Never a True Christian

Quotations About Atheism,
Religion, and Other Matters

"If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse."

If someone actually came up with a valid, irrefutable argument for the existence of God, it would be in the news - the God-believers would talk about it constantly. What we have instead is all these specious illogical tap-dancing arguments/claims. And there are many, many individuals and organizations that have a vested interest in proving the existence of a God.

"He had a type of cancer that was resistant to prayer."

"The word 'God' is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses. The Bible is a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this."
    - Einstein, 1954 (in a letter)

Science is the only thing that disproves science, and it does it all the time.

I don't understand the connection   —   “He died for your sins.”   How does one affect the other?   It's like saying, “I hit myself in the foot for your mortgage.”

"Natural selection will not remove ignorance from future generations."
---Richard Dawkins

The great thing about atheism is that it takes so little of your time.

"Hey, wouldn't it be cool if something like X existed?
"Wow, look! There's something that looks kinda like X.
"I want to believe X.
"Therefore, X."

You say, "I believe that God exists."
I say, "Prove it."
You say, "I can't."
I say, "Then I don't believe you."

I meet a lot of people who are "agnostic" about the god of Abraham. I don't meet many people who are "agnostic" about Zeus or Thor.

Religious people don't change their minds about religion, no matter what happens. Science changes all the time.

All things that exist have a cause.
The God of Abraham does not have a cause.
Therefore, the God of Abraham does not exist.

Mormon: "We want you to convert to our religion so that after you die, you can be reunited with your family."
        Me: "What happens if I'm good?"

Maybe if there were more atheists there would be fewer foxholes.

It's weird, isn't it, that when we're taught about Thor and Odin, is called Norse mythology. But when it's about God and Allah, it's called religion.
Most people know that Thor and Odin are not real, and a small number have also figured out that the other two (God and Allah) are imaginary.
It's like saying, "I know Batman and Superman don't exist, but I have a close personal relationship with Spiderman."

You: "It's Adam and EVE, not Adam and STEVE."
  Me: "It's Lot and his DAUGHTERS, not Lot and his SONS."

If we have leftovers for supper, do I have to say a blessing again? We blessed this food and thanked god for it last night. Discuss among yourselves.

The universe is wondrous and impossibly vast. Do we really believe there's a god out there saying, "Ewwww, gay"?

You say God can do anything.   Okay.   Have him say "Hello" to me.   Just one time.

Most of the Biblical prophecies that come true are prophecies that come true later in the Bible (i.e., in Bible stories).   Any other prophecies are so vague that nobody should be surprised when "they come true."

The suicide bombing community is exclusively religious. The genital mutilation community is exclusively religious. The pedophilia community is almost exclusively religious.

If people would stop inventing weird gods, I could stop denying their existence.

The question of where you go after you die is just as mysterious as the question of where you were before you were born. Why don't people agonize and speculate about where they were before they were born?

From Christopher Hitchens:
      Once you assume a Creator and a Plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment, whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well. I'll repeat that: Created sick, and then ordered to be well. And over us, to supervise this, is installed a celestial dictatorship, a kind of divine North Korea. Greedy, exigent - exigent, I would say more than exigent - greedy for uncritical praise from dawn until dusk, and swift to punish the original sins with which it so tenderly gifted us in the very first place. However, let no one say there's no cure: Salvation is offered, redemption indeed is promised, at the low price of the surrender of your critical faculties. Religion, it might be said - it must be said, one would have to admit - makes extraordinary claims, but though I would maintain that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, rather daringly provides not even ordinary evidence for its extraordinary supernatural claims. Therefore we might begin by asking, and I'm asking my opponent as well as you when you consider your voting, is it good for the world to appeal to our credulity and not to our skepticism? Is it good for the world to worship a deity that takes sides in wars and human affairs? To appeal to our fear and to our guilt, is it good for the world? To our terror, our terror of death, is it good to appeal? To preach guilt and shame about the sexual act and the sexual relationship, is this good for the world? And asking yourself all the while, are these really religious responsibilities, as I maintain they are? To terrify children with the image of hell and eternal punishment, not just of themselves, but of their parents and those they love? Perhaps worst of all, to consider women an inferior creation ... is that good for the world, and can you name me a religion that has not done that? To insist that we are created and not evolved in the face of all the evidence? Religion forces nice people to do unkind things and also makes intelligent people say stupid things. Handed a small baby for the first time, is it your first reaction to think, "Beautiful, almost perfect, now please hand me the sharp stone for its genitalia that I may do the work of the Lord"?   No.   As the great American physicist Steven Weinberg has very aptly put it, in the ordinary moral universe the good will do the best they can, the worst will do the worst they can, but if you want to make good people do wicked things, you'll need religion. Now I'm going to say why I think this is self-evident in our material world. Let me ask Tony Blair again, because he's here and because the place where he is seeking peace, in the Middle East, is the birthplace of monotheism, so you might think it was filled with refulgence and love and peace. Everyone in the civilized world has roughly agreed, including the majority of Arabs and Jews and the international community, that there should be enough room for two states, for two peoples in the same land. I think there is rough agreement on that. Why can't we get it? The UN can't get it, the US can't get it, the Quartet can't get it, the PLO can't get it, Israeli Parliament can't get it. Why can't they get it? We can't get it because the parties of God have a veto on it, and everybody knows that this is true. Because of the divine promises made about this territory, there will never be peace, there will never be compromise. There will instead be misery, shame, and tyranny, and people will kill each other's children for ancient books and caves and relics, and who is going to say that this is good for the world? And that's the argument made from the example nearest at hand. Have you looked lately at the possibility of what will happen when messianic fanatics get hold of an apocalyptic weapon? Well, we're about to find out, as the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Hezbollah allies are in a dress rehearsal for precisely this event. Have you looked lately at the revival of czarism in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Russia, where the black-cowled black- coated leadership of Russian orthodoxy is draped over an increasingly xenophobic, tyrannical, expansionist, and aggressive regime? Have you looked lately at the teaching in Africa and the consequences of it, of a church that says AIDS may be wicked - but not as wicked as condoms?

The Abrahamic religions could not be founded in modern times even if we knew only half of what we now know about physics and science and evolution and DNA.

"You're an atheist. You're close-minded." No, I'm not. I follow the evidence.

"In matters of religion, it is very easy to deceive a man, and very hard to undeceive him."
    - Pierre Bayle

A Christian who contracts cancer will want his doctor to have a very high standard of evidence.

Time kills all gods.

You know that I'm an atheist, and you ask me how the universe began. My answer is: I don't know, and I don't have to know. You're the one who claims to know. You're the one who claims to have an answer. I am honest enough to admit that I don't. You are claiming to know; why should I have to state why I don't know?

When you look at the way that people figure out whether or not there is a god, it looks a lot like the way they figure out what they like.

If the universe is "fine-tuned" for anything, it is for the formation of black holes. If the universe were a three-bedroom house, the portion of it that is habitable by life is the size of a proton.

Unlike religionists, I view all religions equally.

•   If you want to know what's wrong with Judaism, ask a Christian.
•   If you want to know what's wrong with Islam, ask a Jew.
•   If you want to know what's wrong with Catholicism, ask a Baptist.
•   If you want to know what's wrong with the First Baptist Church of Memphis, go ask the Second Baptist Church of Memphis.
•   And if you want to know what's wrong with the guy sitting on a pew in the Second Baptist Church of Memphis, ask the guy sitting next to him.

Imagine that a scientist in a laboratory creates a sentient, thinking creature. Does the scientist then have the right to control that being and give him hundreds of rules to live by? Can the scientist demand that the being worship him?

"God's attributes" are reverse-engineered for human needs.

If you could take all the science books and all the records of scientific knowledge that exist and destroy them, and then give every human being amnesia so that he forgets everything that has ever been learned about science ... 1000 years later, all of that knowledge would be back, and all of those books would be rewritten, and they would say the same thing that the old books said 1000 years before. But if you did that with religion - destroyed all the books and records of it, and made everybody forget it - religion might come back in 1000 years, but it wouldn't be the same.

God is love (I John 4:8).
God does not change (Hebrews 13:8). He's the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Love is not jealous (I Cor. 13:4).
God is jealous (Exodus 20:5).
Therefore, God cannot be love.

What do we know about God today that we didn't know 3500 years ago?
What do we know about the natural world today that we didn't know 3500 years ago?

Truth matters more than anything that I want to believe.

It has been said that every aborted baby is now in heaven. If that's the case, didn't we do them a favor by aborting them ... thereby removing the danger that they might grow up, sin, and then go to hell?

The problem with Islamic fundamentalism is the fundamentals of Islam.

How difficult would it be for ANYONE to improve the Bible? Starting with the Ten Commandments?

The Bible says that if a girl gets married and is found not to be a virgin, she should be stoned to death on her father's doorstep (Deut. 22:13ff). In modern times, we reject this part of the Bible, but we accept the Golden Rule. The basis of our morality is our brains, not our books.

