Daily Archives: September 8, 2019

Quotes Attacking Religon

The Yazılıkaya sanctuary in Turkey, with the twelve gods of the underworld

My recent post linked to a few of the many essays I’ve written on religions. For those who want an even briefer summary of my views here are a few quotes that exemplify them.  I should note that I’ve had many friends who were practitioners of various religions. While I disagree with them, I also recognize that I could be mistaken.

There is no point beating around the bush. Supernatural concepts have no philosophical warrant. Furthermore, it is not that such concepts are displaced only if we accept, from the start, a naturalistic or scientific vision of things. There simply are no good arguments—theological, philosophical, humanistic, or scientific—for beliefs in divine beings, miracles, or heavenly afterlives. ~Owen Flanagan

There is no greater social evil than religion. It is the cancer in the body of humanity. Human credulity and superstition, and the need for comforting fables, will never be extirpated, so religion will always exist, at least among the uneducated. The only way to manage the dangers it presents is to confine it entirely to the private sphere, and for the public domain to be blind to it in all but one respect: that by law no one’s private beliefs should be allowed to cause a nuisance or an injury to anyone else.
~A. C. Grayling

All thinking men are atheists. ~ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

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

The fact that so little of the findings of modern science is prefigured in Scripture to my mind casts further doubt on its divine inspiration. ~Carl Sagan

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

Emotional excitement reaches men through tea, tobacco, opium, whisky, and religion. ~George Bernard Shaw

The time appears to me to have come when it is the duty of all to make their dissent from religion known. ~John Stuart Mill

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. ~Blaise Pascal

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

The aim of a religious movement is to inflict a malady on society, then offer the religion as a cure. ~Eric Hoffer

If you want to make a little money, write a book. If you want to make a lot of money, create a religion. ~L. Ron Hubbard

Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous. ~David Hume

Religion … the universal … neurosis of humanity. ~Sigmund Freud

Religion is all bunk. ~Thomas Edison

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

I count religion but a childish toy and hold there is no sin but ignorance.
~Christopher Marlowe

Religion is the opiate of the masses. ~Karl Marx

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. ~Kurt Vonnegut

These [religious ideas] are given out as teachings, are not precipitates of experience or end-results of thinking: they are illusions, fulfillments of the oldest, strongest and most urgent wishes of mankind. ~Sigmund Freud

I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out. Religion is based . . . mainly on fear . . . fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if 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. ~Bertrand Russell

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. ~Sigmund Freud

Religion stalks across the face of human history, knee-deep in the blood of innocents, clasping its red hands in hymns of praise to an approving God. ~Philip Appleman

Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration—courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth. ~H.L. Mencken

Religion is a byproduct 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? ~Arthur C. Clarke

No man who ever lived knows any more about the hereafter … than you and I; and all religion … is simply evolved out of chicanery, fear, greed, imagination and poetry.
~Edgar Allan Poe

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. 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. ~Gene Roddenberry

During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after doing its duty in but a lazy and indolent way for 800 years, gathered up its halters, thumbscrews, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there as no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. ~Mark Twain

Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world. If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities. Superstition, born of paganism and adopted by Judaism, invested the Christian Church from earliest times. All the fathers of the Church, without exception, believed in the power of magic. The Church always condemned magic, but she always believed in it: she did not excommunicate sorcerers as madmen who were mistaken, but as men who were really in communication with the devil. Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense. ~Voltaire

Man is a marvelous curiosity . . . he thinks he is the Creator’s pet . . . he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn’t it a quaint idea ~Robert G. Ingersoll

To abdicate from the rule of reason and substitute for it an authentication of belief by the intentness and degree of conviction with which we hold it can be perilous and destructive. Religious beliefs give a spurious spiritual dimension to tribal enmities … It goes with the passionate intensity and deep conviction of the truth of a religious belief, and of course of the importance of the superstitious observances that go with it, that we should want others to share it – and the only certain way to cause a religious belief to be held by everyone is to liquidate nonbelievers. The price in blood and tears that mankind generally has had to pay for the comfort and spiritual refreshment that religion has brought to a few has been too great to justify our entrusting moral accountancy to religious belief. ~Sir Peter Brian Medawar

Since the early days, [the church] has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was an apologist for the divine right of kings. ~H.L. Mencken

History does not record anywhere or at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with it. ~Robert A. Heinlein

Nietzsche taught me to distrust every optimistic theory. I knew that [the human] heart has constant need of consolation, a need to which that super-shrewd sophist the mind is constantly ready to minister. I began to feel that every religion which promises to fulfill human desires is simply a refuge for the timid, and unworthy of a true man. … We ought, therefore, to choose the most hopeless of world views, and if by chance we are deceiving ourselves and hope does exist, so much the better. At all events, in this way man’s soul will not be humiliated, and neither God nor the devil will ever be able to ridicule it by saying that it became intoxicated like a hashish-smoker and fashioned an imaginary paradise out of naiveté and cowardice—in order to cover the abyss. The faith most devoid of hope seemed to me not the truest, perhaps, but surely the most valorous. I considered the metaphysical hope alluring bait which true men do not condescend to nibble. I wanted whatever was most difficult, in other words most worthy of man, of the man who does not whine, entreat, or go about begging. ~ Nikos Kazantzakis