Positive Atheism’s Big List of Quotations

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Paul Ambroise Valéry (1871-1945)
French Poet, essayist; one of the greatest of modern philosophical writers in verse and prose

Paul ValéryScience means simply the aggregate of all the recipes that are always successful. All the rest is literature.
Paul Valéry, Moralités (1932; repr. in Collected Works, vol. 14, “Analects,” 1970), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

God made everything out of nothing. But the nothingness shows through.
Paul Valéry, Mauvaises pensées et autres (1942), quoted from Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

That which has been believed by everyone, always and everywhere, has every chance of being false.
Paul Valéry, Tel quel I (1943), quoted from James A Haught, 2000 Years of Disbelief

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Marcus Terentius Varro (BCE 116-29)
Roman scholar and satirist; erudite and prolific writer, having written about 620 volumes

It is for the good of states that men should be deluded by religion.
Marcus Terentius Varro, Antiquitates rerurn humanarum et divinarum (ca. BCE 40), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Eddie Vedder
Lead singer of Pearl Jam

Eddie VedderI think it’s like a movie that was way too popular. It’s a story that’s been told too many times and just doesn’t mean anything. Man lived on the planet — [placing his fingers an inch apart], this is 5000 years of semi-recorded history. And God and the Bible, that came in somewhere around the middle, maybe 2000. This is the last 2000, this is what we’re about to celebrate [indicating about an 1/8th of an inch with his fingers]. Now, humans, in some shape or form, have been on the earth for three million years [pointing across the room to indicate the distance]. So, all this time, from there [gesturing toward the other side of the room], to here [indicating the 1/8th of an inch], there was no God, there was no story, there was no myth and people lived on this planet and they wandered and they gathered and they did all these things. The planet was never threatened. How did they survive for all this time without this belief in God? I’d like to ask this to someone who knows about Christianity and maybe you do. That just seems funny to me.
Eddie Vedder, interview with Janeane Garofalo at Brendan’s, on the Lower East Side: she asked, “Funny ha-ha or funny strange?” He responded: “Funny strange. Funny bad. Funny frown. Not good. That laws are made and wars occur because of this story that was written, again, in this small part of time.” Quoted from Celebrity Atheist List.

The word religion has such bad connotations for me, that it’s been responsible for wars, and it shouldn’t be that way at all, it’s just the way the meaning of the word has evolved to me. I have to wonder what we did on this planet before religion.
Eddie Vedder, interview on sonicnet.com, quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

When you’re out in the desert, you can’t believe the amount of stars. We’ve sent mechanisms out there, and they haven’t found anything. They’ve found different colors of sand, and rings, and gasses, but nobody’s shown me anything that makes me feel secure in what happens afterward. All I really believe in is this moment, like right now.
Eddie Vedder, Rolling Stone, October 31 1991, “Right Here, Right Now,” quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

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Jesse Ventura
Minnesota Governor, former pro wrestler

Jesse VenturaVentura:  ... See, we call our country home of the brave and land of the free, but it’s not. We give a false portrayal of freedom. We’re not free — if we were, we’d allow people their freedom. Prohibiting something doesn’t make it go away. Prostitution is criminal, and bad things happen because it’s run illegally by dirtbags who are criminals. If it’s legal, then the girls could have health checks, unions, benefits, anything any other worker gets, and it would be far better.
     Playboy:  This isn’t a very popular position in America, is it?
     Ventura:  No, and it’s because of religion. Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.
Gov. Jesse Ventura, Playboy (November, 1999)

Patriotism is voluntary. It is a feeling of loyalty and allegiance that is the result of knowledge and belief. No law will make a citizen a patriot.
Gov. Jesse Ventura, explaining why he vetoed a bill requiring public school students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance once a week, saying also that he has seen no lack of patriotism in the United States, particularly after Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (May 23, 2002)

I believe in the separation of church and state.... We all have our own religious beliefs. There are people out there who are atheists, who don’t believe at all.... They are all citizens of Minnesota and I have to respect that.
Gov. Jesse Ventura, explaining why he refused to sign a National Day of Prayer proclamation (May 6, 1999)

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Dr. Thomas S Vernon
Professor emeritus of philosophy

Most people do not understand the word god is not the name of anything other than a concept, an idea in people’s minds.
Thomas Vernon, quoted from Newton Joseph, Ph.D, “It Is the Way You Think” (March 8, 2002)

Today we are witnessing such a resurgence of religious bigotry that one cannot help wondering how long it will be before “equal time” in our schools is demanded for geocentrism and flat-earthism as well as for creationism.
Thomas Vernon, Great Infidels, 1989, page 105

The Invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.
Thomas Vernon (attributed: source unknown)

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George B Vetter

The priesthoods of whatever stripe can never live down, nor make amends for, their disgraceful role in retarding the development of modem science during the past millennium in Christendom.... Supernaturalism is, in its social functions and consequences, a dangerous opiate. And, what is perhaps even worse, it discourages objective attempts at intelligent social trial-and-error, planning, and even research, and undermines man’s faith in his own resources.
George B Vetter, Magic and Religion, 1973

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Eugene Luther Gore Vidal 1925–2012)
American writer noted for his cynical humor and his numerous accounts of society in decline

Gore VidalI regard monotheism as the greatest disaster ever to befall the human race. I see no good in Judaism, Christianity, or Islam — good people, yes, but any religion based on a single, well, frenzied and virulent god, is not as useful to the human race as, say, Confucianism, which is not a religion but an ethical and educational system.
Gore Vidal, in At Home (1988); as quoted from David Mills, Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person’s Answer to Christian Fundamentalism (Berkeley, Calilfornia: ©2006, Ulysses Press), page 49

Christianity is such a silly religion.
Gore Vidal, in Time magazine, September 28, 1992, page 66, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

Once people get hung up on theology, they’ve lost sanity forever. More people have been killed in the name of Jesus Christ than any other name in the history of the world.
Gore Vidal, From the Secular Humanist Bulletin (Summer 1995), quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

I Must warn you, Iris, that I'm not a believer. And though I'm sure that the revelations of other men must be a source of infinite satisfaction to them, individually, I shouldn't for one second be so presumptuous as to make a choice among the many thousands of recorded revelations of truth, accepting one at the expense of all the others: I might so easily choose wrong and get into eternal trouble. And you must admit that the selection is wide, and dangerous to the amateur.
Gore Vidal, Messiah (New York: EP Dutton, 1954) pages 62–3 ; quoted from ST Joshi (Amhurst: Prometheus Books, 2011) page 182

The idea of a good society is something you do not need a religion and eternal punishment to buttress; you need a religion if you are terrified of death.
Gore Vidal, quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

I’m a born-again atheist.
Gore Vidal, quoted from Celebrity Atheist List

Three antihuman religions have evolved — Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are sky-god religions. They are, literally, patriarchal — God is the omnipotent father — hence the loathing of women for 2,000 years in those countries afflicted by the skygod and his earthly male delegates. The sky-god is a jealous god, of course. He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not just for one tribe but for all creation. Those who would reject him must be converted or killed for their own good. Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god’s purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family at home.
Gore Vidal, “Monotheism and its Discontents,” from The Nation Magazine

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Dr. Goparaju Vijayam
Director, Atheist Centre, Vijayawada, India

Social change is inevitable. Every conscious individual can be a harbinger of social change. Let us bring the innate goodness of common people to the fore and encourage teamwork and collective effort.
Dr. Vijayam, inaugurating the Seminar on Social Reform in the 21st Century, in connection with the Birth Centenary of Gora (February, 2002), quoted from The Atheist (March, 2002) page 17

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Voltaire [François Marie Arouet] (1694-1778)
French philosopher and writer whose works epitomize the Age of Enlightenment, often attacking injustice and intolerance

VoltaireLet us therefore reject all superstition in order to become more human; but in speaking against fanaticism, let us not imitate the fanatics: they are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors. Let us assuage their ills, and never embitter them, and let us pour drop by drop into their souls the divine balm of toleration, which they would reject with horror if it were offered to them all at once.
Voltaire, Homélies prononcées à Londres, quoted from Jim Herrick, “Écrasez l’Infâme,” in Against the Faith

