The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example,
slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women
believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses,
polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the
grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths.
We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is
therefore not above criticism.
It is not that knowledge is useless or should be disregarded, but, rather, that learning, doctrine, ideology, is not necessarily an addition to knowledge; it is often a retreat from it.
The First Amendment has erected a wall between church and state. That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.
The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based on bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explictly abandoned.
It might be said that religious freedom in the American sense, incorporating the separation of church and state, has been the pivotal concept of the national development of the United States of America.
The essential new quality implied by the quantum theory is... that a system cannot be analyzed into parts. This leads to the radically new notion of unbroken wholeness of the entire universe. You cannot take it apart. For if you do, what you end up with is not contained within the original whole.
The only way to be true to our American tradition is to maintain absolute government neutrality regarding religious beliefs and practices.
A one sentence definition of mythology? "Mythology" is what we call someone else's religion.
Mother goddesses are just as silly a notion as father gods. If a revival of the myths of these cults gives woman emotion satisfaction, it does so at the price of obscuring the real conditions of life. This is why they were invented in the first place.
It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty.
Surprisingly, recent reseach suggests that a religious person is more likely to commit a crime than a non-religious person. One can even argue that the more religious the society, the more likely it is to have high crime rates.
Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.
I learned how valuable our Constitution is and how valuable the separation of church and state is.
Active belief in an afterlife can act as a tremendous drain on your time and can sidetrack you away from living the good life here and now. Too many have found this out too late. Ex-fundamentalists very commonly regret sacrificed years. This can lead them into a frantic effort to make up for lost time. The price humans pay in adherence to false beliefs, devotion to charismatic leaders, and involvement is fanatical mass movements is staggering.
Local psychiatrists now speak of a Jerusalem syndrome. A hundred-odd pilgrims and tourists are treated each year at Kfar Shaul Hospital ... for breakdowns related to this syndrome, which involves messianic fantasies and delusions of being Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, or other biblical characters. They are mostly Americans and almost all are Protestant. Many have a strong grounding in the Bible. In Jerusalem, they suddenly take off their clothes or shout prohecies on street corners, only to revert to normal after a few days' treatment.
We would be 1,500 years ahead if it hadn't been for the church dragging science back by its coattails and burning our best minds at the stake.
A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes.
Science ultimately is the best way we have of finding the truth, and eventually all of the great mysteries in the world can be resolved by a science that we just don't understand yet.
There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages.
Our purpose and quality of life do not come merely from surviving but rather by making our lives worth living.
All thinking men are atheists.
I'm an atheist and that's it. I believe there's nothing that we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people.
Organized religion is like organized crime; it preys on peoples' weaknesses, generates huge profits for its operators, and is almost impossible to eradicate.
It's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want. It's only a choice. No effort, no work, no job, no savings and money, a choice, right now, between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your door, buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one.
Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for lost faith in ourselves.
To know a person's religion we need not listen to his profession of faith but must find his brand of intolerance.
Anytime we let go of assumptions we blindly adopted as children and prejudices we retain as adults, we move under the influence of a powerful catalyst for insight and growth in directions unforeseen.
Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick [stupid] and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.
Beliefs, including religious ones, are learned. Which makes atheism a normal state of affairs and religious beliefs a learned 'abnormality.' No psychological theory is necessary to explain the causes of a normal base state. Any psychological theory of learning, attitude change or socialisataion can explain the causes of religious belief.
Two recent surveys rate the United States at the top amoung Western nations in belief in God and at the bottom among six major countries in school kids' understanding of science and math. This could be dismissed as chance, but it shouldn't be. While our economic competitors' schools are teaching students advanced math and science, many of our schools are wasting energy debating whether to teach evolution or creationism, which maintains that God created the universe over a six-day period about 6,000 years ago.
I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it.
While I don't believe in God, per se, I believe in spirituality. And I believe that spirituality actually is automatically within ourselves, but we have to learn how to access it.
At the time of its founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders - including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - were not Christians, did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized religion. The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776, only 5% of the population were participating members of churches.
Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence; it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.
In the so-called Ages of Faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.
Cruel men believe in a cruel God and use their belief to excuse their cruelty.
You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress of humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or ever mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
There is something feeble and a little contemptuous about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed.
I'm sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don't think there's any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock.
The great teachings unanimously emphasize that all the peace, wisdom, and joy in the universe are already within us; we don't have to gain, develop, or attain them. We're like a child standing in a beautiful park with his eyes shut tight. We don't need to imagine trees, flowers, deer, birds, and sky; we merely need to open our eyes and realize what is already here, who we really are--as soon as we quit pretending we're small or unholy.
The problem with fundamentalists insisting of a literal interpretation of the Bible is that the meaning of words change. A prime example is Spare the rod, spoil the child. A rod was a stick used by shepherds to guide their sheep to go in the desired direction. Shepherds did not use it to beat their sheep. The proper translation of the saying is Give your child guidance, or they will go astray. It does not mean "Beat the shit out of your child or he will become rotten" as many fundamentalist parents seem to believe.
Faith in God necessarily implies a lack of faith in humanity.
The United States is not a Christian nation. It is a great nation with Christians, among others, in it. But our greatness is based on the fact that there is no official religion.
We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
A cult is a religion with no political power.
The only difference between a cult and a religion is the amount of real estate they own.
So, when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, if you go for all these fairy tales, that 'evil' woman convinced the man to eat the apple, but the apple came from the Tree of Knowledge. And the punishment thatwas then handed down, the woman gets to bleed and the guy's got to go to work, is the result of a man desiring, because his woman suggested that it would be a good idea, that he get all the knowledge that was supposedly the property and domain of God. So, that right away sets up Christianity as an anti-intellectual religion. You never want to be that smart. If you're a woman, it's going to be running down your leg, and if you're a guy, you're going to be in the salt mines for the rest of your life. So, just be a dumb f*ck and you'll all go to heaven. That's the subtext of Christianity.