Religion in General

“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.” Thomas Jefferson

“Religion . . . comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.” Sigmund Freud

“Religious creeds encourage some of the craziest kinds of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and favor severe manifestations of neurosis, borderline personality states, and sometimes even psychosis.” Albert Ellis

“I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind.” H. L. Mencken

“Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven.” Mark Twain

“The great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights . . . not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression, but also for enthusiastic justifications for slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, and genocide. . . . Moreover, religion enshrined hierarchy, authority, and inequality. . . . It was the age of equality that brought about the disappearance of such religious appurtenances as the auto-da-fe and burning at the stake.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr.

“There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages.” Ruth Hurmence Green

“Not material or economic conditions in the ordinary sense, but perverse religious ideas explain the suspension of civilization in Europe from the 5th to the 12th century, and in the Mohammedan world after the 15th century.” Joseph McCabe

“Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause.” George Washington

“For more than three thousand years men have quarreled concerning the formulas of their faith. The earth has been drenched with blood shed in this cause. . . .” Felix Adler

“[M]ore wars have been waged, more people killed, and more evil perpetrated in the name of religion than by any other institutional force in human history. The sad truth continues in our present day.” Charles Kimball

“Religion is the brainchild of fear, and fear is the parent of cruelty. The greatest evils inflicted on humankind are perpetrated not by pleasure-seekers, self-seeking opportunists, or those who are merely amoral, but by fervent devotees of religion.” Emmanuel Kofi Mensah

“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” Blaise Pascal

“As editor of the largest newspaper in West Virginia, I scan hundreds of reports daily . . . and I am amazed by the frequency with which religion causes people to kill each other. It is a nearly universal pattern, undercutting the common assumption that religion makes people kind and tolerant.” James Haught

“The man who is always worrying about whether or not his soul would be damned generally has a soul that isn’t worth a damn.” Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

“The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.” Havelock Ellis

Christianity

“Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.” Voltaire

“I consider Christian theology to be one of the greatest disasters of the human race.” Alfred North Whitehead

“We have become so accustomed to the religious lie that surrounds us that we do not notice the atrocity, stupidity and cruelty with which the teaching of the Christian church is permeated.” Leo Tolstoy

“I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, and the one great instinct of revenge, for which no means are venomous enough, or secret, subterranean and small enough – I call it the one immortal blemish on the human race.” Friedrich Nietzsche

“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.” Thomas Paine

“Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. . . . Man, far from being freed from his natural passions, was plunged into artificial ones quite as violent and much more disappointing.” George Santayana

“There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing, and predatory. . . . Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilled.” Mark Twain

“The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it.” Matilda Joslyn Gage

“You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.” Bertrand Russell

“When the churches literally ruled society, the human drama encompassed: (a) slavery; (b) the cruel subjection of women; (c) the most savage forms of legal punishment; (d) the absurd belief that kings ruled by divine right; (e) the daily imposition of physical abuse; (f) cold heartlessness for the sufferings of the poor; as well as (g) assorted pogroms (‘ethnic cleansing’ wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offenses, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages. . . . It was the free-thinking, challenging work by people of conscience, who almost invariably had to defy the religious and political status quo of their times, that brought us out of such darkness.” Steve Allen

“There was a time when I believed in the story and the scheme of salvation, so far as I could understand it, just as I believed there was a Devil. . . . Suddenly the light broke through to me and I knew this God was a lie. . . . For indeed it is a silly story, and each generation nowadays swallows it with greater difficulty. . . . Why do people go on pretending about this Christianity?” H. G. Wells

“I can truly say, after an experience of seventy years, that all the cares and anxieties, the trials and disappointments of my whole life, are light, when balanced with my sufferings in childhood and youth from the theological dogmas which I sincerely believed. . . . The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with the superstitions of the Christian religion.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“Religion is not the hero of the day, but the zero. In any exposition of the products of brains, the Sunday-School takes the booby prize. . . . Man has asked for truth and the Church has given him miracles. He has asked for knowledge, and the Church has given him theology. He has asked for facts, and the Church has given him the Bible. This foolishness should stop. The Church has nothing to give man that has not been in cold storage for two thousand years. Anything would become stale in that time.” Marilla M. Ricker

