"“For everything in the world—for civilization, for life, for success—the truest guide is knowledge and science,” Atatürk declared in one famous speech."

— “Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds”, Stephen Kinzer

"It’s difficult to take oneself with sufficient seriousness to begin any sentence with the words “Thou shalt not.” But who cannot summon the confidence to say: Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color. Do not ever use people as private property. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature—why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them? Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly. Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife. Turn off that fucking cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us. Denounce all jihad-ists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above. In short: Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form."

—  “Arguably: Selected Essays” - Christopher Hitchens

"I am trying my best not to view things through a smug later prism. Only the Almighty can scan matters sub specie aeternitatis: from the viewpoint of eternity. One must also avoid cultural and historical relativism: There’s no point in retroactively ordering the Children of Israel to develop a germ theory of disease (so as to avoid mistaking plagues for divine punishments) or to understand astronomy (so as not to make foolish predictions and boasts based on the planets and stars). Still, if we think of the evils that afflict humanity today and that are man-made and not inflicted by nature, we would be morally numb if we did not feel strongly about genocide, slavery, rape, child abuse, sexual repression, white-collar crime, the wanton destruction of the natural world, and people who yak on cell phones in restaurants. (Also, people who commit simultaneous suicide and murder while screaming “God is great”: Is that taking the Lord’s name in vain or is it not?)"

—  “Arguably: Selected Essays” - Christopher Hitchens

"As for (Commandment) Number Five, by all means respect for the elders, but why is there nothing (in the Ten Commandments) to forbid child abuse? (Insolence on the part of children is punishable by death, according to Leviticus 20:9, only a few verses before the stipulation of the death penalty for male homosexuals.) A cruel or rude child is a ghastly thing, but a cruel or brutal parent can do infinitely more harm. Yet even in a long and exhaustive list of prohibitions, parental sadism or neglect is never once condemned. Memo to Sinai: Rectify this omission."

— “Arguably: Selected Essays” - Christopher Hitchens

"

Yet many people would believe no prayer is needed, from whatever faith. When the Federal Parliament first met after Federation, no prayer was offered. This led to a storm of protest from various Christian evangelical organisations, the Parliament gave way to the pressure and the prayer became part of proceedings. Gregor McGregor, leader of the Labor Party in the first Senate, protested that the prayer was a breach of the Constitution.

..

Devout Catholic Brian Harradine, the former independent senator, objected in the Senate to other senators reciting the prayer when it was being read by the President of the Senate. ‘We are not in church,’ he noted. Harradine protested that the Senate’s Standing Orders stated the President and nobody else would say the prayer. When the President began reading the prayer, in a clear protest, Senator Peter Baume would don his yarmulke (a skullcap) and recite a Jewish prayer.

"

— “Inside the Canberra Press Gallery: Life in the Wedding Cake of Old Parliament House” - Rob Chalmers 

"

As the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Steven Weinberg said, ‘Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.’

Blaise Pascal (he of the wager) said something similar: ‘Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.’

"

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"Of course, irritated theologians will protest that we don’t take the book of Genesis literally any more. But that is my whole point! We pick and choose which bits of scripture to believe, which bits to write off as symbols or allegories. Such picking and choosing is a matter of personal decision, just as much, or as little, as the atheist’s decision to follow this moral precept or that was a personal decision, without an absolute foundation. If one of these is ‘morality flying by the seat of its pants’, so is the other."

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"The gospels that didn’t make it were omitted by those ecclesiastics perhaps because they included stories that were even more embarrassingly implausible than those in the four canonical ones. The Gospel of Thomas, for example, has numerous anecdotes about the child Jesus abusing his magical powers in the manner of a mischievous fairy, impishly transforming his playmates into goats, or turning mud into sparrows, or giving his father a hand with the carpentry by miraculously lengthening a piece of wood. It will be said that nobody believes crude miracle stories such as those in the Gospel of Thomas anyway. But there is no more and no less reason to believe the four canonical gospels. All have the status of legends, as factually dubious as the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table."

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"If we reject Deuteronomy and Leviticus (as all enlightened moderns do), by what criteria do we then decide which of religion’s moral values to accept} Or should we pick and choose among all the world’s religions until we find one whose moral teaching suits us? If so, again we must ask, by what criterion do we choose? And if we have independent criteria for choosing among religious moralities, why not cut out the middle man and go straight for the moral choice without the religion?"

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"

Contrary to their view, the fact that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation was early stated in the terms of a treaty with Tripoli, drafted in 1796 under George Washington and signed by John Adams in 1797:

"As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

"

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."

— “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"

"I shall not go out of my way to offend, but nor shall I don kid gloves to handle religion any more gently than I would handle anything else."

"Despite my dislike of gladiatorial contests, I seem somehow to have acquired a reputation for pugnacity towards religion."

