I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
—George Carlin (1937–2008) American Stand-up Comedian
The three great apostles of practical atheism that make converts without persecuting, and retain them without preaching, are health, wealth, and power.
—Charles Caleb Colton (c.1780–1832) English Clergyman, Aphorist
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
—Voltaire (1694–1778) French Philosopher, Author
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 Head of State
I had rather believe all the Fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a Mind.
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn’t there. Theologians can persuade themselves of anything.
—Robert A. Heinlein (1907–88) American Science Fiction Writer
After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands.
—Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) German Philosopher, Scholar, Writer
An atheist is a person who has no visible means of support
To be an atheist requires an infinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.
—Joseph Addison (1672–1719) English Essayist, Poet, Playwright, Politician
An atheist is a man who believes himself an accident.
—Francis Thompson (1859–1907) English Poet, Ascetic
No one is so thoroughly superstitious as the godless man. Life and death to him are haunted grounds, filled with goblin forms of vague and shadowy dread.
—Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811–96) American Abolitionist, Author
Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation, all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men…the master of superstition is the people; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reverse order
—Francis Bacon (1561–1626) English Philosopher
I am a daylight atheist.
—Brendan Behan (1923–64) Irish Poet, Novelist, Playwright
In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for. A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere
—C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) Irish-born British Academic, Author, Literary Scholar
Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.
An atheist may be simply one whose faith and love are concentrated on the impersonal aspects of God.
—Simone Weil (1909–1943) French Philosopher, Political Activist
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?
—Epicurus (c.341–270 BCE) Greek Philosopher
An atheist is a man who looks through a telescope and tries to explain all that he can’t see.
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.
—Nikolai Berdyaev (1874–1948) Russian Christian Philosopher, Religious Leader
And as for the unbelievers, their works are as a mirage in a spacious plain which the man athirst supposes to be water, till when he comes to it, he finds it is nothing; there indeed he finds God, and He pays him his account in full; (and God is swift at the reckoning).
—The Holy Quran Sacred Scripture of Islam
Although the time of death is approaching me, I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism.
—Isaac Asimov (1920–92) Russian-born American Writer, Scientist
We shall say without hesitation that the atheist who is moved by love is moved by the Spirit of God; an atheist who lives by love is saved by his faith in the God whose existence (under that name) he denies.
—William Temple (1881–1944) British Clergyman, Theologian
Virtue in distress, and vice in triumph, make atheists of mankind.
—John Dryden (1631–1700) English Poet, Literary Critic, Playwright
I don’t know if God exists, but it would be better for His reputation if He didn’t.
—Jules Renard (1864–1910) French Writer, Diarist
There are few people so stubborn in their atheism who when danger is pressing in will not acknowledge the divine power.
—Plato (428 BCE–347 BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher, Mathematician, Educator
The atheist is one of the most daring beings in creation—a contemner of God who explodes his laws by denying his existence.
—John Foster Dulles (1888–1959) American Republican Public Official, Lawyer
My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image to be servants of their human interests.
—George Santayana (1863–1952) Spanish-American Poet, Philosopher
Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
—Steven Weinberg (1933–2021) American Physicist
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
I hope I never get so old I get religious.
—Ingmar Bergman (1918–2007) Swedish Film and Stage Director