Christianity and Slavery

“Mid-1800’s estimates reported 80,000 slaves owned by Presbyterians, 225,000 by Baptists and 250,000 by Methodists. Anglicans probably owned most of the rest of the nearly 4 million blacks held in serfdom in the United States at the outbreak of the Civil War.” Anne Gaylor

“This huge and terrible industry [the slave trade] was blessed by all churches and for a long time aroused absolutely no religious protest. . . . In the eighteenth century, a few dissenting Mennonites and Quakers in America began to call for abolition, as did some freethinkers like Thomas Paine.” Christopher Hitchens

“The slave trade flourished with the approval of the Church, and in Britain and America it was the established churches that fought most vigorously against abolition. . . . Bible texts . . . were used constantly to support slavery. Opponents of slavery, including Wilberforce and Paine, were savagely attacked by the churches for presuming to know better than the Bible, and the antislavery attitude of the Quakers made them unpopular with orthodox Christians. Wilberforce . . . complained that his supporters were nonconformists and atheists, while church people generally opposed him.” Carl Lofmark

“Historian Larry Hise notes in his book Pro-Slavery that ministers ‘wrote almost half of all defenses of slavery published in America.’ He listed 275 men of the cloth who used the Bible to prove that white people were entitled to own black people as work animals.” James Haught

“Abolitionists failed to win the churches to their cause. In 1837, the Presbyterian General Assembly ‘excised’ from the church its most thoroughly antislavery synods. No major denomination endorsed abolitionism. This reluctance on the part of clergymen and church bodies was to have profound consequences for the course of the antislavery movement. It helped push Garrison and others into taking militant anticlerical stands, and it caused the movement in the later 1830s and 1840s to adopt increasingly secular policies.” Merton L. Dillon

“Throughout the three decades preceding the Civil War, the anticlerical ethos of the radical abolitionists was used against them by religious opponents of emancipation, who . . . even described abolitionism itself as an atheist plot.” Susan Jacoby

“In all the ages the Roman Church has owned slaves, bought and sold slaves, authorized and encouraged her children to trade in them. . . . There were the texts; there was no mistaking their meaning; . . . she was doing in all this thing what the Bible had mapped out for her to do. So unassailable was her position that in all the centuries she had no word to say against human slavery.” Mark Twain

“The delegates of the annual conference are decidedly opposed to modern Abolitionism and wholly disclaim any right, wish, or intention to interfere in the civil and political relation between master and slave as it exists in the slave-holding states of the union.” Methodist Episcopal Church, 1836 General Conference, Cincinnati

“It [slavery] has exercised absolute mastery over the American Church. . . . With the Bible in their hands, her priesthood have attempted to prove that slavery came down from God out of heaven. They have become slaveholders and dealers in human flesh.” William Lloyd Garrison, abolitionist leader

“I assert most unhesitatingly, that the religion of the South is a mere covering for the most horrid crimes – a justifier of the most appalling barbarity, a sanctifier of the most hateful frauds, and a dark shelter under which the darkest, foulest, grossest, and most infernal deeds of slaveholders find the strongest protection. Were I to be again reduced to the chains of slavery, next to that enslavement, I should regard being the slave of a religious master the greatest calamity that could befall me. . . . I . . . hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of this land.” Frederick Douglass

“Susan Boggs, a black runaway interviewed in Canada in 1863, said of the religious slave masters: ‘Why the man that baptized me had a colored woman tied up in his yard to whip when he got home that very Sunday and her mother . . . was in church hearing him preach. He preached, “You must obey your masters and be good servants.” That is the greater part of the sermon, when they preach to the colored folks. . . .'” Gerry Spence

“Scripture, the Confederate clergy advised, even justified secession.” Kevin Phillips

“We the Confederate States of America, with God on our side in the defense of slavery for now and forever, do hereby declare ourselves independent. . . .” The Confederate Constitution

“More even than Southern Presbyterians and Southern Methodists, the Baptists provided the great mass of Confederate enlisted men.” Harold Bloom

“Let the gentleman go to Revelation to learn the decree of God – let him go to the Bible. . . . I said that slavery was sanctioned in the Bible, authorized, regulated, and recognized from Genesis to Revelation. . . . Slavery existed then in the earliest ages, and among the chosen people of God; and in Revelation we are told that it shall exist till the end of time shall come. You find it in the Old and New Testaments – in the prophecies, psalms, and the epistles of Paul; you find it recognized – sanctioned everywhere.” Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America

