Category Archives: Quotes

Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?

In 1936, a young girl named Phyllis wrote a letter to Albert Einstein, on behalf of her Sunday school class, with the simple question, “Do scientists pray?”

The Riverside Church

January 19, 1936

My dear Dr. Einstein, 

We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered. 

We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?

We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis’s class.

Respectfully yours, 

Phyllis

———————-

January 24, 1936

Dear Phyllis, 

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science. 

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive. 

With cordial greetings, 

your A. Einstein

[Source: Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein’s Letters to and from Children]

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Homosexuality is Sinful?

 

[Source: From Twitter @littleLishka]

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Notable Atheist: Lance Armstrong

On Religion

The night before brain surgery, I thought about death. I searched out my larger values, and I asked myself, if I was going to die, did I want to do it fighting and clawing or in peaceful surrender? What sort of character did I hope to show? Was I content with myself and what I had done with my life so far? I decided that I was essentially a good person, although I could have been better–but at the same time I understood that the cancer didn’t care.

I asked myself what I believed. I had never prayed a lot. I hoped hard, I wished hard, but I didn’t pray. I had developed a certain distrust of organized religion growing up, but I felt I had the capacity to be a spiritual person, and to hold some fervent beliefs. Quite simply, I believed I had a responsiblity to be a good person, and that meant fair, honest, hardworking, and honorable. If I did that, if I was good to my family, true to my friends, if I gave back to my community or to some cause, if I wasn’t a liar, a cheat, or a thief, then I believed that should be enough. At the end of the day, if there was indeed some Body or presence standing there to judge me, I hoped I would be judged on whether I had lived a true life, not on whther I believed in a certain book, or whether I’d been baptized. If there was indeed a God at the end of my days, I hoped he didn’t say, “But you were never a Christian, so you’re going the other way from heaven.” If so, I was going to reply, “You know what? You’re right. Fine.”

I believed, too, in the doctors and the medicine and the surgeries–I believed in that. I believed in them. A person like Dr. Einhorn [his oncologist], that’s someone to believe in, I thought, a person with the mind to develop an experimental treatment 20 years ago that now could save my life. I believed in the hard currency of his intelligence and his research.

Beyond that, I had no idea where to draw the line between spiritual belief and science. But I knew this much: I believed in belief, for its own shining sake. To believe in the face of utter hopelessness, every article of evidence to the contrary, to ignore apparent catastrophe–what other choice was there? We do it every day, I realized. We are so much stronger than we imagine, and belief is one of the most valiant and long-lived human characteristics. To believe, when all along we humans know that nothing can cure the briefness of this life, that there is no remedy for our basic mortality, that is a form of bravery.

To continue believing in yourself, believing in the doctors, believing in the treatment, believing in whatever I chose to believe in, that was the most important thing, I decided. It had to be.

Without belief, we would be left with nothing but an overwhelming doom, every single day. And it will beat you. I didn’t fully see, until the cancer, how we fight every day gainst the creeping negatives of the world, how we struggle daily against the slow lapping of cynicism. Dispiritedness and disappointment, these were the real perils of life, not some sudden illness or cataclysmic millennium doomsday. I knew now why people fear cancer: because it is a slow and inevitable death, it is the very definition of cynicism and loss of spirit.

So, I believed.

From Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life, published by G.P Putnam’s Sons 2000. pp. 116-118

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Notable Atheist: Douglas Adams

On the burden of proof:

“I don’t accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me “Well, you haven’t been there, have you? You haven’t seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid” – then I can’t even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we’d got, and we’ve now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don’t think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don’t think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.”

On the arguments for religious ideas, contrasted with those for evolutionary biology:

“What astonished me, however, was the realization that the arguments in favor of religious ideas were so feeble and silly next to the robust arguments of something as interpretative and opinionated as history. In fact they were embarrassingly childish. They were never subject to the kind of outright challenge which was the normal stock in trade of any other area of intellectual endeavor whatsoever. Why not? Because they wouldn’t stand up to it. So I became an Agnostic. And I thought and thought and thought. But I just did not have enough to go on, so I didn’t really come to any resolution. I was extremely doubtful about the idea of god, but I just didn’t know enough about anything to have a good working model of any other explanation for, well, life, the universe and everything to put in its place. But I kept at it, and I kept reading and I kept thinking. Sometime around my early thirties I stumbled upon evolutionary biology, particularly in the form of Richard Dawkins’s books The Selfish Gene and then The Blind Watchmaker and suddenly (on, I think the second reading of The Selfish Gene) it all fell into place. It was a concept of such stunning simplicity, but it gave rise, naturally, to all of the infinite and baffling complexity of life. The awe it inspired in me made the awe that people talk about in respect of religious experience seem, frankly, silly beside it. I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.”

