"A child of the mob once asked an astronomer who the father was who engendered him in this world? The scholar pointed to the sky, and to an old man sitting, and said: "That one there is your body's father, and that your soul's." To which the boy replied: "WHAT IS ABOVE US IS OF NO CONCERN TO US, and I'm ashamed to be the child of such an aged man!" O WHAT SUPREME impiety, not to want to recognize your father, and not to think God is your maker!"

A frequently repeated philosopher's saying (sometimes attributed to Socrates).


Supreme Impiety, Atheist and Charlatan by Barthélemy Aneau (1552)


"I no more believe in the Biblical God than I believe in Zeus, Isis, Thor and the thousands of other dead gods that lie buried in the mass grave we call 'mythology'. I doubt them all equally and for the same reason: lack of evidence."

--Sam Harris


"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."

--Richard Dawkins


"I was about to tell him he was wrong to dwell on it, because it really didn't matter. But he cut me off and urged me one last time, drawing himself up to his full height and asking me if I believed in God. I said no. He sat down indignantly. He said it was impossible; all men believed in God, even those who turn their backs on him. That was his belief, and if he were ever to doubt it, his life would become meaningless. 'Do you want my life to be meaningless?' he shouted. As far as I could see, it didn't have anything to do with me, and I told him so. But from across the table he had already thrust the crucifix in my face was screaming irrationally, 'I am a Christian. I ask Him to forgive you for sins. How can you not believe that He suffered for you?' I was struck by how sincere he seemed, but I had had enough. It was getting hotter and hotter. As always, whenever I want to get rid of someone I'm not really listening to, I made it appear as if I agreed. To my surprise, he acted triumphant. 'You see, you see!' he said. 'You do believe, don't you, and you're going to place your trust in Him, aren't you?' Obviously, I again said no. He fell back in his chair"

--Albert Camus, from The Stranger



"As many readers will remember, Pascal suggested that religious believers are simply taking the wiser of two bets: if a believer is wrong about God, there is not much harm to him or to anyone else, and if he is right, he wins eternal happiness; if an atheist is wrong, however, he is destined for hell. Put this way, atheism seems the very picture of reckless stupidity.

"[But] Pascal's wager suggests that a rational person can knowingly believe a proposition purely out of concern for his future gratification. I suspect no one ever acquires his religious beliefs in this way (Pascal certainly didn't). But even if some people do, who could be so foolish as to think that such beliefs are likely to be true?"

--Sam Harris, from "The Empty Wager"


"What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite."

--Bertrand Russel"