Wednesday, 17 January 2007

"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

[Voltaire]



"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."
[Voltaire]



"A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live."
[Voltaire]



"What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly -- that is the first law of nature."
[Voltaire]



"It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster."
[Voltaire]



"Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.

(If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.)"
[Voltaire, "Epîtres, XCVI"]



"Since the whole affair had become one of religion, the vanquished were of course exterminated."
[Voltaire]



"If God made us in His image we have certianly returned the compliment."
[Voltaire]



"I have only made but one prayer in my life: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it."
[Voltaire]



"When he that speaks, and he to whom he speaks, neither of them understand what is meant, that is metaphysics."
[Voltaire]



"It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue."
[Voltaire]



"You will notice that in all disputes between Christians since the birth of the Church, Rome has always favored the doctrine which most completely subjugated the human mind and annihilated reason."
[Voltaire]



"All good Christians glory in the folly of the Cross. Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense."
[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]



"True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others."
[Voltaire]



"God is not on the side of the big battalions, but on the side of those who shoot best."
[Voltaire, "Notebooks"]



"What can we say to a man who tells you that he would rather obey God than men, and that therefore he is sure to go to heaven for butchering you? Even the law is impotent against these attacks of rage; it is like reading a court decree to a raving maniac. These fellows are certain that the holy spirit with which they are filled is above the law, that their enthusiasm is the only law that they must obey."
[Voltaire, 1764]



"The first priest was the first rogue who met the first fool."
[Voltaire]



"'It is demonstrated,' [Pangloss] said, 'that things cannot be otherwise: for, since everything was made for a purpose, everything is necessarily for the best purpose. Note that noses were made to wear spectacles; we therefore have spectacles. Legs were clearly devised to wear breeches, and we have breeches. Stones were created to be hewn and made into castles; (the Baron Thunder-Ten-Tronkh) therefore has a very beautiful castle...'"
[Voltaire, Candide]



"As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities."
[Voltaire]



"Hell: A cooking stove which heats the sacerdotal sauce-pan here below. It was founded on behalf of our priests, to the end that the latter may never be wanting in good cheer."
[Voltaire]



"Holy Scripture: A book sent down from heaven.... Holy Scriptures contain all that a Christian should know and believe, provided he adds to it a million or so commentaries.
[Voltaire]



"Moses: A prophet inspired of God who gave him a holy and righteous law, which he was obliged to change later on, seeing that it had become worthless.... He was the meekest of men, as he himself tells us."
[Voltaire]



"Inspiration: A peculiar effect of divine flatulence emitted by the Holy Spirit which hisses into the ears of a few chosen of God...."
[Voltaire]



"There are no sects in geometry."
[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]



"Superstition, born of paganism and adopted by Judaism, invested the Christian Church from earliest times. All the fathers of the Church, without exception, believed in the power of magic. The Church always condemned magic, but she always believed in it: she did not excommunicate sorcerers as madmen who were mistaken, but as men who were really in communication with the devil."
[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]



"The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost their power of reasoning."
[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]



"To succeed in chaining the multitude, you must seem to wear the same fetters."
[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]



"God created sex. Priests created marriage."
[Voltaire]



"Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them."
[Voltaire]



"The man who says to me, 'Believe as I do, or God will damn you,' will presently say, 'Believe as I do, or I shall assassinate you.'"
[Voltaire, "Selected Works"]



"Every sensible man, every honest man, must hold the Christian sect in horror. But what shall we substitute in its place? you say. What? A ferocious animal has sucked the blood of my relatives. I tell you to rid yourselves of this beast, and you ask me what you shall put in its place?"
[Voltaire]



"To worship God and to leave every other man free to worship Him in his own way; to love one's neighbor, enlightening them if one can and pitying those who remain in error; to dimiss as immaterial all questions that would have given us no trouble if no importance had been attached to them- this is my religion, it is worth all your systems and symbols."
[Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet)]



"I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write."
[Voltaire, in a letter to M. le Riche, Feb. 6, 1770. According to "They Never Said It" (Paul F. Boller & John George), OUP, 1989, p. 125, it was not Voltaire, but his biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall (1868-1919) writing under the pen name S.G. Tallentyre, paraphrasing Voltaire's attitude regarding a book censorship case in 1798. The phrase "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" is from S.G. Tallentyre "The Friends of Voltaire" (London, 1906), 176-205.]



