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The highest praise of God consists in the denial of him by the athiest who finds creation so perfect that it can dispense with a creator.

MARCEL PROUST, The Guermantes Way

I've come to understand that the best one can hope for as a human is to have a relationship with that emptiness where God would be if God were available, but God isn't.

ANNE CARSON, The Paris Review, fall 2004

The God to whom depth in philosophy brings back men's minds is far from being the same from whom a little philosophy estranges them.

GEORGE SANTAYANA, The Life of Reason

All gods dispense suffering without reason. Otherwise they would not be worshipped. Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stones for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood.

ZORA NEALE HURSTON, Their Eyes Were Watching God

God: a disease we imagine we are cured of because no one dies of it nowadays.

EMIL CIORAN, The Trouble with Being Born

God was not to him the impassive Creator, a Nero from his tower of brass watching the burning of the City to which he himself has set fire. God was fighting. God was suffering. Fighting and suffering with all who fight and for all who suffer. For God was Life, the drop of light fallen into the darkness, spreading out, reaching out, drinking up the night. But the night is limitless, and the Divine struggle will never cease.

ROMAIN ROLLAND, Jean-Christophe

Gods must be seen to be omnipotent, or the sky will fall.

K. J. PARKER, Devices and Desires

I ask no truer image of my Heavenly Father than I find reflected in my own heart -- all loving, all forgiving.

HOSEA BALLOU, Treasury of Thought

Those who know God know that it is quite a mistake to suppose that there are only five senses.

COVENTRY PATMORE, The Rod, the Root, and the Flower

All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.


God is to be believed in so far as he speaks of his gun.

ANNE CARSON, Decreation

God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention.

MARK TWAIN, letter to Orion Clemens, Mar. 23, 1878

Gods always behave like the people who make them.


The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter. You know, if it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. I think that the worst you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever.

WOODY ALLEN, Love and Death

If you think God’s there, He is. If you don’t, He isn’t. And if that’s what God’s like, I wouldn’t worry about it.

HARUKI MURAKAMI, Kafka on the Shore

God appears and god is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.

WILLIAM BLAKE, Auguries of Innocence

These are thy glorious works Parent of Good,
Almighty, thine this universal Frame,
Thus wondrous fair; thy self how wondrous then!
Unspeakable, who sitst above these Heavens
To us invisible or dimly seen
In these thy lowest works, yet these declare
Thy goodness beyond thought, and Power Divine:
Speak ye who best can tell, ye Sons of light,
Angels, for ye behold him, and with songs
And choral symphonies, Day without Night,
Circle his Throne rejoicing, ye in Heav'n,
On Earth join all ye Creatures to extoll
Him first, him last, him midst, and without end.

JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

God may be distinguished, but not divided from the World. World without God were an effect without a cause; but God without World were a cause without an effect.

RICHARD GARNETT, De Flagello Myrtes

The promises of God are samples of what is promised; as a handful of wheat is of the barn.

COVENTRY PATMORE, The Rod, the Root, and the Flower

The man who counts on the aid of a god deserves the help he doesn't get.

GLEN COOK, Dreams of Steel

It should not be so hard to believe in God, for man himself is scarcely less wonderful.

FRANK CRANE, "The Part of Me That Doubts," Four Minute Essays

The ethical is the universal, and as such it is again the divine. One has therefore a right to say that fundamentally every duty is a duty toward God; but if one cannot say more, then one affirms at the same time that properly I have no duty toward God. Duty becomes duty by being referred to God, but in duty itself I do not come into relation with God. Thus it is a duty to love one's neighbor, but in performing this duty I do not come into relation with God but with the neighbor whom I love. If I say then in this connection that it is my duty to love God, I am really uttering only a tautology, inasmuch as "God" is in this instance used in an entirely abstract sense as the divine, i.e. the universal, i.e. duty. So the whole existence of the human race is rounded off completely like a sphere, and the ethical is at once its limit and its content. God becomes an invisible vanishing point, a powerless thought, His power being only in the ethical which is the content of existence.

SOREN KIERKEGAARD, Fear and Trembling

We recognize the action of God in great things: we exclude it in small. We forget that the Lord of eternity is also the Lord of the hour.

MADAME SWETCHINE, "Thoughts," The Writings of Madame Swetchine

Whether or not they exist, we're slaves to the gods.

FERNANDO PESSOA, The Book of Disquiet

The best notion we can conceive of God, may be, that he is to the creation what the soul is to the body.

WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Essays on Men and Manners

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

ROBERT A. HEINLEIN, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long

The rash assertion that 'God made man in His own image' is ticking like a time bomb at the foundation of many faiths, and as the hierarchy of the universe is disclosed to us, we may have to recognize this chilling truth: if there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods.

ARTHUR C. CLARKE, "Space and the Spirit of Man"

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.

ALBERT EINSTEIN, letter to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sep. 28, 1949

I love God's shadow better than man's light.

MADAME SWETCHINE, "Thoughts," The Writings of Madame Swetchine

The gods of men are sillier than their kings and queens, and emptier and more powerless.

MAXWELL ANDERSON, Elizabeth the Queen

Whatever is in motion must be put in motion by another. If that by which it is put in motion be itself put in motion, then this also must needs be put in motion by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and, consequently, no other mover; seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are put in motion by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is put in motion by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.

THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica

To say that the Great Companion is dead, is not to say that there is no God. The dead also live; but between them and ourselves all communion and companionship seem to most of us impossible. So to many in our own time, to many without the Church, to some within it, living companionship with a living God is an experience unknown. They believe in what Carlyle calls a "hypothetical God," but he is to them only a hypothesis. They look back through the ages for some evidence of a God who revealed himself centuries ago; they look forward with anticipation to a God who will reveal himself in some future ephiphany; but of a God here and now, a God who is a perpetual presence, a God whom they can see as Abraham saw him, with whom they can talk as Moses talked with him, who will inspire them with courage as he inspired Gideon, with hope as he inspired Isaiah, and with praise as he inspired David, they do not know.

LYMAN ABBOTT, The Great Companion

Another possible objection is this. Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream?

C. S. LEWIS, Mere Christianity

The confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and trust be right, then is your god also true; and, on the other hand, if your trust be false and wrong, then you have not the true God; for these two belong together faith and God. That now, I say, upon which you set your heart and put your trust is properly your god.

MARTIN LUTHER, Large Catechism

God does not accept me conditionally, on the basis of my performance, but bestows his love and forgiveness freely, despite my innumerable failures.

PHILIP YANCEY, Reaching for the Invisible God: What Can We Expect to Find?

If the ox could think, it would attribute oxality to God.

XENOCRATES, attributed, Personality: The Beginning and End of Metaphysics

God, to conceive him, intellect design'd;
At last, her Maker see, 'neath nature's vest!
A voice in silence whispers to the mind--
Who hath not heard that voice within his breast?

ALPHONSE DE LAMARTINE, "The Valley", Poetical Meditations

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