Famous Peoples Religious Quotes

from ReligionExposed Website

  • Religion is the opiate of the people.
    Karl Marx

  • If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be - a Christian.
    Mark Twain

  • A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
    Albert Einstein

  • "Where knowledge ends, religion begins."
    Benjamin Disraeli

  • "The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by Homo Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not receive this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history."
    Robert Heinlein

  • "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
    Napoleon Bonaparte


  • "Hell is an outrage on humanity. When you tell me that your deity made you in his image, I reply that he must have been very ugly."
    Victor Hugo

  • "Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the incomprehensible, the unreasonable, the impossible, the unknowable, the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains."
    Robert G. Ingersoll

  • "Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration - courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and, above all, love of the truth."
    Henry Mencken

  • "Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense."
    Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

  • "Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet."
    Napoleon Bonaparte

  • God wants spiritual fruit, not religious nuts.

  • Good people can do good and bad people can do evil. But for good people to do evil -- that takes religion.
    Steven Weinberg

  • There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.
    Henry David Thoreau

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




  • "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."


  • "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

  • "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

    • (g) as well as assorted pogroms ('ethnic cleansing' wars) between rival religions, capital punishment for literally hundreds of offences, and countless other daily imposed moral outrages. . . . [I]t 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



    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

  • "The most heinous and the most cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives."

    Mohandas Gandhi

  • "[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

  • "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."

    Blaise Pascal

  • "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

  • "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




  • "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 tortuous 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

  • "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

  • "The God of the Bible is a moral monstrosity."

    Rev. Henry Ward Beecher

  • "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



  • "The endeavour 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

  • "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

  • "To say grace, knowing that people on this globe are starving, indicates a highly selfish acquiescence in the arrogantly supposed favouritism 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 is the effort to believe what your common sense tells you is not true."

    Elbert Hubbard

  • "Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel."

    Ambrose Bierce

  • "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

  • "The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence."

    Thomas H. Huxley

  • "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 channelled Atlantean priest as readily as a biblical prophet."

    Barbara G. Walker

  • "The most pernicious of absurdities is that weak, blind, stupid faith is better than the constant practice of every human virtue."

    Walter Savage Landor

  • "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

  • "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

  • "Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt."

    H. L. Mencken




  • "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 marvellous, and ought reasonably to beget a suspicion against all relations of this kind"

    David Hume

  • "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 tells a lie."

    Thomas Paine

  • "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

  • "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

  • "Miracles are propitious accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood."

    George Santayana

  • "[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

  • "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 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 behaviour 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


    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


    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?"


  • "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 leukaemia, 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

  • "The only excuse for God is that he doesn’t exist."

    Friedrich Nietzsche



    Religion and Individuality

  • "Under any religion, the pre-established 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



    Morality and Religion

    Religion's Arbitrary 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


    Religion Promotes Ignorant and Barbaric 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 Behaviour

  • "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




  • "With soap, baptism is a good thing."

    Robert Ingersoll



    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

  • "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 defences 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 anti-clerical stands, and it caused the movement in the later 1830s and 1840s to adopt increasingly secular policies."

    Merton L. Dillon

  • "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

  • "We the Confederate States of America, with God on our side in the defence 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



    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 Dickson White

  • "The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church."

    Ferdinand Magellan

  • "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

  • "Contraction of theological influence has at once been the best measure, and the essential condition of intellectual advance."

    William E. H. Lecky

  • "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 Nation's 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



    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 behaviour 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

  • "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, endeavour 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. . . . 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



    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 Saviours, records the stories of miraculous births of fifteen other saviours, 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

  • "[T]he 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



    Catholic Church

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


  • "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

  • "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 cruellest 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

  • "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 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."





  • ". . . 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

  • "At a conservative estimate, ten million witches were killed throughout Europe. . . . [T]he decline of witch-belief was . . . entirely the product of religious scepticism. . . . 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

  • "In proportion to its power, Protestantism has been as persecuting as Catholicism."

    William E. H. Lecky


  • "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



  • "As to the gods, I have no means of knowing either that they exist or do not exist."


  • "How should I know anything about another world when I know so little of this?"


  • "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

  • "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

  • "There is no difference. The Agnostic is an Atheist. The Atheist is an Agnostic. The Agnostic says: 'I do not know, but I do not believe there is any God.' The Atheist says the same."

    Robert Ingersoll

  • "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 lodgement 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




  • "The religion that is afraid of science dishonours God and commits suicide. . . . Every influx of atheism, of scepticism, is thus made useful as a mercury pill assaulting and removing a diseased religion, and making way for truth."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • "The atheist is a man who destroys the chimeras which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason."

    Baron d’Holbach

  • "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

  • "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

  • "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

  • "The great god Ra, whose shrine once covered acres, is filler now for crossword puzzle makers."

    Keith Preston

  • [From an ancient Roman tombstone:]


    "Do not pass by my epitaph, traveller.
    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, traveller,
    lest even while dead I seem loquacious to you."