Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations

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Marquis de Sade (Comte Donatien Alphonse François de Sade) (1740-1814)
French author of erotica

Marquis de SadeThere is no God. Nature sufficeth unto herself; in no wise hath she need of an author.
-- Marquis de Sade: Cur-de-fer, in Justine, ou les Malheurs de la Vertu (1791)

The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind.
-- Marquis de Sade, Aline et Valcour

It is not the opinions or the vices of private individuals that are harmful to the State, but rather the behavior of public figures.
-- Marquis de Sade (attributed: source unknown)

If Nature denies eternity to beings, it follows that their destruction is one of her laws. Now, once we observe that destruction is so useful to her that she absolutely cannot dispense with it ... from this moment onward the idea of annihilation which we attach to death ceases to be real ... what we call the end of the living animal is no longer a true finis, but a simple transformation, a transmutation of matter. According to these irrefutable principles, death is hence no more than a change of form, an imperceptible passage from one existence into another.
-- Marquis de Sade: Dolmancé, in Philosophy in the Bedroom, "Dialogue the Fifth: Yet Another Effort, Frenchmen, If You Would Become Republicans" (1795)

Marquis de SadeImperious, choleric, irascible, extreme in everything, with a dissolute imagination the like of which has never been seen, atheistic to the point of fanaticism, there you have me in a nutshell, and kill me again or take me as I am, for I shall not change.
-- Marquis de Sade, Marquis de Sade's Last Will and Testament

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Carl Edward Sagan (1934-1996)
American astronomer

     • Check our Big List of Carl Sagan Quotations

Carl SaganThe method of science is tried and true. It is not perfect, it's just the best we have. And to abandon it, with it's skeptical protocols is the pathway to a dark age.
-- Carl Sagan, sound clip from CSICOP

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
-- Carl Sagan, Billions and Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium (1997) page 60

If we long to believe that the stars rise and set for us, that we are the reason there is a Universe, does science do us a disservice in deflating our conceits?
-- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.
-- Carl Sagan (attributed: source unknown)

If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I'd be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote.... Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.
-- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, page 204

In the middle 1970s an astronomer I admire put together a modest manifesto called “Objections to Astrology” and asked me to endorse it. I struggled with his wording, and in the end found myself unable to sign, not because I thought astrology has any validity whatever, but because I felt (and still feel) that the tone of the statement was authoritarian.
-- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, page 302; quoted from Daniel Loxton, Skepticism’s Oldest Debate: A Prehistory of “DBAD”: 18382010 (published in eSkeptic, June 22nd, 2011)

In Italy, the Inquisition was condemning people to death until the end of the eighteenth century, and inquisitional torture was not abolished in the Catholic Church until 1816. The last bastion of support for the reality of witchcraft and the necessity of punishment has been the Christian churches.
-- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, page 413

Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
-- Carl Sagan, quoted from John Stear, No Answers in Genesis

Short Graphic Rule

Ann Druyan
Carl Sagan's wife

Interviewer: "Didn't [Sagan] want to believe?"
Druyan: "He didn't want to believe. He wanted to know."
-- Ann Druyan (attributed: source unknown)

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900-1944)
French author, journalist, aviator, whose plane disappeared in a cloudless sky over the Mediterranean on July 31, 1944

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (image: Société pour l'Oeuvre et la Mémoire d'Antoine de Saint Exupéry)Demagoguery enters at the moment when, for want of a common denominator, the principle of equality degenerates into the principle of identity.
-- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Flight To Arras (1942), thanks to Laird Wilcox, editor, "The Degeneration of Belief"

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Saki [H H Munro] (1870-1916)
Scottish author

He spends his life explaining from his pulpit that the glory of Christianity consists in the fact that though it is not true it has been found necessary to invent it.
--Saki: The Archdeacon, in The Unbearable Bassington, chapter 13 (1912), said of De la Poulett

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Armand Salacrou
French dramatist; président of Cannes Jury (1963), membre (1966)

The existence of a world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all his perfection, creating an imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell.
-- Armand Salacrou, "Certitudes et Incertitudes," in Theatre (1943), quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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Lord Herbert Louis Samuel (1870-1963)
British politician and diplomat

Herbert Louis Samuel, First Viscount Samuel (National Portrait Gallery 5468 by Franz Rederer Date: 1953; Medium: oil on canvas)Without doubt the greatest injury of all was done by basing morals on myth. For, sooner or later, myth is recognized for what it is, and disappears. Then morality loses the foundation on which it has been built.
-- Lord Herbert Louis Samuel (attributed: source unknown)

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Carl Sandberg (1878-1967)
American author, poet

Carl SandbergTo work hard, to live hard, to die hard, and then to go to hell after all would be too damned hard.
-- Carl Sandberg, The People, Yes (1936), quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Margaret Sanger (1879-1966)
First president of Planned Parenthood in 1939, Sanger struggled against the Comstockian Revenue Act to legalize, in 1937, the dissemination of birth control information and privately financed the research which brought us the birth control pill in 1960

Margaret SangerI wanted each woman to be a rebellious Vashti, not an Esther.
-- Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, page 401

No Gods -- No Masters.
-- Margaret Sanger, her motto, 1914, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, dust jacket

Towards orthodox religion, father's own attitude remained one of tolerance. He looked upon the New Testament as the noble story of a human being which, because of ignorance and the lack of printing presses, had become exaggerated. He maintained that religions served their purpose; some people depended on them all their lives to make them honest. Others did not need to be so held in line. But subjection to any church was a reflection on strength and character. You should be able to get from yourself what you had to go go church for.
-- Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938), quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, page 409

None of us realized how the Ingersoll episode was to affect our well-being. Thereafter we were known as children of the devil. On our way to school names were shouted, tongues stuck out, grimaces made; the juvenile stamp of disapproval had been set upon us. But we had been so steeped in "heretic" notions that we were not particularly bothered by this and could not see ahead into the dark future when a hard childhood was to be made harder. No more marble angels were to be carved for local Catholic cemeteries, and, while father's income was diminishing, the family was increasing.
-- Margaret Sanger, An Autobiography (1938), describing the aftermath of Margaret's father having invited Robert Green Ingersoll to town to speak, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, page 408

Short Graphic Rule

H G Wells: Sanger Made Circumstances

"Alexander the Great changed a few boundaries and killed a few men. Both he and Napoleon were forced into fame by circumstances outside of themselves and by currents of the time, but Margaret Sanger made currents and circumstances. When the history of our civilization is written, it will be a biological history and Margaret Sanger will be its heroine."
-- H G Wells, in Douglas, Margaret Sanger: Pioneer of the Future, pages 142-3, quoted from Annie Laurie Gaylor, Women Without Superstition, page 401

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George Santayana (1863-1952)
Spanish-born US-raised philosopher, poet

George SantayanaThose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
-- George Santayana, Life of Reason, "Reason in Common Sense," chapter 12 (1905-6). William L Shirer used this quote as an epigraph in his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (1959). Quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations.

Religion is the natural reaction of the imagination when confronted by the difficulties in a truculent world.
-- George Santayana, Atlantic Monthly (1953), quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.
-- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, "Reason in Religion," chapter 3 (1905-6), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Faith in the supernatural is a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb of his fortunes.
-- George Santayana, "Supernaturalism," Little Essays, No. 108, quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
-- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Introduction, "Reason in Commonsense" (1905-86), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He chose nothing.
-- George Santayana, from Ira D Cardiff, What Great Men Think of Religion (1945), quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety toward the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.
-- George Santayana, "On My Friendly Critics," Soliloquies in England (1922), quoted from James A Haught, editor, 2000 Years of Disbelief

There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.
-- George Santayana, The Life of Reason, "Reason in Common Sense," chapter 4 (1905-6), quoted from Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!


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PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!