Quotations Concerning Religion

From the Columbia Dictionary Of Quotations

Version 1.0.0 Compiled by Psycho Dave, using Microsoft Bookshelf CD

"Of all possible sexual perversions, religion is the only one to have ever been scientifically systematized."
Louis Aragon (1897-1982), French poet. Treatise on Style, pt. 1, "The Pen" (1928).

"It's incongruous that the older we get, the more likely we are to turn in the direction of religion. Less vivid and intense ourselves, closer to the grave, we begin to conceive of ourselves as immortal."
Edward Hoagland (b. 1932), U.S. novelist, essayist. "The Ridge-Slope Fox and The Knife-Thrower," in Harper's (New York, Jan. 1977; repr. in Heart's Desire, 1988).

"The first revolt is against the supreme tyranny of theology, of the phantom of God. As long as we have a master in heaven, we will be slaves on earth."
Mikhail Bakunin (1814-76), Russian political theorist. God and the State (1871; repr. in Bakunin on Anarchism, ed. by Sam Dolgoff, 1980).

"Religion. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable."
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. author. The Devil's Dictionary (1881- 1906).

"And lips say `God be pitiful,' Who ne'er said, `God be praised.'"
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-61), English poet. The Cry of the Human, st. 1..

"Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference which is, at least, half infidelity."
Edmund Burke (1729-97), Irish philosopher, statesman. Letter, 29 Jan. 1795 (published in The Writings and Speeches of Edmund Burke, vol. 9, ed. by Paul Langford, 1991)..

"Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendor of imagination and caprice, instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity."
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72), German philosopher. Preface to 1843 ed. of The Essence of Christianity (1841).

"Our knowledge of the historical worth of certain religious doctrines increases our respect for them, but does not invalidate our proposal that they should cease to be put forward as the reasons for the precepts of civilization. On the contrary! Those historical residues have helped us to view religious teachings, as it were, as neurotic relics, and we may now argue that the time has probably come, as it does in an analytic treatment, for replacing the effects of repression by the results of the rational operation of the intellect."
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Austrian psychiatrist. The Future of an Illusion, ch. 8 (1927; repr. in Complete Works, vol. 21, ed. by James Strachey and Anna Freud, 1961). Two paragraphs earlier, Freud called religion "the universal obsessional neurosis of humanity," arising, "like the obsessional neuroses of children . . . out of the Oedipus complex," though he never actually used the words-often quoted in anthologies-"Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis.".

"Culture's essential service to a religion is to destroy intellectual idolatry, the recurrent tendency in religion to replace the object of its worship with its present understanding and forms of approach to that object."
Northrop Frye (1912-91), Canadian literary critic. Anatomy of Criticism, Second Essay, "Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad" (1957).

"All religions have based morality on obedience, that is to say, on voluntary slavery. That is why they have always been more pernicious than any political organisation. For the latter makes use of violence, the former-of the corruption of the will."
Alexander Herzen (1812-70), Russian journalist, political thinker. From the Other Shorem, "Omnia Mea Mecum Porto" (1855)

"It's incongruous that the older we get, the more likely we are to turn in the direction of religion. Less vivid and intense ourselves, closer to the grave, we begin to conceive of ourselves as immortal."
Edward Hoagland (b. 1932), U.S. novelist, essayist. "The Ridge-Slope Fox and The Knife-Thrower," in Harper's (New York, Jan. 1977; repr. in Heart's Desire, 1988).

"To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance. "
Eric Hoffer (1902-83), U.S. philosopher. The Passionate State of Mind, aph. 215 (1955).

"Give us a religion that will help us to live-we can die without assistance."
Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915), U.S. author. Selected Writings, vol. 1, "Index" (1921).

"You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. . . . Dogs do not ritually urinate in the hope of persuading heaven to do the same and send down rain. Asses do not bray a liturgy to cloudless skies. Nor do cats attempt, by abstinence from cat's meat, to wheedle the feline spirits into benevolence. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. Texts and Pretexts, "Amor Fati" (1932).

