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2/10/2007                                                                                       View Comments

The Quotable Atheist



Bestselling author Jack Huberman has collected a veritable treasure trove of quotes by philosophers, scientists, poets, writers, artists, entertainers, and political figures. His colorful cast of atheists includes Karen Armstrong, Lance Armstrong, Jules Feiffer, Federico Fellini, H. L. Mencken, Ian McKellen, Isaac Singer, Jonathan Swift, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Virginia Woolf and the Marquis de Sade.

The following quotes come from The Quotable Atheist,

Richard Dawkins: Kenyan-born British zoologist and evolutionary theorist.

"Could we get some otherwise normal humans and somehow persuade them that they are not going to die as a consequence of flying a plane smack into a skyscraper? ... The afterlifeobsessed suicidal brain really is a weapon of immense power and danger. It is comparable to a smart missile. ...Yet ... it is very very cheap. ...To fill a world with religion, or religions of the Abrahamic kind, is like littering the streets with loaded guns. Do not be surprised if they are used." - 2001

"[A letter to a U.K. newspaper] says 'science provides an explanation of the mechanism of the [December 2004 Asian] tsunami but it cannot say why this occurred any more than religion can.' There, in one sentence, we have the religious mind displayed before us in all its absurdity. In what sense of the word 'why', does plate tectonics not provide the answer? Not only does science know why the tsunami happened, it can give precious hours of warning. If a small fraction of the tax breaks handed out to churches, mosques and synagogues had been diverted into an early warning system, tens of thousands of people, now dead, would have been moved to safety. Let's get up off our knees, stop cringing before bogeymen and virtual fathers, face reality, and help science to do something constructive about human suffering."


Phyllis Diller: (1917– ), American comedian.

"Religion is such a medieval idea. Don't get me started. ... Aahh, it’s all about money..."


Phil Donahue: (1935-) American talk-show host.

From Donahue's 1985 book The Human Animal:

"Science may have come a long way, but as far as religion is concerned, we are first cousins to the !Kung tribesmen of the Kalahari Desert. Except for the garments, their deep religious trances might just as well be happening at a revival meeting or in the congregation of a fundamentalist TV preacher. ... As we move further from the life of ignorance and superstition in which religion has its roots, we seem to need it more and more. ... Why has religion become a force just when we'd have thought it would be losing ground to secularism?"


Frederick Douglass: (1818-1895), African-American abolitionist leader.

"I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."

"The church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. ... For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! Welcome atheism! Welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by these Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done!"

"We have men sold to build churches, women sold to support the gospel, and babes sold to purchase Bibles for the poor heathen, all for the glory of God and the good of souls. The slave auctioneer's bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave trade go hand in hand."


Jerry Falwell: (1933- ), American evangelical pastor, televangelist, and leading excrescence.

"Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."


Thomas Jefferson: (1743-1826), third U.S. president.

"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."

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man. ... perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind ... a mere contrivance [for the clergy] to filch wealth and power to themselves."

"In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty, he is always in allegiance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection of his own. ... History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. ... Political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves [of public ignorance] for their own purpose."


Michael Moore: (1954- ), American documentary filmmaker and author.

"There's a gullible side to the American people. They can be easily misled. Religion is the best device used to mislead them."


Katha Pollitt: (1949- ), American poet and columnist for The Nation.

"For me, religion is serious business -- a farrago of authoritarian nonsense, misogyny and humble pie, the eternal enemy of human happiness and freedom."

The Quotable Atheist

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Humans are predisposed to irrational thinking when it comes to an after life belief system. There's even some theories that we're hard wired genetically to believe in invisible ghosts, the Saviour myth, and demons. Because of our historical experience as Americans I sometimes think Americans are more inclined to look at invisible, irrational proof (feelings, if you will) as a source of evidence more than some other countries in the world. Some of us escape this snare in thinking through reading and reflection without the fear that we'll burn in hell for doing so. Many Americans never get to that stage.

jfraysse said...

These are great! I love TJ and Thomas Paine too. But, I have to call TJ out for having slaves. These two (TJ and Paine) are the pillars of the American Republic. Notice I didn’t say “Christian Nation”.

I particularly liked the Jerry Farwell quote. Regrettably there are many, more at http://thinkexist.com/quotation/christians-like_slaves_and_soldiers-ask_no/165655.html Man, this guy makes me sick!

Anyway, thanks for sharing, Dave!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this video should be sent to the legislators in Arkansas since they saw fit not to approve a "Thomas Paine Day" based on some of his "anti religous writings".
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/T/THOMAS_PAINE?SITE=FLTAM&SECTION=US

religionkills said...

OH BRAVO! This is some of the best stuff I have seen on this site! I noticed one of my husband's and mine most favorite authors on the list of atheists, agnostics, skeptics...Mr. Terry Pratchett. I love it! Way to go! Thanks for this posting...it helped the rather coarse mood I was in from another discussion on this site earlier today. :)