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Apologies for the hiatus. Work has been hectic. Look, cat. 

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Notable Atheist: David Cronenberg

From an interview in Film Threat, February 1997.

Q: Most of your films deal with various characters’ personal spirituality, yet you have never dealt directly with religion.

A: The reason why is that I’m not interested. You’re absolutely right. For me, it’s not even worth discussion. It doesn’t interest me. It interests me only to be discarded. If I start there, I’m mired in a discussion that is very unfruitful to me. I’m simply a non-believer and have been forever. To discuss religion is to put me in a debate with myself. I’m interested in saying, “Let us discuss the existential question. We are all going to die, that is the end of all consciousness. There is no afterlife. There is no God. Now what do we do.” That’s the point where it starts getting interesting to me. If I have to go back and say, “What if there is a God?” then I’m doing a debate that is not very interesting. You have to create one character who believes and another that doesn’t. It’s not an issue.

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“The miracles of the prophets are impostors or belong to the domain of pious legend. The teachings of religions are contrary to the one truth: the proof of this is that they contradict one another. It is tradition and lazy custom that have led men to trust their religious leaders. Religions are the sole cause of the wars which ravage humanity; they are hostile to philosophical speculation and to scientific research. The alleged holy scriptures are books without values.” – Abu Bakr Muhammad Ibn Zakaria al-Razi in 864

“There need be no scheme of rewards and punishments transcending this life to justify our moral intuitions or to render them effective in guiding our behaviour in the world. The only angels we need invoke are those of our better nature: reason, honesty, and love. The only demons we must fear are those that lurk inside every human mind: ignorance, hatred, greed, and faith, which is surely the devil’s masterpiece.” – Sam Harris, from The End of Faith.  

Notable Atheist: Ira Glass

“I just find I don’t believe in God. It just doesn’t seem to be true, and no amount of thinking about it seems to make it true. It seems inherently untrue. And the thing that’s hard about honing that position is, as a reporter, I’ve seen many times how a belief in God has transformed somebody’s life. In all the ways I feel like you can witness God’s work here on earth, I feel like I’ve seen that. I’ve met a lot of people — it’s been the thing that’s changed them, that’s sustained them in a way that I wish I could believe. But I simply find I don’t and I don’t feel like it’s something I have a choice about. I could pretend I believe a God exists, but the world seems explainable to me without it.”

“I remember, even when I was growing up a little kid, it all seemed, especially the Christian version — arbitrary. That the entire universe would be created, and the system that was set up was: you could actually lead a perfectly good life, and a life organized around good deeds and caring for others, and yet if you simply didn’t accept Jesus himself, the Creator of the Universe would feel so vengeful about it that you’d be condemned to an eternity of torture. It just seemed like a really weird system. Like what difference would it make to the Creator of Everything? The whole thing seemed really arbitrary. Even as a kid, I felt like, “Well, if that’s the system: fine. I accept my damnation. I don’t think it’s a fair system. But fine.” I just don’t believe.”

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“Respect is earned, simple. Religion has done nothing to deserve any respect. As a rationalist and humanist, I will not acquiesce it.” – Me

Notable Atheist: Angelina Jolie

Question: Is there a god? 

“There doesn’t need to be a God for me. There’s something in people that’s spiritual, that’s godlike. I don’t feel like doing things just because people say things, but I also don’t really know if it’s better to just not believe in anything, either.” 

Note: I’m not sure if Jolie is an Atheist, as she hasn’t claimed that. The focus is more on her life’s philosophy that she doesn’t need god.

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Reason Rally: The Power of Reason and People

On March 24th, 2012, Washington, D.C. hosted the world’s largest secular event. The Reason Rally is a movement-wide event sponsored by the country’s major secular organizations. The intent is to unify, energize, and embolden secular people nationwide, while dispelling the negative opinions held by a religiously-biased society.

Here are the two best quotes from the event, in my opinion.

