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Quotations about Religion


All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun's light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it's still one light. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. ~Bahá’u’lláh

Clouds and darkness are round most men and it is the preacher's business to let the sunlight in. A congregation needs nothing so much as sun. ~Charles Edward Jefferson, "Thy Speech Bewrayeth Thee," Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers in My Study, 1901

Esther, set free from her household duties, attended church (where her own tired soul could pour out all its heart-sick sorrow to listening Ears). ~K. Douglas King, "The Story of a Week," in Merry England, February 1894

I was reading this really interesting article in the American Psychiatric Journal.... research shows that going to church actually boosts your immune system, decreases your blood pressure, and reduces stress. It's kind of like an antioxidant from God. ~Bones, "The Repo Man in the Septic Tank," original airdate 2014 March 17th, spoken by the character Seeley Booth, writing credits M.Peterson, H.Hanson, and K.Reichs

This is the true spirit of insolent dogmatism: We have proved to the satisfaction of every honest man, that we are right, and that you are wrong; and therefore, if you are not convinced, it must be owing to your own perversity. When a man's shot is exhausted, he will try to terrify his adversary by firing off powder. ~Julius Charles Hare, The Mission of the Comforter and Other Sermons, With Notes, 1846

Debating theological niceties is fine, and even useful, but if it distracts us from the Greatest Commandments, then we're doing something wrong. ~David C. Hill,

I speak not of men's creeds—they rest between
Man and his Maker.
~Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

The preachers who preach the beauty of truth, honesty and a useful, helpful life, I am with, head, heart and hand. The preachers who declare that there can be no such thing as a beautiful life unless it will accept superstition, I am against, tooth, claw, club, tongue and pen. ~Elbert Hubbard

[I]n all sincerity she began her search, and with pathetic patience waited for an answer. She read many books, some wise, some vague, some full of superstition, all unsatisfactory to one who wanted a living God. She went to many churches, studied many creeds, and watched their fruits as well as she could; but still remained unsatisfied.... There was too much machinery, too many walls, laws, and penalties between the Father and his children. Too much fear, too little love... too little faith in the instincts of the soul which turns to God as flowers to the sun. Too much idle strife about names and creeds; too little knowledge of the natural religion which has no name but godliness, whose creed is boundless and benignant as the sunshine, whose faith is as the tender trust of little children in their mother's love. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

And so our conception of religion is getting roomier and more inclusive today, and love is the magician who has enlarged the temple! ~The Christian Leader, 1928

Say and do what you like, religion is always religion. The rich, perhaps, can get along without it, but it is necessary for people like us.... When one is unhappy... it is the only thing that will soothe you. Only that, and love. ~Octave Mirbeau, The Diary of a Chambermaid, 1900, translated from the French by Benjamin R. Tucker

Religion — an intellectual colouring book for adults. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Our true religious life begins when we discover that there is an Inner Light, not infallible but invaluable, which "lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Then we have something to steer by; and it is chiefly this, and not an anchor, that we need. The human soul, like any other noble vessel, was not built to be anchored, but to sail. An anchorage may, indeed, be at times a temporary need, in order to make some special repairs, or to take fresh cargo in; yet the natural destiny of both ship and soul is not the harbor, but the ocean; to cut with even keel the vast and beautiful expanse; to pass from island to island... or, best of all, steering close to the wind, to extract motive power from the greatest obstacles. Men must forget the eternity through which they have yet to sail, when they talk of anchoring here upon this bank and shoal of time. It would be a tragedy to see the shipping of the world whitening the seas no more, and idly riding at anchor in... ports; but it would be more tragic to see a world of souls fascinated into a fatal repose and renouncing their destiny of motion. And as with individuals, so with communities. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "The Sympathy of Religions," an address delivered at Horticultural Hall, Boston, 1870 February 6th  [Quoted: Edward Burrough, "Truth," essay to John Bunion and the Independants, 1656. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