"When a culture feels that its end has come, it sends for a priest."
Karl Kraus (1874-1936), Austrian satirist. Pro Domo et Mundo, ch. 7 (1912).

"There is nothing more innately human than the tendency to transmute what has become customary into what has been divinely ordained."
Suzanne Lafollette (1893-1983), U.S. editor, author. Concerning Women, "The Beginnings of Emancipation" (1926).

"A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification."
D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), British author. Letter, 3 Dec. 1907 (published in The Letters of D. H. Lawrence, vol. 1, ed. by James T. Boulton, 1979). Lawrence added, "So I contend that true Socialism is religion; that honest, fervent politics are religion; that whatever a man will labour for earnestly and in some measure unselfishly is religion."

"I count religion but a childish toy, And hold there is no sin but innocence."
Christopher Marlowe (1564-93), English dramatist, poet. Machiavel, in The Jew of Malta, "Prologue." The lines are often modernized:

"Religion is a temper, not a pursuit."
Harriet Martineau (1802-76), English writer, social critic. Society in America, vol. 3, "Women" (1837).

"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."
Karl Marx (1818-83), German political theorist, social philosopher. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Preface (1844). The formulation has invited many variations, including the observation by Edmund Wilson in Letters on Literature and Politics (1977): "Marxism is the opium of the intellectuals," and, according to psychiatrist Thomas Szasz writing about drugs in The Second Sin (1973): "In the United States today, opiates are the religion of the people."

"Oh senseless man, who cannot possibly make a worm, and yet will make Gods by dozens."
Michel de Montaigne (1533-92), French essayist. Essays, bk. 2, ch. 12, "An Apology of Raimond Sebond" (tr. by John Florio, 1580).

"A wise architect observed that you could break the laws of architectural art provided you had mastered them first. That would apply to religion as well as to art. Ignorance of the past does not guarantee freedom from its imperfections. "
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), U.S. theologian, historian. Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic (1930), 1928 entry.

"After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher. Ecce Homo, "Why I Am a Destiny" (1888).

"There's no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible."
Sean O'Casey (1884-1964), Irish dramatist. Fluther Good, in The Plough and the Stars, act 1.

"Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Anglo-American political theorist, writer. The Rights of Man, pt. 2, ch. 5 (1792). Shelley echoed this sentiment in his Address to the Irish People (1812): "All religions are good which make men good.".

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
Thomas Paine (1737-1809), Anglo-American political theorist, writer. The Age of Reason, pt. 1, "The Author's Profession of Faith" (1794).

"Religion, oh, just another of those numerous failures resulting from an attempt to popularize art."
Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter (undated), to Pound's fianc‚e, Mary Moore (from the Van Pelt Library, University of Pennsylvania). Quoted in: Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 1, ch. 8 (1988).

"A maker of idols is never an idolater."
Chinese Proverb

"It is not God that is worshipped but the group or authority that claims to speak in His name. Sin becomes disobedience to authority not violation of integrity."
Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975), Indian philosopher, statesman. Quoted in: J. A. C. Brown, Techniques of Persuasion, ch. 11 (1965), speaking of organized religion.

"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas- uncertainty, progress, change-into crimes."
Salman Rushdie (b. 1947), Indian-born British author. Is Nothing Sacred?, Herbert Reade Memorial Lecture, 6 Feb. 1990.

"Religions, which condemn the pleasures of sense, drive men to seek the pleasures of power. Throughout history power has been the vice of the ascetic."
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), British philosopher, mathematician. New York Herald-Tribune Magazine (6 May 1938).

"Religions are the cradles of despotism."
Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), French author. Dolmanc‚, in Philosophy in the Bedroom, "Dialogue the Fifth: Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans" (1795).

