Many of my friends are atheists or agnostics. A fair few of my family members also come into one of those groups but I still love them all. I am not altogether keen on labels but we are in a society that seems to give everybody one. The bottom line is we are all humans we just have differing views. There is no intent whatsoever on this website to portray those that do not believe in God as somehow living immoral or unethical lives. Many atheists have lived or are living better and more productive lives than some churchgoers.
Nevertheless there are viewpoints, open to interpretation, which can be observed as not only being atheistic but also as directly attacking the Nature of God. In a world of free speech it is, sometimes with regret, a will to draw attention to some things that are said. And it is in this light and in the hope of the right context that some quotations that have done the rounds are listed here, with a tentative response in reply.
"Why should I allow that same God to tell me how to raise my kids, who had to drown His own?" - Robert G. Ingersoll
A typical quote that has not been thought through. God did not drown his kids; He saved them! The fact is that if the Bible is not read properly then these kinds of statements will come up.
"Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions." - Frater Ravus
This quote is nonsensical. I have never come across a person of faith who does not ask questions; in fact I think general inquiring becomes more profound.
"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand" - Mark Twain
Quite right too! When you start to understand the essence of the Bible then it will knock you back a pace. In trying to be comical, Mark Twain actually stumbles and blurts out a truth. Much of Scripture will challenge human reasoning and selfish desires.
"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world." - Richard Dawkins
An obvious quote from Dawkins, a person we must remember who’s core belief is that we are just machines controlled by towers of genes. What he says, with respect and in my opinion, is a tunnel view, one that commands we should only understand the world from one viewpoint, which is from the observations laid down by his own constructed puzzles.
"It is, I think, an error to believe that there is any need of religion to make life seem worth living." - Sinclair Lewis
It is an error but not in the way this person is thinking. We don’t need it because religion is a man-made carnival of ceremonies; we need instead to develop a relationship with God.
"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." - Blaise Pascal
True, if we direct our gaze towards terrorists and murderers. But the quote completely omits the kindness done by billions worldwide on a daily basis because of their convictions religious or otherwise.
"If this is your God, he's not very impressive. He has so many psychological problems; he's so insecure. He demands worship every seven days. He goes out and creates faulty humans and then blames them for his own mistakes. He's a pretty poor excuse for a Supreme Being." - Gene Roddenberry
God bless Gene Roddenberry, I love Star-Trek. There is much wrong with this quote though, not least the fact that it is actually very impressive to Create anything, let alone a universe. Even God only ‘Created’ three times. The Bible is about God’s Story and the problems He has had and is having with His creation, His children. God does not demand worship – that’s a total misnomer. And God never ‘Created’ any humans or any faulty ones! He ‘Made, two humans from existing material – and they were made perfectly. It is us people who blame God for our mistakes, often without any thought.
"I would believe any religion that could prove it had existed since the beginning of the world. But when I see Socrates, Plato, Moses, and Mohammed I do not think there is such a one. All religions owe their origin to man." - Napoleon Bonaparte
Again religion and God are mixed up. People invented religion, mainly to worship anything but our real Creator. The quote attributed here to Napoleon is pretty weak whatever way you look at it.
"The Way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason." - Benjamin Franklin
I am sorry but I do find this quote a little ridiculous. It is another bland statement put out for public reading that only has the goal to sound quite clever. The way to true faith is to OPEN the eye of reason!
"Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses." - Sigmund Freud
Once again the term ‘religion’ is used out of perspective if the said context is meant to include a belief in God. Outside of a belief in God then yes, what Freud says is true.
"A faith which cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets." - Arthur C. Clarke
Absolutely. However I think this remark was made from an atheistic angle and therefore the quote itself (not Arthur C. Clarke) loses integrity. True faith, as mapped out for us in Scripture, does not have to survive a collision with the truth because in the Bible we are given the account of the One who is The Truth.
The Arrogance Of Dawkins
I have read a few books by Richard Dawkins and they have been an inspiration to me. That is, his publications have actually enthused and strengthened my understanding of Scripture. Much of what this man puts in writing is (to me) circular reasoning or just plain fiction. Even when he speaks things are no better. He refuses to share a platform with what he calls creationists, yet he has done so (eagerly) when the 'opponent' for a debate is either an ill-informed person, young or just unqualified.
I am certain Richard Dawkins is a good family man and I am in no position to judge him, never will be, yet sometimes his comments, with the greatest of respect, are surely arrogant in nature. To say he tried to communicate with God when he was thirteen years old and tried God out for two years shows clearly, in my opinion, the self-importance of his mindset. That God would dance like a puppet to his brief foray into prayers just beggars belief.
Richard Dawkins is proud to be an atheist but that is surely because he has no real concept of God in that he has no communication with God, no understanding of God, no energy for God and no patience for God. He has his own concepts, his own communications, his own understandings, his own energy and has patience only for his own faith. Dawkins believes that we are all just machines, that we have only two motives - both selfish ones - and they are (1) survive and (2) propagate. That's it.
I personally feel this is poor wisdom, albeit with great intellect.
Ricky Gervais - Animals
In this classic sketch, the funny Mr Gervais points out very comically that God made everything first and then Created light afterwards. The conclusion being that God is so brilliant, He not only made the Universe and all that it contains but He made it all in the dark. Only after God had made everything did He then Create Light and declare that it was good.
Of course the dynamics here are all screwed up but in any event, as always, when this kind of wit is projected, much detail of reality gets hidden away deliberately so that a comical aspect can be enjoyed by both comedian and audience.
But look, there are brilliant, capitivating movies of how embryos are formed - by a union of egg and sperm and of the DNA and of molecules. The technology we now have available, which we can use to create fantastic visual imagery are immense and this allows us to show exactly how life itself is created in the womb, during the very first moments of fertilisation.
However in reality, the vivid colours, sounds, projections and lighting, which are used to show us what happens, are not actually there. We have to incorporate them so that we are able to view matters with our senses but these great creative works, manufactured inside ladies all around the globe daily, are all made in darkness. DNA does not have little light bulbs illuminating its construction.
When we actually see the results, created life, we see that its good.