Bible

“If thou trusteth to the book called the Scriptures, thou trusteth to the rotten staff of fables and falsehood.” Thomas Paine

“Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God.” Thomas Paine

“If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.” Robert Ingersoll

“If a man really believes that God once upheld slavery; that he commanded soldiers to kill women and babes; that he believed in polygamy; that he persecuted for opinion’s sake; that he will punish forever, and that he hates an unbeliever, the effect in my judgment will be bad. It always has been bad. This belief built the dungeons of the Inquisition. This belief made the Puritan murder the Quaker.” Robert Ingersoll

“I know of no book which has been a source of brutality and sadistic conduct, both public and private, that can compare with the Bible.” Sir James Paget

“No other work has more often been blamed for more heinous crimes by the perpetrators of such crimes. The Bible has been named as the instigating or justifying factor for many individual and mass crimes, ranging from the religious wars, inquisitions, witch burnings, and pogroms of earlier eras to systematic child abuse and ritual murders today.” Nadine Strossen

“The God of the Bible is a moral monstrosity.” Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

“The obscurity, incredibility and obscenity, so conspicuous in many parts of it, would justly condemn the works of a modern writer. It contains a mixture of inconsistency and contradiction; to call which the word of God, is the highest pitch of extravagance: it is to attribute to the deity that which any person of common sense would blush to confess himself the author of.” Elihu Palmer

“It is like most other ancient books – a mingling of falsehood and truth, of philosophy and folly – all written by men, and most of the men only partially civilized. Some of its laws are good – some infinitely barbarous. None of the miracles related were performed. . . . Take out the absurdities, the miracles, all that pertains to the supernatural – all the cruel and barbaric laws – and to the remainder I have no objection. Neither would I have for it any great admiration.” Robert Ingersoll

“The Bible, taken as a whole, can be used to praise or condemn practically any human activity, thought, belief, or practice.” Peter McWilliams

“Let us read the Bible without the ill-fitting colored spectacles of theology, just as we read other books, using our judgment and reason. . . .” Luther Burbank

“If you really delve into the Bible you will see that it is a maze, a mass, a veritable labyrinth of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor mathematics, bad science, erroneous geography, false prophecies, immoral comments, degenerate heroes, and a multitude of other problems too numerous to mention. It may be somebody’s word but it certainly isn’t the product of a perfect, divine being. The Bible has more holes in it than a backdoor screen. In a society dominated by the Book’s influence, all freethinkers should do what Adam and Eve did when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They went out and raised Cain.” C. Dennis McKinsey

Prayer

Pray, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner, confessedly unworthy.” Ambrose Bierce

“The endeavor to change universal power by selfish supplication I do not believe in.” Thomas Edison

“If you pray for rain long enough, it eventually does fall. If you pray for floodwaters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers.” Steve Allen

“Prayer is of no avail. The lightning falls on the just and the unjust in accordance with natural laws.” Robert Ingersoll

“Nothing fails like prayer.” Anne Gaylor

“When people expect God to plan their lives for them, and protect them, they tend to lose their motivation to guide and control their own lives.” Charles W. Faulkner

“Men have never fully used the powers they possess to advance the good in life, because they have waited upon some power external to themselves and to nature to do the work they are responsible for doing.” John Dewey

“When people realize a deity is not going to solve their problems for them, they get better at helping themselves and helping each other.” August Brunsman

“I do not pray. . . . I do not expect God to single me out and grant me advantages over my fellow men. . . . Prayer seems to me a cry of weakness, and an attempt to avoid, by trickery, the rules of the game as laid down. I do not choose to admit weakness. I accept the challenge of responsibility.” Zora Neale Hurston

“There are few pages of history which do not demonstrate that public prayer and ritual never inoculated people against mass-madness and cruelty. What is needed is emphasis on morality and manners.” Steve Allen

“To say grace, knowing that people on this globe are starving, indicates a highly selfish acquiescence in the arrogantly supposed favoritism of the almighty. A really decent god-believer, far from giving thanks for the food and good health and fortune enjoyed by himself and his family and close friends, would surely curse God for his neglect of the hungry, the sick and the tormented, throughout the world.” Barbara Smoker

“I pray every single second of my life; not on my knees but with my work. My prayer is to lift women to equality with men. Work and worship are one with me. I know there is no God of the universe made happy by my getting down on my knees and calling him ‘great.’” Susan B. Anthony

