Quotations of freethinkers throughout history

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Ackermann, Louise-Victorine

DOB: 10/30/1815
DOD: 08/02/1890

Religions impose antiquated and narrow beliefs which are entirely unsuitable for a being who knows nothing and can affirm nothing.



Allen, Ethan

DOB: 01/10/1738
DOD: 02/12/1789

Such people as can be prevailed upon to believe, that their reason is depraved, may easily be led by the nose, and duped into superstition at the pleasure of those in whom they confide, and there remain from generation to generation: for when they throw by the law of reason the only one which God gave them to direct them in their speculations and duty, they are exposed to ignorant or insidious teachers, and also to their own irregular passions, and to the folly and enthusiasm of those about them, which nothing but reason can prevent or restrain.



Allen, Grant

DOB: 02/24/1848
DOD: 10/25/1899

The vast mass of existing gods or divine persons, when we come to analyze them, do actually turn out to be dead and deified human beings.  I believe that corpse worship is the protoplasm of religion.



Allen, Steve

DOB: 12/26/1921
DOD: 10/30/2000

No actual tyrant known to history has ever been guilty of one-hundredth of the crimes, massacres and other atrocities attributed to the Deity in the Bible.




Ethical people will do what is right, no matter what they are told.  Religious people will do what they are told, no matter what is right.

The world holds two classes of people - intelligent people without religion, and religious people without intelligence.

"Believing" is what you do when you don't have the facts, you don't understand the facts, or you simply don't like what the facts must compel you to conclude.

The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called "faith."

If Jesus could heal a blind person, what reason could he possibly have for not healing blindness?

Religion's like Santa Claus;  it was nice while it lasted but it's time to grow up.

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.

Atheists don't kill faith, facts do.

Q. Why Holy books?
A. Because all the works of science cannot equal the wisdom of nomadic, cave-dwelling, sheep-sacrificing primitives who thought every animal species in the world lived within walking distance of Noah's house.



Anthony, Susan B.

DOB: 02/15/1820
DOD: 03/13/1906

I pray every single second of my life; not on my knees but with my work.  My prayer is to lift women to equality with men.  Work and worship are one with me.  I know there is no God of the universe made happy by my getting down on my knees and calling him ‘great.’

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.


Aquinas, Thomas

DOB: 1225
DOD: 03/07/1274

Clearly the person who accepts the Church as an infallible guide will believe whatever the Church teaches.
Note: Clearly, Aquinas was not a "freethinker."  This quote was incorporated to highlight the power of propaganda by religionists.

Unbelievers deserve not only to be separated from the Church, but also to be exterminated from the world by death.
(Rev. El Mundo: Nice Christian, huh?)


Archer, Gleason

DOB: 05/22/1916
DOD: 04/27/2004

If statements the Bible contains concerning matters of history and science can be proven by extrabiblical records, by ancient documents recovered through archaeological digs, or by the established facts of modern science to be contrary to the truth, then there is grave doubt as to its trustworthiness in matters of religion.



Aurelius, Marcus

DOB: 04/26/121
DOD: 03/17/180

Live a good life.  If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by.  If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them.  If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.



Asimov, Isaac

DOB: 01/20/1920
DOD: 04/06/1992

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

I am an atheist, out and out.  It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have.  Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.

Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written.  And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes.

As indicated by our very name, we humanists celebrate humanity, want humanity to survive, and recognize that, if humanity does survive, it will be only by its own efforts.  Never can we sit back and wait for miracles to save us. Miracles don't happen.  Sweat happens.  Effort happens.  Thought happens. And it is up to us humanists to help - to expend our sweat, our effort, and our thought.  Then there will be hope for the world.

However much the creationist leaders might hammer away at their scientific and philosophical points, they would be helpless and a laughing-stock if that were all they had.  It is religion that recruits their squadrons.  Tens of millions of Americans, who neither know nor understand the actual arguments for - or even against - evolution, march in the army of the night, their Bibles held high. And they are a strong and frightening force, impervious to, and immunized against, the feeble lance of mere reason.


Attenborough, David

DOB: 05/18/1926

Quite a lot of people are upset that the findings of evolutionary science don't coincide with what is written in Genesis.  And there are people who think that Genesis should be taken literally - that according to Genesis a creator god took mud and blew into it and created the first man.  Now there are people who believe that is literally so, and if they do so the basis of their thinking to say so is a human manuscript, a human document - it has nothing to do with the world out here.



Bakunin, Mikhail

DOB: 05/30/1814
DOD: 07/01/1876

All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete possession of their intellectual powers.



Baron d'Holbach

Paul-Henri Thiry
DOB: 1723
DOD: 1789

If the ignorance of nature gave birth to such a variety of gods, the knowledge of this nature is calculated to destroy them.

It is thus superstition that infatuates man from his infancy, fills him with vanity, and enslaves him with fanaticism.

When we examine the opinions of men, we find that nothing is more uncommon, than common sense; or, in other words, they lack judgment to discover plain truths or to reject absurdities and palpable contradictions.

The ignorance of natural causes created Gods, and imposture made them terrible.  Man lived unhappy, because he was told that God had condemned him to misery.  He never entertained a wish of breaking his chains, as he was taught, that stupidity, that the renouncing of reason, mental debility, and spiritual debasement, were the means of obtaining eternal felicity.

If we go back to the beginning we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them, and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve its own interests.

Suns are extinguished or become corrupted, planets perish and scatter across the wastes of the sky; other suns are kindled, new planets formed to make their revolutions or describe new orbits, and man, an infinitely minute part of a globe which itself is only an imperceptible point in the immense whole, believes that the universe is made for himself.

Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality.  Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them.


Bayle, Pierre

DOB: 11/18/1647
DOD:  12/28/1706

No nations are more warlike than those which profess Christianity.

It is pure illusion to think that an opinion which passes down from century to century to century, from generation to generation, may not be entirely false.


Bellarmine, Robert Cardinal

DOB: 10/04/1542
DOD:  09/17/1621

To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.
 (Stated by Bellarmine at the trial of Galileo, 1615)

Note: Clearly, Bellarmine was not a "freethinker."  This quote was incorporated to highlight the absurdity of religionists.


Besant, Annie

DOB: 10/01/1847
DOD: 09/20/1933

Truth is always fighting;  each new truth undergoes a veritable struggle for existence.  If Hercules is to live to perform his labors he must succeed in strangling the serpents that hiss round his cradle.

I do not believe in God.  My mind finds no grounds on which to build up a reasonable faith.  My heart revolts against the spectre of an Almighty Indifference to the pain of sentient beings.  My conscience rebels against the injustice, the cruelty, the inequality, which surround me on every side.


Bierce, Ambrose

DOB: 06/24/1842
DOD: 1914?

Religion: A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.




Boorstin, Daniel
DOB: 10/01/1914
DOD: 02/28/2008

I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge.  It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress.  No agnostic ever tortured or burned anyone at the stake. 




 Brown, Justin

DOB: ?

If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we're going?


 Burroughs, John

DOB: 04/03/1837
DOD: 03/29/1921

If we take science as our sole guide, if we accept and hold fast that alone which is verifiable, the old theology must go.


 Byron, George

DOB: 02/22/1788
DOB: 04/19/1824

I do not believe in any religion.  I will have nothing to do with immortality.  We are miserable enough in this life without speculating upon another.


 Buck, Pearl

DOB: 06/26/1892
DOD: 03/06/1973

There was an old abbot in one temple and he said something of which I think of often and it was this: that when men destroy their old gods they will find new ones to take their place. 


 Caen, Herb

DOB: 04/03/1916
DOD: 02/01/1997

Believing is easier than thinking.  Hence so many more believers than thinkers. 


Camus, Albert

DOB: 11/07/1913
DOD: 01/04/1960

The certainty of a God giving meaning to life far surpasses in attractiveness the ability to behave badly with impunity.


Carlin, George

DOB: 05/12/1937
DOD: 06/22/2008

Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man – living in the sky – who watches everything you do, every minute of the day.  And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do.  And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ‘til the end of time…. but he loves you!


Chaplin, Charles

DOB: 04/16/1889
DOD: 12/25/1977

By simple common sense I don't believe in God.


Chase, Ilka

DOB: 04/08/1900
DOD: 02/15/1978

It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty. 


Chomsky, Noam

DOB: 12/07/1928

Three quarters of the American population literally believe in religious miracles.  The numbers who believe in the devil, in resurrection, in God doing this and that is astonishing.  These numbers aren't duplicated anywhere else in the industrial world.  You'd have to maybe go to mosques in Iran or do a poll among old ladies in Sicily to get numbers like this.  Yet, this is the American population.


Cohen, Chapman

DOB: 09/01/1868
DOD: 02/04/1954

Human society is born in the shadow of religious fear, and in that stage the suppression of heresy is a sacred social duty. Then comes the rise of a priesthood, and the independent thinker is met with punishment in this world and the threat of eternal damnation hereafter. Even today it is from the religious side that the greatest danger to freedom of thought comes.  Religion is the last thing man will civilize.

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.


Clarke, Arthur C.

DOB: 12/16/1917
DOB: 03/19/2008

Religion is a by-product of fear.  For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary?  Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity. 

I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.

I would defend the liberty of consenting adult creationists to practice whatever intellectual perversions they like in the privacy of their own homes; but it is also necessary to protect the young and innocent.


Condell, Pat

DOB: 11/01/1951

It seems to me that fundamentalist Christians, jihadist Muslims and settlement-building Jews are causing more than their share of trouble in the world.  World events are being driven by people with apocalyptic delusions, while here in Britain a paralyzing liberal guilt allows religious bigots to use intimidation and violence to stamp out free speech.  If you can’t get laughs out of all that, you can’t get them out of anything. 

I've always found it quite odd that we've revered the ancient Greeks for their great discoveries in science and philosophy and yet we've dismissed their religion as fantasy while embracing the religion of a culture that could barely rub two sticks together to make fire. 

