Question with boldness even the existence of God. ~ Thomas Jefferson

If I saw no signs of a divinity, I would fix myself in denial. If I saw everywhere the marks of a Creator, I would repose peacefully in faith. But seeing too much to deny Him, and too little to assure me, I am in a pitiful state, and I would wish a hundred times that if a God sustains nature it would reveal Him without ambiguity. ~Blaise Pascal (Pascal’s Gambit)

It is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. ~ William Clifford

It is morally as bad not to care whether a thing is true or not, so long as it makes you feel good, as it is not to care how you got your money as long as you have got it. ~ Edmund Way Teale

If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood or persuaded of afterwards, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call into question or discuss it, and regards as impious those questions which cannot easily be asked without disturbing it–the life of that man is one long sin against mankind. ~ William Clifford, “The Ethics of Belief”

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

Even if we were to grant that one of our religions must be correct in its every particular, given the number of conflicting views on offer, every believer should expect damnation on mere probabilistic grounds. ~ Bertrand Russell

It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. ~ Thomas Paine

Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication– after that it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to ME, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him. ~ Thomas Paine

Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true. ~ Thomas Paine

My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. ~ Thomas Paine

Thomas did not believe the resurrection [John 20:25], and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas. ~ Thomas Paine

He’s created this cosmos as a vast laboratory in which to test our powers of credulity… and the test is this: can you believe in this god on bad evidence, which is to say on faith. And if you can, you will win an eternity of happiness after you die. And it is precisely this sort of god, this sort of scheme, that you must believe in if you’re going to have any kind of future in politics in this country, no matter what your gifts. You could be an unprecedented genius, you could look like George Clooney, you could have a billion dollars, and you could have the social skills of Oprah, and are you going nowhere in politics in this country unless you believe in that sort of God. ~ Sam Harris

I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodist, and not like the Latter-day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine. ~ Joseph Smith

Perfect people would be awfully tiresome to live with; their stained-glass view of things would seem a constant sermon without intermission, a continuous moral snub of superiority to our self-respect. ~ David O. McKay

The more a man knows, the more willing he is to learn–the less a man knows, the more positive he is that he knows everything. ~ Robert Ingersoll

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. ~ Confucius

Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. ~ Nietzsche

A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point. ~ Leon Festinger

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. ~ Christopher Hitchens

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. ~ Carl Sagan

Just as the unexamined life is not worth living, the unexamined faith is not worth believing. ~ J. Bonner Ritchie

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one’s religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one’s religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life–hence it is a valuable possession to him. ~ Mark Twain

In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. ~ Mark Twain

Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain. ~ Mark Twain

It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand. ~ Mark Twain

The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written, it has emptied more churches than all the counter-attractions of cinema, motor-bicycle and golf course. ~ A.A. Milne

The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most destructive to the peace of man since man began to exist. Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses, who gave an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and then rape the daughters. One of the most horrible atrocities found in the literature of any nation. I would not dishonor my Creator’s name by attaching it to this filthy book.  ~ Thomas Paine

The inspiration of the bible depends on the ignorance of the person who reads it. ~ Robert G. Ingersoll

It will yet be the proud boast of women that they never contributed a line to the Bible. ~ George W. Foote

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

Most people would rather die than think; in fact, they do so. ~ Bertrand Russell

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forego their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. ~ Galileo Galilei

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

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

It takes courage…to endure the sharp pains of self discovery rather than choose to take the dull pain of unconsciousness that would last the rest of our lives. ~ Marianne Williamson

Everything sucks. Might as well find something to smile about. ~ Greg House

Truth or happiness. Never both. ~ Cal Lightman

I have a hard time with historians because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting. It destroys. Historians should tell only that part of the truth that is inspiring and uplifting. ~ Boyd K. Packer

The gospel works best if you are white and middle-class. ~ Anonymous

An intellectual? Yes. And never deny it. An intellectual is one whose mind watches itself. I like this, because I am happy to be both halves, the watcher and the watched. ‘Can they be brought together?’ This is a practical question. We must get down to it. ‘I despise intelligence’ really means ‘I cannot bear my doubts.’ ~ Albert Camus

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. ~ Isaac Asimov

The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person. ~ the Dalai Lama

If there is a God, why’d He make me an atheist? ~ Ricky Gervais

The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic 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