And yet, if we are not bound by the past, neither are we to discard it.... We are to learn how, out of the past, to evolve an instrumentation useful for to‑day. So in theology. I meet men who want to wipe off from the page of history all the creeds that ever were constructed.... If I could think that for nineteen centuries thoughtful, earnest, devout men had been wrestling with the great problems of human life, wondering who God is and how He rules this world, and what we are and what we are here for and what lies in the future, and that in all these centuries they had found out nothing, I should give it up and be an agnostic. The creeds of the future must grow out of the creeds of the past. But a creed is not a rock to which your ship is anchored, while it swings back and forth in the tide and the barnacles gather on its bottom. The creed is a seed planted and out of that is to grow a nobler and better creed. No new theology is worth having which cuts asunder from the past. And no theology is worth having which remains identical with the creeds of the past. The theology that is not a growing theology is a dead theology. Life grows.... Take the experience of the past, and make it minister to the wisdom and the grace—aye, and I dare to say the glory—of the future. ~Lyman Abbott, "Out of the Past," sermon preached in Appleton Chapel, Harvard College, Sunday evening, March 26, 1899

Looking at these points of unity, we might say there is but one religion under many forms, whose essential creed is the Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man,—disguised by corruptions, symbolized by mythologies, ennobled by virtues, degraded by vices, but still the same. ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "The Sympathy of Religions," an address delivered at Horticultural Hall, Boston, 1870 February 6th

Every Christian wears for his principal jewel a thorn plucked from the crown of more than eighteen hundred years ago. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), "The Bible and Religion," Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

It's Sunday morning, and well-clad folk
      Are going to church over there;
Perhaps I'm a Pagan, up on my roof
      Breathing God's own fresh air.
But the choir boys are singing some wonderful thing
      That floats straight up to the sky;
It's a good old hymn, like the angels sing;
      And we listen, the angels and I.
~Jean Wright, "A Fool on a Roof: Et in Arcadia Ego"

Five minutes of quiet meditation in the hallowed peace of a silent church might mean vastly more than years of feverish striving for satisfaction elsewhere. ~H. Addington Bruce, "Nourish Your Soul," Self-Development: A Handbook for the Ambitious, 1921

Philosophy is the love of wisdom: Christianity is the wisdom of love. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

True prophets sometimes, false prophets always, have fanatical adherents. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

I'm afraid I never shall get religion, for all that's offered me seems so poor, so narrow, or so hard that I cannot take it for my stay. A God of wrath I cannot love; a God that must be propitiated, adorned, and adored like an idol I cannot respect; and a God who can be blinded to men's iniquities through the week by a little beating of the breast and bowing down on the seventh day, I cannot serve. I want a Father to whom I can go with all my sins and sorrows, all my hopes and joys, as freely and fearlessly as I used to go to my human father, sure of help and sympathy and love. Shall I ever find Him? ~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

I believe in God, in science, in Sunday supper. I don't believe in rules that tell me how I should live. ~CSI, "Alter Boys," 2001, written by Ann Donahue [S2, E6, Gil Grissom]

Religion is speculation pretending to be revelation. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

[R]eligion cannot be given or bought, but must grow as trees grow, needing frost and snow, rain and wind to strengthen it before it is deep-rooted in the soul. ~Louisa May Alcott, "Through the Mist," Work: A Story of Experience, 1873

It is our happiness to live in a time when all religions are at last outgrowing their mythologies, and emancipated men are stretching out their hands to share together "the luxury of a religion that does not degrade." … Unveil these darkened windows, but remove also these darkening walls; the temple itself is but a lingering shadow of that gloom. Instead of its coarse and stifling incense, give us God's pure air... ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "The Sympathy of Religions," an address delivered at Horticultural Hall, Boston, 1870 February 6th  [Quoted: Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The earth moves, and the mind opens. I am glad to believe society contains a class of humble souls who enjoy the luxury of a religion that does not degrade...", speech at the second annual meeting of the Free Religious Association, at Tremont Temple, 1869 May 28th —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

[L]ove is never outgrown... The principle of veneration never dies out... And the unique impression of Jesus upon mankind, whose name is not so much written as ploughed into the history of this world, is proof of the subtle virtue of this infusion... Jesus Christ belonged to the true race of prophets. He saw with open eye the mystery of the soul. Drawn by its severe harmony, ravished with its beauty, he lived in it, and had his being there. Alone in history, he estimated the greatness of man... Thus was he a true man... Thus is he, as I think, the only soul in history who has appreciated the worth of a man. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1838

[Jesus] said, in this jubilee of sublime emotion, 'I am divine. Through me, God acts...' But what a distortion did his doctrine and memory suffer in the same, in the next, and the following ages! There is no doctrine of the Reason which will bear to be taught by the Understanding. The understanding caught this high chant from the poet's lips, and said, in the next age, 'This was Jehovah come down out of heaven. I will kill you, if you say he was a man.' The idioms of his language, and the figures of his rhetoric, have usurped the place of his truth; and churches are not built on his principles, but on his tropes. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1838