Don't get me wrong.  I’m not saying religion doesn’t have its uses.  Personally I turn to it whenever I want my intelligence insulted.  And the holy scriptures come in very handy when I need to justify behavior I’m ashamed of.

There are, of course, many sins one can commit in the eyes of religion.  Among the greatest is the sin of having an original thought.  Religion disapproves of original thought the way Dracula disapproves of sunlight.

Actually, my problem is not with God, but with God’s little helpers, the ones who take it upon themselves to police the rest of us on his behalf.  These people give religion a bad name, which, given its history, takes some doing.
They wear their ignorance as a badge of honour, and they hold very strong opinions about what other people should think.   Plus they’ve managed to insinuate themselves into a position where their beliefs are given equal weight with real ideas, and are allowed to affect our lives in all sorts of ridiculous ways.


Crick, Frances

DOB: 06/08/1916
DOD: 07/28/2004

I realized early on that it is detailed scientific knowledge which makes certain religious beliefs untenable.  A knowledge of the true age of the earth and of the fossil record makes it impossible for any balanced intellect to believe in the literal truth of every part of the Bible in the way that fundamentalists do.  And if some of the Bible is manifestly wrong, why should any of the rest of it be accepted automatically?  What could be more foolish than to base one's entire view of life on ideas that, however plausible at the time, now appear to be quite erroneous?  And what would be more important than to find our true place in the universe by removing one by one these unfortunate vestiges of earlier beliefs.


Daleiden, Joseph

DOB: ?

J. M. Robertson has estimated that from the first crusade launched by Pope Urban II in 1095 to the fall of Acre in 1291, nine million lives were lost.  This may be an overestimation, but the number is certainly in the millions and represents only the beginning of the carnage which places the Catholic Church in the same league with the Third Reich and the purges of Stalin or Mao.  Before the crusades against the 'heathens' were concluded, the popes began an internal crusade against heretics within Christendom. The resulting Inquisition lasted officially almost 600 years and resulted in the loss of additional millions of lives.


Darrow, Clarence

DOB: 04/18/1857
DOD: 03/13/1938

I have always felt that doubt was the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of God was the end of wisdom.

I am an agnostic; I do not pretend to know what many ignorant men are sure of.

Some of you say religion makes people happy.  So does laughing gas.

If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After a while it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.


Darwin, Charles

DOB: 02/12/1809
DOB: 04/19/1882

I had gradually come to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world and from its attribution to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindus or the beliefs of any barbarians.

I can hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my father, brother and almost all of their best friends will be everlastingly punished.

The assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence.  But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent deity.

I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars.


Dawkins, Richard

DOB: 03/26/1941

My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th.  The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as I watched the 'Day of Prayer' in Washington Cathedral, where people of mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place: religion.  It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say 'Enough!'  Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe

I'm not an American so I must be a little careful here but I cannot help but feeling that any electoral system, any constitutional system, which is capable out of a population of 300 million - well, you'd think that somehow the best would rise to the top and you'd get the best possible President - how can an electoral system give rise to George W. Bush?  What went wrong?  For goodness sake do something about the electoral system that can give rise to this extraordinary phenomenon that such a low-grade, anti-intellectual, second-rate idiot can be elected to the most powerful nation on Earth. 

In 480 BC King Zerksis of the Persians built a pontoon bridge across the Hellispot and a rough seas came and wrecked it.  King Zerksis was so furious that he sentenced the sea to 300 lashes.  I wonder if there's something of King Zerksis in all of us to this day.  We don't want to believe that things just happen.   We want to believe that there's some kind of deliberate intention behind everything, even where inanimate objects are concerned and perhaps that is the key to humanity's need for the supernatural.  Even in the 21st century, despite all that science has revealed about the indifferent vastness of the universe, the human mind remains a wanton story-teller creating intention in the randomness of reality. 

Reason has built the modern world.  It is a precious but also a fragile thing which can be corroded by apparently harmless irrationality.  We must favor verifiable evidence over private feelings otherwise we leave ourselves vulnerable to those who would obscure the truth. 

Like computer viruses, successful mind viruses will tend to be hard for their victims to detect.  If you are the victim of one, the chances are that you won't know it, and may even vigorously deny it. 

No wonder the Jesuit says, "Give me the child for the first seven years and I'll give you the man."  The child brain will automatically believe whatever it is told, even if what it is told is nonsense.  And then when the child is grown up it will tend to pass on the same nonsense to its children.  And so, religion goes on from generation to generation.
For many people part of growing up is killing the virus of faith with a good, strong dose of reason.  But if an individual doesn't succeed in shaking it off, his mind is stuck in a permanent state of infancy, and there is a real danger that he will infect the next generation. 

A prejudice against science is evident is schools.  Chemistry "A" levels have halved in the last 25 years.  Chemistry enrollment has fallen by more than a third.  University departments are closing all over the country.  This is a betrayal of the Enlightenment.  The fundamental problem, I think, is with the fashion throughout our educational system to teach students to value private feelings more highly than evidence-based reason. 

As a scientist I can't help but feeling we've lost our reason and gone mad.  Not only are we turning our backs on science, we're embracing the world of anti-science.  Everywhere you turn now there are psychics, astrologists and para-normalists offering tin cup comforts for those who need reassurance. 
I find the lack of scientific understanding worrying.  And what's worse, as a society we seem happy to tolerate such ignorance.

Religion is not the root of all evil but it gets in the way of a proper appreciation of the world and the universe in which we find ourselves.... and that is an evil in itself. 

The time has come for people of reason to say, 'enough is enough.'  Religious faith discourages independent thought, it's divisive and it's dangerous. 

It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).  

The idea of a divine creator belittles the elegant reality of the Universe.

If you walk up and down a pebbly beach, you will notice that the pebbles are not arranged at random.  The smallest pebbles typically tend to be found in segregated zones running along the length of the beach, the larger ones in different zones or stripes.  The pebbles have been sorted, arranged selected.  A tribe living near the shore might wonder at this evidence of sorting or arrangement in the world, and might develop a myth to account for it, perhaps attributing it to a Great Spirit in the sky with a tiny mind and a sense of order.  We might give a superior smile at such a superstitious notion, and explain that the arranging was really done by the blind forces of physics, in this case the action of waves.  The waves had no intentions, no tidy mind, no mind at all.  They just energetically throw the pebbles around, and the big pebbles and small pebbles respond differently to this arrangement so they end up at different levels of the beach.  A small amount of order has come out of disorder, and no mind planned it.

The waves and the pebbles together constitute an example of a system that automatically generates non-randomness.  The world is full of such systems.

Science is predicated on the assumption that belief is unwarranted without evidence and reason to back it up.  But religion is based on the opposite: that belief in the absence of evidence is a virtue and that the more your beliefs defy the evidence, the more virtuous you are.  Virtuoso believers who can manage to believe something really weird, unsupported and insupportable, in the teeth of evidence and reason, are especially highly rewarded.

Let's get up off our knees, stop cringing before bogeymen and virtual fathers, face reality, and help science to do something constructive about human suffering.

With so many mindbytes to be downloaded, so many mental codons to be replicated, it is no wonder that child brains are gullible, open to almost any suggestion, vulnerable to subversion, easy prey to Moonies, Scientologists and nuns.

It is said that Alfred Hitchcock, the great cinematic specialist in the art of frightening people, was once driving through Switzerland when he suddenly pointed out of the car window and said, "That is the most frightening sight I have ever seen.'  It was a priest in a conversation with a little boy, his hand on the boy's shoulder.  Hitchcock leaned out of the car window and shouted, "Run little boy!  Run for your life!'

Fundamentalist religion is hell-bent on ruining the scientific education of countless thousands of innocent, well-meaning, eager young minds.  Non-fundamentalist, 'sensible' religion may not be doing that.  But it is making the world safe for fundamentalism by teaching children, from their earliest years, that unquestioning faith is a virtue.

Even if religion did no other harm in itself, its wanton and carefully nurtured divisiveness – its deliberate and cultivated pandering to humanity’s natural tendency to favor in-groups and shun out-groups – would be enough to make it a significant force for evil in the world.


Delius, Frederick

DOB: 01/29/1862
DOD: 06/10/1934

 The sooner you get rid of all this Christian humbug the better.  The whole traditional concept of life is false.  Throw those great Christian blinkers away, and look around you and stand on your own feet.  Don't believe all the tommyrot priests tell you; learn and prove everything by your own experience.  One thing is certain - that English music will never be any good till they get rid of Jesus.  Humanity is incredible.  It will believe anything, anything to escape reality.


Dennett, Daniel

DOB: 03/28/1942

I've come to realize it's time to sound the alarm.

Whether we
Brights are a minority or, as I am inclined to believe, a silent majority, our deepest convictions are increasingly dismissed, belittled and condemned by those in power - by politicians who go out of their way to invoke God and to stand, self-righteously preening, on what they call 'the side of the angels.'

Politicians don't think they even have to pay us lip service, and leaders who wouldn't be caught dead making religious or ethnic slurs don't hesitate to disparage the 'godless' among us.

From the White House down, Bright-bashing is seen as a low-risk vote-getter. And, of course, the assault isn't only rhetorical: the Bush administration has advocated changes in government rules and policies to increase the role of religious organizations in daily life, a serious subversion of the Constitution.  It is time to halt this erosion and to take a stand: the United States is not a religious state, it is a secular state that tolerates all religions, and yes, all manner of nonreligious ethical beliefs as well

The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled the sky with shining stars for our delight -- that God is, like Santa Claus, a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally believe in.  That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less concrete or abandoned altogether.

Faith is a late invention of organized religion as a cover for dealing with skepticism.

Religion is rarely a matter of choice, and by the time people are hooked (usually in earliest childhood) it's tough to talk any sense into them.


Diderot, Denis

DOB: 10/05/1713
DOD: 07/31/1784

A nation which thinks that it is belief in God and not good law which makes people honest does not seem to me very advanced. 

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsley; but not at all so to believe or not in God.

The God of Genesis loved his apples more than he loved his children.

Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.


Dillard, Ann

DOB: 04/30/1945

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"

Priest: "No, not if you did not know."

Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?"


Dobzhansky, Theodosius

DOB: 01/25/1900
DOD: 12/18/1975

The business of proving evolution has reached a stage when it is futile for biologists to work merely to discover more and more evidence of evolution.  Those who choose to believe that God created every biological species separately in the state we observe them, but made them in a way calculated to lead us to the conclusion that they are the products of an evolutionary development are obviously not open to argument.  All that can be said is that their belief is an implicit blasphemy, for it imputes to God an appalling deviousness.


Douglass, Frederick

DOB: 03/?/1818
DOD: 02/20/1895

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. 


Einstein, Albert

DOB: 03/14/1879
DOD: 04/18/1955

Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary.  Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. 

Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.... this is a somewhat new kind of religion.

Strange is our situation here on Earth.  Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.  From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men – above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.


Ellerbe, Helen

DOB: ?

By far the cruelest aspect of the inquisitional system was the means by which confessions were wrought: the torture chamber.  Torture remained a legal option for the Church from 1252 when it was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV until 1917 when the new Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect.  Thus, with license granted by the Pope himself, inquisitors were free to explore the depths of horror and cruelty.  The Inquisition invented every conceivable device to inflict pain by slowly dismembering and dislocating the body.  Many of these devices were inscribed with the motto 'Glory be only to God.' 


Ellis, Albert

DOB: 09/27/1913
DOD: 07/24/2007

Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis. 

Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis.


Emerson, Ralph Waldo

DOB: 05/25/1803
DOD: 05/27/1882

The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.


Ertz, Susan

DOB: 1894
DOD: 04/11/1985

Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 


Fahringer, Catherine

DOB: 1922

We would be 1,500 years ahead if it hadn't been for the church dragging science back by its coattails and burning our best minds at the stake.


Feynman, Richard

DOB: 05/11/1918
DOD: 02/15/1988

God was invented to explain mystery.  God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand.  Now, when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore.  But you need him for the other mysteries.  So therefore you leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time — life and death — stuff like that.  God is always associated with those things that you do not understand.  Therefore I don't think that the laws can be considered to be like God because they have been figured out.


Fields, W.C.

DOB: 01/29/1880
DOD: 12/25/1946

Prayers never bring anything. They may bring solace to the sap, the bigot, the ignorant, the aboriginal, and the lazy, but to the enlightened it is the same as asking Santa Claus to bring you something for Xmas



Flaubert, Gustave

DOB: 12/12/1821
DOD:  05/08/1880

I can't admit of an old boy God who takes walks in his garden with a cane in his hand, who lodges his friends in the belly of whales, dies uttering a cry, and rises again after three days; things absurd in themselves, and completely opposed, moreover, to all physical laws, which proves to us, by the way, that priests have always wallowed in squalid ignorance, and tried to drag whole nations down after them. 



Fletcher, David

DOB: ?

God helps those who help themselves, they say - which I knew really meant: God doesn't do a goddamn thing.



Foote, George William

DOB: 01/11/1850
DOD: 10/17/1915

Who burnt heretics?  Who roasted or drowned millions of 'witches'?  Who built dungeons and filled them?  Who brought forth cries of agony from honest men and women that rang to the tingling stars?  Who burnt Bruno?  Who spat filth over the graves of Paine and Voltaire?  The answer is one word  - Christians. 


France, Anatole

DOB: 04/16/1844
DOD: 10/12/1924

Men are given to worshipping malevolent gods, and that which is not cruel seems to them not worth their adoration.


Franklin, Benjamin

DOB: 01/17/1706
DOD: 04/17/1790

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.


Freud, Sigmund

DOB: 05/06/1856
DOD: 09/23/1939

Religion is the process of unconscious wish fulfillment, where, for certain people, if the process did not take place it would put them in self-danger of coming to mental harm, being unable to cope with the idea of a godless, purposeless life.

Religion comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.

Its (religion's) doctrines carry with them the stamp of the times in which they originated, the ignorant childhood days of the human race.  Its consolations deserve no trust.  Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.


Frost, Robert

DOB: 03/26/1874
DOD: 01/29/1963

I turned to speak to God, about the world's despair; But to make bad matters worse, I found God wasn't there.


Gage, Matilda Josyln

DOB: 1826
DOD: 1898

During the ages, no rebellion has been of like importance with that of Woman against the tyranny of the Church and State; none has had its far reaching effects.  We note its beginning; its progress will overthrow every existing form of these institutions; its end will be a regenerated world.

The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it.


Galileo, Galilei

DOB: 02/15/1564
DOD: 01/08/1642

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. 


Gandhi, Mohandas

DOB: 08/02/1869
DOD: 01/30/1948

The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.


Gardner, Martin

DOB: 10/21/1914

There is nothing supernatural, and nothing in human reason or visible in the world to compel people to believe in God.  The mystery of existence is enchanting, but a belief in "The Old One" comes from faith without evidence.

To an atheist, the universe is the most exquisite masterpiece ever constructed by nobody.


Garrison, William Lloyd

DOB: 12/12/1805
DOD: 05/24/1879

The human mind is greater than any book.  The mind sits in judgment on every book.  If there be truth in the book, we take it; if error, we discard it.  Why refer this (abolition and the suffrage of women) to the Bible?  In this country, the Bible has been used to support slavery and capital punishment; while in the old countries, it has been quoted to sustain all manner of tyranny and persecution. All reforms are anti-Bible.


Gaylor, Annie Laurie

DOB: 11/02/1955

The only true shield standing between women and the bible, that handbook for the subjugation of women, is a secular government. U.S. citizens must wake up to the threat of an encroaching theocracy, and shore up Thomas Jefferson's wall of separation between church and state.


Gibbon, Edward

DOB: 04/27/1737
DOD: 01/16/1794

A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds.  But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude that, if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision.  Their love of the marvelous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoured the establishment of Polytheism.  So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition.

A state of skepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds.  But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude that, if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision.  Their love of the marvelous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoured the establishment of Polytheism.  So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition.


Gibson, Ella

DOB: 05/08/1821
DOD: 03/05/1901

On which side, O women, will you be found in this mighty contest? Aiding and abetting your enemy - the Bible - or arrayed against it rendering assistance to your saviour - reason, science and truth?  Oh, choose the latter, and unite with your brother man in exterminating from the earth the greatest scourge of the race, a false and pernicious theology, the doctrines of which are found within and sustained by the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, known as King James's Bible.

The abominable laws respecting women in the Bible are a disgrace to civilization and English literature; and any family which permits such a volume to lie on their parlor table ought to be ostracized from all respectable society.

Woman, this is your work, to rise in rebellion against the book which promulgates such false and vile opinions in regard to yourselves, which is the origination of such erroneous views relative to your needs, motives, and desires, which in every relation of life, misrepresents your position, aims, and interests; which clouds your hopes, stifles your ambition, circumscribes your opportunities, chains you down to slavish servitude in obedience to its mandates; gives to man, as man and husband, superior rights and privileges, exonerates him from all blame when most to blame, and installs him right or wrong, Lord God over one-half of the human universe and that half his mother, wife, and daughter, making him the fiat to which woman must universally defer, and limiting her education, privileges, possibilities, aspirations, and intuitions to his blind selfishness, controlled by passion, filthy lucre, ignorances and prayer.

Away with its false teachings, fables, pagan mythology, and abuse of woman, and assist her to free herself from these shackles and to overcome these vile aspersions descending down from the dark ages and settling like a pall over her existence and the existence of the race.

Woman's position under Judaism and Christianity as portrayed in the Bible, is unworthy of herself and man today.  Then why seek to maintain and perpetuate it by retaining such a book as authority.  The abominable laws respecting her in the Old Testament and in the New, especially those of Paul in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere, are a disgrace to civilization and English literature; and any family which permits such a volume to lie on their parlor-table ought to be ostracized from all respectable society. The time will come when King James's Bible will not be spoken of without a blush of shame tingling the cheek of modesty, or referred to except as a textbook obsolete, superannuated, blasphemous, false, pernicious, corrupt, immodest, obscene, and too immoral to he tolerated, even as a past nuisance, ancient, foreign, and worthless.

Christianity is an insult to the wisdom of the nineteenth century.  To place before its progress and development a leader, ruler, king, savior, god, whose knowledge was less than a modern five-year-old schoolgirl is an outrage upon humanity.


Gide, Andre'

DOB: 11/22/1869
DOD: 02/19/1951

Trust those who seek the truth.  Doubt those who find it.


Goldberg, Michelle

DOB: ?

..... what's even more disturbing is that we are now exporting this type of thinking all over the world.  I was recently in Poland for the World Congress of Families, an international right-wing gathering featuring seminars on post-abortion syndrome and other topics such as the "homosexual agenda" and the threat it poses around the world.  I attended another recent conference, this one at the United Nations, where the fictitious abortion-breast cancer link was presented.  One of the things the Bush administration has done has been to obtain official NGO status for a number of far-right outfits, which gives them the ability to put on presentations at the Church Center right next door to the UN.  So here was a presentation on this supposed link, which again doesn't exist except in the lore of the anti-abortion movement.  People from all over the world - Nigeria, Korea, Poland, Mexico - were hearing what seemed to be an official presentation and saying, "I never knew this.  I can't wait to take this back to my country."  And so, increasingly, the kind of misinformation that characterizes our politics is being picked up all over the world where it comes with the imprimatur of being the work of American scientists.

One of the things we see today is the way totalitarian movements construct an entire parallel reality, and then insist that that reality be substituted for the actual reality.  You see this with everything, from what’s going on in the science class, to the construction of foreign policy, to the promotion of abstinence education to the kind of fictitious numbers that are given for the Bush tax cuts.  It’s something quite new in American politics – this idea almost of radical relativism – the idea that truth is determined by the person who has the power to impose it.

Dialogue is impossible without some shared sense of reality.  What's lacking isn't just truth, it's the entire social mechanism by which truth is distinguished from falsehood.


