An extensive effort is ongoing to verify and include the source for each of these quotes.
Solomon (900s BCE):
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted." [from the Bible, King James Version, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2]
"He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life. And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God." [from the Bible, King James Version, Ecclesiastes 3:11-13]
Hesiod (700s BCE):
"Observe due measure, for right timing is in all things the most important factor."
Isaiah (700s BCE):
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." [citing God] [from the Bible, King James Version, Isaiah 55:8]
Micah (700s BCE):
"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" [from the Bible, King James Version, Micah 6:8]
Job [uncertain of author/date] (500s BCE):
"What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 2:10]
"[God] Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not. Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? Who will say unto him, What doest thou?" [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 9:10-12]
"I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number." [citing Eliphaz the Temanite] [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 5:8-9]
"Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?" [citing Zophar the Naamathite] [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 11:7]
"I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker." [citing Elihu] [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 36:3]
"Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out." [citing Elihu] [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 36:26]
"Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God." [citing Elihu] [from the Bible, King James Version, Job 37:14]
Aesop (620-560 BCE):
"Look before you leap." [from The Frogs And The Well]
"Honesty is the best policy." [from Mercury And The Woodman]
"Appearances are deceptive." [from The Wolf In Sheep's Clothing]
"Familiarity breeds contempt." [from The Fox And The Lion]
"United we stand, divided we fall." [from The Four Oxen And The Lion]
"One good turn deserves another." [from The Serpent And The Eagle]
"The gods help them that help themselves." [from Hercules And The Waggoner]
"Do not count your chickens before they are hatched." [from The Milkmaid And Her Pail]
"A little thing in hand is worth more than a great thing in prospect." [from The Fisher And The Little Fish]
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
"He that serves God for money will serve the Devil for better wages."
Anaximander (611-547 BCE):
"The infinite ... is the divine, for it is immortal and indestructible."
Pythagoras (580-500 BCE):
"At its deepest level, reality is mathematical in nature, ... philosophy can be used for spiritual purification, [and] ... the soul can rise to union with the divine."
Buddha [Siddhartha Gautama] (563-483 BCE):
"Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely."
"Hatred does not cease by hatred at any time; hatred ceases by love."
"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."
"My mind shall not be disturbed; no angry word shall escape my lips; I will remain kind and friendly, with loving thoughts and no secret spite."
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it - even if I have said it - unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
"Believe not because some old manuscripts are produced, believe not because it is your national belief, believe not because you have been made to believe from your childhood, but reason truth out, and after you have analyzed it, then if you find it will do good to one and all, believe it, live up to it and help others live up to it."
Confucius (551-479 BCE):
"Do not to others as you would not wish done to yourself." [from The Analects]
"Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it."
"To see what is right and not to do it is want of courage." [from The Analects]
"The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home."
"The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort." [from The Analects]
"The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue." [from The Analects]
"Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practices it will have neighbors." [from The Analects]
Euripides (484-404 BCE):
"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
Socrates (469-399 BCE):
"Wisdom begins in wonder."
"There is only one evil - ignorance."
Thucydides (460-400 BCE):
"We secure our friends not by accepting favors, but by doing them."
Hippocrates (460-377 BCE):
"Nature acts without masters."
Plato (426-347 BCE):
"The beginning is the most important part of the work."
"Trees and fields tell me nothing: men are my teachers."
"The body of heaven is visible, but the soul is invisible, and partakes of reason and harmony, and being made by the best of intellectual and everlasting natures, is the best of things created."
"Was the world, I say, always in existence and without beginning? Or created, and had it a beginning? Created, I reply, being visible and tangible and having a body, and therefore sensible; and all sensible things are apprehended by opinion and sense and are in a process of creation and created. Now that which is created must, as we affirm, of necessity be created by a cause. But the father and maker of all this universe is past finding out; and even if we found him, to tell of him to all men would be impossible."
Aristotle (384-322 BCE):
"Happiness depends upon ourselves."
"We do not know a truth without knowing its cause."
"We can do noble acts without ruling the earth and sea."
"In the arena of human life the honors and rewards fall to those who show their good qualities in action."
"There is something which always moves the things that are in motion, and the first mover is itself unmoved." [from Metaphysics]
"One actuality always precedes another in time right back to the actuality of the eternal prime mover." [from Metaphysics]
"The infinite has no beginning, ... but seems to be the beginning of other things, and to surround all things and guide all ... And this is the divine, for it is immortal and indestructible."
Demosthenes (384-322 BCE)
"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
Epicurus (341-270 BCE):
"Justice's greatest reward is peace of mind."
"Self-sufficiency is the greatest of all wealth."
"Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?"
Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BCE):
"Of two evils, the least should be chosen."
"True law is right reason in agreement with nature."
"Let the gods deal with offenses done unto gods, and let men deal with offenses done unto men."
"An acute, first-class brain is the finest asset anyone can have. And if we want to be happy, it is an asset we must exploit to the utmost."
"There cannot be one law now, and another hereafter; but the same eternal immutable law comprehends all nations, at all times, under one common master and governor of all - GOD."
Titus Lucretius Carus (98-50 BCE):
"Human kind throughout the lands lay miserably crushed before all eyes beneath religion." [from On The Nature Of Things]
Horace (65-8 BCE):
"Force without wisdom falls of its own weight."
"Remember when life's path is steep to keep your mind even."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca [the Younger] (4 BCE-65CE):
"It is difficult to change nature."
"Time heals what reason cannot."
"Life is too short to figure out what it's all about, all by ourselves."
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
"He who decides a case without hearing the other side, even if he decides justly, cannot be considered just."
Matthew [the Apostle] (-):
"Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, Matthew 7:12]
Mark [the Apostle] (-):
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, Mark 12:30-31]
Luke [the Apostle] (-):
"It is more blessed to give than receive." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, Acts 20:35]
"And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." [citing Paul] [from the Bible, King James Version, Acts 24:16]
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, Acts 6:45]
John [the Apostle] (-):
"He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." [from the Bible, King James Version, I John 4:8]
"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, John 8:32]
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." [citing Jesus] [from the Bible, King James Version, John 15:13]
Paul [the Apostle] (3-67):
"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power." [from the Bible, King James Version, Romans 1:19-20]
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." [from the Bible, King James Version, Romans 8:28]
"But to us there is but one God." [from the Bible, King James Version, I Corinthians 8:6]
"God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." [from the Bible, King James Version, I Corinthians 14:33]
"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? For ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification." [from the Bible, King James Version, I Corinthians 14:8- 10]
"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" [from the Bible, King James Version, I Corinthians 15:55]
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." [from the Bible, King James Version, Philippians 4:8]
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." [from the Bible, King James Version, I Thessalonians 5:21-23]
"The infinite is the universal cause of the generation and destruction of the universe. From it ... the heavens were separated off and all the infinite worlds."
"Don't surrender your mind."
"Nothing truly stops you. Nothing truly holds you back. For your own will is always within your control."
"When we remember that our aim is spiritual progress, we return to striving to be our best selves. This is how happiness is won."
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121-180):
"The man who doesn't know what the universe is doesn't know where he lives."
"We are made for cooperation, like feet, like hands, like eyelids, like the rows of the upper and lower teeth. To act against one another then is contrary to nature." [from The Meditations]
"Pass then through this little space of time conformably to nature, and end your journey in content, just as an olive falls off when it is ripe, blessing nature who produced it, and thanking the tree on which it grew." [from The Meditations]
"Every part of me will be reduced by change into some part of the universe, and that again will change into another part of the universe, and so on forever. And by consequence of such a change I too exist, and those who begot me, and so on forever in the other direction." [from The Meditations]
"Everything harmonizes with me, which is harmonious to thee, O Universe. Nothing for me is too early or too late, which is in due time for thee. Everything is fruit to me which thy seasons bring, O Nature; from thee are all things, in thee are all things, to thee all things return." [from The Meditations]
"Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things that are and to make new things like them. For everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which will be." [from The Meditations]
"This you must always bear in mind, what is the nature of the whole, and what is my nature, and how this is related to that, and what kind of a part it is of what kind of a whole; and that there is no one who hinders you from always doing and saying the things which are according to the nature of which you are a part." [from The Meditations]
"If you work at that which is before you, following right reason seriously, vigorously, calmly without allowing anything else to distract you, but keeping your divine part pure, as if you might be bound to give it back immediately; if you hold to this, expecting nothing, fearing nothing, but satisfied with your present activity according to nature, and with heroic truth in every word and sound which you utter, you will be happy. And there is no man who is able to prevent this." [from The Meditations]
"Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web." [from The Meditations]
Plotinus (205- 270):
"The One, perfect in seeking nothing, possessing nothing and needing nothing, overflows and creates a new reality by its superabundance."
"This All is universal power, of infinite extent and infinite in potency, a god so great that all his parts are infinite. Name any place, and he is already there."
"A sympathy pervades this single universe, like a single living creature, and the distant is near. ... Like parts lie not in contact but separated, with other parts between, yet by their likeness they feel sympathy ... and in a living and unified being there is no part so remote as not to be near, through the very nature that binds the living unity in sympathy."
"Our thought cannot grasp the One as long as any other image remains active in the soul. ... To this end, you must set free your soul from all outward things and turn wholly within yourself, with no more leaning to what lies outside, and lay your mind bare of ideal forms, as before of the objects of sense, and forget even yourself, and so come within sight of that One."
Saint [Aurelius] Augustine (354-430):
"Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works, unless His omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil."
"To rule by fettering the mind through fear of punishment in another world, is just as base as to use force."
John Scotus Erigena (810-877):
"When we hear that God makes all things, we should understand nothing else but that God is in all things, i.e. is the essence of all things. For He alone truly is, and everything which is truly said to be in those things which are, is God alone."
William of Conches (1080-1154):
"Because they know not the forces of nature, and in order that they may have comrades in their ignorance, they suffer not that others should search out anything, and would have us believe like rustics and ask no reason ... But we ask in all things a reason must be sought."
Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274):
"Beware of the man of one book."
"To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible."
"The existence of God and other like truths about God, which can be known by natural reason, are not articles of faith, but are preambles to the articles; for faith presupposes natural knowledge, even as grace presupposes nature and perfection the perfectible."
John Duns Scotus (1266-1308):
"[The will of God is] illumined by the divine intellect and that the primacy of the will of God does not negate this natural order, which is valid also in God."
William of Occam (1280-1349):
"One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything."
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543):
"Although I know that the meditations of a philosopher are far removed from the judgment of the laity, because his endeavor is to seek out the truth in all things, so far as this is permitted by God to the human reason, I still believe that one must avoid theories altogether foreign to orthodoxy." [from Dedication To The Revolutions Of The Heavenly Bodies]
John Heywood (1497-1580):
"Haste makes waste."
"A penny for your thoughts."
"To rob Peter and pay Paul."
"Strike while the iron is hot."
"You stand in your own light."
"Rome was not built in a day."
"Many hands make light work."
"This hits the nail on the head."
"Two heads are better than one."
"Beggars should not be choosers."
"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."
"Hold their noses to the grindstone."
"Leap out of the frying pan and into the fire."
"The neer to the church, the further from God."
Michael Servetus (1511-1553):
"Not one word is found in the whole Bible about the Trinity nor about its persons, nor about the essence nor the unity of substance nor of the one nature of the several beings." [from Errors In The Trinity]
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592):
"Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know."
"How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables."
"O senseless man, who cannot possibly make a worm and yet will make Gods by the dozen!"
Giordano Bruno (1548-1600):
"All things are in the universe, and the universe is in all things: we in it, and it in us: and in this way everything harmonizes in perfect unity."
Johannes Althusius (1557-1638):
"All power is limited by definite boundaries and laws. No power is absolute, infinite, unbridled, arbitrary, and lawless. Every power is bound to laws, right, and equity."
Francis Bacon (1561-1626):
"Knowledge is power."
"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper. "
"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
"The trinitarian believes a virgin to be the mother of a son who is her maker."
"No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth." [from The Essays]
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." [from The Essays]
William Shakespeare (1564-1616):
"Thou, nature, art my goddess; to thy laws my services are bound."
