Quotations about Religion 2

Each religion, by the help of more or less myth which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.  ~George Santayana

The world is not a prison house but a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with the wrong blocks.  ~Edwin Arlington Robinson

To crush out fanaticism and revere the infinite, such is the law.  Let us not confine ourselves to falling prostrate beneath the tree of creation and contemplating its vast ramifications full of stars.  We have a duty to perform, to cultivate the human soul, to defend mystery against miracle, to adore the incomprehensible and to reject the absurd; to admit nothing that is inexplicable excepting what is necessary, to purify faith and obliterate superstition from the face of religion, to remove the vermin from the garden of God.  ~Victor Hugo

It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity.  ~Abraham Lincoln, quoted in What Great Men Think Of Religion by Ira Cardiff

Faith, indeed, has up to the present not been able to move real mountains.... But it can put mountains where there are none.  ~Friedrich Nietzche, Human, All Too Human, 1879

It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry.  ~H.L. Mencken

Christianity might be a good thing if anyone ever tried it.  ~George Bernard Shaw

The Bible is literature, not dogma.  ~George Santayana

The god who is reputed to have created fleas to keep dogs from moping over their situation must also have created fundamentalists to keep rationalists from getting flabby.  Let us be duly thankful for out blessings.  ~Garrett Hardin

Sunday school:  a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.  ~H.L. Mencken

Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent didn't have a leg to stand on.  ~Author Unknown

The wages of sin are death, but after they take the taxes out, it's more like a tired feeling, really.  ~Paula Poundstone

To all things clergic
I am allergic
~Alexander Woolcott, attributed

No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.  ~G.B. Shaw, Androcles and the Lion, 1912

What has been the effect of religious coercion?  To make half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites.  ~Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1785

The act of bellringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions.  It implies the pointless interference with the quiet of other people.  ~Ezra Pound

In general, the churches, visited by me often on weekdays... bore for me the same relation to God that billboards did to Coca-Cola; they promoted thirst without quenching it.  ~John Updike, A Month of Sundays, 1975

Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.  ~Mark Twain

In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination.  ~Mark Twain

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, I.  Asimov:  A Memoir

Religion has not civilized man, man has civilized religion.  ~Robert Green Ingersoll

God - but a word invoked to explain the world.  ~Prat de Lamartine

Christ died for our sins.  Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing them?  ~Jules Feiffer

How can the Church be received as a trustworthy guide in the invisible, which falls into so many errors in the visible?  ~John W. Draper

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves.  Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.  ~Robert Heinlein, Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The Theologian is an owl, sitting on an old dead branch in the tree of human knowledge, and hooting the same old hoots that have been hooted for hundreds and thousands of years, but he has never given a hoot for progress.  ~Emmet F. Fields

When a man really believes that it is necessary to do a certain thing to be happy forever, or that a certain belief is necessary to ensure eternal joy, there is in that man no spirit of concession.  He divides the whole world into saints and sinners, into believers and unbelievers, into God's sheep and Devil's goats, into people who will be glorified and people who are damned.  ~Robert Ingersoll, Some Reasons Why

Religions are like farts.  Yours is good, but everyone else's stinks.  ~Picket Fences

Geology shows that fossils are of different ages.  Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time.  Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species.  Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together.  Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing "Does not!"  ~Author Unknown

We are not accountable for the sins of Adam.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

The third major characteristic of God - "infinitude" - is the catchall, the universal modifier of Christian theology.  God is not merely a being; he is infinite being.  God is not merely good; he is infinite goodness.  God is not merely wise; he is infinite wisdom.  And so on down the list.  God is exaggeration run amuck.  ~George H. Smith, Atheism:  The Case Against God

We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the same sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart.  ~H.L. Mencken

[The true Indian] sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God's days.  The first American mingled with his pride a singular humility.  Spiritual arrogance was foreign to his nature and teaching.  ~Ohiyesa of the Santee Sioux (Charles Alexander Eastman)

On the sixth day God created man.  On the seventh day, man returned the favor.  ~Author Unknown

If God has created us in His image, we have more than returned the compliment.  ~Voltaire

For the skeptic there remains only one consolation:  if there should be such a thing as superhuman law, it is administered with subhuman efficiency.  ~Eric Ambler

God is innocent.  Noah built in a flood plain.  ~Author Unknown

To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs.  ~Ghose Aurobindo

Nowhere is there an account or portrait of Christ laughing... he is always stern, serious and as gloomy as a prison guard.  Never does one see him laughing until tears appear in his eyes like the roly-poly squint-eyed Buddha guffawing with arms upraised.  ~Author Unknown

The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature.  ~Alfred North Whitehead

Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it.  ~Soren Kierkegaard, Time, 16 December 1946

Christian fundamentalism:  the doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about my sex life.  ~Andrew Lias

Organized Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founders' than any other agency in the world.  ~Richard Le Gallienne

I prefer to think of them as the Ten Suggestions.  ~Author Unknown

Christian, n.:  one who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.  ~Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911

If we are going to teach 'creation science' as an alternative to evolution, then we should also teach the stork theory as an alternative to biological reproduction.  ~Judith Hayes, In God We Trust:  But Which One?

