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Galileo Galilei (1564–1642) great Italian astronomer, mathematician, and physicist who laid foundations for modern experimental science and gave mathematical formulation to many physical laws.

"Philosophy itself cannot but benefit from our disputes, for if our conceptions prove true, new achievements will be made; if false, their refutation will further confirm the original doctrines." (as quoted in Galileo at Work : His Scientific Biography, p. 108)

"I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them." (ibid., p. 226)

"...nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages." [as quoted in Blind Watchers of the Sky, p. 101]

Jesse "the body" Ventura, American politician, Navy seal and Professional wrestler.

"Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business." [Quoted from an interview with Playboy magazine.]

Arthur C. Clarke, Author

"It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him." Quoted from Clarke's autobiography.

In an April 1, 1997 profile in the New York Times Clarke speaks about his new book 3001, the latest and perhaps final in the series of books beginning with 2001: In the world of 3001 Clarke envisions for the story, the writer of the piece, John F. Burns, says: "Perhaps most controversially, religions of all kinds have fallen under a strict taboo, with the citizenry looking back on the religious beliefs and practices of earlier ages as products of ignorance that caused untold strife and bloodshed. But the concept of a God, known by the Latin word Deus, survives, a legacy of man's continuing wonder at the universe. "In this, Clarke is giving vent to one of the few things that seem to ruffle his equable nature.

"Religion is a byproduct of fear," he says. "For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?"

Stephen Hawking, Theoretical Physicist

At a physicist's conference Hawking was attending after his book A Brief History of Time was published, a reporter approached him to ask if he did in fact believe in God, given the "mind of God" reference near the end of the book. Hawking responded quickly (suggesting his answer was pre-prepared)

"I do not believe in a personal God."

Stephen King, Author

"The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance...logic can be happily tossed out the window."

Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

"In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point."

"I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, 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 upon the human race."

"Which is it, is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's?"

Woody Allen, Director/Actor/Writer

"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank." ["Selections from the Allen Notebooks," in New Yorker (5 Nov. 1973)]

"Not only is God dead, but just try to find a plumber on weekends." In his autobiographical movie, Stardust Memories, Allen's character is called an atheist. He responds "To you, I'm an atheist. To God, I'm the loyal opposition."

"As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree' -- probably because it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on."

"How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?"

"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

"I do not believe in an afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear."

"The chief problem about death, incidentally, is the fear that there may be no afterlife -- a depressing thought, particularly for those who have bothered to shave. Also, there is the fear that there is an afterlife but no one will know where it's being held." ["The Early Essays," Without Feathers (1976)]

"I do occasionally envy the person who is religious naturally, without being brainwashed into it or suckered into it by all the organized hustles." [Rolling Stone magazine, 1987]

 

Susan B. Anthony, (1820-1906), American feminist leader and suffragist.

"The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God." [Rufus K. Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief]

"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."

"What you should say to outsiders is that a Christian has neither more nor less rights in our Association than an atheist. When our platform becomes too narrow for people of all creeds and of no creeds, I myself shall not stand upon it."
[Susan B. Anthony: A Biography, by Kathleen Barry, New York University Press, 1988, p.310]


Benjamin Franklin, (1706-1790), American public official, writer, scientist, and printer who played a major part in the American Revolution.

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."
[Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758]

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

"He (the Rev. Mr. Whitefield) used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard." [Franklin's Autobiography]

"In the affairs of the world, men are saved, not by faith, but by the want of it."

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), American writer

"The pioneers and missionaries of religion have been the real cause of more trouble and war than all other classes of mankind." [ Ira D. Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief]

"No man who ever lived knows any more about the hereafter ... than you and I; and all religion ... is simply evolved out of chicanery, fear, greed, imagination and poetry." [ Rufus K. Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief]

Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (1694-1778), French philosopher and writer whose works epitomize the Age of Enlightenment.

"Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." [Harry Elmer Barnes, An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World (1937) p. 766, quoted from Albert J. Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom]

"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."
[James A. Haught in "Honest Minds, Past and Present" Talks for History of Freethought conference Sept. 20-21, 1997, Cincinnati, Ohio]

"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
[Letters vol. xcvi (1769), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations]

"A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live." [Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations]

"The first clergyman was the first rascal who met the first fool"

"Men who believe absurdities will commit atrocities."

Epicurus (341270 B.C.), Greek philosopher

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?"

 

Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899), Well known post civil war American political speechmaker and Secular-Humanist. Among his admirers were president James Garfield, poet Walt Whitman, General Ulysses S. Grant, industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, inventor Thomas Edison, and Mark Twain. more

"The good part of Christmas is not always Christian -- it is generally Pagan; that is to say, human, natural."

"Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter." [A CHRISTMAS SERMON. 1891]

"Secularism is a religion, a religion that is understood. It has no mysteries, no mumblings, no priests, no ceremonies, no falsehoods, no miracles, and no persecutions." [SECULARISM]

"One of the foundation stones of our faith is the Old Testament. If that book is not true, if its authors were unaided men, if it contains blunders and falsehoods, then that stone crumbles to dust...The Old Testament must be thrown aside. It is no longer a foundation. It has crumbled." - The Foundations of Faith

"An honest god is the noblest work of man. ... 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."

"As people become more intelligent they care less for preaches and more for teachers"

"Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?"

Bertrand Russell (b.1872 - d.1970), British philosopher, logician, essayist, and social critic, best known for his work in mathematical logic and analytic philosophy and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1950. His essays include, "Am I an Agnostic or an Atheist?" and "Why I am not a Christian" Writings

"Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand." - Why I Am Not A Christian

"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." - What is an Agnostic?

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

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish author and Playwright

"When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything equal to it."

 

Ulysses S. Grant ( 1822 1885) A graduate from West Point, Commanding General of the Northern Army in the Civil War and US President.

"Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separated."

Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) English film actor, director, producer, writer, and composer

"By simple common sense I don't believe in God, in none."
["Manual of a Perfect Atheist" by Rius]

Ayn Rand (1905–1982) American writer, b. St. Petersburg, Russia. Her best-known novels include The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged . In For the New Intellectual she summarized her philosophy, which she called “objectivism.”

"God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive."

"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality."
[The Objectivist Feb 1966 WMail Issue #5]

Thomas Paine (1737-1809) American writer, an important figure in the American Revolution with his pamphlets like "Common Sense", and "The Crisis".

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of....Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all." [From The Age of Reason, pp. 89]

"All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." [The Age of Reason]

"It is the duty of every true Deist to vindicate the moral justice of God against the evils of the Bible."

"My own mind is my own church"

 

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