Adam Savage, host of MythBusters:

“I have concluded through careful, empirical analysis and much thought that somebody is looking out for me. Keeping track of what I think about things, forgiving me when I do less then I ought, giving me strength to shoot for more than I think I am capable of. I believe they know everything that I do and think and they still love me and I’ve concluded after careful consideration that this person keeping score is me.”

Richard Dawkins

“How is it conceivable that the laws of physics should conspire together without guidance, without direction, without any intelligence to bring us into the world? Now we do have intelligence. Intelligence comes into the world, comes into the universe late. It’s come into the world through our brains and maybe other brains in the universe. Now at last — finally — after 4 billion years of evolution we have the opportunity to bring some intelligent design into the world. We need intelligent design. We need to intelligently design our morals, our ethics, our politics, our society. We need to intelligently design the way we run our lives, not look back to scrolls — I was going to say ancient scrolls, they’re not even very ancient, about 800 BC the book of Genesis was written. I am often accused of expressing contempt and despising religious people. I don’t despise religious people; I despise what they stand for.”

A tribute video to Christopher Hitchens that was broadcasted at the rally.

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Gore Vidal on Monotheism

Gore Vidal is an American Author, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, and political activist, noted for his irreverent and intellectually adroit novels. A fierce and controversial figure, Vidal has often been a critic of American politics and established religions. 

The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism. From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal — God is the Omnipotent Father — hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the sky-god and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is not just in place for one tribe, but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and those of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family at home.

The founders of the United States were not enthusiasts of the sky-god. Many, like Jefferson, rejected him altogether and placed man at the center of the world. The young Lincoln wrote a pamphlet against Christianity, which friends persuaded him to burn. Needless to say, word got around about both Jefferson and Lincoln, and each had to cover his tracks. Jefferson said that he was a deist, which could mean anything or nothing, while Lincoln, hand on heart and tongue in cheek, said he could not support for office anyone who “scoffed” at religion.

From the beginning, sky-godders have always exerted great pressure in our secular public. Also, evangelical Christian groups have always drawn strength from those who have been suppressed economically. African slaves were allowed to organize sky-god churches, as a surrogate for earthly freedom. White churches were organized in order to make certain that the rights of property were respected and that the numerous religious taboos in the New and Old Testaments would be enforced, if necessary, by civil law. The ideal to which John Adams subscribed–that we would be a nation of laws, not of men–was quickly subverted when the churches forced upon everyone, through those supposedly neutral and just laws, their innumerable taboos on sex, alcohol, gambling. We are now indeed a nation of laws, mostly bad and certainly anti-human.

Roman Catholic migrations in the last century further re-enforced the Puritan sky-god. The Church has also put itself on a collision course with the Bill of Rights when it asserts, as it always has, that “error has no rights.” The last correspondence between John Adams and Thomas
Jefferson expressed their alarm that the Jesuits were to be allowed into the United States. Although the Jews were sky-god folks, they followed Book One, not Book Two, so they have no mission to convert others; rather the reverse. Also, as they have been systematically demonized by the Christian sky-godders, they tended to be liberal and so turned not to their temple but to the ACLU. Unfortunately, the recent discovery that the sky-god, in his capacity as realtor, had given them, in perpetuity, some parcels of unattractive land called Judea and Sumeria has, to my mind, unhinged many of them. I hope this is temporary.

In the First Amendment to the Constitution, the founders made it clear that this was not to be a sky-god nation with a national religion like that of England from whom we had just separated. It is curious how little understood this amendment is–yes, everyone has a right to worship any god he chooses but he does not have the right to impose his beliefs on others who do not happen to share in his superstitions and taboos. This separation is absolute in our original republic. But the sky-godders do not give up easily. In the 1950s they actually got the phrase “In God We Trust” onto the currency, in direct violation of the First Amendment. Although many of the Christian evangelists feel it necessary to convert everyone on earth to their primitive religion, they have been prevented–so far–from enforcing others to worship as they do but they have forced–most tyrannically and wickedly–their superstitions and hatreds upon all of us, through the civil law and through general prohibitions. So it is upon that account that I now favor an all-out war on the monotheists.

