fact, every contrary line of reasoning, no matter how compelling to an impartial eye. Psychologists have a frightening arsenal of terms for the mental habits designed to preserve cherished beliefs: dissociation, absolutist thinking, dichotomization, object permanence, nominal realism, phenomenalistic causality and worse.
-- Gary Sloan, "Did Jesus Exist and Does it Matter?" in Impact Press (December 2000-January, 2001)

I'll long remember the crestfallen look of a pious student when I told him the faculty of a divinity school he planned to attend included a large number of avowed atheists.
-- Gary Sloan, "Did Jesus Exist and Does it Matter?" in Impact Press (December 2000-January, 2001)

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J J C Smart (b. 1920)
American philosopher

An important tradition within westren philosophy believes in the primacy of natural science as a guide to truth. This is sometimes met with the charge that such an allegiance amounts to scientism -- the view that the only things that really exist are those recognized by fundamental physical theory, and that the only forms of genuine knowledge are scientific ones.
-- J J C Smart, Atheism and Theism (1997)

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Anne Smedley

The belief in immortality has always seemed cowardly to me. When very young I learned that all things die, and all that we wish of good must be won on this earth or not at all.
-- Anne Smedley, quoted from Cyber-Nation

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Alfred Emanuel ('Al') Smith (1873-1944)
Governor of New York (1919-1920, 1923-1928), Presidential candidate (1928)

Al SmithI believe in absolute freedom of conscience for all men and equality of all churches, all sects and all beliefs before the law as a matter of right and not as a matter of favor. I believe in the absolute separation of church and state and in the strict enforcement of the Constitution that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof I believe that no tribunal of any church has any power to make any decree of any force in the law of the land, other than to establish the status of its own communicants within its own church.
-- Al Smith, Atlantic Monthly, April, 1927, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

Al SmithI believe in the support of the public school as one of the cornerstones of American liberty. I believe in the right of every parent to choose whether his child shall be educated in the public school or in a religious school supported by those of his own faith.
-- Al Smith, Atlantic Monthly, April, 1927, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

I can think of no greater disaster to this country than to have the voters of it divide upon religious lines.
-- Al Smith, address, Oklahoma City, September 20, 1928, from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

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George H Smith
American philosopher of atheism and Libertarianism

George H. Smith speaking to the Free Sonoma Forum in 1998It is my firm conviction that man has nothing to gain, emotionally or otherwise, by adhering to a falsehood, regardless of how comfortable or sacred that falsehood may appear.
-- George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

When the atheist is told that God is unknowable, he may interpret this claim in one of two ways. He may suppose, first, that the theist has acquired knowledge of a being that, by his own admission, cannot possibly be known; or, second, he may assume that the theist simply does not know what he is talking about.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), chapter 2

A willingness to engage in the give and take of argument displays a commitment to cognitive egalitarianism -- the proposition that all people should be treated as intellectual equals, and that no individual can legitimately claim a privileged immunity from the burden of proof.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), chapter 2

[Francis] Bacon was the first great pathologist of human reason, and his mode of analysis -- a mixture of psychology, sociology, and epistemology -- was used by later philosophers to explain why reasonable people with good intentions can, and often do, hold incompatible beliefs. It was thus largely owing to Bacon that religious dissent, which had previously been condemned as the deliberate (and therefore sinful) rejection of divine truth, came to be regarded instead as the innocent by-product of human fallibility. And this doctrine of the natural diversity of opinion was destined to play a key role in the struggle for religious toleration.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), p. 113

The significant contribution of empiricism was not the eradication of certainty, but the eradication of infallibility as a criterion of certainty. And this shift from infallibilism to fallibilism has profound consequences not only for toleration, but also for the subordination of faith to reason and theology to philosophy.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), p. 123

The leap of faith is a strategic impasse that confronts every Christian in search of converts; and, as he sees the matter, there is no wrong way to become a Christian. It is the end that is importnat, not the means; it does not matter why you believe, so long as you believe. For the philosopher, in contrast, the paramount issue is the justification of belief, not the fact of belief itself.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), p. 136

In exchange for obedience, Christianity promises salvation in an afterlife; but in order to elicit obedience through this promise, Christianity must convince men that they need salvation, that there is something to be saved from. Christianity has nothing to offer a happy man living in a natural, intelligible universe. If Christianity is to gain a motivational foothold, it must declare war on earthly pleasure and happiness, and this, historically, has been its precise course of action. In the eyes of Christianity, man is sinful and helpless in the face of God, and is potential fuel for the flames of hell. Just as Christianity must destroy reason before it can introduce faith, so it must destroy happiness before it can introduce salvation.
-- George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

As for Christianity's alleged concern with truth, Christian faith is to free inquiry what the Mafia is to free enterprise. Christianity may be represented as a competitor in the realm of ideas to be considered on the basis of its merits, but this is mere disguise. Like the Mafia, if Christianity fails to defeat its competition by legitimate means (which is a forgone conclusion), it resorts to strong-arm tactics. Have faith or be damned -- this biblical doctrine alone is enough to exclude Christianity from the domain of reason.
-- George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God (p. 169)

To trace the history of ideas that are implicitly atheistic will leave the historian open to the charge of selective interpretation. This is a curious charge in a way, since all history is interpretation, and all interpretation is necessarily selective. If it means that the atheistic historian who investigates his own heritage will be prone to bias, causing him to see atheistic tendencies where others do not, I can only reply that this kind of disagreement is inevitable. It is inherent in the historical enterprise itself. Every historian has biases -- or presuppositions, to use a more neutral term -- that will influence his treatment of history, but such presuppositions do not make objectivity impossible. Indeed, it is precisely this inevitable bias that makes objectivity necessary.
-- George H Smith, Why Atheism? (2000), note 1, p. 188

The argument from design is ultimately an appeal to miraculous causes, i.e., causes that do not, and cannot, occur in the natural course of events. This is why an "explanation" via design is not a legitimate alternative to scientific and other naturalistic modes of explanation. To refer to a miraculous "cause" is to refer to something that is inherently unknowable, and this "sanctuary of ignorance" explains nothing at all. However much it may soothe the imagination of the ignorant, it does nothing to satisfy the understanding of a rational person.
-- George H Smith, in response to Spinoza's use of the word miracle while observing that, "anyone who seeks for the true causes of miracles, and strives to understand natural phenomena as an intelligent being, and not to gaze at them like a fool, is set down and denounced as an impious heretic," in Why Atheism? (2000), p. 203

Christianity cannot erase man's need for pleasure, nor can it eradicate the various sources of pleasure. What it can do, however, and what it has been extremely effective in accomplishing, is to inculcate guilt in connection with pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure, when accompanied by guilt, becomes a means of perpetuating chronic guilt, and this serves to reinforce one's dependence on God. Christianity, with some exceptions, has never explicitly advocated human misery; it prefers instead to speak of sacrifices in this life so that benefits may be garnered in the life to come. One invests in this life, so to speak, and collects interest in the next. Fortunately for Christianity, the dead cannot return for a refund.
-- George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

Through inculcating the notion that sacrifice is a virtue, Christianity has succeeded in convincing many people that misery incurred through sacrifice is a mark of virtue. Pain becomes the inignia of morality -- and conversely, pleasure becomes the insignia of immorality. Christianity, therefore, does not say, "Go forth and be miserable." Rather, it says, "Go forth and practice the virtue of self-sacrifice." In practical terms, these commands are identical.
-- George H Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

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Professor Goldwin Smith

The mighty and supreme Jesus, who was to transfigure all humanity by his divine wit and grace -- this Jesus has flown.
-- Goldwin Smith, quoted from John E Remsberg, The Christ (1909)

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Kay Nolte Smith
American Actress, Author, Atheist

Kay Nolte SmithThe tragedy is that every brain cell devoted to belief in the supernatural is a brain cell one cannot use to make life richer or easier or happier.
-- Kay Nolte Smith, "Truth or the Consequences," quoted in Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 555

One of the puzzles about widespread belief in the supernatural has been: How can it exist in periods of rationality and scientific advancement? For example, the witch-craze, as well as a general belief in magic, coexisted with the Renaissance; on the one hand were Leonardo, Galileo, Michelangelo, and on the other, the Inquisition. The same thing happened in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: spiritualism, spiritism, and belief in psychic phenomena co-exist with the Industrial Revolution and with computers, laser beams, and space flight.
     So, how is it that periods of rationality and scientific advancement can also be periods of widespread belief in the supernatural? In my view, a large part of the answer -- one of the main bridges that lets irrationality co-exist with reason -- has been and is religion.
     In other words, it's not an accident that a time when I am able to write a novel with the amazing technology of the word processor is also a time when the publishing world clearly prefers occult novels to books like Mindspell and when I find, at the college where I occasionally teach writing, that a large percentage of my students are born-again Christians.
-- Kay Nolte Smith, "Truth or the Consequences," quoted in Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 562

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Lillian Smith (1897-1966)
US author

Lillian SmithBelief in Some One's right to punish you is the fate of all children in Judaic-Christian culture. But nowhere else, perhaps, have the rich seed-beds of Western homes found such a growing climate for guilt as is produced in the South by the combination of a warm moist evangelism and racial segregation.
-- Lillian Smith, Killers of the Dream, 1949, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Logan Pearsall Smith (1865-1946)
US essayist, aphorist

Logan Pearsall SmithOnly among people who think no evil can Evil monstrously flourish.
-- Logan Pearsall Smith, quoted from Cyber Nation's "Your Ultimate Quotation Center"

Those who set out to serve both God and Mammon soon discover that there isn't a God.
-- Logan Pearsall Smith, Afterthoughts, "Other People" (1931)

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Richard Smith
Editor of the British Medical Journal

A scientist is somebody who constantly questions, generates falsifiable hypotheses, and collects data from well designed experiments -- the kind of people who brush their teeth on only one side of their mouth to see whether brushing your teeth has any benefit.
-- Richard Smith, in "Doctors Are Not Scientists," (BMJ: 19 June 2004)

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Tony Smith
American political scientist

A hard political ideology is "comprehensive" in that it offers a self-sufficient worldview able to explain in terms of an integrated set of axioms why virtually any significant social or historical event occurs as it does. "Fundamentalist" religions frequently offer equivalent perspectives, which may be why communism is so often referred to as a secular religion.
-- Tony Smith, Thinking Like A Communist (1987)

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Barbara Smoker (b. 1923)
President, National Secular Society (1971-)

Barbara SmokerTo imagine that "God moves in mysterious ways" is to put up a smokescreen of mystery behind which fantasy may survive in spite of all the facts.
-- Barbara Smoker, "So You Believe in God" (1974), quoted in Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 508

Why am I an atheist? The short answer is that I cannot accept any of the alternatives. I simply don't find them believable.
-- Barbara Smoker, "Why I Am An Atheist," a script recorded in June, 1985, and broadcast on BBC World Service four times in 1985, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 501

As for the accusation of intellectual pride, surely the boot is on the other foot. Atheists don't claim to know anything with certainty -- it's the believers who know it all.
-- Barbara Smoker, "Why I Am An Atheist," a script recorded in June, 1985, and broadcast on BBC World Service four times in 1985, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 504

The one function that most gods seem to have in common is to give human existence some ultimate purpose -- and, while it is not possible to disprove an ultimate purpose, there does not seem to be any evidence for it. This is not to say, of course, that there is no purpose in life at all: we all make our own purposes as we go through life. And life does not lose its value simply because it it not going to last forever.
-- Barbara Smoker, "Why I Am An Atheist," a script recorded in June, 1985, and broadcast on BBC World Service four times in 1985, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 504

