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

—Immanuel Kant, 1781

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

—Arthur Wellesley, c. 1830

The freedom or immunity from coercion in matters religious, which is the endowment of persons as individuals, is also to be recognized as their right when they act in community. Religious communities are a requirement of the social nature both of man and of religion itself.

—Pope Paul VI, 1965

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

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

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.

—John Lennon, 1970

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.

—Voltaire, 1764

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

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 wrath of the lion is the wisdom of God.

—William Blake, 1793

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

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 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