Let us dwell upon the evils that they have wrought. The hatred of the blacks comes straight from their Bad Book. As descendants of Ham, blacks are forever accursed while St. Paul tells the slaves to obey their masters. Racism is in the marrow of the bone of the true believer. For him, black is forever inferior to white and deserves whatever ill-fortune may come his way. The fact that some monotheists can behave charitably means, often, that their prejudice is at so deep a level that they are not aware that it is there at all. In the end, this makes any radical change of attitude impossible. Meanwhile, welfare has been the price the sky-godders were willing to pay to exclude blacks from their earthly political system. So we must live–presumably forever–with a highly enervating race war set in train by the one God and his many hatreds.

Patriarchal rage at the thought of Woman ever usurping Man’s place at the helm, in either home or workplace, is almost as strong now as it ever was. According to the polls, most American women took the side of Clarence Thomas against Anita Hill. But then the sky-god’s fulminations against women are still very much part of the psyche of those in thrall to the Jealous God.

The ongoing psychopathic hatred of same-sex sexuality has made the United States the laughingstock of the civilized world. In most of the First World, monotheism is weak. Where it is weak or nonexistent, private sexual behavior has nothing at all to do with anyone else, much less with the law. At least when the Emperor Justinian, a sky-god man, decided to outlaw sodomy, he had to come up with a good practical reason, which he did. It is well known, Justinian declared, that buggery is a principal cause of earthquake and so must be prohibited. But our sky-godders, always eager to hate, still quote Leviticus, as if that loony text had anything useful to say about anything, except perhaps the inadvisability of eating shellfish in the Jerusalem area.

We are now slowly becoming alarmed at the state of the planet. For a century, we have been breeding like a virus under optimum conditions and now the virus has begun to attack its host, the earth. The lower atmosphere is filled with dust, we have just been told from space. The
climate changes; earth and water are poisoned. Sensible people grow alarmed but sky-godders are serene, even smug. The planet is just a staging area for Heaven. Why bother to clean it up? Unfortunately for everyone, Mr. Bush’s only hope of winning in the coming election is to appeal to the superstitious. So he refuses to commit our government to the great clean-up partly because it affects the incomes of the 100 corporate men and women who pay for him and largely because of the sky-god who told his slaves “to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Well, we did just like you told us, massa. We’ve used everything up. We’re ready for heaven now. Or maybe Mars will do.

Ordinarily, as a descendant of that eighteenth-century enlightenment which shaped our republic, I would say live and let live, and I would try not to “scoff”–to use Lincoln’s verb–at the monotheists. But I am not allowed to ignore them. They won’t let me. They are too busy. They have a divine mission to take away our rights as private citizens. We are forbidden abortion here, gambling there, same-sex almost everywhere, drugs everywhere, alcohol in a dry county. Our prisons are the most terrible in the First World and the most crowded. Our Death Row executions are a source of deep disgust in civilized countries where more and more we are regarded as a primitive, uneducated, and dangerous people. Although we are not allowed, under law, to kill ourselves or to take drugs that the good folk think might be bad for us, we are allowed to buy a handgun and shoot as many people as we can get away with.

Now, as poor Arthur–“there is this pendulum”–Schlesinger, Jr. would say, these things come in cycles. Every 20 years liberal gives way to conservative, and back again. But I suggest that what is wrong now is not cyclic but systemic. And our system, like any system, is obeying the second law of thermodynamics: Everything is running down; and we are well advanced along the yellow brick road to entropy. I don’t think that much of anything can be done to halt this progress under our present political-economic system. We lost poor Arthur’s pendulum in 1950 when our original constitution was secretly replaced with the apparatus of the national security state that still wastes most of our tax money on war or war-related matters. Hence, deteriorating schools, and so on. For some years, I have proposed that we hold a constitutional convention on the ground that it would be better to get the whole business out in the open for discussion. Unfortunately, every one of us has been conditioned by school and pulpit and media to believe that the original constitution is perfect even though it no longer functions except as a sort of totem like the flag. Congress no longer declares war or makes budgets. So that’s the end of the constitution as a working machine. The thoughtful are also afraid that if the religious folk could review and revise the constitution, all our liberties would go. Certainly, they will try. But I don’t think they’ll win. Madison’s iron law of oligarchy is too strong. The Few, presumably enlightened about their rights, will guide the Many, as usual. In any case, it is better to lose our rights dramatically at a convention–thus provoking civil war–than to lose them gradually and furtively, as we are now losing them.