Goldman, Emma

DOB: 06/27/1869
DOD: 05/14/1940

Needless to say, society is obsessed by more than one morality.  Indeed, every institution of today has its own moral standard.  Nor could they ever have maintained themselves, were it not for religion, which acts as a shield, and for morality, which acts as the mask.  This explains the interest of the exploiting rich in religion and morality.  The rich preach, foster, and finance both, as an investment that pays good returns.  Through the medium of religion they have paralyzed the mind of the people, just as morality has enslaved the spirit.  In other words, religion and morality are a much better whip to keep people in submission, than even the club and the gun.

Everywhere and always, since its very inception, Christianity has turned the earth into a vale of tears; always it has made of life a weak, diseased thing, always it has instilled fear in man, turning him into a dual being, whose life energies are spent in the struggle between body and soul.  In decrying the body as something evil, the flesh as the tempter to everything that is sinful, man has mutilated his being in the vain attempt to keep his soul pure, while his body rotted away from the injuries and tortures inflicted upon it.

The Christian religion and morality extols the glory of the Hereafter, and therefore remains indifferent to the horrors of the earth.  Indeed, the idea of self-denial and of all that makes for pain and sorrow is its test of human worth, its passport to the entry into heaven.

No real social change has ever been brought about without a revolution.  Revolution is but thought carried into action.

The most violent element in society is ignorance.

The majority cannot reason; it has no judgment.  It has always placed its destiny in the hands of others; it has followed its leaders even into destruction. The mass has always opposed, condemned and hounded the innovator, the pioneer of a new truth.


Green, Ruth Hurmence

DOB: 01/12/1915
DOD: 07/07/1981

I am convinced that children should not be subjected to the frightfulness of the Christian religion.  If the concept of a father who plots to have his own son put to death is presented to children as beautiful and as worthy of society's admiration, what types of human behavior can be presented to them as reprehensible?

There was a time when religion ruled the world.  It is known as the Dark Ages.


Gould, Stephen Jay

DOB: 09/10/1941
DOD: 05/20/2002

The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best -- and therefore never scrutinize or question.


Gray, Muriel

DOB: 08/30/1958

The many destructive forces of religion, as opposed to the few beneficial ones, are almost exclusively wielded by those with limited thinking power.


Guevara, El Mundo de

DOB: 02/28/1947

Supernatural: a linguistic invention of the mindless used by the thoughtless to convince the credulous to accept the ridiculous.

Godless: cognition commensurate with respect for reason and disdain for incongruity.

Religious beliefs systems endure because of fear, intellectual lethargy, ignorance and, dare I say, plain stupidity, but the cumulative effects of indoctrination and enculturation cannot be overstated.  As long as these factors remain an integral part of our daily experience, so will the tenacious grip on magic, superstition and every manner of anti-reason. 

Whenever I hear the spurious claims of the piety of our forefathers and how our country was founded upon Christian principles, I feel compelled to interject that it was none other than George Washington who, on Christmas day in 1776, assembled his troops to cross the Delaware River in a surprise attack on  his Hessian enemies.

When I hear someone proclaim that his favored deity is really three entities wrapped up in one I immediately find myself wondering: could it be that the framers of this laughable notion suffered from a severe personality disorder?  And could it be that current-day proponents of this delusion are attracted to its plausibility precisely because of the same?

All of society's priests, by virtue of their steadfast commitment to doctrine and dogma over empirical evidence and reason, are threats to themselves, their followers and all of us who must endure their constant appeals for the subjugation of reason with blind faith, hearsay and superstition.

The demand for evidence in one's quest for all that is knowable is inversely proportional to one's acceptance as fact that which can not be empirically verified.

A man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day.  Moses asked God what they should do.  The Lord said to Moses, 'The man must die.  The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.'  So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.
  ~The Bible, Numbers 15:32-36)
Thus were born the ageless values and morals of today's god-fearing, bible-thumping, "pro-life," Ten Commandments-in-every-school-and-courthouse crowd.

Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
  ~Moses (Numbers 31:17-18)
And these ancient morsels of psychosis, we're told, are the "foundations" of our "morality."  Oh yes, let us post this crap in every courthouse and public school in the land.  This should help greatly in our understanding of the morality of the earliest monotheists.

Theists are eager to admit a cocksured belief in something that's invisible and improvable but if it's staring them in the face, they just can't believe it.  If you doubt this assertion, just ask any of them about evolution.

Religious faith: The inevitable consequence of cocksure conviction devoid of all reason.


There are those who believe they have been perfectly designed and placed in this cosmos, on this planet, for a special purpose.  They call themselves theists.  I refer to them as narcissists and egomaniacs.

The entire discombobulated complexion of the modern world is easily explained by the proliferation of churches, mosques, temples and synagogues and the simultaneous wholesale dismantling of lunatic asylums.

Acceptance of the scriptural explanation for the origins of life is a pronunciation to all that one has given up in their search for a real understanding of anything.  Loudly and clearly it says to all listening, “I have my answer to life’s most fundamental question.  All other concerns are but a footnote to that.”   Such a pronouncement is surely a  manifestation that one's mind has been infected by mankind's most insidious and malicious virus.

Should one question the close relationship between fervent religious belief and mental illness, visiting a few prisons or asylums for the mentally deranged will end all doubt.

If all life, as the religionists insist, is sacred, why is ground beef or BBQ chicken such a popular staple?


Guin, Ursula K. Le

DOB: 10/21/1929

The preservation of life seems to be rather a slogan than a genuine goal of the anti-abortion forces; what they want is control.  Control over behavior: power over women.  Women in the anti-choice movement want to share in male power over women, and do so by denying their own womanhood, their own rights and responsibilities.


Haldane, JBS

DOB: 11/05/1892
DOD: 12/01/1964

The conservative has but little to fear from the man whose reason is the servant of his passions, but let him beware of him in whom reason has become the greatest and most terrible of the passions. These are the wreckers of outworn empires and civilizations, doubters, disintegrators, deiciders.


Harris, Sam

DOB: 1967

We read the Golden Rule and judge it to be a brilliant distillation of many of our ethical impulses.  And then we come across another of God’s teachings on morality: if a man discovers on his wedding night that his bride is not a virgin, he must stone her to death on her father’s doorstep (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).

Here we have an Ignoramus-in-Chief who, based explicitly on his religious convictions is, I think without question, prolonging the misery of tens of thousands of people, and he's doing it smugly and unselfconsciously based entirely on what he believes about the human soul and the possibility of what he believes are human souls in Petri dishes.  (Statement of Harris on GW Beanbrain's veto of federally funded stem cell research)

One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be found in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while claiming to know facts about cosmology, chemistry and biology that no scientist knows.

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him.  Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98.  Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous?  And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in.

Only 28% of Americans believe in evolution (and two-thirds of these believe evolution was “guided by God”).  53% are actually creationists. 
These statistics should, for everyone, constitute a national emergency.  That they don't tell you just about everything you need to know about living in the United States in the 21st. century.
How did this ever happen?

When we have reasons for what we believe, we have no need of faith; when we have no reasons, or bad ones, we have lost our connection to the world and to one another.  Atheism is nothing more than a commitment to the most basic standard of intellectual honesty: One’s convictions should be proportional to one’s evidence.  Pretending to be certain when one isn’t - indeed, pretending to be certain about propositions for which no evidence is even conceivable - is both an intellectual and a moral failing.  Only the atheist has realized this.  The atheist is simply a person who has perceived the lies of religion and refused to make them his own.

The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.

It is terrible that we all die and lose everything we love; it is doubly terrible that so many human beings suffer needlessly while alive. That so much of this suffering can be directly attributed to religion—to religious hatreds, religious wars, religious delusions and religious diversions of scarce resources—is what makes atheism a moral and intellectual necessity.

Had the residents of New Orleans been content to rely on the beneficence of the Lord, they wouldn’t have known that a killer hurricane was bearing down upon them until they felt the first gusts of wind on their faces, but a poll conducted by The Washington Post found that 80% of Katrina survivors claim that the event has only strengthened their faith in God.

According to the most common interpretation of biblical prophecy, Jesus will return only after things have gone horribly awry.  Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.

A person who believes that Elvis is still alive is very unlikely to get promoted to a position of great power and responsibility in our society. Neither will a person who believes that the holocaust was a hoax.  But people who believe equally irrational things about God and the Bible are now running our country. This is genuinely terrifying.

While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society.  Religion  is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about.  It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers.  Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, would be thought insane.

I would be the first to admit that the prospects for eradicating religion in our time do not seem good.  Still, the same could have been said about the efforts to abolish slavery at the end of the 18th century.  Anyone who spoke with confidence about eradicating slavery in the year 1775 surely appeared to be wasting his time, and wasting it dangerously.  If we ever do transcend our religious bewilderment, we will look back upon this period in human history with horror and amazement.  How could it have been possible to believe such things in the 21st century?  The truth is, some of our most cherished beliefs are as embarrassing as those that sent the last slave ship sailing to America as late as 1859 (the same year that Darwin published The Origin of the Species).

One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be appreciated in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while condemning scientists and other non-believers for their intellectual arrogance.  There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of the religious believer; the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, and will reward me after my death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend eternity in hell.... An average Christian, in an average church, listening to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse - and there have been some extraordinary arrogant scientists.

It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail.


Hayes, Judith

DOB: ?

If we are going to teach 'creation science' as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.

I understand now why the Catholic Church fought so hard to keep the Bible in Latin. If no one knows what it says, no one can question what it says.  And almost anything sounds pretty in Latin.  But if you read the entire Bible, not just prized snippets, you realize that it is a primitive, brutally violent, bigoted book.  It stinks.


Heine, Heinrich

DOB: 12/13/1797
DOD: 02/17/1856

In the dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see.  When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind old men as guides.


Heinlein, Robert

DOB: 07/07/1907
DOD: 05/08/1988

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.


Heller, Joseph

DOB: 05/01/1923
DOD: 12/12/1999

Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth-decay in His divine system of creation.


Hitchens, Christopher

DOB: 04/13/1949

Only with the view that God's on your side can people give themselves permission to do things that otherwise would be called satanic.

