"First, whenever a man talks loudly against religion, always suspect that it is not his reason, but his passions, which have got the better of his creed. A bad life and a good belief are disagreeable and troublesome neighbours, and where they separate, depend upon it, 'tis for no other cause but quietness' sake."
"I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran, than that this universal frame is without a Mind; and, therefore, God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it."
"We find the most terrible form of atheism, not in the militant and passionate struggle against the idea of God himself, but in thepractical atheism of everyday living, in indifference and torpor. We often encounter these forms of atheism among those who are formally Christians."
"Atheism..., that bugbear of women and fools, is the very top and perfection of free-thinking. It is the grand arcanum to which a true genius naturally riseth, by a certain climax or gradation of thought, and without which he can never possess his soul in absolute liberty and repose."
"It is well worth the efforts of a lifetime to have attained knowledge which justifies an attack on the root of all evil--viz. thedeadly atheism which asserts that because forms of evil have always existed in society, therefore they must always exist; and that the attainment of a high ideal is a hopeless chimera."
"I had a strong curiosity to be satisfied if he persisted in disbelieving a future state even when he had death before his eyes....I asked him if the thought of annihilation never gave him any uneasiness. He said not the least.... "Well," said I, "Mr. Hume, I hope to triumph over you when I meet you in a future state; and remember you are not to pretend that you was joking with all this infidelity." "No, no," said he. "But I shall have been so long there before you come that it will be nothing new."
"Science ... has won for us a great liberty in the physical world, a liberty from superstitious fear and from disease, a freedom touse nature as a familiar servant; but it has not freed us from ourselves."
"For the scientist the formulation of questions is almost the whole thing. The answers, when found, only lead on to other questions. The nightmare of the scientist is the idea of complete knowledge. He shudders to think of such a thing. Compare this with the certainty that belongs to religion, and you will see how different science is from religion. Religion replaces doubt with certainty. Science holds an infinity of doubt, and implies a faith. Faith in what? Perhaps in nothing; just a capacity to have faith; or if there must be faith in something, then faith in the inexorable laws that govern phenomena."
"The very hope of experimental philosophy, its expectation of constructing the sciences into a true philosophy of nature, is basedon induction, or, if you please, the a priori presumption, that physical causation is universal; that the constitution of nature is written in its actual manifestations, and needs only to be deciphered by experimental and inductive research; that it is not a latent invisible writing, to be brought out by the magic of mental anticipation or metaphysical mediation."
"Science asks no questions about the ontological pedigree or a priori character of a theory, but is content to judge it by its performance; and it is thus that a knowledge of nature, having all the certainty which the senses are competent to inspire, has been attained--a knowledge which maintains a strict neutrality toward all philosophical systems and concerns itself not with the genesis or a priori grounds of ideas."
"Knowledge signifies things known. Where there are no things known, there is no knowledge. Where there are no things to be known, there can be no knowledge. We have observed that every science, that is, every branch of knowledge, is compounded of certain facts, of which our sensations furnish the evidence. Where no such evidence is supplied, we are without data; we are without first premises; and when, without these, we attempt to build up a science, we do as those who raise edifices without foundations. And what do such builders construct? Castles in the air."