God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.  ~Voltaire

If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel.  Until then, let us stand erect.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872

It is impossible to believe that the same God who permitted His own son to die a bachelor regards celibacy as an actual sin.  ~H.L. Mencken

On the other hand, the Bible contains much that is relevant today, like Noah taking forty days to find a place to park.  ~Curtis McDougall

An infinite God ought to be able to protect Himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.  ~Robert Ingersoll, quoted in Ingersoll the Magnificent

Religion supports nobody.  It has to be supported.  It produces no wheat, no corn; it ploughs no land; it fells no forests.  It is a perpetual mendicant.  It lives on the labors of others, and then has the arrogance to pretend that it supports the giver.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

Christianity is not a religion; it's an industry.  ~Author Unknown

It is an old habit with theologians to beat the living with the bones of the dead.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

In an early class, one of the students asked me if I believed in God.  I replied, 'I don't think so.'  And then proceeded to wail on the theme, using material from this column of some weeks ago, in which I observed the perpetuation of insanity on this planet through the mediums of Arabs-vs-Jews, Catholics-vs-Protestants, Southern Baptists-vs-Everyone.  I said I felt if 'God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them,' (Genesis 2:27, King James's italics, not mine) then we were God.  And when Man (my capitalization, not King James's) in his most creative, his most loving, his most gentle and most human, then he is most God-like.  The student said he would pray for my immortal soul.  He also asked for my address, so he could send me some literature on the subject of God.  I thanked him politely and told him I'd gotten all the literature I could handle on the subject from a certain Thomas Aquinas.  ~Harlan Ellison

Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense.  ~Chapman Cohen

I think I'll believe in Gosh instead of God.  If you don't believe in Gosh too, you'll be darned to heck.  ~Author Unknown

Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one.  ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

The Church has its problems, but the older I get, the more comfort I find there.  ~Bono

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him.  ~George Orwell

God is dead:  but considering the state Man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown.  ~Friedrich Neitzsche

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors.  The records do not show that Adam and Eve were married.  ~Ed Howe

In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent."  I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.  ~Stephen J. Gould

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.  ~George Bernard Shaw

Church tax exemption means that we all drop our money in the collection boxes, whether we go to church or not and whether we are interested in the church or not.  It is systematic and complete robbery, from which none of us escapes.  ~E. Haldeman-Julius, The Church Is a Burden, Not a Benefit, In Social Life

You can never tell the sinner from the Christian.  They drink the same drinks and smoke the same cigars.  ~Aimee Semple McPherson

An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.  ~John Buchan

Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than going to the garage makes you a car.  ~Author Unknown

Instead of being born again, why not just grow up?  ~Author Unknown

A Christian is a man who feels
Repentance on a Sunday
For what he did on Saturday
And is going to do on Monday.
~Thomas Russell Ybarra, The Christian

A great deal of what passes for current Christianity consists in denouncing other people's vices and faults.  ~Henry H. Williams

The point is, could God pass an examination in Theology?  ~Malcolm Muggeridge

The idea of an incarnation of God is absurd:  why should the human race think itself so superior to bees, ants, and elephants as to be put in this unique relation to its maker?... Christians are like a council of frogs in a marsh or a synod of worms on a dung-hill croaking and squeaking "for our sakes was the world created."  ~Julian the Apostate

Jesus saves... passes to Moses... shoots... scores!  ~Author Unknown

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.  ~Author Unknown

They were allowed to stay there on one condition, and that is that they didn't eat of the tree of knowledge.  That has been the condition of the Christian church from then until now.  They haven't eaten as yet, as a rule they do not.  ~Clarence Darrow

To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals.  ~Don Schrader

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams - they all have different names, but they all contain water.  Just as religions do - they all contain truths.  ~Muhammad Ali

A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven.  An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain - then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity.  Is that the system?  ~Robert A. Heinlein