The God of the Bible hates sodomy, and will kill you for engaging in it. However, he does enjoy the occasional human sacrifice.

We are told that God hates the sin but loves the sinner. I understand that. I love the Christians but I hate their religion.

I used to think that people believed what they believed for a reason. I later found out that some people don't have a reason for what they believe, and don't want one. People believe in books that they've never read. People go to a church for a sense of community. People believe because their parents believe, because their spouses believe. These are not good reasons to believe; they are reasons to pretend to believe ("wanna-believers").   Some people speak of their belief as an act of will, as mind over matter. "If only I can believe hard enough, I can change reality!!!!"

What was not reasoned into existence [religious faith] can't be reasoned out of existence.

The question may arise:   How do you argue with a theist? The real question is:   WHY would you argue with a theist? If you accept the existence of a god - then what? What do you do with that? The existence of a god raises more questions than it answers.

Believers sometimes say, "I'm not going to change your mind, and you're not going to change mine." That may be true, but the difference is that I am willing to change my mind if somebody will give me a reason to do so. Christians cling to their beliefs no matter what the evidence (or lack thereof) shows.

If a man tells a woman that she must love him or be subjected to physical harm, she'll spit in his face and report him to police. But tell a man or woman that a self-proclaimed "perfect being" who approves of rape, genocide, slavery, and eternal torture has made the very same demand ... and they fall to their knees, proclaiming his greatness.

"I can write a better book than the Bible.   Simple: I'd copy it word for word, except the parts about slavery."
    - Matt Dillahunty

Atheism is the realization that it's a do-it-yourself universe; there's no god who pulls a rabbit out of a hat for you.

If God made man out of dirt, why is there still dirt?

Were we not taught to doubt our senses, we would not doubt our senses.

Reason imposes strict limitations on what can be true; faith has no limitations at all.

"Physics, chemistry, biology ... please feel free to make fun of these, my deeply-held beliefs. It doesn't affect them in the slightest."
    - Ricky Gervais

Christians never talk about failed prayers.

Science is the journey toward the truth. Religion is pretending you're already there.

Atheist pickup lines:
• Hey babe, want to debunk Immaculate Conception together?
• Do you like revelations? I'm not wearing any underwear.
• I know you're not Jesus, but I still want to nail you.
• You know what the difference is between the Bible and a hard-on? I don't have a Bible.
• I don't go to church, but I do want to show you my organ.
• I'm not Jesus, but I'm hung like this (hold out your arms).
• In which kingdom should we come?

The greatest coup that religion ever pulled off was not in convincing people that an all-powerful God exists. It was convincing people that this idea should not be ridiculed.

A man who prays is a man who thinks that God has arranged things the wrong way, and he believes that he can instruct God about how to put things right.

Skepticism is like anti-virus software for the brain.

You are the result of 3.8 billion years of evolution. Start acting like it.

If you could actually reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.

Dear Dr. Franklin Graham,
    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and your father through the years, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.
    When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.
    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's laws and how to follow them.
    1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians? They're hard workers.
    2. I'm thinking about selling my young daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.   In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? She rarely complains about doing chores.
    3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual "uncleanliness" - Lev.15:19-24. The problem is: how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense. Is there a godly way to ask?
    4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them when they complain?
    5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? Do I have to choose between god and the law?
    6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination? Maybe there's a point system?
    7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here? Are contacts OK?
    8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? Do you think a flat top or a Mohawk might be OK?
    9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? Also, I work next to a BBQ joint and the odor of cooked pork circulates through my building. Am I breaking the "no contact with swine" rule?
    10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Lev. 20:14)?
    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help. I've heard you preach from Leviticus but never heard you mention any of these rules.
    Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
R. Douglas
P.S. It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian.

I don't want everybody to think like me. I just want everybody to think.

You don't know what a God is until you can examine it/him/her. Or at least ask it a question or two.

Creationism "Behold, I am God! Behold my perfect creation! And by the way, your main light source will give you cancer."

Faith doesn't require evidence. Evidence doesn't require faith.

If there is a god, his "plan" is very similar to someone not having a plan.

For some people, "religious freedom" is not about stopping persecution. It's about being the one who gets to do the persecuting.

God seems to be very concerned about what we do, and he's especially concerned about what we do when we're naked.

What does it mean if the holy water sizzles when it hits your skin? (asking for a friend)

"Divine command theory" is the idea that whatever God commands is right and moral, without regard to any known rules of morality. According to this theory, the Muslim suicide bombers are doing only one thing wrong: they're listening to the wrong God. If Yahweh commanded them to blow up buildings or to hijack airplanes, then what they are doing would be moral and right.

"Whatever the context is, you probably took that Bible verse out of it."

[Re Pascal's Wager] You say that I'm risking an eternity in hell because I don't believe your religion.   I say that you're risking the hells of all the other religions, and I bet that doesn't worry you at all.

"A book written by God should be some of the best writing ever produced. It should beat Shakespeare on character development, Stephen Hawking on scientific accuracy, Pablo Neruda on poetry, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn on ethical coherence, and Maya Angelou on sheer lucid beauty - just to name a few."
- Valerie Tarico

The God of the Bible is not omnipotent. He is incapable of communicating clearly in his book. If he were omnipotent, he could write a book that could be clearly understood, and we wouldn't have Baptists and Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses all disagreeing with each other.

What would you do if you weren't afraid?

God's "to do" list:
1. Create humans.
2. Drown 99.999% of them.
3. Randomly favor one group ... uhhh ... okay, the Jews.
4. Kill myself (for three days).
5. Hide.

The fact that a human being has to tell me that God exists is proof that he doesn't.

"It's my view that the simplest explanation is: There is no God. No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization: There's probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that I am extremely grateful."
    - Dr. Stephen Hawking

The Bible tells us that God once shaped worlds out of the void and parted great seas with the power of his word. Today, his most impressive acts seem to be shaping sticky buns into the likenesses of saints and conferring vaguely-defined warm feelings into his believers' hearts when they attend church.

"All that is necessary, it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention - of barbarian invention - is to read it. Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; take the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the coiled form of superstition - then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness, and purity to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity."
    - Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods (1872)

The unknowable is indistinguishable from the non-existent.

     "Motherfucker creates a whole universe out of nothing, but he had to take one of my ribs to create a woman!"
    - Adam

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere."
    - Voltaire

"Nobody can look at the Grand Canyon and still be an atheist."
"Nobody can walk through a children's hospital and still be a theist."

Religion is not a perception of a real entity. If it were, people wouldn't just believe whatever religious belief they were taught as children simply because it was what they were taught as children. The fact that religion runs so firmly in families strongly suggests that it is not a perception of anything real.   It is a dogma, supported and perpetuated by tradition and social pressure -- and in many cases, by fear and intimidation -- not by reality.

Instead of being born again, why don't you just grow up?

I am not an atheist because I assert that god doesn't exist. I'm an atheist because you have utterly failed to demonstrate that he does.

It is a well-established principle in the philosophy of science that if a theory can be supported no matter what possible evidence comes down the pike, it is a useless theory. It has no power to explain what's already happened, or predict what will happen in the future. The theory of gravity, for instance, could be disproven by things suddenly falling up (or not falling at all); the theory of evolution could be disproven by finding rabbits in the pre-Cambrian fossil layer. Those theories predict that these things will not happen; if they do, then the theories go "poof."   But if your theory of God's existence holds up no matter what happens -- whether your friend with cancer gets better or dies, whether natural disasters strike big sinful cities or small God-fearing towns -- then it is an utterly useless theory, with no power to predict or explain anything.

When you understand that you aren't a sheep, then you'll understand why you don't need a shepherd.

Is it true that Christians tip God only 10% because the service is so bad?

"The truth may be puzzling. It may take some work to grapple with. It may be counterintuitive. It may contradict deeply-held prejudices. It may not be consonant with what we desperately want to be true. But our preferences do not determine what's true."
    --- Carl Sagan

When something happens that we can't explain, the proper reaction is: "We can't explain it." It is not appropriate to say, "God did it." One would first have to show that (a) a God does exist, and then show that (b) God in fact did that thing.

It is a very strange sort of "loving God" who would make salvation depend on believing in him based on bad evidence.

God creates us sick and then orders us to be well.

Nobody has a valid argument for the existence of God. If somebody did, that argument would come up in every debate about the existence of God. That person would win the Nobel Prize and the Templeton prize. It would be headline news.

Faith is the most dishonest thing there is. Faith encourages the faithful to assert something that cannot be demonstrated to be true. Faith does not change its beliefs even when its position is shown to be false. Faith is an act of will. Beliefs should only be based on evidence, observations, and past experiences. The conflict is between fact and fantasy.

Why do you feel offended or hurt on behalf of your God? How can I wound your God?

When you tell me that God's ways are higher than our ways, do you think that this is something that should convince me that you're right? How would you feel if I told you that my ways are higher than God's ways - what basis do you have for believing that I'm wrong?

