"I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize... How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that."
"I had a friend, a very devout Muslim, who was trying to bring science into the universities in the Gulf states. And he told me that he has a terrible time because, although they were very receptive to technology, they felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief. And they were worried about it.
And damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief. It's a good thing too."
"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."
"Is science true? No, no we don’t know what’s true, we’re trying to find out. Everything is possibly wrong. Start out understanding religion by saying everything is possibly wrong. Let us see. As soon as you do that you start sliding down an edge which is hard to recover from."
"When the Missionaries arrived, the Africans had the Land and the Missionaries had the Bible. They taught us how to pray with our eyes closed. When we opened them, they had the land and we had the Bible."
"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."
"We have to challenge our beliefs every single day. That's what science is all about. There are no scientific ideologies. The reason science has progressed and theology hasn't, the reason we have video cameras and lights and medicine and we can feed more people and live longer healthier lives, is because science changes. The great thing about science is that there are no unshakable truths. We force the way we view reality to depend upon the evidence of reality. So if you don't challenge your beliefs, you're never learning. You're never questioning yourself."
"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."
"You know, one of the signs that the second coming, is that the stars will fall out of the sky and land on Earth. To even write that means you don’t know what those things are. You have no concept of what the actual universe is. So everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer."
"Last night, I was talkin to this other comic and he was telling me how he likes the pope. 'Ya know, I like the pope. I like this guy. He says he's cool with atheists, they don't mind if gay people get married, and blah blah blah.' That's because they're hemorrhaging cash in the fuckin west in the northern hemisphere. It's a business. They're only adding people down in South America, but as far as up here they're fucked. They're losing people day by day, so they have to adjust their message."
"This notion of eternity, this notion of nothing matters here but matters over the long haul, in the afterlife, because the bulk of our experience is after we die; this religious idea actually robs life of its meaning. It doesn't bring meaning to life. It renders meaningless all of the precious moments we have while alive. This is the only life we are certain of, and it is continually ending. It not only ends in death but it ends in each moment and things change. And that makes each moment precious."
"‘Unless experience lasts forever, there is no point. It means nothing.’ Just try to map this onto your life: every good meal you' had, every pleasant experience as opposed to an unpleasant one, every relationship, none of it means anything, because it ends. A good movie is meaningless — it’s no better than a bad movie — because it ends. This is a strange idea, that unless we disappear into infinity with our experience, there is no difference between the most sublime happiness and the most abject suffering. I think when you actually try to connect with that intuition, it’s strange and really insupportable in our moment-to-moment experience. We care very deeply about the character of our experience. In fact, it is the only thing we can care about."
"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.'"