The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each other on account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not divided about botany and astronomy does not even tend to make a man hate his father and mother. It is what people do not know that they persecute each other about. Science will bring, not a sword, but peace.— Robert G. Ingersoll
To sum up:
1. The cosmos is a gigantic flywheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute.
2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it.
3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him a ride.
Mencken, H.L. (1920). "Coda". Smart Set, December.
To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin.— Cardinal Robert Bellarmine
Trial of Galileo, 1615
My neurologist once told me that people with temporal lobe epilepsy are very often intensely religious. Certainly just before I have a grand mal fit I have a ‘vision’ of such peace, joy and significance that I can only call it God. What does this say about the whole nature of religious vision? Certain episodes in the lives of the saints have acquired a new meaning for me. When Theresa of Avila had her three-day vision of hell, was she simply having a temporal lobe attack? The horrors she saw are similar to those I have experienced, but in her case informed by the religious imagery of her time. Like other saints who have ‘seen’ hell she describes an appalling stench, which is part of an epileptic aura. Is it possible that the feeling I have had all my life that something – God, perhaps? – is just over the horizon, something unimaginable but almost tangibly present, is simply the result of an electrical irregularity in my brain? It is a question that can’t yet be answered, unless it be that God, if He exists, could have created us with that capacity for Him, glimpsed at only when the brain is convulsed. What I can say, however, is that if my ‘visions’ have sometimes let me into ‘Hell’ they have also given me possible intimations of a Heaven which I would not have been without.— Karen Armstrong
Armstrong, K. (1983). Beginning the World. New York: St Martin's Press.
Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.— Bertrand Russell
Russell, B. (1996). The Conquest of Happiness. New York: Liveright.
My mother was Southern Irish, and I was brought up as a devout Catholic. In fact, at one point I thought I’d become a priest, but I’d have made an appalling priest anyway… At 16, I asked all these monks some serious questions and they didn’t come up with the answers, and I just decided I didn’t believe in God.— Joe Simpson
Denton, A. (Interviewer & Executive Producer), & Jacoby, A. (Executive Producer). (2003). Mountaineer Joe Simpson [Television program segment]. In Enough Rope. Sydney: ABC Television.
Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.— Robert G. Ingersoll
No Gods – No Masters.— Margaret Sanger
Religions are like fireflies. They require darkness in order to shine.— Arthur Schopenhauer
If God has spoken, why is the world not convinced.— Percy Bysshe Shelley
I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.— Clarence Darrow
Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.— Voltaire
I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will – and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain.— Gene Roddenberry
Existentialism isn’t so atheistic that it wears itself out showing that God doesn’t exist. Rather, it declares that even if God did exist, that would change nothing.— Jean-Paul Sartre
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. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.— George Bernard Shaw
The Bible and Church have been the greatest stumbling block in the way of women’s emancipation.— Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Truth in matters of religion is simply the opinion that has survived.— Oscar Wilde
The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God.— Susan B. Anthony
The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty.— Stephen Hawking
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