God tells Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  If this was the only way they could understand the difference between good and evil, how could they have known that it was wrong to disobey God and eat the fruit?  ~Laurie Lynn

A converted cannibal is one who, on Friday, eats only fishermen.  ~Emily Lotney

I like to browse in occult bookshops if for no other reason than to refresh my commitment to science.  ~Heinz Pagels, The Dreams of Reason

I believe in God, but I'm not too clear on the other details.  ~Bill Veeck

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.  ~Dave Barry, "Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn"

Thousands have gone to heaven who never read one page of the Bible.  ~Francis A. Baker

If God doesn't like the way I live, let him tell me, not you.  ~Author Unknown

No rage is equal to the rage of a contented right-thinking man when he is confronted in the marketplace by an idea which belongs in the pulpit.  ~Thurman W. Arnold

Those people who tell me that I'm going to hell while they are going to heaven somehow make me very glad that we're going to separate destinations.  ~Martin Terman

Inspiration:  a peculiar effect of divine flatulence emitted by the Holy Spirit which hisses into the ears of a few chosen of God.  ~Voltaire

A theologian is a person who uses the word 'God' to hide his ignorance.  ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays

The myths about Hades and the gods, though they are pure invention, help to make men virtuous.  ~Diodorus Siculus, c. 20 BC

The Bible may be the truth but it's not the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  ~Samuel Butler

Religion seems to have a way of making people abandon logic.  ~Amanda Baxter

So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence.  ~Bertrand Russell

You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion.  Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly.  It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.  ~Aldous Huxley

Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness.  It therefore has nothing (as far as I know) to say to people who do not know they have done anything to repent of and who do not feel that they need forgiveness.  ~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

One cannot erect, on the basis of a motive that exists only for a very few, an obligation that shall apply to everyone.  ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

The Cross is a gibbet - rather an odd thing to make use of as a talisman against bad luck, if that is how we regard it.  Or is it, instead, a cynical reminder that Virtue usually gets pilloried whenever it makes one of its occasional appearances in this world?  ~Denis Johnston, The Brazen Horn

God has always resembled his creators.  He hated and loved what they hated and loved and he was invariably found on the side of those in power.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll

A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism.  ~Donald Morgan

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.  ~Frederick Douglass, escaped slave

[A]ll deities reside in the human breast.  ~William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things:  One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell.  The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love.  ~Butch Hancock

The Bible looks like it started out as a game of Mad Libs.  ~Bill Maher

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction.  ~Pascal, Pensees, 1670

The observances of the church concerning feasts and fasts are tolerably well-kept, since the rich keep the feasts and the poor keep the fasts.  ~Sydney Smith

A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.  ~Carl Sagan

The imaginary flowers of religion adorn man's chains.  Man must throw off the flowers and also the chains.  ~Karl Marx, The Wisdom of Karl Marx

Strange...a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied seventy times seven and invented Hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!  ~Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

It was subtle of God to learn Greek when he wished to become an author - and not to learn it better.  ~Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, 1886

The biblical account of Noah's Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend.  Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine?  ~Judith Hayes

Nature wants us to enjoy life to the full and die without giving it a second thought; Christianity wants the opposite.  ~Sainte-Beuve, Les Cahiers

There is in every village a torch - the teacher; and an extinguisher - the clergyman.  ~Victor Hugo

Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion.  ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays

Most people's religion is what they want to believe, not what they do believe.  ~Luther Burbank, Why I Am an Infidel

I have never resisted the lord in my life, and I never will.  But I'm not so hungry for dialogue with him that I have to make up his part as well as my own.  ~Orson Scott Card

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

But I was not, to use the theological phrase, receptive.  The great obstacle to the influx of grace was my own perfect happiness, and it is well known that God takes no thought for the happy, any more than He does for birds and puppies, perhaps realizing they have no need of Him and mercifully letting them alone.  ~John Glassco, Memoirs of Montparnasse, 1970

This doctrine of the material efficacy of prayer reduces the Creator to a cosmic bellhop of a not very bright or reliable kind.  ~Herbert J. Muller

Most of us spend the first six days of each week sowing wild oats, then we go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure.  ~Fred Allen

It is the position of some theists that their right to freedom OF religion is abridged when they are not allowed to violate the rationalists' right to freedom FROM religion.  ~James T. Green

A dogma will thrive in soil where the truth could not get root.  ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays

I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood.  ~George Carlin

Where would Christianity be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years with time off for good behavior?  ~James Donovan

