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Atheism Quotes
by zer0G
x Unread post xzer0G   - at 10:55 pm on Monday March 8‚ 2004 x
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x zer0G Buddha [Siddhartha Gautama] (?563-?483 B.C.E.) Indian mystic and founder of Buddhism

"Doubt everything. Find your own light."

"Believe nothing, O monks, merely because you have been told it ... or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide."

"I do not fight with the world but the world fights with me."


Xenophanes (ca. B.C.E. 560-47
Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher

"If oxen and horses and lions could draw and paint, they would delineate the gods in their own image."

"The clear and perfect truth no man has seen, nor will there be anyone who knows about the gods and what I say about all things...; for, however perfect what he says may be, yet he does not know it; all things are matters of opinion."


Aristotle (ca. 384-322 B.C.E.)
Greek philosopher

"Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life."

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."


Epicurus (ca. 341-270 B.C.E.)
Greek philosopher

"Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?"

"I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know."

"If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another."


Quintus Ennius (239 BCE-169? BCE)
Roman poet

"How like us is that ugly brute, the ape!"


Polybius (B.C.E 200?-11
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."


Titus Lucretius Carus (B.C.E. 94?-55?)
Roman poet who turned the philosophy of Epicurus into a great philosophical poem, De Return Natura (On the Nature of Things); he sought to free humanity from the fear of death and of the gods, which he considered the main cause of human unhappiness

"Fear is the mother of all gods."


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

"It is when we are in misery that we revere the gods; the prosperous seldom approach the altar."


Seneca (ca. 5 B.C.E. to C.E. 65)
Roman writer, philosopher, statesman

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."

"It is the characteristic of a weak and diseased mind to fear the unfamiliar."


Aulus Cornelius Celsus (C.E. First Century)
Roman writer who wrote an encyclopedia on the subjects of medicine, rhetoric, history, philosophy, warfare, and agriculture

"This is one of their [the Christians'] rules. Let no man that is learned, wise, or prudent come among us: but if they be unlearned, or a child, or an idiot, let him freely come. So they openly declare that none but the ignorant, and those devoid of understanding, slaves, women, and children, are fit disciples for the God they worship."

"Jesus hired himself out as a servant in Egypt on account of his poverty, and having there acquired some miraculous powers, in which the Egyptians greatly pride themselves, returned to his own country, highly elated on account of them, and by means of these proclaimed himself a God."

Desiderius Erasmus (1466?-1536)
Dutch humanist

"Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth."


Sir Francis Bacon

"Nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass for wise."

"Knowledge is power." (Nam et ipsa scientia potestas est.)


Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533-1592)
French essayist whose works are considered the highest expression of 16th-century French prose. Lecky called him 'the first great representative of the modem secular and rationalistic spirit.'

"Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know."

"Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making gods by dozens."

"Death pays all debts." (La mort nous acquitte de toutes nos obligations.)


René Descartes (1596-1650)
French philosopher and mathematician

"Nothing is more fairly distributed than common sense: for each man thinks he has enough of it."

"The reading of all good books is like a conversation with the finest men of past centuries."

"I think, therefore I am."


François Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680)
French writer of aphorisms

"Mediocre minds usually dismiss anything which reaches beyond their own understanding."

"There is nothing more horrible than the murder of a beautiful theory by a brutal gang of facts."

"Everyone complains of his memory, and no one complains of his judgement."


George Farquhar (1678-1707)
Irish dramatist

"Necessity, the mother of invention."


Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American public official, writer, scientist, and printer who played a major part in the American Revolution

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."


Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)
French philosopher, social and political theorist, musician, botanist, and one of the most eloquent writers of the Age of Enlightenment

"The less reasonable a cult is, the more men seek to establish it by force."


Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723-1789)
French philosopher and probably the first avowedly atheistic writer since the dominion of Christendom, whose Système de la Nature (The System of Nature) made the first blunt denial of any divine purpose or master plan in nature

"If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them."

"All religions are ancient monuments to superstitions, ignorance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies rejuvenated."

"All children are atheists -- they have no idea of God."

"What has been said of [God] is either unintelligible or perfectly contradictory; and for this reason must appear impossible to every man of common sense."


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804)
German philosopher, considered by many the most influential thinker of modern times

"The death of dogma is the birth of morality."

"Reason can never prove the existence of God."


Stendhal [Marie-Henri Beyle] (1783-1842)
French novelist

"All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few."


Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
British romantic poet

"It is easier to suppose that the universe has existed for all eternity than to conceive a being beyond its limits capable of creating it."

"If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature is made for their destruction."


Auguste Comte (1798-1857)
French positivist philosopher, who was a founder of sociology

"The universe displays no proof of an all-directing mind."


Max Stirner (Johann Kaspar Schmidt) (1806-1856)
Anarchist philosopher

"The State calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime."


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (1809-1894)
American physician, writer, and professor of anatomy and physiology at Harvard

"The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn't worth a damn."

"Men are idolaters, and want something to look at and kiss, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don't make it of wood, you must make it of words."


Sir Richard Burton (1812-1890)
English explorer

"The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."

"The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty, but to have a slave of his own."


Mikhail Aleksandrovich Bakunin (1814-1876)
Russian anarchist and political theorist who opposed Karl Marx

"It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees."

"Priests, kings, statesmen, soldiers, bankers and public functionaries of all sorts; policemen, jailers and hangmen; capitalists, usurers, businessmen and property-owners; lawyers, economists and politicians -- all of them, down to the meanest grocer, repeat in chorus the words of Voltaire, that if there were no God it would be necessary to invent Him."

"Does it follow that I reject all authority? Perish the thought. In the matter of boots, I defer to the authority of the bootmaker."

"Religion is a collective insanity."


Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-83)
German political theorist, social philosopher

"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people."


Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)
British philosopher who attempted to apply the theory of evolution to philosophy and ethics in his series Synthetic Philosophy

"The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly, is to fill the world with fools."

"The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality."


Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895)
British biologist

"Skepticism is the highest duty and blind faith the one unpardonable sin."

"The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best -- that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic."

"Every great advance in natural knowledge has involved the absolute rejection of authority."


Henrik Johan Ibsen (1828-1906)
Norwegian dramatist

"The majority is never right. Never, I tell you! That's one of these lies in society that no free and intelligent man can help rebelling against. Who are the people that make up the biggest proportion of the population -- the intelligent ones or the fools? I think we can agree it's the fools, no matter where you go in this world, it's the fools that form the overwhelming majority."


Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835-1910)
American author, master of humor and sarcasm

"The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it."


Anatole France (1844-1924)
French writer

"To die for an idea is to set a rather high price upon conjecture."


Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900)
German philosopher who reasoned that Christianity's emphasis on the afterlife makes its believers less able to cope with earthly life

"Whatever a theologian regards as true must be false: there you have almost a criterion of truth."

"A casual stroll through a lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything."

"What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?"


Oscar Wilde [Fingal O'Flahertie Wills] (1854-1900)
Irish-born writer

"Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived."

"A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it."

"The worse form of tyranny the world has ever known is the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts."


William Cowper Brann (1855-1898)
American journalist, publisher of the Iconoclast

"A heretic, my dear sir, is a fellow who disagrees with you regarding something neither of you knows anything about."


Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
Austrian psychiatrist

"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."


George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Irish-born British playwright and a founder of the Fabian Society, he wrote plays of iconoclastic social criticism

"The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."

"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."


George Santayana (1863-1952)
Spanish-born U.S.-raised philosopher, poet

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

"Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim."


Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865-1923)
German-American electrical engineer and inventor

"No man really becomes a fool until he stops asking questions."


Herbert George Wells (1866-1946)
British author

"As with the Christian religion, the worst argument for socialism is its adherents."


Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936)
English author

"Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions."


Max Born (1882-1907)
German mathematician

"Science is so greatly opposed to history and tradition that it cannot be absorbed by our civilization."


Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963)
English novelist, essayist, critic, and poet

"Defined in psychological terms, a fanatic is a man who consciously over-compensates a secret doubt."

"The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar.... Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted, and always derided as fools and madmen."

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."

"The end cannot justify the means for the simple and obvious reason that the means employed determine the nature of the ends produced."


Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)
American novelist

"All thinking men are atheists."

Paul Herr

"A man can only liberate himself by himself and for himself. There is no other way -­ all else is madness or collaboration."


Aleister Crowley
British occultist

"If one were to take the Bible seriously one would go mad. But to take the Bible seriously, one must be already mad."


James Feibleman (b. 1904)
American writer, philosopher

"A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes."


Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
Russian-born American scientist and prolific writer

"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."


Frank Herbert (1920-1986)
Science-fiction writer

"Every judgment teeters on the brink of error. To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous. Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty."


Sidney Hook (1902-1989)
American philosopher

"As a set of cognitive beliefs, religion is a speculative hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability."

"Religious tolerance has developed more as a consequence of the impotence of religions to impose their dogmas on each other than as a consequence of spiritual humility."


Arthur Koestler (1905-1983)
British philosopher

"The Revolutionary’s Utopia, which in appearance represents a complete break with the past, is always modeled on some image of the Lost Paradise, of a legendary Golden Age.... All utopias are fed from the source of mythology; the social engineers’ blueprints are merely revised editions of the ancient text."


James Dewey Watson (b. 1928)
American biologist who with Francis Crick proposed a spiral model, the double helix, for the molecular structure of DNA. He shared a 1962 Nobel Prize for advances in the study of genetics

"In the last analysis, there are only atoms. There's just one science, Physics; everything else is social work."


Richard Dawkins (b. 1941)
East African-born British Zoologist

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

"Not a single one of your ancestors died young. They all copulated at least once."


George Orwell

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."


James Randi
Illusionist who exposes the parlor magic techniques of faith healers and others

"No amount of belief makes something a fact."

"To recognize that nature has neither a preference for our species nor a bias against it takes only a little courage."


Stephen Roberts
Atheistic activist

"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."


Richard Robinson
British philosopher

"Freedom is to be obtained in spite of the government rather than through it."


Helmut Schoeck, Ph.D.
German sociologist

"The envious man thinks that if his neighbor breaks a leg, he will be able to walk better himself."


Gerry Spence

"I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief."


Thomas S. Szasz, M.D.
American psychiatrist

"If you talk to God, you are praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia."


Steven Weinberg
Physicist and Nobel Laureate

"Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things -- that takes religion."

"Most scientists I know don't care enough about religion even to call themselves atheists."

"Science should be taught not in order to support religion and not in order to destroy religion. Science should be taught simply ignoring religion."


Gary Zukav
American spiritual teacher

"Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion; rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science."


Tom Wolfe
American novelist, satirical writer, social critic

"A cult is a religion with no political power."
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