I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibit the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation church and state.
— Thomas Jefferson
The number, the industry, and morality of the priesthood and the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of church and state.
— James Madison
I believe that complete separation of church and state is one of those miraculous things which can be best for religion and best for the state, and best for those who are religious and those who are not religious. I believe that history of the first amendment and also the constitution itself, which forbids religious tests for public office, have testified to the healthful endurance of a principle which is the greatest treasure of the United States has given the world: the principal of complete separation of church and state. I’m here to tell you that that principle is endangered today.
— Leo Pfeffer, Sept.29, 1985
I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious–except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind and keep them shut by force. — Mark Twain In the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction religion offers to both is too palpable.
— Sigmund Freud
It was only when I undertook to read the Bible from beginning to end that I perceived that its depiction of the Lord God–whom I had always viewed as the very embodiment of perfection–was actually that of a monstrous, vengeful tyrant, far exceeding in bloodthirstiness and insane savagery the depredations of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Attila the Hun, or any other mass murderer of ancient or modern history.
— Steve Allen
The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do to their fellows, because it always coincides with their on desires.
— Susan B. Anthony
Religion is used as a club and a cloak by both politicians and moralists, all lusting for power and most of them palpable frauds.
— H.L. Menkin
Generally, religious people are humbled by religion and are guided by it on the inside. They don’t need to wear Jesus on the outside as a designer label.
— Maureen Dowd
Why go to the Bible [about woman suffrage]? What question was ever settled by the Bible? What question of theology or any other department? The Human mind is greater than any book. The mind sits in judgement of every book. If there be truth in the book, we take it; if error, we discard it. Why refer this to the Bible? In this country the Bible has been used to support slavery and capitol punishment; while in the old countries, it has been quoted to sustain all manner of tyranny and persecution. All reforms are anti-Bible.
— William Lloyd Garrison
I would make haste to join a church if I could find one that did not require the belief in elaborate supernatural doctrines and instead and simply preach the word, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”
— Abraham Lincoln
The legitimate powers of government extend only to such acts as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty Gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
— Thomas Jefferson
I believe in the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow creatures happy.
— Thomas Paine
The multitude, ever prone to superstition, and caring more for the shreds of antiquity than for eternal truths, pay homage to the books of the Bible rather than the word of God.
Since soul nor ought belonging to soul can really and truly exist, the view that holds that this I who am “word”, who am “soul” shall hereafter live permanent, persisting, unchanging, yea abide eternally; is this not utterly and entirely a foolish doctrine?
— Gotama Siddhattha, The Buddha, 563 to 483 BCE
Do not judge what is said by who said it; Do to others what you would want done to you; Always practice what you preach; Not to talk to one who could be talked to is to waste a man; To talk to those who cannot be talked to is to waste ones words.
— Confucius, 551 to 479 BCE
We are victims of an age when men of science are discredited. Our philosophers spend all their time in mixing true with false and are interested in nothing but outward show. When they see a man sincere and unremitting in his search for the truth, one who will have nothing to do with falsehood and pretense, they mock and despise him.
— Omar Khayyam, 1048 to 1131 CE
Morality can be a meaningful concept and a desirable goal only in the absence of belief in a first cause.
— David Hume
The glory of Democracy is its ability to admit to the existence of problems, coupled with the institutionalized means of dealing with them. And the glory of science is the power of the method it can offer for this democratic task. The scientific way of knowing is the only reliable instrument ever invented for solving the problems posed by experience and the most democratic.
— John Dewey
Only humanity can supply compassion amidst raw, brutal nature; The injection of morality in an amoral universe is the privilege and the duty of our species alone. Humans must stop avoiding their responsibility and guilt by wishfully projecting love and purpose in the cosmos.
— Albert Schweitzer
Since the only potentially universal type of knowledge is scientific in the broad sense of resting on verified observation or experiment, it follows that this unity of knowledge will only be obtained by the abandonment of non-scientific methods of systematizing experience such as mythology, superstition, magico-religious, and purely institutional formulations.
— Julian Huxley
Humanity can no longer afford to seek refuge in the false security of supernatural fantasy, for continued reliance on heavenly solutions could kill us all. It is human beings alone who are destroying the world and so it must be we alone who can save it.
— Issac Asimov
Spirituality comes from the Greek word “to breath.” What we breath is air ,which is certainly matter however thin. Despite usage to the contrary, there is no necessary implication that it is anything other than matter or anything outside the realm of science. Science is not only compatible with spirituality but is a profound source of spirituality. The notion that science and spirituality are mutually exclusive does profound disservice to both.
— Carl Sagan
I believe that an orderly universe, one indifferent to human preoccupations, in which everything has an explanation even if we have a long way to go before we find it, is a more beautiful, more wonderful place than a universe tricked out with capricious, ad hoc magic.
— Richard Dawkins
To work hard, to live hard, to die hard and then go to hell would be to damned hard.
— Carl Sandburg
All That my work has shown is that you don’t have to say that the way the universe began was the personal whim of God.
— Stephen Hawking
As my ancestors are free from slavery, I am free from the slavery of religion.
— Butterfly McQueen
Who burnt heretics? Who roasted or drowned millions of witches? Who built dungeons and filled them? Who brought forth cries of agony from honest men and women that rang to the tingling stars? Who burnt Bruno? Who spat filth over the graves of Paine and Voltaire? The answer is one word–CHRISTIANS.
— G.W. Foote
I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed.
— Jack London
I am now convinced that children should not subjected to the frightfulness of the Christian religion. . .If the concept of a father who plots to have his own son put to death is presented to children as beautiful and as worthy of society’s admiration, what type of human behavior can be represented to them reprehensible?
— Ruth Hurmence Green
Theism as a way of defining god is dead. . .since god can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to understand Jesus as the incarnation of a theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.
— Bishop John Shelby Spong
The historical saga contained in the Bible - from Abraham’s encounter with God and his journey to Canaan, to Moses’ deliverance of the children of Israel from bondage to the rise and fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah – was not a miraculous revelation, but a product of the human imagination.
— Israel Finkelstien and Neil Asher Silberman “The Bible Unearthed”
We all ought to under stand that we are on our own. Believing in Santa Claus doesn’t do kids any harm for a few years but it isn’t smart for them to continue to wait all their lives for him to come down the chimney with something wonderful. Santa Claus and God are cousins. Christians talk as though goodness was their idea but good behavior doesn’t have any religious origin. Our prisons are filled with the devout. I’d be more willing to accept religion, even if I didn’t believe in it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other but I don’t think that it does.
— Andy Rooney
Christian Fundamentalists seem to have little regard for the loving compassion of Christ. . . this type of religiosity is actually a retreat from God. This type of belligerent righteousness has been a constant temptation to monotheists throughout the long history of God. It must be rejected as inauthentic.
— Karen Armstrong
I do not believe that a decay in dogmatic belief can do anything but good. What the world needs is not dogma but an attitude of scientific inquiry combined with the belief that the torture of millions is not desirable, wether inflicted by Stalin or a Deity imagined in the likeness of the believer.
— Bertrand Russell