"All the sweetness of religion is conveyed to the world by the hands of story-tellers and image-makers. Without their fictions the truths of religion would for the multitude be neither intelligible nor even apprehensible; and the prophets would prophesy and the teachers teach in vain."
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. Back to Methusaleh, Preface (1921).

"Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds."
Susan Sontag (b. 1933), U.S. essayist. "The Pornographic Imagination," sct. 3, in Partisan Review (New Brunswick, N.J.; repr. in Styles of Radical Will, 1969).

"The main business of religions is to purify, control, and restrain that excessive and exclusive taste for well-being which men acquire in times of equality."
Alexis de Tocqueville (1805-59), French social philosopher. Democracy in America, vol. 2, pt. 1, ch. 5 (1840).

"I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious-except he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), U.S. author. Mark Twain's Notebooks and Journals, vol. 3, (ed. by Frederick Anderson, 1979), Notebook 27 (Aug. 1887-July 1888).

"It is a good and gentle religion, but inconvenient."
Mark Twain (1835-1910), U.S. author. Following the Equator, ch. 49 (1897), of Hinduism.

"Religion is love; in no case is it logic."
Beatrice Potter Webb (1858-1943), British socialist, author. My Apprenticeship, Introduction (1926).

"Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions."
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Anglo-Irish playwright, author. "Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young," in Chameleon (London, Dec. 1894).

"Not every religion has to have St. Augustine's attitude to sex. Why even in our culture marriages are celebrated in a church, everyone present knows what is going to happen that night, but that doesn't prevent it being a religious ceremony."
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Conversation in 1943 (published in Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. by Rush Rhees, 1981).

"If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss bank."
Woody Allen (b. 1935), U.S. filmmaker. "Selections from the Allen Notebooks," in New Yorker (5 Nov. 1973).

"There is something Pagan in me that I cannot shake off. In short, I deny nothing, but doubt everything."
Lord Byron (1788-1824), English poet. Letter, 4 Dec. 1811 (published in Byron's Letters and Journals, vol. 2, ed. by Leslie A. Marchand, 1973- 81).

"I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure-that is all that agnosticism means."
Clarence Darrow (1857-1938), U.S. lawyer, writer. Speech, 13 July 1925, Dayton, Tennessee, defending John T. Scopes on trial for teaching Darwinism.

"He talks about the Scylla of Atheism and the Charybdis of Christianity- a state of mind which, by the way, is not conducive to bold navigation."
Norman Douglas (1868-1952), British author. Mr. Keith, in South Wind, ch. 18 (1917), referring to author Samuel Butler.

"Lord I disbelieve-help thou my unbelief."
E. M. Forster (1879-1970), British novelist, essayist. Two Cheers for Democracy, "What I Believe" (1951), a play on Bible, Mark 9:24, "Lord, I believe, help Thou mine unbelief."

"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 blind-folded fear."
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), U.S. president. Letter, 10 Aug. 1787.

"The Church has always been willing to swap off treasures in heaven for cash down."
Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-99), U.S. lawyer, orator. Speech, 20 Sept. 1880, Chicago.

"It is indolence. . . . Indolence and love of ease; a want of all laudable ambition, of taste for good company, or of inclination to take the trouble of being agreeable, which make men clergymen. A clergyman has nothing to do but be slovenly and selfish; read the newspaper, watch the weather, and quarrel with his wife. His curate does all the work and the business of his own life is to dine."
Jane Austen (1775-1817), English novelist. Mary Crawford, in Mansfield Park, ch. 11 (1814).

"A woman's asking for equality in the church would be comparable to a black person's demanding equality in the Ku Klux Klan."
Mary Daly (b. 1928), U.S. educator, writer, theologian. The Church and the Second Sex, New Autobiographical Preface (1975)..

"And of all plagues with which mankind are curst, Ecclesiastic tyranny's the worst."
Daniel Defoe (1659-1731), English writer. The True-Born Englishman, pt. 2 (1701).

