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Is there any reli­gion whose fol­low­ers can be point­ed to as dis­tinct­ly more ami­able and trust­wor­thy than those of any oth­er? If so, this should be enough. I find the nicest and best peo­ple gen­er­al­ly pro­fess no reli­gion at all, but are ready to like the best men of all reli­gions.

— Samuel But­ler

The great trou­ble is that the preach­ers get the chil­dren from six to sev­en years of age, and then it is almost impos­si­ble to do any­thing with them. Incur­ably reli­gious — that is the best way to describe the men­tal con­di­tion of so many peo­ple. Incur­ably reli­gious.

— Thomas Edi­son

Being “pro-birth” is not the same as being pro-life. Forc­ing females to have chil­dren with­out pro­vid­ing what they need finan­cial­ly, emo­tion­al­ly, and edu­ca­tion­al­ly is a pro-birth agen­da that mur­ders count­less bod­ies and souls… These indi­vid­u­als have an appalling dis­con­nect, fawn­ing over the decay­ing body of a woman in a per­ma­nent veg­e­ta­tive state [Ter­ri Schi­a­vo] while prais­ing the demise of over 100,000 inno­cent Iraqi cit­i­zens and tout­ing the patri­o­tism of some 1,600 dead U.S. troops… In [the reli­gious right’s] mind­set, adult human lives do not mat­ter because the human con­di­tion itself is inher­ent­ly evil…

— Car­olyn Bak­er

A Sun­day school is a prison in which chil­dren do penance for the evil con­science of their par­ents.

— H.L. Menck­en

By all means let an obser­vant Jew­ish adult male have his raw-cut penis placed in the mouth of a rab­bi. (That would be legal, at least in New York.) By all means let grown women who dis­trust their cli­toris or their labia have them sawn away by some oth­er wretched adult female. By all means let Abra­ham offer to com­mit sui­cide to prove his devo­tion to the Lord or his belief in the voic­es he was hear­ing in his head. By all means let devout par­ents deny them­selves the suc­cor of med­i­cine when in acute pain and dis­tress. By all means — for all I care — let a priest sworn to celiba­cy be a promis­cu­ous homo­sex­u­al. By all means let a con­gre­ga­tion that believes in whip­ping out the dev­il choose a new grown-up sin­ner each week and lash him until he or she bleeds. By all means let any­one who believes in cre­ation­ism instruct his fel­lows dur­ing lunch breaks. But the con­scrip­tion of the unpro­tect­ed child for these pur­pos­es is some­thing that even the most ded­i­cat­ed sec­u­lar­ist can safe­ly describe as a sin.

— Christo­pher Hitchens

Above all, we are in need of a renewed Enlight­en­ment, which will base itself on the propo­si­tion that the prop­er study of mankind is man, and woman. This Enlight­en­ment will not need to depend, like its pre­de­ces­sors, on the hero­ic break­throughs of a few gift­ed and excep­tion­al­ly coura­geous peo­ple. It is with­in the com­pass of the aver­age per­son. The study of lit­er­a­ture and poet­ry, both for its own sake and for the eter­nal­ly eth­i­cal ques­tions with which it deals, can now eas­i­ly depose the scruti­ny of sacred texts that have been found to be cor­rupt and con­fect­ed. The pur­suit of unfet­tered sci­en­tif­ic inquiry, and the avail­abil­i­ty of new find­ings to mass­es of peo­ple by easy elec­tron­ic means, will rev­o­lu­tion­ize our con­cepts of research and devel­op­ment. Very impor­tant­ly, the divorce between the sex­u­al life and fear, and the sex­u­al life and dis­ease, and the sex­u­al life and tyran­ny, can now at last be attempt­ed, on the sole con­di­tion that we ban­ish all reli­gions from the dis­course. And all this and more is, for the first time in our his­to­ry, with­in the reach if not the grasp of every­one.

— Christo­pher Hitchens

If I could change just one thing, it would be to dis­so­ci­ate the idea of faith from virtue; now, and for good; and to expose it for what it is: a servile weak­ness, a refuge in cow­ardice, and a will­ing­ness to fol­low, with creduli­ty, peo­ple who are, in the high­est degree, unscrupu­lous.

