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Volume 1434b

ERB: Reason vs. Supernatural Series
Part I:
ERB Reason vs. Superstition
Thoughts on Science & Religion
Part II
Quotes from the ERB Library
Early Free-Thinkers
Part III
Quotes: Reason vs. Religion (A-I)
Free-Thinkers Through History I
Part IV
Quotes: Reason vs. Religion  (J-Z)
Free-Thinkers Through History II
Part V
Quotes: Reason vs. Religion
Free-Thinkers:  Pop Media ~ Anonymous ~ Refs
Belief in God depends on religious faith. Acceptance of science depends on empirical evidence. This is the fundamental difference between religion and science. If you attempt to reconcile religion and science on questions about nature and the universe, and if you push the science to its logical conclusion, you will end up naturalizing the deity; for any question about nature, if your answer is "God did it,"a scientist will ask: "How did God do it?, What forces did God use? What forms of matter and energy were employed in the creation process?" The end result of this inquiry can only be natural explanations for all natural phenomena. What place, then, for God?  Believers can have both religion and science as long as there is no attempt to make reality unreal, to turn naturalism into supernaturalism. ~ Michael Shermer - October 25, 2006 - The New York Sun
Many of us saw religion [before 9/11] as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful! ~ Richard Dawkins:

A - H

Edward Abbey
Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination. 
John Adams ~ Second U.S. President, Founding Father of the United States

Where do we find a precept in the Bible for Creeds, Confessions, Doctrines and Oaths, and whole carloads of other trumpery that we find religion encumbered with in these days?

The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity.

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.

The Government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian religion.

Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?

Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it.

But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed.

The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.

As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?

Scott Adams
Ask a deeply religious Christian if he’d rather live next to a bearded Muslim that may or may not be plotting a terror attack, or an atheist that may or may not show him how to set up a wireless network in his house. On the scale of prejudice, atheists don’t seem so bad lately.
Ethan Allen

In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.
Abu Ala Al-Maarri

The world holds two classes of men - intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.
Susan B. Anthony

I was born a heretic. I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows.

To no form of religion is woman indebted for one impulse of freedom... 

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

The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God.

Karen Armstrong
A God who kept tinkering with the universe was absurd; a God who interfered with human freedom and creativity was tyrant. If God is seen as a self in a world of his own, an ego that relates to a thought, a cause separate from its effect. he becomes a being, not Being itself. An omnipotent, all?knowing tyrant is not so different from earthly dictators who make everything and everybody mere cogs in the machine which they controlled. An atheism that rejects such a God is amply justified.

Matthew Arnold
All the biblical miracles will at last disappear with the progress of science. 

The freethinking of one age is the common sense of the next.

Sir David Attenborough
I don't know why we're here. People sometimes say to me, "Why don't you admit that hte humming bird, the butterfly, the Bird of Paradise are proof of the wonderful things produced by Creation? And I always say, well, when you say that, you've also got to think of a little boy sitting on a river bank, like here, in West Africa, that's got a little worm, a living organism, in his eye and boring thorugh the eyeball, and is slowly turning him blind. The Creator God that you believe in, presumably, also made that little worm. Now I personally find that difficult to accommodate. . . .
Sir Francis Bacon

Atheism leads a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue...
Robert A. Baker

What happens when the same number of people pray for something as pray against it? How does God decide whose prayer to answer?
Joan Bakewell

Who are these gods that they should require their own creatures to be ashamed of their bodies? The notion that the supposed creator is offended by the natural beauty of his own creation is well nigh blasphemous.
James Baldwin

If the concept of God has any validity or use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.
Dan Barker

Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, "yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes, up, up, up must come down. . . . Amen!" If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.

You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absure and primitive storeis, and you say that we are the ones that need?

Alfred-Henri-Marie Cardinal Baudrillart
Hitler's war is a noble undertaking in defense of European culture.
Cardinal Bellarmine, at the trial of Galileo in 1615.

To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.
José Bergamín

A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.

If a man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also he cannot be my disciple. (Jesus in Luke 14:26)

And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. (Exodus 21:20-21).

If a man also lieth with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. (Leviticus 20:13)

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Leviticus 19:19).

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)

Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, brokenhanded, Or crookbac, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken; No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. (Leviticus 21:17-21)

The simple believeth every word. - Proverbs 14:15

John Bice
A belief in an afterlife has the unavoidable effect of making this life less unique and precious. Good luck finding an atheist willing to strap a bomb to his or her back, or fly a plane into a building.
Napoleon Bonapart

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

All religions have been made by men.