Another of our agreed-upon fantasies is that we do not have a class system in the United States. The Few who control the Many through Opinion have simply made themselves invisible. They have convinced us that we are a classless society where anyone can make it. Ninety percent of our newspaper stories are about winners of lotteries or poor boys and girls who, despite adenoidal complaints, become overnight millionaire singers. So there is still hope, the press tells the folks, for the 99% who will never achieve wealth no matter how hard they work. We are also warned at birth that it is not polite to hurt other people’s feelings by criticizing their religion even though that religion may be damaging everyone through the infiltration of our common laws. Happily, the Few can not disguise the bad times through which we are all going. Word is spreading that America is now falling behind in the civilization sweepstakes. So isn’t it time to discuss what we really think and feel about our social and economic arrangements?

The authors of a recent book, The Day Americans Told the Truth, gave it a try. Unfortunately, they revealed that 92% of those polled confessed to being habitual liars. This is a bit like the oldest recorded joke: a citizen on the island of Crete said, “All Cretans are liars.” Proposition: is what he said true or false? So the book’s information on attitudes may not be useful. But the pollsters should have examined the reason why people are so frightened that they must habitually lie about their true feelings and thoughts. Tocqueville suspected that the instinctive tyranny of the American majority would produce a terrified conformity. He seems to have been right. Certainly, nothing of any importance may be discussed in our political life.

Even today, with two anti-establishment candidates in the field, only Brown has begun to examine the amount of money that the national security state siphons out of the economy to pay for Pentagon, CIA, SDI–as well as the potential cost of the latest scenarios of possible upcoming wars in the future. Though the specifics of these wars are absurd, the implications are grim: because the Ownership will make those wars happen, as they always do, whether comically in Grenada or tragically in Vietnam. War is all that they know and all that they care about, because through the demonizing of this or that enemy they can keep the money flowing to them–while depriving the people at large of all those things that other First World people possess–from schools to health care. Now the war budget is the only subject for a political campaign at the end of what has not turned out to be the American century after all. In fact, the year 2000 will not only mark the end of American primacy but the end of the hegemony of the white race. We shall comprise about 16% of the world’s population in eight years. Let us hope that the other tribes, particularly those of Asia, in their triumph, do not treat us as badly as we have treated them.

Although we may not discuss race other than to say that Jesus wants each and every one of us for a sunbeam, history is nothing more than the bloody record of the migration of tribes. When the white race broke out of Europe 500 years ago, it did many astounding things all over the globe. Inspired by a raging sky-god, the whites were able to pretend that their conquests were in order to bring the One God to everyone, particularly those with older and subtler religions. Now the tribes are on the move again. Professor Pendulum is having a nervous breakdown because so many different tribes are arriving to live here and so far not one has had time to read The Age of Jackson. I think the taking in of everybody can probably be overdone. There may not be enough jobs for too many more immigrants though what prosperity we have ever enjoyed in the past was usually based on slave or near-slave labor–new arrivals who would work in the sweatshops much as they do today in every restaurant kitchen. No wonder the Ownership has always denied us a strong labor movement and that the 14% of the work force that is organized is constantly demonized as tools of the Soviet Union of yesteryear or of the Mafia today.

On the other hand, I think Asiatics and Hispanics are a plus culturally, and their presence tends to refocus, somewhat, the relentless white versus black war. Where I am as one with my friend Pendulum is that the newcomers must grasp certain principles as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Otherwise, we shall become a racially divided state like the old South Africa, while enjoying, of course, the new Brazilian economy.

For 30 years I have drawn attention to the fact that we do not have political parties in the United States. This always caused distress among the media who are in place to make us think that we have a choice every four years to elect a president who will represent the people at large. Instead, we get someone like Bush whose only program, other than war, is cutting the capital gains tax, the price demanded of him by his 100 angels and their friends. I am happy that, finally, my views have begun to seep into the public debate. Even the dullest newspaper reporter now agrees that there isn’t a lot of difference between Democrats and Republicans. Also my idea of limiting election campaigns to six weeks has been noted favorably, while there was actually a discussion on the admirable Crier’s program that if networks and cable and radio were to give free time for the candidates they would not need to raise so much crooked money. Sad to say, my noblest cause–the taxation of all religions–has not surfaced this year, while the legalization of drugs is a non-subject since drugs have replaced communism on the Pentagon hit list.

