Quotes

Oh, the things people say.

Got a quote that should be included here? Let's have it!

We have just enough religion to make us hate but not enough religion to make us love one another.

Jonathan Swift

It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.

Jonathan Swift, satirist (1667-1745)

Homo sapiens is the species that invents symbols in which to invest passion and authority, then forgets that symbols are inventions.

Joyce Carol Oates, writer (b. 1938)

Can omniscient God, who / Knows the future, find / The omnipotence to / Change His future mind?

Karen Owens

Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way to do it would be start his own religion.

L. Ron Hubbard, science fiction author who later started the Church of Scientology (1911-1986)

I don't relate to anyone who is a professional religionist...who has the ego to tell us that they know God's will and can tell us what God thinks and what God likes and what God is and how God feels about integration, South Africa and AIDS.

Larry Cohen, filmmaker

If God interacts with the universe, then where’s the evidence?

If God doesn’t interact with the universe, then where’s the relevance?

Lawnboy

We are on the cusp of this time where I can say, "I speak as a citizen of the world" without others saying, "God, what a nut."

Lawrence Lessig, professor and activist (b. 1961)

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.

Lenny Bruce

I'm not an historian but I'll venture an opinion: Modern cosmology really began with Darwin and Wallace. Unlike anyone before them, they provided explanations of our existence that completely rejected supernatural agents... Darwin and Wallace set a standard not only for the life sciences but for cosmology as well.

Leonard Susskind

I'm not a Christian. I'm agnostic. ... [I'm] completely a-religious -- atheist. I find that people seem to think religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from both. It gives people the excuse to say, 'Oh, nature was just created'.

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux

I am no Platonist, I am nothing at all; but I would sooner be a Paulician, Manichean, Spinozist, Gentile, Pyrrhonian, Zoroastrian, than one of the seventy-two villainous sects who are tearing each other to pieces for the love of the Lord and hatred of each other. Talk of Galileeism? Show me the effects – are you better, wiser, kinder by your precepts? I will bring you ten Mussulmans that shall shame you in all goodwill towards men, prayer to God, and duty to their superiors. And is there a Talapoin, or a Bonze, who is not superior to a fox- hunting curate? But I will say no more on this endless theme; let me live, well if possible, and die without pain. The rest is with God, who assuredly, had He come or sent, would have made Himself manifest to nations, and intelligible to all.

Lord Byron, writer and revolutionary

I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.

Lucille Ball

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

Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The idea that a good God would send people to a burning Hell is utterly damnable to me. The ravings of insanity! Superstition gone to seed! I don't want to have anything to do with such a God. No avenging Jewish God, no satanic devil, no fiery hell is of any interest to me.

Luther Burbank

Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair

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.

Magellan, explorer

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians, your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

Mahatma Gandhi

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi

To give pleasure to a single heart by a single act is better than a thousand heads bowing in prayer.

Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, 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.

Marcus Aurelius, philosopher and writer (121-180)

I protect my right to be a Catholic by preserving your right to believe as a Jew, a Protestant, or non-believer, or as anything else you choose. We know that the price of seeking to force our beliefs on others is that they might some day force theirs on us.

Mario Cuomo

I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Also [the Bible] has another name - The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God. It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies… But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy - he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty… What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Faith is believing what you know ain't so.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

A God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave his angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell — mouths mercy, and invented hell — mouths Golden Rules and foregiveness multiplied by seventy times seven, and invented hell; who mouths morals to other people, and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes, yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally, with altogether divine obtuseness, invites his poor abused slave to worship him!

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Our Bible reveals to us the character of our god with minute and remorseless exactness... It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light... by contrast.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious -- unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Loyalty to a petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul.

Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right.

Martin Luther King, Jr

Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom … Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism... She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.

Martin Luther, theologian (1483-1546)

Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but -- more frequently than not -- struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.

Martin Luther, theologian (1483-1546)

People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred scripture tells us [Joshua 10:13] that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.

Martin Luther, theologian (1483-1546)

I'd like to widen people's awareness of the tremendous timespan lying ahead -- for our planet, and for life itself. Most educated people are aware that we're the outcome of nearly 4bn years of Darwinian selection, but many tend to think that humans are somehow the culmination. Our sun, however, is less than halfway through its lifespan. Six billion years from now, it will not be humans who watch the sun's demise. Any creatures that then exist will be as different from us as we are from bacteria or amoebae.

Martin Rees, cosmologist and astrophysicist (b. 1942)

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

Mary Wollstonecraft, reformer and writer (1759-1797)

In the past 10,000 years, humans have devised roughly 100,000 religions based on roughly 2,500 gods. So the only difference between myself and the believers is that I am skeptical of 2,500 gods whereas they are skeptical of 2,499 gods. We're only one God away from total agreement.

Michael Shermer

Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.

Michel de Montaigne, essayist (1533-1592)

"Did God have a mother?" Children, when told that God made the heavens and the earth, innocently ask whether God had a mother. This deceptively simple question has stumped the elders of the church and embarrassed the finest theologians, precipitating some of the thorniest theological debates over the centuries. All the great religions have elaborate mythologies surrounding the divine act of Creation, but none of them adequately confronts the logical paradoxes inherent in the question that even children ask.

Michio Kaku, physicist (b. 1947)

The ultimate sense of security will be when we come to recognize that we are all part of one human race. Our primary allegiance is to the human race and not to one particular color or border.

Mohamed ElBaradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (b. 1942)

Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion.

Mohandas Gandhi

My religion is based on truth and non-violence. Truth is my God. Non-violence is the means of realising Him.

Mohandas Gandhi

Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.

Mohandas Gandhi

I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth.

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)

So being lectured about what constitutes a traditional marriage by a Mormon is a bit like being scolded for loitering - by a crack whore!

Mrs. Betty Bowers

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.

Napoleon Bonaparte

If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.

Napoleon Bonaparte

The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.

Nehru

People cited violation of the First Amendment when a New Jersey schoolteacher asserted that evolution and the Big Bang are not scientific and that Noah's ark carried dinosaurs. This case is not about the need to separate church and state; it's about the need to separate ignorant, scientifically illiterate people from the ranks of teachers.

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronomer

Pages