"Most of the great men of this world live as if they were atheists. Every man who has lived with his eyes open, knows that the knowledge of a God, his presence, and his justice, has not the slightest influence over the wars, the treaties, the objects of ambition, interest, or pleasure, in the pursuit of which they are wholly occupied."
[Voltaire]



"Which is more dangerous: fanaticism or atheism? Fanaticism is certainly a thousand times more deadly; for atheism inspires no bloody passion whereas fanaticism does; atheism is opposed to crime and fanaticism causes crimes to be committed."
[Voltaire]



"Atheism is the vice of a few intelligent people."
[Voltaire]



"Jesus Christ: A name that once upon a time was taken by God when he went to make a short sojourn in Judea, where, failing to declare his right name ...he was hanged.... Had it not been for this lucky turn..., the human race had been lost."
[Voltaire]



"If Christians want us to believe in a Redeeder, let them act redeemed."
[Voltaire]



"Atheist: A name given by theologians to whoever differs from them in their ideas concerning the divinity, or who refuses to believe in it in the form of which, in the emptiness of their infallible pates, they have resolved to present it to him. As a rule an Atheist is any or every man who does not believe in the God of the Priest."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Auto de Fe: An act of faith. A dainty feast offered to the Divinity from time to time, and which consisted of roasting, in great pomp, the bodies of Jews or heretics for the salvation of their souls and the edification of the lookers-on."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Christianity: A religious system attributed to Jesus Christ, but really invented by Plato, improved by St. Paul, and finally revised and corrected by the Fathers, the councils, and other interpreters of the Church. Since the foundation of this sublime creed, mankind has become better, wiser, and happier than before. From that blessed epoch the world was forever freed from all strife, dissensions, troubles, vices, and evils of every kind; an invincible proof that Christianity is divine, and that it is to be possessed of the very devil himself to dare to commit such a creed or doubt its origin."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Christians have been the most intolerant of all men."
[Voltaire]



"Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road."
[Voltaire]



"In the midst of all the doubts which we have discussed for 4000 years in 4000 ways, the safest course is to do nothing against one's conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death."
[Voltaire, Letter to Frederick the Great, 1767]



"Devil: The black sheep of the heavenly host, and the main prop of the Church....Without the devil God would cut but a sorry figure at best. The love of God is frequently but the fear of the devil."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Gospel: signifies good news. The good news that the gospel of the Christians came to announce to them is that their God is a God of wrath, that he has predestined the far greater number of them to hell-fire, that their happiness depends on their pious imbecility, their holy credulity, their sacred ravings, on the evil they do to one another through hatred of one another,...and on their antipathy for and persecution of all who do not agree with them or resemble them."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Would you believe that while the flames were consuming these innocent victims, the inquisitors and the other savages were chanting prayers? These pitiless monsters were invoking the God of mercy...While committing the most atrocious crime."
[Voltaire]



"Reason is, of all things in the world, the most hurtful to a reasoning human being. God only allows it to remain with those he intends to damn, and in his goodness takes it away from those he intends to save or render useful to the Church....If reason had any part in religion, what then would become of faith."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"The superstitious man is to the rogue what the slave is to the tyrant."
[Voltaire, "Philosophical Dictionary," 1764]



"Superstition: Any practice or form of religion to which we are not accustomed. Any worship that is not offered up to the true God is false and superstitious. The only true God is the God of our ; the only true worship is that which seems the most fitting to them; and to which they have accustomed us from our earliest childhood; any other worship is clearly superstitious, false, and even ridiculous."
[Voltaire, Pocket Theology]


Learn more about Voltaire on Wikipedia.

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