“Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“I contend we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” — Stephen F Roberts
“It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” — Mark Twain / Samuel Clemens
“A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets.” — Arthur C. Clarke
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” — Voltaire
“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing he has the gods on his side.” — Aristotle, Politics
As the American presidential campaign season is heating up, and candidates are making a show of professing their religiosity, this quote comes to mind.
“Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” — Marcus Aurelius
“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 of a miracle tells a lie.” — Thomas Paine, from The Age of Reason
Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but — more frequently than not — struggles against the divine word, treating with contempt all things that emanate from God.” — Martin Luther
On at least this point, I can mostly agree with Martin Luther, one of the founders of Protestantism. Of course, I don’t think anything actually emanates from God, because I don’t believe in God, but I would agree that reason treats with suspicion all things that theologians claim emanate from God. As it should. More pertinently, he’s right that reason is the greatest enemy faith has — even if he means this as lamentation, while I see it as praise.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” — Nelson Mandela
I often see theists say things which indicate that their beliefs are based in fear. Particularly fear of death, or fear of Hell. Fear motivates them, then they try to instill their fears in others. It’s a breath of fresh air to see this opposite kind of quote from a devout believer.