“My parents and grandparents — all of them Jews — went through huge trauma. They went through the trauma of the Holocaust. I don't know if it's for that reason that, by 1965, when I was born, my grandparents, who were alive, my parents were secular. But I've grown up in a secular way. I've thought about this, and I'm an atheist.”
“I don’t believe in god personally, but I have great respect for those people who do. Different people have different religious views in this country. The great thing is that, whether we have faith or not, we are by and large very tolerant of people whatever their view.”
“I’m still a nonbeliever, even though my idea of reason is the idea of a reason which is open to mystery.”
“I was asked, ‘Do you believe in God?’ As it happens I do not know whether God exists. I'm much more of an agnostic.”
“Religion is declining, with no better proof than I am here today. Two hundred years ago, I would have been burned at the stake. What was considered heresay [sic] by our fathers is tolerated now. The hell that frightened us in childhood has vanished into space. Heaven is not in our geographies. Therefore, we see the old faiths loosing their hold on the human mind.”
"Thankfully, we're moving in a direction where some feel it's not an act of courage simply to state that you don't believe in god. . . . We must continue to speak out, be honest about our beliefs."
"[Thomas Gore] was a dedicated atheist. Imagine — he was senator for over thirty years in Oklahoma, a hotbed of the Lord Jesus, and they never found out."
"As an elected official, I know the difference between theology and politics. My interest is in legislation, not salvation."
"Mr. Cook had been an avowed atheist, who would, in the normal course of events, have steered well clear of organised religion."
"Christianity is the enemy of liberty and civilization. It has kept mankind in slavery and oppression. The Church and the State have always fraternally united to exploit the people."
“Petronius was surely right in saying Fear made the gods. In primitive times fear of the unknown was normal; gratitude to an unknown was impossible.”
“I had left God behind years ago. I was an atheist. . . . From now on I could step firmly on the ground that was under my feet and navigate based on my own reason and self-respect. My moral compass was within myself, not in the pages of a sacred book. . . .
All life is problem solving . . . There are no absolutes; progress comes through critical thought. . . . Reason, not obedience, should guide our lives. Though it took centuries to crumble, the entire ossified cage of European social hierarchy--from kings to serfs, and between men and women, all of it shored up by the Catholic Church--was destroyed by this thought.”
“I maintain that thoughtful Atheism affords greater possibility for human happiness than any system yet based on, or possible to be founded on, Theism, and that the lives of true Atheists must be more virtuous--because more human--than those of the believers in Deity, . . .
Atheism, properly understood, is no mere disbelief; is in no wise a cold, barren negative; it is, on the contrary, a hearty, fruitful affirmation of all truth, and involves the positive assertion of action of highest humanity.”
“There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me ... that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?”
“A state of scepticism and suspense may amuse a few inquisitive minds. But the practice of superstition is so congenial to the multitude that, if they are forcibly awakened, they still regret the loss of their pleasing vision. Their love of the marvellous and supernatural, their curiosity with regard to future events, and their strong propensity to extend their hopes and fears beyond the limits of the visible world, were the principal causes which favoured the establishment of Polytheism. So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will most probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition.”