Beliefs don't live in a vacuum. There is, or should be, a process by which you arrive at your beliefs.

Do you care about truth? Or do you just WANT to "believe" in something? Do we agree that we share a reality?

Objective morality is based on the non-subjective evaluation of the consequences of actions with regard to a goal (i.e., well-being).

Facts don't care about your feelings.

I had a vision where Vishnu told me Christianity was fake. Debunk that.

I'm an atheist. You're a Christian. I've known a lot of Christians. My guess is that your religion makes about as much difference in how you live your life as my religion affects my life.

What would Jesus do [WWJD]?
Disappear for three days and pretend to be dead.

Christian Beliefs:

10. You deny the existence of thousands of gods of other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.

9. You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that humans evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created out of dirt.

8. You laugh at polytheists, but have no trouble believing in a three-in-one God.

7. You're outraged when you hear about terroristic acts committed by Moslem extremists, but you don't even flinch when God slaughters all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and orders the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua."

6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek myths about gods having sex with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life, and ascended into the sky.

5. You are willing to spend your life looking for loopholes in the scientifically-established age of Earth (a few billion years), and you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents who guessed that the Earth is a few thousand years old.

4. You believe that the entire population of this planet, with the exception of those who share your beliefs, will spend eternity in a hell of infinite suffering, and yet you tell people that your religion (1) is the only true religion and (2) is "tolerant" and "loving."

3. Modern science, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of anything, but some idiot rolling around on the floor and "speaking in tongues" is evidence of the validity of Christianity.

2. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers, and you tell us that the 99.99% failure rate was simply the will of God.

1. You actually know less than an atheist does about the Bible, Christianity, and church history.

For God so loved the world that he drowned everybody in it (Genesis 6).

A fact is not evidence unless it supports or negates the conclusion you're trying to attach it to. This has to do with the question of relevance.

Scientology:   "Sure, we're batshit crazy, but at least we're not fucking your kids."

Faith is not the same as trust.   Faith is a complete, irrevocable trust that is not based on evidence. Trust is something that is earned.

All we need for you to give us is evidence of God. "If you can't show it, you don't know it."

A man dies and goes to Heaven.

After he finishes inprocessing and has visited a few of his old friends, he tells a joke about the Holocaust - one of those tastless, horrific, offensive jokes.

Just then, God walks up behind him and says, "I don't think that's funny at all."

The man replies, "I guess you had to be there."

An atheist is not a "know-it-all;" he's the opposite of that. He's a person who's willing to admit it when he doesn't know.

      If I ever met God, I would say: "Bone cancer in children? What's that all about? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery!" It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect the capricious mean-minded stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain? I wouldn't want to get to heaven on his terms. They are wrong. The God who created this universe is quite clearly a psycho, an utter psycho. Utterly selfish - we have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him - what kind of God wants that? He created insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and eat outward from their eyes. Why? Why did you do that to us? You could easily have made a world in which that did not exist. It is simply not acceptable.
    - Stephen Fry

I'm so lucky that I was born into a family that followed the correct religion. All the other religions - Hindu, Moslem, Jew - are going to hell.

Long ago, people believed that there were many gods ... then later on, they believed there was only one god ... fewer and fewer ... at least they're moving in the right direction.

There are about 2,700 gods that people believe in, and I don't believe in any of them.   You don't believe in 2,699 of those 2,700 gods.   You're actually an atheist; I'm just slightly more atheist (by about .0004%) than you are.

 

"And do you think that unto such as you -
"A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew -
"God gave a secret, and denied it me?
"Well, well   -   what matters it?   Believe that, too!"
    ---- Omar Khayyam

"God" was our first and worst attempt to explain things.

      The totalitarian concept of the afterlife [hell], this hideous idea, doesn't even occur even in the violent rape- and genocide-filled books of the old Jewish Bible. There's no punishment of the dead. When God has destroyed your tribe and killed your virgins and your children in front of you and your flocks are scattered, and you yourself have fallen to a bronze sword, he's finished with you - the earth can close over you - that's it. You've tangled with the wrong tribe, the one he favored. Not until "gentle Jesus meek and mild" are you told that if you don't make the right propitiations, you can depart into everlasting fire - one of the most wicked ideas ever preached, one that's ruined the peace of mind of millions of children, preached by vicious child-hating old men and women in the name of this ghastly cult [i.e., Christianity]. Was this plan made by someone who LIKES us?
    -   Christopher Hitchens [somewhat paraphrased]

Faith is not a pathway to truth.

It's very comforting to say, "I know the answer." But admitting that you don't know the answer is the beginning of finding the actual explanation. My lack of an answer doesn't make your answer correct.

Religion has designed God so that he can't be verified.

Someone may ask you: If there is no God, what stops you from raping and killing every person you want to? The answer is: I have already raped and killed all the people I want to [which is zero persons].

One of the Christian-type phenomena that could actually be measured and tested is speaking in tongues. I wonder what would happen if we recorded someone speaking in tongues, and then gave that recording to some actual linguists?

I care about whether my beliefs are true, not whether they feel good.

If God exists, either (1) he sends rapists to rape children or (2) he sits and watches it and does nothing.

Each religion will tell you why all the other religions are wrong. Atheists are simply agreeing with ... all of them.

      "In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."
    - Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to John Adams dated January 24, 1814

In a discussion of morality, we should take the "faith" card off the table.
It would be as if I said, "Lucille said [x]. Lucille is never wrong. Trust me."
That would be rude.
"Could you explain to the rest of us - who don't know Lucille - why your version of morality is right?"

The best thing that can happen to you is that you find out you were wrong. That's how you learn.

Why, if God is real, do we have to dance through philosophical arguments and become experts in ancient languages - why isn't his existence clear and obvious? Why doesn't God just show up here today, in front of all of us, set the record straight, and be done with it? Then we wouldn't have to keep having the same debates for thousands of years. It wouldn't be a matter of faith. It would be a matter of knowledge.

That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

The important thing about science is that science works. Science has replaced the gods of wind and of thunder and of rain. In the process, the human condition has improved immensely.

Is there anything that couldn't be believed based on faith? Is faith a mechanism that gets you closer to the truth?

Do you care about what's actually true, or do you just believe what makes you feel good? Isn't it a fact that faith can lead you to something that's true OR to something that is NOT true? Faith can lead you to Yahweh and me to Zeus.

You say that you prayed for your grandmother's cancer to be cured, and it went into remission, and therefore you believe in God.   What if it hadn't?   Would you then stop believing in God? I suggest to you that you're going to give a "thumbs up" to God regardless of what happens.

The plural of "anecdote" is not "data." A batch of unexplained occurrences does not equal an explanation.

"I have several things that I cannot explain; and because of them, I'm going to accept explanation 'X.'"   Zero plus zero plus zero plus zero never equals one.

How is it that Saul gets a Damascus road experience, but the rest of us have to take it on faith?

Religion puts a lock on the brain.

I don't know what it would take to convince me that God exists. But if there is a God, he knows what it is, and he hasn't done it yet.

I want to believe as many true things as possible and disbelieve as many false things as possible.

If you try to solve a mystery by appealing to a bigger mystery, you have solved nothing ("I saw an apparition of my dead grandfather; therefore, God and afterlife"). You have taken an experience and provided an explanation for it without providing any evidence for that explanation.

Believing the Bible is what makes you a Christian. Understanding the Bible is what makes you an atheist.

If I believe your claim about your religion - based on faith - why shouldn't I believe every faith-based claim from every religion?

"The supernatural" has no explanatory power. Saying "God did it" is the same as saying "It's magic."

Revelation is always first-person to you. To everybody else, it's hearsay.
    - David Hume

By definition, "miracle" is always the least probable explanation for something.

Faith is the glorification of voluntary ignorance.

How probable or improbable is the supernatural, and how did you arrive at that conclusion?

      "You assert that you believe that my cat is really an alien spy - I don't believe that my cat is an alien spy - there's no evidence that she is - so why do I need to answer 30 more questions (explaining to you how my life works) to help you understand why I don't believe the unsubstantiated proposition that my cat is an alien spy?"
    - Aron Ra (who told someone that he isn't a Christian, and was then asked multiple questions about his relationship with his parents)

"Them every-lutionists say we revolved from a monkey!"

"Which is more likely: that the laws of nature should be suspended, or that a Jewish girl should tell a fib?"
    - Thomas Paine

If everything that we cannot explain - everything that is mysterious to us - must therefore be credited to a God, in terms of a God, then there's nothing left to explain. There are no more problems to be solved.

I have a pretty high-level definition of prophecy. The prophecy should refer to a specifically-defined event that's going to happen at a specifically-predicted time. If I order a rare steak and the waiter brings me a steak cooked rare, I am not a prophet. If I say that rain will fall, do I become a prophet the next time it rains?