“There was no place in the land where the seeker could not find some small budding sign of pity for the slave. No place in all the land but one – the pulpit. It yielded at last; it always does. It fought a strong and stubborn fight, and then did what it always does, joined the procession – at the tail end. Slavery fell. The slavery text in the Bible remained; the practice changed; that was all.” Mark Twain

Christianity and the Roman Empire

“Many eighteenth-century moderns also held Christians accountable for helping to destroy the greatest civilization of human history: Rome. Edward Gibbon’s 1776 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire would conclude that Christianity was ‘vile . . . debased . . . servile and pusillanimous,’ and he would become so disgusted from his research on the early years of the Christian church that, when on vacation in France, as his party approached Chartres Cathedral, Gibbon noted, ‘Pausing only to dart a look of contempt at the stately pile of superstition, we passed on.'” Craig Nelson

“Christianity . . . killed the science of Greece and Rome, creating the Dark Ages and thwarting for a thousand years or more all attempts of science to be reborn.” Frank R. Zindler

Religion and Science

“As the Church assumed leadership, activity in the fields of medicine, technology, science, education, history, art and commerce all but collapsed. Europe entered the Dark Ages.” Helen Ellerbe

“The losses in science were monumental. In some cases the Christian church’s burning of books and repression of intellectual pursuit set humanity back as much as two millennia in its scientific understanding.” Helen Ellerbe

“Turn over the pages of history and read the damning record of the church’s opposition to every advance in every field of science. . . .” Upton Sinclair

“The establishment of Christianity . . . arrested the normal development of the physical sciences for over fifteen hundred years.” Andrew D. White

“Celebrated pioneers of modern observational and experimental science such as Copernicus, Brahe, Kepler, Galileo and later Newton, were all part of a growing intellectual tendency that would challenge some the Church’s most basic accepted beliefs about the natural world. All of these men found themselves named in the pages of the [Catholic Church’s] Index of Prohibited Books as a result.” Robin Vose

“Catholic opposition to dissection and medical research held back medicine for many centuries. Without Christianity, we would have cured cancer centuries ago. Without papal opposition to the physical sciences and free inquiry, Columbus would have landed on the moon, not a Caribbean island . . . .” Frank R. Zindler

“The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a given idea for a better one; the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and immutable. To be sure, theology is always yielding a little to the progress of knowledge, and only a Holy Roller in the mountains of Tennessee would dare to preach today what the popes preached in the thirteenth century.” H. L. Mencken

“When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two theologians differ, since there are no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force.” Bertrand Russell

“Science has done more for the development of Western civilization in 100 years than Christianity did in 1,800 years.” John Burroughs

“Over and over, expanding scientific knowledge has shown religious claims to be false.” Paul D. Boyer

“Contraction of theological influence has at once been the best measure, and the essential condition of intellectual advance.” William E. H. Lecky

“Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.” Victor Stenger

“Just to the extent that the Bible was appealed to in matters of science, science was retarded; and just to the extent that science has been appealed to in matters of religion, religion has advanced – so that now the object of intelligent religionists is to adopt a creed that will bear the test and criticism of science.” Robert Ingersoll

“[R]eligion without science is blind.” Albert Einstein

 Religion and Charity

“For every morsel of bread given to a stranger in need, hundreds have died from diseases whose cures were thwarted by organized religion’s traditional opposition to science. For every word soothing the tempers of men, there have been calls to arms resulting in the death and maiming of thousands. The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund estimates that forty thousand children die each day even as religious organizations obstruct the distribution of birth control devices in poor countries. The resultant daily pain and torturous deaths by starvation far outstrip the almsgiving and generosity religion has always claimed to espouse. Whatever percentage of this toll is attributable to church practices, surely it has added up to far more accrued pain and death over the centuries than the atrocities of Stalin and Hitler combined.” Charles W. Sutherland

“Often missionaries preaching their gospel refuse to teach birth control . . . even in the poorest and already overpopulated areas. Then those same missionaries send pathetic pictures of the starving and diseased children back home to tug at the heart strings of caring human beings in their cunning attempts to raise funds to support more missionary work. Irresponsible over-breeding shown in the large numbers of sick and starving street urchins . . . throughout the world is a glaring example of how religion hurts society far more than is generally recognized.” Stephen F. Uhl