"The better part of valour is discretion." [from King Henry IV]
"Every one can master a grief but he that has it." [from Much Ado About Nothing]
"A brave man dies but once, a coward dies many deaths." [from Julius Caesar]
"His life was gentle, and the elements So mix'd in him that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, 'This was a man!'" [from Julius Caesar]
"Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings." [from Julius Caesar]
"The course of true love never did run smooth." [from A Midsummer Night's Dream]
"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose." [from The Merchant Of Venice]
"God made him, and therefore let him pass for a man." [from The Merchant Of Venice]
"I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano - A stage, where every man must play a part, And mine a sad one. " [from The Merchant Of Venice]
"The quality of mercy is not strain'd; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest - It blesseth him that gives and, and him that takes." [from The Merchant Of Venice]
"In nature's infinite book of secrecy A little I can read." [from Antony And Cleopatra]
"O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!" [from Othello]
"How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man's eyes!" [from As You Like It]
"All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrnaces; And one man in his time plays many parts." [from As You Like It]
"Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow." [from Romeo And Juliet]
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet." [from Romeo And Juliet]
"The rest is silence." [from Hamlet]
"Brevity is the soul of wit." [from Hamlet]
"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below." [from Hamlet]
"There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will." [from Hamlet]
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." [from Hamlet]
"This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." [from Hamlet]
"To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them." [from Hamlet]
"To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more: it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing." [from Macbeth]
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642):
"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."
"Philosophy itself cannot but benefit from our disputes, for if our conceptions prove true, new achievements will be made; if false, their refutation will further confirm the original doctrines."
"I truly believe the book of philosophy to be that which stands perpetually open before our eyes, though since it is written in characters different from those of our alphabet, it cannot be read by everyone."
"Nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages."
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use and by some other means given us knowledge which we can attain by them." [from Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina of Tuscany]
"The hypothesis is pretty; its only fault is that it is neither demonstrated nor demonstrable. Who does not see that this is purely arbitrary fiction that puts nothingness as existing and proposes nothing more than simple noncontradiciton?"
Jacob Boehme (1575-1624):
"For according to the outward man, we are in this world, and according to the inward man, we are in the inward world. ... Since then we are generated out of both worlds, we speak in two languages, and we must be understood also by two languages."
"But when this had given me many a hard blow, doubtless from the Spirit that had a desire for me, I finally fell into great sadness and melancholy, when I viewed the great depth of this world, the sun and the stars and the clouds, rain and snow, and contemplated in my mind the whole creation of this world."
Lord [Edward] Herbert of Cherbury (1583- 1648):
"Truth is a certain harmony between objects and their analogous faculties."
"[Five Articles of Deism are] (1) that there is a supreme Deity; (2) that this Deity ought to be worshipped; (3) that virtue combined with piety is the chief part of divine worship; (4) that men should repent of their sins and turn from them; (5) that reward and punishment follow from the goodness and justice of God, both in this life and after it." [from De Veritate]
"Our mind is the the highest image and type of the divinity, and hence whatever is true or good in us exists in supreme degree in God. Following out this opinion, we believe that the divine image has also communicated itself to the body. But, as in the propagation of light there is growing loss of distinctness as it gets farther from its source, so that divine image, which shines clearly in our living and free unity, first communicates itself to natural instinct or the common reason of its providence, then extends to the numberless internal and external faculties (analogous to particular objects), closes into shade and body, and sometimes seems as it were to retreat into matter itself."
William Drummond (1585-1649):
"He who will not reason, is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not is a slave."
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679):
"For words are wise men's counters; they do but reckon by them: but they are the money of fools." [from Leviathan]
"From the two principal parts of our nature, Reason and Passion, have proceeded two kinds of learning, mathematical and dogmatical." [from The Elements Of Natural Law And Politics]
Rene' Descartes (1596-1650):
"I think, therefore I am." [from Discourse On The Method Of Rightly Conducting The Reason, And Seeking Truth In The Sciences]
"It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well."
"I can doubt everything, except one thing, and that is the very fact that I doubt."
"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."
Roger Williams (1603-1683):
"All civil states, with their officers of justice, in their respective constitutions and administrations, are proved essentially civil, and therefore not judges, governors, or defenders of the spiritual, or Christian, state and worship."
"A Pagan or Antichristian Pilot may be as skillful to carry the Ship to its desired Port, as any Christian Mariner or Pilot in the World, and may perform that work with as much safety and speed. God requireth not an Uniformity of Religion to be inacted and enforced in any Civil State."
John Milton (1608-1674):
"God, to remove his ways from human sense, Placed Heaven from earth so far, that earthly sight, If it presume, might err in things too high, And no advantage gain." [from Paradise Lost]
Blaise Pascal (1623-1662):
"Do you wish people to speak well of you? Don't speak well of yourself."
"We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything."
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." [from Pensees]
"We are usually convinced more easily by reasons we have found ourselves than by those which have occurred to others."
John Ray (1627-1705):
"It is not how long, but how well we live."
Richard Cumberland (1631-1718):
"It is better to wear out than to rust out."
"[The Law of Nature] will chiefly promote the common Good, and by which only the entire Happiness of particular Persons can be obtained."
Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677):
"That which constitutes the reality of a true thought must be sought in the thought itself, and deduced from the nature of the understanding." [from On The Improvement Of The Understanding]
"Observe that it is thereby manifest that we cannot understand anything of nature without at the same time increasing our knowledge of the first cause, or God." [from On The Improvement Of The Understanding]
John Locke (1632-1704):
"The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts."
"Reading furnishes the mind only with materials for knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
"To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues."
"New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not common."
"The state of Nature has a law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one, and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions." [from Essay Concerning Civil Government]
"Though the works of nature, in every part of them, sufficiently evidence a Deity; yet the world made so little use of their reason, that they saw him not, where, even by the impressions of himself, he was easy to be found. Sense and lust blinded their minds in some, and a careless inadvertency in others, and fearful apprehensions in most (who either believed there were, or could not but suspect there might be, superior unknown beings) gave them up into the hands of their priests to fill their heads with false notions of the deity, and their worship with foolish rites, as they pleased; and what dread or craft once began, devotion soon made sacred, and religion immutable." [from The Reasonableness of Christianity]
Nicholas Malebranche (1638-1715):
"For it is not only consonant to Reason, but it also appears by the economy of Nature, that God never does by very difficult means, what may be done by a plain easy way: God does nothing in vain and without Reason: That which shows his Wisdom and his Power, is not to do little things by difficult Means; for that is repugnant to Reason, and shows a limited Knowledge: But on the contrary, it is to do great things by plain easy Means." [from The Search After Truth]
Isaac Newton (1642-1727):
"This most beautiful system [The Universe] could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being." [from Mathematical Principles Of Natural Philosophy]
"It is the temper of the hot and superstitious art of mankind in matters of religion ever to be fond of mysteries, and for that reason to like best what they understand least."
"We are to admit no more causes of natural things, than such as are both true and sufficient to explain their appearances. To this purpose the philosophers say that Nature does nothing in vain, and more is in vain when less will serve; for Nature is pleased with simplicity, and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes." [from Mathematical Principles Of Natural Philosophy]
"As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, nor touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing. We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of anything is we know not." [from Mathematical Principles Of Natural Philosophy]
"For since the qualities of bodies are only known to us by experiments, we are to hold for universal all such as universally agree with experiments; and such as are not liable to diminution can never be quite taken away. We are certainly not to relinquish the evidence of experiments for the sake of dreams and vain fictions of our own devising; nor are we to recede from the analogy of Nature, which is wont to be simple, and always consonant to itself." [from Mathematical Principles Of Natural Philosophy]
"Now by the help of these Principles, all material Things seem to have been composed of the hard and solid Particles above-mention'd, variously associated in the first Creation by the Counsel of an intelligent Agent. For it became him who created them to set them in order. And if he did so, it's unphilosophical to seek for any other Origin of the World, or to pretend that it might arise out of a Chaos by the mere Laws of Nature; though being once form'd, it may continue by those Laws for many Ages." [from Opticks]
"For so far as we can know by natural Philosophy what is the first Cause, what Power he has over us, and what Benefits we receive from him, so far our Duty towards him, as well as that towards one another, will appear to us by the Light of Nature. And no doubt, if the Worship of false Gods had not blinded the Heathen, their moral Philosophy would have gone farther than to the four Cardinal Virtues; and instead of teaching the Transmigration of Souls, and to worship the Sun and Moon, and dead Heroes, they would have taught us to worship our true Author and Benefactor." [from Opticks]
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716):
"The soul is the mirror of an indestructible universe." [from The Monadology]
"This universe must indeed be better than every other possible universe."
"The existential value of the individual, who is not to be explained either by matter alone or by form alone but rather by his whole being."
Charles Blount (1654-1693):
"I my self am king of me."
"Faith is like a piece of blank paper whereon you may write as well one miracle as another."
Matthew Tindal (1657-1733):
"And if God designed all, Mankind should at all times know, what he wills them to know, believe, profess, and practice; and has given them no other Means for this, but the Use of Reason; Reason, human Reason must then be that Means: For as God has made us rational Creatures, and Reason tells us, that 'tis his Will, that we act up to the Dignity of our Natures; so 'tis Reason must tell when we do so." [from Christianity As Old As The Creation]
"By Natural Religion, I understand the Belief of the Existence of a God, and the Sense and Practice of those Duties which result from the Knowledge we, by our Reason, have of him and his Perfections; and of ourselves, and our own Imperfections; and of the relation we stand in to him and our Fellow-Creatures; so that the Religion of Nature takes in every thing that is founded on the Reason and Nature of things." [from Christianity As Old As The Creation]
"A judicious Divine of our Church very justly observes, 'That they, who have a good cause, need no disingenuous arts; they will not fright men from considering what their adversaries say, by denouncing damnation against them; nor forbid them to read their books, but rather encourage them so to do; that they may see the difference between truth and falsehood, between Reason and Sophistry, with their own eyes. And whensoever guides of a party do otherwise, they give just cause to those who follow them to examine their doctrines so much the more carefully, by how much they are unwilling to have them examined. It is a bad sign, when men are loath to have their opinions seen in the day, but love darkness rather than light.'" [from Christianity As Old As The Creation]
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745):
"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another."
Earl of Shaftesbury [Anthony Ashley Cooper] (1671-1713):
"[In the universal design of things] nothing is supernumerary or unnecessary, the whole is harmony, the numbers entire, the music perfect."
"Life, and the sensations which accompany life, come when they will, are from mere nature and nothing else. Therefore, if you dislike the word innate, let us change it, if you will, for instinct, and call instinct that which nature teaches, exclusive of art, culture, or discipline."
"Some moral and philosophical truths there are withal so evident in themselves, that it would be easier to imagine half mankind too have run mad, and joined precisely in one and the same species of folly, than to admit any thing as truth which should be advanced against such natural knowledge, fundamental reason, and common sense."
Sir Richard Steele (1672-1729):
"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."
Henry St. John Bolingbroke (1678-1751):
"Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society."
"Reason collects the will of God from the constitution of things, in this as in other cases; but in no case does the divine power impel us necessarily to conform ourselves to this will: and therefore from the misapplication of superior parts to the hurt, no argument can be drawn against this position, that they were given for the good of mankind. Reason deceive us not: we deceive ourselves, and suffer our wills to be determined by other motives." [from On The Spirit Of Patriotism]
George Berkeley (1685-1753):
"God seems to choose the convincing our reason of His attributes by the works of nature, which discover so much harmony and contrivance in their make, and are such plain indications of wisdom and beneficence in their Author, rather than to astonish us into a belief of His Being by anomalous and surprising events." [from A Treatise Concerning The Principles Of Human Knowledge]
"Some truths there are so near and obvious to the mind that a man need only opens his eyes to see them. Such I take this important one to be, that all the choir of heaven and the furniture of earth, in a word all those bodies which compose the mighty frame of the world, have not any subsistence without a mind, that their being is to be perceived." [from A Treatise Concerning The Principles Of Human Knowledge]
Alexander Pope (1688-1744):
"To err is human, to forgive, divine." [from An Essay On Criticism]
"for Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." [from An Essay On Criticism]
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." [from An Essay On Man ]
"A little learning [knowledge] is a dangerous thing."
"On life's vast ocean diversely we sail, Reason the card, but passion is the gale." [from An Essay On Man]
"'Tis education forms the common mind; Just as the twig is bent the tree's inclined."
"Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man." [from An Essay On Man]
"All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee; All Chance, Direction which thou canst not see; All Discord, Harmony not understood; All partial Evil, universal Good: And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite, One truth is clear, whatever is, is right." [from An Essay On Man]
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1782):
"Civility costs nothing and buys everything."