God fights on the side with the best artillery.

As for myself, I do not believe that such a person as Jesus Christ ever existed; but as the people are inclined to superstition, it is proper not to oppose them.

My fir conviction is that Jesus . . . was put to death like any other fanatic who professed to be a prophet or a messiah; there have been such persons at all times. . . . Besides, how could I accept a religion which would damn Socrates and Plato?

A soul? Give my watch to a savage, and he will think it has a soul.

Daniel J. Boorstin  (1914 - 2004)
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 burned anyone at the stake or tortur.
Johannes Brahms  (1833-1897)

The only true immortality lies in one's children.
Eva Braun

I can't understand how all this can have happened, it's enough to make one lose one's faith in God! [During the last days with Hitler]
David Brooks

To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure; to explain the known by the unknown is a form of theological lunacy.
Justin Brown

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

If we have to give up either religion or education, we should give up education.

All the ills from which America suffers can be traced to the teaching of evolution. 

James Buchanan
I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion.

Doubt everything. Find your own light.
Anthony Burgess

All human life is here, but the Holy Ghost seems to be somewhere else.
Robert Burns

All religions are auld wives' fables, but an honest man has nothing to fear, either in this world or the world to come.
Jeff Burroughs

Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years.

John Burroughs
Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years.

Every day is a Sabbath to me. All pure water is holy water, and this earth is a celestial abode.

Man is, and always has been, a maker of gods. It has been the most serious and significant occupation of his sojourn in the world.

Sir Richard Burton
The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
Samuel Butler

Prayers are to men as dolls are to children. They are not without use and comfort, but it is not easy to take them seriously.
Lord Byron

Of religion I know nothing -- at least, in its favor.
Elizabeth Cady-Stanton
American suffragist (1815-1902)

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

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

The bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgment seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a period of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man's bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire...Here is the Bible position of woman briefly summed up.

I found nothing grand in the history of the Jews nor in the morals inculcated in the Pentateuch. Surely the writers had a very low idea of the nature of their god. They made him not only anthropomorphic, but of the very lowest type, jealous and revengeful, loving violence rather than mercy. I know of no other books that so fully teach the subjection and degradation of women." [Women Without Superstition]

Joseph Campbell ~ American mythologist (1904-1987)
. . . god is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.

Too many of our best scholars, themselves indoctrinated from infancy in a religion of one kind or another based upon the Bible, are so locked into the idea of their own god as a supernatural fact - something final, not symbolic of transcendence, but a personage with a character and will of his own - that they are unable to grasp the idea of a worship that is not of the symbol but of its reference, which is of a mystery of much greater age and of more immediate inward reality than the name-and-form of any historical ethinic idea of a deity, whatsoever . . . and is of a sophistication that makes the sentimentalism of our popular Bible-story theology seem undeveloped.

Mythology is what we call someone else's religion.

Thomas Carlyle
God does nothing.

Just in the ratio that knowledge increses, faith diminishes.

Andrew Carnegie ~ Scottish-born American industrialist and philanthropist
I don’t believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life.
Jesus Christ

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Winston Churchill

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Hillary Clinton

In every religion, there are those who would drape themselves in the mantle of belief and faith only to distort its most sacred teachings -- preaching intolerance and resorting to violence.
Jean Cocteau

Mystery has its own mysteries, and ther are gods above gods. We have ours, they have theirs. That is what's known as infinity.

Man seeks to escape himself in myth, and does so by any means at his disposal. drugs, alcohol, or lies. Unable to withdraw into himself, he disguises himself. Lies and inaccuracy give him a few moments of comfort.

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

If religion cannot restrain evil, it cannot claim effective power for good.
Joseph Conrad

The belief in a suupernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.
David J. Constable

Fundamentalism, of any type, due to its prerequisite lack of intelligent thought, could prove to be the worst weapon of mass destruction, of all. 
Francis Crick

One of the most frightening things in the Western world, and in this country in particular, is the number of people who believe in things that are scientifically false. If someone tells me that the earth is less than 10,000 years old, in my opinion he should see a psychiatrist.

If revealed religions have revealed anything it is that they are usually wrong.