“Missionaries in the developing world waste a lot of time and money (not to mention the goodwill of non-Christians) proselytizing to the needy. . . . While missionaries do many noble things at great risk to themselves, their dogmatism still spreads ignorance and death. By contrast, volunteers for secular organizations . . . do not waste . . . time telling people about the virgin birth of Jesus. Nor do they tell people in sub-Saharan Africa – where nearly four million people die from AIDS every year – that condom use is sinful.” Sam Harris

“Missionaries are perfect nuisances and leave every place worse than they found it.” Charles Dickens

“Countries with high levels of atheism are . . . the most charitable both in terms of the percentage of their wealth they devote to social welfare programs and the percentage they give in aid to the developing world.” Sam Harris

Virgin Birth

“The Christians, in this case, as in many others, were anticipated by the pagans; for virgin-born gods who sacrificed themselves for the good of the race were quite common in the myths and legends of the heathen nations of antiquity. The Reverend Charles H. Vail, in a scholarly study, The World’s Saviors, records the stories of miraculous births of fifteen other saviors, who lived before the Christian era.” John G. Jackson

“Claims of virgin birth were a common way of glorifying famous people and mythological heroes of ancient times. For example, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Aristomenes, Alexander the Great, Plato, Cyrus, the elder Scipio, Egyptian Pharaohs, the Buddha, Hermes, Mithra, Attis-Adonis, Hercules, Cybele, Demeter, Leo, and Vulcan – all were thought of as virgin-born in at least some traditions.” Rod L. Evans and Irwin M. Berent

“The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being as His Father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.” Thomas Jefferson

Religion and Individuality

“Under any religion, the preestablished impersonal code transcends the right of the individual to explore, experience, and marvel at the mysteries of his own life and death. Religions introduce us not to God but to slavery. They deprive us of our freedom to explore our own souls and to discover the endless and wondrous possibilities presented to us by an infinite universe. And most often the method of religions is fear, not love. They demand blind obedience and often obedience to dreadful dogma.” Gerry Spence

Christianity and Family Values

Old Testament

“According to 2 Samuel 12:7-8, God himself gave David Saul’s wives. Here again is the divine stamp of approval upon bigamy, concubinage, and polygamy – a whole regiment of wives! . . . Nowhere in the sacred book does God issue a command against these practices. Little wonder that among Jews in Moslem countries polygamy continues to the present day, and that Mormons originally practiced polygamy.” A. J. Mattill Jr.

“Perhaps what is really being proposed by the Evangelical fundamentalists is a return not to the 1950s family but to the family of biblical days. The Old Testament is clear that this was a strong patriarchal family. Men were permitted several wives and concubines. Children were legitimately conceived by these concubines outside of marriage. . . . Is this the Evangelical’s idea of an ideal family?” Ira L. Reiss

“Biblical backing for Mormon behavior is easy to find, although Mark Twain is reported to have denied its legitimacy to a Mormon. The Mormon claimed polygamy was perfectly moral and he defied Twain to cite any passage of Scripture which forbade it. ‘Well,’ said Twain, ‘how about that passage that tells us no man can serve two masters at the same time?'” C. Dennis McKinsey

The Age of Faith

“Marriage to a woman was not recommended by early Christian fathers. St. Ambrose called marriage a crime against God. Tatian called marriage ‘a polluted and foul way of life.’ St. Bernard opined that it is easier to bring the dead back to life than for a man to live with a woman without endangering his own soul. For the first half of the Christian era, marriage was a civil ceremony only, having nothing to do with religion. ” Barbara G. Walker

“The usual marriage in traditional cultures was arranged for by the families. It wasn’t a person-to-person decision at all. . . . In the Middle Ages, that was the kind of marriage that was sanctified by the Church. And so the troubadour idea of real person-to-person Amor was very dangerous. . . . It is in direct contradiction to the way of the Church. The word AMOR spelt backwards is ROMA, the Roman Catholic Church, which was justifying marriages that were simply political and social in their character. And so came this movement validating individual choice, what I call following your bliss.” Joseph Campbell

New Testament

“All the men of the Old Testament were polygamists, and Christ and Paul, the central figures of the New Testament, were celibates, and condemned marriage by both precept and example.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton

“Once married, a man is positively encouraged to desert his wife for Jesus’ sake, for that is a virtuous deed (Matthew 19:29), but there is no possibility of divorce, which is absolutely prohibited in Mark’s gospel (Mark 10:2-12) and is allowed by Matthew only ‘for the cause of fornication’ (Matthew 5:31-12). The New Testament sees marriage as the only permissible outlet for sex, which is a thing of this world and does not exist in heaven (Mark 12:25; Galatians 3:28). If he possibly can, a man should also avoid sex in this world (even if he is married, I Cor. 7:29): Jesus himself teaches that the best thing a man can do is castrate himself (Matthew 19:12). St. John the Divine says that only men ‘which were not defiled with women’ will be saved (Rev. 14:4).” Carl Lofmark

