main > Quotes & Writings > Great Minds Quotes >

Great Minds Quotes

Quotes on God, Religion and Atheism by some of humanity's greatest minds.

Great Minds List | Greatest Quotes | More Great Quotes | Quote Generator | Not So Great Minds

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

[1743-1826] 3rd American president, author, scientist, architect, educator, and diplomat. Deist, avid separationist.

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." 1787 letter to his nephew

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature." Unknown

"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies." Unknown

"To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: but I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by Locke, Tracy, and Stewart. At what age of the Christian church this heresy of immaterialism, this masked atheism, crept in, I do not know. But a heresy it certainly is. Jesus told us indeed that 'God is a spirit,' but he has not defined what a spirit is, nor said that it is not matter. And the ancient fathers generally, if not universally, held it to be matter: light and thin indeed, an etherial gas; but still matter." letter to John Adams, August 15, 1820

"Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burned, tortured, fined, and imprisoned, yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites." Notes on Virginia

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" Letter to von Humboldt, 1813

"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." Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own" Letter to H. Spafford, 1814

"But a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion, before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants, and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandizing their oppressors in Church and State." in a letter to S. Kercheval, 1810

" amendment was proposed by inserting the words, 'Jesus Christ...the holy author of our religion,' which was rejected 'By a great majority in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and the Mohammedan, the Hindoo and the Infidel of every denomination.'" From Jefferson's biography

"I never told my religion, nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I have judged others' religions by their lives, for it is from our lives and not our words that our religions must be read."

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."

"The authors of the gospels were unlettered and ignorant men and the teachings of Jesus have come to us mutilated, misstated and unintelligible."

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God.”

“It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist.”