Quotes and Thoughts About Atheism


Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me 'Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid' - then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.

It is not hardness of heart or evil passions that drive certain individuals to atheism, but rather a scrupulous intellectual honesty.

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance--it is the illusion of knowledge.

Faith is the commitment of one's consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or rational proof.

Just because science doesn't know everything, doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you.

I tell you what, when people will start saying that Santa is real, and that you also have to believe that Santa is real, and that if you don't believe Santa is real, then Santa is going to torture you forever and ever; and also that gay kids are bad because Santa doesn't like them; and also that Donald Trump is good because Santa dropped him off as a present to the American people; and that women shouldn't have the right to an abortion because Santa wants as many children as possible in the world to deliver presents to; when that starts happening -- I'll start ranting about Santa too.

Rachel Cain

TikTok -- @iblamebill -- when accused of "ranting" about God

As a kid, I had an imaginary friend, and I used to think that he went everywhere with me, and that I could talk to him and he could hear me and he could grant me wishes and stuff. Then I grew up and stopped going to church.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

It is wrong always everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.

Beliefs themselves do not merit automatic respect and deference. Humans certainly deserve some basic level of respect and respectful treatment, but beliefs aren't people.

Saying you are moral because you believe in a god is like saying you are an economist because you play monopoly.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

[Religion] teaches us not to change our minds, and not to want to know exciting things that are available to be known. It subverts science and saps the intellect.

In modern English vocabulary, it's more or less impossible to use the word "atheist" without preceding it with the adjective "strident" -- they simply go together. I am not strident. I am no more strident than anybody else. Now, is it like disillusioning children about Santa Claus? The weird thing is that children manage to grow out of Santa Claus.

Richard Dawkins

interview on Q&A, Australian talk show, when asked "why he is so strident" and "his methods are like taking Santa Claus away from children"

One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding.

You have a right to your own beliefs. You do not have a right to your own facts. The facts are whatever it is that can actually be verified in the real world.

Our fear of not knowing the answer, encourages us to accept answers before they are sufficiently justified.

How completely and utterly depressingly sad that is, that you think the only thing--the only reason you can get through the day after waking up is that god is looking out for you. It's great to be able to take advantage of the knowledge that you're in control of your life, that you have friends and family around you that you care for, that you care for them too, that when the going gets tough you can depend on those friends and yourself and do things with your hands--instead of hitting your knees and hoping that god will miracle your ass out of whatever trouble you're in.

God was always invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand. Now when you finally discover how something works, you get some laws which you're taking away from God; you don't need him anymore. But you need him for the other mysteries. So therefore you can leave him to create the universe because we haven't figured that one out yet; you need him for understanding those things which you don't believe the laws will explain, such as consciousness, or why you only live to a certain length of time - life and death - stuff like that. God is always associated with those things that you do not understand.

I think it's much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers, and possible beliefs, and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I'm not absolutely sure of anything. There are many things I don't know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask Why are we here? I might think about it a little bit, and if I can't figure it out then I go on to something else. But I don't have to know an answer. I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in the mysterious universe without having any purpose — which is the way it really is, as far as I can tell.

Atheism isn't just about not believing that there is a god, but also on the assumption that if there is one--what kind of god is he? It's perfectly apparent! He's monstrous! Utterly monstrous and deserves no respect, whatsoever. The moment you banish him, life becomes simpler, purer, cleaner, and more worth living in my opinion.

It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what.

Bone cancer in children? What's that about? How dare you, how dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It's not right--it's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain. That's what I would say.

Stephen Fry

...when asked what he would say to God at the pearly gates

A Christian telling an atheist they're going to hell is as scary as a child telling an adult they're not getting any presents from Santa.

The truth is, you know exactly what it is like to be an atheist with respect to the beliefs of Muslims. Isn't it obvious that Muslims are fooling themselves? Isn't it obvious that anyone who thinks that the Koran is the perfect word of the creator of the universe has not read the book critically? Isn't it obvious that the doctrine of Islam represents a near perfect barrier to honest inquiry? Yes, these things are obvious. Understand that the way you view Islam is precisely the way devout Muslims view Christianity. And it is the way I view all religions.

