Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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Horace Greeley (1811-1872)
American newspaper editor

Horace GreeleyThere is no doctrine of Christianity but what has been anticipated by the Vedas.
-- Horace Greeley, comparing the Christ myth with the religious writings from ancient India, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Ruth Hurmence Green (1915-1981)
"Born-Again Skeptic"

Ruth Hurmence GreenThe natural is so awesome that we need not go beyond it.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 472

Today evolution of human intelligence has advanced us to the stage where most of us are too smart to invent new gods but are reluctant to give up the old ones.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 472-3

Let us use our energy and our initiative to solve our problems without relying on prayers and wishful thinking. When we have faith in ourselves, we will find we do not have to have faith in gods.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, The Book of Ruth, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 471

Christians tell me that they have a higher destiny than the lower animals, because Homo Sapiens can reason. But the Bible tells me that this gift of reason, which they call god-given, may be the match that lights the fires of hell for all who dare to use it, since whatever is not of faith is sin.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 478

I am fond of saying that reading the Bible turned me into an atheist.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, Preface to The Born-Again Skeptic's Guide To The Bible, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 469

The Bible, itself the ultimate curse, is an in-depth profile of the divine spleen.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 476

But I still don't know what kind of monster was this god, until I saw that Jesus deliberately hid his light under a bushel. "Tell no one" was often his command.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 477

I am now convinced that children should not be subjected to the frightfulness of the Christian religion.... If the concept of a father who plots to have his own son put to death is presented to children as beautiful and as worthy of society's admiration, what types of human behavior can be presented to them as reprehensible?
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, Preface to The Born-Again Skeptic's Guide To The Bible, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 470

The plan was for Jesus to come to Earth two thousand years ago with a pocketful of miracles and souls for the people who were then alive. After his return to heaven from Earth (it is about twelve septillion miles from Earth to the edge of our galaxy with four hundred billion suns to dodge) he is going to build those mansions, come back before his generation dies out, finally put an end to the world which has been such a rotten disappointment, and deposit most of these souls in hell. No wonder heaven is only 12,000 furlongs wide, long, and high.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 478-9

The Doxology ... that testimonial to the Platonic Trinity, which divided the Roman Empire into at least eighteen quarreling sects, none of whom knew what they were fighting about, and which schisms contributed to the decline and fall of this greatest of states. Rome had thrived for one thousand years with pagan gods at the helm and expired after only one hundred and fifty years under the Christian banner.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 474

It is possible to pull out justification for imposing your will on others, simply by calling your will God's will.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 484

There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 469

Today when the Fundamentalists are once more insisting that the fundamentals of fundamentalism are fundamental to our being No. 1 on the Lord's totem pole, it's very brave of you to invite the "resident atheist" of mid-Missouri to share her thoughts with you.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 472

I am pleased as punch no longer to believe in a god who declares reason a sin, who will not choose many noble and great and wise things but has chosen the base things of the world, the foolish things, the weak things and the things which are not. A god who can choose his companions in eternity and prefers Jerry Falwell and Tammy Bakker over Albert Einstein and Marie Curie. I am no longer a fool for Christ's sake. And I have no more desire to be a sheep than to be a fool. It is possible to pull out justification for imposing your will on others, simply by calling your will God's will.
-- Ruth Hurmence Green, "What I Found When I 'Searched the Scriptures,'" from The Book of Ruth (1982), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor, Women Without Superstition, p. 485

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Kate Greenaway (1846-1901)
English painter and illustrator of children's books

Book cover figure by Kate GreenawayKate Greenaway at 34 (Due to the drastic lengths to which the source for this image went to try to "protect" this image from being used for commercial purposes -- techniques which can only be described as JavaScript conniption fits -- never mind the fact that Windows™ keyboards host the PrtScn key, thereby rendering all such source code useless [all we wanted to know was whether it was a GIF or a JPEG image], we therefore refuse to give this web site credit -- or even the time of day. If you bump in to this website, tell them "hi" for us, won't you?)It is strange beyond anything I can think to be able to believe in any of the known religions.
-- Kate Greenaway, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Henry Graham Greene (1904-1991)
English novelist, short-story writer, playwright and journalist, whose novels treat moral issues in the context of political settings

Graham Greene (portrait: Anthony Palliser, National Portrait Gallery, London)Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.
-- Graham Greene (1981), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

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Dr. Maxine Greene
Columbia University professor

Maxine GreeneWe go to sea repeatedly from Melville's time on -- and the image of men at sea, like the image of men in the wilderness, seems to me to be almost an archetypal image of human beings on their own, human beings making their own way, guiding themselves by the stars they can see -- rather than by faith or prayer or invisible forces.
-- Maxine Greene, Man without God in American Fiction, a paper read to the New York chapter of the American Humanist Association, December 14, 1962

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William Rathbone Greg (1809-1891)
Unitarian theologian, author of "Why Are Women Redundant?" (1862)

