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Agnosticism is a perfectly respectable and tenable philosophical position; it is not dogmatic and makes no pronouncements about the ultimate truths of the universe. It remains open to evidence and persuasion; lacking faith, it nevertheless does not deride faith. Sydney J Harris
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
I make fun of people who are religious because I think they are fundamentally weak. But I want you to know that on a personal level when it comes to believing in God I tried. I mean I really really tried. I tried to believe that there’s a God who created us in his own image, loves us very much, then keeps a close eye on things. I tried to believe it. But I gotta tell you, the longer you live, and the more you look around, the more you realise something is fucked up. Something is wrong. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. Results like these do not belong on the resumé of a supreme being. This is the kind of stuff you’d expect from the office temp with a bad attitude. In any well managed universe this guy would have been out on his all-powerful ass a long time ago. So if there is a God, if there is, I think reasonable people might agree he is at least incompetent and maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t give a shit. Which I admire in a person. And which would explain a lot of his results. George Carlin, More Napalm and Silly Putty
If we could just find out who’s in charge, we could kill him. George Carlin live
Faith is a fine invention
For gentlemen to see;
But microscopes are prudent
In an emergency. Emily Dickinson, Faith is a Fine Invention
By breaking one main concept out of Christianity, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Friedrich Nietzsche
Faith means not wanting to know what is true. Friedrich Nietzsche
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. Friedrich Nietzsche
There are would-be murderers all round the world who want to kill you and me and themselves because they’re motivated by what they think is the highest ideal ... The elephant in the room: an elephant called Religion. The suicide bomber is convinced that in killing for his God, he will be fast-tracked to a special martyr’s heaven. Richard Dawkins, The Root of All Evil? The God Delusion, Channel 4 2006
The process of non-thinking called faith. I’m a scientist and I believe there is a profound contradiction between Science and religious belief. There is no well demonstrated reason to believe in God. And I think the idea of a divine creator belittles the elegant reality of the universe. ibid.
Religious faith discourages independent thought, it’s divisive and it’s dangerous. ibid.
The comfort it provides is a shallow pretence. ibid.
People like to say that faith and science can live together side by side, but I don’t think they can. They’re deeply opposed. Science is a discipline of investigation and constructive doubt, questing with logic, evidence and reason to draw conclusions; faith by stark contrast demands a positive suspension of critical faculties. Science proceeds by setting up hypotheses, ideas or models and then attempts to disprove them, so a scientist is constantly asking questions, being sceptical. Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. ibid.
Science is about testing, comparing and corroborating this mass of evidence, and using it to update old theories of how things work. ibid.
Evangelicals like Haggard are foisting evidence falsehoods on their flock. The evangelicals are denying scientific evidence just to support bronze-age myths. ibid.
Fundamentalist Christianity is on the rise among the electorate of the world’s only superpower, right up to and including the president ... Fundamentalist American Christianity is attacking science, but what is it offering instead? A mirror-image of Islamic extremism: an American Taliban. ibid.
How do we explain the mysteries of life? Science has steadily overturned old religious myths about how all this came to be. Yet those who adhere to Judaism, Christianity or Islam still prefer to ignore reason, and have faith in their for ever unprovable omniscient creator. I had thought Science was rolling back religious belief but I was wrong. Far from being beaten, militant faith is on the march all across the world with terrifying consequences. As a scientist I am increasingly worried about how Faith is undermining Science; it’s something we must resist. Richard Dawkins, The Root of All Evil? The Virus of Faith, Channel 4 2006
Faith acts like a virus that attacks the young and infects generation after generation. ibid.
What in the twenty-first century are we doing venerating a book that contains such stuff? ibid.
These innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods. ibid.
If God wanted to forgive our sins, why not just forgive them? Who is God trying to impress? ibid.
They half-believe in the Bible. But how do they decide which parts to believe literally and which parts are allegorical? ibid.
I suspect that religion is simply a parasite on a much older moral sense ... But it is surely far more moral to do good things for their own sake rather than as a way of sucking up to God. Our true sense of right and wrong has nothing to do with religion. I believe there is kindness, charity and generosity in human nature. And I think there is a Darwinian explanation for this. ibid.
We too in Britain have got rid of his [George Bush] comrade in arms, comrade in faith, Tony Blair. You might wonder what has happened to Tony Blair since he disappeared. Well, he has founded the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. He is now showing up in his true colours which explains his great affinity with George W Bush. Richard Dawkins, American Atheists Conference 2009
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence. Richard Dawkins
Faith is powerful enough to immunize people against all appeals to pity, to forgiveness, to decent human feelings. It even immunizes them against fear, if they honestly believe that a martyr’s death will send them straight to heaven. Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene
The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. ibid.
Dyed-in-the-wool faith-heads are immune to argument, their resistance built up over years of childhood indoctrination using methods that took century to mature (whether by evolution or design). Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion preface
A widespread assumption, which nearly everybody in our society accepts – the non-religious included – is that religious faith is especially vulnerable to offence and should be protected by an abnormally thick wall of respect, in a different class from the respect that any human being should pay to any other. ibid.
Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument. ibid.