"There is not in the universe a more ridiculous, nor a more contemptible animal, than a proud clergyman."
Henry Fielding (1707-54), English novelist, dramatist. Amelia, bk. 9, ch. 10 (1751).

"Those who marry God can become domesticated too-it's just as hum-drum a marriage as all the others. The word "Love" means a formal touch of the lips as in the ceremony of the Mass, and "Ave Maria" like "dearest" is a phrase to open a letter. This marriage like the world's marriages was held together by habits and tastes shared in common between God and themselves-it was God's taste to be worshipped and their taste to worship, but only at stated hours like a suburban embrace on a Saturday night."
Graham Greene (1904-91), British novelist. A Burnt-Out Case, pt. 1, ch. 1, sct. 2 (1961).

"A full-dressed ecclesiastic is a sort of go-cart of divinity; an ethical automaton. A clerical prig is, in general, a very dangerous as well as contemptible character. The utmost that those who thus habitually confound their opinions and sentiments with the outside coverings of their bodies can aspire to, is a negative and neutral character, like wax-work figures, where the dress is done as much to the life as the man, and where both are respectable pieces of pasteboard, or harmless compositions of fleecy hosiery."
William Hazlitt (1778-1830), English essayist. "On Clerical Character," published in Yellow Dwarf (24/31 Jan. & 7 Feb. 1818; repr. in Political Essays, 1819).

"But a priest's life is not supposed to be well-rounded; it is supposed to be one-pointed-a compass, not a weathercock."
Aldous Huxley (1894-1963), British author. The Devils of Loudun, ch. 1 (1952).

"This merriment of parsons is mighty offensive."
Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer. Quoted in: James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, March 1781 (1791).

"This merriment of parsons is mighty offensive."
Samuel Johnson (1709-84), English author, lexicographer. Quoted in: James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson, March 1781 (1791).

"Archbishop-A Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ."
H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), U.S. journalist. A Mencken Chrestomathy, "Sententi‘: Arcana Clestia" (1949).

"If church prelates, past or present, had even an inkling of physiology they'd realise that what they term this inner ugliness creates and nourishes the hearing ear, the seeing eye, the active mind, and energetic body of man and woman, in the same way that dirt and dung at the roots give the plant its delicate leaves and the full-blown rose."
Sean O'Casey (1884-1964), Irish dramatist. Rose And Crown, "In New York Now" (1952), of the so-called "ugliness under the skin . . . the functioning flesh, blood, bone, muscle," from the 5th volume of O'Casey's autobiography.

"Be neither intimate nor distant with the clergy."
Irish proverb.

"Nearly all the evils in the Church have arisen from bishops desiring power more than light. They want authority, not outlook."
John Ruskin (1819-1900), English art critic, author. Sesame and Lilies, lecture 1, sct. 22 (repr. in The Works of John Ruskin, vol. 18, ed. by E. T. Cook & Alexander Weddesburn, 1905).

"What is wrong with priests and popes is that instead of being apostles and saints, they are nothing but empirics who say "I know" instead of "I am learning," and pray for credulity and inertia as wise men pray for scepticism and activity."
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Anglo-Irish playwright, critic. The Doctor's Dilemma, "The Latest Theories," Preface (1911)..

"I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution."
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion (published in Works, vol. 15, 1765).

"I think a bishop who doesn't give offence to anyone is probably not a good bishop."
James Lawton Thompson (b. 1936), British cleric. Daily Telegraph (London, 30 May 1991).

"It will, I believe, be everywhere found, that as the clergy are, or are not what they ought to be, so are the rest of the nation."
Jane Austen (1775-1817), English novelist. Edmund, in Mansfield Park, ch. 9 (1814).

"The priesthood in many ways is the ultimate closet in Western civilization, where gay people particularly have hidden for the past two thousand years."
Bishop John Spong (b. 1931), U.S. ecclesiastic. Daily Telegraph (London, 12 July 1990)..

