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  • Smoky
    • Jun 2013
    • 1849

    #76
    Charles Caleb Colton. American author (1780-1832):
    The three great apostles of practical atheism that make converts without persecuting and retain them without preaching, are wealth, health, and power.

    Precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity as to those mysterious powers assumed by others.

    Comment

    • Smoky
      • Jun 2013
      • 1849

      #77
      Stendhal. French novelist (1783-1842):
      All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few.

      What excuses God is that he does not exist.

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      • Smoky
        • Jun 2013
        • 1849

        #78
        Arthur Schopenhauer. German philosopher (1788-1860):
        Religions are like glowworms; they shine only when it is dark.

        Religion must be regarded as a necessary evil, its necessity resting on the pitiful imbecility of the great majority of mankind, incapable of grasping the truth, and therefore requiring, in its pressing need, something to take its place.

        It is easy to let adulation of the Deity make amends for lack of proper behavior towards men. And so we see that in all times and in all countries the great majority of mankind find it much easier to beg their way to heaven by prayers than to deserve to go there by their actions.

        You are certainly right in insisting on the strong metaphysical needs of mankind; but religion appears to me to be not so much a satisfaction as an abuse of those needs.

        You may always observe that faith and knowledge are related as the scales of a balance; when the one goes up, the other goes down.

        That a god like Jehovah should have created this world of misery and woe, out of pure caprice, and because he enjoyed doing it, and should then have clapped his hands in praise of his own work, and declared everything to be very good--that will not do at all.

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        • Smoky
          • Jun 2013
          • 1849

          #79
          Percy Bysshe Shelley. English poet (1792-1822):
          There is no god. [opening line of The Necessity of Atheism]

          If God has spoken, why is the universe not convinced.

          Every superstition can produce its dupes, its miracles, and its mysteries; each is prepared to justify the peculiar tenets by an equal assemblage of portents, prophecies and martyrdoms.

          It is among men of genius and science that atheism alone is found.

          The plurality of worlds--the indefinite immensity of the universe--is a most awful subject of contemplation. He who rightly feels its mystery and grandeur is in no danger of seduction from the falsehoods of religious systems.

          That which is incapable of proof itself is no proof of anything else.

          Comment

          • Smoky
            • Jun 2013
            • 1849

            #80
            Thomas Carlyle. English visionary (1795-1881):
            I have for many years strictly avoided going to church and having anything to do with Mumbo-Jumbo.

            We know nothing: all is, and must be, utterly incomprehensible.

            Comment

            • Smoky
              • Jun 2013
              • 1849

              #81
              Heinrich Heine. German poet (1797-1856):
              In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides.

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              • Smoky
                • Jun 2013
                • 1849

                #82
                Ralph Waldo Emerson. American poet and essayist (1803-82):
                In churches, every healthy and thoughtful mind finds itself . . . checked, cribbed, confined. Other world? There is no other world! Here or nowhere is the whole fact.

                As man's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds as disease of the intellect.

                If I go into the churches in these days, I usually find the preacher, in proportion to his intelligence to be cunning, so that the whole institution sounds hollow.

                The believer tells me he has an evidence historical & internal which makes the presumption [of God's existence] so strong that it is almost a certainty that it rests on the highest of probabilities. Yes; but change that imperfect to perfect evidence & I too will be a Christian. But now it must be admitted I am not certain that any of these things are true. The nature of God may be different from what he is represented. I never beheld him. I do not know that he exists.

                Comment

                • Smoky
                  • Jun 2013
                  • 1849

                  #83
                  Ludwig Feuerbach. German theologian (1804-1872):
                  God has not created man, but man created God.

                  In brief, man in relation to God denies his own knowledge, his own thoughts, that he may place them in God. Man gives up his personality; but in return, God, the Almighty, infinite, unlimited being, is a person; [man] denies human dignity, the human ego; but in return God is to him a selfish, egotistical being, who in all things seeks only himself, his own honour, his own ends; [man] represents God as simply seeking the satisfaction of his own selfishness, while yet he frowns on that of every other being; his God is the very luxury of egoism.

                  Christianity has in fact long vanished, not only from the reason but also from the life of mankind, and it is nothing more than a fixed lie.

                  Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established.

                  He who says no more of me than that I am an atheist, says and knows nothing of me. . . . I deny God. But that means for me that I deny the negation of man. In place of the illusory, fantastic, heavenly position of man which in actual life necessarily leads to the degradation of man, I substitute the tangible, actual and consequently also the political and social position of mankind.

                  Though I myself am an atheist, I openly profess religion in the sense just mentioned, that is, nature religion. . . . I am not ashamed of my dependency on nature; I openly confess that the workings of nature affect not only my surface, my skin, my body, but also my core, my innermost being . . . And I do not, like a Christian, believe that such dependency is contrary to my true being or hope to be delivered from it. I know further that I am a finite mortal being, that I shall one day cease to be. But I find this very natural and am therefore perfectly reconciled to the thought.

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