Faith is never identical with piety.  ~Karl Barth

I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off.  So I ran over and said 'Stop!  don't do it!'  'Why shouldn't I?'  he said.  I said, 'Well, there's so much to live for!'  He said, 'Like what?'  I said, 'Well...are you religious or atheist?'  He said, 'Religious.'  I said, 'Me too!  Are you Christian or  Buddhist?'  He said, 'Christian.'  I said, 'Me too!  Are you Catholic or Protestant?'  He said, 'Protestant.'  I said, 'Me too!  Are you Episcopalian or Baptist?'  He said, 'Baptist!'  I said, 'Wow!  Me too!  Are you Baptist church of god or Baptist church of the lord?'  He said, 'Baptist church of god!'  I said, 'Me too!  Are you original Baptist church of god, or are you reformed Baptist church of god?'  He said, 'Reformed Baptist church of god!'  I said, 'Me too!  Are you reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1879, or reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915?'  He said, 'Reformed Baptist church of god, reformation of 1915!'  I said, 'Die, heretic scum,' and pushed him off.  ~Emo Phillips

Jesus picked up twelve men from the bottom ranks of business and forged them into an organization that conquered the world.  ~Bruce Barton

The problem with fundamentalists insisting on a literal interpretation of the Bible is that the meaning of words change.  A prime example is 'Spare the rod, spoil the child.'  A rod was a stick used by shepherds to guide their sheep to go in the desired direction.  Shepherds did not use it to beat their sheep.  The proper translation of the saying is 'Give your child guidance, or they will go astray.'  It does not mean 'Beat the shit out of your child or he will become rotten' as many fundamentalist parents seem to belive.  ~Author Unknown

Most reformers wore rubber boots and stood on glass when God sent a current of Commonsense through the Universe.  ~Elbert Hubbard

The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous.  But if by 'God' one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God.  This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.  ~Carl Sagan

If I had been the Virgin Mary, I would have said "No."  ~Margaret "Stevie" Smith

Give the church a place in the Constitution, let her touch once more the sword of power, and the priceless fruit of all ages will turn to ashes on the lips of men.  ~Robert G. Ingersoll, Ingersoll's Works, Vol. 1

He talked about Father Junipero Serra's qualifications for sainthood:  they say he cured a nun's lupus.  A miracle.  Now I'm not a doctor, but I know lupus goes into remission.  It's not always fatal.  Have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder play ping-pong together.  That's a miracle.  ~Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 February 1989

The last Christian died on the cross.  ~Friedrich Nietzsche

The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action.  ~Albert Einstein

If the sole reason why you must not kill your neighbour is because God has forbidden it and will severely punish you for it in this or the next life - then, when you learn that there is no God and that you need not fear His punishment, you will certainly kill your neighbour without hesitation, and you can only be prevented from doing so by mundane force.  Thus either these dangerous masses must be held down most severely and kept most carefully away from any chance of intellectual awakening, or else the relationship between civilization and religion must undergo a fundamental revision.  ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

Everyday people are straying away from the church and going back to God.  ~Lennie Bruce, The Essential Lennie Bruce, 1972

If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.  ~Lenny Bruce

Puritanism:  the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.  ~H.L. Mencken

God wanted to have a holiday, so He asked St. Peter for suggestions on where to go.  "Why not go to Jupiter?"  asked St.  Peter.  "No, too much gravity, too much stomping around," said God.  "Well, how about Mercury?"  "No, it's too hot there."  "Okay," said St. Peter, "what about Earth?"  "No," said God, "They're such horrible gossips.  When I was there 2000 years ago, I had an affair with a Jewish woman, and they're still talking about it."  ~Author Unknown

The Virgin Mary was an unwed teenage mother.  ~Author Unknown

The Christian Right is neither.  ~Author Unknown

[Creation science is] an attempt to give credibility to Hebrew mythology by making people believe that the world's foremost biologists, paleontologists, and geologists are a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.  ~Ron Peterson

Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.  ~Author Unknown

"There are no atheists in foxholes" isn't an argument against atheism, it's an argument against foxholes.  ~James Morrow

Without cultural sanction, most or all our religious beliefs and rituals would fall into the domain of mental disturbance.  ~John F. Schumaker, Corruption of Reality, Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis and Psychotherapy

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.  ~Jonathan Swift, Miscellanies, 1711

We are punished by our sins, not for them.  ~Elbert Hubbard

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil.  If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.  ~Helen Keller

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.  ~Author Unknown

Humor distorts nothing, and only false gods are laughed off their earthly pedestals.  ~Agnes Repplier, Points of View

It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.  ~G.K. Chesterton
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