Quentin Crisp
When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, "Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don't believe?"
Joseph Daleiden

To date, despite the efforts of millions of true believers to support this myth, there is no more evidence for the Judeo-Christian god than any of the gods on Mount Olympus.
Clarence Darrow

I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose.

Many Christians base the belief of a soul and God upon the Bible.  Strictly speaking, there is no such book.  To make the Bible, sixty-six books are bound into one volume.  These books are written by many people at different times, and no one knows the time or the identity of any author.  Some of the books were written by several authors at various times.  These books contain all sorts of contradictory concepts of life and morals and the origin of things.  Between the first and the last nearly a thousand years intervened, a longer time than has passed since the discovery of America by Columbus. 

...finally men were saved only through God's son dying for them, and that unless human beings believed this silly, impossible and wicked story they were doomed to hell? Can anyone with intelligence really believe that a child born today should be doomed because the snake tempted Eve and Eve tempted Adam? To believe that is not God-worship; it is devil-worship. 

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom.  The fear of God is the death of wisdom.  Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.  The modern world is the child of doubt and inquiry, as the ancient world was the child of fear and faith. 

Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt!

King David (1011-971 BC)
For I have done your bidding, I have slain mine enemies in your name. I have put women and children to death in your honor, I have caused great pain among them, for your glory. ~ Psalms, 5:4-10
Robertson Davies

Fanaticism is overcompensation for doubt.
Richard Dawkins: Evolutionary Biologist (Oxford University)

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.

We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.

Nearly all peoples have developed their own creation myth, and the Genesis story is just the one that happened to have been adopted by one particular tribe of Middle Eastern herders. It has no more special status than the belief of a particular West African tribe that the world was created from the excrement of ants. [The Blind Watchmaker, Oxford University Press (1988), p316]

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

You cannot be both sane and well educated and disbelieve in evolution. The evidence is so strong that any sane, educated person has got to believe in evolution.

Society bends over backward to be accommodating to religious sensibilities but not to other kinds of sensibilities. If I say something offensive to religious people, I'll be universally censured, including by many atheists.

After my Christmas Lectures I received letters from the pious saying that they would have no objection if only I had qualified my remarks by saying: 'But I should warn you that many well-informed people think differently . . .' When did you last hear a priest-in the pulpit, on radio, on television, in infants' Sunday School-qualify his statement with 'But I should warn you that many well-informed people don't think God exists at all . . . ?' 


  • The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were mostly atheists and deists, not theists, not Christians. 
  • Agnosticism is too polite for its own good. 
  • Science and religion do not complement each other: they conflict. 
  • Being nice to fundamentalists will not result in any good. 
  • The arguments for God's existence are all bogus. 
  • If everything was designed, who designed the Designer? 
  • Evolution primed our psychology for superstition and religion, and then the catchiest ideas, however crazy they are, keep spreading and mutating. 
  • Our sense of morality definitely does not come from religion, but is also the product of our evolution. 
  • The Bible is mostly a weird, sick, immoral book. 
  • Religion (well, maybe not the Buddhistic sort) is bad, bad, bad: for peace, for love, for the reduction of suffering in the world, for the protection of the environment, for you-name-it. 
  • "Moderates" refuse to reject nonsensical and violent "holy" books and so allow fundamentalism to keep growing. 
  • Religious education for children is a form of child abuse if it teaches them not to think, not to doubt, not to question. 
  • Children should not be coined with religious tags: they're not cattle, and they can't choose their beliefs. 
  • God may be a kind of imaginary friend for consolation, but the consolation is meagre. 
  • There are many many sources of inspiration in life, and they don't have to be religious at all. 
  • Our senses are very limited, and the Universe seems to work in some very counter-intuitive ways, so we have to think and doubt if we wish to understand. 
Many of us saw religion [before 9/11] as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense, it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakeable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labelled only by a difference of inherited tradition. And dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let's now stop being so damned respectful!

Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. 

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.

Certainly I see the scientific view of the world as incompatible with religion, but that is not what is interesting about it. It is also incompatible with magic, but that also is not worth stressing. What is interesting about the scientific world view is that it is true, inspiring, remarkable and that it unites a whole lot of phenomena under a single heading. 

The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science, especially in the schools of America. I am one of those scientists who feels that it is no longer enough just to get on and do science. We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it from deliberate attack from organized ignorance. We even have to go out on the attack ourselves, for the sake of reason and sanity. But it must be a positive attack, for science and reason have so much to give. They are not just useful, they enrich our lives in the same kind of way as the arts do. Promoting science as poetry was one of the things that Carl Sagan did so well, and I aspire to continue his tradition.