A faith of convenience is a hollow faith. ~M*A*S*H, "A Holy Mess," original airdate 1982 February 1st, written by Larry Gelbart, Elias Davis, Richard Hooker, Ring Lardner Jr, David Pollock, and W.C. Heinz, spoken by the character Father Mulcahy

I know not your decree to keep the Sabbath day holy. Go tell it to the brook. It will chortle at your implied desecration of the other six. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I considered atheism, but there weren't enough holidays. ~Author unknown

In church, sacred music would make believers of us all — but preachers can be counted on to restore the balance. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963

Traveler: "God has been mighty good to your fields, Mr. Farmer."
Farmer: "You should have seen how he treated them when I wasn't around."
~Author unknown

Religion considers the Universe deterministic and science considers it probabilistic — an important distinction. ~Isaac Asimov

Stoical agnosticism is the only possible religion for sane adults. Accept and endure what happens to you, from within just as much as from without. Do what is right in your own eyes, for there is no other guide. Go on. Go on to your end. Go on without either absolutes of believing or disbelieving, without extremities either of hope or despair.… ~H. G. Wells, Apropos of Dolores, 1938

God — of course — is not real. He is just an idea, an illusion. But here is the troubling question: Is such an illusion essential to the success of the tribe? Is the competitive universe a place where a rational tribe must always succumb to one driven by a blind — but determined — collective insanity? ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

I believe in God, I just don't trust anyone who works for him. ~Author unknown, from a stand-up comedy routine on television

Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned. ~Author unknown

There are more churches built for man than for God. ~Charles Searle, Look Here!, 1885

Who can resist a religious doctrine that allows you to sin against your neighbor and apologize to a forgiving third party? ~Robert Brault,

There is no odor so bad as that which arises from goodness tainted. It is human, it is divine, carrion. If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I should run for my life... ~Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Sermons on the dangers of wealth are not intended to discourage the collection plate. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

There's something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin

It was a distinct disappointment to me when I found that an evangelist is like any ordinary preacher, except that he perspires more. Sometimes he is sensational and preaches about lace yokes and dancing; and on Sunday afternoon holds a meeting for men only, where he tells them what a terribly bad man he used to be! Again he is "burdened" with the souls of the whole congregation and preaches hell and damnation in a voice that sounds like pitchforks clanging against iron chains. Now, city preachers seldom do anything like this. In the city pulpits, of recent years, hell is like smallpox; it is still there, but in a much milder form. ~Kate Trimble Sharber (b.1883), At the Age of Eve, 1911

That which has remained in the heart of man after his unhappy fall is for him a religion. He attaches himself to those fragments, which are at least those of truth. He lovingly preserves these remnants of his ancient opulence. He seats himself weepingly on these ruins; he will not have them taken from him. Perhaps he knows that such ruins are the cornerstone of the colossal edifice which shall one day arch high above his consoled race its lofty and tutelary dome. Whosoever insults these ruins insults man's wretchedness, despoils his indigence. Humanity cannot afford to hold cheap the feeble beliefs that remain to it; it pronounces an anathema on the hand that would fain outrage those fragments, and heap up fresh ruins amongst those that already exist. ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

A religion is simply that element of tribalism which refers to origins. It creates cohesion by encouraging a shared mythic belief not vulnerable to rational analysis. It is nothing more nor less than tribal propaganda which claims the mantle of divine sanction, and postures with a halo of theistic infallibility. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

I love theists. It's theism I can't stand. ~Rich Lane, 2010  [à la Charles M. Schulz —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Religion is being locked in and you can't get out; atheism, the other side of the door. ~Terri Guillemets

Some people would have us love, or rather obey God, chiefly because he outbids the devil. ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

"I refuse to prove that I exist" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." "Oh," says man, "but the Babel Fish is a dead give-away, isn't it? It proves You exist, and so therefore You don't. Q.E.D." "Oh, I hadn't thought of that," says God, who promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. ~Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

      Most of the ancients lived under governments that had virtue for their principle; and when this was in full vigour, they performed things unbeheld in our times, and such as are capable of astonishing our little souls.
      Another advantage their education had over ours; it never was effaced by contrary impressions... In our days we receive three different or contrary educations, namely, of our parents, of our school-masters, and of the world. What we learn in the latter, effaces all the ideas of the former. This, in some measure, arises from the contrast we experience between our religious and worldly engagements; a thing unknown to the ancients. ~Montesquieu (1689–1755), translated from French