The only thing you're saying when you talk about the unlikeliness of abiogenesis and organic life arising from inorganic life is that something improbable happened.
"Improbable" does not mean "impossible." On this one speck of dust in this vast universe, something unlikely happened [life began/arose].

Let's suppose that (a) the prophecies in Daniel were fulfilled, and (b) they could only be fulfilled by God. That doesn't prove that the rest of this book - the Bible - this collection of disparate writings - is true. It doesn't mean that John 3:16 is true.

They're not following the evidence - they are leading the evidence to a place where they've previously decided it should go.

People argue that if God revealed himself to us in a way that is indisputable, then it would be impossible for us to reject God (and that's why he doesn't directly reveal himself to humans). However, God did reveal himself directly to Satan - Satan has no doubt about the existence of God - and yet Satan is able to reject God. So it seems that, if God did reveal himself directly to me, it's still possible for me to reject him - so that's not a real problem ("God doesn't want to interfere with your free will").

The truth or falsity of a claim has nothing to do with how many people believe it, or how strongly they believe it, or for how long they have believed it. It depends on evidence. It depends on truth.

People spend a week investigating cars that they want to buy, but they don't investigate their religion at all.

"I don't understand evolution, and I need to protect my kids from understanding it too!"

The watchmaker argument: "There's no design without a designer." Question: How do you know that it was designed? What are you comparing it to? We already know that watches are designed because we know the process by which they are designed. We don't recognize design by the complexity of something; we recognize designed things by comparing them against things that are not designed, i.e., things that occur naturally in nature. We know that watches are designed because we already know the process by which they are designed. You have to be able to contrast it; something designed vs. something that is undesigned. You believe that a watch and Mount Rushmore were designed because you have tremendous amounts of evidence about how they were designed. As for human beings - you would need to come up with some kind of special evidence to make the case that they were designed, because all of the evidence we have about them leads us to conclude that they are naturally occurring (perhaps as a result of evolution?). (Simplicity is the hallmark of design, not complexity)

Who designed our planet so that most of it is uninhabitable by humans because it's either too hot or too cold or is covered by ocean? Who designed our solar system so that every planet except one is too hot or too cold for us to live on it?

If God created man in his own image, shouldn't I be invisible?

How much time do you spend worrying about the hells of other religions that you weren't brought up in?

Religion has usurped the idea of morality. All you have to do is say, "I believe," and you become righteous. It makes people think that if they don't believe, they are immoral. Religion wants to have a monopoly on morals and ethics. Religion makes people feel guilty for thinking for themselves.

If you say, "I have faith," everything is supposed to stop. Someone says "faith" and everybody backs off. "Faith" gets to go to the head of the class. But faith just means, "That's my opinion, fuck you, this debate is over." It is nothing more than the purposeful suspension of critical thinking.

What if the constants of the universe were slightly different so that we couldn't possibly exist? How do we know that there wouldn't be some other being in existence (in that slightly different universe) who would be asking himself, "How can such a perfect universe exist, that is so perfect for my existence? It's preposterous that this universe could have happened just by accident."

      "This is rather as if you imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, 'This is an interesting world I find myself in - an interesting hole I find myself in - fits me rather neatly, doesn't it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, must have been made to have me in it!' This is such a powerful idea that as the sun rises in the sky and the air heats up and as, gradually, the puddle gets smaller and smaller, frantically hanging on to the notion that everything's going to be alright, because this world was meant to have him in it, was built to have him in it; so the moment he disappears catches him rather by surprise. I think this may be something we need to be on the watch for."
    - Douglas Adams

If God gives people orders to kill their own children [Gen. 22], and to slaughter the Midianites [Num. 31:1-18], how do you know who's the good one and who's the bad one - God or Satan?

If there is a god who created the universe
And he had options about what kind of universe he would create
And he knew how the universe would turn out, depending on which options he exercised,
Then didn't god specifically choose the universe in which I would lose my faith and become an atheist?
Didn't he choose the universe in which we couldn't rationally and reasonably confirm his existence?
Didn't he choose the universe in which the single most important facet of his message (i.e., his existence) is not evident?

Science is not the only pathway to knowledge. But it is the most consistently reliable pathway to knowledge.

Religion is man-made, and it shows. Religion is created by a creature that is half a chromosome away from being a chimpanzee.

Nothing fails like prayer - except abstinence-only education.

Evolution is a scientific theory. It is not speculation or hypothesis. A scientific theory is something that has taken its final exam and gotten its diploma (like the theory of gravity). Creationism is getting ready to go to preschool, and can't find its lunch box.

5,000 years from now, archaeologists may excavate New York City, but they won't be able to prove that Spiderman existed ... no matter how many old books they find.

[Re burden of proof] I can't prove that my wife isn't a professional assassin hired by the government of Russia to kill me. But until I have a reason to believe that, I won't believe it, and the burden of proof would be on the person who makes this claim.

The argument from ignorance: Anything you don't understand you attribute to God. For you, God is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world and all the challenges to your intelligence. You simply turn off your mind and say, "God did it."

I've just discovered praying. This is going to save me millions in charitable donations.

Christian morality doesn't exist. They're just following orders.

Religion is not the opiate of the masses. Religion is the placebo of the masses.

The problem with reality is that it always wins. IT ALWAYS WINS.

If your faith can move mountains, then it ought to be able to withstand criticism.

You have a right to your own beliefs. You do not have a right to your own facts.

An atheist isn't trying to sell something. He's refusing to buy something (i.e., your religion).

Disbelief in the God of Abraham does not require that one search the entire cosmos and find him absent; it only requires that one understand that the evidence put forward by believers is insufficient.

The idea behind religion is that God has a very important message for every human being on earth. So what he does is this: He gives the message to one person, thousands of years ago, who writes it in a book in a language that I don't speak.

God? We should laugh him off the stage. This is what we do with astrology and tarot cards and Elvis sightings. This is what we do with anything else besides the God of the Bible.

Religion is a "suitcase term." It's like the term "sports." Thai boxing is a sport - people hit each other with elbows and knees, and sometimes kill each other. Badminton is also a sport. Not all religions are the same and in fact it seems that some of them don't really have much of a similarity to the others.

Why are atheists always talking about religion? For the same reason that oncologists are always talking about cancer.

I remember being 8 years old and sitting in church. The pastor's sermon was on Malachi 3:10 (English Standard Version): "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the LORD of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need."
I remember a feeling of embarassment.
That afternoon, I simply prayed, "God, I don't ask for a miracle. Just let me talk to you. Say something. Say anything."
Nothing. Nothing at all.
God failed a very simple test. I decided not to bother him anymore.

"Mr. Jefferson, build that wall."

"The logical problems that I have are solved because God (or Gleepglorp) exists."
      - Christian. [Your magical being lets you dodge every philosophical question]

If it could be proven to you that Jesus was a myth; that Moses never lived; that Mohammed did not write the Quran; in other words, if you could be shown that your religion is false - would you really look at your neighbor differently? How many of you would instantly become rapists or murderers or thieves or pedophiles?

If the homosexuals had a book that said that Christians should be killed, how long would it be before that book was labeled as hate speech?

Rational people are at a disadvantage. We don't have soft, comforting fairytales and we cannot prey on credulous people.

We really don't need the word "atheist." Just like we don't need a word for people who reject astrology. Atheism is not a philosophical position - it is not a "worldview." It is the answer to one question, and one question only. There are no "atheist beliefs" or "atheist claims." We are all atheists (or antitheists) with regard to the thousands of dead gods that are in the graveyard that we call mythology. These were once gods in good standing among our ancestors.

I have one tube that I breathe through, but I also eat through it ... so I can easily choke to death. Intelligent design?

What is "sufficient evidence?" It is the kind of evidence that anyone demands on any subject other than religion.

Until God gives me five minutes of his time, I don't have any time at all for him.

If a child (say one who had just watched Disney's "Hercules") asked me if the Greek gods are real, I'd say "No" rather than hedge my bets by saying "I lack a belief in them." Is there any good reason to treat other gods any differently?

The way you refute your own religion in three easy steps is this: first, think of your religious beliefs, and think of what you would think of them if you hadn't been brought up with them. Second, some argument or other about how your religion is special is going to come to mind, and what you do then is ask yourself if you would find a similar argument convincing if it were presented in defense of some other religion. Third, move on to the next argument you think up, and repeat the process, and just keep repeating the process until you run out of arguments.

Article 11 of the Treaty of Tripoli (1796):
      "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

When you say, "God is good," what does that mean? What is the "good" standard that applies to God, and where did that standard come from?

If you state that you believe that Elvis is still alive - at a job interview, or on a first date - you immediately pay a price: ill-concealed laughter. That is a good thing; that is an appropriate response.

