Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
--attributed to Napoleon I (1769—1821)
Emperor of France [1804-15].


Often in history we see that religion, which was
meant to raise us and make us better and nobler,
has made people behave like beasts. Instead of
bringing enlightenment of them, it has often tried
to keep them in the dark; instead of broadening
their minds, it has frequently made them narrow-
minded and intolerant of others.
--Jawaharlal Nehru (1889—1964)
Indian statesman.
_Glimpses of World History_ [1942]

I want nothing to do with any religion concerned
with keeping the masses satisfied to live in hunger,
filth, and ignorance. I want nothing to do with any
order, religious or otherwise, which does not teach
people that they are capable of becoming happier
and more civilized, on this earth, capable of
becoming true man, master of his fate and captain
of his soul.
--Jawaharlal Nehru (1889—1964)
Indian statesman.
Quoted in Edgar Snow's _Journey to the Beginning_ [1958].


Every religion is good that teaches man to be good.
--Thomas Paine (1737—1809)
English-American writer and political pamphleteer.
_Rights of Man_, pt. II, ch. 5 [1791]

I do not believe in the creed professed by the
Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the
Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the
Protestant church, nor by any church that I
know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether
Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no
other than human inventions, set up to terrify
and enslave mankind, and monopolise power
and profit.

--Thomas Paine [spelled Pane prior to 1774] (1737—1809)
English-American writer and political pamphleteer.
_Age of Reason_ [1794] "The Author's Profession of Faith"

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous
debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the
unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half
the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we
called it the word of a demon, than the word of God.
It is a history of wickedness, that has served to
corrupt and brutalize mankind.
--Thomas Paine (1737—1809)
English-American writer and political pamphleteer.
_Age of Reason_ [1794]

Accustom a people to believe that priests, or any other class
of men, can forgive sins, and you will have sins in abundance.
--Thomas Paine (1737—1809)
English-American writer and political pamphleteer.
_A Letter To Camille Jordan_ [1797]

Of all the tyrannies that afflict mankind, tyranny in religion
is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the
world we live in, but this attempts a stride beyond the grave,
and seeks to pursue us into eternity.
--Thomas Paine [spelled Pane prior to 1774] (1737—1809)
English-American writer and political pamphleteer.
"A Letter to the Hon. Thomas Erskine" [R. Carlile, London, 1818]


Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully
as when they do it from religious conviction.
--Blaise Pascal (1623—1662)
French mathematician, physicist, and moralist.
_Pens้es_ ("Thoughts"), no. 894 [1670 ed.]


To be furious in religion is to be irreligiously religious.
--William Penn (1644—1718)
Quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom who oversaw
the founding of the American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
as a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities of Europe.
_Fruits of Solitude_, # 533 [Robert Eastburn,
New Brunswick, NJ, 11th ed., 1807].

Men who fight about religion have no religion to fight
about, since they do in the name of religion the thing
which religion itself forbids.
--William Penn (1644—1718)
Quaker leader and advocate of religious freedom who oversaw
the founding of the American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
as a refuge for Quakers and other religious minorities of Europe.
Attributed in "The Forum" [1927].


We all remember how many religious wars were fought for
a religion of love and gentleness; how many bodies were
burned alive with the genuinely kind and gentle intention
of saving souls from the eternal fire of hell.
--Karl Popper (1902—1994)
Austrian-born British philosopher of science.
"Utopia and Violence" [1948]

Religion to me has always been
the wound, not the bandage.
--Dennis Potter (1935—1994)
English television dramatist.
_Seeing the Blossom_ [1994]

People needed to believe in gods, if only because
it was so hard to believe in people.
--Terry Pratchett (1948—2015)
English science fiction writer.
_Pyramids_ [1989], pt. 1

Once a ruler becomes religious, it [becomes] impossible for
you to debate with him. Once someone rules in the name of
religion, your lives become hell.
--Muammar Qaddafi (1942—2011)
Libyan leader (1970-2011).
October 1989 remark to the General People's Congress [Tripoli].

I am an intransigent atheist, but not a militant one.
This means that I am an uncompromising advocate
of reason and that I am fighting *for* reason, not
*against* religion. I must also mention that I do
respect religion in its philosophical aspects, in the
sense that it represents an early form of philosophy.
--Ayn Rand (1905—1982)
Russian-born American writer.
In a letter of 20 March 1965 as quoted in Michael
S. Berliner (ed.) _Letters of Ayn Rand_ [1997].