There are ten church members by inheritance for every one by conviction. ~Author unknown

My objection to orthodox religion is that it destroys human love, and tells us that the love of this world is not necessary to make a heaven in the next... when you get there, you will be with the angels. I do not know whether I would like the angels. I do not know whether the angels would like me. I would rather stand by the ones who have loved me and whom I know; and I can conceive of no heaven without the loved of this earth. That is the trouble with this Christian religion. Leave your father, leave your mother, leave your wife, leave your children, leave everything, and follow Jesus Christ. I will not. I will stay with my people. I will not sacrifice on the altar of a selfish fear all the grandest and noblest promptings of my heart. Do away with human love, and what are we?... Human love builds every home. Human love is the author of all beauty. Love paints every picture, and chisels every statue. Love builds every fireside. ~Robert G. Ingersoll, "Orthodoxy," 1884

All religion is bunk; it may be helpful bunk, comforting bunk, or, in some cases, necessary bunk. It is still bunk, nonetheless. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Is it not strange that men are so glad to fight for religion and so reluctant to live according to its precepts? ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799)  [Mix of translations: R.J. Hollingdale and Steven Tester —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Belief in God is but a whistling in the dark; harmless enough, perhaps — until it is wedded to the notion that all should carry the same tune. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

The idea that Gods and religions represent — merely —human theories and suppositions about reality — satisfies the detached intellect, but does not feed, apparently, a deep emotional hunger. Is it too much to suggest that an early infantile illusion — a perception of parental perfection, power, and benevolence — is mirrored in the yearning for "God?" The need for that illusion persists: "God" provides a comforting, caressing circularity — a womb of benevolent certainty to replace that which has been lost. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Well, there was some of the brethren who said the earth couldn't be round because the Bible told how four angels stood on the four corners of the earth — and so it does tell. But that's where I say you got to use common sense. You'd be surprised how many people don't believe in common sense... most of them belonged to the Cover-to-Cover believers... it's a kind of sect believes every word in the Bible, cover to cover. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

Religion is just superstition wearing a better suit of clothes. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

A Sunday-school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil consciences of their parents. ~H. L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew that a bottle of port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don't recommend Christianity. I am certain there must be a patent American article on the market which will suit you far better, but I can't give any advice on it. ~C. S. Lewis, 1944

We cast our gauntlet at the dogmatic theologians who would enslave both history and science... ~H.P. Blavatsky, Preface to Part II of Isis Unveiled: A Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science and Theology, 1877

Religion is of two kinds — deeds and creeds. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Call me a man if you think me worthy of it — no more no less — only that. God never intended me for anything else, though it is hard to be that at all times nowadays. Let the numberless creeds all go, I say. Then we can be better men and women merely, — easier to be honest, easier to love our neighbors and stop fighting. We could then all espouse a religion of the heart without calling it religion. Name a dogma, and it plays the mischief with us, off and on. I profess nothing and love everybody, — sometimes with a vengeance, to be sure; but it is better to love than to hate, even if one appears to be a disadvantage occasionally. Don't you believe it? ~Alwyn M. Thurber, Quaint Crippen, 1896

'Tis not to go to church to-day,
      To look devout, and seem to pray,
      And ere to-morrow's sun go down,
      Be dealing scandal through the town.
Not every sanctimonious face,
      Denotes the certain reign of grace;
      A phiz, that seems to scowl at sin,
      Oft veils hypocrisy within.
'Tis not to mark out duty's walk,
      Or of our own good deeds to talk;
      And then to practice secret crime,
      And to misspend and waste our time.
'Tis not for sects or creeds to fight,
      And call our zeal the rule of right;
      When all we wish is, at the best,
      To see our church excel the rest...
It grieves to hear an ill report,
      And scorns with human woes to sport;
      Of others' deeds it speaks no ill,
      But tells of good or else is still...
~Reginald Heber (1783–1826), "Religion! What Is It?"

