"The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion."
(Arthur C. Clarke / born in 1917)
"The certainty of a God giving meaning to life far surpasses in attractiveness the ability to behave badly with impunity."
(Albert Camus / 1913-1960 / The Myth of Sisyphus, 1942)
"Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established."
(Ludwig Feuerbach / 1804-1872 / The Essence of Christianity, 1841)
"A man is not moral because he is obedient through fear or ignorance. Morality lives in the realm of perceived obligation... "
(Robert Green Ingersoll / 1833-1899)
"The old doctrine that God wanted man to do something for him, and that he kept a watchful eye upon all the children of men; that he rewarded the virtuous and punished the wicked, is gradually fading from the mind. We know that some of the worst men have what the world calls success. We know that some of the best men lie upon the straw of failure. We know that honesty goes hungry, while larceny sits at the banquet. We know that the vicious have every physical comfort, while the virtuous are often clad in rags."
(Robert Green Ingersoll / 1833-1899)
"Like heterosexuality, faith in immaterial realities is popularly considered essential to individual morality."
(Wendy Kaminer / The Last Taboo /1996)
"I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking."
(Henry Louis Mencken / 1880-1956)
"Christian morality (so called) has all the characters of a reaction; it is, in great part, a protest against Paganism. Its ideal is negative rather than positive; passive rather than action; innocence rather than Nobleness; Abstinence from Evil, rather than energetic Pursuit of Good: in its precepts (as has been well said) "thou shalt not" predominates unduly over "thou shalt."
(John Stuart Mill / 1806-1873 / On Liberty / 1859)
"If God kills, lies, cheats, discriminates, and otherwise behaves in a manner that puts the Mafia to shame, that's okay, he's God. He can do whatever he wants. Anyone who adheres to this philosophy has had his sense of morality, decency, justice and humanness warped beyond recognition by the very book that is supposedly preaching the opposite."
(Dennis McKinsey / newsletter Biblical Errancy)
"I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion is anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it."
(Bertrand Russell / 1872-1970 / Why I am not a Christian)
"The Christian view that all intercourse outside marriage is immoral was, as we see in the... passages from St. Paul, based upon the view that all sexual intercourse, even within marriage, is regrettable. A view of this sort, which goes against biological facts, can only be regarded by sane people as a morbid aberration. The fact that it is embedded in Christian ethics has made Christianity throughout its whole history a force tending towards mental disorders and unwholesome views of life."
(Bertrand Russell / 1872-1970 / Marriage and Morals)
"Patriotism, public opinion, parental duty, discipline, religion, morality, are only fine names for intimidation."
(George Bernard Shaw / 1856-1950 / Man and Superman)
"[The Bible] has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies."
(Mark Twain / 1835-1910)