Francis Hutcheson (1694-1746):
"This superior power of perception is justly called a sense, because of its affinity to the other senses in this, that the pleasure does not arise from any knowledge of principles, proportions, causes or of the usefulness of the object; but strikes us at first with the idea of beauty."
Voltaire [Francois Marie Arouet] (1694-1778):
"If we believe absurdities, we shall commit atrocities."
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him."
"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."
"Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too."
"If God made us in His image we have certainly returned the compliment."
"Every sensible man, every honorable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror."
"Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense."
"I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write." [from a letter to M. le Riche]
"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."
Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758):
"The beauty of the world consists wholly of sweet mutual consents, either within itself, or with the Supreme Being. As to the corporeal world, though there are many other sorts of consents, yet the sweetest and most charming beauty of it is its resemblance of spiritual beauties. The reason is that spiritual beauties are infinitely the greatest, and bodies being but the shadows of beings, they must be so much the more charming as they shadow forth spiritual beauties. This beauty is peculiar to natural things, it surpassing the art of man." [from Beauty Of The World]
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790):
"Time is money."
"Waste not, want not."
"Little strokes fell great oaks."
"A penny saved is a penny earned."
"One today is worth two tomorrows."
"The doors of wisdom are never shut."
"Diligence is the mother of good luck."
"There was never a good war or a bad peace."
"He is a fool that makes his doctor his heir."
"He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals."
"In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes."
"Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today."
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise."
"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither liberty nor security."
"If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
"Original sin was as ridiculous as imputed righteousness."
"You can not legislate morality, but you must regulate behavior."
"'Tis his honesty that brought upon him the character of a heretic."
"Take courage mortal, death cannot banish you from the universe."
"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it."
"And now I speak of thanking God, I desire with all humility to acknowledge that I owe the mentioned happiness of my past life to His kind providence, which lead me to the means I used and gave them success." [from The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin]
"I wish it (Christianity) were more productive of good works ... I mean real good works ... not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing ... or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments despised by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity."
"Having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though with the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness."
"That there is one God, who made all things. That he governs the world by his providence. That he ought to be worshipped by adoration, prayer, and thanksgiving. But that the most acceptable service to God is doing good to man. That the soul is immortal. And that God will certainly reward virtue and punish vice, either here or hereafter." [from The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin]
"Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle's Lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist." [from The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin]
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784):
"The great source of pleasure is variety."
"It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives."
"Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind."
"We are inclined to believe those whom we do not know because they have never deceived us."
"There are innumerable questions to which the inquisitive mind can in this state receive no answer: Why do you and I exist? Why was this world created? Since it was to be created, why was it not created sooner?"
David Hume (1711-1776):
"Habit may lead us to belief and expectation but not to the knowledge, and still less to the understanding, of lawful relations."
"The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one." [from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding]
"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous, than the fact, which it endeavors to establish." [from An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding]
"This world, for aught he knows, is very faulty and imperfect, compared to a superior standard; and was only the first rude essay of some infant deity, who afterwards abandoned it, ashamed of his lame performance." [from Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion]
Frederick the Great (1712-1786):
"You will certainly grant me that neither antiquity nor whatever nation has devised a more repulsive and blasphemous absurdity than that of eating your God. This is the most disgusting dogma of Christian religion, the greatest insult to the Highest Being, the climax of madness and insanity."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712- 1788):
"Take the course opposite to custom and you will almost always do well."
"I feel an indescribable ecstasy and delirium in melting, as it were, into the system of beings, in identifying myself with the whole of nature."
Denis Diderot (1713-1784):
"Distance is a great promoter of admiration!"
"There is only one step from fanaticism to barbarism."
"In order to shake a hypothesis, it is sometimes not necessary to do anything more than push it as far as it will go."
"Our observation of nature must be diligent, our reflection profound, and our experiments exact. We rarely see these three means combined; and for this reason, creative geniuses are not common."
"The God of the Christians, for an apple, punished all the human race and killed his own son. This only proves that God is a father who makes a great deal to do about apples, and cares very little for his children."
Horace Walpole (1717-1797):
"Life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel."
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804):
"Objects must conform to our cognition." [from The Critique Of Pure Reason]
"So act that your principle of action might safely be made a law for the whole world."
Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
"Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting."
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
"Guilt is never a rational thing; it distorts all the faculties of the human mind, it perverts them, it leaves a man no longer in the free use of his reason, it puts him into confusion."
George Washington (1732- 1799):
"Liberty, when it begins to take root, is a plant of rapid growth."
"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."
"Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion."
Joseph Priestley (1733-1804):
"Absurdity supported by power will never be able to stand its ground against the efforts of reason."
"The doctrine of eternal torments is altogether indefensible on any principles of justice or equity; for all the crimes of finite creatures being, of finite, cannot in equity deserve infinite punishment."
John Adams (1735-1826):
"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."
"The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion." [from "Treaty Of Tripoli"]
"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?"
Patrick Henry (1736-1799):
"I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809):
"Science is the true theology."
"These are the times that try men's souls." [from The American Crisis]
"God is the power of first cause, nature is the law, and matter is the subject acted upon."
"When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon."
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must undergo the fatigue of supporting it." [from The American Crisis]
"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other and I trust I never shall." [from The Age Of Reason]
"Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly-marked feature of all religions established by law." [from The Rights Of Man]
"I consider myself in the hands of my Creator, and that he will dispose of me after this life consistently with His justice and goodness." [from Examinations Of The Prophecies]
"Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good." [from The Rights Of Man]
"The creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the handwriting of the Creator himself, the certainty of His existence and the immutability of His power, and all other Bibles and Testaments are to him forgeries." [from The Age Of Reason]
"The Creation speaketh a universal language, independently of human speech or human language, multiplied and various as they may be. It is an ever-existing original, which every man can read. It cannot be forged; it cannot be counterfeited; it cannot be lost; it cannot be altered; it cannot be suppressed. It does not depend upon the will of man whether it shall be published or not; it publishes itself from one end of the earth to the other. It preaches to all nations and to all worlds; and this word of God reveals to man all that is necessary for man to know of God." [from The Age Of Reason]
"My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." [from The Age Of Reason]
Ethan Allen (1738-1789):
"In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue." [from Reason: The Only Oracle Of Man]
"Ungrateful and foolish it must be for rational beings in the possession of existence, and surrounded with a kind and almighty Providence, to distrust the author thereof concerning their futurity, because they cannot comprehend the mode or manner of their succeeding and progressive existence."
"Those who invalidate reason, ought seriously to consider, whether they argue against reason, with or without reason; if with reason, then they establish the principle, that they are laboring to dethrone; but if they argue without reason, (which, in order to be consistent with themselves, they must do,) they are out of the reach of rational conviction, nor do they deserve a rational argument." [from Reason: The Only Oracle Of Man]
Jacques Delille (1738-1813):
"Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends."
James Wilson (1742-1798):
"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."
William Paley (1743-1805):
"Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation."
"The hinges in the wings of an earwig, and the joints of its antennae, are as highly wrought, as if the Creator had nothing else to finish. We see no signs of dimunition of care by multiplicity of objects, or of distraction of thought by variety. We have no reason to fear, therefore, our being forgotten, or overlooked, or neglected." [from Natural Theology]
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826):
"A little rebellion now and then is a good thing."
"The government which governs best, governs least."
"No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity."
"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies."
"Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error."
"There is not a truth existing which I fear ... or would wish unknown to the whole world."
"He who knows nothing is closer to the truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors."
"I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." [from Letters -- "I Have Sworn Upon The Altar Of God ..." -- To Dr. Benjamin Rush]
"Liberty is the great parent of science and of virtue; and a nation will be great in both in proportion as it is free."
"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
"All persons shall have full and free liberty of religious opinion; nor shall any be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious institution."
"The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man."
"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." [from Notes On Virginia]
"History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose."
"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression."
"Shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. 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." [from Letters -- "The Homage Of Reason" -- To Peter Carr]
"And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors." [from Letters -- "Calvin And Cosmology" -- To John Adams]
"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth."
"For it is in our lives and not from our words that our religion must be read. By the same test the world must judge me. But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolt those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there." [from Letters -- "Never An Infidel, If Never A Priest" -- To Mrs. Samuel H. Smith]
"Religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise therof,' thus building a wall of separation between church and State." [from Addresses, Messages, And Replies -- To Messrs. Nehemiah Dodge and Others, a Committee of the Danbury Baptist Association, in the State of Connecticut]
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832):
"Ethics at large may be defined, the art of directing men's actions to the production of the greatest possible quantity of happiness."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832):
"One must be something in order to do something."
"We are all shaped and fashioned by what we love."
"The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth."
"As anyone is, So is his God; And thus is God, Oft strangely odd."
"The web of this world is woven of Necessity and Chance. Woe to him who has accustomed himself from his youth up to find something necessary in what is capricious, and who would ascribe something like reason to Chance and make a religion of surrendering to it."
"Nature! We are surrounded and embraced by her: powerless to separate ourselves from her, and powerless to penetrate beyond her. Without asking, or warning, she snatches us up into her circling dance, and whirls us on until we are tired, and drop from her arms."
James Madison (1751-1836):
"Conscience is the most sacred of all property."
"In no instance have ... the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."
"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." [from The First Amendment to The United States Constitution]
"The civil government ... functions with complete success ... by the total separation of the Church from the State."
"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution." [from "The Memorial And Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments"]
"We hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth that religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence. The religion, then, of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man: and that it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate."
Joseph Joubert (1754-1824):
"Imagination is the eye of the soul."
"Children have more need of models than of critics."
"Genius begins great works; labor alone finishes them."
"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."
Nathan Hale (1755-1776):
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804):
"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."
Constantin Francois de Volney (1757-1820):
"Let us form one society, one vast family; and since mankind are all constituted alike, let there hencefore exist but one law, that of nature; one code, that of reason; one throne, that of justice; one altar, that of union." [from The Ruins]
Robert Burns (1759-1796):
"Why has a religious turn of mind always a tendancy to narrow and harden the heart?"
Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797):
"The being cannot be termed rational or virtuous, who obeys any authority, but that of reason." [from Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman]
"In fact, it is a farce to call any being virtuous whose virtues do not result from the exercise of its own reason." [from Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman]
"Slavery to monarchs and ministers, which the world will be long freeing itself from, and whose deadly grasp stops the progress of the human mind, is not yet abolished."
"It appears to me impossible that I should cease to exist, or that this active, restless spirit, equally alive to joy and sorrow, should be only organized dust - ready to fly abroad the moment the spring snaps, or the spark goes out, which kept it together. Surely something resides in this heart that is not perishable - and life is more than a dream."
"What, but the rapacity of the only men who exercised their reason, the priests, secured such vast property to the church, when a man gave his perishable substance to save himself from the dark torments of purgatory; and found it more convenient to indulge his depraved appetites, and pay an exorbitant price for absolution, than listen to the suggestions of reason, and work out his own salvation: in a word, was not the separation of religion from morality the work of the priests?"
Johann Christoph von Schiller (1759-1805):
"Live and let live."
"[He] Who dares nothing, need hope for nothing."
Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814):
"God is not the mere dead conception to which we have thus given utterance, but he is in himself pure Life." [from Outlines Of The Doctrine Of Knowledge]
Elihu Palmer (1764-1806):
"A religion mingled with persecution and malice cannot be of divine origin."
"There can be no human authority to which man ought to be amenable for his religious opinions."
"Reason, which is the glory of our nature, is destined eventually, in the progress of future ages, to overturn the empire of superstition ... then the empire of reason, of science, and of virtue, will extend over the whole earth." [from Principles Of Nature]
"Deism declares, that the practice of a pure, natural, and uncorrupted virtue, is the essential duty, and constitutes the highest dignity of man; that the powers of man are competent to all the great purposes of human existence; that science, virtue, and happiness are the great objects which ought to awake the mental energies, and draw forth the moral affections of the human race." [from Principles Of Nature]
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821):
"All religions have been made by men."
"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."
Walter Scott (1771-1832):
"O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive." [from Marmion: A Tale Of Flodden Field]
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834):
"A sadder and a wiser man, He rose the morrow morn." [from The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner]
Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling (1775-1854):
"Reality cannot be derived from reason, and chaos, lack of order, impulse and desire partly dominate in reality; these are, in short, unreasoning or irrational powers."
Charles Caleb Colton (1780-1832):
"When you have nothing to say, say nothing."
"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost."