“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.” Robert Ingersoll

“It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain.” Mark Twain

“I prayed for freedom twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.” Frederick Douglass

Faith

Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.” Ambrose Bierce

“Faith is the effort to believe what your common sense tells you is not true.” Elbert Hubbard

“Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable.” H. L. Mencken

“Faith is believing what you know ain’t so.” Mark Twain

“Millions of Germans had absolute faith in Hitler. Millions of Russians had faith in Stalin. Millions of Chinese had faith in Mao. Billions have had faith in imaginary gods.” Steve Allen

“[Children] are taught that it is a virtue to accept statements without adequate evidence, which leaves them a prey to quacks of every kind in later life, and makes it very difficult for them to accept the methods of thought which are successful in science.” J. B. S. Haldane

“Because religious training means credulity training, churches should not be surprised to find that so many of their congregations accept astrology as readily as theology, or a channeled Atlantean priest as readily as a biblical prophet.” Barbara G. Walker

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous. . . .” Thomas Jefferson

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” Voltaire

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

“If history reveals any categorical truth, it is that an insufficient taste for evidence regularly brings out the worst in us. Add weapons of mass destruction to this diabolical clockwork, and you have . . . a recipe for the fall of civilization.” Sam Harris

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying.” Kurt Vonnegut

“The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence.” Thomas H. Huxley

“[Faith] is nothing more than wishful thinking, and the wish is no evidence of anything beyond itself. Yet so many religious people take their wishes for reality.” Vincent Bugliosi

“People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction.” James Baldwin

“In the affairs of the world men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it.” Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Maxims

“Of course, say the true believers, religion rests on faith, not intellect. But if all you need to do to prove I am wrong is to have faith that you are right, then no discussion is possible. . . . It is only by resort to what the Roman statesman Cicero called ‘right reason’ that men and women can interact with each other amicably in a civilized society.” Philip D. Harvey

“Doubt . . . impels a search for the truth. It opens the door to knowledge. Faith puts a lock on the door. Indeed, . . . faith anesthetizes the desire to seek knowledge and truth.” Vincent Bugliosi

“I do not support religion because it demands that we give up our most important human asset, the ability to question. It demands that we simply believe. Isn’t that true of any dictator, of any totalitarian society? Insofar as social development is concerned, nothing is of greater importance than the human function of questioning. . . . Questioning led to the development of civilization.” Vladimir Pozner

“The so-called godly man may be more likely to do serious wrong than a man who deeply questions himself. The ‘godly man’ often zealously follows religious precepts that, in the end, justify an unjust injury to others, while the questioning man, addressing his own conscience, may have the better chance to consider all the circumstances and come to the just decision.” Gerry Spence

“The most important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

“Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.” H. L. Mencken

“I have always felt that doubt was the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of God was the end of wisdom.” Clarence Darrow

“The most pernicious of absurdities is that weak, blind, stupid faith is better than the constant practice of every human virtue.” Walter Savage Landor

“What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Christopher Hitchens

Miracles

“It forms a strong presumption against all supernatural and miraculous relations, that they are observed chiefly to abound among ignorant and barbarous nations; or if a civilized people has ever given admission to any of them, that people will be found to have received them from ignorant and barbarous ancestors.” David Hume

“The many instances of forged miracles and prophecies and supernatural events, which, in all ages have been detected by contrary evidence, or which detect themselves by their absurdity, prove sufficiently the strong propensity of mankind to the extraordinary and marvelous, and ought reasonably to beget a suspicion against all relations of this kind.” David Hume

“In any open question, we should argue from what we do know to what we do not know. We do know that fervent legends and stubborn myths arise easily and naturally. We do not know that dead people rise from the grave.” Dan Barker

“It raises a question in the mind very easily decided, which is, is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie.” Thomas Paine

“Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” Carl Sagan

“Early humans, bursting with questions about Nature but with limited understanding of its dynamics, explained things in terms of supernatural persons and person-animals who delivered the droughts and floods and plagues. . . .” Ursula Goodenough

“The ‘law of wills and causes,’ formulated by Comte, . . . is that when men do not know the natural causes of things, they simply attribute them to wills like their own; thus they obtain a theory which provisionally takes the place of science, and this theory forms a basis for theology.” Andrew D. White