It is a sad sight — a religion abandoned to its hypocrites. ~Robert Brault,, 2019

The fact is, I don't like to hear cut-and-dried sermons. No — when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees! ~Abraham Lincoln, 1860, as quoted by Leonard W. Volk, in Francis F. Browne, The Every-Day Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1887

Christianity to me is like a hopeless love affair. It is infinitely dear and infinitely unattainable. ~Malcolm Muggeridge, 1958

      Take no alarm, dear reader, at the sound of the word Religion, for I have not the least idea of conducting you into some dark, subterranean cathedral where the air is oppressive and unnatural, but would lead you right out under heaven's sunny dome, where the joyous gospel of nature and inspiration are breathed into the soul....
      This cosmical religion, broad as the world and reaching out to the infinite, as far transcends the man-made creeds that run counter to nature's laws, as the sky transcends all cathedrals that lift up their puny spires beneath it. I have aimed to lead my dear struggling human brothers and sisters into the vestibule of the Temple of Life where are joys forevermore, and where the radiant soul of things begins to appear.
      ~Edwin D. Babbitt, Religion as Revealed by the Material and Spiritual Universe, 1881

Let the church aspire to something more than a spire. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Geology shows that fossils are of different ages. Paleontology shows a fossil sequence, the list of species represented changes through time. Taxonomy shows biological relationships among species. Evolution is the explanation that threads it all together. Creationism is the practice of squeezing one's eyes shut and wailing "Does not!" ~Author unknown

People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. ~Dave Barry, "25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years," Dave Barry Turns 50, 1998,

Once I went to church… I needed to pray,
I heard a man preach, but God went away.
I went to the pine-woods and heard winds sigh,
While I watched and listened… God passed by...
~Edith Tatum, "The Search," 1920s

According to science, the universe began as a swirl of gas that, as it cooled, spun off the Ten Commandments. ~Robert Brault,

HELL.  A place where the Ten Commandments have a police force behind them. ~H. L. Mencken

Say what you will about the Ten Commandments, you must always come back to the pleasant fact that there are only ten of them. ~H. L. Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

      And now you say this missal and breviary hold all — I have nothing more to seek — only to be lowly of soul and observant of what priests teach... You advise me to pour the eleventh century wine of these books into the twentieth century bottle of my brain...
      What hold it has on you! How can you subject yourself to the dictum of those desiccated monks and bishops? Such abnegation of desires and personality is servile. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

Whenever, in the course of the daily hunt, the hunter comes upon a scene that is strikingly beautiful, or sublime—a black thundercloud with the rainbow's glowing arch above the mountain, a white waterfall in the heart of a green gorge, a vast prairie tinged with the blood-red of the sunset—he pauses for an instant in the attitude of worship. He sees no need for setting apart one day in seven as a holy day, because to him all days are God's days. ~Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman, 1858–1939), Santee Sioux, quoted in Nerburn & Mengelkoch, Native American Wisdom, 1991

A Law which cannot know divorce
      From the God-purpose it enfolds.
      Never to be repealed, it holds
      Eternally effective force.
A truth for endless time enscrolled,
      Results of His disprizèd laws,
      Effects, as sternly following cause,
      Were Cosmos back to Chaos rolled.
~Henry Bedlow (1821–1914), War and Worship; A Poem, Convictions Based on Recollections of the Revolts of 1848, 1902

Some, tired of wondering, turn to faith for answers. Others, tired of answers, turn to faith for wonder. ~Robert Brault,

Religion is myth-information. ~Author unknown

EVANGELIST  From Eve, the first sinner, and angel, a good thing. One who makes a good thing out of the sinner. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Altogether New Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz, 1914

Such religion is Churchianity; it is not Christianity. Christianity means the religion where Christ is all; Churchianity, the religion where the Church is all. ~John Cumming, "Salvation," sermon preached before the Queen, 1850 September 22nd

We might remind the reader that the definition of the Godhead quoted by "Senex" from the First Article of the Church, is pure Buddhism. "Christianity" is only a corrupted form of Buddhism; degenerated to suit the mental plane of the barbarians through whom it was transmitted to us. Read "Christ and Buddha" and this will appear more clearly. ~"Notes and Comments," in The Medium and Daybreak: A Weekly Journal Devoted to the History, Phenomena, Philosophy, and Teachings of Spiritualism, 1882 August 4th

I think I'll believe in Gosh instead of God. If you don't believe in Gosh too, you'll be darned to heck. ~Author unknown

I trust more the person who strives to be on the side of God than one claiming to be already there. ~Robert Brault,

Brick:  Isn't it amazing how each snowflake is different?
Sue:  I know. It took me, like, 3 hours to cut out 10, and God has to do, like, 50 billion. You can't tell me that's not a miracle.
Brick:  That's a very good point. So do you really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true?
Sue:  Oh, absolutely.
Brick:  I don't know. But it is a really cool story. The roman numerals are cool too. You don't see those too much in books anymore.
~The Middle, "A Christmas Gift," 2011, written by Jana Hunter & Mitch Hunter  [S3, E11]