“The command of Jesus that you should desert your family for his sake has led thousands and thousands of people to desert their families and join crusades or monasteries or missions, and to feel virtuous for what they have done.” Carl Lofmark

“Let us, also, endeavor to realize the unutterable torments endured by men and maidens in their efforts to subdue the natural desires of their senses and their affections to the unnatural celibacy of the cloister, and we shall see that the tortures inflicted by Christianity have been more cruel than the cruelties of death. Christianity has ever been the enemy of human love; it has forever cursed and expelled and crucified the one passion which sweetens and smiles on human life, which makes the desert blossom as the rose, and which glorifies the common things and common ways of earth. It made of this, the angel of life, a shape of sin and darkness, and bade the woman whose lips were warm with the first kisses of her lover believe herself accursed and ashamed. Even in the unions which it reluctantly permitted, it degraded and dwarfed the passion which it could not entirely exclude, and permitted it coarsely to exist for the mere necessity of procreation. . . . Love, the winged god of the immortals, became, in the Christian creed, a thrice-damned and earth-bound devil, to be exorcised and loathed. This has been the greatest injury that Christianity has ever done to the human race. Love, the one supreme, unceasing source of human felicity, the one sole joy which lifts the whole mortal existence into the empyrean, was by it degraded into the mere mechanical act of reproduction. It cut the wings of Eros.” Ouida (Maria Louisa de la Ramee)

“Countless victims whose marriages have been destroyed by the church have told me that this is the Scripture verse that a pastor cited to convince their spouse to break up their marriage. During radio interviews in various parts of the United States I have received several on-air telephone calls from the hapless survivors of such sabotaged marriages. They all tell me the same story: 2 Corinthians 6:14 [‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?’]. Perhaps the Bible should be subtitled: ‘Words to Break Up a Family By.’” Austin Miles

“The available divorce data show that marital breakdown is now considerably more common in the Bible Belt than in the secular Northeast. . . . The percentages of broken families and unwed mothers remained higher in places like Arkansas and Oklahoma than in New York and Massachusetts.” Joe Conason

“By the teenage years most people have surging sexual needs. If they can fulfill those desires only within marriage, then they will tend to rush into marriage. Such a system cannot optimize marital happiness. It simply pushes up the divorce rate.” John Ince


“No man of sense in the whole world believes in devils any more than he does in mermaids, vampires, gorgons, hydras, naiads, dryads, nymphs, fairies, the Fountain of Youth, [or] the Philosopher’s Stone. . . .” Robert Ingersoll

Catholic Church

“In all the disputes which have excited Christians against each other, Rome has invariably decided in favor of that opinion which tended most towards the suppression of the human intellect and the annihilation of the reasoning powers.” Voltaire

“The period of Catholic ascendancy was on the whole one of the most deplorable in the history of the human mind. . . . The spirit that shrinks from enquiry as sinful and deems a state of doubt a state of guilt, is the most enduring disease that can afflict the mind of man. Not till the education of Europe passed from the monasteries to the universities, not till Mohammedan science, and classical free thought, and industrial independence broke the sceptre of the Church, did the intellectual revival of Europe begin.” William E. H. Lecky

“The Papacy was corrupt for whole centuries: especially from about 880 to 1050 and (with a short decent pontificate at rare intervals) 1290 to about 1660. No ‘primacy’ in any other organized religion has so disgraceful a record.” Joseph McCabe

“It was even possible for the most venerated patriarchs of the Church, like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, to conclude that heretics should be tortured (Augustine) or killed outright (Aquinas).” Sam Harris

“J. M. Robertson has estimated that from the first crusade launched by Pope Urban II in 1095 to the fall of Acre . . . in 1291, nine million lives were lost. This may be an overestimation, but the number is certainly in the millions and represents only the beginning of the carnage which places the Catholic Church in the same league with the Third Reich and the purges of Stalin or Mao. Before the crusades against the ‘heathens’ were concluded, the popes began an internal crusade against heretics within Christendom. The resulting Inquisition lasted officially almost 600 years and resulted in the loss of additional millions of lives.” Joseph Daleiden