But to revert again to the unmentionable, religion. It should be noted that religion seemed to be losing its hold in the United States in the second quarter of this century. From the Scopes Trial in ’25 to the Repeal of Prohibition in ’33, the sky-godders were confined pretty much to the backwoods. Then television was invented, and the electronic pulpit was soon occupied by a horde of Elmer Gantrys who took advantage of the tax exemption for religion. Thus, out of greed, a religious revival has been set in motion, and the results are predictably poisonous to the body politic.

It is usual, on the rare occasions when essential problems are addressed, to exhort everyone to be kinder, gentler. To bring us together, oh, lord, in our common humanity. Well, we have heard these exhortations for a couple of hundred years, and we are further apart now than ever. So instead of coming together in order that the many might be one, I say let us separate so that each will know where he stands. From the one many, and each of us free of the sky-god, as secular law-giver. I preach, to put it bluntly, confrontation.

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Notable Atheist: Gore Vidal

 

“Once people get hung up on theology, they’ve lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.”

“The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.” 

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Yes, complications in life almost always require our personal guiding hand to amend the wrongs in our human journey.

But sometimes, there are no solutions, no amendments. Life just happens; bad things just happen, very much like the good things. It’s the incessant delusion of man to hope for a remedy, a fix for the unfixable, that leads us down the tormented path of false hope.

It’s not giving up, it’s moving on, moving forward. It’s being courageous enough to accept the chaotic randomness of the world we populate, while understanding that the purpose of life is to first live it to the fullest; understanding and deciphering it is not mandatory.

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Notable Atheist: Roger Ebert

“I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear. I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state.” 

“My opinions have been challenged. I had to defend what I believed. I did some more reading. I discovered fractals and Strange Attractors. I wrote an entry about the way I believe in God, which is to say that I do not. Not, at least, in the God that most people mean when they say God. I grant you that if the universe was Caused, there might have been a Causer. But that entity, or force, must by definition be outside space and time; beyond all categories of thought, or non-thought; transcending existence, or non-existence. What is the utility of arguing our “beliefs” about it? What about the awesome possibility that there was no Cause? What if everything…just happened?”

 

“The truth hidden below the surface of the story is a hard one: Nothing makes any sense. We do not get what we deserve. If we are lucky, we get more. If we are unlucky, we get less. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. That’s the system. All of our philosophies are a futile attempt to explain it. Let me tell you a story. Not long ago, I was in the middle of a cheerful conversation when I slipped on wet wax, landed hard, and broke bones in my left shoulder. I was in a fool’s paradise of happiness, you see, not realizing that I was working without a net–that in a second my happiness would be rudely interrupted.

I could have hit my head and been killed. Or landed better and not been injured. At best, what we can hope for is a daily reprieve from all of the things that can go wrong. And yet, even so, there is a way to find happiness. That is to be curious about all of the interlocking events that add up to our lives. To notice connections. To be amused or perhaps frightened by the ways things work out. If the universe is indifferent, what a consolation that we are not.”

 

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Notable Atheist: Björk

Question: “Given the chance, how would you change the world?”

“It’s a big question. Getting rid of religion would be a good start, wouldn’t it? It seems to be causing a lot of havoc.”

 

“I’ve got my own religion, Iceland sets a world-record. The United Nations asked people from all over the world a series of questions. Iceland stuck out on one thing. When we were asked what do we believe, 90% said, ‘ourselves’. I think I’m in that group. If I get into trouble, there’s no God or Allah to sort me out. I have to do it myself.”

“I’ve been reading about reincarnation, and the Buddhists say we come back as animals and they refer to them as lesser beings. Well, animals aren’t lesser beings, they’re just like us. So I say fuck the Buddhists.”

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“Only the very ignorant are perfectly satisfied that they know. To the common man the great problems are easy. He has no trouble in accounting for the universe. He can tell you the origin and destiny of man and the why and wherefore of things. As a rule, he is a believer in special providence, and is egotistic enough to suppose that everything that happens in the universe happens in reference to him.”

Robert Green Ingersoll

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Notable Atheist: Rafael Nadal

Almost every bad thing that happens in life comes from some form of radicalism, it only unleashes problems that should be fixed. You are entitled to have your likings, sympathies, beliefs, but you should always respect the opinions of others, never insult them. The same happens with religion. You can be religious, or atheist, christian, muslim… whatever, but I think the atrocities that people committed in the name of religion are too much. For me, religion is the main cause of mortality in history.

