Thursday, April 5, 2012

Powerful Thoughts, Vol. 5

It's only been a few weeks since the previous installment of Powerful Thoughts, but what can I say? My cup of skepticism runneth over; there are just too many good quotes to choose from. So once again, here are some about God:
  • "God is dead: but considering the state Man is in, there will perhaps be caves, for ages yet, in which his shadow will be shown." –Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone and you are a God." –Jean Rostand
  • "If I were granted omnipotence, and millions of years to experiment in, I should not think Man much to boast of as the final result of all my efforts." –Bertrand Russell
  • "If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers? If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him? If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has, filled with weaknesses?" –Percy Bysshe Shelley
  • "You know when you want something really bad and you close your eyes and you wish for it? God's the guy that ignores you." –from The Island
On Christianity:
  • "Those who defend their abusers are the most comprehensively enslaved." –QualiaSoup on rationalizing religious atrocity
  • "'Oh great, you ate the apple. Now I have to kill my son.' –God" –from reddit
  • "There is no such thing as a Christian child, only a child of Christian parents." –from reddit
  • "Moderate Christianity seems like a contradiction because its teachings are not something to casually think about here and there." –from reddit
  • "That's an awfully nice soul you've got there. It'd be a shame if something happened to it..." –reddit on Pascal's Wager
  • "So far as I can remember, there's not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence." –Bertrand Russell
  • "What could be more terroristic than 'Believe this or burn for an eternity'? The answer is nothing." –Brian Sapient
  • "To say that God was communicating in metaphor through the Bible writers is to say that God needed communications training." –Valerie Tarico
  • "If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be—a Christian." –Mark Twain
On religion in general:
  • "Religion claims to set its followers free... while insisting they kiss the hand of their jailer." –Paula Kirby
  • "All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays." –Cathy Ladman
  • "The cosmos is a gigantic fly-wheel making 10,000 revolutions a minute. Man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it. Religion is the theory that the wheel was designed and set spinning to give him a ride." –H.L. Mencken
  • "Rooting morality in a being beyond our comprehension only pushes morality beyond our comprehension." –QualiaSoup
  • "The day gay marriage is legalized, nothing will change. And that is what religions are afraid of." –from reddit
  • "[Religion] is partly the terror of the unknown and partly...the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes." –Bertrand Russell
  • "Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion." –Jon Stewart
On reason, science and skepticism:
  • "Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you." –Thomas Jefferson
  • "I had no need of that hypothesis." –Pierre-Simon Laplace, in reply to Napoleon, who asked why he didn't include God in his calculations of planetary orbits
  • "Don't think that because the light of science is dimmer today than tomorrow that you are justified to sneer in the dark." –from reddit
  • "Earth is a bacteria planet with a temporary infestation of vertebrates." –from reddit
  • "[W]hat is called for is an exquisite balance between two conflicting needs: the most skeptical scrutiny of all hypotheses that are served up to us and at the same time a great openness to ideas." –Carl Sagan
  • "You can get into a habit of thought in which you enjoy making fun of all those other people who don't see things as clearly as you do. We have to guard carefully against it." –Carl Sagan
  • "[Some] think: 'My God! How Horrible! I am only a machine!' But if I should find out I were a machine, my attitude would be totally different. I would say: 'How amazing! I never before realized that machines could be so marvelous!'" –Ray Smullyan
  • "[S]cience is a form of arrogance control." –Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson
  • "Answers are a luxury enjoyed only every now and then. So early on, learn to love the questions themselves." –Neil deGrasse Tyson
  • "The skeptic does not mean him who doubts, but him who investigates or researches, as opposed to him who asserts and thinks he has found." –Miguel de Unamuno
And a few more cringeworthy quotes from fundamentalists and other extremists:
  • "Today we are engaged in a final, all-out battle between communistic atheism and Christianity." –Joseph McCarthy, at the onset of McCarthyism
  • "The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have... whether you like it or not." –Josh McDowell
  • "[T]here's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas." –Rick Perry
  • "Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. ...It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination...[m]ore terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history." –Pat Robertson
  • "Just because public opinion says something doesn't mean it's right...people said blacks were less than human." –Rick Santorum on gay marriage
You read that last one right, by the way: Santorum used the wrongful discrimination against one minority group as an example... to justify discrimination against another minority group. It's unbelievable what politicians can get away still with saying in the second decade of the 21st century. A couple of decades from now, society will look back at those quotes from Santorum and Perry with the same disgust we have for the racism of politicians like George Wallace and Strom Thurmond.

On a brighter note, plenty of the more clever and insightful quotes from this batch come from the younger generation—the denizens of YouTube and reddit. This dovetails nicely with Adam Lee's observation that the demographics of the recent Reason Rally skewed decidedly toward the youthful end of the spectrum. With all the bright, budding minds sprouting up, maybe there's a little hope for us after all.

1 comment:

  1. "The Internet has given atheists, agnostics, skeptics, the people who like to destroy everything that you and I believe, the almost equal access to your kids as your youth pastor and you have... whether you like it or not."

    The internet, of course, is unlikely to grope your kid.