“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.”
"[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."
“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.”
"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."
On this date in 1876, former California Gov. Culbert L. Olson was born in Fillmore, Utah. He attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, graduating at the age of 19. When he was 20, he became the associate city editor of the Daily Ogden Standard before moving to Washington, D.C., where he did secretarial work for congressional members. He then went back to school to earn his law degree at Columbian Law School (which is now George Washington University) and the University of Michigan. Following graduation, he moved back to Utah and practiced law in Salt Lake City. It was there he met and married Kate Jeremy, and they had three children. In 1916 he was elected senator to the state Legislature in Utah. After serving four years in Utah as senator, he moved to California. In 1938, he became the first Democratic governor elected in California in 40 years.
According to news coverage, during his inauguration he refused to say, “So help me God.” Olson said, “I just told the member of the Supreme Court (of California) who came to swear me in as governor that there was no use to ask me to say ‘So help me God’ because God couldn’t help me at all, and that there isn’t any such person, and I will have to just say, ‘I will affirm.’ ” After his term as governor (he lost re-election), he campaigned against the proposal to make “In God We Trust” the official motto of California. “Such a motto is untrue,” he said. “We don’t trust in God. . . . The harm is that it is a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution.” An activist with the United Secularists of America, he became the president of the organization in 1957 and remained president until his death on April 13, 1962. In 1959 the Commonwealth Club of California cancelled a speech Olson was scheduled to give on the subject of separation of church and state. In that prepared speech Olson wrote, “No god has ever shown himself. The thousands of gods that man has worshipped are myths born of his fears and his imaginations.”
“The emancipation of the mind from religious superstition is as essential to the progress of civilization as is emancipation from physical slavery.”
—Culbert Olson, in 1961, at age 84 after being asked if religion promoted social progress
“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.”
“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?”
“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.”
"As an elected official, I know the difference between theology and politics. My interest is in legislation, not salvation."
"I am an atheist because I’ve found no faith in any deity from Thor to Zeus. I am so grateful for the work the people in this room have done to advance the separation of state and church, to educate communities, to build a culture that made it possible for me, as a state legislator from Arizona, to talk honestly about what I do and don’t believe in."
“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.”
“Priests of any cult who, abusing their ministry, excite hate or disrespect for our laws, our government, or its rights, will be punished by three years’ imprisonment or deportation.”
"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."
“I’m still a nonbeliever, even though my idea of reason is the idea of a reason which is open to mystery.”