Maybe he tells himself this at night, but in the following pages he describes the religious as “mawkishly nauseating”, “insipid”, “shameless”, “gullible” and goes on to note that:

“Thomas Jefferson, as so often, got it right when he said, ‘Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus.’”

So name calling and ridicule isn’t offensive?

"

—  “The God Delusion” - Richard Dawkins

"It’s true that all these gods seem to do awfully little work – much like our politicians – and yet keep winning reelection to their golden thrones in heaven, year after year."

— “The White Tiger: A Novel” -by Aravind Adiga

"

Where is the Graveyard of Dead Gods? What lingering mourner waters their mounds? There was a time when Jupiter was the king of the gods, and any man who doubted his puissance was ipso facto a barbarian and an ignoramus. But where in all the world is there a man who worships Jupiter today? And who of Huitzilopochtli? In one year - and it is no more than five hundred years ago - 50,000 youths and maidens were slain in sacrifice to him. Today, if he is remembered at all, it is only by some vagrant savage in the depths of the Mexican forest.

Huitzilopochtli, like many other gods, had no human father; his mother was a virtuous widow; he was born of an apparently innocent flirtation that she carried out with the sun. When he frowned, his father, the sun, stood still. When he roared with rage, earthquakes engulfed whole cities. When he thirsted he was watered with 10,000 gallons of human blood. But today Huitzilopochtli is as magnificently forgotten as Allen G. Thurman. Once the peer of Allah, Buddha and Wotan, he is now the peer of Richmond P. Hobson, Alton B. Parker, Adelina Patti, General Weyler and Tom Sharkey.

Speaking of Huitzilopochtli recalls his brother Tezcatilpoca. Tezcatilpoca was almost as powerful; he consumed 25,000 virgins a year. Lead me to his tomb: I would weep, and hang a couronne des perles. But who knows where it is? Or where the grave of Quitzalcoatl is? Or Xiehtecuthli? Or Centeotl, that sweet one? Or Tlazolteotl, the goddess of love? Of Mictlan? Or Xipe? Or all the host of Tzitzimitles? Where are their bones? Where is the willow on which they hung their harps? In what forlorn and unheard-of Hell do they await their resurrection morn? Who enjoys their residuary estates? Or that of Dis, whom Caesar found to be the chief god of the Celts? Of that of Tarves, the bull? Or that of Moccos, the pig? Or that of Epona, the mare? Or that of Mullo, the celestial jackass? There was a time when the Irish revered all these gods, but today even the drunkest Irishman laughs at them.

But they have company in oblivion: the Hell of dead gods is as crowded as the Presbyterian Hell for babies. Damona is there, and Esus, and Drunemeton, and Silvana, and Dervones, and Adsalluta, and Deva, and Belisima, and Uxellimus, and Borvo, and Grannos, and Mogons. All mighty gods in their day, worshipped by millions, full of demands and impositions, able to bind and loose - all gods of the first class. Men labored for generations to build vast temples to them - temples with stones as large as hay-wagons. The business of interpreting their whims occupied thousands of priests, bishops, archbishops. To doubt them was to die, usually at the stake. Armies took to the field to defend them against infidels; villages were burned, women and children butchered, cattle were driven off. Yet in the end they all withered and died, and today there is none so poor to do them reverence.

What has become of Sutekh, once the high god of the whole Nile Valley? What has become of:

Resheph Baal
Anath Astarte
Ashtoreth Hadad
Nebo Dagon
Melek Amon-Re
Ahijah Osiris
Isis Osiris
Ptah Molech

All these were gods of the highest eminence. Many of them are mentioned with fear and trembling in the Old Testament. They ranked, five or six thousand years ago, with Yahweh Himself; the worst of them stood far higher than Thor. Yet they have all gone down the chute, and with them the following:

Arianrod Nuada Argetlam
Morrigu Tagd
Govannon Goibniu
Gunfled Odin
Dagda Ogma
Ogryvan Marzin
Dea Dia Mara
Iuno Lucina Diana of Ephesus
Saturn Robigus
Furrina Pluto
Cronos Vesta
Engurra Zer-panitu
Belus Merodach
Ubilulu Elum
U-dimmer-an-kia Marduk
U-sab-sib Nin
U-Mersi Persephone
Tammuz Istar
Venus Lagas
Beltis Nirig
Nusku En-Mersi
Aa Assur
Sin Beltu
Apsu Kuski-banda
Elali Nin-azu
Mami Qarradu
Zaraqu Ueras
Zagaga

"

H. L. Mencken “Where is the Graveyard of Dead Gods?”

Cited in “Goodbye Babylon: Further Journeys in Time and Politics” – Bob Ellis 

"I hate you, God. I hate you as though you actually exist."

— “The End of the Affair” – Graham Greene