Tag Archives: Religion

Thoughts of the Day

“In Philadelphia, I inadvertently came upon an edition of Robert Ingersoll’s Essays and Lectures. This was an exciting discovery; his atheism confirmed my own belief that the horrific cruelty of the Old Testament was degrading to the human spirit.”
— Charlie Chaplain, My Autobiography (1964), cited in Who’s Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith

“The thoughts of the gods are not more unchangeable than those of the men who interpret them. They advance—but they always lag behind the thoughts of men. . . . The Christian God was once a Jew. Now he is an anti-Semite.”
— Anatole France, letter to the Freethought Congress at Paris (1905), cited by Joseph McCabe, Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists

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“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. . . . Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find inducements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you.”
— Thomas Jefferson’s letter to nephew Peter Carr, written from Paris, Aug. 10, 1787
“Free thought means fearless thought. It is not deterred by legal penalties, nor by spiritual consequences. Dissent from the Bible does not alarm the true investigator, who takes truth for authority not authority for truth. The thinker who is really free, is independent; he is under no dread; he yields to no menace; he is not dismayed by law, nor custom, nor pulpits, nor society—whose opinion appals so many. He who has the manly passion of free thought, has no fear of anything, save the fear of error.”
— George Jacob Holyoake, The Origin and Nature of Secularism, Ch. 3 (1896)

“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.”
— Christopher Hitchens, “The Lord and the Intellectuals,” Harper’s (July 1982), cited by James A. Haught in 2,000 Years of Disbelief (1996)

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“When one guy sees an invisible man he’s a nut case. Ten people see him it’s a cult. Ten million people see him it’s a respected religion.”
— Richard Jeni, from richardjeni.com

“That’s all religion is — some principle you believe in . . . man has accomplished far more miracles than the God he invented. What a tragedy it is to invent a God and then suffer to keep him King.”
— Rod Steiger, in Playboy magazine (July interview, 1969)

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Thoughts of the Day

Do Unto Others?

‘Love thy neighbor as thyself?’
Hide that motto on the shelf!
Let it lie there, keep it idle
Especially if you’re suicidal.

Realist

‘For what we are about to receive,
Oh Lord, ’tis Thee we thank,’
Said the Cannibal as he cut a slice
Of the missionary’s shank.

— Yip Harburg, Rhymes for the Irreverent (1965). His two rhymebooks are available for sale from FFRF at our bookstore.

“I look forward to receiving 20 emails saying, ‘Hey, I noticed you’re not religious. Look at your fingerprint. Doesn’t that prove that there is a creator, because your fingerprint is completely unique.’ Um, no. Doesn’t.”

— “The Atheist’s Puzzle,” Oct. 19, 2010, youtube.com/alexday

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“Universalists believe in a god which I do not; but believe that their god, with all his moral attributes, (aside from nature itself,) is nothing more than a chimera of their own imagination.”

— Letter by Abner Kneeland to Universalist editor Thomas Whittemore, Dec. 20, 1833, published by Abner Kneeland in the Investigator, for which he was tried and convicted of blasphemy

“Another important doctrine of the Christian religion, is the atonement supposed to have been made by the death and sufferings of the pretended Saviour of the world; and this is grounded upon principles as regardless of justice as the doctrine of original sin. It exhibits a spectacle truly distressing to the feelings of the benevolent mind, it calls innocence and virtue into a scene of suffering, and reputed guilt, in order to destroy the injurious effects of real vice. It pretends to free the world from the fatal effects of a primary apostacy, by the sacrifice of an innocent being. Evil has already been introduced into the world, and in order to remove it, a fresh accumulation of crimes becomes necessary. In plain terms, to destroy one evil, another must be committed.”

— Elihu Palmer, Principles of Nature; or, A Development of the Moral Causes of Happiness and Misery among the Human Species, 1801

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“Every time you understand something, religion becomes less likely. Only with the discovery of the double helix and the ensuing genetic revolution have we had grounds for thinking that the powers held traditionally to be the exclusive property of the gods might one day be ours. . . .

[As a young man ] I came to the conclusion that the church was just a bunch of fascists that supported Franco. I stopped going on Sunday mornings and watched the birds with my father instead.”