Faith means not wanting to know what is true. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is the belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. ~ Richard Dawkins

One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding. ~ Richard Dawkins

THE MAJORITY of children born into the world tend to inherit the beliefs of their parents, and that to me is one of the most regrettable facts of them all. ~ Richard Dawkins

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked—as I am surprisingly often—why I bother to get up in the mornings. ~ Richard Dawkins

Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men. ~ Voltaire

The less depth a belief system has, the greater the fervency with which its adherents embrace it. The most vociferous, the most fanatical are those whose cobbled faith is founded on the shakiest grounds. ~ Dean Koontz

Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept it’s every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever. ~ Sam Harris

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

I refuse to prove that I exist, says God, for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing. ~ Douglas Adams

Every belief, every idea has an origin. Most beliefs would be easier to hold if we were unaware of their origins. ~ Me

Any organization or institution which endeavors to hide or suppress historical information or information of any kind from its members or from the public in general, ought to raise suspicion and should be regarded with a certain level of skepticism. ~ Me

You can’t reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into. ~ Anon.

Wanting to know how the world is leaves one vulnerable to new evidence. It is no accident that religious doctrine and honest inquiry are so rarely juxtaposed in our world. ~ Sam Harris

How can any person presume to know that this is the way the universe works? Because it says so in our holy books. How do we know that our holy books are free from error? Because the books themselves say so. Epistemological black holes of this sort are fast draining the light from our world. ~ Sam Harris

We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them “religious”; otherwise, they are likely ot be called “mad,” “psychotic,” or “delusional.” ~ Sam Harris

Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who would have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible? ~ Sam Harris

We believe most of what we believe about the world because others have told us to. Reliance upon the authority of experts, and upon the testimony of ordinary people, is the stuff of which worldviews are made. ~ Sam Harris

Science is science because it represents our most committed effort to verify that our statements about the world are true (or at least not false). ~ Sam Harris

Religious unreason should acquire an even greater stigma in our discourse, given that it remains among the principal causes of armed conflict in our world. Before you can get to the end of this paragraph, another person will probably die because of what someone else believes about God. Perhaps it is time we demanded that our fellow human beings had better reasons for maintaining their religious differences, if such reasons even exist. ~ Sam Harris

As long as it is acceptable for a person to believe that he knows how God wants everyone one earth to live, we w ill continue to murder one another on account of our myths. ~ Sam Harris

Religious faith obscures uncertainty where uncertainty manifestly exists, allowing the unknown, the implausible, and the patently false to achieve primacy over the facts. ~ Sam Harris

Surely there must come a time when we will acknowledge the obvious: theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings. ~ Sam Harris

A close study of our holy books reveals that the God of Abraham is a ridiculous fellow–capricious, petulant, and cruel–and one with whom a covenant is little guarantee of health or happiness. If these are the characteristics of God, then the worst among us have been created far more in his image than we ever could have hoped. ~ Sam Harris

Suppose there is a God who is watching us
and choosing which souls of the deceased to bring to heaven, and this god
really does want only the morally good to populate heaven. He will probably
select from only those who made a significant and responsible effort to
discover the truth. For all others are untrustworthy, being cognitively or
morally inferior, or both. They will also be less likely ever to discover and
commit to true beliefs about right and wrong. That is, if they have a
significant and trustworthy concern for doing right and avoiding wrong, it
follows necessarily that they must have a significant and trustworthy concern
for knowing right and wrong. Since this knowledge requires knowledge about many
fundamental facts of the universe (such as whether there is a god), it follows
necessarily that such people must have a significant and trustworthy concern
for always seeking out, testing, and confirming that their beliefs about such
things are probably correct. Therefore, only such people can be sufficiently
moral and trustworthy to deserve a place in heaven — unless god wishes to fill
heaven with the morally lazy, irresponsible, or untrustworthy. ~Richard Carrier

If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed. ~ Marcus Aurelius

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

Useful Miscellaneous


About wrywrites

wry [rahy]–adjective, wri⋅er, wri⋅est. 1. Dryly humorous, often with a touch of irony. 2. devious in course or purpose; misdirected. 3. bitterly or disdainfully ironic or amusing: a wry remark.
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