William Ellery Channing (1780-1842):
"It is an important truth that the ultimate reliance of a human being must be on his own mind."
"The proposition, that there is one God, seems to us exceedingly plain. We understand by it, that there is one being, one mind, one person, one intelligent agent, and one only, to whom underived and infinite perfection and dominion belong."
"The great end in religious instruction, is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own; not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own; not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth; not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs; not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision; not to burden memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought." [from A Chosen Faith]
Daniel Webster (1782-1852):
"Repression is the seed of revolution."
"Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and inseparable!"
Marie Henri Beyle (1783-1842):
"All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few."
Ludwig Borne (1786-1837):
"Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth."
James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851):
"Ignorance and superstition ever bear a close and mathematical relation to each other."
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822):
"If God has spoken, why is the universe not convinced?" [from Shelley's Notes On Queen Mab]
"A miracle is no miracle in any case; for until we are acquainted with all natural causes, we have no reason to imagine others." [from Shelley's Notes On Queen Mab]
"It is easier to suppose that the universe has existed from all eternity than to conceive a being beyond its limits capable of creating it." [from Shelley's Notes On Queen Mab]
"We should never speculate on the future obsoleteness of a system perfectly conformable to nature and reason: it would endure so long as they endured; it would be a truth as indisputable as the light of the sun, the criminality of murder, and other facts, whose evidence, depending on our organization and relative situations, must remain acknowledged as satisfactory so long as man is man." [from Shelley's Notes On Queen Mab]
John Herschel (1792-1871):
"Accustomed to trace the operation of general causes, and the exemplification of general laws, in circumstances where the uninformed and unenquiring eye perceives neither novelty nor beauty, [the scientist and natural philosopher] walks in the midst of wonders."
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881):
"All work is as seed sown, it grows and spreads, and sows itself anew."
"A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason."
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (1797-1851):
"Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose - a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye."
Auguste Comte (1798-1857):
"Live for others."
"I have naturally ceased believing in God."
"The object of all my labor has been to re-establish in society something spiritual that is capable of counter-balancing the influence of the ignoble materialism in which we are at present submerged."
Helmuth Karl von Moltke (1800-1891):
"First ponder, then dare."
Victor Hugo (1802-1885):
"He who opens a school door, closes a prison."
"Adversity makes men, and prosperity makes monsters."
"The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but the one who causes the darkness."
"Music expresses that which can not be said and on which it is impossible to be silent."
"Where the telescope ends, the microscope begins; which of the two has a grander view?"
"There is in every village a lighted torch, the schoolmaster; and a mouth to blow it out, the parson."
"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come."
"There are thoughts which are prayers. There are moments when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees."
"There comes an hour when protest no longer suffices; after philosophy there must be action; the strong hand finishes what the idea has sketched."
"It's wrong to be so absorbed in divine law as not to perceive human law. Death belongs to God alone. By what right do men touch that unknown thing?"
"The brutalities of progress are called revolutions. When they are over we realize this: that the human race has been roughly handled, but that it has advanced."
"There is a great spectacle, and that is the sea. There is a greater spectacle than the sea, and that is the sky. There is yet a greater spectacle than the sky, and that is the interior of the soul."
"Let us not confine ourselves to prostrating ourselves before the tree of creation, and to the contemplation of its branches full of stars. We have a duty to labor over the human soul, to defend the mystery against the miracle, to adore the incomprehensible and reject the absurd, to admit, as an inexplicable fact, only what is necessary, to purify belief, to remove superstitions from above religion; to clear God of caterpillars." [from Les Miserables]
Hector Berlioz (1803-1869):
"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."
Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873):
"The pen is mightier than the sword."
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882):
"Hitch your wagon to a star."
"So far as a man thinks, he is free."
"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
"The years teach much that the days do not know."
"The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it."
"The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn."
"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."
"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes."
"Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind."
"Stay at home in your mind. Don't recite other people's opinions."
"The world exists, as I understand it, to teach the science of liberty."
"Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood."
"I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching."
"As long as a man stands in his own way, everything seems to be in his way. "
"As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect."
"[The wise skeptic does not teach doubt but how] to look for the permanent in the mutable and fleeting."
"This day for all that is good and fair. It is too dear with its hopes and invitations to waste a moment on the rotten yesterdays."
"To finish the moment, to find the journey's end in every step of the road, to live the greatest number of good hours, is wisdom."
"The exercise of all the senses is as intense pleasure, as anyone will find, who recovers the use of one after being deprived of it."
"All good is eternally reproductive. The beauty of nature reforms itself in the mind, and not for barren contemplation, but for new creation."
"[Whenever the average intellect of the clergy declines in the balance with the average intellect of the people] the churches will be shut up and a new order of things [will] begin."
"The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away."
"Is it not better to intimate our astonishment as we pass through this world if it be only for a moment ere we are swallowed up in the yeast of the abyss? I will lift up my hands and say Kosmos."
"Natural science sharpens the discrimination. There is no false logic in nature. All its properties are permanent: the acids and metals never lie; their yea is yea, their nay, nay. They are newly discovered but not new."
"Religionists are clinging to little, positive, verbal, formal versions of the moral law ... while the laws of the Law, the great circling truths whose only adequate symbol is the material laws, the astronomy etc. are all unobserved, and sneered at when spoken of."
"Who is he that shall control me? Why may not I act and speak and write and think with entire freedom? What am I to the universe, or, the unvierse, what is it to me? Who hath forged the chains of wrong and right, of Opinion and Custom? And must I wear them?"
"The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs?" [from Nature]
"Nature is a language and every new fact one learns is a new word; but it is not a language taken to pieces and dead in the dictionary, but the language put together into a most significant and universal sense. I wish to learn this language - not that I may know a new grammar, but that I may read the great book which is written in that tongue."
"As I walked in the woods I felt what I often feel, that nothing can befal me in life, ... Standing on the bare ground, with my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into the infinite space, I become happy in my universal relations. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental. I am the heir of unaccustomed beauty and power."
"The simplest person, who in his integrity worships God, becomes God ... When we have broken our god of tradition, and ceased from our god of rhetoric, then may God fire the heart with [God's] presence. It is a doubling of the heart itself, nay, the infinite enlargement of the heart with a power of growth to a new infinity on every side. It inspires in man an infallible trust ... He is sure that his welfare is dear to the heart of being."
Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach (1804-1872):
"Man first unconsciously and involuntarily creates God in his own image, and after this, God (Religion) consciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image."
"Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever the right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established ... Morality is then surrendered to the groundless arbitrariness of religion."
Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881):
"Their hearts are in the right place."
"Nurture your mind with great thoughts."
"What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expected generally happens."
"The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to them their own."
Elizur Wright (1804-1885):
"I don't believe in the God of books ... I don't believe in anything but facts appreciated by some degree of evidence."
John Stuart Mill (1806-1873):
"The time appears to me to have come when it is the duty of all to make their dissent from religion known."
"Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness; wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness." [from Utilitarianism]
"There is a circle around every individual human being, which no government, be it that of one, of a few, or of the many, ought to be permitted to overstep."
"The essence of religion is the strong and earnest direction of the emotions and desires towards an ideal object, recognized as of the highest excellence, and as rightfully paramount over all selfish objects of desire."
"The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant."
"For, however offensive the proposition may appear to many religious persons, they should be willing to look in the face the undeniable fact that the order of nature, in so far as unmodified by man, is such as no being, whose attributes are justice and benevolence, would have made with the intention that his rational creatures should follow it as an example."
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865):
"Let the people know the truth and the country is safe."
"When I do good I feel good; when I do bad I feel bad; and that's my religion."
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right."
"Stand with anybody that stands right. Stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong."
"You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."
"If we do not make common cause to save the good old ship of the Union on this voyage, nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage."
"As I would not be a slave, so would I not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."
"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma."
"The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew."
"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom; and that this government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." [from the Gettysburg Address]
"Let us discard all this quibbling about this man and the other man - this race and that race and the other race being inferior, and therefore they must be placed in and inferior position. ... Let us discard all these things, and unite as one people throughout this land, until we shall once more stand up declaring that all men are created equal."
"Property is the fruit of labor - property is desireable - is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich, shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprize. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built."
Charles Darwin (1809-1882):
"I do not believe in any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities."
"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science." [from The Descent Of Man]
"I am a strong advocate for free thought on all subjects, yet it appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; and freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men's minds which follows from the advance of science. It has, therefore, been always my object to avoid writing on religion, and I have confined myself to science. I may, however, have been unduly biassed by the pain which it would give some members of my family, if I aided in any way direct attacks on religion."
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892):
"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
"'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all."
"Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies, I hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower - but if I could understand What you are, root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is." [from Flower In The Crannied Wall]
"Sunset and evening star, And one clear call for me! And may there be no moaning of the bar When I put out to sea ... For thro' from out our borne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crost the bar." [from Crossing The Bar]
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894):
"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
"Speak clearly if you speak at all; Carve every word before you let it fall."
"Consciously or unconsciously we all strive to make the kind of a world we like."
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
Horace Greeley (1811-1872):
"Go West, young man."
"Apathy is a sort of living oblivion."
"I exchanged the severe creed of my orthodox neighbors for a kinder one of my own devising."
"Isolation is at war with efficiency and progress. As iron sharpeneth iron, so are man's intellectual and inventive faculties stimulated by contact with his fellow men."
James McCosh (1811-1894):
"He who would obtain an adequate and comprehensive view of our complex mental nature must not be satisfied with occasional glances at the workings of his own soul: he must take a survey of the thoughts and feelings of others so far as he can gather them from their deeds and from their words; from the acts of mankind generally." [from The Scottish Philosophy]
Charles Dickens (1812-1870):
"Such is life."
"A loving heart is the truest wisdom."
Robert Browning (1812-1889):
"Our aspirations are our possibilities."
"Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, Or what's a heaven for?"
Samuel Smiles (1812-1904):
"He who never made a mistake never made a discovery."
Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855):
"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays."
Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902):
"Rationalism took the place of religion, and reason triumphed over superstition."
"The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."
"That disabused my mind of hell and the devil and of a cruel, avenging God, and I have never believed in them since."
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862):
"Be not simply good, be good for something."
"It is the greatest of advantages to enjoy no advantage at all."
"What other liberty is worth having if we have not freedom and peace in our minds."
"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."
"Say what you have to say, not what you ought. Any truth is better than make-believe."
"If a man advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined then he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." [from Walden]
Karl Marx (1818-1883):
"Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the feelings of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of unspiritual conditions. It is the opium of the people, which made this suffering bearable."
George Eliot [Mary Ann Evans] (1819-1880):
"Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are."
"The old religion said 'Heaven help us!' Our new one, from its very lack of that faith in a heaven, will teach us all the more to help one another."
Herman Melville (1819-1891):
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation."
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903):
"Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries or distinctions of race."
Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906):
"I was born a heretic. I always distrust people who know so much about what God wants them to do to their fellows."
Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881):
"Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius."
Edward John Phelps (1822-1900):
"The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything."
Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885):
"The States shall be required to afford the opportunity of a good common-school education to every child within their limits. No sectarian tenets shall ever be taught in any school supported in whole or in part by the State, nation, or by the proceeds of any tax levied upon any community. Declare church and state forever separate and distinct, but each free within their proper spheres; and that all church property shall bear its own proportion of taxation." [from his seventh "State Of The Union Address"]
William Wilkie Collins (1824-1889):
"Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind."
Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895):
"The ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment ... not authority."
"The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of mankind, is wisdom."
"Freedom and order are not incompatible ... truth is strength ... free discussion is the very life of truth."
"Cherish [Science], venerate her, follow her methods faithfully ... and the future of this people will be greater than the past."
"Claiming my right to follow whethersoever science should lead ... it is as respectable to be modified monkey as modified dirt."
"The only question which a wise man can ask himself is whether a doctrine is true or false. Consequences will take care of themselves."
"I do not say think as I think, but think in my way. Fear no shadows, least of all in that great spectre of personal unhappiness which binds half the world to orthodoxy."
"The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, skepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin."
"No one who has lived in the world as long as you and I have, can entertain the pious delusion that it is engineered upon principles of benevolence ... the cosmos remains always beautiful and profoundly interesting in every corner - and if I had as many lives as a cat I would leave no corner unexplored."