Devout believers are safeguarded in a high degree against the risk of certain neurotic illnesses; their acceptance of the universal neurosis spares them the task of constructing a personal one. ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

Believe it, my brothers! Jesus died too early. He would have repudiated his doctrine had he lived to my age! He was noble enough to recant — but he was still immature. ~Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)

Religion is faith in anything other than ourselves. ~Terri Guillemets, "Illusions," 1997

Man makes himself, and he only makes himself completely in proportion as he desacralizes himself and the world. The sacred is the prime obstacle to his freedom. He will become himself only when he is totally demysticized. He will not be truly free until he has killed the last god. ~Mircea Eliade

I'm not a bad guy. I work hard, and I love my kids. So why should I spend half my Sunday hearing about how I'm going to hell? ~The Simpsons, "Homer the Heretic," 1992, written by George Meyer  [S4, E3, Homer —tg]

Let us look from our place here in 1882 — the age of civilization — forward one hundred years, to 1982 — in the age of enlightenment. A very peculiar feature of the morals of the infant ages was the effort to be good by being stupid. Children were forbidden to read novels and confined to Sunday-school books, till one morning the people waked up to find that every Sunday-school book that had been written for sixty years, was itself a novel, and of the poorest sort at that, and that all of these children had read them, and had read nothing else, and so had moral natures of a skim milk sort. The cream was all in the forbidden books... Now, as a matter of fact, the novel is considered one of the grandest educators in the world. ~Edward Payson Powell (1833–1915), "New Year in 1982," Liberty and Life: Discourses by E. P. Powell, 1889  [a little altered —tg]

Instead of being born again, why not just grow up? ~Author unknown

A great deal of what passes for current Christianity consists in denouncing other people’s vices and faults. ~Henry Williams (Bishop of Carlisle), c.1928

Is there a religion that would not benefit from calling home its missionaries and setting them to work among its hypocrites? ~Robert Brault,, 2019

      I do not hate your church. I love its æsthetic qualities for your sake. But I loathe its enslaving superstitions and grip upon humanity, and I cannot see that it is divine. Rather in its degradation of men it is satanic. I struggle to do it justice. I have made my mind as entirely as possible a tabula rasa for you to write thereon new convictions. But neither what you have said, nor the books you have given me to read, have had truth or force enough to bring one primary principle. Vaudeville, in a measure, it seems to me — something more than half funny by which the actors get snug berths and good living in return for self-stultification, and hocus-pocussing the masses.
      I should like to be of your theology, I say. The faith would bring me into understanding and accord with you. But I cannot think the untrue, true. I cannot do as you are doing, constantly draw lines about myself and prescribe my thoughts. God meant no one to do that. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

J. C. put the good word out there and let the people find him. You should be cool with that... So maybe you should lighten up on [your brother], let him find his own path. ~The Middle, "A Christmas Gift," 2011, written by Jana Hunter & Mitch Hunter  [S3, E11, Reverend TimTom. About letting people come to religion themselves rather than forcing it on them. J.C. here is Jesus Christ. –tg]

Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact, "atheism" is a term that should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a "non-astrologer" or a "non-alchemist." ...Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. ~Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, 2006

God is theory; the universe is practice. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Yet literature as well as religion would lose half its force if it did not see men against the background of the universal doom. ~Robert Lynd, "The Old Game," Solomon in All His Glory, 1923

Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish. ~Author unknown

Where there are gaps in knowledge, religion tends to seep in. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

I identify more with people who ask each day for divine guidance than people equipped with a divine guidance system. ~Robert Brault,

Judgment Day is God's audit. ~Robert Orben, 2400 Jokes to Brighten Your Speeches, 1984

To say that different races worship different Gods, is like saying that they are warmed by different suns. The names differ, but the sun is the same... ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson, "The Sympathy of Religions," an address delivered at Horticultural Hall, Boston, 1870 February 6th

But master-stroke of that shrewd guild,
      With which to make mankind its slave,
      From cradled childhood to the grave;
      In lies of its invention drilled.
Deluded man has been misled
      To his dishonor, shame and ruth,
      By yielding faith to bold untruth:
      A Mythos misinterpreted.
Man has not fallen! but progressed
      Through vast sequential-cells of life;
      Through æons of zoetic strife,
      Till as a Christ He stood confessed.
~Henry Bedlow (1821–1914), War and Worship; A Poem, Convictions Based on Recollections of the Revolts of 1848, 1902

