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Some Thoughts on Religion

 

 

If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe, it assures them of protection and final happiness amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and motions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority.

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Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world, which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities.

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Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.

 

Sigmund Freud

 

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Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes... A good world needs knowledge, kindliness, and courage; it does not need a regretful hankering after the past or a fettering of the free intelligence by the words uttered long ago by ignorant men.

 

Bertrand Russell

 

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Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, 'atheist' is a term that should not ever exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a 'non astrologer' or a 'non-alchemist'. We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (87 percent of the population) claiming to 'never doubt the existence of God' should be obliged to present evidence for his existence-and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.

 

Sam Harris

 

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Man is the religious animal. He is the only religious animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat, if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven.

 

Mark Twain

 

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The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man. Religion is, indeed, the self-consciousness and self-esteem of man who has either not yet won through to himself, or has already lost himself again. But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man - state, society. This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d'honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality.

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Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

 

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.

 

Karl Marx

 

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I have recently been examining all of the known superstitions of the world and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.

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Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

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And the day will come, when the [virgin birth] will rank with the fable of the generation [birth] of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

 

Thomas Jefferson

 

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What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.

 

Bertrand Russell

 

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There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dares not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.

 

Bertrand Russell

 

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The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

 

The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.

 

Robert A. Heinlein

 

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The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course.

 

A. A. Milne

 

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Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

I am not afraid.

 

Marcus Aurelius

 

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I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.

 

Stephen Roberts

 

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The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference. Indeed, Earth and life look just as they can be expected to look if there is no designer God.

 

Richard Dawkins

 

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Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong.

 

Christopher Hitchens

 

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The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.

 

George Bernard Shaw

 

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Every reflecting mind must acknowledge that there is no proof of the existence of a Deity.

 

If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature destroys them.

 

Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

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Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy are only ridiculous.

 

David Hume

 

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Facebook group: 'No, I don't want to join your cult'

 

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Why Won’t God Heal Amputees

 

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Landover Baptist (hilarious)

 

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

 

Common Sense Atheism

 

Evolution Blog

 

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Spanish Inquisitor Blog

 

Godless and Black Blog

 

Faith Buster Blog

 

New Atheism Blog

 

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Gaytheists

 

The Enlightened Despot

 

Antitheist Daily

 

 

More links coming soon (when I get a chance...)