I doubt if there is in the world a single problem, whether social,
political, or economic, which would not find ready solution if men
and nations would rule their lives according to the plain teaching
of the Sermon on the Mount.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882—1945)
American Democratic statesman and President [1933-45].
"Greeting to the World's Christian Endeavor Convention
in Melbourne, Australia" [15 June 1938]


My whole religion is this: do every duty, and expect
no reward for it, either here or hereafter.
--Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.
"Greek Exercises" [1888] (Wikiquote)

The opinions that are held with passion are always those
for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is
the measure of the holder's lack of rational conviction.
Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held
--Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.
_Sceptical Essays_ [1928]

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly
upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown,
and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind
of elder brother who will stand by you in all
your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of
the whole thing — fear of the mysterious, fear
of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of
cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty
and religion have gone hand-in-hand.
--Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.
_Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays
on Religion and Related Subjects_ [1957]

I was much cheered upon my arrival (in prison), by
the warden at the gate, who had to take particulars
about me. He asked my religion, and I replied,
'Agnostic.' He asked how to spell it, and remarked
with a sigh, 'Well, there are many religions, but
I suppose they all worship the same God.'
--Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.
_The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell: 1914-1944_ [1968]

Religion is something left over from the infancy
of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt
reason and science as our guidelines.
--attributed to Bertrand Russell (1872—1970)
British philosopher, mathematician, and Nobel laureate.



Matters of religion should never be matters of
controversy. We neither argue with a lover about
his taste, nor condemn him, if we are just, for
knowing so human a passion.
--George Santayana (1863—1952)
Spanish-born philosopher and critic.
_The Life of Reason_ [1905]

That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true
as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.
--George Santayana (1863—1952)
Spanish-born philosopher and critic.
_The Life of Reason_ [1905], ch. 3, "Reason in Religion"

It is not worldly ecclesiastics that kindle the fires
of persecution, but mystics who think they hear
the voice of God.
--George Santayana (1863—1952)
Spanish-born philosopher and critic.
"The Alleged Catholic Danger" in _The New Republic_ [15 January 1916].


Religion is regarded by the common people as true,
by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful.
--Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.— 65 A.D.)
Roman philosopher and poet.
Attributed in Ira D. Cardiff _What Great Men Think About Religion_ [1945].
Note: This has not been found in Seneca's writings.

It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief.
--George Bernard Shaw (1856—1950)
Irish comic dramatist, literary critic, Socialist propagandist, and winner
of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 [he didn't accept it.]
_Androcles and the Lion_ [1912]

There are thousands of patients on their backs
who would be made better if they were on their
knees instead.
--Fulton John Sheen (1895—1979)
Roman Catholic bishop; the first popular preacher to appear on television.
_Peace of Soul_ [1949]

For in religion as in friendship, they who
profess most are ever the least sincere.
--Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751—1816)
Anglo-Irish dramatist.
_The Duenna_, III, iii [1775]

Without religion the highest endowments of intellect
can only render the possessor more dangerous if he
be ill-disposed; if well-disposed, only more unhappy.
--Robert Southey (1774—1843)
English poet.
_Sir Thomas More, or, Colloquies on the Progress and
Prospects of Society_ [1831], Colloquy XIV, The Library"

It would be almost unbelievable, if history did not
record the tragic fact that men have gone to war and
cut each other's throat because they could not agree
as to what was to become of them after their throats
were cut.
--Walter Parker Stacy (1884—1951)
American jurist.
Quoted in Sam J. Ervin, Jr., _Humor of a Country Lawyer_ [1983].

All religions are founded on the fear of
the many and the cleverness of the few.
--Stendhal [Marie-Henri Beyle] (1783—1842)
French writer.
Attributed in Matthew Josephson _Stendhal, Or the Pursuit of Happiness_ [1946].

The reason we fear to go out after dark is not that
we may be set upon by bands of evangelicals and
forced to read the New Testament, but that we
may be set upon by gangs of feral young people
who have been taught that nothing is superior to
their own needs or feelings.
--David C. Stolinsky,
"American : A Christian Country," in _New Oxford Review_ [July-August 1994].

The rivers of America will run with blood filled to
their banks before we will submit to them taking
the Bible out of our schools.
--Billy Sunday [William Ashley Sunday] (1862—1935)
American evangelist.
At a revival meeting in Pittsburgh, Penn. [1912], as quoted
in George Seldes _The Great Thoughts_ [1985].