— Christo­pher Hitchens, Speak­ing in Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma, 2010 Sep­tem­ber 7

All reli­gions, all faiths are equal glimpses of the same untruth. They all involve the same sur­ren­der of rea­son, they all involve the same con­tempt for evi­dence and they all involve the idea that one must respect some­one for say­ing “I’ll believe any­thing I’m told.”

— Christo­pher Hitchens, Let­ters to a Young Con­trar­i­an

(Reli­gion is) cos­mi­cal­ly hope­less, as is all the relat­ed masochism that goes with it — you’ve got to spend your entire life mak­ing up for the ver­min you are. What is that if not degrad­ing? We don’t do that to peo­ple. We say you may as well know you’re a pri­mate, but take heart, pri­mates are capa­ble of great things.

— Christo­pher Hitchens, The Observ­er inter­view, 2010 Novem­ber 14

Don’t speak to me about your reli­gion; first show it to me in how you treat oth­er peo­ple. Don’t tell me how much you love your God; show me in how much you love all your God’s chil­dren. Don’t preach to me your pas­sion for your faith; teach me through your com­pas­sion for your neigh­bors. In the end, I’m not as inter­est­ed in what you have to tell or sell as I am in how you choose to live and give.

— Cory Book­er, May­or of Newark, N.J.

You can not con­vince a believ­er of any­thing; for their belief is not based on evi­dence, it is based on a deep-seat­ed need to believe.

— Carl Sagan, Con­tact

Peace of mind is a most valu­able thing. The Bible has robbed the major­i­ty of the world of it dur­ing many cen­turies; it is but fair that in return it should give some to an indi­vid­ual here and there. But you must not make the mis­take of sup­pos­ing that absolute peace of mind is obtain­able only through some form reli­gious belief: no, on the con­trary I have found that as per­fect a peace is to be found in absolute unbe­lief.

— Mark Twain, Let­ter to Charles W. Stod­dard, 1 June 1885

[E]xceptional claims demand excep­tion­al evi­dence.

— Christo­pher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Reli­gion Poi­sons Every­thing

What can be assert­ed with­out evi­dence can also be dis­missed with­out evi­dence.

— Christo­pher Hitchens, God Is Not Great: How Reli­gion Poi­sons Every­thing

She was not a Respectable Mar­ried Woman but ful­ly a human being.

— Sin­clair Lewis, Main Street

Light­hous­es are much more use­ful than church­es.

— Ben­jamin Franklin

Do not indoc­tri­nate your chil­dren. Teach them how to think for them­selves, how to eval­u­ate evi­dence, and how to dis­agree with you.

— Richard Dawkins, The God Delu­sion

If you’re an athe­ist, you know, you believe, this is the only life you’re going to get. It’s a pre­cious life. It’s a beau­ti­ful life. Its some­thing we should live to the full, to the end of our days. Where if you’re reli­gious and you believe in anoth­er life some­how, that means you don’t live this life to the full because you think you’re going to get anoth­er one. That’s an awful­ly neg­a­tive way to live a life. Being a athe­ist frees you up to live this life prop­er­ly, hap­pi­ly and ful­ly.

— Richard Dawkins

The finest cloth­ing made is a person’s skin, but, of course, soci­ety demands some­thing more than this.

— Mark Twain

Unmen­tion­ables — those arti­cles of ladies’ appar­el that are nev­er dis­cussed in pub­lic, except in full-page, illus­trat­ed ads.

— Chang­ing Times

A dress that zips up the back will bring a hus­band and wife togeth­er.

— James H. Boren

If most of us are ashamed of shab­by clothes and shod­dy fur­ni­ture, let us be more ashamed of shab­by ideas and shod­dy philoso­phies… It would be a sad sit­u­a­tion if the wrap­per were bet­ter than the meat wrapped inside it.

— Albert Ein­stein

Peo­ple sel­dom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.

— Lee Mil­don

Do not trou­ble your­self much to get new things, whether clothes or friends… Sell your clothes and keep your thoughts.

— Hen­ry David Thore­au

Sel­dom do peo­ple dis­cern
Elo­quence under a thread­bare cloak.

— Juve­nal

I have a han­ker­ing to go back to the Ori­ent and dis­card my neck­tie. Neck­ties stran­gle clear think­ing.

— Lin Yutang

A man hasn’t got a cor­ner on virtue just because his shoes are shined.

— Anne Petry

Nie mój cyrk, nie moje małpy. (Not my cir­cus, not my mon­keys.)

— Proverb, Pol­ish
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