What are some famous atheism quotes?
A critical look at atheism through atheism quotes –
“No diety will save us; we must save ourselves.” –Paul Kurtz1
Atheism and Origins
“The impossibility of conceiving that this grand and wondrous universe with our conscious selves arose through chance seems to me the chief argument for the existence of God.” –Charles Darwin2
Darwin’s pioneering research into the theory of evolution provided the basis for today’s philosophical naturalism and religious atheism. That is, once Darwin had explained natural selection and species, the need for a supernatural creator or director seemed to diminish -- and in fact, Darwin left his faith and his ambitions to preach Christianity in favor of his research. Why, then, does the natural world which Darwin seems to have explained so well give Charles himself reason for pause?
“No problem is more crucial for a naturalistic view of the world than the mind-body problem.” –Roy Wood Sellars3
The mind-body problem refers to the question of what constitutes the human mind, and zeroes in on what Darwin puzzles over when he refers to “our conscious selves.” Does our self-awareness, with all its complexities, arise solely from neurons firing in our heads? Or is our nature dualistic, including both a physical body and a spiritual element? Sellars believes the debate between naturalism and creationism hinges on how we understand this aspect of our humanity.
Atheism and Science
“More cases of loss of religious faith are to be traced to the theory of evolution. . .than to anything else.” –Martin Lingis4
Evolution, as a theory of our origins, has replaced the idea of a Creator God -- for Darwin and many others since his time. The many cases of lost faith that Lingis refers to are those who have come to see their faith as contradicting science in the ever-raging battle of creation vs. evolution.
“[S]cience has itself become a kind of religion.” –Carl Sagan5
Sagan, a naturalist and atheist, trusts in science to answer life’s ultimate -- philosophical -- questions. Do the facts of science speak to all of those questions, or does even the naturalist take some things on faith?
Atheism and Truth
“There is no significant example in history, before our time, of a society successfully maintaining moral life without the aid of religion.” –Will Durant6
Durant, an atheist, recognizes the tendency of atheistic thinking toward moral relativism. At the same time, he tacitly recognizes that there is a “moral life,” something inherently good that atheism has historically pulled away from. Can every person’s morals be different according to preference, or does religion point us toward a transcendent truth about right and wrong?
“Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” –Bertrand Russell7
Is Bertrand (an atheist) right about our purpose and meaning? And if he is, what sort of meaning would this God give to people?
“The civilized man has a moral obligation to be skeptical. . . . Any man who for one moment abandons or suspends the questioning spirit has for that moment betrayed humanity.” –Bergen Evens8
“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.” –George Washington
Evens and Washington disagree in their beliefs about God, but they both see the need to use reason and investigate in order to discover truth. What, after all, is this truth that Washington speaks of?9
1Humanist Manifesto II (Buffalo: Prometheus, 1980), p.16.
2 Charles Darwin, quoted in Richard Wurmbrand, My Answer to Moscow’s Atheism (New York: Arlington House, 1975), p. 16.
3 Roy Wood Sellars, Evolutionary Naturalism, p. 286.
4 Martin Lingis, quoted in Huston Smith “Evolution and Evolutionism” Christian Century July 1982, p.755.
5 Carl Sagan, UFO’s -- A Scientific Debate (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1972), p. xiv.
6 Will Durant, “Humanism in Historical Perspective,” The Humanist, Jan./Feb. 1977, p. 26.
7 Bertrand Russell, quoted in Rick Warren, The Purpose-Driven Life (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), p. 17. It can also be found in the book The Meaning of Life by philosopher Hugh S. Moorhead.
8 Bergen Evens, The Natural History of Nonsense, 1946.
9 George Washington to Charles Mynn Thruston on August 10, 1794.
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