Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because if there be one he must approve of the homage of reason more than that of blindfolded fear.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
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… Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”- Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason, 1794-1795.)
“Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error
all over the earth.” – Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782; from George Seldes, ed., The Great Quotations, Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1983, p. 363.)
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.” – James Madison (Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments, 1785.)
“The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.” – James Madison (Original wording of the First Amendment; Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789).)
The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?
— John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815
“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
— John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88), from Adrienne Koch, ed, The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society (1965) p. 258, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”
As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?
— John Adams, letter to FA Van der Kamp, December 27, 1816
When philosophic reason is clear and certain by intuition or necessary induction, no subsequent revelation supported by prophecies or miracles can supersede it.
— John Adams, from Rufus K Noyes, Views of Religion, quoted from from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief
But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.
-Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782
I concur with you strictly in your opinion of the comparative merits of atheism and demonism, and really see nothing but the latter in the being worshipped by many who think themselves Christians.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Richard Price, Jan. 8, 1789 (Richard Price had written to TJ on Oct. 26. about the harm done by religion and wrote “Would not Society be better without Such religions? Is Atheism less pernicious than Demonism?”)
I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, March 13, 1789
History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.
-Thomas Jefferson to Alexander von Humboldt, Dec. 6, 1813.
Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
-Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814
If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
— George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789, in Anson Phelps Stokes, Church and State in the United States, Vol 1. p. 495, quoted from Albert J Menendez and Edd Doerr, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom
I am persuaded, you will permit me to observe that the path of true piety is so plain as to require but little political direction. To this consideration we ought to ascribe the absence of any regulation, respecting religion, from the Magna-Charta of our country.
— George Washington, responding to a group of clergymen who complained that the Constitution lacked mention of Jesus Christ, in 1789, Papers, Presidential Series, 4:274, the “Magna-Charta” here refers to the proposed United States Constitution
The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.
— George Washington, letter to the congregation of Touro Synagogue, Newport, Rhode Island, August, 1790, in Anson Phelps Stokes, Church and State in the United States, Vol 1. p. 862
If they are good workmen, they may be of Asia, Africa, or Europe. They may be Mohometans, Jews or Christians of any Sect, or they may be Atheists.
— George Washington, letter to Tench Tilghman asking him to secure a carpenter and a bricklayer for his Mount Vernon estate, March 24, 1784, in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion (1963) p. 118, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”
I had always hoped that this land might become a safe and agreeable Asylum to the virtuous and persecuted part of mankind, to whatever nation they might belong.
— George Washington, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, a Mennonite minister, May 28, 1788, in Paul F Boller, George Washington & Religion (1963) p. 118, quoted from Ed and Michael Buckner, “Quotations that Support the Separation of State and Church”
“Dr. Rush told me (he had it from Asa Green) that when the clergy addressed General Washington, on his departure from the government, it was observed in their consultation that he had never, on any occasion, said a word to the public which showed a belief in the Christian religion, and they thought they should so pen their address as to force him at length to disclose publicly whether he was a Christian or not. However, he observed, the old fox was too cunning for them. He answered every article of their address particularly, except that, which he passed over without notice.”
— Thomas Jefferson, quoted from Jefferson’s Works, Vol. iv., p. 572. (Asa Green “was probably the Reverend Ashbel Green, who was chaplain to congress during Washington’s administration.” — Farrell Till in “The Christian Nation Myth.”)
The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: The Morning Daylight appears plainer when you put out your Candle.
— Benjamin Franklin, the incompatibility of faith and reason, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1758
I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.
— Benjamin Franklin, quoted from Victor J Stenger, Has Science Found God? (2001)
Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
— Benjamin Franklin (attributed: source unknown)
Indeed, when religious people quarrel about religion, or hungry people quarrel about victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them.
— Benjamin Franklin quoted joseph Joseph Lewis, “Benjamin Franklin — Freethinker”
Here are some interesting quotes from
“Who are beneficiaries of the Court’s protection? Members of various minorities including criminals, atheists, homosexuals, flag burners, illegal immigrants (including terrorists), convicts, and pornographers.”
“What’s the Christian-bashing all about? Simple- a struggle for the soul of America is under way, a struggle to determine whose views, values, beliefs and standards will serve as the basis of law.”
“Our culture is superior. Our culture is superior because our religion is Christianity and that is the truth that makes men free.”
“We need to do more than win an election or win the House or win the presidency, my friends: we need to make this beloved country of ours God’s country once again.”
“We’re going to bring back God and the Bible and drive the gods of secular humanism right out of the public schools of America.”
“The Bible is the authoritative Word of God and contains all truth.”
Williams Jennings Bryant:
“All the ills from which America suffers can be traced to the teaching of evolution.”
“If the Bible had said that Jonah swallowed the whale, I would believe it.”
“Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes
“Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.”
“The bible must be seen in a cultural context. It didn’t just happen. These stories are retreads. But, tell a Christian that — No, No! What makes it doubly sad is that they hardly know the book, much less its origins.”
“To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.”
Laws of the Bible:
Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)
Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)
Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)
Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)
Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9) Have you ever done that?
If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10). I wonder if Dr. Laura would like that one to be enforced?
If a man sleeps with his father’s wife… both him and his father’s wife is to be put to death. (Leviticus 20:11)
If a man sleeps with his wife and her mother they are all to be burnt to death. (Leviticus 20:14)
If a man or woman has sex with an animal, both human and animal must be killed. (Leviticus 20:15-16). I guess you should kill the animal since they were willing participants. Are they crazy?
If a man has sex with a woman on her period, they are both to be “cut off from their people” (Leviticus 20:18)
Psychics, wizards, and so on are to be stoned to death. (Leviticus 20:27)
If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)
People who have flat noses, or is blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God (Leviticus 21:17-18)
Anyone who curses or blasphemes God, should be stoned to death by the community. (Leviticus 24:14-16)
Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)