If everything was designed, what are we to make of the designer who has subjected so many generations to barbarism, misery, ignorance, slavery and early death?
Religion was the first try at philosophy, it was our first try at epistemology.  It's what we came up with when we didn't know that we lived on a round planet circling the sun.
The world as we know it works as the world might be expected to work if it did not have a designer.  We can finally grow up if we resign ourselves to this increasingly inescapable truth.

Sigmund Freud was quite correct to describe the religious impulse, in "The Future of an Illusion,"  as essentially eradicable until or unless the human species can conquer its fear of death or its tendency to wish-thinking.  Neither contingency seems very probable.  All the totalitarians have demonstrated is that the religious impulse - the need to worship - can take even more monstrous forms if it is repressed.  This might not necessarily be a compliment to our worshipping tendency.

It is probably not a coincidence that the fascists arose first and most excitedly in the Catholic countries, and it is certainly not a coincidence that the Catholic Church was generally sympatric to fascism as an idea.  Not only did the Church regard Communism as a lethal foe, but it also saw its old Jewish enemy in the most senior ranks of Lenin's army.  Benito Mussolini had barely seized power in Italy before the Vatican made an official treaty with him, known as the Luteran Pact of 1929.  Under the terms of this deal, Catholicism became the only recognized religion in Italy, with monopoly powers over matters such as birth, marriage, death and education, and in return urged its followers to vote for Mussolini's party.  Pope Pius XI described Il Duce as "a man sent by providence."

Our species will never run out of fools but I daresay that there has been at least as many credulous idiots who professed faith in god as there have been dolts and simpletons who concluded otherwise.

Those who would invoke "secular" tyranny in contrast to religion are hoping that we will forget two things: the connection between the Christian churches and fascism, and the capitulation of the churches to National Socialism.

Outgrowing the supernatural and the superstitious is not sufficient for emancipating the human race.  It’s only the beginning.  All our big discoveries and big arguments are ahead of us, but the one that has to be subtracted is the fanatical one that prays for the end of time.

Viruses like HIV, as well as a wide range of harmful bacteria, can be seen evolving right under our noses, developing resistance to antiviral and antibiotic drugs to the determent of everyone.  Evolution both predicts and explains this phenomenon; the Book of Genesis does not.

One must state it plainly.  Religion comes from the period of human history where nobody - not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms - had the smallest idea what was going on.  It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs).  Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion, and one would like to think - though the connection is not a fully demonstratable one - that this is why they seem so uninterested in sending fellow humans to hell.

Augustine was a self-centered fantasist and an earth-centered ignoramus; he was guiltily convinced that god cared about his trivial theft from some unimportant pear trees, and quite persuaded - by his own solipsism - that the sun revolved around the earth.  He also fabricated the mad and cruel idea that the souls of unbaptised children were sent to "limbo."  Who can guess the load of misery that this diseased "theory" has placed on Catholic parents down the years, until its shamefaced and only partial revision by the church in our own time?


One of the curses of India, as of other poor countries, is the quack medicine man, who fleeces the sufferer by promises of miraculous healing.  Sunday was a great day for these parasites, who saw their crummy methods endorsed by his holiness and given a more or less free ride in the international press.  Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.  More than that, we witnessed the elevation and consecration of extreme dogmatism, blinkered faith, and the cult of a mediocre human personality.  Many more people are poor and sick because of the life of Mother Theresa: Even more will be poor and sick if her example is followed.  She was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions.


There is no need for us to gather every day, or every seven days, or on any high and auspicious day, to proclaim our rectitude or to grovel and wallow in our unworthiness.  We atheists do not require any priests, or any hierarchy above them, to police our doctrine.  Sacrifices and ceremonies are abhorrent to us, as are relics and the worship of any images or objects (even including objects in the form of one of man's most useful innovations: the bound book).  To us no spot on earth is or could be "holier" than another: to the ostentatious absurdity of the pilgrimage, or the plain horror of killing civilians in the name of some sacred wall or cave or shrine or rock, we can counterpoise a leisurely or urgent walk from one side of the library or the gallery to another, or to lunch with an agreeable friend, in pursuit of truth or beauty.  Some of these excursions to the bookshelf or the lunch or the gallery will obviously, if they are serious, bring us into contact with belief and believers, from the great devotional painters and composers to the works of Augustine, Aquinas, Maimonides, and Newman.  These mighty scholars may have written many evil things or many foolish things, and been laughably ignorant of the germ theory of disease or the place of the terrestrial globe in the solar system, let alone the universe, and this is the plain reason why there are no more of them today, and why there will be no more of them tomorrow.  Religion spoke its last intelligible or noble or inspiring words a long time ago: either that or it mutated into an admirable but nebulous humanism, as did, say, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brave Lutheran pastor hanged by the Nazis for his refusal to collude with them.  We shall have no more prophets or sages from the ancient quarter, which is why the devotions of today are only the echoing repetitions of yesterday, sometimes ratcheted up to screaming point so as to ward off the terrible emptiness.

It is not snobbish to notice the way in which people show their gullibility and their herd instinct, and their wish, or perhaps their need, to be credulous and to be fooled.  This is an ancient problem.  Credulity may be a form of innocence, and even innocuous in itself, but it provides a standing invitation for the wicked and the clever to exploit their brothers and sisters, and is thus one of humanity's greatest vulnerabilities.  No honest account of the growth and persistence of religion, or the reception of miracles and revelations, is possible without reference to this stubborn fact.

No school of philosophy has ever solved this question of whether being determines consciousness or the other way around. It may be a false antithesis.  Here’s what I do know:  those who claim that they do know this are bound to be wrong. The argument is not equal between us and the supernaturalists. They don’t just claim to know there is a supernatural that can be miraculous as a designer; they don’t just claim to know that, which is more than they can know.  They say, “No, no, you can! Not only that, you can know God’s mind.  Not only that, you can know what he wants you to do about food and sex.”  If we start by excluding those who say there’s no point in the argument, who say they already know the truth, if we drop them, then we may get some progress.  Then we’re left with an argument among grown-ups.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

Mother Teresa was not a friend of the poor.  She was a friend of poverty.  She said that suffering was a gift from God.  She spent her life opposing the only known cure for poverty, which is the empowerment of women and the emancipation of them from a livestock version of compulsory reproduction.

Religion abolishes obligation to live in truth.

Who wants to always be in debt to someone who never asked if they wanted the loan in the first place.


Hobbs, Thomas

DOB: 04/05/1588
DOD: 12/04/1679

Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which every one in himself calleth religion.


Hoffer, Eric

DOB: 06/25/1902
DOD: 05/21/1983

The facts on which the true believer bases his conclusions must not be derived from his experience or observation but from holy writ.  To rely on the evidence of the senses and of reason is heresy and treason.

The effectiveness of a doctrine should not be judged by its profundity, sublimity or the validity of the truths it embodies, but by how thoroughly it insulates the individual from his self and the world as it is.  What Pascal said of an effective religion is true of any effective doctrine: It must be 'contrary to nature, to common sense and to pleasure.


Hoffmann, R. Joseph

DOB: ?

A little healthy skepticism never hurt anyone, except those with fixed and final positions, those who claim to possess the whole and unvarnished truth, or the careless throng who pride themselves on leading an unexamined life.


Holmes, Oliver Wendell

DOB: 08/29/1809
DOD: 10/07/1894

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.


Hugo, Victor

DOB: 02/26/1802
DOD: 05/22/1885

There is in every village a torch – the teacher: and an extinguisher – the clergyman.


Hume, David

DOB: 04/26/1711
DOD: 08/25/1776

All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability.

On priests: The pretenders to power and dominion, and to a superior sanctity of character, distinct from virtue and good morals.


Hus, Jan

DOB: 1369
DOD: 07/06/1415

If Jesus was poor, why are you so rich?
  ~Jan Hus  (Final words of Jan Hus before he was burned at the stake by Catholic Church authorities in Prague after having been declared a heretic.)


Huxley, Aldous

DOB: 06/24/1894
DOD: 11/22/1963

You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion.  Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain.  Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies.  Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence.  Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly.  It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.

Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth.  By simply not mentioning certain subjects... totalitarian propagandists have influenced opinion much more effectively than they could have by the most eloquent denunciations.


Huxley, Thomas

DOB: 05/04/1825
DOD: 06/29/1895

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


Inge, William Ralph

DOB: 06/06/1860
DOD: 02/26/1954

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.

To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for a superstition to enslave a philosophy.

We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation, and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feathers so badly that beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the Devil in human form.


Ingersoll, Robert

DOB: 08/11/1833
DOD: 07/21/1899

In most of the states of this union, I could not give testimony.  Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that it does not believe that a man can tell the truth unless frightened by a belief in God.

Blasphemy is the word that the majority hisses into the ears of the few.  Each church has accused nearly every other of being a blasphemer.  The Catholics called Martin Luther a blasphemer and Martin Luther called Copernicus a blasphemer. Pious ignorance always regards intelligence as a kind of blasphemy. Some of the greatest men of the world, some of the best, have been put to death for blasphemy.  After every argument of the church has been answered, has been refuted, then the church cries, "Blasphemy!" Blasphemy is what an old mistake says of a newly discovered truth.

Were we allowed to read the Bible as we do all other books, we would admire its beauties, treasure its worthy thoughts, and account for all its absurd, grotesque and cruel things, by saying that its authors lived in rude, barbaric times.  But we are told that it was written by inspired men; that it contains the will of God; that it is perfect, pure, and true in all its parts; the source and standard of all moral and religious truth; that it is the star and anchor of all human hope; the only guide for man, the only torch in Nature's night.  These claims are so at variance with every known recorded fact, so palpably absurd, that every free, unbiased soul is forced to raise the standard of revolt.

God cannot send to eternal pain a man who has done something toward improving the condition of his fellow-man. If he can, I had rather go to hell than to heaven and keep company with such a god.

For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other.  This is the war between Science and Faith.  The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world.  The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter.  The few have said, "Think!"  The many have said, "Believe!"