This doctrine [the efficacy of prayer] has in all ages been a stumbling block to the thoughtful. It is obviously irreconcilable with all that reason and revelation teach us of the divine nature; and the inconsistency has been felt by the ablest of the Scripture writers themselves. Various and desperate have been the expedients and suppositions resorted to, in order to reconcile the conception of an immutable, all-wise, all-foreseeing God, with that of a father who is turned from his course by the prayers of his creatures. But all such efforts are, and are felt to be, hopeless failures. They involve the assertion and negation of the same proposition in one breath. The problem remains still insoluble; and we must either be content to leave it so, or we must abandon one or other of the hostile premises.
     The religious man, who believes that all events, mental as well as physical, are pre-ordered and arranged according to the decrees of infinite wisdom, and the philosopher, who knows that, by the wise and eternal laws of the universe cause and effect are indissolubly chained together, and that one follows the other in inevitable succession equally feel that this ordination -- this chain cannot he changed at the cry of man. To suppose that it can is to place the whole harmonious system of nature at the mercy of the weak reason and the selfish wishes of humanity. If the purposes of God were not wise, they would not be formed: if wise, they cannot be changed, for then they would become unwise. To suppose that an all-wise Being would alter his designs and modes of proceeding at the entreaty of an unknowing creature, is to believe that compassion would change his wisdom into foolishness ... If the universe is governed by fixed laws, or (which is the same proposition in different language), if all events are pre-ordained by the foreseeing wisdom of an infinite God, then the prayers of thousands of years and generations of martyrs and saints cannot change or modify one iota of our destiny. The proposition is unassailable by the subtlest logic. The weak, fond affections of humanity struggle in vain against the unwelcome conclusion.
-- William Rathbone Greg, Creed of Christendom, pp. 322, 323, quoted in John E Remsberg, The Christ (1909)

The circumstance that any man could suppose that Matthew when he said, 'Jacob begat Joseph,' or Luke, when he said, 'Joseph was the son of Heli' could refer to the wife of the one, or the daughter-in-law of the other, shows to what desperate stratagems polemical orthodoxy will resort in order to defend an untenable position.
-- William Rathbone Greg, quoted in John E Remsberg, The Christ (1909) (p. 63)

All the events said to have been witnessed by John alone are omitted by John alone. This fact seems fatal either to the reality of the events in question or to the genuineness of the Fourth Gospel.
-- William Rathbone Greg, quoted in John E Remsberg, The Christ (1909) (p. 133)

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Fulke Greville, Baron Brooke (1554-1628)
English poet and statesman; in his day he was well-known as a statesman, having served four terms in England’s Parliament

O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity;
Created sick, commanded to be sound.
-- Fulke Greville, in the "Chorus Sacerdotum" from Mustapha, quoted from the front matter of Christopher Hiitchens' God is Not Great; Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) speaks at length about man's having to obey Nature's laws while commanded by religion to obey a contrary system of law, in Letters From the Earth

If nature did not take delight in blood,
She would have made more easy ways to good.

-- Fulke Greville, in the "Chorus Sacerdotum" from Mustapha

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Jim Grill
Founder of Web-1 Hosting

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If the "melissa" virus was the world's biggest prank on the Internet, then the Bible must be the world's biggest prank in print.
-- Jim Grill, in a private e-mail to Cliff Walker, February 1, 2001

Surely one smart enough to translate the Bible to English would also be smart enough to know that one cannot walk on water.
-- Jim Grill, in a private e-mail to Cliff Walker, February 1, 2001

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Rachel Griffiths
Australian actress

Although I'm not Christian, I was raised Christian. I'm an atheist, with a slight Buddhist leaning. I've got a very strong sense of morality -- it's just a different morality than the loud voices of the Christian morality.... I can't tell you how many films I've turned down because there was an absence of morality. And I don't mean that from any sort of Judeo-Christian-Muslim point of view. I'm not saying they're wrong and can't be made. But, fundamentally, I'm such a humanist that I can't bear to make films that make us feel humanity is more dark than it is light.
-- Rachel Griffiths, magazine profile (Madison, May/June 2000), quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

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Alfred Whitney Griswold (1906-1963)
American educator, historian; president of Yale University (1950-1963)

In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
-- A Whitney Griswold, Essays on Education, quoted from Floyd College, Rome, Georgia, "Banned Books -- Quotes"

There will be certain things in a man that have to be won, not forced; inspired, not compelled.
-- A Whitney Griswold, Essays on Education

Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail.
-- A Whitney Griswold, Essays on Education

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George Grote (1794-1871)
British banker, historian of Greece, and politician

The furtive pregnancy of young women, often by a god, is one of the most frequently recurring incidents in the legendary narratives of the country.
-- George Grote, comparing Greek mythology with the Christ myth, quoted from John E Remsberg, The Christ, p. 398

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Donald Henry Gudehus (b. 1939)
American astronomer and composer

Donald GudehusAn effective counter to the endless succession of zealotry and fanaticism from one generation to the next, with its consequent ill effects on freedom of expression, thought, scientific inquiry, and behavior, would be to institute an age of consent for religious indoctrination.
-- Donald Gudehus, February, 2004

Religion is like cigarettes. Too much of it stunts the growth -- in this case, of the intellect and the emotions.
-- Donald Gudehus, June, 2003

The history of religion can be compared to a layer cake -- a mountain of layers of stale dogma, interspaced with the congealed blood of its victims, and overlaid with a sweetened opiate to make itself appealing to the gullible.
-- Donald Gudehus, August 14, 2004, in a letter to Cliff Walker (September 11, 2004)

Some religions and faith-based schemes start off with allegedly good intentions; more than a few however, degenerate into insidious mechanisms for suppression and retribution. The transformation is not unlike that of a house of cards into a chamber of horrors.
-- Donald Gudehus, 2001

(The above were included in a letter to Cliff Walker, May 22, 2004)

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