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Richard Dawkins: Education is the only antidote to religion

Evolutionary biologist and author of The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins believes that education is the only ‘antidote’ to religion. “We need to protect children from being indoctrinated. It goes on to the next generation and then they see that their children get indoctrinated. Children are getting educated into the religion of their parents. We shouldn’t just assume that a child of a Christian becomes a Christian,” he says.

If children are taught, however moderately, that faith is a virtue, they are taught that they don’t need evidence to believe something; that they can believe something just because it’s their faith, then that paves the way for the minority to become extremists. If children are taught that they don’t need to defend their beliefs with evidence, then that does pave the way for extremism.

There seems to be a correlation with education. It’s certainly true within the US — the more educated people are more likely to give up religion. I’m sure that’s true in India as well.” A recent study done supports Dawkins’ statement, suggesting that religion might be extinct in nine countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Dawkins has often been called an atheist fundamentalist, the other extreme of a religious fundamentalist. His rebuttal: “A fundamentalist is someone who doesn’t change his mind at all. I’m open to any argument that has compelling evidence to support it, Science advances by disproving hypotheses and getting things wrong. In the case of the neutrino experiment — the suggestion that neutrinos may travel faster than light — if that’s true, it’s a revolution in physics. But there’s also a very good chance that that’s an error, not necessarily a deliberate one,” he says.

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Notable Atheist: Brad Pitt

“When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn’t a loss of faith for me, it was a discovery of self. I had faith that I’m capable enough to handle any situation. There’s peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I’m responsible.”

 

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Religulous: A Battle Cry

In ‘Religulous‘, Bill Maher’s ending monologue was a battle cry to the rationalists, to the free-thinkers of the world to be heard, to be counted for. It’s very important that we don’t hide in our cocoons as the world crumbles through the blatant pollution of religion and its followers:- 

“The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end… Plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live.

The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge having in key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists. By those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.

George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn’t learn a lot about it…

Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It’s nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.

Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don’t have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it’s wonderful when someone says, “I’m willing, Lord! I’ll do whatever you want me to do!” Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas…

And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you you don’t. How can I be so sure? Because I don’t know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that’s what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a littany of getting shit dead wrong…

This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves.

And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you comes at a horrible price…

If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you’d resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers.

If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let’s remember what the real problem was. We learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

That’s it. Grow up or die.”

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Notable Atheist: Seth McFarlane

“I’m an atheist, not to be a dick, but just cause it seems like the most likely scenario. But you’ve kind of got to envy the people who are living in this warm pillow… It’s a blessing, ironically, and a curse to be so pragmatic, because you know, you do miss that cushion that a lot of people seem to have.”

“Religion notoriously claims that they invented morality, they didn’t. Morality exists in animals.”

“Stay away from the church. In the battle over science vs. religion, science offers credible evidence for all the serious claims it makes. The church says, ‘Oh, it’s right here in this book, see? The one written by people who thought the sun was magic?’ I for one would like to see some proof that there is a God. And if you say ‘a baby’s smile’ I’m going to kick you right in the stomach.”

“They’re [Parents Television Council] literally terrible human beings. I’ve read their newsletter, I’ve visited their website, and they’re just rotten to the core. For an organization that prides itself on Christian values—I mean, I’m an atheist, so what do I know?—they spend their entire day hating people. They can all suck my dick as far as I’m concerned.”

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Notable Atheist: Hugh Laurie

“I don’t believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he’d take it away. So he’ll be like: ‘You think this is going pretty well?’ Then he’ll go and send down some big disaster.”

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Notable Atheist: Daniel Radcliffe

“I don’t [believe in God]. I have a problem with religion or anything that says, “We have all the answers,” because there’s no such thing as “the answers.” We’re complex. We change our minds on issues all the time. Religion leaves no room for human complexity.”

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Notable Atheist: Katherine Hepburn

“I am 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.” 

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The Blow-up Doll

A guy goes in an adult store and asks for an inflatable doll.

The guy behind the counter says, “Male or female?”

The customer says, “Female”

The counter guy asks, “Black or white?”

The customer says, “White”

The counter guy asks, “Christian or Muslim?”

The customer says, “What the hell does religion have to do with it?”

The counter guy says, “The Muslim one blows itself up!”

[Source: Sickipedia]

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“Religious faith not only lacks evidence, its independence from evidence is its pride and joy, shouted from the rooftops.”

Richard Dawkins 

“The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.”

Christopher Hitchens