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Quotes About Freethought

Quotes tagged as "freethought" (showing 1-28 of 28)
Immanuel Kant
“As nature has uncovered from under this hard shell the seed for which she most tenderly cares - the propensity and vocation to free thinking - this gradually works back upon the character of the people, who thereby gradually become capable of managing freedom; finally, it affects the principles of government, which finds it to its advantage to treat men, who are now more than machines, in accordance with their dignity.”
Immanuel Kant, An Answer to the Question: What Is Enlightenment?

Christopher Hitchens
“If you want to stay in for the long haul, and lead a life that is free from illusions either propagated by you or embraced by you, then I suggest you learn to recognize and avoid the symptoms of the zealot and the person who knows he is right. For the dissenter, the skeptical mentality is at least as important as any armor of principle.”
Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Christopher Hitchens
“In an average day, you may well be confronted with some species of bullying or bigotry, or some ill-phrased appeal to the general will, or some petty abuse of authority. If you have a political loyalty, you may be offered a shady reason for agreeing to a lie or a half-truth that serves some short-term purpose. Everybody devises tactics for getting through such moments; try behaving "as if" they need not be tolerated and are not inevitable.”
Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

H.L. Mencken
“The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental activity of such people is only a mouthing of cliches. What they mistake for thought is simply a repetition of what they have heard. My guess is that well over 80 percent of the human race goes through life without having a single original thought.”
H.L. Mencken

Christopher Hitchens
“People know when they are being lied to, they know when their rulers are absurd, they know they do not love their chains.”
Christopher Hitchens, Letters to a Young Contrarian

Bruce Springsteen
“I leave pansies, the symbolic flower of freethought, in memory of the Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, who stood for equality, education, progress, free ideas and free lives, against the superstition and bigotry of religious dogma. We need men like him today more than ever. His writing still inspires us and challenges the 'better angels' of our nature, when people open their hearts and minds to his simple, honest humanity. Thank goodness he was here.”
Bruce Springsteen

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Nearly all people stand in great horror of annihilation, and yet to give up your individuality is to annihilate yourself. Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul. In this sense, every church is a cemetery and every creed an epitaph.”
Robert G. Ingersoll

David Eller
“Both freethought and anthropology are symptoms of the same underlying condition - the relative condition, the condition of difference.”
David Eller

“The humanitarian philosophies that have been developed (sometimes under some religious banner and invariably in the face of religious opposition) are human inventions, as the name implies - and our species deserves the credit. I am a devout atheist - nothing else makes any sense to me and I must admit to being bewildered by those, who in the face of what appears so obvious, still believe in a mystical creator. However I can see that the promise of infinite immortality is a more palatable proposition than the absolute certainty of finite mortality which those of us who are subject to free thought (as opposed to free will) have to look forward to and many may not have the strength of character to accept it.

Thus I am a supporter of Amnesty International, a humanist and an atheist. I believe in a secular, democratic society in which women and men have total equality, and individuals can pursue their lives as they wish, free of constraints - religious or otherwise. I feel that the difficult ethical and social problems which invariably arise must be solved, as best they can, by discussion and am opposed to the crude simplistic application of dogmatic rules invented in past millennia and ascribed to a plethora of mystical creators - or the latest invention; a single creator masquerading under a plethora of pseudonyms. Organisations which seek political influence by co-ordinated effort disturb me and thus I believe religious and related pressure groups which operate in this way are acting antidemocratically and should play no part in politics. I also have problems with those who preach racist and related ideologies which seem almost indistinguishable from nationalism, patriotism and religious conviction.”
Harry Kroto

Henry David Thoreau
“Your church is a baby-house made of blocks.”
Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience

Adebowale Ojowuro
“The terrible error in the course of human civilization is undoubtedly the defective judgment that allowed religious authorities usurp the foundation of societal morality, in which all collective ethics of humankind must take a cause. This appalling blunder is comparable only to assigning the leper exclusive franchise to run beauty clinics in the society; this can only lead to cycles upon cycles of common infection syndrome.”
Adebowale Ojowuro, Echoes of Common Sense

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Notwithstanding the fact that infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the fearless advocates of liberty and justice, we are constantly charged by the church with tearing down without building again. The church should by this time know that it is utterly impossible to rob men of their opinions. The history of religious persecution fully establishes the fact that the mind necessarily resists and defies every attempt to control it by violence. The mind necessarily clings to old ideas until prepared for the new. The moment we comprehend the truth, all erroneous ideas are of necessity cast aside.

A surgeon once called upon a poor cripple and kindly offered to render him any assistance in his power. The surgeon began to discourse very learnedly upon the nature and origin of disease; of the curative properties of certain medicines; of the advantages of exercise, air and light, and of the various ways in which health and strength could be restored. These remarks ware so full of good sense, and discovered so much profound thought and accurate knowledge, that the cripple, becoming thoroughly alarmed, cried out, 'Do not, I pray you, take away my crutches. They are my only support, and without them I should be miserable indeed!' 'I am not going,' said the surgeon, 'to take away your crutches. I am going to cure you, and then you will throw the crutches away yourself.'