      People will argue that it's reasonable to believe in religion because it makes people happy and it makes them better people.
      Imagine you're walking down the street and you run into an old friend, and he looks radiantly happy. You ask him what's going on in his life, and he tells you that his life took on a new meaning the day he realized that he was married to Angelina Jolie. You would ask him why he believes this, because after all, Angelina Jolie is one of the most beautiful women in the world, and she's very rich, and incidentally, she's married to Brad Pitt and has 27 children. Your friend says "You don't understand - this belief gives my life meaning; I now know my purpose in life." Your friend says "This new belief has made me incredibly kind to children. You can believe whatever you want, but I don't want to live in a universe where I'm not married to Angelina Jolie." It is quite clear that your friend has lost his mind.

Christians are not easily argued out of their religion because they were not argued into it in the first place.

Prayer is like masturbation:
      1. It benefits only you.
      2. It should only be done at home.

"Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of fundamentalism that someone won't mistake for the real thing."
    - Nathan Poe

You say that Jesus is real, based on "personal revelation." What if I told you that Jesus is NOT real - based on MY "personal revelation"?

"Reason is a whore, the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."
    - Martin Luther

Science flies us to the moon. Religion flies us into buildings.

Gods don't kill people. People with gods kill people.

Arguing with a Christian is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are at chess, the pigeon will walk around and knock over all the pieces, shit on the board, and then strut around as if he won.

Nothing is more destructive to one's religion than other religions. It is like meeting one's own anti-matter twin. Other religions represent alternatives to your own religion. Other people believe in them just as fervently as we believe in our own religion, and they live their lives just as successfully as we do. The diversity of religions forces us to see religion as a culturally relative phenomenon. Different groups have different religions that appear adapted to their unique social and even environmental conditions. If their religion is relative, then why is ours not?

Once you admit that something can exist without being created (i.e., God), then the universe itself can be that thing. You don't need God.

It's hard to be honest with yourself about the Bible when you believe that a mind-reading God is listening to your thoughts.

The Bible tells us, in the second chapter of Luke, that when Jesus and his parents traveled to Jerusalem, he got lost, and they spent three days looking for him. Archaeologists have found an old milk carton with a picture of a Jewish boy on it, and the caption reads (in choice Aramaic), "Have you seen me? Contact Mary and Joseph of Nazareth, (225) 877-1143."

You don't have to be brave, or a saint, or a martyr, or even very smart, to be an atheist. You just have to be able to say, "I don't know."

We are both godless. I'm just the one who knows it.

Mosquitoes ... why would a loving god create blood-sucking disease-spreading needles with wings?

"I have referred to Fundamentalists as religious medievalists, but that's not fair to me the medieval people who literally had no access to knowledge. The Fundamentalists of the 21st Century have at their fingertips all of the knowledge that humanity has amassed, yet they deliberately strive to build themselves a wall of Bibles to keep it at bay."
---Lyn Gerry

Faith doesn't give you any answers. In fact, it prohibits you from asking the questions.

When they asked me what my religion is, I said "I'm Non-Delusional."

"The Pope traditionally prays for peace every Easter, and the fact that it has never had any effect whatsoever in preventing or ending war never deters him. What goes through the Pope's mind about being rejected all the time? Does God have it in for him?"
--- Andy Rooney

"Attacks on atheism are usually personal, moralistic, and atrociously argued (not surprisingly)."
---- Steven Pinker

"Any person who needs religion to be moral is a douchebag at heart."
--- Tony Quark

Intelligent Design: Life is too complex to have developed naturally...so we're going to invent an even more complex being to explain it.

I'm not "militant" with my atheism. I haven't burned even one believer at the stake. I simply ask questions your religion can't answer.

I'm still waiting for the day when burning a woman's face with acid generates 1/100th of the outrage generated when somebody burns the Quran or draws a cartoon about Muhammad.

Hey Christian: Are you using your religion, or is it using you?

"Announcing you're an atheist is like dipping yourself in jet fuel and showing up for a candlelight church service. The crowd is convinced you're going up in flames, and they're terrified that you'll take others with you. Some scatter. Some attempt to cleanse you. Some just stand there and scream, 'Save the children!'"
--- Seth Andrews

Nothing the Bible says is ever wrong. When it's proven false by science, it just becomes a metaphor.

"You don't get to put your unreason on the same shelf with my reason."
--- Bill Maher

An atheist isn't someone who thinks he has a proof that there can't be a god. He is someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is on a similar level with the evidence on the werewolf question.

"It's in the Ten Commandments to not take the Lord's name in vain. Rape is not up there, by the way. Rape is not a Ten Commandment. But don't say the dude's name with a shitty attitude."
--- Louis C.K.

"Please stop with the philosophical snoozefest, and bring back the miracles. Show us documented proof where the amputee has his limb instantaneously restored and we'll at least have a decent conversation starter."
---Randall Hogan

Whether or not there is a god or any kind of supernatural element to the universe is a matter of fact, not opinion.

If your faith can move mountains, then it ought to be able to withstand criticism.

I trust my senses to confirm reality based on their continued reliability in producing effective results. If you want to know whether or not a fountain pen works, you pick it up and use it. Using my reasoning to confirm my reasoning is not circular; it is a practical necessity. I have no reason to believe that I am wrong, but I cannot say that it is impossible for me to be wrong. We live our lives by inference and induction.

[Re: hard solipsism] I am stuck with the reality that I'm currently experiencing (apparently along with everybody else) until somebody offers me a way out, and I will not arrogantly assert that all of you people are figments of my imagination.

      I admit that I cannot be absolutely certain about anything. I cannot even be absolutely certain that I cannot be absolutely certain. We have to begin with certain presuppositions which appear to be true, namely that existence exists, even though it may not be the ultimate existence; that reason is reliable; and that our experience of reality is reliable - since we can't tell when it's not, as in the experience of optical illusions, and hallucinations, and waking up from vivid dreams.

Christian: "I care about you, and I don't want you to burn in hell forever."
          Me: "Really? You really care about me? Then why do you worship the prick bastard who wants to send me to hell?"

Truth is that which comports with reality.

Certainty is not a measure of the truth of a claim. It is a measure of a person's belief in that claim.

If people didn't invent ridiculous imaginary gods, it would not be necessary for rational people to deny them.

What would it take to convince you that God does NOT exist?

"Honest investigation is utterly impossible within the pale of any church, for the reason that, if you think the church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it wrong, the church will investigate you."
      - Robert G. Ingersoll, Individuality (1873)

The best defense against logic is ignorance.

"Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth, more than ruin, more even than death ... Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible; thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man."
  - Bertrand Russell

When there were only four people on earth, God could not stop a murder.

"God doesn't exist ... because I said so!" Does that bother you? This is the same reason that pastors and parents give for the existence of God.

"God works in mysterious ways" is something that is usually said right after a horrible event.

You were made in God's image ... except for your foreskin. You have to cut that off.

The good thing about finding out that you're wrong is that you're not wrong anymore.

Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl's parents believe   —   as you believe   —   that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?

No.

The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to "never doubt the existence of God" should be obliged to present evidence for his existence   —   and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl   —   even once in a million years   —   casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.

  —   from Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris

      "Honest investigation is utterly impossible within the pale of any church, for the reason that, if you think the church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it wrong, the church will investigate you."
—   Robert G. Ingersoll, "Individuality" (1873)

"God is a perfect example of the kind of aberration that can result from an untrained intellect combining with an unrestrained imagination."

"Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday singing, 'Yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! 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."
    — Ex-minister Dan Barker

"It is an incredible con job, when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their phony reward systems don't try to make it posthumous."
    — Gloria Steinem


Probably Get His Ass Nailed to a Cross

Proposed bumper sticker, intended to be a response
to the "What Would Jesus Do?" bumper stickers

If you must believe in anything, believe in yourselves, in your senses and in your minds.   To accept a religious creed is to accept another's mind in place of your own, and generally contrary to your own.   When religious belief comes in, brains go out.

"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 believed only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance called 'faith.'"
— Robert G. Ingersoll

"You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do."
— Anne Lamott

"To describe religions as mind viruses is sometimes interpreted as contemptuous or even hostile.   It is both.   I am often asked why I am so hostile to organized religion.   My first response is that I am not exactly friendly toward disorganized religion either."
— Richard Dawkins

"I am an atheist because there is no evidence for the existence of God.   That should be all that needs to be said about it: no evidence, no belief."
— Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist

"Who will say with confidence that sexual abuse is more permanently damaging to children than threatening them with the eternal and unquenchable fires of hell?"
— Richard Dawkins

Better to be thought a fool than to open your Bible and remove all doubt.

The Scientific Method

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.   It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."
    — Thomas Paine (1737-1809), "The Age of Reason" (1794)

One thing we discussed at length was how to talk to our two-year-old daughter about this, should grandmother die.   She is very bright, but death is a difficult concept to convey to a two-year-old without either skirting the issue or causing excessive distress.   A fine line to walk, if being honest is important to you.   My friend said to me, "Wouldn't it be easier if you just told her that Grandma's going to heaven now, and we'll see her when we go to heaven too?"   Yes, that would be easier.   And it hit me for the first time on a completely visceral level what I've known intellectually for decades: why religions start.   It is always simpler to take away the fear, to take away the blunt truth of the universe.   Whether you're talking to a two-year-old or talking to yourself, you can explain away   —   with a fable   —   the inexplicability of nothingness.

"Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.   Just think about it: religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day.   And this invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do, and if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place filled with fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry, forever and ever, till the end of time   —   but he loves you.   He loves you, and he needs money.   He always needs money.   He's all-powerful, all-knowing, all-perfect and all-wise, but somehow, he just can't handle money.   Religion takes in billions of dollars per year, they pay no taxes, and they always need more.   Now you talk about a good bullshit story   -   ho-ly shit !!!"
      —     George Carlin

Neighbor: "God has been mighty good to your fields, Mr. Farmer."
    Farmer: "You should have seen how he treated them when I wasn't around."

"Look at the Holocaust.   Is the Holocaust compatible with an omniscient, omnipotent, perfectly compassionate God?   Well, yes, maybe he was just very pissed off at the Jews.   Perhaps he couldn't deny the Nazis such a perfect opportunity to sin.   Maybe he has prepared a reward in heaven for everyone who died in the gas chambers.   You can always put forward [explanations] like that.   That version of God is perfectly unfalsifiable.   But looking at the Holocaust, would you for a moment think that an invisible and perfectly loving and perfectly powerful deity must be taking an interest in human affairs?   Not even remotely."
      — Sam Harris

"It's not listed in the Bible, but my spiritual gift, my specific calling from God, is to be a television talk-show host."
    —   Jim Bakker (No, he really said that. He said it with a straight face)

I can cite a hundred references to show that the biblical God is a bloodthirsty tyrant, but if the Christians dig up two or three verses that say "God is love," they will claim that I am taking things out of context.

I really DO understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian.   Love is not self-denial.   Love is not blood and suffering.   Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity.   Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules.   Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission.   It is a counterfeit love if it is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward.   True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.

Where is God's incentive to behave? He gets credit for the good things and no blame for the bad.
— Heather MacDonald (January 10, 2005)

      If God exists, why doesn't he send us a new book targeted at a world which has studied the cosmos around it and learned elementary physics, chemistry, and biology?   Why continue with this farce of a book [the Bible] that can be translated eighteen different ways and the content of which was chosen 1600 years ago by a mixture of tradition and politics?   Why doesn't he aim a book at our world instead of insisting that we work with a book given to an undeveloped pre-civilization?   He is God.   He is all-powerful.   He could simultaneously release it in every language in the world.   Until he does this, I will not accept the Bible, with its ambiguities and its apologists and the errors and omissions.

So God likes to leave things ambiguous.   He suggests that he exists, but he lets other fictitious gods be known as well.   He makes his holy book open to interpretation.   He lets his followers split hairs and argue.   He buries fossils to confuse the issue.   He performs miracles in a very public way for centuries   -   parting seas, speaking from burning bushes and so on   -   then suddenly stops.   Completely.   That isn't testing, it's taunting.   You can't reconcile the fiction of a benevolent god with the fact of a clearly non-benevolent world.   See what happens when you try to justify a fiction?   It can't be done, and you end up rushing back and forth, trying to plug the leaks where the truth is seeping through.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. Or, to put it another way, if something does NOT exist, believing in it doesn't make it come into being.

"If you wake up tomorrow morning believing that saying a few Latin words over your breakfast cereal is going to change it into the body of Julius Caesar or Elvis, you have lost your mind.   There's no question about that.   But if you believe the same thing about a cracker becoming Jesus, very likely nothing is wrong with you; you simply happen to be Catholic."
— Sam Harris

"I submit to you that when our scientists and our atheist organizations start practicing suicide bombing and honor killing, when we start massing by the tens of thousands calling for the death of newspaper editors in response to cartoons, then let's talk about how atheism erodes the basis of morality."
  — Sam Harris

"One of my less pleasant chores when I was young was to read the Bible from one end to the other.   Reading the Bible straight through is at least 70 percent discipline, like learning Latin.   But the good parts are, of course, simply amazing.   God is an extremely uneven writer, but when He's good, nobody can touch Him."
  —   John Gardner, NYT Book Review, January 1983

Many freely confess that they believe what it makes them feel good to believe.   Evidence doesn't play much of a role.   They are alleviating their fear of randomness by identifying regularities that are not there.

All in all, I can't say I believe in god.   If, in fact, I ever find out that he does exist, I think I'll stay away from him, because if he's responsible for half the things he gets credit for, he's one mean son of a bitch.

Christianity, above all, consoles; but there are naturally happy souls who do not need consolation.   Consequently, Christianity begins by making such souls unhappy, for otherwise it would have no power over them.

To Whores

"Hold your spiritual bromides [...] Pat isn't with God.   He's fucking dead.   He wasn't religious.   So thank you for your thoughts, but he's fucking dead."
      —   Richard Tillman, May 4, 2004, at the memorial service for his brother Pat Tillman, who was killed in Iraq by "friendly fire"

"For centuries men have fought in the most unusual and devious ways to prove the existence of a God.   But evidently a God, if there were a God, has been hiding out.   He has never been discovered or proved.   One would think a God, if any, should have revealed himself unmistakably.   Isn't this non-appearance of a God (the non-appearance of a God in the shape of a single bit of evidence for his existence) a pretty strong, sufficient proof of non-existence?"
      —   E. Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism"

      "Man is a religious animal.   He is the only religious animal.   He is the only animal that has the True Religion   —   several of them.   He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight.   He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven."
      —   Mark Twain

      "It used to be the girls had to learn how to say no.   Not today!   Women's lib changed all that.   Nowadays, it's the boys who have to fight off the girls.   Aggressive, hard-drinking girls go after boys today, more so than in any past generation.   No wonder one of every two marriages ends in divorce.   Easy girls become easy wives."

  —   from Sipping Saints by David Wilkerson (1978), p. 78

"The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant."
      —   Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by Homo Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations; that he can be persuaded by their prayers; and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery.   Yet this ridiculous notion, without one shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest, and least productive industries in history."
      —   Lazarus Long in Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein

Men rarely manage to dream up a god superior to themselves.   Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

      "When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible?   This, for a Jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God's son?   The proof of such a claim is lacking.   Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed   —   whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions   —   is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage.   A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross   —   how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past!   Can one believe that such things are still believed?"
        —   Friedrich Nietzsche

If you pray hard enough, you can make water run uphill.   How hard do you have to pray?   Why, hard enough to make water run uphill, of course!

Anyone who can worship a trinity and insist that his religion is a monotheism can believe anything.   Just give him time to rationalize it.

God does not exist or, if he does, he isn't worth much.   Take any natural disaster ... say, the tsunami that killed about 250,000 people on December 26, 2004.

The possibilities are:

1. God made it happen. Therefore God is a violent, irrational, hateful bastard ... certainly not worthy of praise or worship.

2. It was an act of nature, and God decided not to stop it. God is a violent, irrational, hateful bastard ... certainly not worthy of praise or worship.

3. It was an act of nature, but God couldn't prevent it. Therefore, he is irrelevant and not worthy of praise or worship.

4. It was a simple act of nature, and God does not exist.

It's the inconsistency of the Bible-kissers I can't stand.   If you're going to quote what Leviticus says about homosexuals, then don't eat shellfish or wear mixed fabrics. Poke your eye out if you look at women other than your wife   —   then come talk to me.

"If you believe, for instance, that the American Civil War was a hoax, or you believe it happened in 1920, you have to have a good reason or you're going to be thought a lunatic.   We change the rules of the game once we talk about the divine origin of certain books.   We have a fundamental double standard here.   We never respect stupidity in our society unless it is religious stupidity."
— Sam Harris

"An atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church.   An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of a prayer said.   An atheist strives for involvement in life and not escape into death.   He wants disease conquered, poverty vanished, war eliminated."
—   Madalyn Murray O'Hair

"The little faith I used to have has been completely shattered.   If God existed, he would have certainly not permitted that human beings be thrown alive into furnaces, and the heads of little toddlers be smashed with gun butts or shoved into sacks and gassed to death."
—  Rutka Laskier (1943)

"All that is necessary, it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention   -   of barbarian invention   -   is to read it.   Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; take the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the coiled form of superstition   -   then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity."
- Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods (1872)

"With science unable to give us the answers, religion steps in and fills the gap of our ignorance with nonsense, fantasies, and pretentious lies.   Prophets and priests rush in where scientists fear to tread."
—   C.W. Dalton

"Mother Theresa is often thought to have been a great force for compassion in this world, and to some significant degree, she was.   There is no doubt that she alerted people to the reality of a certain kind of suffering.   I remember finding her quite inspiring, in fact.   But when she gave her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, she declared that abortion was the greatest instance of suffering she had ever encountered.   She lost more sleep over abortion than over famine and genocide and political torture and mental illness and all other forms of human suffering she had witnessed.   This doesn't make any sense."
      — Sam Harris

"No one has the right to destroy another person's beliefs by demanding empirical evidence."
      — Ann Landers, advice columnist

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

      In the fundamentalist Christian model of the parent-child relationship (the one between God and the Christian), the child must excuse everything the parent does, no matter how cruel or irrational.   The child must believe that the parent's every action and claim is appropriate and justified.   If the child is whipped and locked in a closet for a week, it's only because he somehow deserved it.   The child believes that any kind of treatment he receives, however harsh, is justified because he's such a bad, stupid child.   Any reward, however minor (like receiving a piece of candy after being locked in the closet) is seen as an undeserved gift from the parent, and the parent is praised.   The parent is quick to remind the child that any good thing the child accomplishes is somehow a result of the parent's selfless actions or good qualities, but every time the child falls short of expectations, it is because of the child's innate shortcomings, which he will never be able to change.   The child learns that love means pity and pain.   Love is something to be won by admitting to one's own depravity and losing all sense of self.   Safety and acceptance lies in carefully reading the parent's whims and moods, and sacrificing everything to please the parent.