"Cinderella [Science] ... lights the fire, sweeps the house, and provides the dinner; and is rewarded by being told that she is a base creature, devoted to low and material interests. But in her garret she has fairy visions out of the ken of the pair of shrews [Theology and Philosophy] who are quarrelling downstairs. She sees the order which pervades the seeming disorder of the world; the great drama of evolution, with its full share of pity and terror, but also with abundant goodness and beauty ... ;and she learns ... that the foundation of morality is to [be] done, once and for all, with lying; to give up pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence."
Leo [Lev Nikolayevich] Tolstoy (1828-1910):
"Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless."
Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899):
"The universe is all the God there is."
"With soap, baptism is a good thing."
"Anger blows out the lamp of the mind."
"Our ignorance is God; what we know is science."
"The clergy know that I know that they know that they do not know."
"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'."
"There is no authority in churches or priests - no authority in numbers or majorities. The only authority is Nature - the facts we know. Facts are the masters, the enemies of the ignorant, the servants and friends of the intelligent." [from The Truth]
"I believe in the religion of reason - the gospel of this world; in the development of the mind, in the accumulation of intellectual wealth, to the end that man may free himself from superstitious fear, to the end that he may take advantage of the forces of nature to feed and clothe the world."
Armin Vambery (1832-1913):
"One grain of common sense is worth a bushel of theories."
"Religion offers but little security against moral deterioration, and it is not seemly for the 20th Century to take example by the customs and doings of savages."
Lord [John Emerich Edward] Acton (1834- 1902):
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
Samuel Butler (1835-1902):
"Life is the art of drawing sufficient conclusions from insufficient premises."
"People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced."
"If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him."
Charles Watts (1835-1906):
"It seems most unreasonable to expect that all mankind, with their different trainings and varied mental capacities, should be compelled to accept one particular faith under a threat of the infliction of a most cruel and agonizing penalty."
"Now, if it is unreasonable to believe that anything could come into existence without a cause, what about the alleged First Cause, which is held to be 'uncaused'? Is it not more reasonable to believe in the eternity of that of which we know something than in the uncaused existence of that of which we know nothing?"
"The mutability which has hitherto characterized the Christian religion will, in all probability, continue as knowledge increases and mental freedom expands. It must not be forgotten, moreover, that, if Christianity were perfect at its inception, every subsequent change must necessarily have deteriorated its value; while, if it were not perfect at its origin, and if the alterations which it has undergone have improved it, then its present condition is the result of man's ingenuity, and the faith of today is not the production of what is called Divinity."
"The defenders of the claims of Christianity seem to ignore the following logical conclusions from their preipises: If the Christian Deity be the creator of all things, then he must necessarily be the 'God of Nature,' and, in consequence, he is responsible for the pain and misery produced by such calamities as volcanoes, with their red-hot lava; the earthquakes and epidemics that destroy millions of human beings; ... and the storms at sea. Now, these calamities occur either with or without God's interference. If with his interference, he is not all-good; if without, he is not kind and benevolent; and if they happen in spite of him, he is not all-powerful."
"That cruel and unjust as nature is (which it ought not to be if it is the production of a good God), in it are contained the remedies for all the evils that can be removed. When this nature is modified and improved by man, it is found to be the only source from which the means are obtained that enable us to augment human happiness, and to promote the physical, intellectual, and ethical advancement of the human race."
Mark Twain [Samuel Clemens] (1835-1910):
"When in doubt, tell the truth."
"Truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it."
"Always tell the truth; then you don't have to remember anything."
"A good lie will have traveled half way around the world while the truth is putting on her boots."
"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval."
"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
"You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus."
"Faith is believing something you know ain't true."
"Irreverence is the champion of liberty and its one sure defense."
"[The Bible is] a mass of fables and traditions, mere mythology."
"'In God We Trust.' I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true."
"If there was an all-powerful God, he would have made all good, and no bad."
"If God didn't want Adam to sin, then he shouldn't have created him in his image."
"A man is accepted into church for what he believes - and turned out for what he knows."
"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."
"[The Bible] has noble poetry in it ... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies."
"Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of."
"There is no other life; life itself is only a vision and a dream for nothing exists but space and you."
"[I] do not fear death. [I] had been dead for billions and billions of years before [I] was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."
"I am plenty safe enough in his hands; I am not in any danger from that kind of a Diety. The one that I want to keep out of the reach of, is the caricature of him which one finds in the Bible."
"Our Bible reveals to us the character of our god with minute and remorseless exactness. ... It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading by contrast."
"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."
"I have seen several entirely sincere people who thought they were (permanent) Seekers after Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously, profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment--until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth. That was the end of the search. The man spent the rest of his life hunting up shingles wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather. If he was seeking after political Truth he found it in one or another of the hundred political gospels which govern men in the earth; if he was seeking after the Only True Religion he found it in one or another of the three thousand that are on the market. In any case, when he found the Truth he sought no further; but from that day forth, with his soldering-iron in one hand and his bludgeon in the other he tinkered its leaks and reasoned with objectors." [from What Is Man?]
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919):
"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."
John Burroughs (1837-1921):
"Science has done more for the development of western civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in eighteen hundred years."
Charles Sanders Pierce (1839-1914):
"There is one thing even more vital to science than intelligent methods; and that is, the sincere desire to find out the truth, whatever it may be."
William Graham Sumner (1840-1910):
"Tradition and custom become intertwined and are a strong coercion which directs the society upon fixed lines, and strangles liberty."
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928):
"After two thousand years of mass, we've got as far as poison gas."
"[God is] the dreaming, dark, dumb Thing that turns the handle of this idle Show."
William James (1842-1910):
"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook."
"The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it."
"Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact."
"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that in itself is a choice."
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."
"The pragmatist turns away from abstraction and insufficiency, from verbal solutions, from bad a priori reasons, from fixed principles, closed systems, and pretended absolutes and origins. He turns toward concreteness and adequacy, towards facts, towards action, and towards power."
Sir James Dewar (1842-1923):
"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900):
"God is dead." [from Thus Spake Zarathustra]
"Faith: not 'wanting' to know what is true."
"That which does not kill me, makes me stronger." [from Twilight Of The Idols]
"God is a thought - it maketh all the straight crooked, and all that standeth reel." [from Thus Spake Zarathustra]
"Christianity has been up till now mankind's greatest misfortune."
"The question is not what is true or not, but how much of truth you can take."
"The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad."
"A certain sense of cruelty towards oneself and others is Christian; hatred of those who think differently; the will to persecute."
"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."
Anatole France (1844-1924):
"If fifty million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
William K. Clifford (1845-1879):
"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."
Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
"Religion is all bunk."
"I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God."
"If there's a way to do it better ... find it."
"Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration."
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
"We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything."
"If we all did the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves."
"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."
Luther Burbank (1849-1926):
"The Bible is an incomplete history and the folklore of an ancient race, but no more inspired, I believe, than the works of Marcus Aurelius and other great men of the day."
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894):
"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900):
"Truth is never pure, and rarely simple."
"No man is rich enough to buy back his past."
"I can believe anything, provided it is incredible."
"A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies."
"Experience is the name that everyone gives to his mistakes."
"Truth in matters of religion is simply the opinion that has survived."
"The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself."
"The public has an insatiable curiosity to know everything except what is worth knowing."
"People fashion their God after their own understanding. They make their God first and worship him afterwards."
Henri Poincare (1854-1912):
"It is by logic we prove, it is by intuition that we invent."
"The mind uses its faculty for creativity only when experience forces it to do so."
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915):
"Religions are many and diverse, but reason and goodness are one."
"Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped."
"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man."
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939):
"In the long run, nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is only too palpable."
"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."
"It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be."
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950):
"All great truths begin as blasphemies."
"Assassination is the extreme form of censorship."
"When we know what God is, we shall be gods ourselves."
"Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it."
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."
"One man that has a mind and knows it can always beat ten men who haven't and don't."
"You see things and say 'Why?'; but I dream things that never were, and I say 'Why not?'"
"Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature."
"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity; and fashion will drive them to acquire any custom."
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says; he is always convinced that it says what he means."
"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one."
"People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in the world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."
"I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no 'brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."
William Howard Taft (1857-1930):
"I do not believe in the divinity of Christ and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."
Joseph Conrad (1857-1924):
"Skepticism ... is the agent of truth."
"Christianity has lent itself with amazing facility to cruel distortion ... and has brought an infinity of anguish to innumerable souls on this earth."
Clarence Darrow (1857-1938):
"As long as the world shall last, there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever."
"I believe that religion is the belief in future life and in God. I don't believe in either. I don't believe in God as I don't believe in Mother Goose."
"I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure - that is all that agnosticism means."
"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." [from Why I Am An Agnostic]
"A miracle means a violation of a natural law, and there can be no proof imagined that could be sufficient to show the violation of a natural law; even though proof seemed to show violation, it would only show that we were not acquainted with all natural laws. One believes in the truthfulness of a man because of his long experience with the man, and because the man has always told a consistent story. But no man has told so consistent a story as nature." [from Why I Am An Agnostic]
Max Planck (1858-1947):
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die out, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Henri Bergson (1859-1941):
"Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."
"Art has no other object than to set aside the symbols of practical utility, the generalities that are conventionally and socially accepted, everything in fact which masks reality from us, in order to set us face to face with reality itself."
John Dewey (1859-1952):
"Time and memory are true artists; they remould reality nearer to the heart's desire."
"Men have never fully used [their] powers to advance the good in life, because they have waited upon some power external to themselves and to nature to do the work they are responsible for doing."
"Were not our eyes and ears so accustomed to irresponsible statements that we cease to ask for either meaning or proof, they might well raise a question as to the complete intellectual responsibility and competency of the author."
"In the degree in which life is uneasy and troubled, fancy is stirred to frame pictures of a contrary state of things. By reading the characteristic features of any man's castles in the air you can make a shrewd guess as to his underlying desires which are frustrated."
"Intelligent thinking means an increment of freedom in action - an emancipation from chance and fatality. 'Thought' represents the suggestion of a way of response that is different from that which would have been followed if intelligent observation had not effected an inference as to the future."
"It is not truly realistic or scientific to take short views, to sacrifice the future to immediate pressure, to ignore facts and forces that are disagreeable and to magnify the enduring quality of whatever falls in with immediate desire. It is false that the evils of the situation arise from absence of ideals; they spring from wrong ideals."
"All habits are demands for certain kinds of activity; and they constitute the self. In any intelligible sense of the word will, they are will. They form our effective desires and they furnish us with our working capacities. They rule our thoughts, determining which shall appear and be strong and which shall pass from light into obscurity."
"The routine of custom tends to deaden even scientific inquiry; it stands in the way of discovery and of the active scientific worker. For discovery and inquiry are synonymous as an occupation. Science is a pursuit, not a coming into possession of the immutable; new theories as points of view are more prized than discoveries that quantitatively increase the store on hand."
"Reason is experimental intelligence, conceived after the pattern of science, and used in the creation of social arts; it has something to do. It liberates man from the bondage of the past, due to ignorance and accident hardened into custom. It projects a better future and assists man in its realization. And its operation is always subject to test in experience ... The principles which man projects as guides... are not dogmas. They are hypotheses to be worked out in practice, and to be rejected, corrected and expanded as they fail or succeed in giving our present experience the guidance it requires. We may call them programmes of action, but since they are to be used in making our future acts less blind, more directed, they are flexible. Intelligence is not something possessed once for all. It is in constant process of forming, and its retention requires constant alertness in observing consequences, an open-minded will to learn and courage in re-adjustment."
Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935):
"To swallow and follow, whether old doctrine or new propaganda, is a weakness still dominating the human mind."
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947):
"The human body is an instrument for the production of art in the life of the human soul."
"When the Westen world accepted Christianity, ... the deeper idolatry, of the fashioning of God in the image of the Egyptian, Persian, and Roman imperial rulers, was retained. The Church gave unto God the attributes which belonged exclusively to Caesar."
"I feel what many cells feel, integrating these feelings into a higher unity. I am somewhat as their deity, their fond heavenly companion. They gain their direction and sense of the goodness of life partly from intuiting my sense of that goodness, which takes theirs intuitively into account."
Henry Ford (1863-1947):
"Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again."
"An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous."
George Santayana (1863-1952):
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." [from The Life Of Reason]
"The loftiest edifices need the deepest foundations."
"A child educated only at school is an uneducated child."
"Chaos is a name for any order that produces confusion in our minds."
"It is a great advantage for a system of philosophy to be substantially true."
"The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don't understand it."
"History is a pack of lies about events that never happened told by people who weren't there."
