ORIGINS OF RELIGIONS—SELECT QUOTATIONS, PART 2.

“What is Religion?
The neurology of irrational beliefs is a subject of research under the direction of Professor Susan Greenfield at the University of Oxford. Complete lack of evidence for the contrary clearly shows that religious belief is all in the mind (the proof is that beliefs depend on where and when you were born and how you were raised and educated) and that the mind with its power of imagination, is solely a product of the brain, the unconscious repository of learning and the source of emotions and “spirituality, our feel-good-feel-bad barometer of the senses. Graham Newbery. Freethinker. Nov. 2005.

“People do not accidentally become religious. Being a Christian is not ‘natural’; it is an acquired characteristic. Like a language, it must be learned and, if it is not used in the home, in everyday conversation and in public life, it dies out. As the population that speaks a minority tongue shrinks, decline does not slow; it becomes faster. There is no natural obstacle to the death of a language. I do not see why the fate of a religion should be different.” Steve Bruce. (Professor of Sociology, commenting on the decline in religion in Scotland - The Scotsman. w/e 27 May 2005)
“While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about.” Sam Harris
“Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable. . . . A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass: he is actually ill.” H. L. Mencken.

“Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendour of imagination and caprice, instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity.” Ludwig Feuerbach. 1804-1872

“All religions are ancient monuments to superstitions, ignorance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies rejuvenated.” Baron d'Holbach (1772)

“Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines”. Bertrand Russell

“Religion… comprises a system of wishful illusions together with a disavowal of reality, such as we find in an isolated form nowhere else but in amentia, in a state of blissful hallucinatory confusion.” Sigmund Freud. 1856-1939

“Amentia: There’s a useful word, appropriately applied by Freud to religious deluded thinking. Gods exist only in the minds of hoodwinked dupes.” Terence Meaden. AtheistWeb, 7 March 2008

George Bernard Shaw: “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one”.

“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.” Karl Marx.

“I have examined all the known superstitions of the world, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology.” Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Religion, passed in the Assembly of Virginia, in the Year 1786.

“Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.” Mark Twain

“A mystic may talk of seeking to know and imbibe the mysteries of the Universe but never appreciates that the true and the most joyous route is by drinking deeply of the scientific wealth uncovered by cosmology and physics.” Terence Meaden.

“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 1814 – 1876

What is Religion?
“Religion is an endemic disorder of the mind propagated as a meme by socio-parasitic institutions. It can affect the stupid, the intelligent, the old and the young. It works mostly through the indoctrination of children. Like many mind disorders, it will be harmless in some cases but when left unchecked can lead to injury to the individual or the community through irrational and homicidal behaviour.” John Sutton.

“To an enlightened observer, with the knowledge of the harm it does, religion is seen to be a disease, a sickness, an infection, a pestilence, a contagion and a pox. Religion is filthy and unclean. We need to be understanding and compassionate towards those who are already infected but we would be immoral in our own eyes if we had respect for the concept, ideas or practices of religion.” John Sutton.

“Most believers are victims of indoctrination. They cannot help themselves and continue to cling to irrational ideas and behaviour they learnt when they were young. It is pointless to try to reason with the majority of these people. They cannot change despite a complete lack of evidence for their beliefs. They are easily led and will accept the most absurd ideas promulgated by the institutions or individuals they see as higher in their religious hierarchy.” John Sutton.

Wittgenstein said “Religion presents you with a set of statements and then says “Now believe”, i.e. take it or leave it.”

“God-did-it” as an explanation for mankind and the Universe is as empty as a void, and exposes nothing but ignorance on the part of the speaker.” Terence Meaden. AtheistWeb, 2008.

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