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Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin (1934-1968)
Soviet cosmonaut who, in 1961, became the first person to orbit the earth. He rode Vostok 1 around the Earth (24,800 miles) and experienced weightlessness for 89 minutes.

Yuri GagarinI don't see any god up here.
-- Yuri Gagarin, speaking from orbit in 1961

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Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-1898)
US Suffragist

Matilda Joslyn GageThere is a word sweeter than Mother, Home, or Heaven; that word is Liberty
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, carved on her tombstone at Fayetteville, New York. In a letter written to Lillie Blake, recalled by Blake's daughter Katherine Devereux Blake, Gage admitted having originated this popular suffragist motto. From Blake, Champions of Women, p. 115, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 215

Do not allow the Church or the State to govern your thought or dictate your judgment.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, Preface to Woman, Church, and State (1893), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 215

The careful student of history will discover that Christianity has been of very little value in advancing civilization, but has done a great deal toward retarding it.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, Woman, Church and State (1893), quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

The Christian theory of the sacredness of the Bible has been at the cost of the world's civilization.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

The stronghold of the church has ever been the ignorance and degradation of women. Its control over woman in the two questions of marriage and education have given it keys of power more potent than those of Peter. With her uneducated, without civil or political rights, the church is sure of its authority; but once arouse woman to a disbelief in church teachings regarding her having brought sin into the world; once open to her all avenues of education, so that her teaching of the young in her charge will be a broader, more scientific character than in the past and the doom of the church is sealed.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, "The Dangers of the Hour," refuting the Pope's and clergy's opposition to America's institution of civil marriage, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 220

The law known as Marchetta, or Marquette, compelled newly married women to a most dishonorable servitude. They were regarded as the rightful prey of the Feudal Lord from one to three days after their marriage, and from this custom the eldest son of the serf was held as the son of the Lord.... Marquette was claimed by the Lord's Spiritual, as well as by the Lord's Temporal. The Church, indeed, was the bulwark of this base feudal claim.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, Woman, Church and State (1893), quoted from John E Remsberg, The Christ, p. 341

The power possessed by the church during the middle ages was largely due to the control it had secured over domestic relations, and that no more severe blow has ever been inflicted upon it than the institution of civil marriage.... The Protestant pulpit is only less dangerous than the Catholic to the liberties of the people in that its organized strength is less. The old medieval control of the family under and through marriage is now as fully the aim of the Protestant church as of the Catholic.... The courts of this country have decided that marriage is a civil contract. As such a clergyman is no more fitted to take part in it than he would be to take acknowledgment of a deed, or take part in the legalization of any other contract. In fact a marriage performed by a clergyman of any denomination should be regarded as invalid in the light of civil law.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, "The Dangers of the Hour," refuting the Pope's and clergy's opposition to America's institution of civil marriage, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 218-9

From Augustine down, theologians have tried to compel people to accept their special interpretation of the Scripture, and the tortures of the inquisition, the rack, the thumb-screw, the stake, the persecutions of witchcraft, the whipping of naked women through the streets of Boston, banishment, trials of heresy, the halter about Garrison's neck, Lovejoy's death, the branding of Captain Walker, shouts of infidel and atheist, have all been for this purpose.
-- Matilda Joslyn Gage, answering an attack by the president of the Baptist Theological Seminary in Rochester, New York, in National Citizen and Ballot Box, a four-page monthly edited by Gage from 1871-81, from History of Woman Suffrage, I, 126, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, p. 214

Short Graphic Rule

Stanton, Anthony, Gage: Protracted Shame

Throughout this protracted and disgraceful assault on American womanhood, the clergy baptized each new insult and act of injustice in the name of the Christian religion, and uniformly asked God's blessing on proceedings that would have put to shame an assembly of Hottentots.
-- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, a statement "for the betterment of woman" signed by the three, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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John Kenneth Galbraith (b. 1908)
Canadian-born US economist

John Kenneth GalbraithHad the Bible been in

clear straightforward language, had the ambiguities and contradictions been edited out, and had the language been constantly modernised to accord with contemporary taste it would almost certainly have been, or become, a work of lesser influence.
-- John Kenneth Galbraith, Economics, Peace and Laughter (1971), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

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Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Italian astronomer and physicist, advocate of Copernicus's theory that the sun forms the center of the universe, which led to his persecution and imprisonment by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633. The Church admitted it was wrong in this matter 365 years later, in 1998.

GalileoI do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-- Galileo (attributed: source unknown)

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.
-- Galileo (attributed: source unknown)

To command the professors of astronomy to confute their own observations is to enjoin an impossibility, for it is to command them to not see what they do see, and not to understand what they do understand, and to find what they do not discover.
-- Galileo, The Authority of Scripture in Philosophical Controversies

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Richard Le Gallenne

Organised Christianity has probably done more to retard the ideals that were its founders than any other agency in the world.
-- Richard Le Gaillenne (attributed: source unknown)

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George Gallup, Jr.