"In the Church, considered as a social organism, the mysteries inevitably degenerate into beliefs."
Simone Weil (1909-43), French philosopher, mystic. Quoted in: David McLellan, Simone Weil: Utopian Pessimist, ch. 9 (1989).

"We enter church, and we have to say, 'We have erred and strayed from Thy ways like lost sheep," when what we want to say is, "Why are we made to err and stray like lost sheep?' Then we have to sing, 'My soul doth magnify the Lord,' when what we want to sing is 'O that my soul could find some Lord that it could magnify!'"
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), English novelist, poet. Note, Jan. 1907 (published in Florence Emily Hardy, The Later Years of Thomas Hardy, ch. 9, 1930).

"Here, the churches seemed to shrink away into eroding corners. They seem to have ceased to be essential parts of American life. They no longer give life. It is the huge buildings of commerce and trade which now align the people to attention. These in their massive manner of steel and stone say, Come unto me all ye who labour, and we will give you work."
Sean O'Casey (1884-1964), Irish dramatist. Rose And Crown, vol. 5, "In New York Now" (1952), said of New York.

"The act of bellringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions. It implies the pointless interference with the quiet of other people."
Ezra Pound (1885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Quoted in: Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1988).

"I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons."
Billy Wilder (b. 1906), U.S. film director. Jan Sterling, in Ace in the Hole (directed and scripted by Billy Wilder, 1951).

"The anarchist and the Christian have a common origin."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher. The Antichrist, aph. 57 (1895).

"Thinking as I do that the Creator of this world is a very cruel being, & being a worshipper of Christ, I cannot help saying: "the Son, O how unlike the Father!" First God Almighty comes with a thump on the head. Then Jesus Christ comes with a balm to heal it."
William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, engraver. A Vision of the Last Judgement (1810; repr. in Complete Writings, ed. by Geoffrey Keynes, 1957).

A lot of people say to me, 'Why did you kill Christ?' 'I dunno . . . it was one of those parties, got out of hand, you know." "We killed him because he didn't want to become a doctor, that's why we killed him.'"
Lenny Bruce (1925-66), U.S. satirical comedian. The Essential Lenny Bruce, "The Jews" (ed. by John Cohen, 1967).

"Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind."
Mikhail Gorbachev (b. 1931), Soviet political leader. Daily Telegraph (London, 16 June 1992).

"I wouldn't put it past God to arrange a virgin birth if He wanted, but I very much doubt if He would."
David Jenkins (b. 1925), British ecclesiastic, bishop of Durham. Church Times (London, 4 May 1984).

"He comes into the world God knows how, walks on the water, gets out of his grave and goes up off the Hill of Howth. What drivel is this?"
James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish author. Stephen Daedalus, in Stephen Hero, ch. 21 (1944; rev. 1975).

"Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."
John Lennon (1940-80), British rock musician. Evening Standard (London, 4 March 1966).

"The word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding-in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross."
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900), German philosopher. The Anti-Christ, aph. 39 (1895).

"Jesus was a brilliant Jewish stand-up comedian, a phenomenal improvisor. His parables are great one-liners."
Camille Paglia (b. 1947), U.S. author, critic, educator. Harper's (New York, March 1991).

"A heroic figure . . . not wholly to blame for the religion that's been foisted on him."
Ezra Pound885-1972), U.S. poet, critic. Letter, 1914, to the father of Pound's bride-to-be, Dorothy Shakespear, explaining his reasons for not wanting a church wedding. Quoted in: Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character, pt. 2, ch. 13 (1988).

"The Galilean is not a favourite of mine. So far from owing him any thanks for his favour, I cannot avoid confessing that I owe a secret grudge to his carpentership."
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), English poet. Letter, 24 April 1811 (published in The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 1, ed. by Frederick L. Jones, 1964).

"Somewhere in the bible it say Jesus' hair was like lamb's wool, I say. Well, say Shug, if he came to any of these churches we talking bout he'd have to have it conked before anybody paid him any attention. The last thing niggers want to think about they God is that his hair kinky."
Alice Walker (b. 1944), U.S. author, critic. The Color Purple (1983).