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians.   It's no different.   It is the same thing.   It is happening all over again.   It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media, and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians.   Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today.   More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."
      — Pat Robertson [in a 1993 interview with Molly Ivins]

"We who are atheists are also a-fairyists and a-unicornists, but we don't have to bother saying so."
      — Richard Dawkins

When babies die and go to heaven, do they remain babies forever and ever?   When mentally retarded people to go heaven, do they stay retarded, or do they become smart?   Does everybody speak the same language in heaven, or do I have to learn German?   Do the Arabs have to learn English?

Kill one man and you are a murderer.   Kill thousands and you are a conqueror.   Kill millions and you are God.

God "tests our faith" by besetting us with tragedy, by killing the people we love.   Why is God so insecure as to keep testing the faith of those who love him?   Doesn't he have any faith in us?

      "For instance, in the book of Micah, chapter 5, it says that the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem, and then   —   lo and behold!   —   in Matthew chapter 2, Jesus is born in Bethlehem.   This is rather like events in the first volume of The Lord of the Rings being confirmed by events in the third volume."
     — Sam Harris

The United States Constitution mentions religion only twice, and in both cases it is tied to the word "no."   Article VI says that no religious test shall be required of those holding public office.   The First Amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

• • • "The deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914."
      — Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, Studies in the Scripture, Volume 3, 1910 edition
• • • "The deliverance of the saints must take place some time after 1914."
      — Charles Taze Russell, founder of Jehovah's Witnesses, Studies in the Scripture, Volume 3, 1923 edition

"Some treat their longing for God as proof of his existence."
  —   Mason Cooley

"It is a peculiar habit of God's that when he wishes to reveal himself to mankind, he will communicate only with a single person.   The rest of mankind must learn the truth from that person and thus purchase their knowledge of the divine at the cost of subordination to another human being, who is eventually replaced by a human institution, so that the divine remains under other people's control."
—   Patricia Crone

"Okay, you win.   You proved that your god is the best there ever was at hide 'n' seek.   Now trot him out here so that we can give him his reward."
—   Dan Ceppa

"Thank God" ... this expression pisses me off.   It's not the thanking of god itself that irritates me.   If you believe in a god, you should probably thank him, her, or it frequently.   This is a being to whom you owe your very existence.   Whether the prescribed method of expression is saying grace, dancing in a circle, sacrificing a chicken, or mutilating your child's genitals, most gods seem to really, really like being thanked.   A lot.   In fact, it seems that after they've completed the act of creation, most gods take up getting humans to express gratitude as their primary source of amusement.   This raises questions about any given god's need for validation and/or his level of emotional maturity, but who am I to question the divine will?

Let's assume that a god (or gods) exist and that he is either omnipotent or at least unimaginably powerful (frankly, any being that doesn't fit this criterion probably shouldn't be called a god).   When might be an appropriate time to thank this god?   For example: when one is viewing the wonders of nature seems like a good time.   In practice, though, when was the last time you heard someone say "Thank god, it's a rainbow?"   Contemplating the simple fact of (or aspects of) one's own life or existence seems like it should stir this sort of emotion, but one doesn't often hear "Thank god, my kidneys work beautifully."   In fact, nine times out of ten, the Two Words issue forth from the lips of someone who has recently experienced tragedy or near-tragedy.   Tune into any of the cable news networks the day after a natural disaster (i.e., just about any day), and you'll hear a whole lot of people thanking god.   You'll hear something like "The wildfire destroyed my house and my car exploded, but thank god I'm alive."   Hospitals are also popular places for this kind of utterance, as in "My baby died of Ebola this morning but thank god I have another child."

Why do these people choose to sing the praises of the lord right after they've been shat on by life?   "Thank god most of my goats survived."   Thank which god?   The god who just sent a tornado through your living room?   "Thank god I'm in remission."   Did you thank him when he gave you cancer?   People seem very willing to forgive the bad thing that's happened when they are graciously allowed to live or keep some of their possessions.   Would they be so generous if the offender turned savior was a human being?   Wouldn't it sound strange if you overheard a conversation between strangers, and one person said to the other "Thank you for taking me to the emergency room after you beat me half to death in that alley, stabbed me in the eye, and stole my wallet"?

Human beings attribute blame for the infractions of other people just as quickly as they thank those who have been kind or helpful.   Why doesn't god receive the same treatment?   Why is it that when a surfer is attacked by a shark and loses his leg, he's quick to thank god for letting him live, but he doesn't seem to hold a grudge about the fact that this same god created sharks and/or created that particular shark and/or didn't stop that shark from trying to eat him and/or didn't make sure a better surgeon was on call and/or didn't at least allow his very expensive surfboard to come through unscathed?   None of the bad stuff is ever god's fault.   I find it curious that a person won't attribute the same level of complexity to the motives and actions of a magical invisible being who pervades the entire universe as he will to the anonymous stranger who stole his hubcaps.   Is an omnipotent being not capable of good and evil?   I suppose it's uncomfortable to worship such a being and to know you have no choice in the matter.   I suppose that's what led early Christian theologians to twist a few snippets of scripture until they yielded the modern concept of Satan.   There has to be somebody to blame for all the bad stuff ... and it can't be our god.

"Omnipotence" means that God can do, or BE, whatever he wants to.   He could be absolutely good or absolutely evil.   Why would you worship a Supreme Being who is obviously so incompetent?   Are you succumbing to cosmic blackmail?   Face the facts, folks.   God is a dick.   If you could show me absolute proof of the existence of god right now, right this second, I would still choose damnation over worshiping a shithead.

"There are dozens of proofs (and disproofs) of the existence of God; why aren't there any proving the existence of the Devil?   Satan is frequently offered as a possible explanation for the presence of evil in the world, but you simply don't have the same sort of rigorous, logical attempts to demonstrate that he is a 'necessary' being in the way God supposedly is.   I suspect that most of the standard God arguments could be adapted to that purpose by adding a word here and there (e.g., 'every bad effect must have a bad cause; Satan is the first bad cause,' or 'the existence of evil design in the universe requires an evil designer'), but I'm not aware of any theologian who has seen fit to go through the motions."

Atheism is the only religion that is required to pay taxes.

What if President Bush declared a "National Day of Cursing God" because God failed us on September 11?   Christians would say, "Mr. President, you've overstepped your authority!!!!"   That's how I feel when he sets aside a national day of prayer to his pet God.

If, as the maverick astronomer Fred Hoyle mistakenly thought, the spontaneous origin of life is as improbable as a hurricane blowing through a junkyard and having the luck to assemble a Boeing 747, then a divine designer is the ultimate Boeing 747.   The designer's spontaneous origin ex nihilo would have to be even more improbable than the most complex of his alleged creations.   Unless, of course, he relied on natural selection to do his work for him!   And in that case, one might pardonably wonder (though this is not the place to pursue the question), does he need to exist at all?

CHRISTIANITY (n.): The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie (who was his own father) can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force called "sin" that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magic tree.

"Where was God on September 11?"   Well, why even ask that question now?   Where was God during the Holocaust?   Where was God during World War I?   World War II?   Vietnam?   We could go on like this.   God has been conspicuously absent during millions of gruesome, ghastly deaths.   Is he on a permanent coffee break?   Or just AWOL?

Who am I to question God?   Well, who am I to question Hitler?   Who am I to question anyone, anything, or any idea that is violent and commits genocide?   God is not a good parent.   He couldn't hold a candle to myself and others who love their children and teach them   -   without violence   -   to find their place in this world.   Nor am I an absentee parent.   My children know me, and know what I expect of them.   And if they make mistakes, I help them learn from their mistakes.   I am clear and unequivocal in my teachings, and I don't leave things up to interpretation.   God is not good.   He is evil, and does not deserve any praise.   God makes your devil look like an angel of mercy ... that is, if your god were real.   Yes, I will question your god.   Is he going to strike me dead?   Even if he could, even if he did, I would still question him.   If it weren't for human beings questioning and rebelling against tyranny, we would still be in the dark ages.