We have just enough religion to make us hate,
but not enough to make us love one another.
--Jonathan Swift (1667—1745)
Anglo-Irish poet and satirist.
_Thoughts on Various Subjects_ [1711]

The ruin of a State is generally preceded by an universal
degeneracy of manners and contempt of religion.
--Jonathan Swift (1667—1745)
Anglo-Irish poet and satirist.
Quoted in Samuel Johnson _A Dictionary Of The English Language_ [1756].


I know that a community of God-seekers is a great shelter
for man. But directly this grows into an institution it is
apt to give ready access to the Devil by its back-door.
--Rabindranath Tagore (1861—1941)
Bengali poet, short-story writer, song composer, playwright,
and painter who won the 1913 Nobel Prize for Literature.
_Letters to a Friend_ [1928]

Religion is not necessarily a good thing. It depends;
religion can lead to great good, but it can equally
lead to unspeakable evil and suffering.
--Bishop Desmond Tutu (b. 1931)
South African cleric and winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize.
Quoted in Michael Battle (ed.) _The Wisdom of Desmond
Tutu_ [1998] "The Secular State and Religions".


Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only
Religious Animal. He is the only animal that
has the True Religion — several of them.
He is the only animal that loves his neighbor
as himself and cuts his throat if his theology
isn't straight.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835—1910)
American humorist, novelist, journalist, and river pilot.
Quoted in Bernard DeVoto (ed.)_ Letters from the Earth_ [1962].
(Originally written in 1909.)

I will tell you a pleasant tale which has in it a touch of pathos.
A man got religion, and asked the priest what he must do to be
worthy of his new estate. The priest said, 'Imitate our Father in
Heaven, learn to be like him.' The man studied his Bible diligently
and thoroughly and understandingly, and then with prayers for
heavenly guidance instituted his imitations. He tricked his wife
into falling downstairs, and she broke her back and became a
paralytic for life; he betrayed his brother into the hands of a
sharper, who robbed him of his all and landed him in the
almshouse; he inoculated one son with hookworms, another
with the sleeping sickness, another with gonorrhea; he furnished
one daughter with scarlet fever and ushered her into her teens
deaf, dumb, and blind for life; and after helping a rascal seduce
the remaining one, he closed his doors against her and she died
in a brothel cursing him. Then he reported to the priest, who
said that that was no way to imitate his Father in Heaven. The
convert asked wherein he had failed, but the priest changed the
subject and inquired what kind of weather he was having, up
his way.
--Mark Twain [Samuel Langhorne Clemens] (1835—1910)
American humorist, novelist, journalist, and river pilot.
Quoted in Bernard DeVoto (ed.)_ Letters from the Earth_ [1962].
(Originally written in 1909.)


Jerusalem is the navel of the world, a land which is more fruitful
than any other, a land which is like another paradise of delights.
This is the land which the Redeemer of mankind illuminated by
his coming [...] this Royal city, situated in the middle of the world,
is now held captive by his enemies and is made a servant, by those
who know not God, for the ceremonies of the heathen. It looks and
hopes for freedom; it begs unceasingly that you will come to its aid.
It looks for help from you, especially, because God has bestowed
glory in arms upon you more than on any other nation. Undertake
this journey, therefore, for the remission of your sins, with the
assurance of “glory which cannot fade” in the kingdom of heaven.
--Urban II (c. 1035—1099)
Pope (1088-99).
Speech which started the First Crusade, Clermont, France [18 November 1095].

Catholic baiting is the anti-Semitism of the liberals.
--Peter Viereck (1916—2006)
American poet and historian.
_Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals_, ch. 3 [1953]


(S'il n'y avoit en Angleterre qu'une religion, le
despotisme seroit เ craindre, s'il y en avoit deux,
elles se couperoient la gorge; mais il y en a trente,
et elles vivent en paix heureuses.)

It there were only one religion in England, there
would be a danger of despotism; if there were two,
they would cut each other's throats. But there are
thirty, and they live happily in peace.
--Voltaire (Fran็ois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
_Lettres Philosophiques_, at the end of Letter 6 [1734]

This agglomeration which was called and still calls
itself the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor
Roman, nor an empire in any way.
--Voltaire (Fran็ois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
_Essai sur Ie moeurs et l'esprit des nations_, ch. 70 [1756]

If we were permitted to reason consistently in
religious matters, it is clear that we all ought
to become Jews, because Jesus Christ our
Savior as born a Jew, lived a Jew, died a Jew,
and he said expressly that He was fulfilling
the Jewish religion.
--Voltaire (Fran็ois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
_The Philosophical Dictionary_ [1764] "Tolerance"

The man who says to me, 'Believe as I do, or God
will damn you,' will presently say, 'Believe as I
do, or I shall assassinate you.'
--Voltaire (Fran็ois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
Attributed in Will Durant _The Story of Philosophy_ [1926].

