Baron d'Holbach

From Wikiquote
Jump to navigation Jump to search
All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.

Baron d'Holbach, Paul-Henri Thiry (8 December 1723 – 21 January 1789) was a French author, philosopher and encyclopedist. He was born Paul Heinrich Dietrich in Edesheim, Germany. He is most famous as being one of the first self-described atheists in Europe.


  • We are all just cogs in a machine, doing what we were always meant to do, with no actual volition.
  • It is thus superstition infatuates man from his infancy, fills him with vanity, and enslaves him with fanaticism.
  • If the ignorance of nature gave birth to such a variety of gods, the knowledge of this nature is calculated to destroy them.
  • When we examine the opinions of men, we find that nothing is more uncommon, than common sense; or, in other words, they lack judgment to discover plain truths, or to reject absurdities, and palpable contradictions.
    • Good Sense without God, or, Freethoughts Opposed to Supernatural Ideas (London: W. Stewart & Co., ca. 1900) (Project Gutenberg e-text), preface
    • Translator unknown. Original publication in French at Amsterdam, 1772, as Le bon sens ("Common Sense"), and often attributed to John Meslier.
  • Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under diverse names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty.
    • ibid., preface
  • All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.
    • ibid., chap. 30
  • Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of Religion, that we shall discover Truth, Reason, and Morality. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from the remedies which nature prescribes; far from curing, it only aggravates, multiplies, and perpetuates them.
    • ibid., chap. 206
  • Suns are extinguished or become corrupted, planets perish and scatter across the wastes of the sky; other suns are kindled, new planets formed to make their revolutions or describe new orbits, and man, an infinitely minute part of a globe which itself is only an imperceptible point in the immense whole, believes that the universe is made for himself.
    •  La Système de la nature; quoted by Norman Hampson, The Enlightenment p. 220 (paperback edition)
  • Now, if the ignorance of nature gave birth to Gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.
    • La Système de la nature; quoted in The Law of Reason, published by J. Thompson, p. 40.
  • Everything that passes in the world, proves to us, in the clearest manner, that it is not governed by an intelligent being.
    • Good Sense, or Natural Ideas vs. Supernatural
  • The universe can be only what it is; all sensible being there enjoy and suffer, that is, are moved sometimes in an agreeable, and sometimes in a disagreeable manner. these effects are necessary; they result necessarily from causes, which act only according to their properties.
    • Good Sense, or Natural Ideas vs. Supernatural
  • To wonder at the order of nature, is to wonder that any thing can exist; it is to be surprised at one's own existence.
    • Good Sense, or Natural Ideas vs. Supernatural
  • There is a science that has for its object only things incomprehensible. Contrary to all other sciences, it treats only of what cannot fall under our senses, Hobbes calls it the kingdom of darkness. It is a country, where every thing is governed by laws, contrary to those which mankind are permitted to know in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region, light is only darkness; evidence is doubtful or false; impossibilities are credible: reason is a deceitful guide; and good sense becomes madness. This science is called Theology, and this theology is a continual insult to this reason of man.
    • Good Sense, or Natural Ideas vs. Supernatural
  • The worshipers of God find, above all in the order of the universe, an invincible proof of this existence of an intelligent and wise being, who governs it. But this order is nothing but a series of movements necessarily produced by causes or circumstances, which are sometimes favourable, and sometimes hurtful to us: we approve of some, and complain of others.
    • Good Sense, or Natural Ideas vs. Supernatural

Quotes about d'Holbach[edit]

  • Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one. What is most repellent in the System of Nature — after the recipe for making eels from flour — is the audacity with which it decides that there is no God, without even having tried to prove the impossibility. If God did not exist, he would have to be invented. But all nature cries aloud that he does exist: that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.
    • Voltaire, in his Letter to Prince Frederick William of Prussia (28 November 1770)
  • It is very strange that men should deny a Creator and yet attribute to themselves the power of creating eels.

External links[edit]

Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: