The various modes of religion which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true, by the philosophers equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.

—Edward Gibbon, 1776

The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think that he’s evil. I think that the worst thing you could say about him is that basically he’s an underachiever. After all, you know, there are worse things in life than death.

—Woody Allen, 1975

Educate people without religion and you make them but clever devils.

—Arthur Wellesley, c. 1830

The nature of God is a circle, of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.

—Empedocles, c. 450 BC

I can’t see (or feel) the conflict between love and religion. To me they’re the same thing.

—Elizabeth Bowen, c. 1970

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

—John Lennon, 1970

Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I’ll listen submissively. But don’t come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don’t understand.

—C.S. Lewis, 1961

Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

—George Washington, 1796

The state dictates and coerces; religion teaches and persuades. The state enacts laws; religion gives commandments. The state is armed with physical force and makes use of it if need be; the force of religion is love and benevolence.

—Moses Mendelssohn, 1783

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be a Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote.

—John F. Kennedy, 1960

The Church says that the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in the shadow than in the Church.

—Ferdinand Magellan, c. 1510

To place oneself in the position of God is painful: being God is equivalent to being tortured. For being God means that one is in harmony with all that is, including the worst. The existence of the worst evils is unimaginable unless God willed them.

—Georges Bataille, 1957

Whatsoever is, is in God.

—Baruch Spinoza, 1677