Judge Braswell Dean
This monkey mythology of Darwin is the cause of permissiveness, promiscuity, prophylactics, perversions, pregnancies, abortions, porno-therapy, pollution, poisoning and proliferation of crimes of all types.
Edward De Bono

A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth.
Edmond de Goncourt

If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.
Democritus (460-370 BC)

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion.
Daniel Dennett

If religion isn't the greatest threat to rationality and scientific progress, what is?
Denis Diderot  ~ French philosopher, author, and encyclopedist (1713-1784)

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

The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest hs killed a great many philosophers.

The man who first pronounced the barbarous word God ought to have been immediately destroyed.

The Christian religion: the most absurd in its dogmas, the most unintelligible, the most insipid, the most gloomy, the most Gothic, the most puerile.

It is very important not to mistake hemlock for parsly, but to believe or not believe in God is not important at all.

I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out.

Annie Dillard
I read about an Eskimo hunter who asked the local missionary priest, " If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?" "No," said the priest, "not if  you did not know." "Then why," asked the Eskimo, "did you tell me?"
Benjamin Disraeli

Where knowledge ends, religion begins.
Frederick Douglass ~ escaped slave

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

John William Draper
The history of science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on the one hand, and the compression arising from traditionary faith, and human interest on the other.

The universe is only a vast automatic engine. The vital force which pervades the world is what the illiterate call God.

Ann Druyan
The roots of this antagonism to science run very deep. We see them in Genesis. . . in which the first humans are doomed and cursed eternally for asking a question, for partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. [Eden] is more like a maximum-security prison with twenty-four hour surveillance. It's a horrible place.
Alexandre Dumas 

If God were suddenly condemned to live the life which He has inflicted upon men, He would kill Himself. 
Sir Arthur Eddington

We are bits of stellar matter that got cold by accident, bits of a star gone wrong.
Thomas Edison

I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States.

Albert Einstein
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. ~ Albert Einstein, 1954

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

The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them.

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.

It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere...Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; 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. If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. ~ “Religion and Science,” New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. - Albert Einstein, The Human Side

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; 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.

I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.

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.

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.

The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. 

I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. 

I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.

The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naive.

What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of “humility.” This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.

The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can change this [for me]. ~ Jan. 3, 1954 letter written as a response to the philosopher Eric Gutkind.

Einstein was educated at a Roman Catholic primary school, but given private tuition in Judaism. He later wrote that the "religious paradise of youth" -- when he believed what he was told -- was crushed when he started questioning religion at the age of 12. "The consequence was a positively fanatic freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression." 

Religion is an attempt to findan out where there is no door.

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure of the former.

A man's ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.

All Bibles are man-made.

Steve Eley
Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of awesome mystical power. We know this because they manage to be invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them.
George Eliot

My childhood was full of deep sorrows -- colic, whooping-cough, dread of ghosts, hell, Satan, and a Deity in the sky who was angry when I ate too much plumcake.
Havelock Ellis

The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from [ancient] Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect.

Rev. Nathaniel Emmons (1745 - 1840)
The happiness of the elect will consist in part of witnessing the torments of the damned in hell, among whom may  be their own children, parents, husbands, wives and friends; ... but instead of taking the part of their miserable being, they will say 'Amen!', 'Hallelujah!', 'Praise the Lord!'
Epicurus  (341–270 B.C.)

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; Or he can, but does not want to; Or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how come evil is in the world?

If God listened to the prayers of men, all men would quickly have perished; for they are forever praying for evil against one another.

Susan Ertz
Millions long for immortality who don't know whaat to do on a rainy afternoon.

Parsons always seem to be specially horrified about things like sunbathing and naked bodies. They don't mind poverty and misery and cruelty to animals nearly as much.

Greg Erwin
Nearly every human group has created something in the way of a religion, no two of which are the same. When something is based on reality, like mathematics or scientific medicine, groups of people independently arrive at the same answers. This is a good way to tell the difference between shit and shinola.

The kind of things that religious people offer as evidence for their brand of religion, they do not accept as evidence when proferred by adherents of other religions. Religions do not accept each others' miracles, revelations, prophets, or holy books. In the absence of any convincing reason to accept one set of claims while rejecting the rest, the simplest conclusion is that they are all ****.

