George Carlin - Thomas Jefferson - Giles Fraser - Daniel C Dennett - Victor Hugo - Henry II - Christopher Hitchens - James Madison - W E Gladstone - Nikola Tesla - Baron d’Holbach - George Eliot - Diarmaid MacCulloch TV - The Strange Case of the Law TV - Jane Austen - Thomas Hardy - Robert Tressell – Vincent van Gogh - Laurence Sterne - Rumpole of the Bailey TV -
But folks I have to tell you in the bullshit department a businessman can’t hold a candle to a clergyman. Because when it comes to bullshit, bigtime major-league bullshit, you have to stand in awe – in awe – of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims – Religion. No contest. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people, many of them adults, that there’s an invisible man who lives in the sky and watches everything they do, every minute of every day, and has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things he has a special place full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish where he will send You to remain and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry for ever and ever to the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money. He always needs money. He is all-powerful, all perfect, all-knowing and all-wise, somehow he just can’t handle money. Religion takes in billions of dollars, pays no taxes and somehow they always need a little more. Now you talk about a good bullshit story – holy shit! George Carlin, Napalm and Silly Putty audio
The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. Thomas Jefferson
I know it will give great offence to the clergy; but the advocate of religious freedom is to expect neither peace nor forgiveness from them. Thomas Jefferson
There was a time when the country vicar was a staple of the English dramatis personae. This tea-drinking, gentle eccentric, with his polished shoes and kindly manners, represented a type of religion that didn’t make non-religious people uncomfortable. Giles Fraser, Anglican vicar
Why are there atheist clergy at all? Daniel C Dennett, The Evolution of Confusion, AAI 2009
There is in every village a torch – the teacher, and an extinguisher – the clergyman. Victor Hugo
What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric? Henry II, cited Edward Grim, biographer
Lying to the dying for a living – what self-respecting person can do that? Christopher Hitchens v Rabbi David Wolpe, debate Boston 2010
The diabolical, hell-conceived, principle of persecution rages among some; and to their eternal infamy, the clergy can furnish their quota of imps for such a business. James Madison
Established clergy will always be a Tory corps d’armee. W E Gladstone
From my childhood I had been intended for the clergy. This prospect hung like a dark cloud on my mind. Nikola Tesla
Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense. Baron d’Holbach
The clergy are, practically, the most irresponsible of all talkers. George Eliot
The Pope [Gregory] now wanted all clergy to renounce sex. Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, Sex and the Church II: Sexual Revolution, BBC 2015
By the 13th century Church authorities had taken control of marriage, enforced celibacy on clergy and silenced Christian women. They had boosted their power by intruding into people’s private lives in unprecedented ways. ibid.
Protestants encouraged couples to enjoy sex within marriage. And even forced priests to marry. Catholic Europe was appalled. ibid.
The trial itself could be an ordeal. Literally ... ordeals were supervised by the clergy. The Strange Case of the Law I: The Story of English Justice: Laying Down the Law, BBC 2012
The clergy: they enjoyed their own legal system – canon law. ibid.
A clergyman has nothing to do but be slovenly and selfish – read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with his wife. His curate does all the work, and the business of his own life is to dine. Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Old Mr Clare was a clergyman of a type which, within the last twenty years, has wellnigh dropped out of contemporary life. A spiritual descendant in the direct line from Wycliff, Huss, Luther, Calvin; an Evangelical of the Evangelicals, a Conversionist, a man of Apostolic simplicity in life and thought, he had in his raw youth made up his mind once for all on the deeper questions of existence, and admitted no further reasoning on them thenceforth. Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D’Urbervilles
‘Well, the vicar goes about telling the Idlers that it’s quite right for them to do nothing, and that God meant them to have nearly everything that is made by those who work. In fact, he tells them that God made the poor for the use of the rich. Then he goes to the workers and tells them that God meant them to work very hard and to give all the good things they make to those who do nothing, and that they should be very thankful to God and to the idlers for being allowed to have even the very worst food to eat and the rags, and broken boots to wear. He also tells them they mustn’t grumble, or be discontented because they’re poor in this world, but that they must wait till they’re dead, and then God will reward them by letting them go to a place called heaven.’ Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist
The vicar doesn't believe it himself; he only pretends to ... because he wishes to live without working himself ... Most of the idlers know that what the vicar says is not true, but they pretend to believe it, and give him money for saying it, because they want him to go on telling it to the workers so that they will go on working and keep quiet and be afraid to think for themselves. ibid.
‘As for this religious business, it’s just a money-making dodge. It's the parson’s trade, just the same as painting is ours, only there’s no work attached to it and the pay’s a bloody sight better than ours is.’ ibid.
He had on an old black cassock and a much soiled and slightly torn surplice. The unseemly appearance of this dirty garment was heightened by the circumstance that he had not taken the trouble to adjust it properly. It hung all lop-sided, showing about six inches more of the black cassock underneath on side than the other … he could not afford to wear clean linen – at any rate, not the funerals of the lower classes. ibid.
After a wait of about ten minutes, the clergymen entered and, at once proceeding to the desk, began to recite in a rapid and wholly unintelligible manner the usual office … His attitude and manner were contemptuously indifferent. ibid.
And in the midst was the Reverend John Starr, doing the work for which he was paid.
As he stood there in the forefront of the company, there was nothing in his refined and comely exterior to indicate that his real function was to pander to and flatter them; to invest with an air of respectability and rectitude the abominably selfish lives of the gang of swindlers, slave-drivers and petty tyrants who formed the majority of the congregation of the Shining Light Chapel.
He was doing the work for which he was paid. But the mere fact of his presence there, condoning and justifying the crimes of these typical representatives of that despicable class whose greed and inhumanity have made the earth into a hell. ibid.
As for the clergy — No — If I say a word against them, I’ll be shot. — I have no desire, — and besides, if I had, — I durst not for my soul touch upon the subject, — with such weak nerves and spirits, and in the condition I am in at present, ’twould be as much as my life was worth, to deject and contrist myself with so bad and melancholy an account, — and therefore, ’tis safer to draw a curtain across, and hasten from it, as fast as I can, to the main and principal point I have undertaken to clear up, — and that is, How it comes to pass, that your men of least wit are reported to be men of most judgment. Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
The trouble with vicars is they make the most terrible witnesses. Rumpole of the Bailey s2e1: Rumpole and the Man of God, ITV 1979
What puzzles the ordinary fellow is, If God is all wise and perfectly good, then why on Earth did He put evil in the world? ibid. defendant
I have complete faith in your brother’s innocence. ibid. Rumpole
I thought you might of at least have told me the truth. ibid. Rumpole to Vicar