“Over the centuries, we’ve moved on from Scripture to accumulate precepts of ethical, legal and moral philosophy. We’ve evolved a liberal consensus of what we regard as underpinnings of decent society, such as the idea that we don’t approve of slavery or discrimination on the grounds of race or sex, that we respect free speech and the rights of the individual. All of these things that have become second nature to our morals today owe very little to religion, and mostly have been won in opposition to the teeth of religion.”
— Richard Dawkins, quoted by Natalie Angier in “Confessions of a Lonely Atheist,” New York Times Magazine, January 14, 2001.
“Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there;
And ’twill be found, upon examination,
The latter has the largest congregation.”
— Daniel Defoe, “The True-Born Englishman” (1701), from the Encarta Book of Quotations (1999).
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
— Anne Lamott