For the vagaries of the clouds the infidels propose to substitute the realities of earth; for superstition, the splendid demonstrations and achievements of science; and for theological tyranny, the chainless liberty of thought.”
Robert G. Ingersoll

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

“Indictment for blasphemy:

That ... the prisoner had repeatedly maintained, in conversation, that theology was a rhapsody of ill-invented nonsense, patched up partly of the moral doctrines of philosophers, and partly of poetical fictions and extravagant chimeras: That he ridiculed the holy scriptures, calling the Old Testament Ezra's fables, in profane allusion to Esop's Fables; That he railed on Christ, saying, he had learned magick in Egypt, which enabled him to perform those pranks which were called miracles: That he called the New Testament the history of the imposter Christ; That he said Moses was the better artist and the better politician; and he preferred Muhammad to Christ: That the Holy Scriptures were stuffed with such madness, nonsense, and contradictions, that he admired the stupidity of the world in being so long deluded by them: That he rejected the mystery of the Trinity as unworthy of refutation; and scoffed at the incarnation of Christ.”
Thomas Aikenhead

“Far from being marginalized, as is presently the case, nineteenth-century freethought was a social movement at the core of our national life.”
Fred Whitehead, Free-Thought on the American Frontier

Euripides
“Who dares not speak his free thought is a slave.”
Euripides, The Phoenician Women

Thomas Henry Huxley
“I do not think anyone can read the letters which passed between Clarke and [Anthony] Collins without admitting that Collins, who writes with wonderful Power and closeness of reasoning, has by far the best of the argument, so far as the possible materiality of the soul goes; and that in this battle the Goliath of Freethinking overcame the champion of what was considered orthodoxy.”
Thomas Henry Huxley

Thomas Jefferson
“[n regard to Jesus believing himself inspired]
This belief carried no more personal imputation than the belief of Socrates that he was under the care and admonition of a guardian demon. And how many of our wisest men still believe in the reality of these inspirations while perfectly sane on all other subjects (Works, Vol. iv, p. 327).”
Thomas Jefferson

“[The Truth Seeker is] Devoted to: science, morals, free thought, free discussions, liberalism, sexual equality, labor reform, progression, free education and whatever tends to elevate and emancipate the human race.

Opposed to: priestcraft, ecclesiasticism, dogmas, creeds, false theology, superstition, bigotry, ignorance, monopolies, aristocracies, privileged classes, tyranny, oppression, and everything that degrades or burdens mankind mentally or physically.”
De Robigne Mortimer Bennett, Truth Seeker Tracts Upon a Variety of Subjects, by Different Authors

Luther Burbank
Euripides long ago said, 'who dares not speak his free thought is a slave.' I nominated myself as an 'infidel' as a challenge to thought for those who are asleep.”
Luther Burbank

J. M. Robertson
“It was about that time [415 BCE] that the poet Diagoras of Melos was proscribed for atheism, he having declared that the non-punishment of a certain act of iniquity proved that there were no gods. It has been surmised, with some reason, that the iniquity in question was the slaughter of the Melians by the Athenians in 416 BCE, and the Athenian resentment in that case was personal and political rather than religious. For some time after 415 the Athenian courts made strenuous efforts to punish every discoverable case of impiety; and parodies of the Eleusinian mysteries were alleged against Alcibiades and others. Diagoras, who was further charged with divulging the Eleusinian and other mysteries, and with making firewood of an image of Herakles, telling the god thus to perform his thirteenth labour by cooking turnips, became thenceforth one of the proverbial atheists of the ancient world, and a reward of a silver talent was offered for killing him, and of two talents for his capture alive; despite which he seems to have escaped.”
J. M. Robertson, A Short History of Freethought: Ancient and Modern

Thomas Jefferson
“It is not to be understood that I am with him [Jesus] in all his doctrines. I am a Materialist; he takes the side of Spiritualism; he preaches the efficacy of repentance toward forgiveness of sin; I require a counterpoise of good works to redeem it. Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others, again, of so much ignorance, of so much absurdity, so much untruth and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being (Letter to William Short, Monticello, 13 April 1820).”
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
“If we could believe that he [Jesus] really countenanced the follies, the falsehoods, and the charlatanism which his biographers [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John,] father on him, and admit the misconstructions, interpolations, and theorizations of the fathers of the early, and the fanatics of the latter ages, the conclusion would be irresistible by every sound mind that he was an impostor (Works, Vol. iv, p. 325).”
Thomas Jefferson, Works of Thomas Jefferson. Including The Jefferson Bible, Autobiography and The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Illustrated), with Notes on Virginia, Parliamentary ... more.

Thomas Jefferson
“[Letter to John Adams]
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter (Works, Vol. iv, p. 365).”
Thomas Jefferson, Works of Thomas Jefferson. Including The Jefferson Bible, Autobiography and The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (Illustrated), with Notes on Virginia, Parliamentary ... more.

Thomas Jefferson
“Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch toward uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one-half the world fools and the other half hypocrites.”
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia

Thomas Jefferson
“[Thoughts on the theology of the Christian Trinity]
The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God, like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs (Works, Vol. iv., p. 360).”
Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
“Read the Bible as you would Livy or Tacitus. For example, in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still for several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of their statues, beasts, etc. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine, therefore, candidly, what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand, you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature (Works, Vol. ii., p. 217).”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson
“I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition [Christianity] one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies (Letter to Dr. Woods).”
Thomas Jefferson

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