H. G. [Herbert George] Wells (1866-1946):
"It runs through the entire Christian story, and our case against the Catholic Church is that, albeit it originated in a passionate assertion of the conception of brotherly equality, it relapsed steadily from the broad nobility of its beginnings and passed over at last almost completely to the side of persecution and the pleasures of cruelty."
Benedetto Croce (1866-1952):
"Poetry is emotion, an expression of the soul at the moment of intuition."
Marie Curie (1867-1934):
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
Joseph Wheless (1868-1950):
"The trouble with the dogma of inspired infallible truth is in the utter riot of diversity of truth in the sacred book, each truth inferentially and necessarily discounting or discrediting all the others. For is it not true that of two or more contradictory dogmas or doctrines, while none may be true, not more than one can possibly be?" [from Is It God's Word?]
"That otherwise intelligent thinking people should be yet under this strong delusion to believe priestly lies is because they do not know their Bible and derived theology; they take their foreshortened beliefs about it 'on faith' from the parsons and from such choice fervent texts as they hear expounded or casually read." [from Is It God's Word?]
"For two thousand years mankind in Christendom has been the victim of these priest-invented superstitions imposed on it as the holy will of Almighty God; has from infancy been priest-taught to believe fishermen's tales as inspired truth; has been duped into reverencing, obeying, and supporting for life a horde of parasitic, hypocritic, indolent, insolent soul-savers who have dealt damnation to all who eluded their thraldom." [from Is It God's Word?]
"Once free the mind and soul from the debasing thrall of 'imposed belief in the veracity and historicity' of these Bible fables, and from the 'blight of theological dogma,' as God's Word necessary to salvation, and what a flood of spiritual light and truth may illumine man's mind and conscience from the book of God's work in nature! True, an unknown God not revealed in writing, but still the true Creator God, revealed through his wondrous works." [from Is It God's Word?]
"Possibly the Supreme Architect of the universe, who framed all this wonder of the world and established its immutable laws, could, and would if he so pleased and saw fit, find some way and means to make written revelation of himself and of his will for the behoof of the human race. But he who ordered the harmony of the worlds and ordained their divine laws, would in such event, we may do him credit to believe, so reveal and state his will and laws to man that man would know veritably two things: that the God made the revelation, and what be said and meant. It would be certain and unmistakable, so that it could be known for sure to all men. It would be as simple, too, as two and two are four; so simple and sure that the wayfaring man, though a fool, could not err therein. There would be no danger of losing one's soul through the impossibility of understanding the revelation; no occasion for 'heresies,' and schisms, and sects, with different and discordant interpretations of it, as with the present revelations of Yahveh and Son by the mouth of priests and clergy." [from Is It God's Word?]
Chapman Cohen (1868-1954):
"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."
"If there is a God, the evidence for his existence must be found in this world. We cannot start with another world and work back to this one. That is why the argument from design in nature is really fundamental to the belief in deity." [from Deity And Design]
"The longer it [God] is discussed the less it is believed. No wonder that the ideal attitude of the completely religious should be 'on the knees,' with eyes closed and mouths full of nothing but petitions and grossly fulsome praise. That is also the reason why every religious organization in the world is so keen upon capturing the child." [from Deity And Design]
"The belief in God is not therefore based on the perception of design in nature. Belief in design in nature is based upon the belief in God. Things are as they are whether there is a God or not. Logically, to believe in design one must start with God. He, or it, is not a conclusion but a datum. You may begin by assuming a creator, and then say he did this or that; but you cannot logically say that because certain things exist, therefore there is a God who made them. God is an assumption, not a conclusion. And it is an assumption that explains nothing." [from Deity And Design]
"The belief in God is not therefore based on the perception of design in nature. Belief in design in nature is based upon the belief in God. Things are as they are whether there is a God or not. Logically, to believe in design one must start with God. He, or it, is not a conclusion but a datum. You may begin by assuming a creator, and then say he did this or that; but you cannot logically say that because certain things exist, therefore there is a God who made them. God is an assumption, not a conclusion. And it is an assumption that explains nothing." [from Deity And Design]
Stephen Leacock (1869-1944):
"I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
Mohandas [Mahatma] Gandhi (1869-1948):
"Truth never damages a cause that is just."
"Be the change you want to see in this world."
"God is not a person. God is an eternal principle."
"If we will take care of today, God will take care of the morrow."
"God is that indefinable something which we all feel but which we do not know."
"When a man wants to make up with his Maker, he does not consult a third party."
"Happiness is when what you say, what you do and what you think ... are in harmony."
"He who has a living faith in God will not do evil deeds with the name of God on his lips."
"God has so ordered this world that no one can keep his goodness or badness exclusively to himself."
"The Laws of Nature are changeless, unchangeable, and there are no miracles in the sense of infringement or interruption of Nature's laws."
"You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body, but you will never imprison my mind."
"The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives."
Andre Gide (1869-1951):
"Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it."
Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959):
"I believe in God, only I spell it Nature."
Stephen Crane (1871-1900):
"A man said to the universe: 'Sir, I exist!' 'However,' replied the universe, 'The fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.'"
Paul Valery (1871-1945):
"God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows through."
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970):
"I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out."
"Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom."
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted."
"Intellectual integrity is the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive."
"There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed."
"Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- 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." [from Why I Am Not A Christian]
"Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a fit place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it." [from Why I Am Not A Christian]
Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938):
"Thou didst create the night, but I made the lamp; Thou didst create clay, but I made the cup; Thou didst create the deserts, mountains and forests, I produced the orchards, gardens and groves; It is I who made the glass out of stone, And it is I who turned a poison into an antidote."
George Edward Moore (1873-1958):
"Good is a simple, non-natural, indefinable quality of certain things, including especially personal friendship and aesthetic appreciation."
John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874-1960):
"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty."
Winston Churchill (1874-1965):
"We shall never surrender."
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
"The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"I am ready to meet my maker, but whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth, but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened."
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965):
"Men have ascribed to God imperfections that they would deplore in themselves."
John Buchan (1875-1940):
"To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education."
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965):
"The historical Jesus will be to our time a stranger and an enigma."
"You don't live in a world all alone. Your brothers are here too."
"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."
"Because I have confidence in the power of truth and of the spirit, I believe in the future of mankind."
"Anyone who proposes to do good must not expect people to roll stones out of his way, but must accept his lot calmly if they even roll a few more upon it."
"Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf."
"The deeper we look into nature the more we recognize that it is full of life, and the more profoundly we know that all life is a secret, and we are all united to all this life."
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve."
Charles Franklin Kettering (1876-1958):
"An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn't take his education too seriously."
"We should all be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there."
"There is a great difference between knowing and understanding; you can know a lot about something and not really understand it."
Sophia Lyon Fahs (1876-1978):
"Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done."
Upton Sinclair (1878-1968):
"In the beginning the guide is instinct, and the act of trust is automatic. But with the dawn of reason the thinker has to justify his faith; to convince himself that life is sincere, that there is worth-whileness in being, or in seeking to be; that there is order in creation, laws which can be discovered, processes which can be applied. Just as the babe trusts life when it gropes for its mother's breast, so the most skeptical of scientists trusts it when he declares that water is made of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, and sets it down for a certainty that this will always be so - that he is not being played with by some sportive demon, who will today cause H2O to behave like water, and tomorrow like benzine." [from The Profits Of Religion]
Will Rogers (1879-1935):
"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."
"If you want to be successful, it's just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing."
Albert Einstein (1879-1955):
"God does not play dice with the universe."
"I want to know God's thoughts; the rest are details."
"God may be sophisticated, but he is not malicious."
"You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it."
"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." [from "Science, Philosophy And Religion, A Symposium"]
"The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, its stranger than we can imagine."
"He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed."
"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious; It is the source of all true art and science."
"[My] deep religiosity ... found an abrupt ending at the age of twelve, through the reading of popular scientific books."
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
"Whatever there is of God and goodness in the universe, it must work itself out and express itself through us. We cannot stand aside and let God do it."
"Out yonder there is this huge world, which exists independently of us human beings and which stands before us like a great, eternal riddle, at least partially accessible to our inspection."
"It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which [I] lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of the 'merely personal,' from an existence which is dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings."
"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 further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge." [from "Science, Philosophy And Religion, A Symposium"]
"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."
"The scientists' religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection."
"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity."
"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."
"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own - a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."
"A human being is part of the whole, called by us 'Universe'; a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compasion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely but striving for such achievement is, in itself, a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security."
James Branch Cabell (1879-1958):
"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true."
E. M. [Edward Morgan] Forster (1879-1970):
"I do not believe in Belief [... but ...]) Tolerance, good temper and sympathy."
H. L. [Henry Louis] Mencken (1880-1956):
"Conscience is the inner voice that warns us that someone might be looking."
"For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong."
"Any man who inflicts the human race with ideas must be prepared to see them misunderstood."
"Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt."
"Not by accident, you may be sure, do the Christian Scriptures make the father of knowledge a serpent - slimy, sneaking and abominable."
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth."
"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the same extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."
"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 as an apologist for the divine right of kings."
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945):
"The truth is found when men are free to pursue it."
"We cannot live alone at peace, that our own well-being is dependent on the well- being of nations far away."
"So let me assert my belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931):
"Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth'."
"You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give."
"Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too self-ful to seek other than itself."
"Yesterday we obeyed kings and bent our necks before emperors. But today we kneel only to truth, follow only beauty, and obey only love."
Karl Jaspers (1883-1969):
"The only significant content of philosophizing, however, consists in the impulses, the inner constitution, the way of seeing and judging, the readiness to react by making choices, the immersion in historical presentness, which grow in us, recognize themselves, and feel confirmed on the way past all objective contents."
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962):
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
Georges Duhamel (1884-1966):
"I have too much respect for the idea of God to make it responsible for such an absurd world."
Harry Truman (1884-1972):
"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
George S. Patton, Jr. (1885-1945):
"If everyone is thinking alike then somebody isn't thinking."
Max Perkins (1885-1947):
"The most important obligation of friendship is to listen."
Paul Tillich (1886-1965):
"Boredom is rage spread thin."
"The first duty of love is to listen."
"Neurosis is a way of avoiding non-being by avoiding being."
"Protestantism is a continuous history of the breaking of images."
"Man is asked to make of himself what he is supposed to become to fulfill his destiny."
"Loneliness is a word to express the pain of being alone ... solitude is a word to express the glory of being alone."
"A self which has become a matter of calculation and management has ceased to be a self. It has become a thing."
Charles Smith (1887-1964):
"The Bible is the greatest hoax in all history. The leading characters of the Old Testament would today be in the penitentiary and those of the New would be under observation in psychopathic wards."
T. S. [Thomas Stearns] Eliot (1888-1965):
"Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started ... and know the place for the first time."
Arnold Lunn (1888-1974):
"The theory that you should always treat the religious convictions of other people with respect finds no support in the Gospels."
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951):
"Man is the microcosm: I am my world."
"To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter."
"In this sense God would simply be fate, or, what is the same thing: The world - which is independent of our will. I can make myself independent of fate. There are two godheads: the world and my independent I."
Kurt Lewin (1890-1947):
"If you want truly to understand something, try to change it."
Christopher Morley (1890-1957):
"The real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking."
"There is only one success - to be able to spend your life in your own way."
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969):
"The eyes of the world are upon you."
"We are going to have peace even if we have to fight for it."
"A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both."
"What counts is not the size of the dog in the fight; it's the size of the fight in the dog."
"I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it."
Vannevar Bush (1890-1974):
"The scene changes but the aspirations of men of good will persist."
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971):
"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
Pearl Buck (1892-1973):
"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings."
"I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life."
F. S. C. Northrop (1893-1992):
"There is an all- embracing indeterminate continuum of feeling common to all creatures in their aesthetic immediacy."
James Thurber (1894-1961):
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
e. e. [Edward Estlin] cummings (1894-1962):
"The hardest battle is to be nobody but yourself in a world that is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everbody else."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963):
"Maybe this world is another planet's Hell."
"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored."
"Experience is not what happens to you. It is what you do with what happens to you."
Susan Ertz (1894-1985):
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
Harold MacMillan (1894-1986):
"The man who trusts nobody is apt to be the kind of man nobody trusts."
William Faulkner (1897-1962):
"No man can cause more grief than that one clinging blindly to the vices of his ancestors."
Amelia Earhart (1898-1937):
"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace."
Friedrich A. Hayek (1899-1992):
"The mind cannot foresee its own advance."
