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Quotes

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

Whatsoever is, is in God.

—Baruch Spinoza, 1677

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

—Empedocles, c. 450 BC

Religion! How it dominates man’s mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began.

—Emma Goldman, 1910

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things.

—Pablo Picasso, 1964

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

Without doubt God is the universal moving force, but each being is moved according to the nature that God has given it. He directs angels, man, animals, brute matter, in sum all created things—but each according to its nature—and man having been created free, he is freely led. This rule is truly the eternal law and in it we must believe.

—Joseph de Maistre, 1821

So long as one believes in God, one has the right to do the Good in order to be moral.

—Jean-Paul Sartre, c. 1950

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

—John Lennon, 1970

Religion is by no means a proper subject of conversation in mixed company.

—Philip Dormer Stanhope, 1754

Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god.

—Jean Rostand, 1939

Among all nations, through the darkest polytheism glimmer some faint sparks of monotheism.

—Immanuel Kant, 1781

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