101 Atheist Quotes

The Atheist Blogger has a list of 101 atheist quotes. Here are a few of my favorites in that list:

A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. - Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

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

I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence. - Doug McLeod

Since the Bible and the church are obviously mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust them to tell us where we are going? - Anonymous

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer. - Anonymous

Blind faith is an ironic gift to return to the Creator of human intelligence. - Anonymous

What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. - Christopher Hitchens

On the first day, man created God. - Anonymous

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours. - Stephen Roberts

Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. - Anonymous

Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. - Don Hirschberg

God should be executed for crimes against humanity. - Bryan Emmanuel Gutierrez

What’s your favorite atheist/agnostic quote? Is there a quote you would add to the list?

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  • Andy

    Great list. I think Dawkins likes to use this one a lot (I certainly remember him quoting it in The God Delusion):

    When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion. – Robert Pirsig

    and this one just made me laugh:

    Atheism is a non-prophet organization. – George Carlin

  • http://digitaldame.wordpress.com Digital Dame

    Absolutely fabulous (to coin a phrase ;) ) ! I have none to add to the list, but I think my favorite of those is the one by Stephen Roberts.

  • http://revright.wordpress.com revright

    “Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.” – Andre Gide

  • HCR

    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish. – Anonymous

    This was Karl Marx. I don’t think he’s very anonymous.

  • http://unreasonablefaith.com Daniel Florien

    @HCR: Could you provide a citation that shows Marx said that? I can’t find one.

  • http://unreligiousright.blogspot.com/ UNRR

    “All religions have been made by men.” – Napoleon

    “All great truths begin as blasphemies.” – George Bernard Shaw

    “All men are born with a nose and ten fingers, but no one was born with a knowledge of God.” – Voltaire

  • http://woodpigeon01.wordpress.com/ Colm

    A quote from this blog rang true for me:

    “Religion is essentially a ritualised version of “here be dragons”, and as science maps out more and more of the unknown, the remaining dragons are left balancing on smaller and smaller islands.”

  • mark a

    I’d like to put forth two. The first is a long-time favourite of mine, while the second is one more recently discovered via it’s publication earlier this year.

    1) “Belief is the end of intelligence.” – Robert Anton Wilson

    2) “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this” – Albert Einstein in letter written 3 January 1954 to the philosopher Erik Gutkind.

    • Palema

      I as thinking god is not an expression of weakness but of overweening pride.. “To think! That such an all-powerful being has time and interest to pay attention to my wants and needs!”
      ” To think! He has promoted ME above all the rest of his creation, endowing me with the ability to think, to speak!”

      Well, I guess it’s the pride born of fear, kind of like male dominance, so I guess you are right after all :-)

  • Somegreencat

    I know this quote isn’t what many would call an atheist quote but it rings so true to me. Show me where no religion doesn’t require the government to keep it going.

    It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • http://www.adamus.nl Adamus

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” – Carl Sagan.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com arkonbey

    didn’t someone say something like:

    “when you understand why you don’t believe in Zeus, you’ll understand why we don’t believe in God.”?

    and a Greek philosopher once said “if an ox could paint and sculpt, his god would look like an ox”

  • John B

    There was one I read many years ago, I think it was by B.C. Johnson in The Atheist Debater’s Handbook; I can’t remember it exactly, but the gist of it goes like this: If it turns out that god does exist, how do you know that on Judgment Day he won’t let the atheists into heaven and send the believers to hell because he doesn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of brown-nosing yes-men? (I believe the quote was a response to the common argument of Christians when you overwhelm them with logic, that “God doesn’t have to conform to man’s logic/wisdom.”)

  • charlie

    Not an atheist, but-

    “To be saved is to fall into the ludicrous and satanic flippancy of false religion, kitsch.”
    Trappist monk Thomas Merton

    Another from Jefferson-

    “Question with boldness even the existence of God, for if there be one, he must prefer the homage of reason to that of blindfolded fear.”

  • Ashley Nichols

    If God made us capable of independent thought, why would he require blind faith?

  • Lenny

    Love them! My favorite is the one by Seneca the Younger.

  • John M

    My favorite, and as far as I know original to me is:

    God made me an atheist.

    This is why I don’t believe. :-))

  • Aor

    If God dropped acid, would he see people?
    – Steven Wright

    • Kate

      “Could God microwave a burrito so hot that even he couldn’t eat it?” Homer Simpson

  • dr.R.