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. ~Attributed to Benjamin Franklin in George Seldes, The Great Quotations, 1993

Religion: a cultural glue of mythic tradition... ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

[S]even days before the end of the year [we] worship the pine tree, as did our neolithic forebears. ~Bergen Evans, "Adam's Navel," The Natural History of Nonsense, 1946

      There is no War on Christmas. It is imaginary. What there is, though, are more people who are saying such evil and oppressive things as — gasp — Happy Holidays! And Season's Greetings. Oh, the horror! There is no demand that people stop saying Merry Christmas — far from it. What people are doing, is being inclusive. There is no grand conspiracy to stop people from saying Merry Christmas. If you want to say it, be my guest. But please don't think, arrogantly, that it's the only thing the season is about.
      There is no War on Christmas. It's imaginary. It's scaremongering. It's along the lines of "Gay marriage will destroy America" and "Intelligent Design is a valid alternative to science." Just more far-right-wing rhetoric.
      If you celebrate Christmas, then Merry Christmas. If you celebrate Hanukkah, then Happy Hanukkah. If Kwanzaa is your thing, then Happy Kwanzaa. If you want to celebrate Festivus, hell, be my guest — Festivus for the rest of us. Fine by me. You want to celebrate Saturnalia? That's cool, retro is always fun. But in the meantime, rather than guess the religion of the person I'm saying it to, I'll just say this: Happy Holidays!
      ~Rob Dalton, "The Imaginary War on Christmas," The First Church of Free Speech (because other churches have commandments prohibiting this kind of thing), 2005

Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays... Why be exclusive when you can be inclusive? ~S.A. Sachs

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it "Christmas" and went to church; the Jews called it "Hanukka" and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say "Merry Christmas!" or "Happy Hanukka!" or (to the atheists) "Look out for the wall!" ~Dave Barry, "Christmas Shopping: Go Knock Yourself Out," 1981,

Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call. ~Richard Lewis, 1984

Christmas is a major holiday. Hanukkah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat. ~"KOACH Humor: Holiday Distinctions Finally Explained…,", November 2004  [KOACH College Outreach is a project of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. —tg]

People have fun baking Christmas cookies. People burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Hanukkah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages. ~"KOACH Humor: Holiday Distinctions Finally Explained…,", November 2004  [KOACH College Outreach is a project of The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. —tg]

If God doesn't like the way I live, let him tell me, not you. ~Author unknown

Don't you see, dear, that your faith is an attitude of mind, for the most part an obsolete phase of civilisation? In the midst of our twentieth century science it is an electrified corpse. ~Kate Stephens, A Woman's Heart, 1906

A Christian is a man who feels
Repentance on a Sunday
For what he has done on Saturday,
And is going to do on Monday.
~"A Definition," LIFE, 1905

ORANGE CATHOLIC BIBLE: the "Accumulated Book," the religious text produced by the Commission of Ecumenical Translators. It contains elements of most ancient religions, including the Maometh Saari, Mahayana Christianity, Zensunni Catholicism and Buddislamic traditions. Its supreme commandment is considered to be: "Thou shalt not disfigure the soul." ~Frank Herbert, "Terminology of the Imperium," Dune, 1965

And I irritably reflected that you can't take a step from the equator to the poles without running into that suspicious face, those rapacious eyes, those clawlike hands and that vile mouth, which goes breathing the frightful verses of the Bible, in an odor of stale gin, over the charming divinities and adorable myths of naïve religions. ~Octave Mirbeau, "The Garden," The Torture Garden, 1899, translated from the French by Alvah C. Bessie, 1931

Religion seems to have a way of making people abandon logic. ~Amanda Baxter, 1998

Do people realize what harm they are doing to the mind of the child when they teach it to accept the Bible as God's word? They are telling the child that falsehood is sacred; that ignorance is holy; that foul stories are pure; that vile words are clean, in the mouth of God. ~Lemuel K. Washburn, Is the Bible Worth Reading and Other Essays, 1911

