Thursday, September 28, 2006

Secular Quotes - Reinforcing Rationality

From the Treaty of Tripoli (1797):

Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

Its value: This is the definitive statement, by our Founding Fathers, that the United States is a secular republic. The U.S. emphatically is not a Christian country, but rather a country that accepts—and embraces equally—people of all faiths and no faith at all.

From Thomas Jefferson:

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.

Its value: Thomas Jefferson was among the most influential of the U.S.’ founders. Moreover, he continues to be among the most revered of them today. Additionally, Jefferson makes the salient point that each and every supernatural mythology is equally ludicrous and irrational. No religious mythology is more reasonable than any other.

From Albert Einstein:

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Its value: Many theists wish Einstein were on their side; alas, he is with us atheists. Einstein completely rejected the notion of a personal God, a la Yahweh. One of the most brilliant minds in recent history, and an expert on the natural world, simply saw no solid evidence to support the God hypothesis. Count Einstein among the atheists.

From George Carlin:

In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I’ve got to tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.

Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -- living in the sky -- who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

But He loves you.

Its value: Carlin succinctly makes the devastating argument that Yahweh, if it were an omnibenevolent deity, would not design a place such as hell. Inventing hell would be positively antithetical to an omnibenevolent deity’s nature. No crime—absolutely none—warrants the tortures of hell. The notion that one could live a perfectly moral life—making other people’s lives better, caring for one’s friends and family, working hard every day—yet end up roasting in hell, simply for rejecting Yahweh’s authority, is unfathomable. Any deity that hateful is not worth our limited time, even if it were to exist.

From Gene Roddenberry:

We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes.

Its value: I just like this one!


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