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Thomas Jefferson

(1743 - 1826)

author of the Declaration of Independannce, third President of the United States

Quotations of Thomas Jefferson

"Difference of opinion is advantageous is religion. The several sects perform the office of a censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women and children since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support rogeury and error all over the earth."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / Notes on the State of Virginia / 1781-1785)

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / to Peter Carr, 1787)

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / Letter to Alexander von Humboldt, 1813)

"Our particular principles of religion are a subject of accountability to our god alone.
I enquire after no man's and trouble none with mine; nor is it given to us in this life to know whether yours or mine, our friend's or our foe's, are exactly the right."

(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / letter to Miles King, September 26, 1814)

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own"
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / 1814)

"I never told my own religion nor scrutinized that of another. I never attempted to make a convert, nor wished to change another's creed. I am satisfied that yours must be an excellent religion to have produced a life of such exemplary virtue and correctness. For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / in a letter to Mrs. H. Harrison Smith, 1816)

"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

"Difference of opinion is helpful in religion."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

"The hocus-pocus phantasy of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 /Jefferson's Works)

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts as are only injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826 / quoted by Gerard Straub in "Salvation for Sale")

"Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

"I have examined all of the known superstitions of the world and I do not find in our superstitions of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all founded on fables and mythology. Christianity has made one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

"The Giver of life gave it for happiness and not for wretchedness."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus by the Supreme Being in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
(Thomas Jefferson / 1743-1826)

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