Heavy Hitters In Our Corner

It’s weird- I found my atheism pretty unremarkable for the first several years after I realized that that’s what I believed.  It didn’t really occur to me there was much to fuss about.  Sure, I live in Salt Lake City, which is ground zero for a growing world religion, and a lot of Mormons seemed mildly perplexed that I had left their ranks in favor of believing in nothing, but it all seemed academic.  I had certainly never encountered prejudice about it.

 Our lives are so hard…

Well, in the last few years I’ve actually had some prejudice thrown my way.  I don’t want to over-dramatize here- it’s not like I’ve been spit at for it or made to move to the back of a bus- but I’ve been treated badly on a couple of occasions, so now I know it’s out there. And now I can see it on a larger scale.  Actually, the little petty personal prejudice that small-minded people carry around with them doesn’t bother me much (as a straight white male I tend not to have it too bad in our society).  What does bother me A LOT is the institutional and systemic prejudice I’ve found.

So I’ll tell you- once you’ve fallen victim to a bit of hatred, especially hatred that’s built-in to your government and society, you find yourself looking for solidarity with others. I suppose it’s a defense mechanism of sorts. What’s fun as an atheist is finding some of the big names who share your cosmic view. Here are a few quotes from famous atheists to get you through your oh-so-oppressed day:

(note: before you go getting all upset- while all of these men are generally accepted by experts to have been atheists, I recognize many of them used religious verbiage in their public writings and speeches. Some are known to be Deists, which everybody knows is just an atheist who has to pretend to believe in god so folks don’t lynch him.)

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches.
—Benjamin Franklin

The bible is not my book, nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.
—Abraham Lincoln

This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it.
—John Adams

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
—Thomas Paine

On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
—Thomas Jefferson

Religions are all alike, founded upon fables and mythologies.
—Thomas Jefferson

Religion is bunk.
—Thomas Edison

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.
—George Bernard Shaw

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.
—Kurt Vonnegut

If Christ were here, there is one thing for sure, he wouldn’t be a Christian.
—Mark Twain

If people are good only because they fear punishment and hope for a reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed.
—Albert Einstein

The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this
—Albert Einstein

 You see, mister Shaw… a lot of atheists are really happy!