— Dr. James Watson, London Telegraph, March 22, 2003

“How have so-called psychics been able to mystify representative scientists such as Sir William Crookes, Sir Oliver Lodge, William James, and the French physiologist, Charles Richet — men of supposedly straight-thinking, analytical minds? To say nothing of such eminent writers as the sincere, though deluded, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes.

“I believe the kernel of the matter is that scientists, philosophers, and psychologists live in circles where honesty is taken for granted. It is inconceivable to them that such gross deception could be practiced. They fail to realize that they’re working hand in glove with members of one of the most unclean professions in the world.”

— Harry Houdini, “Tricks of Fake Mediums,” Liberty magazine, April 25, 1925

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“I’d been on patrol, and I went to church that evening. It was an Anglican church, quite high church (I always liked the ceremony) and I was standing up, reciting the Apostles’ Creed (which to this day I could recite word for word) and suddenly I realized I didn’t believe a word of it, and probably never had. And I never went back to church after that, except for the occasional funeral.”

— Arthur Hailey, in Walden Book Report, July 1998

“Seeing there are no signs nor fruit of religion but in man only, there is no cause to doubt but that the seed of religion is also only in man. . .”

“Fear of power invisible, feigned by the mind or imagined from tales publicly allowed, RELIGION; not allowed, SUPERSTITION.”

“They that approve a private opinion, call it opinion; but they that mislike it, heresy; and yet heresy signifies no more than private opinion.”

— Sir Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, 1651

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Thoughts of the Day

“I brought the case because I wanted to encourage toleration among my children. I certainly did not want teachers who have control over my children for at least eight hours over the day to . . . program them into any religious philosophy.”

— Ishmael Jaffree, acceptance speech for “Freethinker of the Year 1985,” awarded by the Freedom From Religion Foundation

“The greatest difference between the Humanist ethic and that of Christianity and the traditional religions is that it is entirely based on happiness in this one and only life and not concerned with a realm of supernatural immortality and the glory of God. Humanism denies the philosophical and psychological dualism of soul and body and contends that a human being is a oneness of mind, personality, and physical organism. Christian insistence on the resurrection of the body and personal immortality has often cut the nerve of effective action here and now, and has led to the neglect of present human welfare and happiness.”

— Corliss Lamont, “The Affirmative Ethics of Humanism,” The Humanist, March/April 1980

“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.”

— Jane Rule, Brave Souls: Writers and Artists Wrestle with God, Love, Death and the Things that Matter by Douglas Todd (1996), cited by Celebrity Atheists website.

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“Being an atheist is a matter not of moral choice, but of human obligation.”
— John Fowles, quoted in The New York Times Book Review (May 31, 1998)

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Thought of The Day

“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.”

— “Time to Stand Up,” written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Sept. 2001. See Dawkins’s Emperor Has No Clothes Award.

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Thoughts of the Day

“. . . the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion . . .”

— Treaty of Tripoli, negotiated and co-written by Joel Barlow, U.S. Counsel to Algiers, ratified in 1797

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“It’s an incredible con job, when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations, with all their reward systems, don’t try to make it posthumous.”

— Gloria Steinem, interview with Annie Laurie Gaylor, The Feminist Connection, November 1980 (Madison, Wisconsin)

“From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. The reality is that organized religion doesn’t seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it’s not really compassionate.”

— Sir Elton John quoted in Observer Music Monthly Magazine in an interview with Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears, Nov. 2006

“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.”

— Woman, Church and State by Matilda Joslyn Gage (1893)

God Isn’t Real

A world filled with wonder, a cold, fathomless sky
A man’s life so meager, he can but wonder why
He cries out to Heaven its truth to reveal
The answer: only silence, for God isn’t real.

Go ask the starving millions under Stalin’s cruel reign
Go ask the child with cancer who eases her pain
Then go to your churches, if that’s how you feel
But don’t ask me to follow, for God isn’t real.

He forms in his image a weak and foolish man
Speaks to him in symbols that few understand
For a life of devotion, the death blow he deals
We’d owe Him only hatred, but God isn’t real.

Go tell the executioner of the power he can’t defy
Go tell his shackled victim of the mercy on high. . .
Then go to your churches, go beg, pray, and kneel,
But don’t ask me to follow, for God isn’t real.

No, no matter how He should be, God isn’t real.
— Robbie Fulks, “God Isn’t Real”

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