"I am a daylight atheist."
Brendan Behan (1923-64), Irish playwright. Quoted in: Daniel Farson, Sacred Monsters, "Rousting in Dublin" (1988), by Rae Jeffs, publicist and assistant to Behan.

"We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in the practical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians."
Nicolai A. Berdyaev (1874-1948), Russian Christian philosopher. Truth and Revelation (1953; repr. in Christian Existentialism, ch. 5, "Atheism," 1965).

"Irreligion. The principal one of the great faiths of the world."
Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), U.S. author. The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906).

"Those thinkers who cannot believe in any gods often assert that the love of humanity would be in itself sufficient for them; and so, perhaps, it would, if they had it."
G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936), British author. Tremendous Trifles, "The Orthodox Barber" (1909).

"If therefore my work is negative, irreligious, atheistic, let it be remembered that atheism-at least in the sense of this work-is the secret of religion itself; that religion itself, not indeed on the surface, but fundamentally, not in intention or according to its own supposition, but in its heart, in its essence, believes in nothing else than the truth and divinity of human nature."
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72), German philosopher. The Essence of Christianity, Preface (1841).

"I can't believe in the God of my Fathers. If there is one Mind which understands all things, it will comprehend me in my unbelief. I don't know whose hand hung Hesperus in the sky, and fixed the Dog Star, and scattered the shining dust of Heaven, and fired the sun, and froze the darkness between the lonely worlds that spin in space."
Gerald Kersh (1911-68), British author, journalist. They Die With Their Boots Clean, pt. 3, "Old Silence" (1941).

"If you don't believe in God, all you have to believe in is decency. . . . Decency is very good. Better decent than indecent. But I don't think it's enough."
Harold Macmillan (1894-1986), British Conservative politician, prime minister. Quoted in: Alistair Horne, Macmillan, vol. 2, ch. 19 (1989). The comment was made to William F. Buckley, Jr. on "Firing Line," recorded in New York, 20 Nov. 1980.

"Here we are, we're alone in the universe, there's no God, it just seems that it all began by something as simple as sunlight striking on a piece of rock. And here we are. We've only got ourselves. Somehow, we've just got to make a go of it. We've only ourselves."
John Osborne (b. 1929), British playwright. Jean, in The Entertainer, no. 12.

"The divine is perhaps that quality in man which permits him to endure the lack of God." Jean Rostand (1894-1977), French biologist, writer. Carnets d'un Biologiste (repr. in The Substance of Man, p. 181, 1962).

"There is no God, Nature sufficeth unto herself; in no wise hath she need of an author."
Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), French author. Cur-de-fer, in Justine, ou les Malheurs de la Vertu (1791).

"Now we have no God. We have had two: the old God that our fathers handed down to us, that we hated, and never liked; the new one that we made for ourselves, that we loved; but now he has flitted away from us, and we see what he was made of-the shadow of our highest ideal, crowned and throned. Now we have no God."
Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), South African writer, feminist. The Story of an African Farm, pt. 2, ch. 1 (1883).

"During the crusades all were religious mad, and now all are mad for want of it."
Captain J. G. Stedman (1744-97), British soldier, author, artist. Journal, ch. 10, "Politicks for March" (ed. by Stanbury Thompson, 1962), March 1795 entry.

"The want of belief is a defect that ought to be concealed when it cannot be overcome."
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), Anglo-Irish satirist. Thoughts on Religion (1768).

"Among the repulsions of atheism for me has been its drastic uninterestingness as an intellectual position. Where was the ingenuity, the ambiguity, the humanity (in the Harvard sense) of saying that the universe just happened to happen and that when we're dead we're dead?"
John Updike (b. 1932), U.S. author, critic. Self-Consciousness: Memoirs, ch. 4 (1989).

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