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2698 "One of the demands put upon the priests and holy-men is that they should provide impressive rituals. Nearly all religions include ceremonial procedures during which the followers of a particular deity can indulge in complex group activities. This is essential as a demonstration of the power of the gods--that they can dominate and command submissive behaviour from large numbers of people at one and the same time--and it is also a method of strengthening the social bonding in relation to the common belief. Since the gods are super-parents and super-leaders, they must necessarily have large houses in which to 'meet' with their followers. Anyone flying low over human settlements in a spacecraft and ignorant of our ways would notice immediately that in many of the villages and towns and cities there were one or two homes much bigger than the rest. Towering over the other houses, these large buildings must surely be the abodes of some enormous individuals, many times the size of the rest of the population. These--the houses of the gods--the temples, the churches and the cathedrals--are buildings apparently made for giants, and a space visitor would be surprised to find on closer examination that these giants are never at home. Their followers repeatedly visit them and bow down before them, but they themselves are invisible. Only their bell-like cries can be heard across the land. Man is indeed an imaginative species." [Desmond Morris, "Religious Displays," _Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human Behaviour_, 1977, Abrams, New York, page 152.]

976 "Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do."

3700 "HAL 9000: Put down those Windows disks. Dave. DAVE!"

2975 "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no reason whatsoever for supposing it to be true." [Bertrand Russell]

2900 "To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place -- not to mention the "ethnic cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world -- and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women." [James Randi, challenging blasphemy laws in several US states]

2285 "These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat. Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were woefully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents." [Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

1283 "The efforts of the majority to destroy every trace of heretical 'blasphemy' proved so successful that, until the discoveries at Nag Hammadi, nearly all our information concerning alternative forms of early Christianity came from the massive orthodox attacks upon them." Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels, (New York: Vintage, 1989), pp. xxiv.

3731 "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirstl ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevalent bully." - Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion

2821 "Here we are, we're alone in the universe, there's no God, it just seems that it all began by something as simple as sunlight striking on a piece of rock. And here we are. We've only got ourselves. Somehow, we've just got to make a go of it. We've only ourselves." [Jean, The Entertainer John Osborne (b. 1929) British playwright]

487 "If our democracy is to flourish, it must have criticism; if our government is to function, it must have dissent." -- Henry Steele

2351 "Holy virginity is a better thing than conjugal chastity.... A mother will hold a lesser place in the Kingdom of heaven, because she has been married, than the daughter, seeing that she is a virgin .... but if thy mother has been humble and not proud, she will have some sort of place, but not thou..." [Saint Jerome, Roman theologian, Sermon 354]

2789 "The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes.

"Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. WE HAVE KILLED HIM - you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, foreward, in all direction? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light candles in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him." [Friedrich Nietzsche]

3634 "The fetters imposed on liberty at home have ever been forged out of the weapons provided for defense against real, pretended, or imaginary dangers from abroad." -- James Madison, 4th US president (1751-1836)

339 "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." -- Thomas Jefferson

2182 "People have suffered and become insane for centuries by the thought of eternal punishment after death. Wouldn't it be better to depend on blind matter (...) than by a god who puts out traps for people, invites them to sin, and allows them to sin and commit crimes he could prevent. Only to finally get the barbarian pleasure to punish them in an excessive way, of no use for himself, without them changing their ways and without their example preventing others from committing crimes." [Baron d'Holbach, "Systeme de la Nature" (1770)]

2397 "Faith is often the boast of the man who is too lazy to investigate." [F. M. Knowles]

486 "All great ideas are dangerous." -- Oscar Wilde

2718 "A Mormon is a man that has the bad taste and the religion to do what a good many other people are restrained from doing by conscientious scruples and the police." Mr. Dooley]

2345 "The National Government will therefore regard as its first and supreme task to restore to the German people unity of mind and will. It will preserve and defend the foundations on which the strength of our nation rests. It will take under its firm protection Christianity as the basis of our morality, and the family as the nucleus of our nation and our State." [_Nazism, A History in Documents & Eyewitness Accounts_. (Original source listed in the bibliography: Jacobsen and Jochmann, Ausgewahlte Dokumente Bd II.)]

2910 "I DO want your money, because god wants your money!" [Reverend Larry, from _Repo_Man_]


20 quotations