"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."
Gilbert Ryle (1900-1976):
"If a clumsy man trips accidentally, we do not regard it proper to ascribe his actions to the workings of the mind, but if a clown trips on purpose, we do."
Margaret Mead (1901-1978):
"Never doubt, that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
John Steinbeck (1902-1968):
"This I believe: That the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: The freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: Any idea, religion, or government which limits or destroys the individual."
Carl Rogers (1902-1987):
"Teaching and imparting of knowledge make sense in an unchanging environment. ... But if there is one truth about modern man it is that he lives in an environment that is continually changing. The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn ... how to adapt and change ... who has learned that no knowledge is secure, that only the process of seeking knowledge gives a basis for security."
Karl Popper (1902-1994):
"No society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge."
Anais Nin (1903-1977):
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987):
"No good deed goes unpunished."
Joseph Campbell (1904-1987):
"God is a metaphor for that which transcends 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 ethnic idea of a deity, whatsoever ... and is of a sophistication that makes the sentimentalism of our popular Bible-story theology seem undeveloped."
Graham Greene (1904-1991):
"Heresy is another word for freedom of thought."
Dr. Seuss [Theodor Seuss Geisel] (1904-1991):
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
Jean-Paul Satre (1905-1980):
"Everything comes to us from others. To Be is to belong to someone."
"The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."
"I was escaping from Nature and at last becoming myself, that Other whom I was aspiring to be in the eyes of others."
Ayn Rand (1905-1982):
"Words are a lens to focus one's mind."
"Honor is self-esteem made visible in action."
"Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."
"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values."
"The man who produces an idea in any field of rational endeavor is the permanent benefactor of humanity."
"We cannot fight against anything, unless we fight for something - and what we must fight for is the supremacy of reason, and a view of man as a rational being."
"You will see all the elements of our secrets. The conclusion will be yours to draw. We can help you learn it, but not to accept it. The sight, the knowledge, and the acceptance must be yours." [from Atlas Shrugged]
"My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute."
"It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted: it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically: it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary."
"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities, and the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities."
Arthur Koestler (1905-1983):
"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."
"The evils of mankind are caused, not by the primary aggressiveness of individuals, but by their self-transcending identification with groups whose common denominator is low intelligence and high emotionality."
Robert Heinlein (1907-1988):
"Beauty is not diminished by being shared."
"The supreme irony of life is that no one gets out of it alive."
"Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other 'sins' are invented nonsense."
"To stay young requires unceasing cultivation of the ability to unlearn old falsehoods."
"Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child."
"I've never understood how God could expect His creatures to pick the one true religion by faith - it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe"
"The great trouble with religion - ANY religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence."
"Most people can't think, most of the remainder won't think, the small fraction who do think mostly can't do it very well. The extremely tiny fraction who think regularly, accurately, creatively, and without self-delusion - in the long run, these are the only people who count."
"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."
A. J. [Alfred Jules] Ayer (1910-1989):
"I take it, therefore, to be a fact, that one's existence ends with death. I think it possible to show how this fact can be emotionally acceptable."
"If the assertation that there is a god is nonsensical, then the atheist's assertion that there is no god is equally nonsensical, since it is only a significant proposition that can be contradicted."
"Theism is so confused and the sentences in which 'God' appears so incoherent and so incapable of verifiability or falsifiability that to speak of belief or unbelief, faith or unfaith, is logically impossible."
Tennessee [Thomas Lanier] Williams (1911-1983):
"Life is an unanswered question, but let's believe in the dignity and importance of the question."
Bernard Katz (1911-):
"Organized religion: The world's largest pyramid scheme."
John Cage (1912-1992):
"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
Albert Camus (1913-1960):
"People should reject God defiantly in order to pour out all their loving solicitude upon mankind."
"Revolt begins first in the human heart. But there comes a time when revolt spreads from heart to spirit, when a feeling becomes an idea, when impulse leads to concerted action. This is the moment of revolution."
Alan Watts (1915-1973):
"Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth."
"The difficulty for most of us in the modern world is that the old-fashioned idea of God has become incredible or implausible. When we look through our telescopes and microscopes, or when we just look at nature, we have a problem. Somehow the idea of God we get from the holy scriptures doesn't seem to fit the world around us, just as you wouldn't ascribe a composition by Stravinsky to Bach. The style of God venerated in the church, mosque, or synagogue seems completely different from the style of the natural universe. It's hard to conceive of the author of the other."
Sir Peter Brian Medawar (1915-1987):
"I regret my disbelief in God."
"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."
Charles Templeton (1915-2001):
"Should one continue to base one's life on a system of belief that - for all its occasional wisdom and frequent beauty - is demonstrably untrue?"
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963):
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
"Leadership and learning are indispensible to each other."
"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."
"Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction."
"We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes."
"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute."
"Too often we ... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
"Courage - not complacency - is our need today. Leadership, not salesmanship."
"Those who make peaceful resolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
"A man does what he must - in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures - and that is the basis of all human morality."
Indira Gandhi (1917-1984):
"There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there."
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-):
"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him."
"The more wonderful the means of communication, the more trivial, tawdry, or depressing its contents seemed to be."
Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988):
"By honest, I don't mean that you only tell what's true. But you make clear the entire situation. You make clear all the information that is required for somebody else who is intelligent to make up their mind." [from The Meaning Of It All]
"Scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged as a stage for God to watch man's struggle for good and evil seems inadequate." [from The Meaning Of It All]
"[When a young person loses faith in his religion because he begins to study science and its methodology] it isn't that [through the obtaining of real knowledge that] he knows it all, but he suddenly realizes that he doesn't know it all." [from The Meaning Of It All]
"It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man." [from The Meaning Of It All]
"In any organization there ought to be the possibility of discussion ... fence sitting is an art, and it's difficult, and it's important to do, rather than to go headlong in one direction or the other. It's just better to have action, isn't it than to sit on the fence? Not if you're not sure which way to go, it isn't." [from The Meaning Of It All]
Laurence Peter (1919-1990):
"In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence."
"There are two kinds of failures: those who thought and never did, and those who did and never thought."
Frank Herbert (1920-1986):
"Every judgment teeters on the brink of error. To claim absolute knowledge is to become monstrous. Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty."
Isaac Asimov (1920-1992):
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today."
"I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."
"There is no right to deny freedom to any object with a mind advanced enough to grasp the concept and desire the state."
"I have never, in all my life, not for one moment, been tempted toward religion of any kind. The fact is that I feel no spiritual void. I have my philosophy of life, which does not include any aspect of the supernatural and which I find totally satisfying. I am, in short, a rationalist."
"We owe it to ourselves as respectable human beings, as thinking human beings, to do what we can to make humanity more rational. ... Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests."
Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991):
"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."
Freeman Dyson (1923-):
"I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe, in some sense, must have known we were coming."
James Baldwin (1924-):
"Confrontation doesn't always bring a solution to the problem, but until you confront the problem, there will be no solution."
Michel Foucault (1926-1984):
"Illegitimate uses of reason are what give rise to dogmatism and heteronomy, along with illusion; on the other hand, it is when the legitimate use of reason has been clearly defined in its principles that its autonomy can be assured." [from What Is Enlightenment?]
Philip K. Dick (1928-1982):
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968):
"The time is always right to do what is right."
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter."
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
"We shall have to repent in this generation, not so much for the evil deeds of the wicked people, but for the appalling silence of the good people."
"I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
"In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."
John Shelby Spong (1931-):
"What the mind cannot believe, the heart can finally never adore." [from Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism]
"The experience is true. The explanation [in the Bible] isn't always true."
"Adam, Eve, and Noah don't cut it anymore, we need something in between atheism and fundamentalism." [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
"The biblical stories about the resurrection aren't true, but I think there was a real experience."
"I think of the Gospels as a portrait and not photos of the types of things Jesus actually said and did. You study a portait and interpret what it says to you."
"They amuse themselves by playing an irrelevant ecclesiastical game called Let's Pretend. Let's pretend that we possess the objective truth of God in our inerrant Scriptures or in our infallible pronouncements or in our unbroken apostolic traditions." [from Resurrection: Myth or Reality?]
"I could not believe that anyone who has read this book would be so foolish as to proclaim that the Bible in every literal word was the divinely inspired, inerrant word of God. Have these people simply not read the text? Are they hopelessly misinformed? Is there a different Bible? Are they blinded by a combination of ego needs and naivete?"
"The primary assumption in the biblical story of the virgin birth - namely, that Jesus' divine nature came to him directly from God through his mother's impregnation by the Holy Spirit - is a hopelessly sexist idea born in a totally patriarchal world that denied the woman's contributions to every new life. The story of Jesus' birth, when literalized, is now seen to be filled with the stuff of legends." [from Why Christianity Must Change Or Die]
"A major function of fundamentalist religion is to bolster deeply insecure and fearful people. This is done by justifying a way of life with all of its defining prejudices. It thereby provides an appropriate and legitimate outlet for one's anger. The authority of an inerrant Bible that can be readily quoted to buttress this point of view becomes an essential ingredient to such a life. When that Bible is challenged, or relativized, the resulting anger proves the point categorically." [from Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism]
"Biblical higher criticism is preserved in the particular enclave of academic Christian scholarship and is thought to be too unfruitful to share with the average pew-sitter, for it raises more questions than the church can adequately answer. So the leaders of the church would protect the simple believers from concepts they were not trained to understand. In this way that ever-widening gap between academic Christians and the average pew-sitter made its first appearance." [from Resurrection: Myth or Reality?]
"The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst." [from Resurrection: Myth or Reality?]
"I would like the church to be a place where the questions of people are honored rather than a place where we have all the answers. The church has to get out of propaganda. The future will involve us in more interfaith dialogue. ... We cannot say we have the only truth."
Steven Weinberg (1933-):
"Without religion you have good people doing good things, and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
Carl Sagan (1934-1996):
"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
"My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it."
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe."
"We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers".
"When you make the finding yourself - even if you're the last person on Earth to see the light - you never forget it."
"It is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
"Our species needs, and deserves, a citizenry with minds wide awake and a basic understanding of how the world works."
"Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense."
"If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?"
"A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge." [from Pale Blue Dot: A Vision Of The Human Future In Space]
"There are many hypotheses in science which are wrong. That's perfectly all right; they're the aperture to finding out what's right. Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny."
"The world is so exquisite, with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better, it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look Death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." [from Billions & Billions: Thoughts On Life And Death At The Brink Of The Millennium]
"Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us - and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along."
"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But as much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking."
Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998):
"You're either part of the solution or part of the problem."
H.H. the Dalai Lama [Tenzin Gyatso] (1935-):
"We live very close together. So, our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."
"This is my simple religion: there is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness."
Alan Alda (1936-):
"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."
George Carlin (1937- ):
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
"Most people don't know what they're doing, and a lot of them are really good at it."
"Religion convinced the world that there's an invisible man in the sky who watches everything you do. And there's 10 things he doesn't want you to do or else you'll go to a burning place with a lake of fire until the end of eternity. But he loves you! ... And he needs money! He's all powerful, but he can't handle money!"
"Groups repel me. ... I think that individuals surrender a lot of the individual beauty for the sake of a group, to belong to a group. Sometimes it's stark, like paramilitary organizations. But a lot of it is just very voluntary. Even a thing like the Elks Club. Well, I just couldn't stand to give over part of myself to some set of ideals for the sake of hanging out."
Frank Zappa (1940-1993):
"Who you jivin' with that cosmic debris?"
"Reality is what it is, not what you want it to be."
"It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice - there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia."
"The whole foundation of Christianity is based on the idea that intellectualism is the work of the Devil. Remember the apple on the tree? Okay, it was the Tree of Knowledge. You eat this apple, you're going to be as smart as God. We can't have that."
"If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine - but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you've been bad or good - and CARES about any of it - to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working."
Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002):
"The most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore never scrutinize or question."
"Look in the mirror, and don't be tempted to equate transient domination with either intrinsic superiority or prospects for extended survival."
"The more important the subject and the closer it cuts to the bone of our hopes and needs, the more we are likely to err in establishing a framework for analysis."
"We are glorious accidents of an unpredictable process with no drive to complexity, not the expected results of evolutionary principles that yearn to produce a creature capable of understanding the mode of its own necessary construction."
"Humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again."
"The fundamentalists, by 'knowing' the answers before they start (examining evolution), and then forcing nature into their straitjacket of their discredited preconceptions, lie outside the domain of science - or of any honest intellectual inquiry."