Honest investigation is utterly impossible within the pale of any church, for the reason, that if you think the church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it wrong, the church will investigate you.

There is nothing spiritual in the worship of the unknown and unknowable, in the self-denial of a slave at the command of a master whom he fears.  Fastings, prayings, mutilations, kneelings, and mortification are either the result of, or result in, insanity.

The priests of one religion never credit the miracles of another religion.  Is this because priests instinctively know priests?

If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal.  If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane. 

The government of God was tried in Geneva when John Calvin was his representative.  Under this government of God, the flames climbed around the limbs and blinded the eyes of Michael Servetus, because he dared to express an honest thought.  This government of God was established in New England and the result was that Quakers were hanged or burned.  This government of God was established in Spain, and the Jews were expelled.  This government of God was tried in the U.S. when slavery was regarded as a divine institution. The pulpit of that day defended the buying and selling of women and babies. The mouths of the slave-traders were filled with passages of Scripture, defending and upholding traffic in human flesh.

If a man would follow today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly, the teachings of the new, he would be insane.


Jacoby, Susan

DOB: 1945

Down here in the reality-based world we must first talk about the retrograde form of religion that holds one-third of Americans in thrall.  This is the proportion of Americans who say that they believe every word in the Bible is literally true.  Not merely inspired by God but the literal handwriting of God. One out of three.  What an astounding statistic, reflecting a level of credulity the exists nowhere else in the developed world.  Our opponents would have you believe that those of us who consider America too bloody religious are concerned mainly with legalistic issues involving the separation of church and state.  In fact, our nation's excessive religiosity affects individual lives and public policy in ways that are often matters of life and death.


Jaffree, Ishmael

DOB: 03/28/1944

Just as the right to speak and the right to refrain from speaking are complementary components of a broader concept of individual freedom of mind, so also the individual's freedom to choose his own creed is the counterpart of his right to refrain from accepting the creed established by the majority. At one time it was thought that this right merely proscribed the preference of one Christian sect over another, but would not require equal respect for the conscience of the infidel, the atheist, or the adherent of a non-Christian faith such as Mohammedism or Judaism. But when the underlying principle has been examined in the crucible of litigation, the Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all.


Jefferson, Thomas

DOB: 04/13/1743
DOD: 07/4/1826

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty.  He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own.

The truth is, that the greatest enemies of the doctrine of Jesus are those, calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them to the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter … But may we hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this most venerated reformer of human errors.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
(Letter to Alexander von Humboldt)

It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it (the Biblical story of the Apocalypse), and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherencies of our own nightly dreams.
(Letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan. 17, 1825)

Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State.

On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition one redeeming feature.  They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.

Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched.  Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion.  Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.

The priests of the different religious sects….. dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of daylight, and scowl on the fatal harbinger announcing the subdivision of the duperies on which they live.

If we did a good act merely from love of God and a belief that it is pleasing to Him, whence arises the morality of the Atheist?  Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.


Johnson, Ellen

DOB: ?

It's still a good bet that where women are second-class citizens, religious beliefs and religious-based societal policies are widespread.


Johnson, Sonia

DOB: 02/27/1936

I have to admit that one of my favorite fantasies is that next Sunday not one single woman, in any country of the world, will go to church.  If women simply stop giving their time and energy to the institutions that oppress women, they would have to cease to do so.


Kant, Emanuel

DOB: 04/22/1724
DOD: 02/12/1804

I had therefore to remove knowledge, in order to make room for belief. 

Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means.  But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them.

Nothing is divine but what is agreeable to reason.


Krauss, Lawrence

DOB: 05/27/1954

I happen to think that evolution is a strawman.  The attack on evolution, in this country (USA) at least, and I think largely elsewhere, is based on a fundamental fear of science, a fear that science is immoral because it doesn't explicitly mention God, because God is not an explicit part of our discussions.  And because God is not an explicit part of our discussions therefore it must be immoral.


Krebs, Ed

DOB: 08/1951

The world is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.  In the end, religion will kill us all.


Luxemburg, Rosa

DOB: 03/05/1870
DOB: 01/05/1919

The clergy, no less than the capitalist class, lives on the backs of the people, profits from the degradation, the ignorance and the oppression of the people.


Lewis, Sinclair

DOB: 02/07/1885
DOD: 01/10/1951

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross.


Lynn, Barry

DOB: 1948

What is a damned religion?  Damned religion is a religion so weak-willed and unsure of its own capacity to persuade others to support it or live by its guidance that it seeks the blessing of government.  That it seeks financial aid from government.  And that it even tries to convert its theological beliefs into legislative fiats.  This damned form of religion is a corruption both of faith and of constitutional democracy.  And it makes a mockery of the best in our history.

If proximity to holy words really made us better people, then the placement of Gideon Bibles in nightstands of motels would have ended adultery long ago.


Madison, James

DOB:  03/16/1751
DOD: 06/28/1836

Freedom arises from the multiplicity of sects, which pervades America and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society.  For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest.

The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries.

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.

Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation.  During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial.  What has been its fruits?  More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. 

What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society?  In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.  Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.

Religion and Government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.


Magellan, Ferdinand

DOB:  1480
DOD: 04/27/1521

The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.


Maher, Bill

DOB:  01/20/1956

The people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are the most certain of them.


Marat, Jean Paul

DOB: 05/24/1743
DOD: 07/13/1793

Don't be deceived when they tell you things are better now.  Even if there's no poverty to be seen because the poverty's been hidden.  Even if you ever got more wages and could afford to buy more of these new and useless goods which industries foist on you and even if it seems to you that you never had so much, that is only the slogan of those who still have much more than you.

Don't be taken in when they paternally pat you on the shoulder and say that there's no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason to fight because if you believe them they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and  granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretence of bringing them culture. 

Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them they'll send you out to protect their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces.

Nothing superfluous can belong to us legitimately so long as others lack necessities.



Marlowe, Christopher

DOB:  02/26/1564
DOD: 05/30/1593

I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance.


Marx, Karl

DOB:  05/05/1918
DOD: 03/14/1883

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.

Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.



Maslow, Abraham

DOB:  04/01/1908
DOD: 06/08/1970

We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.


Massey, Gerald

DOB:  05/29/1828
DOD: 10/29/1907

They must find it difficult.......
Those who have taken authority
as the truth,
Rather than truth as the authority.



Maxwell, James

DOB:  06/13/1831
DOD: 11/05/1879

The only laws of matter are those which are our minds must fabricate, and the only laws of mind are fabricated for it by matter.


McCabe, Joseph

DOB:  11/12/1867
DOD: 01/10/1955

The theist and the scientist are rival interpreters of nature, the one retreats as the other advances.

On the outskirts of the city a man - not a poor working man but an educated and comfortable man - had a farm.  His most valuable pig fell ill, and my friend suggested sending for a vet.  Oh, no, what could a vet do against the Evil Eye?  Next morning a solemn procession made its way from the church to the sty.  The priest wore over his cassock and surplice a richly embroidered shawl that is used in dealing with the devil.  Altar-boys, one swinging a censer, walked on either side of him, and the people, mumbling on their beads, walked behind.  They fell on their knees round the sty while the priest waved the fumes of incense at the pig and recited his incantations.  The pungent smoke got up the pig's nose, and it staggered to its feet; and the people cried, "A miracle!"   The priest received his 100 eggs and 2 hens, but the pig died the next day.  Seeing that it was going to die, the owner had sold it to the local butcher to be turned into food for the people.  He then quietly substituted another pig for it, and this wallowed in the same poisonous filth as its predecessor; but there was now a bottle of holy water hanging from the roof of the sty to protect it.

What is the Constitution of the Catholic Church?  It is the newest approach on earth to that of Nazi Germany.  The Church is a despotic monarchy.  The Pope may not only disregard the collective opinion of his cardinals (his cabinet) but he is not bound to submit to the decisions of a general council of all the bishops, arch-bishops and abbots of the Catholic world.  He is the Fuhrer, with the additional prerogative of infallibility.

On the outskirts of the city a man - not a poor working man but an educated and comfortable man - had a farm.  His most valuable pig fell ill, and my friend suggested sending for a vet.  Oh, no, what could a vet do against the Evil Eye?  Next morning a solemn procession made its way from the church to the sty.  The priest wore over his cassock and surplice a richly embroidered shawl that is used in dealing with the devil.  Altar-boys, one swinging a censer, walked on either side of him, and the people, mumbling on their beads, walked behind.  They fell on their knees round the sty while the priest waved the fumes of incense at the pig and recited his incantations.  The pungent smoke got up the pig's nose, and it staggered to its feet; and the people cried, "A miracle!"   The priest received his 100 eggs and 2 hens, but the pig died the next day.  Seeing that it was going to die, the owner had sold it to the local butcher to be turned into food for the people.  He then quietly substituted another pig for it, and this wallowed in the same poisonous filth as its predecessor; but there was now a bottle of holy water hanging from the roof of the sty to protect it.


Mencken, H.L.

DOB:  12/12/1880
DOD: 01/29/1956

Question: What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world?
Answer:  He gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell.

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic.  He is, more likely, one who loves his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched.  He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.

The fact is that the average man's love of liberty is nine-tenths imaginary, exactly like his love of sense, justice and truth.  He is not actually happy when free; he is uncomfortable, a bit alarmed, and intolerably lonely.  Liberty is not a thing for the great masses of men.  It is the exclusive possession of a small and disreputable minority, like knowledge, courage and honor.  It takes a special sort of man to understand and enjoy liberty — and he is usually an outlaw in democratic societies.



Mensah, Emmanuel Kofi

DOB:  ?

Religion is the brainchild of fear, and fear is the parent of cruelty.  The greatest evils inflicted on humankind are perpetrated not by pleasure-seekers, self-seeking opportunists, or those who are merely amoral, but by fervent devotees of religion.


Mill, John Stuart

DOB:  05/20/1906
DOD: 05/08/1873

I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid.  I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative.  I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.