Whenever an important event, a revolution, or a calamity turns to the profit of the church, such is always signalised as the Finger of God.
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary (1764), quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live.
Voltaire, quoted from Jonathon Green, The Cassell Dictionary of Cynical Quotations

What! Have you no monks to teach, to dispute, to govern, to intrigue and to burn people who do not agree with them?
Voltaire: Candide, in Candide, quoted from Jim Herrick, “Écrasez l’Infâme,” in Against the Faith

It is reported in the supplement of the council of Nicæan that the fathers, being very perplexed to know which were the cryphal or apocryphal books of the Old and New Testaments, put them all pell-mell on an altar, and the books to be rejected fell to the ground. It is a pity that this eloquent procedure has not survived.
Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique, quoted from Jim Herrick, “Écrasez l’Infâme,” in Against the Faith

PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr (1922–2007)
American Beat-era writer whose works show compassion and humor in the midst of the violence and alienation of modern life

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, “There’s a Chaplain who never visited the front.”
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Hocus Pocus, pg. 182, quoted from About.com

Interviewer: Did the study of anthropology later color your writings?
Vonnegut: It confirmed my atheism, which was the faith of my fathers anyway. Religions were exhibited and studied as the Rube Goldberg inventions I’d always thought they were.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., self-interview

... this is a hard world to be ludicrous in, with so many human beings so reluctant to laugh, so incapable of thought, so eager to believe and snarl and hate. So many people wanted to believe me!
     Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile!
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Mother Night

All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., quoted from Floyd College, Rome, Georgia, “Banned Books — Quotes

About astrology and palmistry: they are good because they make people vivid and full of possibilities. They are communism at its best. Everybody has a birthday and almost everybody has a palm.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Wampeters, Foma and Granfallons, “When I Was Twenty-One” (1974)

We would be a lot safer if the Government would take its money out of science and put it into astrology and the reading of palms.... Only in superstition is there hope. If you want to become a friend of civilization, then become an enemy of the truth and a fanatic for harmless balderdash.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Wampeters, Foma and Granfallons, “When I Was Twenty-One” (1974)

I was taught that the human brain was the crowning glory of evolution so far, but I think it’s a very poor scheme for survival.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., quoted in, Observer (London, 27 Dec. 1987), quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations

Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on.
Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Wampeters, Foma and Granfallons, “When I Was Twenty-One” (1974)

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Peter De Vries (1910-1993)
American writer of comic short stories and novels

It is the final proof of God’s omnipotence that he need not exist in order to save us.
Peter De Vries: The Reverend Andrew Mackerel, in The Mackerel Plaza, chapter. 1 (1958). “This aphorism,” De Vries added, “seemed to his hearers so much better than anything Voltaire had said on the subject that he was given an immediate hike in pay and invited out to more dinners than he could possibly eat.” Quoted from The Columbia Dictionary of Quotations.

Let us hope ... that a kind of Providence will put a speedy end to the acts of God under which we have been laboring.
Peter De Vries, The Mackerel Plaza (1958), quoted from The Encarta Book of Quotations (1999)

Anyone informed that the universe is expanding and contracting in pulsations of eighty billion years has a right to ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Peter De Vries, The Glory of the Hummingbird (1974)

“You don’t believe in God,” I said to Stein.
     “God is a word banging around in the human nervous system. He exists about as much as Santa Claus.”
     “Santa Claus has had a tremendous influence, exist or not.”
     “For children.”
     “Lots of saints have died for God with a courage that’s hardly childish.”
     “That’s part of the horror. It’s all a fantasy. It’s all for nothing.”
    — Peter De Vries, The Blood of the Lamb, page 182, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

“You ought to be ashamed,” a woman in an Easter bonnet told Stein. “Your race gave us our religion....” From ancient polytheism, the belief in lots of gods,“ the woman continued a little more eruditely, ”the Hebrew nation led us on to the idea that there is only one.”
    
“Which is just a step from the truth,” said Stein.
    — Peter De Vries, The Blood of the Lamb, page 207, from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief

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PAMBLOQ Rules! Yesss!!