Oriana Fallaci

The Muslims refuse our culture and try to impose their culture on us. I reject them, and this is not only my duty toward my culture - it is toward my values, my principles, my civilization.  The struggle for freedom does not include the submission to a religion which, like the Muslim religion, wants to annihilate other religions.  The West reveals a hatred of itself, which is strange and can only be considered pathological; it now sees only what is deplorable and destructive. 
Jerry Falwell

Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions.

If you are not a born-again Christian, you're a failure as a human being.

The idea that religion and politics don't mix was invented by the devil to keep Christians from running their own country.

James Feibleman
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.
Ludwig Feuerbach

It is not as in the Bible, that God created man in his own image. But, on the contrary, man created God in his own image. 
Henry Fielding

No man has ever sat down calmly unbiased to reason out his religion, and not ended by rejecting it.

There are a set of religions, or rather moral writings, which teach that virtue is the certain road to happiness, and vice to misery, in this world. A very wholdwome and comfortable doctirine, and to which we have but one objection, namely, that it is not true.

Harvey Fierstein
The Catholic Church is the only organization on record to dispense money from a slush fund set up solely for the paying off of abused children's families. So always remember you cannot judge a man by his collar.
Geoffrey Fisher (1887-1972) ~ Archbishop of Canterbury

The hydrogen bomb is not the greatest danger of our time. After all, the most it could do would be to transfer vast numbers of human beings from this world to another and more vital one into which they would some day go anyway.
Gustave Flaubert

My kingdom is as wide as the universe and my wants have no limits. I go forward always, freeing spirits and weighing worlds, wthout fear, without compassion, without love, without God. I am called Science.
George W. Foote

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible.
E. M. (Edward Morgan) Forster

Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied as sparingly as possible. I dislike the stuff. My motto is: "Lord, I disbelieve -- help thou my unbelief.
Don Fouts

I'm a polyatheist - there are many gods I don't believe in.
Anatole France

My humble friend, we know not how to live this life which is so short yet seek one that never ends.

Ben Franklin
I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.

When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one.

The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle. - Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

Lighthouses are more helpful then churches.

Frederick the Great (1712-1786) Prussian king
There are so many things to be said against religion that I wonder they don't  not occur to everyone.
Sigmund Freud  (1856-1939)

The idea of God was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure: desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father, for justice and fairness and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind.

When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. 

Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.

Neither in my private life nor in my writings, have I ever made a secret of being an out-and-out unbeliever. "

Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.

The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life.

Erich Fromm
Once a doctirne, however irrational, has gained power in a society, millions of people will believe it rather than feel ostracised and isolated.
Charles E. Fuller (1887-1968) ~ Evangelist

Fellowship with God means warfare with the world.
Mike Fuhrman 

I refuse to believe in a god who is the primary cause of conflict in the world, preaches racism, sexism, homophobia, and ignorance, and then sends me to Hell if I’m ‘bad’. 
Yuri Gagarin
(1934-1968) Cosmonaut - first man in space

I don't see any god up here.
Galileo Galilei

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

In the discussion of natural problems we ought to begin not with the Scriptures, but with experiments, and demonstrations.

They know that it is human nature to take up causes whereby a man may oppress his neighbor, no matter how unjustly. ... Hence they have had no trouble in finding men who would preach the damnability and heresy of the new doctrine from the very pulpit.

Mohandas K Gandhi
The most henious and the must cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives. ~ Young India, July 7, 1950, quoted from Laird Wilcox, ed., “The Degeneration of Belief”

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

Bill Gates
Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.
God (Micah 5:15)

And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I would be well pleased if after the close of this life we should be blessed with another, but I would beg not to have there for companions any who have believed it here.
Edmond de Goncourt (1822-1896) French writer

If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion.
Mikhail Gorbachev

I believe in the cosmos. All of us are linked to the cosmos. So nature is my god. To me, nature is sacred. Trees are my temples and forests are my cathedrals. Being at one with nature. 
Ulysses S. Grant

Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated.
Robert Graves (1895-1985) British novelist

By Jesus's time the Law of Moses, originally established for the government of a semi-barbarous nation of herdsmen and hill-farmers, resembled a petulant great-grandfather who tries to govern a family business from his sick-bed. . . unaware of the changes that have taken place in the world since he was able to get about.
Ruth Hurmence Green

It is possible to pull out justification for imposing your will on others, simply by calling your will God's will.