The tendency has always been strong to believe that whatever received a name must be an entity or thing, having an independent existence of its own; and if no real entity answering to the name could be found, men did not for that reason suppose that none existed, but imagined that it was something peculiarly abstruse and mysterious, too high to be an object of sense.  The meaning of all general, and especially of all abstract terms, became in this way enveloped in a mystical base.


Miller, Ken

DOB:  1948

The Dover (Pennsylvania) case may just be the first in many battles to follow on the issue of Intelligent Design.  But I think ultimately the battle in this country is not going to be won in the courtroom.  It's going to be won or lost in the hearts and minds of the American people in how they regard science.  We could lose our scientific soul and cease being a country that is hospitable, warm, welcoming and nurturing to science.... and loosing that, I think, would be a great tragedy.


Montague, Ashley

DOB:  06/28/1905
DOD: 11/25/1999

Absolute truth belongs only to one class of humans...... the class of absolute fools.

Science has proof without any certainty.  Creationists have certainty without any proof.


Montaigne, Michel de

DOB: 02/28/1533
DOD: 09/13/1592

It is setting a high value upon our opinions to roast men and women alive on account of them.

Men of simple understanding, little inquisitive and little instructed, make good Christians.

Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen.


Morgan, Robin


When Attorney General John Ashcroft repeatedly invokes religion, the Founders must be picketing in their graves. They were a mix of freethinkers, atheists, Christians, agnostics, Freemasons and Deists.  The Founders were, after all, revolutionaries. Their passion - especially regarding secularism - glows in the documents they forged and in their personal words.


Morley, John


Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to examine the laws of heat.


Mott, Lucretia

DOB:  01/03/1793
DOD: 11/11/1880

Truth for authority, not authority for truth.


Moyers, Bill

DOB:  06//1934

One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal.  It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress.  For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.  Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind.  And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts.

It's just a fact: Democracy doesn't work without citizen activism and participation, starting at the community.  Trickle down politics doesn't work much better than trickle down economics.  It's also a fact that civilization happens because we don't leave things to other people.  What's right and good doesn't come naturally.  You have to stand up and fight for it—as if the cause depends on you, because it does.  Allow yourself that conceit—to believe that the flame of democracy will never go out as long as there's one candle in your hand.


Nietzsche, Friedrich

DOB:  10/15/1844
DOD: 08/25/1900

There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to imaginary beings.

I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes.

I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, and the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough - I call it the one immortal blemish on the human race.


Oates, Joyce Carol

DOB: 06/16/1938

I'm not a person who feels very friendly toward organized religion.  I think people have been brainwashed through the centuries.  The churches, particularly the Catholic Church, are patriarchal organizations that have been invested with power for the sake of the people in power, who happen to be men.  It breeds corruption.  I found going to church every Sunday and on holy days an exercise in extreme boredom.



Orton, H.S.

Justice, Wisconsin
Supreme Court

There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state as religion.  Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed.  Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed.  Those who made our Constitution saw this, and used the most apt and comprehensive language in it to prevent such a catastrophe. 

Concurring opinion in Weiss v. the District Board, decided on March 18, 1890, ruling bible readings and devotionals in public schools unconstitutional.



O'Rourke, P.J.

DOB:  11/14/1947

No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society.  If we're looking for the sources of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power.


O'Toole, Peter

DOB:  08/02/1932

When did I realize I was God?  Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.


Orwell, George

DOB:  06/30/1903
DOD: 01/21/1950

Saints should always be presumed guilty until proved innocent.

One must choose between God and Man, and all 'radicals' and 'progressives,' from the mildest liberal to the most extreme anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.


Owen, Robert

DOB:  05/17/1771
DOD: 11/17/1858

Finding that no religion is based on facts and cannot therefore be true, I began to reflect what must be the condition of mankind trained from infancy to believe in errors.


Paine, Thomas

DOB:  01/29/1737
DOD: 06/08/1809

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of.  My own mind is my own church.

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.  It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of.  My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity.  Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics.  As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.

Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity.

Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.  It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize.


Pirsig, Robert

DOB:  09/06/1928

When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.


Pollitt, Katha

DOB:  10/14/1949

The question is, will the rest of America get fed up with fundamentalists before the fundamentalists and the Republican party get fed up with each other?  And how much damage will they do before that happy day arrives?


Preston, Keith

DOB:  ?

The great god Ra, whose shrine once covered acres, is filler now for crossword puzzle makers.


Remsberg, John

DOB:  01/07/1848
DOD: 1919

The name of Christ has caused more persecutions, wars and miseries than any other name has caused.  The darkest wrongs are still inspired by it.


Ricker, Marilla

DOB:  03/18/1890
DOD:  11/12/1920

A religious person is a dangerous person. He may not become a thief or a murderer, but he is liable to become a nuisance. He carries with him many foolish and harmful superstitions, and he is possessed with the notion that it is his duty to give these superstitions to others. That is what makes trouble. Nothing is so worthless as superstition.

Religion is not the hero of the day, but the zero.  In any exposition of the products of brains, the Sunday-School takes the booby prize.   Man has asked for truth and the Church has given him miracles.  He has asked for knowledge, and the Church has given him theology.  He has asked for facts, and the Church has given him the Bible.  This foolishness should stop.  The Church has nothing to give man that has not been in cold storage for two thousand years.  Anything would become stale in that time.




DOB:  ?

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


Roddenberry, Gene

DOB:  08/19/1921
DOD:  10/21/1991

I condemn false prophets.  I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will - and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain.  Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all.  For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain. 

Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all.  For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing, all-powerful God, who creates faulty humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.


Rose, Ernestine

DOB:  01/13/1810
DOD: 08/04/1892

Do you tell me that the Bible is against our rights?  Then I say that our claims do not rest upon a book written no one knows when, or by whom.  Do you tell me what Paul or Peter says on the subject?  Then again I reply that our claims do not rest on the opinions of any one, not even on those of Paul and Peter. Books and opinions, no matter from whom they came, if they are in opposition to human rights, are nothing but dead letters.

It is an interesting and demonstrable fact, that all children are atheists and were religion not inculcated into their minds, they would remain so.

Sisters, I entreat you, if you have an hour to spare, a dollar to give, or a word to utter - spare it, give it, and utter it, for the elevation of woman!  And when your minister asks you for money for missionary purposes, tell him there are higher, and holier, and nobler missions to be performed at home.  When he asks for colleges to educate ministers, tell him you must educate woman, that she may do away with the necessity of ministers, so that they may be able to go to some useful employment.  If he asks you to give to the churches (which means to himself) then ask him what he has done for the salvation of woman. When he speaks to you of leading a virtuous life, ask him whether he understands the causes that have prevented so many of your sisters from being virtuous, and have driven them to degradation, sin, and wretchedness. When he speaks to you of a hereafter, tell him to help to educate woman, to enable her to live a life of intelligence, independence, virtue, and happiness here, as the best preparatory step for any other life.  And if he has not told you from the pulpit of all these things; if he does not know them; it is high time you inform him, and teach him his duty here in this life.

Human rights include the rights of all, not only man, but woman, not only white but black; wherever there is a being called human, his rights are as full and expressive as his existence, and ought to be without limits or distinction of sex, country, or color.  Only ignorance, superstition, and tyranny - both the basis and the influence of the Bible - deprive him of it.


Rule, Jane

DOB:  03/18/1931
DOD: 11/27/2007

I'm a nonbeliever.  I don't believe in the existence of a God.  I don't believe in the Christian dogma.  I find it horrifyingly silly.  The intolerance that flows from organized religion is the most dangerous thing on the planet.


Rushdie, Salman

DOB:  06/10/1947

The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes.


Russell, Bertrand

DOB: 05/18/1872
DOD: 02/02/1970

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate government action.

I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God.  I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction.  The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon.  But not one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world. 

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world.  I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

Religion is based mainly upon fear..... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.  Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder that cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand.  My own view on religion is that of Lucretius; I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race.

I wish to propose for the reader’s favourable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive.  The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true.

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.

It is possible that mankind is on the threshold of a golden age; but, if so, it will be necessary first to slay the dragon that guards the door, and this dragon is religion.

If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts.


Sagan, Carl

DOB:  11/09/1934
DOD: 12/20/1996

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe. 


Sanger, Margaret

DOB:  09/14/1879
DOD: 09/06/1966

Woman must have her freedom, the fundamental freedom of choosing whether or not she will be a mother and how many children she will have.  Regardless of what man's attitude may be, that problem is hers - and before it can be his, it is hers alone. She goes through the vale of death alone, each time a babe is born.  As it is the right neither of man nor the state to coerce her into this ordeal, so it is her right to decide whether she will endure it.
No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.  No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously whether she will or will not be a mother. 


Sartre, Jean-Paul

DOB:  06/21/1905
DOD: 04/15/1980

Nowhere is it written that the Good exists, that we must be honest, that we must not lie; because the fact is, we are on a plane where there are only men.  Dostoyevsky said, ‘If God didn’t exist, everything would be possible.’  That is the very starting point of existentialism.  Indeed, everything is permissible if God does not exist, and as a result man is forlorn because neither within him nor without does he find anything to cling to.  He can’t start making excuses for himself. 


Searle, Johnl

DOB:  07/31/1932

Deity belief and worship should be recognized as ridiculous by the age of 12. The question is, what imperfection exists in the human mind that latches onto foolish beliefs so easily?  And what can we do to increase the reasoning ability of the average human? It's not just about education. It's about consciousness. There are basically two groups on this planet: the moderns and the primitives. We must somehow help these deity-believers catch up.


Shaw, George Bernard

DOB:  07/26/1856
DOD: 11/02/1950

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic in no more to the point than a drunken man is happier than a sober one.



Schiller, Friedrich

DOB:  11/10/1759
DOD: 05/09/1805

Which religion do I profess to follow?  None!  And why?  Because of religion. 


Schopenhauer, Arthur

DOB:  02/22/1788
DOD: 09/21/1860

All religions promise a reward for excellences of the will or heart, but none for excellences of the head or understanding. 