"Skepticism's bad rap arises from the impression that, however necessary the activity, it can only be regarded as a negative removal of false claims. Not so ... proper debunking is done in the interest of an alternate model of explanation, not as a nihilistic exercise. The alternate model is rationality itself, tied to moral decency - the most powerful joint instrument for good that our planet has ever known."
"We still cannot draw moral messages or religious conclusions from any factual construction of nature ... Better an invigorating cold bath than a suffocating warm embrace. Nature is amoral - not immoral, but rather constructed without reference to this strictly human concept. Nature, to speak metaphorically, existed for eons before we arrived, didn't know we were coming, and doesn't give a damn about us. ... Some people find the prospect depressing. I have always regarded such a view of life as exhilarating - a source of both freedom and consequent moral resonsibility. We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes." [from Rocks Of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life]
Richard Dawkins (1941- ):
"Blind faith can justify anything. If a man believes in a different god, or even if he uses a different ritual for worshipping the same god, blind faith can decree that he should die - on the cross, at the stake, skewered on a Crusader's sword, shot in a Beirut street, or blown up in a bar in Belfast. Memes for blind faith have their own ruthless ways of propagating themselves. This is true of patriotic and political as well as religious blind faith."
"Out of all of the sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one.
"Consider the idea of God. We do not know how it arose in the meme pool. Probably it originated many times by independent 'mutation.' In any case, it is very old indeed. How does it replicate itself? By the spoken and written word, aided by great music and great art. Why does it have such high survival value? Remember that 'survival value' here does not mean value for a gene in a gene pool, but value for a meme in a meme pool. The question really means: What is it about the idea of a god which gives it its stability and penetrance in the cultural environment? The survival value of the god meme in the meme pool results from its great psychological appeal. It provides a superficially plausible answer to deep and troubling questions about existence. It suggests that injustices in this world may be rectified in the next. The 'everlasting arms' hold out a cushion against our own inadequacies, which, like a doctor's placebo, is none the less effective for being imaginary. These are some of the reasons why the idea of God is copied so readily by successive generations of individual brains. God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture."
Michael Crichton (1942-):
"Human beings never think for themselves, they find it too uncomfortable. For the most part, members of our species simply repeat what they are told - and become upset if they are exposed to any different view. The characteristic human trait is not awareness but conformity, and the characteristic result is religious warfare. Other animals fight for territory or food; but, uniquely in the animal kingdom, human beings fight for their 'beliefs.' The reason is that beliefs guide behavior, which has evolutionary importance among human beings. But at a time when our behavior may well lead us to extinction, I see no reason to assume we have any awareness at all. We are stubborn, self-destructive conformists. Any other view of our species is just a self-congratulatory delusion." [from The Lost World]
Stephen Hawking (1942-):
"The actual point of creation lies outside the scope of presently known laws of physics."
Paul Davies (1946-):
"Through conscious beings the universe has generated self- awareness. This can be no trivial detail, no minor byproduct of mindless, purposeless forces. We are truly meant to be here." [from The Mind Of God: The Scientific Basis For A Rational World]
Dan Barker (1949-):
"Faith is a cop- out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits." [from Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist]
"The very concept of sin comes from the Bible. Christianity offers to solve a problem of its own making! Would you be thankful to a person who cut you with a knife in order to sell you a bandage?" [from Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist]
"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, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it." [from Losing Faith In Faith: From Preacher To Atheist]
Douglas Adams (1952-2001):
"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?"
"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone ever discovers exactly what the universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened."
Howard Stern (1954-):
"I'm sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don't think there's any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock."
Bill Maher (1956-):
"God does not write books, and Jesus is not a Republican." [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
"The Bible is a book written by humans, and God gave us the universe; I can go outside and see a tree." [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
"I'm tired of Christians thinking of God as a single parent sitting up in the sky, writing books and keeping records." [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
Scott Adams (1957-):
"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion. ... The psychological explanation for this phenomenon is that life sucks, and we'd all rather fantasize about being someplace else."
John Allston (- ):
"If you don't control your mind, someone else will."
"The only thing you take with you when you're gone is what you leave behind."
Glen Beaman (-):
"Stubbornness does have its helpful features. You always know what you are going to be thinking tomorrow."
G. Behn (-):
"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory."
Derek Bok (- ):
"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."
Phillip Brooks (-):
"Truth is always strong, no matter how weak it looks; and falsehood is always weak, no matter how strong it looks."
J. S. Bullion, Jr. (-):
"Armies of Bible scholars and theologians have for centuries found respected employment devising artful explanations of the Bible often not really meaning what it says."
E. Joseph Cossman (-):
"The greatest power is often simple patience."
"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."
Thomas Crum (-):
"Our quality of life depends not on what happens to us, but on what we do with what happens to us."
"What would it be like if you lived each day, each breath, as a work of art in progress? Imagine that you are a masterpiece unfolding, every second of every day, a work of art taking form with every breath."
Mary Daly (-):
"If God is male, then the male is God."
Alan Dershowitz (-):
"Because good religion is generally the antithesis of good government - the former regulating private life and beliefs, while the later governs public actions - the merger of church and state poses considerable danger to personal liberty."
Adrian Desmond (-):
"Real religion, that emotive feeling for Truth and Beauty, can flourish in the absence of an idolatrous theology."
"Science was tearing through the 'fine-spun ecclesiastical cobwebs' to behold a new cosmos, in which our Earth is merely an 'eccentric speck' - a world of evolution 'and unchanging causation'. It invited new ways of thinking. It demanded a new rationale for belief. With science's truths the only accessible ones, 'blind faith' was no longer admirable but 'the one unpardonable sin'."
George Dorsey (-):
"Religion is not insanity but, it is born of the stuff which makes for insanity. ... All religions perform the function of delusion."
Will Durant (-):
"The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds."
"Philosophy is a hypothetical interpretation of the unknown (as in metaphysics), or of the inexactly known (as in ethics or political philosophy); it is the front trench in the seige of truth. Science is the captured territory; and behind it are those secured regions in which knowledge and art build our imperfect marvelous world. Philosophy seems to stand still, perplexed; but only because she leaves the fruits of victory to her daughters the sciences, and herself passes on, divinely discontent, to the uncertain and unexplored."
"Science is analytical description, philosophy is synthetic interpretation. Science wishes to resolve the whole into parts, the organism into organs, the obscure into the known. It does not inquire into the value and ideal possibilities of things, nor into the total and final significance; it is content to show their present actuality and operation, it narrows its gaze resolutely to the nature and process of things as they are. But the philosopher is not content to describe the fact; he wishes to ascertain its relation to experience in general, and thereby to get at its meaning and its worth; he combines things in interprative synthesis; he tries to put together, better than before, that great universe-watch which the inquisitive scientist has analytically taken apart. Science tells us how to heal and how to kill; it reduces the death rate in retail and then kills us wholesale in war; but only wisdom-desire coordinated in the light of all experience-can tell us when to heal and when to kill. To observe processes and to construct means is science; to criticize and coordinate ends is philosophy: and because in these days our means and instruments have multiplied beyond our interpretation and synthesis of ideals and ends, our life is full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. For a fact is nothing except in relation to desire; it is not complete except in relation to a purpose or whole. Science without philosophy, facts without perspective or valuation, cannot save us from havoc or despair. Science gives us knowledge, but only philosophy can give us wisdom."
Timothy Dwight (-):
"The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts."
Walter Elliott (-):
"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another."
John Fugelsang (-):
"To assume you know the truth is so completely prideful."
"Why is evolution in anyway inconsistent with Christianity anyway? I don't think Genesis was meant to be taken as fact when it was written."
"You believe everything in Genesis is literal fact? God created the world, but couldn't find Adam and Eve in the garden after they ate the apple? They were the two naked people, how could he miss them?"
"They were writing with a 1st century mentality! They thought the Earth was flat! It's hardly a betrayal of God or Christ to believe that science happened the way they tell us it happened! Do you believe that dinosaur bones are a trick by the devil to throw us off?"
"So much about religion is about being positive and about helping others and helping the downtrodden, but you know, just a little bit in this country it's about controlling thought and controlling behavior, especially in relation to women." [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
"When the government pretty much operates on quick-fix solutions to complex problems, why are we surprised when the poorest of that society looks for quick-fix solutions [lotteries] to their economic problems?" [from "Politically Incorrect" TV show]
J. K. [John Kenneth] Galbraith (-):
"The conventional view serves to protect us from the painful job of thinking."
"In the choice between changing one's mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof."
Van A. Harvey (-):
"It was, after all, Christianity itself which tutored the Western mind to believe that it should know the truth and the truth would make it free. But now that the student has learned to prize the truth, he has discovered, with pain both to himself and his teacher, that it can only be gained at the cost of rejecting the one who first instilled in him the love of it."
Kenneth Hildebrand (-):
"Strong lives are motivated by dynamic purposes; lesser ones exist on wishes and inclinations."
Douglas Hofstadter (-):
"Irrationality is the square root of all evil."
Bob Knauer (-):
"What else do you have to do that is meaningful with the rest of your life, anyway, but gain understanding into the workings of reality."
Elizabeth Kubla-Ross (-):
"Our concern must be to live while we're alive ... to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are."
W. A. Lewis (-):
"Collective judgment of new ideas is so often wrong that it is arguable that progress depends on individuals being free to back their own judgment despite collective disapproval."
Hans Margolius (-):
"Only in quiet waters things mirror themselves undistorted. Only in a quiet mind is adequate perception of the world."
Bethania McKenstry (- ):
"I'm not sure I want popular opinion on my side - I've noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts."
Delos B. McKown (-):
"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
Ellen Par (- ):
"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."
Robert D. Richardson (-):
"If death is the end of everything, then living is everything."
Carl Safina (-):
"Any honest inquiry into the reality of nature also yields insights about ourselves."
"Windy or not, a day this beautiful has to be lived. The day is bright and clear, the sky blue, and the dry air feels light. A northerly wind stirs a primal urge to move. The geese feel it, and so do I. Perhaps it is a last internal vestige from a time, long ago, when we migrated with the seasons across open plains, following the animals we pursued for food. Perhaps that is why the sight of migrating geese arrests our attention, why we feel the pull. We want to go, to travel in fresh or moody weather, taking in each newly revealed vista." [from Song For The Blue Ocean]
"An observant person sees things overlooked by others. A scientist sees things going on and then asks how these goings-on array themselves into patterns, patterns that are reliable and predictable. A really good scientist - or a really good artist for that matter, anyone whose mind and soul are capable of some extension - sees what is going on, sees the patterns, and asks, 'Why?' What underlying forces are at work? How are those forces exerting themselves? How may we understand? Once pried from the universe by a great mind or a discerning heart, the hard-won understanding may then be conveyed and conferred upon humanity at large. A painting is nothing more than light reflected from the surface of a pigment-covered canvas. But a great painter can make you see the depth, make you feel the underlying emotion, make you sense the larger world. That, too, is the power of science: to sense and convey the depth and dimensionality of nature, to glance at the surface and to divine the shape of the universe around us." [from Song For The Blue Ocean]
Michael Shermer (-):
"It is sad that while science moves ahead in exciting new areas of research, fine-tuning our knowledge of how life originated and evolved, creationists remain mired in medieval debates about angels on the head of a pin and animals in the belly of an Ark." [from Why People Believe Weird Things]
"Science is not the affirmation of a set of beliefs but a process of inquiry aimed at building a testable body of knowledge constantly open to rejection or confirmation. In science, knowledge is fluid and certainty fleeting. That is at the heart of its limitations. It is also its greatest strength." [from Why People Believe Weird Things]
"Myths are about the human struggle to deal with the great passages of time and life - birth, death, marriage, the transitions from childhood to adulthood to old age. They meet a need in the psychological or spiritual nature of humans that has absolutely nothing to do with science. To try to turn a myth into a science, or a science into a myth, is an insult to myths, an insult to religion, and an insult to science. In attempting to do this, creationists have missed the significance, meaning, and sublime nature of myths. They took a beautiful story of creation and re-creation and ruined it." [from Why People Believe Weird Things]
Lonny Starr (-):
"No matter what happens, there's always somebody who knew it would."
Richard Taylor (-):
"People fare best when they look not to moral rules and principles, not to priests and churches, and not to creeds, but to the actual results of what they do."
Bern Williams (-):
"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit."