Positive Atheism’s Big List of Quotations
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Science means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature.
God made everything out of nothing. But the nothingness shows through.
That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false.
It is for the good of states that men should be deluded by religion.
I think it’s like a movie that was way too popular. It’s a story that’s been told too many times and just doesn’t mean anything. Man lived on the planet — [placing his fingers an inch apart], this is 5000 years of semi-recorded history. And God and the Bible, that came in somewhere around the middle, maybe 2000. This is the last 2000, this is what we’re about to celebrate [indicating about an 1/8th of an inch with his fingers]. Now, humans, in some shape or form, have been on the earth for three million years [pointing across the room to indicate the distance]. So, all this time, from there [gesturing toward the other side of the room], to here [indicating the 1/8th of an inch], there was no God, there was no story, there was no myth and people lived on this planet and they wandered and they gathered and they did all these things. The planet was never threatened. How did they survive for all this time without this belief in God? I’d like to ask this to someone who knows about Christianity and maybe you do. That just seems funny to me.
The word religion has such bad connotations for me, that it’s been responsible for wars, and it shouldn’t be that way at all, it’s just the way the meaning of the word has evolved to me. I have to wonder what we did on this planet before religion.
When you’re out in the desert, you can’t believe the amount of stars. We’ve sent mechanisms out there, and they haven’t found anything. They’ve found different colors of sand, and rings, and gasses, but nobody’s shown me anything that makes me feel secure in what happens afterward. All I really believe in is this moment, like right now.
Ventura: ... See, we call our country home of the brave and land of the free, but it’s not. We give a false portrayal of freedom. We’re not free — if we were, we’d allow people their freedom. Prohibiting something doesn’t make it go away. Prostitution is criminal, and bad things happen because it’s run illegally by dirtbags who are criminals. If it’s legal, then the girls could have health checks, unions, benefits, anything any other worker gets, and it would be far better.
Patriotism is voluntary. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. No law will make a citizen a patriot.
I believe in the separation of church and state.... We all have our own religious beliefs. There are people out there who are atheists, who don’t believe at all.... They are all citizens of Minnesota and I have to respect that.
Most people do not understand the word god is not the name of anything other than a concept, an idea in people’s minds.
Today we are witnessing such a resurgence of religious bigotry that one cannot help wondering how long it will be before “equal time” in our schools is demanded for geocentrism and flat-earthism as well as for creationism.
The Invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.
The priesthoods of whatever stripe can never live down, nor make amends for, their disgraceful role in retarding the development of modem science during the past millennium in Christendom.... Supernaturalism is, in its social functions and consequences, a dangerous opiate. And, what is perhaps even worse, it discourages objective attempts at intelligent social trial-and-error, planning, and even research, and undermines man’s faith in his own resources.
I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam — good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.
Christianity is such a silly religion.
Once people get hung up on theology, they’ve lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.
I Must warn you, Iris, that I'm not a believer. And though I'm sure that the revelations of other men must be a source of infinite satisfaction to them, individually, I shouldn't for one second be so presumptuous as to make a choice among the many thousands of recorded revelations of truth, accepting one at the expense of all the others: I might so easily choose wrong and get into eternal trouble. And you must admit that the selection is wide, and dangerous to the amateur.
The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.
Three antihuman religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal — God is the omnipotent father — hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the skygod and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not just for one tribe but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family at home.
Social change is inevitable. Every conscious individual can be a harbinger of social change. Let us bring the innate goodness of common people to the fore and encourage teamwork and collective effort.
Let us therefore reject all superstition in order to become more human; but in speaking against fanaticism, let us not imitate the fanatics: they are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors. Let us assuage their ills, and never embitter them, and let us pour drop by drop into their souls the divine balm of toleration, which they would reject with horror if it were offered to them all at once.
Whenever an important event, a revolution, or a calamity turns to the profit of the church, such is always signalised as the Finger of God.
The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.
A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live.
What! Have you no monks to teach, to dispute, to govern, to intrigue and to burn people who do not agree with them?
It is reported in the supplement of the council of Nicæan that the fathers, being very perplexed to know which were the cryphal or apocryphal books of the Old and New Testaments, put them all pell-mell on an altar, and the books to be rejected fell to the ground. It is a pity that this eloquent procedure has not survived.
The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, “There’s a Chaplain who never visited the front.”
Interviewer: Did the study of anthropology later color your writings?
... this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!
All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!
About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.
We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms.... Only in superstition is there hope. If you want to become a friend of civilization, then become an enemy of the truth and a fanatic for harmless balderdash.
I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it’s a very poor scheme for survival.
Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on.
It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.
Let us hope ... that a kind of Providence will put a speedy end to the acts of God under which we have been laboring.
Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
“You don’t believe in God,” I said to Stein.
“You ought to be ashamed,” a woman in an Easter bonnet told Stein. “Your race gave us our religion....” From ancient polytheism, the belief in lots of gods,“ the woman continued a little more eruditely, ”the Hebrew nation led us on to the idea that there is only one.”
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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