Irreligion or irreligiousness is an umbrella term which, depending on context, may be understood as referring to atheism, agnosticism, deism, skepticism, freethought, secular humanism, or general secularism.
Irreligion has at least three related yet distinct meanings:
- lack of religion (either due to a lack of information about religion or to lack of belief in it)
- hostility to religion
- behaving in such a way that fails to live up to one's religious tenets
- "A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it." ~ Sigmund Freud, Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego (1921).
- "All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete possession of their intellectual powers." ~ Mikhail Bakunin, God and the State (1871).
- "As everybody's god, what will you do?" the doctor demanded.
"You mean immediately?" asked the small god. "I will raise up prophets to make conflicting pronouncements that will inevitably be garbled in transcription, resulting in mutually exclusive definitions of orthodoxy from which the open-minded will flee in dismay …
"… Also, I will be capricious. I'll reward and punish arbitrarily. I'll peek through bedroom windows and admonish what I see there, sometimes one thing, sometimes the opposite. I will have purposes men know nothing of, and when men begin to catch on to them, I will change them. This will convince some of your people that I am unreliable.
"… Occasionally, I will do a conspicuous miracle to save one dying child while a thousand children starve elsewhere. This will convince sensible people I am perverse, and they will curse my name…
"… I will be a sham, but not a snob. I will let every man, woman, or child, no matter how greedy or wicked, claim to have a personal relationship with me. In other words, I will be as arbitrary, inconsistent, ignorant, pushy, and common as humans are, and what more have they ever wanted in a god?
- Sheri S. Tepper, "The Visitor".
- Atheism is a non-prophet organization.
- George Carlin.
- Be comforted that we have each other to depend on! When waters rise and swallow crops, we count on one another to plant those crops again, to rebuild homes, to care for our sick! Some blame God and demand we make sacrifice to Him. If your village was being flooded would you, Erasmus, butcher your daughters like Abraham tried with Isaac, because some priest told you God demanded it? Or would you try to build canals to divert the water, understanding that there is a mechanism to why floods happen and no God has anything to do with it?
- Brian Trent, Remembering Hypatia
- Can you hate something you don't believe in? And yet he called himself a free-thinker. What an impossible paradox, to be free and to be so obsessed.
- Graham Greene, "The Hint of an Explanation" (1948), Twenty-One Stories. London: Heinemann, 1954.
- Christians are generally creepy people as a direct result of the dysfunctional dynamic of worshipping a dead naked hippie.
- "Die Warzau: Engine Tour Shirt", 1995; quoted at Vertical Hold
- Die Irreligiösen sind religiöser als sie selbst wissen, und die Religiösen sind's weniger, als sie meinen.
- Do you know what the definition of a terrorist is? Some defintions say terrorists use violence, but it can also be the threatened use of violence for the purpose of creating fear in order to achieve a religious goal. This is exactly what [evangilists do], they put the fear of God and Hell into nonbelievers. What could be more terroristic than 'Believe this or burn for an eternity,' the answer is nothing.
- Brian Sapient, ABC's Nightline "Atheism vs. Christianity" Debate.
- History does not record anywhere a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help.
- Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
- I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue. ~ Bertrand Russell in book Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects (1957).
- I do not think that the real reason why people accept religion is anything to do with argumentation. They accept religion on emotional grounds. One is often told that it is a very wrong thing to attack religion, because religion makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it.
- Bertrand Russell in speech "Why I Am Not a Christian" (1927).
- I don't care what the priests say. I think we should do as we feel.
- Bernadette "Benny" Hogan, in Circle of Friends (1995).
- I have no religion, and at times I wish all religions at the bottom of the sea. He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap. My people are going to learn the principles of democracy, the dictates of truth and the teachings of science. Superstition must go. Let them worship as they will; every man can follow his own conscience, provided it does not interfere with sane reason or bid him against the liberty of his fellow-men.
- I see little divinity about them or you. You talk to me of Christianity when you are in the act of hanging your enemies. Was there ever such blasphemous nonsense!
- George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple.
- If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and He decides to deliver a message to humanity, He will not use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle.
- Dave Barry, 25 Things I Have Learned in 50 Years.
- Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
- Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason.
- It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.
- Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein
- It is in the uncompromisingness with which dogma is held and not in the dogma, or want of dogma, that the danger lies.
- Samuel Butler, The Way Of All Flesh (1903).
- It's a big question. Getting rid of religion would be a good start, wouldn't it? It seems to be causing a lot of havoc.
- Björk when asked "Given the chance, how would you change the world?"; quoted in Independent, 18 March 2005.
- Maybe you've put your faith in spiritual claptrap because our random, narrative-free universe terrifies you. But that's no solution. If you want comforting, suck your thumb. Buy a pillow. Don't make up a load of floaty blah about energy or destiny. This is the real world, stupid. We should be solving problems, not sticking our fingers in our ears and singing about fairies.
- Man's unfailing capacity to believe what he prefers to be true rather than what the evidence shows to be likely and possible has always astounded me. We long for a caring Universe which will save us from our childish mistakes, and in the face of mountains of evidence to the contrary we will pin all our hopes on the slimmest of doubts. God has not been proven not to exist, therefore he must exist.
- Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, character: Academician Prokhor Zakharov
- Notre Père qui êtes aux cieux
Et nous, nous resterons sur la terre
qui est quelques fois si jolie.
- Translation: Our father which art in Heaven,
And we shall stay on Earth
which is sometimes so pretty.
- Jacques Prévert, Pater Noster
- Translation: Our father which art in Heaven,
- On June 22nd , in the morning, in the great hall of the Convent of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Galileo was found guilty of holding a false doctrine. He went down on his knees and both abjured and condemned his own errors. He swore never to argue such doctrines again. It was thus definitely confirmed that the sun did rotate around the earth... Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. Saint Mary Over Minerva. Power over wisdom.
- John Ralston Saul, "Wisdom", in The Doubter's Companion
- Weyoun: Pagh wraiths, prophets — all this talk of gods strikes me as nothing more than superstitious nonsense.
Damar: You believe the Founders are gods, don't you?
Weyoun: That's different.
Damar: In what way?'
Weyoun: The Founders are gods.
- "Tears of the Prophets", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Religion claims to be in possession of an absolute truth; but its history is a history of errors and heresies. It gives us the promise and prospect of a transcendent world — far beyond the limits of our human experience — and it remains human, all too human.
- Ernest Cassirer, "An Essay on Man".
- Religion IS a force for good when you take out the murder, mass genocide (committed by God as documented in the Bible), religious wars, burning witches at the stake, Ted Haggard, shooting abortion doctors, the Bible's promotion of slavery, pedophile priests, serial killing Christians gone wild, the churches' systematic oppression of women and minorities, aversion to protection against STDs and the spread of AIDS in 3rd world countries, creative and inconsistent interpretation of 'thou shalt not kill', take it all out and religion is a force for good.
- -Brian Sapient, ABC's Nightline "Atheism vs. Christianity" Debate.
- Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psychological necessities. [...] If one attempts to assign to religion its place in man's evolution, it seems not so much to be a lasting acquisition, as a parallel to the neurosis which the civilized individual must pass through on his way from childhood to maturity.
- Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism (1939).
- Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires.
- Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis.
- Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses.
- Arthur C. Clarke, Onion AV Club interview, 18 February 2004.
- Religions die when they are proven to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.
- Oscar Wilde, Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young
- The gods of the Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if that's where they believe, in their deepest heart, that they deserve to go. Which they won't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is so important to shoot missionaries on sight.
- Terry Pratchett, Eric.
- The inhabitants of the earth are of two sorts: Those with brains, but no religion, And those with religion, but no brains.
- The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
- Lazarus Long, in Time Enough for Love by Robert A. Heinlein.
- The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning.
- Voltaire, Dictionnaire Philosophique (1764).
- Quark: There's a Bajoran convention on the station I didn't know about? Thanks, Odo. I need to call in more dabo girls.
Odo: It's not a convention. They're from an orthodox spiritual order coming to support Vedek Winn's efforts to keep the Bajoran children out of school.
Quark: Orthodox? In that case I'll need twice as many dabo girls.
- "In the Hands of the Prophets", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- When I came here, I put my hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. I didn't put my hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.
- U.S. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., voting against a House resolution supporting a judge displaying the Ten Commandments in court
- "Jesse Jackson Jr.", USA Today, July 25-27, 1997
- variations are credited to Bill Maher (Real Time with Bill Maher, 1 April 2005; quoted in "Jamie Raskin", Urban Legends Reference Pages) and American University professor Jamie Raskin (in a hearing on the gay marriage prohibition Constitutional amendment, 1 March 2006; "Emotions flare over same-sex marriage", Baltimore Sun, 2 March 2006, and ULRP).
- When I view all beings not as special creations, but as the lineal descendants of some few beings which lived long before the first bed of the Cambrian system was deposited, they seem to me to become ennobled. ~ Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species, 6th ed. (1872), page 428.
- You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?
- Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, in Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (1992; ISBN 1877733075.
- You don't have to believe in atheism, because atheism is based on REASON.
- Manfred F. Schieder (1937 - ) From: "Rebirth of Reason" (Quotes: http://rebirthofreason.com/Spirit/Quotes/Author_537.shtml - Also mentioned several times on blogs and webpages.