I would challenge anyone here to think of a question upon which we once had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one.

We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid.

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

Our ignorance is God; what we know is science.

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.

To talk of immaterial existences is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, god, are immaterial, is to say they are nothings, or that there is no god, no angels, no soul. ... I am satisfied, and sufficiently occupied with the things which are, without tormenting or troubling myself about those which may indeed be, but of which I have no evidence.

You don't have to be brave or a saint, a martyr, or even very smart to be an atheist. All you have to be able to say is 'I don't know.'

All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.

The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.

I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence.

If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you would resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler--a mafia wife--with the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers. If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it lives into the future decimated by the effects of a religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let's remember what the real problem was: that we learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it. That's it. Grow up or die.

An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has the proof that there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question.

The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.

It is often argued that religion is valuable because it makes men good, but even if this were true it would not be a proof that religion is true. That would be an extension of pragmatism beyond endurance. Santa Claus makes children good in precisely the same way, and yet no one would argue seriously that the fact proves his existence. The defense of religion is full of such logical imbecilities. The theologians, taking one with another, are adept logicians, but every now and then they have to resort to sophistries so obvious that their whole case takes on an air of the ridiculous. Even the most logical religion starts out with patently false assumptions. It is often argued in support of this or that one that men are so devoted to it that they are willing to die for it. That, of course, is as silly as the Santa Claus proof. Other men are just as devoted to manifestly false religions, and just as willing to die for them. Every theologian spends a large part of his time and energy trying to prove that religions for which multitudes of honest men have fought and died are false, wicked, and against God.

People say we need religion when they really mean is we need police.

To sum up: 1. The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. 2. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. 3. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him the ride.

Truth would quickly cease to be stranger than fiction, once we got as used to it.

Science adjusts its views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.

And imagine what Tony the fish would think, standing there on his brand new feet, on the brink of the beginnings of mankind as we know it, if he could look forward just a few short hundreds of millions of years to see one of his descendants, an Israeli Jew by the name of "Jesus," having a nail hammered through his feet (the very feet that Tony provided him with) as a punishment for having a sort of schizophrenic discourse with a God, who was created by man to explain the existence of feet in the absence of the knowledge of the existence of Tony.
I think that would blow his little fishy mind.

Tim Minchin

... comedy sketch about the first fish with feet

...Judaism, Christianity, and Islam extol faith and belief, obedience and submission, taste for death and longing for the beyond, the asexual angel and chastity, virginity and monogamous love, wife and mother, soul and spirit. In other words, life crucified and nothingness exalted.

When I was a Christian, in my day to day life, I was almost never forced into justification of my belief. Once I became an atheist however, people starting demanding one. To me this speaks distinctly towards the cultural bias regarding belief.

Folks, it's certainly time that we all grew up. Instead of forging ahead into the 14th century, we should be embracing the 21st by writing 'finit' to the belief in the bigoted, capricious, cruel, deceitful, genocidal, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, vindictive and violent bully who demands constant praise, sacrifice, adulation, and ego-support, or the penalties he promises can be very severe.

Those who believe without reason cannot be convinced by reason.

The immense majority of intellectual eminent men disbelieve in Christian religion, but they conceal the fact in public, because they are afraid of losing their incomes.

To judge from the notions expounded by theologians, one must conclude that God created most men simply with a view to crowding hell.

I'm invested in knowing the truth; I'm invested in knowing what's real and what's not real.

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

I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.

I find it genuinely odd how much creationists crave purpose... How awful. How absolutely soul-crushingly horrible to have a purpose. To have your whole life laid out with one intention in mind. To be born -- with a goal. No freedom. No choices. No mistakes. No chance to choose your own adventure or to design your own destiny. Just total objectification of your entire being. I would rather not be alive than to live on someone else's orders.

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.

Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon -- it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.