Monday, November 21, 2011

Powerful Thoughts, Vol. 3

Welcome to the third installment in my anthology of quotes about atheism and related topics. Here are ones centered on God and religion:
  • "Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer." –Anon
  • "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?" –Douglas Adams
  • "If you believe what you like in the Gospels and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself." –St. Augustine
  • "Thank god gay people can't legally marry each other and destroy the sanctity of what Kim Kardashian did." –Alex Blagg
  • "Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one." –Richard Dawkins
  • "It is better to leave God out of the moral debate and find good human reasons for supporting the approach we advocate." –Richard Holloway
  • "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion." –sci-fi author & Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard
  • "There is not enough love and goodness in the world for us to be permitted to give any of it away to imaginary things." –Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Religion is the way we honour our ancestors' errors." –Mark M. Otoysao
  • "For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring." –Carl Sagan
  • "Religions are like fireflies: they require darkness in order to shine." –Arthur Schopenhauer
  • "No woman should accept any religion that assigns her a role that is at best secondary to men." –Sheila Tobias
  • "Religions are like politicians: they're easier to believe when they're vague." –from Reddit
And here are the ones centered around science and skepticism:
  • "We are all just a car crash or a slip away from being a different person." –neuropsychologist Paul Broks
  • "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool." –Richard Feynman
  • "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong." –H. L. Mencken
  • "Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies." –Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." –Bertrand Russell
  • "Science is not perfect. It's often misused; it's only a tool, but it's the best tool we have. Self-correcting, ever-changing, applicable to everything; with this tool, we vanquish the impossible." –Carl Sagan
  • "[Humans] probably are to intelligence what the first replicator was to biology." –Anna Salomon
  • "If your philosophy is not unsettled daily then you are blind to all the universe has to offer." –Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • "The strength of a theory is not what it can explain, but what it can't." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • "Facts do not need to be unexplainable to be beautiful; truths are not less worth learning if someone else knows them." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
  • "If science is a religion, it is the religion that heals the sick and reveals the secrets of the stars." –Eliezer Yudkowsky
Finally, some outrageous quotes from fundamentalists:
  • "God has provided a more secure foundation for our faith than the shifting sands of evidence and argument." –Christian apologist William Lane Craig
  • "If somehow through my studies my reason were to turn against my faith, then so much the worse for my reason!" –Craig on his belief in Christianity
  • "Why are you reading those infidel websites anyway, when you know how destructive they are to your faith?" –Craig to a Christian expressing doubts
  • "How can you have judgment if you have no faith, and how can I trust you with power if you don't pray?" –Newt Gingrich in a recent GOP debate
As much as I enjoy the stimulating and provocative quotes from thinkers that are critical of religion, I find myself fascinated by the quotes from fundamentalists. Really, Newt Gingrich? Nonbelievers lack judgment and can't be trusted with power? Maybe you should try telling that straight to the faces of openly non-believing world leaders like Fredrik Reinfeldt (Sweden), Julia Gillard (Australia), Jens Stoltenberg (Norway) and Michelle Bachelet (Chile). I might expect this from ordinary religious extremists, but as of this writing, Gingrich is neck and neck with Mitt Romney as the highest-polling Republican presidential nominee. I'm not sure whether he truly believes what he said or merely wanted to appeal to voters, but either way it's appalling to hear this from someone who has a non-trivial chance at being our next president.

And then there are the three jaw-dropping quotes from William Lane Craig, considered by many to be the foremost Christian apologist on the planet. Coming from a man who claims to champion reason and evidence during his public debates, these views represent the absolute peak of intellectual dishonesty. To ignore logic, and to advise others to flee from opposing arguments, is simply beyond the pale. I can only imagine his outrage if atheists advised each other to take this approach. If Craig ever had a shred of my respect, he's certainly lost it now.

1 comment:

  1. "God has provided a more secure foundation for our faith than the shifting sands of evidence and argument."

    Did Craig even notice what he had just admitted?