I collected these quotes a few years ago, and I often go back to re-read and enjoy them. Some are well known, and you will recognize them, but I think most readers will find some that they haven’t encountered before. Enjoy.
Religion cannot and should not be replaced by atheism. Religion needs to go away and not be replaced by anything. Atheism is not a religion. It’s the absence of religion, and that’s a wonderful thing.
(He is saying that atheism is the absence of belief, rather than the belief that there is no god. Some would disagree with that, or argue that there are many flavors of atheism.)
We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
― Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”
― Christopher Hitchens
“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.”
― Christopher Hitchens
(This is absolutely true! I am sure our cat Charlie is certain of his divinity.)
“Is man merely a mistake of God’s? Or God merely a mistake of man?”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
(Hmmm. Must be one or the other. But gods don’t make mistakes.)
“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.”
― Emmett F. Fields
(This is sort of an extension of Penn Gillette’s quote above.)
“Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”
― George Carlin
“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”
― Ayaan Hirsi Ali
(She lies. Of course she wants more. Everyone wants to live forever. That’s why religion…and belief in a god…is so successful.)
“Because here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”
― David Foster Wallace
(For this guy, religious belief is, then, escape from reality. It’s a valid point.)
“Agnostics are just atheists without balls.”
― Stephen Colber
“I did not marry the first girl that I fell in love with, because there was a tremendous religious conflict, at the time.
She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic.”
― Woody Allen
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light‐years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. So are our emotions in the presence of great art or music or literature, or acts of exemplary selfless courage such as those of Mohandas Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
― Carl Sagan
(I like and admire the late Carl Sagan, but I don’t agree with him here. I experience awe and wonder when I look at pictures of the Cosmos, or when I hike to a particularly beautiful spot in the wilderness…or sometimes when I listen to a piece by Mozart or Schubert. I don’t think that’s spirituality at all.)
“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?”
(I think this is one of the best and oldest quotes on the subject.)
“I tried to believe that there is a God, who created each of us in His own image and likeness, loves us very much, and keeps a close eye on things. I really tried to believe that, but I gotta tell you, the longer you live, the more you look around, the more you realize, something is fucked up.”
― George Carlin
(Carlin’s typically pungent version of what Epicurus said.)
“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
(Another take on Epicurus. Some of his Star Trek stories were quite philosophical.)
“She believed in nothing. Only her scepticism kept her from being an atheist.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre
(Again, a statement that atheism is not belief, but rather a lack of belief.)
“Be sure to lie to your kids about the benevolent, all-seeing Santa Claus. It will prepare them for an adulthood of believing in God.”
― Scott Dikkers
“When I told the people of Northern Ireland that I was an atheist, a woman in the audience stood up and said, ‘Yes, but is it the God of the Catholics or the God of the Protestants in whom you don’t believe?”
― Quentin Crisp
“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 have most of Asimov’s books, and have always admired him as a writer and a man. This pretty much sums up how I feel.)
“Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the résumé of a Supreme Being. This is the kind of shit you’d expect from an office temp with a bad attitude. And just between you and me, in any decently-run universe, this guy would’ve been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. And by the way, I say “this guy”, because I firmly believe, looking at these results, that if there is a God, it has to be a man.
No woman could or would ever fuck things up like this. So, if there is a God, I think most reasonable people might agree that he’s at least incompetent, and maybe, just maybe, doesn’t give a shit. Doesn’t give a shit, which I admire in a person, and which would explain a lot of these bad results.”
― George Carlin
(Another little bomb from Carlin.)
Eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions god’s infinite love.”
― Bill Hicks
(A neat little Catch-22.)
“If I had to choose a religion, the sun as the universal giver of life would be my god.”
― Napoleon Bonaparte
(Makes a helluva lot more sense than the Abrahamic god…or any of the other gods man has dreamed up.)
“If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. And if that’s what God’s like, I wouldn’t worry about it.”
― Haruki Murakami
(If people could leave it at that, religion wouldn’t be a problem.)
“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
Attributed to various people – Richard Dawkins for one.
(I think this is something for agnostics to think about.)
“Thus, though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with.”
― Christopher Hitchens
(Amen to that…the cause of endless suffering and oppression.)
“To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds.”
― Robert G. Ingersoll
(If you want to read about an early atheist…when it wasn’t fashionable to be an atheist…and a compelling person, read some of this guy’s writings.)
I could go on with this for a lot longer. I really enjoyed reading these. You can find a lot more on the Web if you are interested.