People who believe in a divine creator, trying to live their lives in obedience to his supposed wishes and in expectation of a supposed eternal reward, are victims of the greatest confidence trick of all time.
-- Barbara Smoker, "So You Believe in God" (1974), quoted in Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 499

Empathising with the younger children on whom the same confidence trick was being imposed, I embarked on a crusade around the neighbourhood, telling all the kids that there was no Santa Claus. This reached the ears of the father of a neighbouring family, who reproved me for spoiling it for the little ones. Spoiling it! I could not understand what he meant. To my mind, they were being made fools of, and I was only saving them from this indignity.
-- Barbara Smoker, "Why I Am An Atheist," a script recorded in June, 1985, and broadcast on BBC World Service four times in 1985, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 502

To imagine that God wants prayers and hymns of praise is to make him out to a sort of oriental potentate; while praying for favours is an attempt to get him to change his allegedly all-wise mind.
-- Barbara Smoker, "Why I Am An Atheist," a script recorded in June, 1985, and broadcast on BBC World Service four times in 1985, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 504

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Samantha Smoot
Executive director of Texas Freedom Network, the public watchdog group countering the Radical Religious Right

There is a clear, well-coordinated effort to undermine the teaching of evolution in Texas classrooms.
-- Samantha Smoot, quoted from Skip Evans, "Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up" (National Center for Science Education: July 10, 2003)

Religion should be taught in the home and places of worship, rather than in public schools.
-- Samantha Smoot, as paraphrased in Skip Evans, "Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up" (National Center for Science Education: July 10, 2003)

Intelligent design is just creationism dressed up in a laboratory coat.
-- Samantha Smoot, quoted from Skip Evans, "Texas Textbook Adoption Process Heats Up" (National Center for the Discovery InstituteScience Education: July 10, 2003)

It [the Discovery Institute] says that the theory of evolution can't explain the diversity of life on this planet and that there must have been a designer. That is a very valid and commonly held religious perspective, but not one that is upheld by scientific evidence. Therefore it's not one that belongs in science classrooms.
-- Samantha Smoot, in "Textbooks at center of evolution debate" (Houston Chronicle: October 31, 2003), quoted from Texas Freedom Network Daily Clips (November 2, 2003)

 

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Socrates (ca. 470-399 BCE)
Greek philosopher

SocratesSocratesI have not sought during my life to amass wealth and to adorn my body, but I have sought to adorn my soul with the jewels of wisdom, patience, and above all with a love of liberty.
-- Socrates, to his judges, quoted by Robert Green Ingersoll in "Why I Am an Agnostic"

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Joel Sogol
ACLU attorney who prosecuted Judge Roy Moore over his display of an abridgment of the Protestant list of the first stone tablets of the Hebrew Ten Comandments

If you're subpoenaed for jury duty, or if you are a party to lawsuit, and the judge calls in Christian clergymen to lead the prayer, [any refusal to participate could influence the outcome of the proceedings]. If you are an attorney, you have jeopardized your client and jeopardized your case. If you are a juror, you have stigmatized yourself in the eyes of other jurors. That's not what this country is about.
-- Joel Sogol, quoted from Conrad Goeringer, "Judge Rules That Decalogue Is a Religious, Not Historical Statement" (February 13, 1997)

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Susan Sontag
American poet

Susan Sontag For those who live neither with religious consolations about death nor with a sense of death (or of anything else) as natural, death is the obscene mystery, the ultimate affront, the thing that cannot be controlled. It can only be denied.
-- Susan Sontag, quoted from BrainyQuote

Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds.
-- Susan Sontag, quoted from About.com Women’s History

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Ahdaf Soueif
Writer for Egypt's Al-Ahram Weekly