There either is a God or there is not God.   If there is no God, then you don't have a problem.   If there is God, God is either just or unjust.   If God is just, then he will judge you fairly.   If God is not just, then you're probably screwed, and you wouldn't want to spend eternity with him anyhow.   Fear of a petty and vengeful god is a terrible thing to base your life on.   Such a god ought to be defied, denied, or ignored.   If you can't believe in a just and loving God, then it is better not to believe at all.

It is better to light a single candle than to make up myths about the darkness.

"If this [the word fuck] offends you, welcome to the world of sane and realistic critical thought.   More harm has been done to the collective human psyche by religion than by all the fucking and cocksucking since the dawn of time.   By the way, many religious people (including the ordained) fuck and suck each other's cocks all the time."
      - George Carlin

"In many cultures it is customary to say that God created the universe out of nothing.   But this is mere temporizing.   If we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must, of course ask next where God comes from.   And if we decide this to be unanswerable, why not save a step and conclude that the universe has always existed?"
      - Carl Sagan, Cosmos (page 257)

The problem of Christianity is: If the Messiah has come, why is the world so evil?
For Judaism, the problem is: If the world is so evil, why does the Messiah not come?

"Dear God: We paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing."
      - Bart Simpson saying grace

"Suppose we've chosen the wrong god?   Every time we go to church, we're just making him madder and madder."
      - Homer Simpson

"Church, cult, cult, church ... big deal!   So we get bored somewhere else every Sunday!"
      - Bart Simpson, on his family joining a cult

If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a good chance of being a prophet.

"Philosophy is like a blind man searching in a dark room for a black cat that isn't there.   The difference between philosophy and theology is that theology finds the cat."
—   William James

"Do not let evidence fuel your appreciation of God; let your appreciation of God influence your view of the evidence."
  —   Carl Kerby, creationist

"If there is only one Creator who made the tiger and the lamb, the cheetah and the gazelle, what is he playing at?   Is he a sadist who enjoys spectator blood sports?"
  —   Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden

If the Bible proves that God exists then comic books prove the existence of Superman.

Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious.

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal 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 blind-folded fear."
  —   Thomas Jefferson

If we must play the theological game, let us never forget that it is a game.   Religion, it seems to me, can survive only as a consciously accepted system of make-believe. [...]   You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion.   Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies.   Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence.   Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly.   It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.
  —   Aldous Huxley

"Wandering in a vast forest at night, I have only a faint light to guide me.   A stranger appears and says to me: 'My friend, you should blow out your candle in order to find your way more clearly.'   This stranger is a theologian."
  —   Diderot

"[F]amily, friends, and well-wishers from around the world assured me that prayers and my faith in God would comfort me.   I tried to pray but I didn't feel any better, nor did I make any kind of connection with God."
  —   Christopher Reeve

"Christianity indeed has equaled Judaism in the atrocities, and exceeded it in the extent of its desolation.   Eleven millions of men, women, and children have been killed in battle, butchered in their sleep, burned to death at public festivals of sacrifice, poisoned, tortured, assassinated, and pillaged in the spirit of the Religion of Peace, and for the glory of the most merciful God."
  —   Percy Bysshe Shelley

"The Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black.   The Thracians say that theirs have light blue eyes and red hair."
  —   Xenophanes (5th-6th Century BCE)

"I am free, no matter what rules surround me.   If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them.   I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."
  —   Robert A. Heinlein

"The God of the Christians is a father who is a great deal more concerned about his apples than he is about his children."
  —   Diderot

"We [humans] are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook.   We may yearn for a 'higher answer' — but none exists."
  —   Stephen J. Gould

"But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply.   I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie.   I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave.   And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant."
  —   H.L. Mencken

"I never yet have seen the person who could withstand the doubt and unbelief that enter his mind when reading the Bible in a spirit of inquiry."
  —   Etta Semple

The world is divided into armed camps ready to commit genocide just because we can't agree on whose fairy tales to believe.

"Gods are children's blankets that get carried over into adulthood."
—   James Randi

"You believe in a book that has talking animals, witches, demons, unicorns, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd, and primitive stories, and you say that WE [atheists] are the ones that need help?"
  —   Dan Barker

"We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion.   I think religion stops people from thinking.   I think it justifies crazies.   I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative.   I think religion is a neurological disorder."
  —   Bill Maher

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
  —   Susan B. Anthony (1896 )

"I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature.   It has made one half the world fools, the other half hypocrites."
  —   Thomas Jefferson

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."
  —   Thomas Jefferson

"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning."
  —   Calvin, "Calvin & Hobbes"

The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.

"People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them."
  —  Dave Barry

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.'   And God granted it."
  —   Voltaire

"When I became convinced that the universe is natural   —   that all the ghosts and gods are myths   —   there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light, and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world   —   not even in infinite space.
I was free   —   free to think, to express my thoughts   —   free to live to my own ideal   —   free to live for myself and those I loved   —   free to use all my faculties, all my senses   —   free to spread imagination's wings   —   free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope   —   free to judge and determine for myself   —   free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the 'inspired' books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past   —   free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies   —   free from the fear of eternal pain--free from the winged creatures of the night   —   free from devils, ghosts, and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought   —   no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings   —   no chains for my limbs   —   no lashes for my back   —   no fires for my flesh   —   no master's frown or threat   —   no following in another's steps   —   no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously faced all words. And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain   —   for the freedom of labor and thought   —   to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound in chains   —   to those by fire consumed   —   to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still!"
  —   Robert Ingersoll

"The divinely guided, who will kill you, or at least wish you dead, because you belong to a different book club   —   this is what religion is."
  —  Ian Murphy

"The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own."
  —   Frank Zappa

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful."
  —  Seneca the Younger

Ethical people will do what is right, no matter what they are told. Religious people will do what they are told, no matter what is right.

"Those who get instructions directly from the Almighty are twice blessed. They get their orders from the highest authority, and the orders are always to do what they would have done anyway."
  —  Harley Sorensen

"Every fact is an enemy of the church.   Every fact is a heretic.   Every demonstration is an infidel.   Everything that ever really happened testifies against the supernatural."
  —   Robert Ingersoll

"Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool."
  —   Voltaire

"If there's any miracle in the world, it's that so many people actually believe god exists."
  —   John Mackie

"We also know that fundamentalists the world over and at home consider the 'sacred texts' to be literally God's word on all matters.   Inside that logic, you cannot read part of the Bible allegorically and the rest of it literally; if you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, his crucifixion and resurrection, and the depiction of the Great Judgment at the end times, you must also believe that God is sadistic, brutal, vengeful, callow, cruel, and savage."
  —   Bill Moyers

"All ideas should be open to questioning, and the merit of ideas should be assessed on the strength of the evidence that supports them and not on the credentials or affiliations of the individuals proposing them."
  —   Lord May

"Fear and credulity may interact to create a population vulnerable to charlatans of every stripe. The spellbinders, gurus, psychics, channelers, mediums, UFOlogists, crystal healers, fortune tellers, and miracle mongers that abound today make money off a public trained to believe improbabilities; the more colorful and imaginative, the better. Religion's war against fringe or New Age beliefs is not a battle of the rational against the irrational. It is a conflict between different fantasy systems, with a good deal of money at stake."
  —   Barbara G. Walker

When religionists get into nasty debates because one of them thinks he's found such-and-such evidence proving some claim about his god/savior/holy man, and all the others think he's full of shit, atheists find themselves in the curious position of watching it all from the sidelines.   It's like being a parent watching your kids arguing over topics that seem profoundly important to them, like who would win in a fight between Superman and the Incredible Hulk, but it doesn't matter a hill of beans to you because you spend most of your time in the real world.

"The churches used to win their arguments against atheism, agnosticism, and other burning issues by burning the ismists, which is fine proof that there is a devil but hardly evidence that there is a God."

Note to Scientology:
First signs that you are not a true religion:
      1. You cannot take a joke.
      2. You have an army of attack lawyers.
      3. You are unable to handle satire.

"One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse can be appreciated in the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility, while condemning scientists for their intellectual arrogance.   There is, in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: The creator of the universe takes an interest in me, approves of me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain the best statement of the truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend eternity in hell ...   An average Christian, in an average church, listening to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse   —   and there have been some extraordinarily arrogant scientists."
  —   Sam Harris in Letter to a Christian Nation

"If there is a god, he has an inordinate fondness for beetles."
  —   J.B.S. Haldane

If Christianity was meant to be the universal religion of all mankind, why was it revealed in the Middle East to one man at a time when there was no global communication   —   not even long-distance telephone service?

If man's sole purpose in life is to live by the Bible, what was man's purpose before the Bible was written?   Why is mankind older than the Bible?   Could it be because man created the Bible - not God?


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