“The principle of the Inquisition was murderous. . . . The popes were not only murderers in the great style, but they also made murder a legal basis of the Christian Church and a condition of salvation.” Lord Acton

“By far the cruelest aspect of the inquisitional system was the means by which confessions were wrought: the torture chamber. Torture remained a legal option for the Church from 1252 when it was sanctioned by Pope Innocent IV until 1917 when the new Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect. . . . Thus, with license granted by the Pope himself, inquisitors were free to explore the depths of horror and cruelty. . . . The Inquisition invented every conceivable device to inflict pain by slowly dismembering and dislocating the body. Many of these devices were inscribed with the motto ‘Glory be only to God.'” Helen Ellerbe

“The perpetrators of the Inquisition – the torturers, informers, and those who commanded their actions – were ecclesiastics of one rank or another. They were men of God – popes, bishops, friars, and priests.” Sam Harris

“She [the Catholic Church] worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One doesn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. Who discovered that there was no such thing as a witch – the priest, the parson? No, these never discover anything. . . .” Mark Twain

“I read in the newspaper that the Catholic Church finally decided that it had been theologically improper to try to convert the Jews. Whoops! Sorry for all those inquisitions, crusades, and autos-da-fe. Previous popes were wrong – infallible, perhaps, but wrong.” Alan Dershowitz

“The Spanish Conquistadors of the early 16th century . . . , accompanied by the ever present ambitious priests and professing the utmost devotion to the Catholic faith, managed to destroy within a few decades the Aztec and Inca nations and [cause] the death of over 100 million of their people in the process.” Arthur Blech

“In medieval times, the Church used to sell ‘indulgences’ for money. This amounted to paying for some number of days’ remission from purgatory, and the Church literally (and with breathtaking presumption) issued signed certificates specifying the number of days off that had been purchased. . . . And of all its money-making rip-offs, the selling of indulgences must surely rank among the greatest con tricks in history. . . .” Richard Dawkins

“Up until 1878 young boys in the Sistine Choir with the most pleasing high voices were castrated so their voices wouldn’t change. Were these young boys given a right to life?” W. F. Dean

“Benito Mussolini had barely seized power in Italy before the Vatican made an official treaty with him. . . . Catholicism became the only recognized religion in Italy . . . and in return urged its followers to vote for Mussolini’s party. Pope Pius XI described [Mussolini] as ‘a man sent by providence.’ . . . Across southern Europe, the church was a reliable ally in the instatement of fascist regimes. . . .” Christopher Hitchens

“The consequences of the popes’ ill-conceived dictates [about contraception] are as catastrophic as the persecution of heretics in bygone years. The result will be, in effect, to sentence millions to face starvation and hundreds of millions more to a marginal, subhuman existence.” Joseph Daleiden

“Ironically, the pope’s opposition to contraceptives results in hundreds of thousands of abortions, most in illegal and unsafe conditions that threaten women’s lives. Due primarily to the lack of readily available contraception, 55 million abortions are performed in the world annually. Worldwide, 182,000 women die each year from dangerous abortions. In the United States, where . . . women’s right to abortion has been recognized since 1973 (over the Church’s strenuous opposition), the death rate for women who obtain abortions has dropped almost 90%. So by opposing contraceptives and legalized abortion, the pope is in effect sentencing many women to die.” Joseph Daleiden

“That church teaches us that we can make God happy by being miserable ourselves; that a nun is holier in the sight of God than a loving mother with her child in her thrilled and thrilling arms; that a priest is better than a father; that celibacy is better than that passion of love that has made everything of beauty in this world. That church tells the girl of sixteen or eighteen years of age, with eyes like dew and light; that girl with the red of health in the white of her beautiful cheeks – tells that girl, ‘Put on the veil, woven of death and night, kneel upon stones, and you will please God.’ I tell you that, by law, no girl should be allowed to take the veil and renounce the joys and beauties of this life.” Robert Ingersoll

“Catholicism is contrary to human liberty. Catholicism bases salvation upon belief. Catholicism teaches man to trample his reason under foot. And for that reason it is wrong.” Robert Ingersoll

The Pope

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” Oz


“. . . I fail to find a trace [in Protestantism] of any desire to set reason free. The most that can be discovered is a proposal to change masters. From being a slave of the papacy, the intellect was to become the serf of the Bible.” Thomas H. Huxley

“The Catholics have a pope. Protestants laugh at them, and yet the pope is capable of intellectual advancement. In addition to this, the pope is mortal, and the church cannot be afflicted with the same idiot forever. The Protestants have a book for a pope. The book cannot advance. Year after year, and century after century, the book remains as ignorant as ever.” Robert Ingersoll