    “If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank.” – Woody Allen

  • Caitlin

    “I dislike the term ‘atheist.’ The prefix ‘a’ means ‘without,’ leaving room for religious proselytizing on the grounds of sharing ‘the word of God’ with the poor, deprived individuals who are ‘without god’: the ‘a-theists.’ I prefer to think of myself as an ‘anti-theist,’ but even that’s not good enough because it contains the word ‘tithe.’ I’ll think of something else.”

    “Isn’t it interesting how Christianity has evolved?”

    “Religion resides in fear and ignorance and has to expand the spheres of both to survive.”

    -All three quotations compliments of my dad

  • Jimbob

    “If you really believe in eternal bliss then why are you wearing a seat-belt”
    – Doug Stanhope

    this one isn’t directly atheist/agnostic but I think there is an implied atheist/agnostic aspect
    “Don’t f***ing work hard you die at the end, didn’t anyone ever tell you that”
    – Doug stanhope

  • dr.R.

    “In the beginning there was nothing. God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”
    – Ellen DeGeneres

  • http://thebeattitude.com theBEattitude

    I’d categorize Albert Eienstien as more of an Agnostic since he also had harsh words for Atheists. But he had some great quotes concerning religion.

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

    “A research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.”

    “A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

    “I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts.”

  • Andreea Elena Alexandru

    More recent ones:

    “Science flyes you to the moon. Religion flyes you into buildings”


    “Faith may not move mountains, but you should see what it does to skyscrapers”

    I know they are not much… but I am thinking of getting T-shirts with them :)

  • Deontae Riley-Waites

    I can’t understand for the life of me why GOD would rather be believed as opposed of being Known…

  • Brett

    Believing in something just because you fear the consequences of not believing in it is no reason to believe in it… South Park

  • Mark

    “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people.” – House

  • http://sirjorge.com/blogx sir jorge

    not bad, not good, not great, i don’t know

  • http://sulochanosho.wordpress.com sulochanosho

    Nothing there is bigger fraud than God.

  • nicholas

    Atheists spend so much time making fun of everyone else’s faith so as to not face the fact that atheism is a faith.

    • rodneyAnonymous

      Faith is belief without evidence. Atheism is not faith. It is a belief, but so is “the sun will rise tomorrow morning”.

      • Sher

        The lack of belief in gods is not a religion. I don’t care how many TV preachers tell you otherwise.

    • Sher

      nicholas, sorry I clicked on rodney instead of you; my comment here is in response to yours. (To all: I love to civility here!)

    • Jan

      As quoted above.
      Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. – Don Hirschberg

  • Palema

    “If you really want to do god’s will, why do you keep praying for him to change it?”

  • P Boire

    Atheism like these sophomoric aphorisms, is so trivial, as Feser shows in “The Last Superstition”.
    Physical-stuff-only-ism, the alternative to theism, is utterly incoherent. Most of thee comments reflect an eight-year-old’s grasp of reality.

  • Tim

    “For all we know Jesus could have had an imaginary friend everyone now calls God”
    Tim Jensen

  • http://www.mbay.net/~jmejia/index.htl Jairo Mejia

    Atheists and Gnostics are right in most of their thinking

    It has been common among religious believers to look with misgiving to atheists and Gnostics, and to think that they are mistaken; however, in many instances the opposite is the truth; some religious beliefs are not just irrelevant, but baseless. The “God” of main line traditions simply does not exist. I accepted the challenge of finding the One who may be recognized even by Gnostics and atheists: the Existence itself, “All-That-Is.” If something is there, that is God. Look at the book “Christianity Reformed From ist Roots – A life centered in God” (Amazon.com). I am confident that some of your friends will be relieved of the illusion, as I did myself.

    Jairo Mejia, M. Psych., Santa Clara University
    Retired Episcopal Priest
    Carmel Valley, California


  • morgod

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”
    – Steven Weinberg

    “Eskimo: “If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?” Priest: “No, not if you did not know.” Eskimo: “Then why did you tell me?””
    – Annie Dillard

    “No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means”
    – George Bernard Shaw

    “The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example”
    – Mark Twain

    “Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.”
    – Mahatma Gandhi

    “Religion is as helpful as throwing a drowning man both ends of a rope”

    “The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn’t mean that God doesn’t love heterosexuals. It’s just that they need more supervision.”
    – Lynn Lavner

    “People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.”
    – Dave Barry

    “A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism”
    – Donald Morgan

    “More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.”
    – Harvey Milk

    “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet”
    – Napoleon Bonaparte

    “Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope”
    – Robert Green Ingersoll

    “Where knowledge ends, religion begins.”
    – Benjamin Disraeli

    “Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think.”
    – Arthur Schopenhauer