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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

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

—Empedocles, c. 450 BC

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

To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the need for thought.

—Henri Poincaré, 1903

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

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

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

The most dangerous madmen are those created by religion, and people whose aim is to disrupt society always know how to make good use of them.

—Denis Diderot, 1777

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.

—Jonathan Swift, 1706

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

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

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