I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?
ALBERT EINSTEIN, Cosmic Religion: With Other Opinions and Aphorisms
I believe in Spinoza's God, Who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.
ALBERT EINSTEIN, telegram response to New York rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, Apr. 24, 1929
Men tend to have the beliefs that suit their passions. Cruel men believe in a cruel God, and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly God, and they would be kindly in any case.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, London Calling, 1947
What a wonderfully small idea mankind has of the Almighty. My impression is that he has made unchangeable laws to govern this and billions of other worlds and that he has forgotten even theexistence of this little mote of ours ages ago.
THOMAS EDISON, diary entry, Jul. 21, 1885
It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being.
MAHATMA GANDHI, Young India, Sep. 24, 1931
The God idea is growing more impersonal and nebulous in proportion as the human mind is learning to understand natural phenomena and in the degree that science progressively correlates human and social events.
EMMA GOLDMAN, "The Philosophy of Atheism," Mother Jones, Feb. 1916
For any one who is pervaded with the sense of causal law in all that happens, who accepts in real earnest the assumption of causality, the idea of a Being who interferes with the sequence of events in the world is absolutely impossible. Neither the religion of fear nor the social-moral religion can have any hold on him.
ALBERT EINSTEIN, attributed, Has Science Discovered God?: A Symposium of Modern Scientific Opinion (Cotton, 1931)
If, then, God is always in that good state in which we sometimes are, this compels our wonder; and if in a better this compels it yet more. And God is in a better state. And life also belongs to God; for the actuality of thought is life, and God is that actuality; and God's self-dependent actuality is life most good and eternal.
I think he is condemned by himself to loneliness. God is One: he was, he is, he will be always One. One is so lonely. Maybe that is why he created human beings--to feel less lonely. But as human beings betray his creation, he may become even lonelier.
ELIE WIESEL, Random House interview
Except during my childhood, when I was probably influenced by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel depiction of God with a flowing white beard, I have never tried to project the Creator in any kind of human likeness. The vociferous debates about whether God is male or female seem ridiculous to me. I think of God as an omnipotent and omniscient presence, a spirit that permeates the universe, the essence of truth, nature, being, and life. To me, these are profound and indescribable concepts that seem to be trivialized when expressed in words.
JIMMY CARTER, Living Faith
Perhaps we invented the gods so that we could put the blame on them. They gave us permission to eat flesh. They gave us permission to play with unclean things. It's not our fault, it's theirs. We're just their children.
J. M. COETZEE, Elizabeth Costello
Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague conclusions to which I have been driven. The old argument from design in Nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.
CHARLES DARWIN, The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin
- I think, Some shrewd man first, a man in judgment wise,
- Found for mortals the fear of gods,
- Thereby to frighten the wicked should they
- Even act or speak or scheme in secret.
EURIPIDES, Sisyphus (fragment)
I rarely speak about God. To God yes. I protest against Him. I shout at Him. But open discourse about the qualities of God, about the problems that God imposes, theodicy, no. And yet He is there, in silence, in filigree.
ELIE WIESEL, The Paris Review, spring 1984
God, whom the wisest men acknowledge to be a power uneffable, and virtue infinite; a light by abundant clarity invisible; an understanding which itself can only comprehend; an essence eternal and spiritual, of absolute pureness and simplicity; was and is pleased to make himself known by the work of the world: in the wonderful magnitude whereof, (all which he embraceth, filleth, and sustaineth,) we behold the image of that glory which cannot be measured, and withal, that one, and yet universal nature which cannot be defined. In the glorious lights of heaven we perceive a shadow of his divine countenance.
SIR WALTER RALEIGH, The First Part of the History of the World: Intreating of the Beginning and First Ages of the Same, from the Creation unto Abraham
I am circling around God, around the ancient tower, and I have been circling for a thousand years, and I still don't know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song.
RAINER MARIA RILKE, The Book of Hours
I know that what you call 'God' really exists, but not in the form you think; God is primal cosmic energy, the love in your body, your integrity, and your perception of the nature in you and outside of you.
WILHELM REICH, Listen, Little Man!
Each man creates god in his own image.
MORDECAI RICHLER, Son of a Smaller Hero
I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me, "Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian beaver cheese is equally valid"-then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.
DOUGLAS ADAMS, American Atheist Magazine, winter 1998-1999
The gods, my dear simple fellow, are a mere expression coined by vulgar superstition. We frown upon such coinage here.
God, that checkroom of our dreams.
JEAN ROSTAND, The Substance of Man
I can't bring myself to believe in a God with a personality like my own. I base that on the paucity of lightning attacks on people who deserve it.
SCOTT ADAMS, Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!
The true guide of our conduct is no outward authority, but the voice of God, who comes down to dwell in our souls, who knows all our thoughts, to whom are owing all the truth we know, and all the good we do; for vice is voluntary, and virtue comes from the grace of the heavenly spirit within.
LORD ACTON, The History of Freedom in Antiquity
The name of God should no longer come from the mouth of man. This word that has so long been degraded by usage no longer means anything.... To use the word God is more than sloth, it is a refusal to think, a king of short cut, a hideous shorthand.
ARTHUR ADAMOV, The Confession
No god save self, that is the way to live ...
They say that God is watching everyone all the time, so he'd always get to see his jokes play out. If so, he's laughing his butt off, assuming God has a butt, which is unlikely, since butts are also an obvious practical joke.
SCOTT ADAMS, Stick to Drawing Comics, Monkey Brain!
I appreciate the idea of allowing people to have their own private walk with God. To me, God is about love, not condemnation.
CLAY AIKEN, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life
My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you will feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of lifelong peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother.
LOUISA MAY ALCOTT, Little Women
Man from his own existence knows the existence of a Creator; from his own attributes, he knows the attributes of his maker; from the control which he has over his own kingdom, he knows the control that God exercises over all the world.
MUHAMMAD AL-GHAZALI, The Alchemy of Happiness
Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man?
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, Twilight of the Idols
No actual tyrant known to history has ever been guilty of one-hundredth of the crimes, massacres, and other atrocities attributed to the Deity in the Bible.
STEVE ALLEN, More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, & Morality
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.
RICHARD DAWKINS, attributed, The Root of All Evil
There is not the slightest question but that the God of the Old Testament is a jealous, vengeful God, inflicting not only on the sinful pagans but even on his Chosen People fire, lighting, hideous plagues and diseases, brimstone, and other curses.
STEVE ALLEN, Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality
I'm trying to get far away from [picturing God as] Gandalf or Santa Claus.
WM. PAUL YOUNG, "The Love Shack", Christianity Today, Mar. 4, 2013
The Divinity is so great, and of such a character, that He both sees and hears all things, is omnipotent, and attends to all things at once.
XENOPHON, attributed, Day's Collacon
Everything was God, holy; as God is total, so the driftwood branch was holy. This must be the stuff religion is made of.
GEORGE LEONARD, The Silent Pulse
God's voice was not in the earthquake,
Not in the fire, nor the storm, but it was in the whispering breezes.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW, "The Children of the Lord's Supper"
People, especially young people, don't have enough God in their lives.
PRINCE, "Inside Prince's bizarre life at Paisley Park: This is what happened when we visited the music icon", The Mirror, April 21, 2016
Try to comprehend the unity of all; there is one God, and all are one in Him. If we can but bring home to ourselves the unity of that Eternal Love, there will be no more sorrow for us; for we shall realize, not for ourselves alone but for those whom we love, that whether we live or die, we are the Lord's, and that in Him we live and move and have our being, whether it be in this world or in the world to come.
C. W. LEADBEATER, The Science of the Sacraments