Religious infidelity

From Wikiquote
(Redirected from Infidel)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel. ~ Thomas Jefferson

Religious infidelity (Latin īnfidēlis, from in- "not" + fidēlis "faithful") is the condition of lacking religious beliefs, or of doubting or rejecting the central tenets of a particular religion.


  • We took the liberty to make some enquiries concerning the ground of their pretentions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury, and observed that we considered all mankind as our friends who had done us no wrong, nor had given us any provocation... The Ambassador answered us that it was founded on the laws of their Prophet; that it was written in their Koran; that all nations who should not have acknowledged their authority were sinners; that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners; and that every Mussulman who was slain in battle was sure to go to Paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once. That it was a law that the first who boarded an Enemy’s Vessell should have one slave.
  • INFIDEL, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.
    • Ambrose Bierce, The Cynic's Dictionary (1906); republished as The Devil's Dictionary (1911).
  • There is but one thing without honour; smitten with eternal barrenness, inability to do or to be: Insincerity, Unbelief.
  • He ridiculed the absurdity of refusing to believe every thing that you could not understand; and mentioned a rebuke of Dr. Parr's to a man of the name of Frith, and that of another clergyman to a young man, who said he would believe nothing which he could not understand:--'Then, young man, your creed will be the shortest of any man's I know.'
  • Monotheism has manufactured a number of hate-filled words - infidel, kãfir, unbeliever, munkir, mushrik, heathen, heretic, hypocrite, polytheist, pantheist, pagan - which raise unbreakable barriers between brother and brother, and which divide the one human family into a number of warring camps.
    • S.R. Goel, Defence of Hindu Society (1983)
  • Infidelity and faith look both through the perspective glass, but at contrary ends. Infidelity looks through the wrong end of the glass; and, therefore, sees those objects near which are afar off, and makes great things little,—diminishing the greatest spiritual blessings, and removing far from us threatened evils. Faith looks at the right end, and brings the blessings that are far off in time close to our eye, and multiplies God's mercies, which, in a distance, lost their greatness.
    • Bishop Hall Select Thoughts, or Choice Helps for Pious Spirits
  • The religion-builders have so distorted and deformed the doctrines of Jesus, so muffled them in mysticisms, fancies and falsehoods, have caricatured them into forms so monstrous and inconceivable, as to shock reasonable thinkers, to revolt them against the whole, and drive them rashly to pronounce its Founder an impostor. Had there never been a commentator, there never would have been an infidel.
  • No one is so much alone in the universe as a denier of God.
    • Johann Paul Friedrich Richter Flower, Fruit and Thorn Pieces; or, the Married Life, Death and Wedding of Siebenkäs, Poor Man's Lawyer 1796-97 First Flower-Piece
  • Mere negation, mere Epicurean infidelity, as Lord Bacon most justly observes, has never disturbed the peace of the world. It furnishes no motive for action; it inspires no enthusiasm; it has no missionaries, no crusades, no martyrs.

Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895)


Quotes reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).

  • No matter where the skeptical thought originates, or how it gets access to our minds, we see at once that it flattens the level of life and every aspiration. It makes our character less vigorous. The gospel is not simply a philosophy of religion or law of life, but it is an apocalypse, showing the heavens to our thought, and so bringing its spiritual benedictions to every heart and life.
  • Admit their maxims, and the universe returns to a frightful chaos; all things are thrown into disorder upon the earth; all the notions of virtue and vice are overthrown; the most inviolable laws of society are abolished: the discipline of morality is swept away; the government of states and empires ceases to be subject to any rule; the whole harmony of political institutions is dissolved; and the human race becomes an assemblage of madmen, barbarians, cheats, unnatural wretches who have no other laws but force, no other curb than their passions and the dread of authority, no other tie than irreligion and independence, no other gods than themselves.
  • The nurse of infidelity is sensuality. Youth are sensual. The Bible stands in their way. It prohibits the indulgence of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
  • What ardently we wish, we soon believe.
  • There is not a single spot between Christianity and atheism, upon which a man can firmly fix his foot.
  • There is one single fact that one may oppose to all the wit and argument of infidelity; namely, that no man ever repented of being a Christian on his death-bed.
  • The infidelity that springs from the heart is not to be reached by a course of lectures on the evidences of Christianity; argument did not cause, and argument will not remove it.
  • There never yet was a mother who taught her child to be an infidel.
    • Henry W. Shaw (better known by his pen name Josh Billings), p. 349.
  • Is it for the cultivated man, the man of broad and general views, to throw himself without reserve and with all his weight, into what, for aught he yet knows, may be only a cross-current and eddy, instead of the main stream of truth?
  • I know not any crime so great that a man could contrive to commit as poisoning the sources of eternal truth.
  • Freethinkers are generally those that never think at all.
  • Reason is the test of ridicule, not ridicule the test of truth.
  • When you see a mad dog, don't argue with him unless you are sure of your logic.
  • In my judgment, a great mistake has been made by well- meaning and zealous men, through treating error and infidelity with altogether too much respect. I believe that it is safe to say that Christianity is indebted for none of its progress in the world to rational conflicts with infidelity. I do not believe that a single great wrong has ever been overthrown by meeting the advocates of wrong in argument.


Dolin: By and large, colonists viewed the pirates of the 1600s as attacking “infidels” despite the fact that the East India Company and the Mughal Empire were valuable trading partners. Colonial governors and elites didn’t view it as a sin to rob non-Christians halfway around the world. The colonists could psychologically disassociate themselves with the victims. The sense I got in reading contemporary documents was that the attitude didn’t necessarily arise out of a fear of Islam. It was more of not giving a second thought about those people. They didn’t feel bad about taking their money and killing them in the process. I think it’s as simple, base, and vicious as that.

See also

Wikipedia has an article about: