is a man who has no invisible means of support.
-- John Buchan, 1875-1940
enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that
there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
-- Douglas Adams
The Hitch Hiker's
Guide to the Galaxy, chapter 16. 1979
disbelieve in all gods, while monotheists disbelieve in all but one. Thus
the atheists have both consistency and the
razor working for them. Seems like a more rational position to me.
IIRC the Romans called early Christians
atheists since they disbelieved in so many gods.
-- William Hyde, rec.arts.sf.written, April
In my notes,
I have the line:
Ataraxia: (Greek): The state of tranquillity achieved by ignoring all
the bullshit you are told.
-- Andrew Plotkin, rec.arts.sf.written, April
during a discussion about the meaning of "atheist"
[The Complete OED defines it more prosaically:
ataraxia: Freedom from disturbance of mind or passion;
It takes a
very special and strong-minded kind of atheist to jump up and down
with their hand clasped under their other armpit and shout, 'Oh,
random-fluctuations-in-the-space-time-continuum!' or 'Aaargh,
primitive-and-outmoded-concept on a crutch!'
that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than
you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours.
-- Stephen F Roberts
alt.atheism or talk.atheisim, 1994 or 1995
regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I
would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all
of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In
regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same
There is exactly the same degree of possibility
and likelihood of the existence of the Christian God as there is of the
existence of the Homeric God. I cannot prove that either the Christian
God or the Homeric gods do not exist, but I do not think that their
existence is an alternative that is sufficiently probable to be worth
Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic? A Plea For Tolerance In The Face Of
New Dogmas, 1947
orthodox people speak as though it were the business of sceptics to
disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. This is,
of course, a mistake. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars
there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit,
nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to
add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful
telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot
be disproved, it is intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to
doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however,
the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as
the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at
school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of
eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the
psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier
Russell, Is There a God?, 1952
commissioned by Illustrated Magazine,
first published in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell,
Volume 11: Last Philosophical Testament, 1943-68,
ed. John G. Slater and Peter Köllner, pp. 543-48, 1997
is a faith, then not playing chess is a hobby.
-- New Scientist, 2589:21, 3
-- Gore Vidal (1925--)
willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he
able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him
-- Epicurus (341 BC--270 BC) attrib
as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I
assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course;
and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved
in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest
if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.
B. S. Haldane,
Preface to Fact and Faith, 1934