The concept of religion is ancient. In one form or another, it has formed the basis for almost every society which has ever existed. Religion both reflects and magnifies the underlying norms and standards of the culture it inhabits. In our present society, many of the Bible's fundamental precepts are incorporated into law. Many of our laws are, in a sense, arbitrary in that we could imagine a different structure of law based on a different set of cultural beliefs, a different set of assumptions about property rights and the sanctity of life. They are as they are largely because of the framework passed down through the Bible.
Religion still runs deep in American culture, but it has shifted toward the background of the culture as opposed to being at its cutting edge. The forefront of today's society is more secular, some would say hedonist, in nature.
The Christian religion does not seem the most appropriate one for Americans to adopt. It does contain certain concepts such as "an eye for and eye" and the meeting of force with force which have a great deal to be said for them, but the concept of heaven is entirely inappropriate for a free-spirited America. Can you really imagine Americans spending eternity worshipping some arbitrary and capricious being just because He happens to claim omnipotence?
Much more satisfying is the old Norse religion with its twilight of the gods, Ragnorock, and the thousand years in Valhalla for the warriors fallen in this earth-rending battle. Now there is an idea that the pioneers could have gotten excited about.
I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose.
If absolute power corrupts absolutely, where does that leave
A man said to the universe: "Sir, I exist!"
"However," replied the universe, "That fact has not created in me a sense of obligation."
Gabriel: How about cleanin' up de whole mess of 'em and
startin' all over ag'in wid some new kind of animal?
God: An' admit I'm licked?
A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not
worth many regrets.
Arthur C. Clarke
The evolutionists seem to know everything about the missing link
except for the fact that it is missing.
If Jesus Christ were alive today, people would not even crucify
him. They would ask him to dinner, hear what he had to say, and
make fun of it.
Jesus died too soon. He would have repudiated his doctrine if he
had lived to my age.
Christ...an anarchist who succeeded. That's all.
An apology for the devil: it must be remembered that we have
heard only one side of the case. God has written all the books.
Science has done more for the development of Western
civilization in one hundred years than Christianity did in
Rome has seven sacraments, but the Protestant churches, being
less prosperous, feel that they can afford only two, and these of
God's only excuse is that he does not exist.
Hell must be isothermal, for otherwise the resident engineers
and physical chemists, (of which there must be some), could set
up a heat engine to run a refrigerator to cool off a portion of
their surroundings to any desired temperature.
Henry Albert Bent
When Socialism comes into power, the Roman Church will advocate
Socialism with the same vigor it is now favoring feudalism and
August Bebel, 1906
Zionism is rascism because it is built on exclusivity. The Jews
believe they are a superior race, a chosen people. They believe
their home should be in Palestine, the Promised Land. Since when
was God in the real-estate business?
Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.
As the poet said, 'Only God can make a tree' -- probably because
it's so hard to figure out how to get the bark on.
If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large
deposit in my name at a Swiss bank.
Eternal nothingness is OK, if you're dressed for it.
I cannot say for certain that God does not exist; I think the
worst thing that can be said about him is that he's a bit of an
Most of us spend the first six days of each week sowing wild
oats; then we go to church on Sunday to pray for a crop failure.
Even God cannot change the past.
The world holds two classes of men -- intelligent men without
religion and religious men without intelligence.
I can see where influential people would like Maharishi better
than Jesus. My God, if the Beatles and Mia Farrow went to Jesus,
He'd tell them to give all their money away.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The number one book of the ages was written by a committee, and
it was called the Bible.
Louis B. Mayer
A dull, dark, depressing day in Winter: the whole world looks
like a Methodist church at Wednesday night prayer meeting.
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 their 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 history.
It is impossible to imagine the universe run by a wise, just,
omnipotent God, but it is quite easy to imagine it run by a board
of gods. If such a board actually exists it operates like the
board of a corporation that is losing money.
The only really respectable Protestants are the fundamentalists.
Unfortunately, they are also palpable idiots.
Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that
which is God`s -- but remember that which you render unto God is
Church circular, appealing for funds
As long as the Southern colleges have revivals on their campuses
and students get converted to Methodism and join the YMCA and are
accepted as gentlemen, it will be impossible to think of the
South as civilized...The educated folk of the Old South took
theology lightly, and religion to them was hardly more than a
charming ritual, useful on solemn occassions.
What is the function that a clergyman serves in the world? I
guess it's living by assuring idiots that he can save them from
an imaginary hell.
I am one of the few goyim who have ever actually tackled the
Talmud. I suppose you now expect me to add that it is a profound
and noble work, worthy of hard study by all other goyims.
Unhappily, my report must differ from this expectation. It seems
to me, save for a few bright spots, to be quite indistinguishable
Who will argue that 98.6 Farenheit is the right temperature for
man? As for me, I decline to do it. It may be that we are all
actually freezing hence the pervading stupidity of mankind. At
110 or 115 degrees even archbishops might be intelligent.
The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even
bigger pain the second time around.
The Bible says that woman was the last thing that God made. He
must have made it on Saturday night. It shows fatigue.
Thanksgiving 'twas founded be th' Puritans to give thanks f'r
bein' presarved fr'm th' Indyans, an'...we keep it to give thanks
we are presarved fr'm th' Puritans.
I decline Christianity because it is Jewish, because it is
international, and because, in cowardly fashion, it preaches
Peace on Earth.
Erich von Ludendorff, German WW I general
Go get yourself crucified and then rise on the third day.