The world embarrasses me, and I cannot dream
that this watch exists and has no watchmaker.
--Voltaire (Fran็ois Marie Arouet) (1694—1778)
French writer and philosopher.
Attributed in Kate Louise Roberts _Hoyt's New Cyclopedia
of Practical Quotations_, p. 148 [1922].


Anytime I see a person fleeing from reason and into
religion, I think to myself, there goes a person who
cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore.
--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922—2007)
American novelist and short-story writer.
_Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage_ [1981], ch. 11 "Religion"

I believe we are descendid from the Puritins,
who nobly fled from a land of depitism to
a land of freedim, where they could not
only enjoy their own religion, but prevent
everybody else from enjoyin his.
--Artemus Ward [Charles Farrar Browne] (1834—1867)
American humorist and writer.
"Intoduction to the Club" a letter to "Punch" [1866]
in _The Works of Artemus Ward_ [1898].

What a queer thing is Christian salvation! Believing
in firemen will not save a burning house; believing
in doctors will not make one well, but believing in
a savior saves men. Fudge!
--Lemuel K. Washburn
American author.
_Is The Bible Worth Reading? and Other Essays_ [1911]

Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality
can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be
conceded to the influence of refined education on minds
of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid
us to expect that national morality can prevail in
exclusion of religious principle.
--George Washington (1732—1799)
American general and commander-in-chief of the
colonial armies in the American Revolution [1775-83]
and first president of the United States [1789-97].
In his Farewell Address [17 September 1796].


Earl Weaver (1930—2013)
American baseball player and manager.

Outfielder and born-again Christian Pat Kelly
once called out to Weaver, 'You've got to walk
with the Lord, Skip!' 'Hell,' replied Weaver, 'I'd
rather you walked with bases loaded.'

--_Bartlett's Book of Anecdotes_
edited by Clifton Fadiman and Andr้ Bernard [2000 ed.]


Educate men without religion, and
you make them but clever devils.
--Duke of Wellington (1769—1852)
British soldier and statesman.
Attributed in Tryon Edwards (using pseud.
Everard Berkeley) _The World's Laconics..._ [1853].

For those who believe in God, no explanation is necessary.
For those who do not believe in God, no explanation is possible.
--Franz Werfel (1890—1945)
German poet, playwright, and novelist.
_Das Lied von Bernadette_ (The Song of Bernadette) [1941]

DEAR SISTER, — I believe the death of your children is
a great instance of the goodness of God towards you. You
have often mentioned to me how much of your time they
took up. Now that time is restored to you, and you have
nothing to do but serve our Lord.
--John Wesley (1703—1791)
English preacher and founder, with his brother Charles,
of the Methodist movement in the Church of England.
Letter to Mrs. Hall (his sister) [17 November 1742], in Adam
Clarke _Memoirs of the Wesley Family_, [2 vols., 1836].

There will shortly be no priests.
I say their work is done.
--Walt Whitman (1819—1892)
American poet.
_Leaves of Grass_ [1855—1892] "By Blue Ontario's Shore" [1856]

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs.
--Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850—1919)
American author and poet.
"The World's Need"

I think one would go crazy if he did not believe in Providence.
It would be a maze without a clue. Unless there was some
supreme guidance we would despair of the results of human
--Woodrow Wilson (1856—1924)
American Democratic statesman and President [1913-21].
Reply to a committee of the National Council of Evangelical
Free Churches, London, England [28 December 1918].


A cult is a religion with no political power.
--Tom Wolfe (b. 1931)
American journalist and novelist.
_In Our Time_ [1980], ch. 2 "Entr'actes and Canapes"

A passage from Tom Wolfe _Hooking Up_ [2000]:

. . . Did any of the America-at-century's-end network
TV specials strike the exuberant note that Queen
Victoria's Diamond Jubilee struck in 1897? All I
remember are voice-overs saying that for better or
worse. . . hmm, hmm . . . McCarthyism, racism,
Vietnam, right-wing militias, Oklahoma City,
Heaven's Gate, Dr. Death. . . on balance, hmm,
we're not entirely sure. . . for better or worse,
America had won the cold war. . . hmm, hmm,
hmm, . . . [Wolfe's ellipsis]

My impression was that one American century rolled
into another with all the pomp and circumstance of
a mouse pad. America's great triumph inspired all
the patriotism and pride (or, if you'd rather,
chauvinism), all the yearning for glory and empire
(or, if you'd rather, the spirit of Manifest Destiny),
all the martial jubilee of a mouse click.