As to belief in God, definition is critical. If you say that God is the universe, I, too, believe in God, for I have sensory experience of the universe. If you say God is an initiating force beyond the universe, I say that is an interesting but rather unhelpful speculation. If you think God has a "human" mind, and a benignly meddlesome preoccupation with the human race, or particular individuals, I say you are a victim of wishful thinking in the absence of evidence. If you go further, and govern your behaviour on what you imagine to be God's wishes and intentions, I must pity you as a fool, or fear you as a lunatic. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

When I was a little kid, no older than that, I always used to wonder why nobody collected prayer cards like they collected baseball cards. Thousands of bucks for Honus Wagner and jack shit for Jesus. ~Robin Green and Mitchell Burgess, The Sopranos, "Isabella," original airdate 28 March 1999, spoken by the character Corrado "Junior" Soprano

One cannot erect, on the basis of a motive that exists only for a very few, an obligation that shall apply to everyone. ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

That little babe, so long ago,
Was sent to earth the way to show.
He suffered for the truths He taught;
In agony of mind He sought
To help His brothers, day by day,
To teach them love in every way...
Jesus, the Master, had no creed;
Ever pure, without sin or greed,
He taught that service to mankind
Would help each soul sweet peace to find.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Jesus, The Master," 1940s

Some cling to religion as the infallible source of morality; in fact, religions — which are created by societies — encapsulate the moral values already established and inherent in those societies. The appeal to religious values is simply an appeal to tradition dressed up as divinity. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

On the sixth day God created man. On the seventh day, man returned the favor. ~Author unknown

If the complexity of the universe demands, as explanation, an intelligent creator — then, by the same reasoning — so does the intelligent creator. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

How Gods reflect their creators! The Gods of primitive, ignorant, and vulnerable societies seem immediate, arbitrary, and cruel — requiring significant appeasement and sacrifice in return for a mitigation of their fury. In modern societies — more knowledgeable and self-sufficient — God is more like an elderly benevolent uncle living in a distant city; in the right mood, he might be good for a new red bicycle, or a crucial, reassuring win for the home team. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Did you ever get the mad, uncontrollable urge to look in a faith healer's medicine chest? ~Robert Orben, 2400 Jokes to Brighten Your Speeches, 1984

Its Christianity has stood
      As if with human misery charmed,
      And, with its cruel tenets armed,
      Proclaimed the wickedness of Good;
And shed more blood, wrought more distress,
      Than all its cognate pagan creeds
      Combined, and sown its thorny seeds,
      Brambling the earth with wretchedness.
~Henry Bedlow (1821–1914), War and Worship; A Poem, Convictions Based on Recollections of the Revolts of 1848, 1902

On passing a revivalist tabernacle — The call of Christ requires no neon sign. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Man is the only animal that requires religion to help him to live a common-sense life. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

You will tell me if my understanding of the New Movement is correct: to wit, that it is just Christian Science, with some of the earmarks painted over & the others removed, after the fashion of the unanointed cattle-thieves of the wild, wild West. My word, how ecclesiastical history do repeat herself! The Jews steal a God & a Creation & a Flood & a Moral Code from Babylon; Egypt steals the like from a forgotten Antiquity; Greece steals the swag from Egypt; Rome steals it from Greece; Christianity comes belated along & steals morals & miracles & one thing & another from Budh & Confucius; Christian Science arrives & steals the Christian outfit & gives it a new name; & now at last comes the Boston puritan — hater of Christian Science — & steals the plunder anew & re-baptises it, & shouts tearful & grateful glory to God for winking at the mulct & not letting on — according to His shady custom these thirty million years. ~Mark Twain, letter to Joseph Twichell, 1908, from

I usually lump organized religion, organized labor, and organized crime together. The Mafia gets points for having the best restaurants. ~David J. Beard (1947–2016), @Raqhun, tweet, 2008

If the sole reason why you must not kill your neighbour is because God has forbidden it and will severely punish you for it in this or the next life — then, when you learn that there is no God and that you need not fear His punishment, you will certainly kill your neighbour without hesitation, and you can only be prevented from doing so by mundane force. Thus either these dangerous masses must be held down most severely and kept most carefully away from any chance of intellectual awakening, or else the relationship between civilization and religion must undergo a fundamental revision. ~Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion

One day someone should start a religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. ~@TheTweetOfGod, 2022

The Virgin Mary was an unwed teenage mother. ~Author unknown

The Christian Right is neither. ~Author unknown

As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools. ~Author unknown

It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it. ~G.K. Chesterton

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published 1998 Mar 18
revised 2002, 2005, 2016, 2021
last saved 2023 Sep 5