Voltaire, advising a young man on starting a religion
An atheist is a guy who watches a Notre Dame-SMU football game
and doesn't care who wins.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
I'm an atheist, thank God.
Wilbur G. Gaffney, 1927
Civilized men arrived in the Pacific, armed with alcohol,
syphilis, trousers, and the Bible.
He was a wise man who originated the idea of God.
There are Universes begging for Gods, yet he hangs around this
one looking for work.
Philip Jose Farmer
A myth is a religion that no one any longer believes.
If God had intended us to fly he would never have given us
Heresy is the side that loses.
Religion has done love a great service by making it a sin.
Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
Christianity -- An old metaphysical romance, filled with
marvels, contradictions, and absurdity, born in the ardent
imagination of Orientals, has spread into our Europe. Enthusiasts
have purveyed it, careerists have pretended to accept it,
imbeciles have believed it.
Frederick the Great
I could prove God statistically.
The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy.
I darted a contemptuous look at the stately models of
Edward Gibbon, on Gothic cathedrals
To the philosophic eye, the vices of the clergy are far less
dangerous than their virtues.
Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a flea, and yet he
will be making gods by the dozen.
Michel de Montaigne
I want a priest, a rabbi, and a Protestant clergyman. I want to
hedge my bets.
I would like to see the last king strangled with the guts of the
There is only one honest impulse at the bottom of Puritanism,
and that is the impulse to punish the man with the superior
capacity for happiness.
The Puritans hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the
bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.
The Puritans came to America to worship in their way and to
force everybody else to do the same thing.
It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy
by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to
resort to physics or chemistry.
He no playa the game, he no maka the rules.
Earl Butz, in response to Pope Paul's stand on birth control
Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the
occurrence of the improbable.
Why assume so glibly that the God who presumably created the
universe is still running it? It is certainly conceivable that He
may have finished it and then turned it over to lesser gods to
The Catholic clergy seldom bother to make their arguments
plausible; it is plain that they have little respect for human
intelligence, and indeed little belief in its existence.
The Church has, through the centuries, understood that ideas are
really more dangerous than other weapons. Their use should be
Francis J. Lalby
When it comes to football, God is prejudiced -- toward big, fast
It often happens that I wake up at night and think about a
serious problem and decide that I must tell the Pope about it.
Then I wake up completely and realize that I am the Pope.
Pope John XXIII
Matrimony is always a vice, all that can be done is to excuse it
and sanctify it; therefore it was made a religious sacrament.
Use against heritics the spiritual sword of excommunication, and
if this does not prove effective, use the material sword.
Pope Innocent III
Lutheranism is essentially German... It worships a God who is
neither just nor merciful.
William R. Inge
If we must play the theological game, let us never forget that
it is a game. Religion, it seems to me, can survive only as a
consciously accepted system of make-believe.
When you tell me that your Diety made you in his own image, I
reply that he must have been very ugly.
A Miracle: An event described by those to whom it was told by
men who did not see it.
Heaven -- the Coney Island of the Christian imagination.
History does not record anywhere at any time a religion which
has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not
strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. But, like
dandruff, most people do have a religion and spend time and money
on it and seem to derive considerable pleasure from fiddling with
Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to
themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled
How much luckier than all the rest of mankind are the
astrologers who, if they tell one truth among a hundred lies,
obtain so much credit that even their lies are believed.
I believe that there is no God, but that matter is God and God
is matter; and that it is no matter whether there is any God or
Unbeliever's Creed, 1754
Atheism is aristocratic.
Ninety percent of all Christians practice polygamy -- only they
don't call it that.
a Utah Mormon
Even a warm church can't compete successfully with a cold
Religion: a fantastic faith in gods, angels and spirits...It
serves for the subjugation of the working people and building up
the power of the exploiting bourgeois classes.
Soviet State Publishing House
A christian is a man who feels repentence on a Sunday for what
he did on Saturday and is going to do on Monday.
Thomas B. Ybarra
I somtimes think that God in creating man somewhat overestimated
The man who says to me, "Believe as I do, or God will damn you,"
will presently say, "Believe as I do, or I shall assassinate
He charged nothing for his preaching, and it was worth it,too.
When I reflect upon the number of disagreeable people who I know
have gone to a better world, I am moved to lead a different life.
I admire the serene assurance of those who have religious faith.
It is wonderful to observe the calm confidence of a Christian
with four aces.
If there is no hell, a good many preachers are obtaining money
under false pretences.
Some ministers would make good martyrs: they are so dry they
would burn well.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
When I am on the pulpit, I have the pleasure of seeing my
audience nod approbation while they sleep.
The observances of the church concerning feasts and fasts are
tolerably well kept since the rich keep the feasts and the poor
No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition than
Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus.
George Bernard Shaw
Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous
George Bernard Shaw
In converting Jews to Christians, you raise the price of pork.
The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to
moralists. That is why they invented Hell.
If there be a God, I think he would like me to paint Africa
British-Red as possible.
I often think the doctrine of fasting in Lent and having
meatless days as old-fashioned...it might be better to give up
A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black
cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.
Laurence J. Peter
What nuns don't realize is that they look better in nun clothes
than J.C. Penney pantsuits.
Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do
it from religious conviction.
One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.
I would have made a good pope.
I've taken up the Bible again, somewhat in the spirit of W.C.
Fields -- looking for loopholes.
We are most unfair to God; we do not allow Him to sin.