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 behaviour can be presented to them as reprehensible?

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

Pope Gregory I (540-604)
The bliss of the elect in heaven would not be perfect unless they were able to look across the abyss and enjoy the agonies of their brethren in eternal fire.
Pope Gregory VI 

From the pollluted fouintain of that absurd and erroneous doctrine, or rather raving, which claims and defends liberty of conscience for everyone. . . comes, in a word, the worst plague of all -- liberty of opinions and free speech.
Bryan Emmanuel Gutierrez

God should be executed for crimes against humanity.
Ernst Haeckel 

Convinced that there is no eternal life awaiting him man will strive all the more to brighten his life on earth and rationally improve his condition in harmony with that of his fellows. 
J. B. S. Haldane (1892-1964) British scientist

I believe that the scientist is trying to express absolute truth and the artist absolute beauty, so that I find in scinece and art, and in an attempt to lead a good life, all teh religion that I want.
E. Haldeman-Julius (1889-1951) American publisher

The influences that have lifted the race to a higher moral level are education, freedom, leisure, the humanizing tendency of a better-supplied and more interesting life. In a word, science and liberalism have accomplshed the very things for which religion claims the credit.
Thomas Hardy

"We enter church, and we have to say, 'We have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep,' when what we want to say is, 'Why are we made to err and stray like lost sheep?'"
Sam Harris in The End of Faith

Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma.

The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who would have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible. 

Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over riva interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything - anything - be more ridicuous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous that the world we are living in. 

10 Myths and 10 Truths About Atheism

Stephen Hawking
I do not believe in a personal God.

Black holes would seem to suggest that God not only plays dice, but also sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen.~ NATURE, 1975

We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There’s not much personal about the laws of physics.

Judith Hayes
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. 

The biblical account of Noah's Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine?

Heinrich Heine (1797-1856
In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide. . . . When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.

Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too.

Ernest Hemingway
All thinking men are atheists.
Hippocrates (460-377 BC)

Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. We will one day understand what causes it, and then ceast to call it divine. And so it is with everything in the universe.

Where prayer, amulets and incantations work it is only a manifestation of the patient's belief.

Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld
Religion drove those planes into those buildings, it's amazing how good religion is at mobilizing people to do awful, murderous things. There is this dark side to it, and anyone who loves religious experience, including me, better begin to own that there is a serious shadow side to this thing. 
Christopher Hitchens

I am not even an atheist so much as I am an antitheist; I not only maintain that all religions are versions of the same untruth, but I hold that the influence of churches, and the effect of religious belief is positively harmful. Reviewing the false claims of religion, I do not wish, as some sentimental materialists affect to wish, that they were true. I do not envy believers their faith. I am relieved to think that the whole story is a sinister fairy tale; life would be miserable if what the faithful affirmed was actually the case.

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

Why do people keep saying, 'God is in the details'? He isn't in ours, unless his yokel creationist fans wish to take credit for his clumsiness, failure and incompetence.

Religion comes from the terrified infancy of our species. ... [It] is innately coercive as well as innately incoherent. Because it's man-made, there's an infinite variety of it for them all, and these sects proceed to quarrel among themselves, religious warfare having being one of the great retardances of civilization of the time we've been alive and very much to this day.

Religion ends and philosophy begins, just as alchemy ends and chemistry begins and astrology ends, and astronomy begins.

Those of us who disbelieve in the heavenly dictatorship also reject many of its immoral teachings, which have at different times included the slaughter of other “tribes,” the enslavement of the survivors, the mutilation of the genitalia of children, the burning of witches, the condemnation of sexual “deviants” and the eating of certain foods, the opposition to innovations in science and medicine, the mad doctrine of predestination, the deranged accusation against all Jews of the crime of “deicide,” the absurdity of “Limbo,” the horror of suicide-bombing and jihad, and the ethically dubious notion of vicarious redemption by human sacrifice.

There [are] four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking. 

  ...monotheistic religion is a plagiarism of a plagiarism of a hearsay of a hearsay, of an illusion of an illusion, extending all the way back to a fabrication of a few nonevents. ~ God Is Not Great

 Religion does not, and in the long run cannot, be content with its own marvelous claims and sublime assurances. It must seek to interfere with the lives of nonbelievers, or heretics, or adherents of other faiths. It may speak about the bliss of the next world, but it wants power in this one. 

