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Quotes :   Belief

"Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly and warn the people of Canada..."
(Isaac Asimov / 1920-1992 / Canadian Atheists Newsletter, 1994)

"There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death."
(Isaac Asimov / 1920-1992)

"Three quarters of the American population literally believe in religious miracles. The numbers who believe in the devil, in resurrection, in God doing this and that -- it's astonishing. These numbers aren't duplicated anywhere else in the industrial world. You'd have to maybe go to mosques in Iran or do a poll among old ladies in Sicily to get numbers like this. Yet this is the American population."
(Noam Chomsky / born in 1928 / Interview 1994)

"How so many absurd rules of conduct, as well as so many absurd religious beliefs, have originated, we do not know; nor how it is that they have become, in all quarters of the world, so deeply impressed on the minds of men; but it is worthy of remark that a belief constantly inculcated during the early years of life, while the brain is impressionable, appears to acquire almost the nature of an instinct; and the very essence of an instinct is that it is followed independently of reason."
(Charles Darwin / 1809-1882 / The Descent of Man / 1871)

"I am aware that the assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. The idea of a universal and beneficent Creator does not seem to arise in the mind of man, until he has been elevated by long-continued culture."
(Charles Darwin / 1809-1882 / The Descent of Man / 1871)

"The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief."
(Sigmund Freud / 1856-1939 / The Future of an Illusion / 1927)

"If a man really believes that God once upheld slavery; that he commanded soldiers to kill women and babes; that he believed in polygamy; that he persecuted for opinion's sake; that he will punish forever, and that he hates an unbeliever, the effect in my judgment will be bad. It always has been bad. This belief built the dungeons of the Inquisition. This belief made the Puritan murder the Quaker."
(Robert Green Ingersoll / 1833-1899)

"The curse of man, and cause of nearly all of his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible."
(Henry Louis Mencken / 1880-1956 / In Defense Of Women / 1918)

"The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true."
(Henry Louis Mencken / 1880-1956 / A Mencken Chrestomathy / 1949)

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
(Henry Louis Mencken / 1880-1956)

"There is not sufficient love and goodness in the world to permit us to give some of it away to imaginary beings."
(Friedrich Nietzsche / 1844-1900)

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."
(Bertrand Russell / 1872-1970)

"The brute necessity of believing something so long as life lasts does not justify any belief in particular."
(George Santayana / 1863-1952)

"It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief."
(George Bernard Shaw / 1856-1950 / The Preface to Androcles and the Lion / 1912)

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
(George Bernard Shaw / 1856-1950 / The Preface to Androcles and the Lion / 1912)

"One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed it. They also believed the world was flat."
(Mark Twain / 1835-1910 / Notebook)

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing."
(Mark Twain / 1835 - 1910 / Autobiography / 1959)

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