Ahdaf Soueif (column portrait)From 1949 to the present, for every dollar the US spent on an African, it spent $250.65 on an Israeli, and for every dollar it spent on someone from the Western Hemisphere outside the US, it spent $214 on an Israeli.
-- Ahdaf Soueif, in, "The Israelisation of America," (Al-Ahram Weekly: September 11-17, 2003)

US support for Israel has involved turning a blind eye not only to Israeli flouting of international law, but to Israeli anti- American activities such as: spying (Jonathan Jay Pollard 1985 and David Tenenbaum 1997), selling arms to China (1990 onwards), espionage against American companies (cited in the Wall Street Journal, 1992) and attacks on the dignity and the lives of American subjects as in the bombing of the USS Liberty in 1967, the beating by Israeli police of David Muirhead who was working on an American-financed project to restore the main street in Al-Khalil (Hebron) in 1997, the turning back of a US Congressional delegation from the Allenby Bridge in August 2002 and, in April, the Israeli army's shooting of peace activist Brian Avery in Jenin and its killing of Rachel Corrie in Rafah.
-- Ahdaf Soueif, unanswered questions notwithstanding, evidence revealed in 2003 rendered the "Liberty" charge even more questionable than it has been in the past: they bombed the Liberty, to be sure, but reports suggest even more strongly that at the moment of the bombing, those issuing the orders did not think the ship was American; still, far less howling on the part of America has been heard regarding this incident than seems healthy by just about everybody who still even cares about what happened (and may we all care when any of our soldiers get killed, even to the point of questioning our having put them in harm's way without just cause, in, "The Israelisation of America," (Al-Ahram Weekly: September 11-17, 2003)

While some US policies (notably re the environment and trade) and the increasingly murky revelations about the links between corporate America and its government make much of the world deeply uneasy, America's unwavering support for Israel has implicated it in a whole range of behaviours which have brought its modus operandi very close to its protégé's; in the past two years the United States has joined Israel in:
     •  manipulating or side-lining international institutions
     •  ignoring accepted principles of international law (e.g. setting up Guantanamo Bay, sanctioning assassinations world-wide)
     •  ignoring accepted principles of human rights (e.g. carrying out illegal detentions including the detention of children, condoning the use of torture)
     •  adopting military policies to achieve its political ends, embracing a policy of "preventive" war
     •  moving to curtail the civil rights of its own citizens (e.g. The Patriot Act)
     •  encouraging the media to adopt government views and attempting to gag media which is not their own
     Meanwhile the voice of the Christian Right has moved in from the margins and the discourse of this Right and of members of the administration has become less guarded in its jingoism and its racism.
-- Ahdaf Soueif, in, "The Israelisation of America," (Al-Ahram Weekly: September 11-17, 2003)

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Dr. Jules Soury
Professor of the University of France whose Studies on Jesus and The Gospels argues that the historical figure upon whom the Christian myth was based suffered from a severe form of mental illness

Time, which condenses nebulae, lights up suns, brings life and thought upon planets theretofore steeped in death, and gives back ephemeral worlds to dissolution and the fertile chaos of the everlasting universe -- time knows nought of gods nor of the dim and fallacious hopes of ignorant mortals.
-- Jules Soury, quoted in John E Remsberg, The Christ, p. 418

The cursing of the fig tree whereon there were no figs, because 'the time of figs was not yet,' the violent conduct toward the dealers and changers at the temple, were manifestly foolish acts. Jesus had come to believe that everything was permitted him, that all things belonged to him, that nothing was too hard for him to do.
-- Jules Soury, Studies on Jesus and The Gospels, quoted in John E Remsberg, The Christ, pp. 302-305

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Thomas Sowell
American economist

Thomas SowellPolicies are judged by their consequences but crusades are judged by how good they make the crusaders feel.
-- Thomas Sowell, Compassion vs. Guilt (1987), thanks to Laird Wilcox, ed, "The Degeneration of Belief"

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The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea

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