Tallulah Bankhead - Mary Whitehouse - Christopher Hitchens - George Bernard Shaw - Richard Dawkins - Sam Harris - Paul Bert - Tim Berra - Woody Allen - Oscar Wilde - Richard Bilton TV - Mark Twain - Robert S McNamara & The Fog of War 2003 - Michael Cockerell TV - George H W Bush PBS TV - Copenhagen 2003 & Heisenberg - Julian Baggini - Levitt & Dubner: Freakonomics TV - Albert Einstein - John Keats - Arianna Huffington - Alfred North Whitehead - Ernest Hemingway - Marquis de Sade - Anthony Burgess - Punishment Park 1971 - Warren Jeffs - 1944: Should We Bomb Auschwitz? TV - Bill Maher TV - The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre 1967 - Nixon by Nixon: In His Own Words TV - Sigmund Freud - Shannon L Alder - Glenn Greenwald - Henry Fielding -
I’m as pure as the driven slush. Tallulah Bankhead, 1903-1968, cited Saturday Evening Post 12th April 1947
The whole world has a problem of moral pollution. Mary Whitehouse
They say, Where would your morals come from if there was no God? It’s actually a question that’s posed in Dostoyevsky’s wonderful novel The Brothers Karamazov. One of the bothers says ... If God is dead, isn’t everything permitted? Isn’t everything permissible? Where would our ethics be if there was no superintending duty? This again seems to me a profound insult to us in our very deepest nature and character. It is not the case, I submit to you, that we do not set about butchering and raping and thieving from each other right now because we’re afraid of a divine punishment or because we’re looking for a divine reward. Christopher Hitchens, lecture Authors@Google online
It’s implicitly totalitarian. Second, it degrades our human self-respect by saying we wouldn’t act morally if it were not for fear of this celestial dictatorship ... Third, it seems to me to be invariably based on sexual repression and a fear and disgust of the sexual act. Christopher Hitchens v Mark Roberts 2007
There is something positive wicked ... You can’t be a God person and a good person ... What is moral about vicarious redemption? Christopher Hitchens, Freedom from Religion Foundation 2007
If God is dead, isn’t everything permitted? Isn’t everything permissible? And where would our ethics be if there was no superintending deity? This again seems to me a very profound insult to us in our very deepest nature and character. It is not the case, I submit to you, that we do not set about butchering and raping and thieving from each other right now only because we’re afraid of a divine punishment or because we’re looking for a divine reward. It’s an extraordinary base and insulting thing to say to people. Christopher Hitchens
All religions begin with a revolt against morality, and perish when morality conquers them. George Bernard Shaw
Pickering: Have you no morals, man?
Doolittle: Can’t afford them, Governor. George Bernard Shaw, Pygmalion 1916
Many religious people find it hard to imagine how, without religion, one can be good, or would even want to be good ... Moral considerations lie hidden behind religious attitudes to other topics that have no real link with morality. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion p211
Do you really mean to tell me the only reason you try to be good is to gain God’s approval and reward, or to avoid his disapproval and punishment? That’s not morality; that’s just sucking up. ibid. p226
Deontology is a fancy name for the belief that morality consists in the obeying of rules. ibid. p232
The Bible may be an arresting and poetic work of fiction, but it is not the sort of book you should give your children to form their morals. ibid. p247
There seems to be a steadily shifting standard of what is morally acceptable. ibid. p268
Do those people who hold up the Bible as an inspiration to moral rectitude have the slightest notion of what is written in it? Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion lecture
This idea that without religion something fundamental would be lost to us in moral terms – this really is questionable. Sam Harris, lecture New York Society for Ethical Culture 2005
No-one ever says this is immoral. ibid.
The guarantor of our morality is in our brains. ibid.
Indeed, religion allows people to imagine that their concerns are moral when they are highly immoral – that is, when pressing these concerns inflict unnecessary and appalling suffering on innocent human beings. This explains why Christians like yourself expend more ‘moral’ energy opposing abortion than fighting genocide. It explains why you are more concerned about human embryos than about the lifesaving promise of stem-cell research. And it explains why you can preach against condom use in sub-Saharan Africa while millions die from AIDS there each year. Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation
If you think that it would be impossible to improve upon the Ten Commandments as a statement of morality, you really owe it to yourself to read some other scriptures. Once again, we need look no further than the Jains: Mahavira, the Jain patriarch, surpassed the morality of the Bible with a single sentence: ‘Do not injure, abuse, oppress, enslave, insult, torment, torture, or kill any creature or living being.’ Imagine how different our world might be if the Bible contained this as its central precept. Christians have abused, oppressed, enslaved, insulted, tormented, tortured, and killed people in the name of God for centuries, on the basis of a theologically defensible reading of the Bible. ibid.
Modern societies march towards morality in proportion as they leave religion behind. Paul Bert
Fundamentalists long for the return of a more moral America, an America that may never have been. All around them they see what they perceive as declining morality and spirituality. They reason that if humans share ancestry with the other animals, we have no reason to behave as anything other than animals. This view neglects the fact that humans are the only known animals with the ability to contemplate the consequences of their own actions. It also fails to recognize that there is a great deal of good in the world, the nightly news notwithstanding. Crime existed long before the theory of evolution, even before the writing of the Bible, and biologists do not like crime any more than the creationists do. Evolutionary theory is not a license to run amok, and neither is a belief in the literal interpretation of the Bible a guarantor of moral behaviour. Tim Berra, Evolution and the Myth of Creationism
His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy. Woody Allen
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray 1891
The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame. Oscar Wilde
All art is immoral. Oscar Wilde, Intentions, 1891
The cables reveal a kind of moral ambivalence in US diplomacy. Richard Bilton, Wikileaks: The Secret Life of a Superpower I, BBC 2012
It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare. Mark Twain
What is morally appropriate in a war-time environment? Robert S McNamara, The Fog of War 2003
Long Longford: self-appointed guardian of the country’s morals. The Lost World of the Seventies: A Report by Michael Cockerell, BBC 2012
Lord Longford – the great moral crusader of the decade. He was a contradictory character. An hereditary earl who identified with the outcasts of society. He made headlines in the seventies by visiting notorious criminals in prison and for his campaign against pornography. ibid.
When the Longford Report was published it recommended much stricter laws on pornography. The government ignored it. ibid.
Bush fumed in his diary, ‘This [Nixon] era of tawdry shabby lack of morality has got to end’. George H W Bush I, PBS 2008
Does one as a physicist have the moral right to work on the practical exploitation of atomic energy? Copenhagen 2002 starring Stephen Rea & Daniel Craig & Francesca Annis et al, director Howard Davies, Werner Heisenberg to Bohr
The greatest moral failing is to condemn something as a moral failing: no vice is worse than being judgmental. Julian Baggini