Quotes

My favorite atheist quotes.

— Douglas Adams
  • Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
— Scott Adams
  • Mockery is an important social tool for squelching stupidity. I’ve never seen anyone change his mind because of the power of a superior argument or the acquisition of new facts. But I’ve seen plenty of people change behavior to avoid being mocked.
— Isaac Asimov
  • Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'
  • Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.
  • If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.
  • If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.
  • To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.
  • Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
— Marcus Aurelius
  • 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.
— 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 that, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.
— Marcus Brigstocke
  • I know that most religious folk are moderate and nice and reasonable and wear tidy jumpers and eat cheese like real people… But they have to accept that they are the power base for the nutters. Without their passive support the loonies in charge of these faiths would just be loonies safely locked away and medicated, somewhere nice, you know with a view of some trees, where they can claim they have a direct channel to god between sessions making tapestry drinks coasters, watching Teletubbies, and talking about their days in the Hitler youth. The ordinary faithful make these vicious tyrannical thugs what they are… Without the audience to prop it up… fundamentalist religious fanaticism goes away.
— Richard Burton
  • The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
— William Clifford
  • No belief held by one man, however seemingly trivial the belief, and however obscure the believer, is ever actually insignificant or without its effect on the fate of mankind.
  • It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.
  • If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it — the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.
— Richard Dawkins
  • The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.
  • Ratzinger is the Perfect Pope
  • I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world.
—Daniel Dennett
  • One of the striking differences between modern, "organized" religion and tribal or folk religions--religions without seminaries and theologians and official books--is that in tribal religions they have no double standard! They thank their gods for the good stuff that happens and blame them for the bad. The idea that God is a worthy recipient of our gratitude for the blessings of life but should not be held accountable for the disasters is a transparently disingenuous innovation of the theologians. And of course it doesn't work all that well. The Problem of Evil, capital letters and all, is the central enigma confronting theists. There is no solution. Isn't that obvious? All the holy texts and interpretations that contrive ways of getting around the problem read like the fine print in a fraudulent contract--and for the same reason: they are desperate attempts to conceal the implications of the double standard they have invented.
—Philip K. Dick
  • Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.
—Matt Dillahunty
  • How do you go about showing that faith is a good thing... without evidence?
—Paul Dirac
— Sam Harris
  • People of faith often claim that the crimes of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot were the inevitable product of unbelief. The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.
— Stephen Hawking
  • Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the Universe going.
— Christopher Hitchens
  • That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.
  • I think what I mainly live for is contemplating the misfortunes of other people. That and vindication. Being proved repeatedly over and over again right when other people are wrong. That does a lot for me.
    The second thing I live for is, if not exactly passing on my genes, taking part in activities that might allow those genes to be passed on.
— Thomas Hobbes
  • The social contract tradition: life in the state of nature is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"
— Kendall Hobbs
  • I found it far easier to account for good in the world without God than to account for bad in the world with God. Thus, I am no longer a Christian, or even a theist: God has become an unnecessary hypothesis.

    From: Why I Am No Longer a Christian (2003)
— Baron d'Holbach
  • There is a science that has for its object only things incomprehensible. Contrary to all other sciences, it treats only of what cannot fall under our senses. Hobbes calls it the kingdom of darkness.
    It is a country, where every thing is governed by laws, contrary to those which mankind are permitted to know in the world they inhabit. In this marvellous region, light is only darkness; evidence is doubtful or false; impossibilities are credible: reason is a deceitful guide; and good sense becomes madness.
    This science is called theology, and this theology is a continual insult to the reason of man.
— "Sherlock Holmes"
  • Never theorize before you have data. Invariably, you end up twisting facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
— House
  • If you could reason with religious people there would be no religious people.
— Robert Ingersoll
  • 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'.
— Thomas Jefferson
  • Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.
— Lawrence Krauss
  • Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements – the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life – weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.
— Dalai Lama
  • I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.
— John Locke
  • I find every sect, as far as reason will help them, make use of it gladly; and where it fails them, they cry out, it is a matter of faith, and above reason.
— Bill Maher
— H.L. Mencken
  • We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.
  • Theology — An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms of the not worth knowing.
  • The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.

    True enough, even a superstitious man has certain inalienable rights. He has a right to harbor and indulge his imbecilities as long as he pleases, provided only he does not try to inflict them upon other men by force. He has a right to argue for them as eloquently as he can, in season and out of season. He has a right to teach them to his children. But certainly he has no right to be protected against the free criticism of those who do not hold them. He has no right to demand that they be treated as sacred. He has no right to preach them without challenge. Did Darrow, in the course of his dreadful bombardment of Bryan, drop a few shells, incidentally, into measurably cleaner camps? Then let the garrisons of those camps look to their defenses. They are free to shoot back. But they can't disarm their enemy.

