George Carlin - Friedrich Nietzsche - Aristophanes - Charles Darwin - Alfred Russell Wallace - J M Barrie - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - George Bernard Shaw - Daniel C Dennett - Jonathan Miller & Colin McGinn - Jonathan Miller - Mignon McLaughlin - Julia Sweeney - II Corinthians 4:3&4 - Koran 3:54 - Koran 3:90&91&98-102&106&118&147&149&151&156 - Koran 9:23&24&26&84 - Robert Ingersoll - Albert Einstein - Charlie Chaplin - Richard Dawkins - 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God TV - Another 50 Renowned Academics Speaking About God TV - Clarence Darrow - Victor Meldrew - Carl Jung - Jean-Paul Sartre - Steve Martin - Jean-Yves Leloup - Charles Bukowski - Albert Camus - Erwin Schrodinger - Douglas Adams - Quentin Crisp - The Unbelievers 2013 - Charles de Lint -
I have certain rules I live by. My first rule: I don’t believe anything the government tells me. George Carlin
He just can’t believe what’s not happening to him. David Coleman, sports commentary
I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time. Friedrich Nietzsche
Doubt as sin – Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature – is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned. Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak: Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality
Surely you don’t believe in the gods. What’s your argument? Where’s your proof? Aristophanes
During these two years (i.e. October 1836 to January 1839) I was led to think much about religion. Whilst on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come, by this time, to see that the Old Testament from its manifestly false history of the world, with the Tower of Babel, the rainbow as a sign, etc., etc., and from its attributing to God the feelings of a revengeful tyrant, was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos, or the beliefs of any barbarian. The question then continually rose before my mind and would not be banished, – is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, would he permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, & c., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament. This appeared to me utterly incredible ...
I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire had some weight with me. Beautiful as is the morality of the New Testament, it can hardly be denied that its perfection depends in part on the interpretation which we now put on metaphors and allegories.
But I was very unwilling to give up my belief. Charles Darwin, Autobiography: Religious Belief
Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress, and have never since doubted even for a single second that my conclusion was correct. I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And this is a damnable doctrine. ibid.
Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist.
This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the Origin of Species; and it is since that time that it has very gradually with many fluctuations become weaker. But then arises the doubt – can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions? May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not yet fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for a monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake. ibid.
I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created parasitic wasps with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars. Charles Darwin
I remain an utter disbeliever in almost all that you consider the most sacred truths. I will pass over as utterly contemptible the oft-repeated accusation that sceptics shut out evidence because they will not be governed by the morality of Christianity ... I am thankful I can see much to admire in all religions. To the mass of mankind religion of some kind is a necessity. But whether there be a God and whatever be His nature; whether we have an immortal soul or not, or whatever may be our state after death, I can have no fear of having to suffer for the study of nature and the search for truth, or believe that those will be better off in a future state who have lived in the belief of doctrines inculcated from childhood, and which are to them rather a matter of blind faith than intelligent conviction. Alfred Russell Wallace, letter to brother in-law 1861
Every time a child says, I don’t believe in fairies, there’s a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead. J M Barrie, Peter Pan, 1928
Disbelief is more resistant than faith because it is sustained by the senses. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Of Love and Other Demons
It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief. George Bernard Shaw
I can’t even read this. Proposition Alpha ... It’s in Turkish. But I believe it’s true. Daniel C Dennett, Good Reasons for Believing in God, AAI 2007
We can pass the buck to the experts. ibid.
They insist that they don’t understand. They make a special, marvellous glory of the fact that the central propositions of their faith are incomprehensible even to the experts. Now this is just bizarre. ibid.
There are no good reasons for believing that God exists. And plenty of good reasons for believing that God does not exist. But there are several good reasons for declaring a belief in God. ibid.
They just don’t think about it ... Whatever those formulae mean ... it’s true. ibid.
They think that belief in God is for some reason obligatory. ibid.
They contrive to believe in God. ibid.
Strategic reasons: Their fear of God, their fear of a vengeful God ... Catastrophic collapse of consensus ... There are very good reasons to lie ... The belief by so many religious people that they have to cling tenaciously with white knuckles to their religious declarations. ibid.
Can we reason with them? No. ibid.
The very discussion of the issue undermines the consensus. ibid.
We are threatening them with a choice between betrayal and lying. ibid.
They passed the buck to the deceived. ibid.
We have to confront the murkiness. ibid.
The Concorde fallacy: When one makes a hopeless investment: I can’t stop now. ibid.
What we’ve seen is the evolution of the God concept in the last few thousand years from Yaweh [mountain] ... to the Ground of all Being. ibid.
The weathering of the God concept. ibid.
We all know people who deny that they’re atheists. Daniel Dennett, lecture How to Tell You’re an Atheist, Global Atheist Conference 2012
There’s the cognitive dissonance. ibid.
Of those 54% [UK] census Christians ... Half of them hadn’t attended a church service in the last year. ibid.
The son of God – how can you believe that? ibid.
There are better ways to help people lead better lives. ibid.
The unembarrassed exploitation of this convenient dodge by critics – as if they had never noticed how they are availing themselves of a parlour trick. ibid.
How do you tell wishful thinking from genuine belief? ibid.
Scientists know the anguish of confronting awful facts. ibid.
An adaptation of religious beliefs to be impenetrable in this way. ibid.
Cartoon [son to mother]: Aren’t you a little old to have an imaginary friend? ibid.