Such was my impression; but it was only that,
my impression. So I drew upon the University of
Michigan's fabled public-opinion survey resources.
They sent me the results of four studies, each
approaching the matter from a different angle.
Chauvinism? The spirit of Manifest Destiny?
According to one survey, 74 percent of Americans
don't want the United States to intervene abroad
unless in cooperation with other nations,
presumably so that we won't get all the blame.
Excitement? Americans have no strong feelings
about their country's supremacy one way or the
other. They are lacking in affect, as the clinical
psychologists say.

There were seers who saw this coming even at the
unabashedly pompous peak (June 22) of England's
1897 Jubilee. One of them was Rudyard Kipling,
the empire's de facto poet laureate, who wrote a
poem for the Jubilee, "Recessional," warning: "Lo,
all our pomp of yesterday/Is one with Nineveh
and Tyre!" He and many others had the uneasy
feeling that the foundations of European civilization
were already shifting beneath their feet, a feeling
indicated by the much used adjectival compound
fin-de-siecle. Literally, of course, it meant nothing
more than "end-of-the-century," but it connoted
something modern, baffling, and troubling in
Europe. Both Nietzsche and Marx did their
greatest work seeking to explain the mystery.
Both used the term "decadence."

But if there was decadence, what was decaying?
Religious faith and moral codes that had been
in place since time was, said Nietzsche, who in
1882 made the most famous statement in modern
philosophy — "God is dead" — and three
startlingly accurate predictions for the twentieth
century. He even estimated when they would begin
to come true: about 1915. (1) The faith men formerly
invested in God they would now invest in barbaric
'brotherhoods with the aim of the robbery and
exploitation of the non-brothers.' Their names
turned out, in due course, to be the German Nazis
and the Russian Communists. (2) There would be
'wars such as been never waged on earth.' Their
names turned out to be World War I and World
War II. (3) There no longer would be Truth but,
rather, "truth" in quotation marks, depending upon
which concoction of eternal verities the modern
barbarian found most useful at any given moment.
The result would be universal skepticism, cynicism,
irony, and contempt.World War I began in 1914
and ended in 1918. On cue, as if Nietzsche were
still alive to direct the drama, an entirely new
figure, with an entirely new name, arose in Europe:
that embodiment of skepticism, cynacism, irony,
and contempt, the Intellectual.


Piety is sweet to infant minds
--William Wordsworth (1770—1850)
English poet.
"The Excursion" [1814]


Don Juan Ponce was turned over to them [the
Spanish Inquisition] so that his confession could be
heard and he brought back to the Catholic faith ...
He had been involved in great error and heresy —
for example, that there was no purgatory, that the
inquisitors were anti-Christian, that one should not
believe or obey the pope ... This Don Juan was
sentenced to die at the stake ... But our Lord, in His
immeasurable goodness, caused him to see his error
and led him back to the holy Catholic faith. He died
with many tears of remorse over his sins. Indeed,
still at the stake he endeavored to persuade the
others to desist from their errors and to convert
themselves to the holy Catholic faith and to the
Roman Church.

--An account of an auto-da-f้ (act of faith), at Seville, southern
Spain, 24 September, 1559, in M.J. Cohan and John Major (eds.)
_History in Quotations_, p. 363 [2004].
Cohan & Major add:
The Spanish Inquisition, designed to weed out heretics
and suppress their unorthodox beliefs, had been set up,
with papal approval, in the late 15th century and was
very effective in preventing the spread of Protestantism
into the Iberian peninsula. In 1542 Pope Paul III
established the Holy Office at Rome with inquisitorial
powers over all Catholics.


There was a young lady called Alice
Who peed in a Catholic chalice.
The padre agreed
It was done out of need,
And not out of Protestant malice.


A new Barna Research poll [2003] says
that 81% of Americans believe in an afterlife.
Ten percent say there is no afterlife, and 9%
aren't sure.

Seventy-nine percent believe, "Every person
has a soul that will live forever, either in God's
presence or absence." Evangelicals, born again
Christians, and those 58 and older are the most
likely segments to embrace life after death; least
likely are Hispanics, Busters (ages 20-38),
atheists, agnostics, those associated with a faith
other than Christianity, unchurched adults, and
residents of the West.

