Robert A. Heinlein

On this date in 1907, Robert A. Heinlein was born. The science fiction author is famous for his novel, Stranger in a Strange Land (1961). Heinlein was one of seven children in his Missouri family. He attended the University of Missouri and graduated from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1929. Heinlein served in the Navy for five years until discharged after contracting tuberculosis. Heinlein studied at the University of California-Los Angeles, and conducted research at the Navy Experimental Air Station in Philadelphia during WWII. The prolific author, who had many pseudonyms, won four Hugos for "best novel of the year" (Double Star Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress).

Heinlein wrote, "The faith in which I was brought up assured me that I was better than other people; I was saved, they were damned. . . . Our hymns were loaded with arrogance--self-congratulation on how cozy we were with the Almighty and what a high opinion he had of us, what hell everybody else would catch come Judgment Day." (Peter's Quotations: Ideas for Our Time, ed. Laurence J. Peter, 1977). In his book Time Enough for Love, he wrote: "History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people." D. 1988.

“We have our hands, we have our brains, we have the challenge all around us, and we have within (from whatever source) the will to strive. That is enough; there is no need to assert 'belief' in that which we do not, as yet, know.”

—Robert A. Heinlein, personal correspondence in 1956 with Warren Allen Smith, cited in Who's Who in Hell

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

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