“Every event, or appearance, or accident, which seems to deviate from the ordinary course of nature has been rashly ascribed to the immediate action of the Deity.” Edward Gibbon

“A multitude of aspects of the natural world that were considered miraculous only a few generations ago are now thoroughly understood in terms of physics and chemistry.” Carl Sagan

“Since we do not know the extent of all the laws of nature, we cannot say an event lies outside those laws. . . . About all that can intelligently be said about any modern-day ‘miracle’ is that it is an event that cannot be explained by presently known laws. If the course of the last ten thousand years holds true, however, it will simply be a matter of time before the explanation is discovered.” Joseph Daleiden

“Miracles are propitious accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood.” George Santayana

“The false notion of miracles comes of our vanity, which makes us believe we are important enough for the Supreme Being to upset nature on our behalf.” Baron de Montesquieu

“The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other.” Sir Francis Bacon

“The priests of one religion never credit the miracles of another religion. Is this because priests instinctively know priests?” Robert Ingersoll

“The world presents enough problems if you believe it to be a world of law and order; do not add to them by believing it to be a world of miracles.” Louis Brandeis

Solace of Religion

“It is no defense of superstition and pseudoscience to say that it brings solace and comfort to people. . . . If solace and comfort are how we judge the worth of something, then consider that tobacco brings solace and comfort to smokers; alcohol brings it to drinkers; drugs of all kinds bring it to addicts; the fall of cards and the run of horses bring it to gamblers; cruelty and violence bring it to sociopaths. Judge by solace and comfort only and there is no behavior we ought to interfere with.” Isaac Asimov

“There are some poisons which, before they kill men, allay pain and diffuse a soothing sensation through the frame. We may recognize the hour of enjoyment they procure, but we must not separate it from the price at which it was purchased.” William E. H. Lecky

“As for those who protest that I am robbing people of the great comfort and consolation they gain from Christianity, I can only say that Christianity includes hell, eternal torture for the vast majority of humanity, for most of your relatives and friends. . . . If I could feel that I had robbed anybody of his faith in hell, I should not be ashamed or regretful.” Rupert Hughes

Problem of Evil

“Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. . . . If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. . . . If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” Epicurus

“The old doctrine that God wanted man to do something for him, and that he kept a watchful eye upon all the children of men; that he rewarded the virtuous and punished the wicked, is gradually fading from the mind. We know that some of the worst men have what the world calls success. We know that some of the best men lie upon the straw of failure. We know that honesty goes hungry, while larceny sits at the banquet. We know that the vicious have every physical comfort, while the virtuous are often clad in rags.” Robert Ingersoll

“Through logic, you can see that the church concept of an all-loving heavenly father doesn’t hold water. If a divine Maker fashioned everything that exists, he designed breast cancer for women, childhood leukemia, cerebral palsy, leprosy, AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Down’s syndrome. He mandated foxes to rip rabbits apart (bunnies emit a terrible shriek at that moment) and cheetahs to slaughter fawns. No human would be cruel enough to plan such horrors. If a supreme being did so, he’s a monster, not an all-merciful father.” James Haught

“According to The World Health Report 1996, most of the 17 million people who died of infectious diseases in 1995 were young children. Think of it! The death of each of those millions of children constitutes a ‘rebuttal of the notion of the almighty and kindly God in heaven.’ How many rebuttals does it take to rid the world of belief in the omnipotent, omnibenevolent God? And how much stronger is the case against God when we consider the overwhelming amount of animal suffering. . . .” A. J. Mattill Jr.

“The world in which we live can be understood as a result of muddle and accident; but if it is the outcome of deliberate purpose, the purpose must have been that of a fiend. For my part, I find accident a less painful and more plausible hypothesis.” Bertrand Russell

“If there is a supreme being, he’s crazy.” Marlene Dietrich

“If God lived on earth, people would break his windows.” Yiddish saying

“If I were a CEO of a company and ran it like God runs the universe, I’d be fired.” Sherwin Wine

It’s hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.” Bill Watterson

“The only excuse for God is that he doesn’t exist.” Friedrich Nietzsche

The Trinity

“One may say with one’s lips: ‘I believe that God is one, and also three’ – but no one can believe it, because the words have no sense.” Leo Tolstoy

