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Old March 1st, 2011 #61
SmokyMtn
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Edward Gibbon. Scottish historian (1737-1794):

Religion is a mere question of geography.

So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition.

To a philosophic eye, the vices of the clergy are far less dangerous than their virtues.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #62
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Thomas Paine. English pamphleteer and deist (1737-1809):

I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life. I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy. . . . I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

Christian Mythologists, calling themselves the Christian Church, have erected their fable, which, for absurdity and extravagance is not exceeded by anything that is to be found in the mythology of the ancients.

A book called the Bible has been voted by men, and decreed by human laws, to be the Word of God, and the disbelief of this is called blasphemy. But if the Bible be not the Word of God, it is the laws and the execution of them that is blasphemy.

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half of the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon rather than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.

I totally disbelieve that the Almighty ever did communicate anything to man, by any mode of speech, in any language, or by any kind of vision, or appearance, or by any means which our senses are capable of receiving, otherwise than by the universal display of Himself in the works of the creation, and by that repugnance we feel in ourselves to bad actions, and the disposition to do good ones.

Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #63
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Ethan Allen. American Revolutionary hero (1737-1789):

In those parts of the world where learning and science has prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #64
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Sébastien Chamfort. French writer (1740-1794):

I once heard an orthodox person denouncing those who discuss articles of faith: "Gentlemen," he said naively, "a true Christian does not examine what he is ordered to believe. Dogma is like a bitter pill: if you chew it, you will never be able to swallow it."
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #65
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George Lichtenberg. German physicist (1742-1799):

After all, is our idea of God anything more than personified incomprehensibility?

With most people disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.

Nothing has proved easier for men to invent than heaven.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #66
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Thomas Jefferson. American president (1743-1826):

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.

I find some passages of the Bible of correct morality, and others of so much ignorance, untruth, charlatanism, and imposture.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #67
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Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. German poet, novelist, and scientist (1749-1832):

To Lavater in 1772, Goethe wrote, "You look upon the gospel as it stands as the divinest truth; but even a voice from heaven would not convince me that water burns and fire quenches, that a woman conceives without a man, and that a dead man can rise again. To you, nothing is more beautiful than the Gospel; to me, a thousand written pages of ancient and modern inspired men are equally beautiful."

You say truly that Man is God and Satan, Heaven and Earth, all in one, for what else are these concepts but conceptions which Man has of his own nature.

This occupation with ideas of immortality is for people of rank, and especially for ladies who have nothing to do. But a man of real worth who has something to do here, and must toil and struggle to produce day by day, leaves the future world to itself, and is active and useful in this.

I shall be well content that after the close of this life we should be blessed with another, but I would beg not to have there for companions any who have believed it here.

Living will teach you to live better than preacher or Bible.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #68
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Pierre Simon Laplace. French astronomer (1749-1827):

Asked by Napoleon why he did not mention God in his Celestial Mechanics, Laplace replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis."
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #69
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James Madison. American president (1751-1836):

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #70
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Anonymous. The Unbeliever's Creed (1754):

I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God and God is matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or no.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #71
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Maximilien Robespierre. French revolutionist (1758-1794):

Atheism is aristocratic.

Note: As a devout Christian, Robespierre persecuted atheists and freethinkers during the Reign of Terror.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #72
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Napoleon Bonaparte. French dictator (1769-1821):

All religions have been made by men.

If I have a soul, then pigs and dogs have souls.

When we are dead, we are simply dead.

If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal life-giver would be my god.

Everything is more or less organized matter. To think so is against religion, but I think so just the same.

Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.

In all countries, religion is useful to the government; it should be used to control the minds of the people.

Priests have everywhen and everywhere introduced fraud and falsehood.

If I had believed in a God of rewards and punishments, I might have lost courage in battle.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #73
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Samuel Taylor Coleridge. English poet (1772-1834):

Not one man in ten thousand has goodness of heart or strength of mind to be an atheist.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #74
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James Mill. Philosopher, J.S. Mill's father (1773-1836):

According to J.S. Mill, "He [James Mill] regarded it [religion] with the feelings due not to a mere mental delusion, but to a great moral evil."

Also by J.S. Mill: "I have a hundred times heard him [James Mill] say, that all ages and nations have represented their gods as wicked, in a constantly increasing progression, that mankind have gone on adding trait after trait till they reached the most perfect conception of wickedness which the human mind can devise, and have called this God, and prostated themselves before it. This.......wickedness he considered to be embodied in what is commonly presented to mankind as the creed of Christianity."
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #75
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Charles Lamb. English author (1775-1834):

There is a need of multiplying books a hundredfold in this philosophical age to prevent converts to atheism, for they seem too tough disputants to meddle with afterwards.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #76
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Lord Byron. English poet (1778-1824):

Those who swallow their Deity, really and truly, in transubstantiation, can hardly find anything else otherwise than easy to digest.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #77
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Charles Caleb Colton. American author (1780-1832):

The three great apostles of practical atheism that make converts without persecuting and retain them without preaching, are wealth, health, and power.

Precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity as to those mysterious powers assumed by others.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #78
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Stendhal. French novelist (1783-1842):

All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.

What excuses God is that he does not exist.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #79
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Arthur Schopenhauer. German philosopher (1788-1860):

Religions are like glowworms; they shine only when it is dark.

Religion must be regarded as a necessary evil, its necessity resting on the pitiful imbecility of the great majority of mankind, incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore requiring, in its pressing need, something to take its place.

It is easy to let adulation of the Deity make amends for lack of proper behavior towards men. And so we see that in all times and in all countries the great majority of mankind find it much easier to beg their way to heaven by prayers than to deserve to go there by their actions.

You are certainly right in insisting on the strong metaphysical needs of mankind; but religion appears to me to be not so much a satisfaction as an abuse of those needs.

You may always observe that faith and knowledge are related as the scales of a balance; when the one goes up, the other goes down.

That a god like Jehovah should have created this world of misery and woe, out of pure caprice, and because he enjoyed doing it, and should then have clapped his hands in praise of his own work, and declared everything to be very good--that will not do at all.
 
Old March 1st, 2011 #80
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Percy Bysshe Shelley. English poet (1792-1822):

There is no god. [opening line of The Necessity of Atheism]

If God has spoken, why is the universe not convinced.

Every superstition can produce its dupes, its miracles, and its mysteries; each is prepared to justify the peculiar tenets by an equal assemblage of portents, prophecies and martyrdoms.

It is among men of genius and science that atheism alone is found.

The plurality of worlds--the indefinite immensity of the universe--is a most awful subject of contemplation. He who rightly feels its mystery and grandeur is in no danger of seduction from the falsehoods of religious systems.

That which is incapable of proof itself is no proof of anything else.
 
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