— John S. Mill
  • It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied.
—P.Z. Myers
  • I’m sorry, but I don’t like you. I’ll concede that you are doing less direct harm, and I will thank you for your support of shared causes, and I’ll also happily work alongside you in those causes, but I also think you are still doing indirect harm to foundational principles of a rational society. You believe in some outrageous bullshit; the christian myths of a virgin giving birth to a god who dies are illogical lunacy, and the Christian doctrines of original sin and redemption through blood sacrifice by proxy are crippling psychopathological abominations. You promote unreason by telling people that it is OK to believe in some things without evidence, and even in contradiction to evidence and reason. You are cafeteria realists, and you undermine the essential goal of bringing the whole of humanity out of the darkness of ignorance and into the light of the real world.

    From: Sacking the City of God

— Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Faith means not wanting to know what is true.
— Thomas Paine
  • To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.
— Blaise Pascal
  • Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
— Nate Phelps
  • As long as we as a society say that it is ok to accept something without evidence to support it, then we tacitly given approval to extremists like my father ... Muslim extremists.
  • If you invoke faith as justification for your belief, you must accept the same from others. And every person who retreats to faith bears a measure of responsibility for every act of hate and violence justified by it.
— Nick Philips
  • A philosopher is someone who goes into a dark room at night, to look for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian does the same thing, but comes out claiming he found the cat.
— Robert Pirsig
  • When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.
— Max Planck
  • Science advances one funeral at a time.
— Karl Popper
  • Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.
— Terry Pratchett
  • ...take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder, and sieve it through the finest sieve, and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy. And yet, you try to act as if there is some ideal order in the world. As if there is some, some rightness in the universe, by which it may be judged.
— Bertrand Russell
  • 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.
— Carl Sagan
  • Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
— Arthur Schopenhauer
  • Error always does harm; sooner or later it will bring mischief to the man who harbors it.
— George Bernard Shaw
  • The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • That the frequency of a belief in God (for it is not Universal) should be any argument in its favor, none to whom the innumerable mistakes of men are familiar, will assert. It is among men of genius and science that Atheism alone is found, but among these alone is cherished an hostility to those errors, with which the illiterate and vulgar are infected.
— George P. Spencer
  • Beyond the universe there is nothing and within the universe the supernatural does not and cannot exist. Of all deceivers who have plagued mankind, none are so deeply ruinous to human happiness as those impostors who pretend to lead by a light above nature. Science has never killed or persecuted a single person for doubting or denying its teachings, and most of these teachings have been true; but religion has murdered millions for doubting or denying her dogmas, and most of these dogmas have been false.
— Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • 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?
— Doug Stanhope
  • Jesus died for your sins? How does that work? I just hit myself in the foot with a shovel for your mortgage!
— StarlessKnight
  • The Church: steeped in the blessed tradition of being on the wrong side of important, societial and cultural issues for as long as Humanly possible.
— Stendhal
  • All religions are founded on the fear of many and the cleverness of few.
— Victor Stenger
  • The antiscience that is so prevalent among conservatives in America today, and is occasionally found among liberals as well, is driving the world toward economic and environmental disaster.
— Mark Twain
  • It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
  • 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.
— Voltaire
  • If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities.
  • 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.
— Kurt Vonnegut
  • Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.
  • I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
  • Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.
— Steven Weinberg
  • With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

My favorite theist quotes.

— Louis Farrakhan
  • Remember Jews, when God puts you in the oven, its's forever!
  • The Jews don't like Farrakhan, so they call me Hitler. Well, that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man.
— Adolph Hitler
  • …general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training must be derived from faith…
  • We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.
— Martin Luther
  • There is on earth among all dangers no more dangerous thing than a richly endowed and adroit reason... Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed.
  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them.
  • If I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words ‘I baptise thee in the name of Abraham’.
  • The word and works of God is quite clear, that women were made either to be wives or prostitutes.

Miscellaneous / Off topic

— Kurt Vonnegut
  • The only difference between Hitler and Bush is that Hitler was elected.
  • Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college.
— BecauseZombie
  • And lo, doth not the troll speak in loud tones so as to be heard? But we heareth him not. He crieth in the village, proclaiming loudly, "WAHH, WAHH, I HAVE SAND IN MY VAGINA," but all eyes turneth away and all ears shut to him.

    Blessed will we be when he findeth the unsubscribe button and shuteth the fuck up.


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changed March 4, 2014