Religions are like fireflies.  They require darkness in order to shine.


Shelley, Percy Bysshe

DOB:  08/04/1792
DOD: 07/08/1822

If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced. 

Once, early in the morning,
Beelzebub arose,
With care his sweet person adorning,
He put on his Sunday clothes

If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future?
If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers?
If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?
If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses?
If grace does everything for them, what reason would he have for recompensing them?
If he is all-powerful, how offend him, how resist him?
If he is reasonable, how can he be angry at the blind, to whom he has given the liberty of being unreasonable?
If he is immovable, by what right do we pretend to make him change his decrees?
If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him?
If he has spoken, why is the universe not convinced?
If the knowledge of a God is the most necessary, why is it not the most evident and the clearest?


Smith, Adam

DOB:  06/16/1723
DOD: 07/17/1790

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all. 

What improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole.  No society can be flourishing and happy if the greater part of the members are poor and miserable.


Smoker, Barbara

DOB:  1923

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. 


Stanton, Elizabeth Cady

DOB:  11/12/1815
DOD: 10/26/1902

The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation.

The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with the superstitions of the Christian religion.

The clergy of all sects are universally opposed to free thought & free speech, and if they had the power, even in our republic today, would crush any man who dared to question the popular religion.

For fifty years the women of this nation have tried to dam up this deadly stream that poisons all their lives, but thus far they have lacked the insight or courage to follow it back to its source and there strike the blow at the fountain of all tyranny - religious superstition, priestly power and the canon law.

I have endeavoured to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at least that peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church.  The less they believe, the better for their own happiness and development.

For the supposed crimes of heresy and witchcraft, hundreds of women endured such persecutions and tortures that the most stolid historians are said to have wept in recording them; and no one can read them today but with a bleeding heart.  And, as the Christian Church grew stronger, woman's fate grew more helpless.  Even the Reformation and Protestantism brought no relief, the clergy being all along their most bitter persecutors, the inventors of the most infernal tortures.  Hundreds and hundreds of fair young girls, innocent as the angels in heaven, hundreds and hundreds of old women, weary and trembling with the burdens of life, were hunted down by emissaries of the Church, dragged into the courts with the ablest judges and lawyers of England, Scotland and America on the bench, and tried for crimes that never existed but in the wild, fanatical imaginations of religious devotees.  Women were accused of consorting with devils and perpetuating their diabolical propensities. Hundreds of these children of hypothetical origin were drowned, burned, and tortured in the presence of their mothers, to add to their death agonies.  These things were not done by savages or pagans: they were done by the Church. Neither were they confined to the Dark Ages, but permitted by law in England far into the eighteenth century.  The clergy everywhere sustained witchcraft as Bible doctrine, until the spirit of rationalism laughed the whole thing to scorn, and science gave mankind a more cheerful view of life.


Steinem, Gloria

DOB:  03/25/1934

Religion.  It's an incredible con job when you think about it, to believe something now in exchange for something after death.  Even corporations with their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous.


Stenger, Victor

DOB:  01/29/1935

If the most important stories found in the Old and New Testament are even remotely historic, then scientific evidence should exist for an escape of large numbers of Jews from Egypt in the thirteenth century BCE and forty years of wandering in the desert.  It does not.  Physical evidence should exist for great battles as the Israelites captured the land of Cannaan, after returning to Cannaan.  It does not.
Historical evidence should also exist for the extraordinary  events reported to have occurred at the time of Jesus' birth.  It does not.  From the absence of evidence that should exist in the scientific and historical record, we can conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that these extraordinary events did not take place as the Bible describes.
The Bible reads as an assembly of myths fashioned by ancient authors who had no concept of historical accuracy.  Its description of the world reflects the scientific and historical knowledge of the age in which the manuscripts were composed.
The information and insights contained in scriptures and other revelations look just as they can be expected to look if there is no God who revealed truth to humanity that were recorded in sacred texts.

A God who provides humans with important knowledge that they cannot obtain by material means should have produced testable evidence for his existence by now.  He has not.  The evidence points to the opposite conclusion.  We can say with some confidence that such a God does not exist.

If God created the universe as a special place for humanity, he seems to have wasted an awfully large amount of space where humanity will never make an appearance.  He wasted a lot of time too.  Instead of six days, he took nine billion years to make Earth, another billion years or so to make life, and then another four billion years to make humanity.

In fact, when you think of it, why would an infinitely powerful God even need six days?  Wouldn't he have the ability to create everything in an instant?  And, why would he have to rest when he was all done?

The discovery of human ancestors, the DNA and anatomical connections between humans and other animals (and even plants), and the use of animals in medical research falsify the hypothesis of a God who created humans as a distinct life-form.  The fossil record, the existence of transitional species, and the actual observation of evolution in the laboratory falsify the hypothesis of a God who created separate "kinds" or species of life-forms at one time in history and left them unchanged since.

From humanity's earliest days, gods have been imagined who possessed attributes that people could understand and to which they could relate.  Gods and spirits took the form of the objects of experience: the sun, Earth, moon, animals and humans.  The gods of the ancient Egyptians had the form of animals.  The gods of the ancient Greeks had the form of humans.  The God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam had the form of a powerful, autocratic male king enthroned high above his subjects.  Each seems to have developed from the culture of the day.  If the process continued on to today, we would all worship cellular phones.


Stewart, Jon
DOB:  11/28/1962

Religion - it's a powerful healing force in a world torn apart - by religion.


Sweeney, Julia

DOB:  10/10/1959

It took me years, but letting go of religion has been the most profound wake up of my life. I feel I now look at the world not as a child, but as an adult.  I see what's bad and it's really bad. But I also see what is beautiful, what is wonderful. And I feel so deeply appreciative that I am alive. How dare the religious use the term 'born again.'  That truly describes freethinkers who've thrown off the shackles of religion so much better!


Tolstoy, Leo

DOB:  09/09/1828
DOD: 11/20/1910

Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges or beliefs.


Tyson, Neil-deGrasse

DOB:  10/05/1958

Access to science today is greater than ever before.  That leaves us with an interesting conundrum; how is it that access to science can be so high, yet it appears that science literacy in the population has made only marginal gains, if at all.  Some would say it's reverted to superstitious thinking over the rational analysis of the real world in which we live.


Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens
DOB:  11/30/1835
DOD: 10/21/1910

Man is the religious animal.  He is the only religious animal.  He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them.  He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight.  He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.

If I were going to construct a God I would furnish him with some ways and qualities and characteristics which the Present One lacks... He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when He could have made him happy with the same effort and He would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.

Now at least, in our immediate day, we hear a Pope saying slave trading is wrong, and see him sending an expedition to Africa to stop it.  The texts remain; it is the practice that has changed.  Why?  Because the world has corrected the Bible.  The Church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail end of the procession - and take the credit for the correction, as she will presently do in this instance.


Vidal, Gore

DOB:  10/03/1925

I regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race.  I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.



François-Marie Arouet
DOB:  11/21/1694
DOD: 05/30/1788

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.

If God created us in his own image we have more than reciprocated.

Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in its place you say?  What?  A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives.  I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what you shall put in its place?

Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it.  Such people show admirable reasoning.  Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust.  If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart.  As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well.  And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.


Washington, George

DOB:  02/22/1732
DOD: 12/14/1799

Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by difference of sentiment in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated.  I was in hopes that the enlightened and liberal policy which has marked the present age would at least have reconciled Christians of every denomination, so far that we should never again see their religious disputes carried to such a pitch as to endanger the peace of society.

Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.

If this nation expects to be ignorant and free it expects what never was and what will never be.


Watson, James

DOB:  04/06/1928

The easiest way to believe in the theory of intelligent design is to never go to school.


Weinberg, Steven

DOB:  05/03/1933

Science does not make it impossible to believe in god, it makes it possible not to believe in god.


Wells, George Albert

DOB:  05/22/1926

I say I have no religious beliefs.  I certainly think this life is all I have, all anybody has, and I usually say it doesn't seem to me at all meaningful to ask the purpose of life. What purpose does the life of a spider have? If a spider doesn't have a purpose, why should we? Of course, we all have our individual purposes, that's quite different.


Whitehead, Alfred North

DOB:  12/15/1861
DOD: 12/30/1947

I consider Christian theology to be one of the greatest disasters of the human race.


Wilde, Oscar

DOB:  10/16/1854
DOD: 11/30/1900

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


Wilson, Robert Anton

DOB:  01/18/1932
DOD: 01/11/2007

The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer.  This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of western civilization.


Wollstonecraft, Mary

DOB: 04/27/1759
DOD: 09/10/1797

A being cannot be termed rational or virtuous who obeys any authority but that of reason.


Wright,  Francis

DOB: 09/06/1795
DOD: 12/13/1852

If we bring not the good courage of minds covetous of truth, and truth only, prepared to hear all things, and decide upon all things, according to evidence, we should do more wisely to sit down contented in ignorance, than to bestir ourselves only to reap disappointment.

Religion may be defined thus: a belief in, and homage rendered to, existences unseen and causes unknown.

I am not going to question your opinions.  I am not going to meddle with your belief. I am not going to dictate to you mine.  All that I say is, examine, inquire. Look into the nature of things. Search out the grounds of your opinions, the for and the against.  Know why you believe, understand what you believe, and possess a reason for the faith that is in you.



570-480 BCE

The Ethiops say that their gods are flat-nosed and black, while the Thracians say that theirs have blue eyes and red hair.  Yet if cattle or horses or lions had hands and could draw, and could sculpture like men, then the horses would draw their gods like horses, and cattle like cattle; and each they would shape bodies of gods in the likeness, each kind, of their own.


Zappa, Frank

DOB: 12/21/1940
DOD: 12/04/1993

If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine - but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you've been bad or good - and CARES about any of it - to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.

The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own.


Zola, Emil

DOB: 04/02/1840
DOD: 09/29/1902

Civilization will not attain perfection until the last stone, from the last church, falls on the last priest.