Quotes

Every once in a while a person speaks in such a way that I can’t help but say “Yes! that’s exactly it!” or “I love how this makes me feel.” or “Fabulous insight! I hadn’t thought about it that way.”

The following is but a small collection of the words that make me go “Hmmm…”

We really need to get over this love affair with the fetus and start worrying about children.

— Joycelyn Elders

One method of destroying a concept is by diluting its meaning. Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living.

— Ayn Rand

I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion.

— Hillary Clinton

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

— Stephen Roberts

Men never commit evil so fully and joyfully as when they do it for religious convictions

— Blaise Pascal

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?

— Epicurus

And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.

— Bertrand Russell

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

— George Bernard Shaw

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

— Gene Roddenberry

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

— Delos B. McKown

A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear and punishment and hope of reward after death.

— Albert Einstein, “Religion and Science,” 1956

I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.

— Thomas Jefferson

An Atheist believes that a hospital should be built instead of a church. An atheist believes that deed must be done instead of 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

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

— Steve Jobs

Be the change that you wish to see in the world.

— Mahatma Gandhi

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

— John Lennon

Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it. Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I mean, you could claim that anything’s real if the only basis for believing in it is that nobody’s proved it doesn’t exist!

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It is our choices, Harry, that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

It takes much bravery to stand up to our enemies but we need as much bravery to stand up to our friends.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

— J.K. Rowling

We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.

— George Carlin

We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.

— Richard Dawkins

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.

— Carl Sagan

Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn’t seem to work like that; it has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. That’s an idea we’re so familiar with, whether we subscribe to it or not, that it’s kind of odd to think what it actually means, because really what it means is ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not? – because you’re not!

— Douglas Adams

The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.

— Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one can prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think that I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because, when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods.

— Bertrand Russell

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

— Carl Sagan

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

— Carl Sagan

In science it often happens that scientists say, ‘You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,’ and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time someting like that happened in politics or religion.

— Carl Sagan

The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.

— Carl Sagan

Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can’t be taken on its own merits.

— Dan Barker

The president of the United States has claimed, on more than one occasion, to be in dialogue with God. If he said that he was talking to God through his hairdryer, this would precipitate a national emergency. I fail to see how the addition of a hairdryer makes the claim more ridiculous or offensive.

— Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

Consider it: every person you have ever met, every person will suffer the loss of his friends and family. All are going to lose everything they love in this world. Why would one want to be anything but kind to them in the meantime?

— Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

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.

— Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

The moral truth here is obvious: anyone who feels that the interests of a blastocyst just might supersede the interests of a child with a spinal cord injury has had his moral sense blinded by religious metaphysics.

— Sam Harris

If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: “Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.” Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible.

— Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation

I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a door mat or a prostitute.

— Rebecca West, “Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice,” The Clarion, 14 Nov 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca, 1982

Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist if at the same time she manages to be a good wife, a good mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, and unaggressive.

— Marya Mannes

We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief. Nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief. At the same time as our constitution prohibits state religion, establishment of it protects the free exercise of all religions. And walking this fine line requires government to be strictly neutral.

— Ronald Reagan

Because morality is a social necessity, the moment faith in god is banished, man’s gaze turns from god to man and he becomes socially conscious. Religious belief prevented the growth of a sense of realism. But atheism at once makes man realistic and alive to the needs of morality.

— Goparaju Ramachandra Rao (aka Gora), “Atheism and Morality” in Atheism Questions and Answers

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

— Isaac Asimov

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

As the government of the United States 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 Musselmen [Muslims] … it is declared … that no pretext arising from religious opinion shall ever product an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries…. The United States is not a Christian nation any more than it is a Jewish or a Mohammedan nation.

— Treaty of Tripoli, November 4, 1796

You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion … Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. 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

An argument frequently used by believers [is] to force unbelievers to soften their terms by accepting their opponents’ definition; “Atheist” means without a concept of God that is logically convincing, not with proof that God does not exist.

— Jim Herrick

Atheism is in fact extremely simple to define: it is the belief that there is no God or gods… However, many people think that atheists believe there is no God and no morality; or no God and no meaning to life; or again no God and no human goodness… there is nothing to stop atheists believing in morality, a meaning for life, or human goodness. Atheism is only intrinsically negative when it comes to belief about God. It is as capable of a positive view of other aspects of life as any other belief.

— Julian Baggini, Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.

— Samuel Clemens

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned.

— Anonymous

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

— Christopher Hitchens

The inquiry of truth, which is the love-making, or the wooing of it, the knowledge of truth, which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth, which is the enjoying of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.

— Francis Bacon, Essays, ‘Of Truth’

For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

— Charles Bukowski

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

— Marcus Aurelius

God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that’s getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time goes on.

— Neil deGrasse Tyson, “The Moon, the Tides and why Neil DeGrasse Tyson is Colbert’s God” on The Science Studio, January 20, 2011

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the sun lines of the continents for untold thousands of year … is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.

— Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964)

The philosophy of Atheism represents a concept of life without any metaphysical Beyond or Divine Regulator. It is the concept of an actual, real world with its liberating, expanding and beautifying possibilities, as against an unreal world, which, with its spirits, oracles, and mean contentment has kept humanity in helpless degradation.

— Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

Creationists make it sound as though a ‘theory’ is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.

— Isaac Asimov

In heaven, all the interesting people are missing.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.

— Carl Sagan

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

— Carl Sagan

We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.

— Charles Bukowski

Faith isn’t an act of intelligence, it’s an act of imagination.

— Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

They say there is a doorway from heart to heart, but what is the use of a door when there are no walls?

— Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe.

— Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You

Some birds are not meant to be caged, that’s all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

— Stephen King, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: A Story from Different Seasons