“Martin Luther and John Calvin advocated the wholesale murder of heretics, apostates, Jews, and witches.” Sam Harris

“The decline of witch-belief was . . . entirely the product of religious skepticism. . . . The Catholic Church did not reform itself on this matter; it was forced by outside pressure to reform. To be sure, the Protestant churches were no better in this regard; it is simply that they had less time – only two or three centuries – to engage in the torching of witches. After all, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, stated quite correctly that disbelief in witches meant a disbelief in the Bible.” S. T. Joshi

“And while Protestant reformers broke with Rome on a variety of counts, their treatment of their fellow human beings was no less disgraceful. Public executions were more popular than ever: heretics were still reduced to ash, scholars were tortured and killed for impertinent displays of reason, and fornicators were murdered without a qualm.” Sam Harris

“In proportion to its power, Protestantism has been as persecuting as Catholicism.” William E. H. Lecky

“It is easy to forget, since the Catholic Church is now the only large American religious denomination whose ecclesiastical hierarchy continues to oppose birth control, that only a century ago the leaders of nearly all churches were united in their resistance to any public discussion of the subject.” Susan Jacoby

“The Catholic Church is a thousand times better than your Protestant Church upon that question [of damnation]. The Catholic Church believes in purgatory – that is, a place where a fellow can get a chance to make a motion for a new trial.” Robert Ingersoll

Being Born Again

“The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around.” Herb Caen


“As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist.” Protagoras

“How should I know anything about another world when I know so little of this?” Confucius

“If there is a God, it is inconceivable that he would be concerned about my day to day affairs.” Buddha

“Agnosticism simply means that a man shall not say he knows or believes that for which he has no grounds for professing to believe.” Thomas H. Huxley

“As a matter of fact, no one knows that God exists and no one knows that God does not exist. To my mind there is no evidence that God exists – that this world is governed by a being of infinite goodness, wisdom and power, but I do not pretend to know.” Robert Ingersoll

“I am simply an agnostic. I haven’t yet had time or opportunity to explore the universe, and I don’t know what I might run on to in some nook or corner.” Clarence Darrow

“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.” Charles Darwin

“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic.” Albert Einstein

“And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt his existence.” Bertrand Russell

“There ain’t no answer. There ain’t going to be any answer. There never has been an answer. That’s the answer.” Gertrude Stein

“Where is the soul? . . . I refuse to believe anything of that kind without proof. The idea that, as soon as a man’s breath leaves his body, the soul flops out like a chicken’s head and flies off into space to find a lodgment where there [are] harps and haloes. Too much for me.” Robert Ingersoll [From a newspaper account of a conversation between Ingersoll and a Spiritualist who accosted him after a speech.]

[An Agnostic’s Prayer:] “O Lord – if there is a Lord; save my soul – if I have a soul. Amen.” Ernest Renan


“To date, despite the efforts of millions of true believers to support this myth, there is no more evidence for the Judeo-Christian god than any of the gods on Mount Olympus.” Joseph Daleiden

“Modern theists might acknowledge that, when it comes to Baal and the Golden Calf, Thor and Wotan, Poseidon and Apollo, Mithras and Ammon Ra, they are actually atheists. 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 great god Ra, whose shrine once covered acres,
is filler now for crossword puzzle makers.” Keith Preston

“The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide. . . . Every influx of atheism, of skepticism, is thus made useful as a mercury pill assaulting and removing a diseased religion, and making way for truth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The atheist . . . destroys the chimeras which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.” Baron d’Holbach

“Religious believers of the world, you are free to continue to debate the simple, narrow question that divides you from atheists, but you have no right, in so doing, to treat the Humanists of the world with contempt. You owe them a deep debt of gratitude, for not only have they shed much light on a naturally dark world but they have very probably helped civilize your own specific religion.” Steve Allen

“There is a rumor going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.” Terry Pratchett

“I’m an atheist and that’s it. I believe there’s nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people.” Katharine Hepburn

[From an ancient Roman tombstone:]
“Do not pass by my epitaph, traveler.
But having stopped, listen and learn, then go your way.
There is no boat in Hades, no ferryman Charon,
no caretaker Aiakos, no dog Cerberus.
All we who are dead below
have become bones and ashes, but nothing else.
I have spoken to you honestly, go on, traveler,
lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you.”

“Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.” Woody Allen

To Religion Quotes, part 1