Humanist Quotes

EFF Blue Ribbon As the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed, the Internet deserves the highest protection from government intrusion . . . Just as the strength of the Internet is chaos, so the strength of our liberty depends upon the chaos and cacophony of the unfettered speech the First Amendment protects.

-- Excerpt from the decision in the Communications Decency Act case

Fear believes--courage doubts. Fear falls to the earth and prays--- courage stands erect and thinks. Fear is barbarism---courage is civilization. Fear believes in witchcraft, devils and ghosts. Fear is religion, courage is science.
-- Robert G. Ingersoll
Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
-- Albert Einstein , Religion and Science, New York Times Magazine
The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall.
-- Thomas Paine
If abuses are destroyed, man must destroy them. If slaves are freed, man must free them. If new truths are discovered, man must discover them. If the naked are clothed; if the hungry are fed; if justice is done; if labor is rewarded; if superstition is driven from the mind; if the defenseless are protected and if the right finally triumphs, all must be the work of man. The grand victories of the future must be won by man, and by man alone.
-- Robert Ingersoll
Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in serving human interests.
-- Issac Asimov
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
-- Carl Sagan , Pale Blue Dot
The Church says that the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church.
-- Ferdinand Magellan
I tell you this; no eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn
-- Jim Morrison , The Wasp
I admit that reason is a small and feeble flame, a flickering torch by stumblers carried in the starless night -- blown and flared by passion's storm -- and yet it is the only light. Extinguish that, and nought remains.
-- Robert G. Ingersoll , "A Reply to the Rev. Henry M. Field, D.D."
Who speaks of liberty while the human mind is in chains?
-- Frances Wright , speech, Cincinnati, 1828
The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
-- Bertrand Russell , "What I Believe"
Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend, Before we too into the Dust descend; Dust into Dust, and under Dust, to lie, Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and---sans End! And that inverted Bowl we call The Sky, Whereunder crawling coop't we live and die, Lift not thy hands to It for help---for It Rolls impotently on as Thou or I.
-- Omar Khayyam , Stanzas 23 & 52 Rubaiyat
We are fortunate: we are alive; we are powerful; the welfare of our civilization and our species is in our hands. If we do not speak for Earth, who will? If we are not committed to our own survival, who will be?
-- Carl Sagan
Religion is sometimes a source for happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the week, not for the strong ... The great trouble with religion - any religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask in the warm fire of faith, or choose to live in the bleak uncertainty of reason - but one cannot have both.
-- Robert A Heinlein , Friday
Our age is retrospective. Why should we not also enjoy it's original relation to the universe? Why should we not have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition ... why should we grope among the bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines today also. There is more flax and wool in the fields. Let us demand our own works and law and worship.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson , Nature
The four points of the compass are logic, knowledge, wisdom, and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable.
-- Roger Zelazny , Lord of Light
We are on the eve of discovering that nothing should be done for the sake of gods, but all for the good of man
-- Carl Sagan
The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion
-- Thomas Paine , The Age of Reason
My religiosity consists in a humble admiratation of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God.
-- Albert Einstein , Albert Einstein: The Human Side
Intellectual freedom is essential to human society. Freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorships.
-- Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov
When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions, that is the heart of science.
-- Carl Sagan , Cosmos
Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
-- Carl Sagan , Cosmos
I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.
-- Albert Einstein , Albert Einstein: The Human Side
I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create.
-- Vincent Van Gogh
This page was last modified on Apr 26th, 2018