"There are also people who say it's God's curse on me that I should have it near my throat because that was the organ of blasphemy which I used for so many years. I've used many other organs to blaspheme as well if it comes to that."
"All this could be part of a plan. There is no way an atheist can prove it’s not. But it’s some plan, isn't it? With mass destruction, pitiless extermination, annihilation going on all the time. And all of this set in motion on a scale that’s absolutely beyond our imagination, in order that the pope can tell people not to jerk off."
"I did quarrel with some of my comrades by saying I thought that to call ourselves brights would be -- in the first place -- very conceited, and in the second place, very misleading. We do not say of people who disagree with us that they are stupid. Many very intelligent people have been persuaded by Thomas Aquinas' ontological arguments for the existence of God, for example. It's not an IQ question."
"Those who ask confessions from other people should be willing to make one oneself. I am obsessed with sex. Ever since I discovered that my God-given male member was going to give me no peace, I decided to give it no rest in return. Seems fair to me."
"I want to live my life taking the risk - all the time - that I don't know anything like-enough yet, that I haven't understood enough, that I can't know enough, that I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom.
And I urge you to look at people who tell you at your age that you're dead till you believe as they do. What a terrible thing to be telling to children. That you can only live by accepting an absolute authority. Don't think of that as a gift. Think of is as a poisoned chalice. Push it aside, however tempting it is. Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you."
"I want to live my life taking the risk - all the time - that I don't know anything like-enough yet, that I haven't understood enough, that I can't know enough, that I'm always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom... Take the risk of thinking for yourself, much more happiness, truth, beauty, and wisdom will come to you."
"The big difference between this side of the house, mine, and the other, is this, I am absolutely certain that I do not know, but that it might be possible to find out and that doubt and skepticism and innovation and inquiry are the only means by which wonder and beauty and awe and symmetry will be discovered, and beyond those peaks we can yet see new, more wonderful peaks will arise. Whereas, on the Wilson side of the house it is said we already have the certainty, we know that God created us, and we even claim to know his mind and what he wants of us. And I just invite you to open your minds to the possibility that the skeptical and the inquiring and the doubtful will be better than anything that calls itself faith, because anything that calls itself faith calls itself certainty and for certainty I think there is no place in an institute of intellectual mentation and higher education, and I’m very grateful to you all for giving me the chance to say so."
"Through this and other experiences I began to discern one of the elements of an education: get as near to the supposed masters and commanders as you can and see what stuff they are really made of. As I watched famous scholars and professors flounder here and there, I also, in my career as a speaker at the Oxford Union, had a chance to meet senior ministers and parliamentarians “up close” and dine with them before as well as drink with them afterward, and be amazed once again at how ignorant and sometimes plain stupid were the people who claimed to run the country. This was an essential stage of my formation and one for which I am hugely grateful."
"Let me tell you something: for hundreds of thousands of years, this kind of discussion would have been impossible to have, or those like us would have been having it at the risk of our lives. Religion now comes to us in this smiley-face, ingratiating way — because it’s had to give so much more ground and because we know so much more. But you’ve got no right to forget the way it behaved when it was strong, and when it really did believe that it had God on its side."
"The three delightful children who are everything to me and who are my only chance at even a glimpse of a second life, let alone an immortal one. And I'll tell something, if I was told to sacrifice them to prove my devotion to God, if I was told to do what all monotheists are told to do and admire the man who said, 'Yes, I'll gut my kid to show my love of God.', I'd say, 'No, fuck you.'"
"Let's say that the consensus is that our species, we being the higher primates, homo sapiens, has been on the planet for at least one-hundred thousand years. In order to be Christian, you have to believe that for ninety-eight thousand years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about twenty-five, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery. All of that for ninety-eight thousand years. Heaven watches it with complete indifference. And then two thousand years ago thinks that's enough of that, it's time to intervene. The best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the middle east. Let's not appear to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person."
"Religion is part of the human make-up. It's also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy."
Page: 1 2