Seventy-six percent of Americans believe in
heaven; 71% believe in hell. Forty-three percent
believe they will go to heaven because they have
"confessed their sins and accepted Jesus Christ
as their savior." Fifteen percent feel they will get
to heaven because "they have tried to obey the
10 Commandments" or "they are basically a
good person," while 6% believe they'll get there
because "God loves all people and will not let
them perish."

Five percent claim they will come back as another
life form, while 5% believe their life will just

--Barna Research Group [21 October 2003]


And Jesus said unto them, "And whom do you say that I am?"
They replied, "You are the eschatological manifestation of the
ground of our being, the ontological foundation of the context
of our very selfhood revealed."
And Jesus replied, "What?"


Remember this as long as you live: Whenever you meet
up with anyone who is trying to cause trouble between
people — anyone who tries to tell you that a man can't
be a good citizen because of his religious beliefs — you
can be sure that troublemaker is a rotten citzen himself
and an inhuman being. Don't ever forget that!
--Superman, "Unity House", Superman radio program [1946]


Elaine: Oh. So, you're pretty religious?
David: That's right.
Elaine: So is it a problem that I'm not really religious?
David: Not for me.
Elaine: Why not?
David: I'm not the one going to hell.
--dialogue, 'The Burning', "Seinfeld"

If God lived on earth, people would break his windows.
--Jewish Proverb


Missionary: A man chosen to give ferocious
cannibals their first taste of religion.

Missionary: A man who teaches cannibals
to say grace before they eat him.


It's hard to be religious when certain people
are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.
(A comic strip character in Bill Watterson's _Attack of the
Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons_ [1992].)


Episcopalian priest to Presbyterian minister at
ecumenical dinner: "After all, we are both doing
the Lord's work — you in your way, and I in His".

"A philosopher," said the theologian, "is like a blind
man in a darkened room looking for a black cat that
isn't there." "That's right," the philosopher replied,
"and if he were a theologian, he'd find it."


(BATTERED SOUL comes in, supported by
two angels)

GOD: In my name, what happened to you? Did
you run into a comet on your way up?

BATTERED SOUL: No, Lord. I'm a pacifist.

GOD: A what?

BATTERED SOUL: A pacifist. I believe in Jesus
and peace.

GOD: So you are a Christian?

BATTERED SOUL: O, no. I really do believe in

--C. E. S. Wood (1852—1944)
American author, civil libertarian, and soldier.
"A Pacifist Enters Heaven--In Bits," from _Heavenly Discourse_ [1927]


Talk about wearing your faith on your sleeve. According to the
Dallas Morning News, some people are making faith into a fashion
statement, as they sport T-shirts with slogans ranging from the
earnest ("Jesus Is My Homeboy") to the ethnic ("Meshuggenah") to
the provocative ("Jesus paid for our sins, now let's get our money's
worth"). Even American Muslims, the paper reports, are getting in
on the T-shirt act, with one hot-seller reading: "My beard causes
national security alerts, what does yours do?"
--WSJ [30 July 2004]


apocrypha [uh-POK-ruh-fuh], noun:
1. Various religious writings of uncertain origin regarded
by some as inspired, but rejected by most authorities.
2. A group of 14 books, not considered canonical, included
in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as part of the Old Testament,
but usually omitted from Protestant editions of the Bible.

apostasy (noun) [๊-'pahs-t๊-see]
Renouncing faith in a cause; defecting; more
broadly, rejecting the principles of a cause.

ascetic (noun) [๊-'se-tik]
Someone who, for spiritual reasons, rejects material
comforts in favor of an austere life of abstinence
and self-denial, usually as a hermit.

discalced (adj.)
Barefoot or wearing sandals. Used of certain religious orders.
Synonyms: unshod, discalceate

eremite [ER-uh-myt], noun:
A hermit, especially a religious recluse.
Syn: lonely, solitary, desolate.

hagiography (noun) [hey-gi-'ah-gr๊-fi]
A biography or other description of the
life of a saint, usually intended as an
example for others.

proselytize [PROS-uh-luh-tyz], intransitive verb:
1. To induce someone to convert to one's religious faith.
2. To induce someone to join one's institution, cause, or political party.
3. To convert to some religion, system, opinion, or the like.

revere (verb) [ r๊-'veer]
To venerate, to hold in deep, religious respect.

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