“I never lost the sense of moral compass, I never lost the sense that the world is bigger than just me and that there’s more to life than just me as an individual, that there’s a lot more. I try to live that way now. . . But what I’ve tried to do is shed some of the less desirable sides of the religious upbringing as well. Which, I saw a lot of hypocrisy. I feel like religion in a lot of ways was intended to control and subdue people rather than to bring out the best in them.”
"I do like talking with friends about big concepts, you know, the stuff that will ruin a party. To me, the party hasn't begun until we're talking about the nonexistence of God."
“So many wars and strife are borne out of opposing religious views. If people don’t have kindness, respect, tolerance, and compassion at the core of their beliefs, then their religion is pointless.”
Janeane Garofalo: Can I ask what your feelings are about God?
Eddie Vedder: Sure. I think it's like a movie that was way too popular. It's a story that's been told too many times and just doesn't mean anything. Man lived on the planet — [placing his fingers an inch apart], this is 5000 years of semi-recorded history. And God and the Bible, that came in somewhere around the middle, maybe 2000. This is the last 2000, this is what we're about to celebrate [indicating about an 1/8th of an inch with his fingers]. Now, humans, in some shape or form, have been on the earth for three million years [pointing across the room to indicate the distance]. So, all this time, from there [gesturing toward the other side of the room], to here [indicating the 1/8th of an inch], there was no God, there was no story, there was no myth and people lived on this planet and they wandered and they gathered and they did all these things. The planet was never threatened. How did they survive for all this time without this belief in God? I'd like to ask this to someone who knows about Christianity and maybe you do. That just seems funny to me.
JG: Funny ha-ha or funny strange?
EV: Funny strange. Funny bad. Funny frown. Not good. That laws are made and wars occur because of this story that was written, again, in this small part of time.
“I’m a total atheist, and for me it’s just about trying to find something that rises above the banal day-to-day bullshit of living.”
"And the flames of hell, they seemed so high
When I could barely see over the pew
I was just a boy when they told me that lie
But lord, it felt so true
And that's a hell of a thing to do to a kid
Just to teach him right from wrong
You can burn in hell the rest of your days
Or you can choose to sing along"
“A lot of people really struggle to find out what they want to do in life, but I knew as soon as I saw Elvis Presley, when I was 11. From that point, music became my religion, my nourishment.”
“And yes I have all of the usual objections
To the miseducation of children who, in tax-exempt institutions,
Are taught to externalize blame
And to feel ashamed and to judge things as plain right and wrong
But I quite like the songs . . . ”
" . . . if ever I'm asked if I'm religious I always reply, 'Yes, I'm a devout musician.' Music puts me in touch with something beyond the intellect, something otherworldly, something sacred."
Fan’s blog post (rating Charlie’s “hotness points”): Faith: Unknown but believed to be an atheist.
Charlie McDonnell: I am an atheist.
Fan’s Blog: Minus 50 [hotness] points
Charlie: Oh well, reason loses again.
"After a lot of reading, and research, I realized, I didn't have any secret channel picking up secret messages from god or anyone else. That voice in my head was my own."
“I'm an atheist. . . . how unfortunate it is to assign responsibility to the higher up for justice amongst people.”
"I had some pretty dark and desperate moments all those years ago . . . . I didn't ever smash up a hotel room or throw a TV out a window. That was Led Zeppelin. Thank god. If there was a god, you know, which there isn't."
“People use God to fill in the spaces in the gaps of their knowledge . . . As we follow the trajectory of knowledge, the need for a God just dwindles, and it approaches zero.”
“I think there is a puritanical wind that is blowing. I have never seen such a lack of separation between church and state in America.”
Shameful rivalries of creed
Shall not make the martyr bleed,
In the good time coming.
Religion shall be shorn of pride,
And flourish all the stronger;
And Charity shall trim her lamp;
Wait a little longer.
“What a blessing to know there’s a devil, and that I’m but a pawn in his game / that my impulse to sin doesn’t come from within, and so I’m not exactly to blame.”
"[W]hat I want to indicate by that word godless is not only god in the religious sense but I am trying to accept and enjoy the idea that we never will reach that condition of agreement of certainty, that actually we're unanchored, we're floating around, and we're actually guessing. That's what we're doing. Everyone is making guesses, and trying to make the best of it, watching what happens and being empirical about it. There won't be a plan, so godless, like most of those words, have a lot of resonance for me. They are words I find myself using in conversation sometimes, over and over again."
Howard Stern: Are you the type of guy that believes in karma and things like that?
Billy Joel: Yes . . . well, not in the religious or spiritual sense, I just, you know, that's how things seem to work out.
Stern: Are you religious, do you believe in a God?
Stern: You don't.
Joel: I'm an atheist.
“I leaf through [the bible] quite often--if only to shake my head in disgust. I quote Leviticus to people who think that every word in the Bible is absolutely gospel and you need to obey every word. In Leviticus it says you must kill a bull if you’re going to really love God. And you must kill it in a certain way, or else you will be killed.”
“I look forward to receiving 20 emails saying, ‘Hey, I noticed you’re not religious. Look at your fingerprint. Doesn’t that prove that there is a creator, because your fingerprint is completely unique.’ Um, no. Doesn’t.”
“From my point of view, I would ban religion completely. The reality is that organized religion doesn't seem to work. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it's not really compassionate.”
“I still wouldn’t define myself as an atheist – it’s too absolute. But I don’t have any faith. I think faith is an absurd thing but I’m OK with that. There are no answers because the universe never asked a question in the first place.”
"How interested are you in debating the other side of the argument with all those God-type folks?
Brian Cox: . . . The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly ignored and even made fun of, particularly if it is demonstrably nonsense!"
“In the theory of evolution there is no talk of God and no Bibles are used. They're not looking for higher powers, extraterrestrials, or anything else that could be found in the science fiction section, because they are not dealing with fiction.”
“I like the idea of doing things that only exist for as long as they exist, which are not archives, which are not sold or prepared even.”
“I’m definitely against all organized religion just because, when you really look at it, organized religion has caused most of the deaths in the history of this planet. Most of the wars were fought over organized religion.”
“We owe a faith to the world and to ourselves. We owe a grace and gratitude to things that have brought us here. But I think it’s very ignorant to say, ‘Well, for everything, God has a plan.’ That’s like an excuse. Maybe the real faithful act is to commit to something, to take action, as opposed to saying, ‘Well, everything is in the hand of God.’”
“I think that where we are right now, the 21st century ... is going to prove a very difficult testing ground for organized religion and for people of faith. A lot of the ideas that are still being held onto — I call them 'hangovers' — seem to be mid-century or even earlier. (They are) 19th century, 20th century ideas that are almost anachronistic in 2004. And so, if organized religion and people of faith want to continue into the 21st century, I think they kind of have to live in the times that we're living. You have to understand that the holy scripture is a very important part of my life, and my upbringing, and the culture that I came up through — but it's allegory.”