[If religion were true] you would be permanently supervised from the moment you were born until forever after you were dead. You'd always be someone else's creature. And the only duty you would owe him, he having done nothing but casually create you, would be constant adoration that would lead to eventual bliss and the dissolution of the personality. Well, I can't imagine anything more horrible. It's a really ghastly idea. It's worse than

 I think it's an expression of terrible weakness of character on their part, but if they must become groveling, abandoned serfs, let them do it. But don't let  them tell me that I must teach it to my children. Because then it stops being a disagreement and it becomes a quarrel. A fight. I'm not going to let them do that. They may not influence my government. They may not have their nonsense taught in the schools my children go to. They may not raise my taxes to spend on their places of worship. None of this. Surely they've got a direct line to the supernatural. What the hell more do they want? I keep asking, "Why aren't they happy?" They're in possession of the most wonderful secret that must make them hug themselves with delight. Isn't that enough for them? No, it isn't! I think for good reason. 

 Twentieth-century Germany was not, in the main, an atheist state. Hitler never renounced the Catholic Church. He was happy to receive the prayers of  the Catholic bishops in every town in Germany on his birthday, as ordered by the pope—the concordat with whom pretty much allowed him to  consolidate power in the first place. He undoubtedly had the hope of replacing Christianity with a state religion based partly on paganism and partly on worship of himself. But to say that he was an atheist is utterly false. Fascism and communism—the roots of the totalitarian impulse are in faith, not in  skepticism. Because [the totalitarian impulse] claims to be a total solution. And to make essentially no difference between the civic and the private life, and to arbitrate on everything from sex to diet. 

 The impulse to worship, the impulse to take things on faith, the impulse to believe in miracles, the impulse to adore and to believe in incarnate good and evil. All these things have dire consequences. 

  The enemies of intolerance cannot be tolerant. 

Religion is violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children.

Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.... Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our "godly gift" of reason when we cross their mental thresholds? ... Atheism strikes me as morally superior, as well as intellectually superior, to religion. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong. Does this leave us shorn of hope? Not a bit of it. Atheism. and the related conviction that we have just one life to live, is the only sure way to regard all our fellow creatures as brothers and sisters.... Even the compromise of agnosticism is better than faith. It minimizes the totalitarian temptation, the witless worship of the absolute and the surrender of reason.

Just consider for a moment what their heaven looks like. Endless praise and adoration, limitless abnegation and abjection of self; a celestial North Korea.

Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured. And those who prate of spiritual warfare and demons are not just "people of faith" but theocratic bullies.

Love your enemy?! No philosophy is more suicidal than this. We must destroy our enemy!  Love your own enemies, don't go loving mine.

Adolf Hitler
I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work.
Eric Hofer

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not. 
Huang Po

The foolish reject what they see and not what they think; the wise reject what they think and not what they see.
David Hume (1711-1776) Scottish philosopher

If there is a designer he must take credit for the flaws in his creation. Flaws in the creation directly reflect flaws in the creator. If there is a flaw in the creator then he cannot be all powerful.
Dave Hunt

Almost their [the Crusaders'] first act upon taking Jerusalem "for Holy Mother Church" was to herd all of the Jews into the synagogue and set it ablaze. The Secretary to the Inquisition in Madrid from 1790-1792 estimated that in Spain alone the number of condemned exceeded 3 million, with about 300,000 burned at the stake. Nor have the descendants of Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas forgotten that Roman Catholic priests, backed by the secular sword, gave their ancestors the choice of conversion (which often meant slavery) or death.
Aldous Huxley 

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

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.

Maybe this world is another planet's hell. - Point Counter Point 

Sir Julian Sorell Huxley ~ English biologist and author (1887-1975)
"We should be agnostic about those things for which there is no evidence. We should not hold beliefs merely because they gratify our desires for afterlife, immortality, heaven, hell, etc." From Religion without Revelation by Julian Huxley

The sense of spiritual relief which comes from rejecting the idea of God as a supernatural being is enormous. - Sir Julian Huxley, Religion Without Revelation

How unfortunate for mankind that the Lord is reported by Holy Writ as having said "Vengeance is mine!"

I to Z continued in ERBzine 1434c

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ERB: Reason vs. Supernatural Series

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Quotes from the ERB Library
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