“It is too late in the day for men of sincerity to pretend they believe in the Platonic mysticisms that three are one, and one is three; and yet that the one is not three, and the three are not one.” Thomas Jefferson

“According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three times one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar, if we add two to one we have but one. Each one is equal to himself and the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.” Robert Ingersoll

Morality and Religion

Religion’s Arbitrary and Irrational Moral Standards

“Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever the right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established. . . . Morality is then surrendered to the groundless arbitrariness of religion.” Ludwig Feuerbach

“It makes that a virtue which is not a virtue, and that a crime which is not a crime. Religion consists in a round of observances that have no relation whatever to natural goodness, but which rather exclude it by being a substitute for it. Penances and pilgrimages take the place of justice and mercy, benevolence and charity. Such a religion, so far from being a purifier, is the great corrupter of morals.” Henry M. Field

“Faith drives a wedge between ethics and suffering. Where certain actions cause no suffering at all, religious dogmatists still maintain that they are evil and worthy of punishment. . . . And yet, where suffering and death are found in abundance their causes are often deemed to be good. . . . This inversion of priorities not only victimizes innocent people and squanders scarce resources; it completely falsifies our ethics.” Sam Harris

Religion Promotes Ignorant and Barbarous Ideas About Morality

“The harm that theology has done is not to create cruel impulses, but to give them the sanction of what professes to be lofty ethic, and to confer an apparently sacred character upon practices which have come down from more ignorant and barbarous times.” Bertrand Russell

“By inflaming and justifying the worst of human instincts as the will of God, theistic religions have resulted in countless millions of people being tortured and murdered.” Joseph Daleiden

“I know of no crime that has not been defended by the church, in one form or other. The church is not a pioneer; it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become useless.” Robert Ingersoll

Doctrine of Forgiveness of Sins Produces Unethical Behavior

“The Christians say, that among the ancient Jews, if you committed a crime you had to kill a sheep. Now they say ‘charge it.’ ‘Put it on the slate.’ The Savior will pay it. In this way, rascality is sold on credit, and the credit system in morals, as in business, breeds extravagance.” Robert Ingersoll

“The idea that there is a God who rewards and punishes, and who can reward, if he so wishes, the meanest and vilest of the human race, so that he will be eternally happy, and can punish the best of the human race, so that he will be eternally miserable, is subversive of all morality.” Robert Ingersoll

“The atheist realizes that every selfish or cruel act and its consequences would remain uncomfortably remembered by himself, believing that no divine forgiveness is available to assuage the pangs of a guilty conscience.” Frank Swancara

Religious Cultures Are Not Highly Moral

“One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it. . . . You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs.” Bertrand Russell

“Probably in all history there is no instance of a society in which ecclesiastical power was dominant which was not at once stagnant, corrupt and brutal.” George A. Reid

“The U.S. has more churchgoing than any other major democracy and it reports much higher rates of murder, rape, robbery, shootings, stabbings, drug use, unwed pregnancy, and the like, as well as occasional tragedies such as those at Waco and Jonestown. . . . There may be no link between the two conditions, but the saturation of religion has failed to prevent the severe crime level. . . . Societies rife with fundamentalism and religious tribalism are prone to sectarian violence. In contrast, England, Scandinavia, Canada, Japan, and such lands have scant churchgoing, yet their people are more inclined to live peaceably, in accord with the social contract. The evidence seems clear: To find living conditions that are safe, decent, orderly, and ‘civilized,’ avoid places with intense religion.” James Haught

“Norway, Iceland, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom are among the least religious societies on earth. According to the United Nations’ Human Development Report (2005), they are also the healthiest, as indicated by life expectancy, adult literacy, per capita income, educational attainment, gender equality, homicide rate, and infant mortality. . . . Conversely, the fifty nations now ranked lowest in terms of the United Nations’ human development index are unwaveringly religious.” Sam Harris

“The same comparison holds true within the United States itself: Southern and Midwestern states, characterized by the highest levels of religious literalism, are especially plagued by [high rates of homicide, abortion, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, and infant mortality], while the comparatively secular states of the Northeast conform to European standards.” Sam Harris

“In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, venereal disease, teen pregnancy, and abortion.” Gregory Paul

Baptism

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.” Robert Ingersoll

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