American Catholics of all political persuasions do not want their bishops to appear even remotely to be telling them how to vote.
-- George Gallup, Jr., from George Gallup, Jr. and Jim Castelli, The American Catholic People (1987)

Many religious beliefs decline as education level rises.
-- George Gallup, Jr., The People's Religion: American Faith in the 1990s, quoted from James A Haught, "Nobody hears the 20 million," Playboy, Feb. 1998

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John Galsworthy (1867-1933)
English novelist, playwright

John GalsworthyHumanism is the creed of those who believe that in the circle of enwrapping mystery, men's fates are in their own hands -- a faith that for modern man is becoming the only possible faith.
-- John Galsworthy, quoted in Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Religion was nearly dead because there was no longer real belief in future life; but something was struggling to take its place -- service -- social service -- the ants' creed, the bees' creed.
-- John Galsworthy: Sir Lawrence Mont, in Over the River, ch. 11 (bk. 3 of End of the Chapter, the last installment of The Forsyte Chronicles, 1933), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

When Man evolved Pity, he did a queer thing -- deprived himself of the power of living life as it is without wishing it to become something different.
-- John Galsworthy, letter, 27 March 1910, to Thomas Hardy, quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

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Indira Gandhi (1917-1984)
Indian national leader; daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru; twice prime minister of India (1966-77, 1980-84); assassinated by members of her Sikh bodyguard

Indira GandhiTo bear many children is considered not only a religious blessing but also an investment. The greater their number, some Indians reason, the more alms they can beg.
-- Indira Gandhi, in Oriana Fallaci, "Indira's Coup," New York Review of Books September 18, 1975, quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.
-- Indira Gandhi, in Oriana Fallaci, "Indira's Coup," New York Review of Books September 18, 1975, quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

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Mohandas Karamchand "Bapu" Gandhi (1869-1948)
Figurehead of the Indian Independence Movement

Duly Enlightened Gandhi's head by Mall of the 'Free Press Journal,' Bombay, in 1932Watches may disagree, but let us not.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, to Gora, after castigating the latter for arriving a half-minute too early for an interview, in Gora, An Atheist with Gandhi

The most henious and the must cruel crimes of which history has record have been committed under the cover of religion or equally noble motives.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, Young India, July 7, 1950, thanks to Laird Wilcox, ed, "The Degeneration of Belief"

Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French. It is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs. What is going on in Palestine today cannot be justified by any moral code of conduct. The mandates have no sanction but that of the last war. Surely it would be a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, in Harijan, Gandhi's magazine (26 November 1938), quoted from Martin Buber, A Land of Two Peoples, p. 108

I am a poor mendicant. My earthly possessions consist of six spinning wheels, prison dishes, a can of goat's milk, six homespun loincloths and towels and my reputation, which cannot be worth much.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, declaring his possessions to the French customs aboard the SS Rajputanato, on his way to attend the second Round Table Conference in London in 1931

Do you think I am superstitious? I am a super-atheist.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, to Gora, with "visible emphasis," upon the latter's having challenged him to use nontheistic language to express ideas that are not necessarily thiestic (ideas that were certainly not theistic in Gandhi's mind), in Gora, An Atheist with Gandhi

The concepts of truth may differ. But all admit and respect truth. That truth I call God. For sometime I was saying, "God is Truth," but that did not satisfy me. So now I say, "Truth is God."
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, to Gora, in Gora, An Atheist with Gandhi

Yes, I see an ideal in your talk. I can neither say that my theism is right nor your atheism is wrong. We are seekers after truth. We change whenever we find ourselves in the wrong. I changed like that many times in my life. I see you are a worker. You are not a fanatic. You will change whenever you find yourself in the wrong. There is no harm as long as you are not fanatical. Whether you are in the right or I am in the right, results will prove. Then I may go your way or you may come my way; or both of us may go a third way. So go ahead with your work. I will help you, though your method is against mine.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, in Gora, An Atheist with Gandhi

Gandhi, learning a few things while speaking with GoraIt is not a mistake to commit a mistake, for no one commits a mistake knowing it to be one. But it is a mistake not to correct the mistake after knowing it to be one. If you are afraid of committing a mistake, you are afraid of doing anything at all. You will correct your mistakes whenever you find them.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, in Gora, An Atheist with Gandhi

We are constantly being astonished at the amazing discoveries in the field of violence. But I maintain that far more undreamt-of and seemingly impossible discoveries will be made in the field of nonviolence.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, quoted from University of San Diego, Mohandas K Gandhi Web Resources

My method is conversion, not coercion, it is self-suffering, not the suffering of the tyrant. I know that method to be infallible.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, Young India (1928)

If we are to stand the final heat of the battle, we must learn to stand our ground in the face of cavalry or baton charges and allow ourselves to be trampled under horses' hooves, or be bruised with baton charges.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, druing the time of the salt rebellion (ca. May 4, 1928)

Such expression is impossible in a cramped atmosphere. As I have no desire to offer civil disobedience I cannot write freely. As the author of satyagraha I cannot, consistently with my profession, suppress the vital part of myself for the sake of being able to write on permissible subjects. ... It would be like dealing with the trunk without the head.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi, on suspending operation of his newspaper, Harijan until a government gage rule was lifted (November 10, 1940)

Gandhi, circa 1890, Law student serious about his futureIf I seem to take part in politics, it is only because politics encircles us today like the coil of a snake from which one cannot get out, no matter how much one tries. I wish therefore to wrestle with the snake.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi (attributed: source unknown)

To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi (attributed: source unknown)

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
-- Mohandas K Gandhi (attributed: source unknown)

Short Graphic Rule

"The Government of India had imprisoned Mr. Gandhi and they had been sitting outside his cell door begging him to help them out of their difficulties."
-- Sir Winston Churchill, on Gandhi's refusal to enter the first Round Table Conference (1930)

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