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Quotations about Religion and Freethought

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  1. What the Gospels actually said was: don't kill anyone until you are absolutely sure they aren't well connected. [Kurt Vonnegurt, Slaughterhouse 5]


  2. The name of the new religion, said Rumfoord, is The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent. . . The two chief teachings of this religion are these: Puny man can do nothing at all to help or please God Almighty, and Luck is not the hand of God. [Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan]


  3. How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash?....The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight loneliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason and into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore. [Kurt Vonnegut Jr., quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught, Prometheus Books, 1996]


  4. I am of course a skeptic about the divinity of Christ and a scorner of the notion that there is a God who cares about how we are or what we do. ... Religious skeptics often become very bitter towards the end, as did Mark Twain. ... I know why I will become bitter. I will finally realize that I have had it right all along: that I will not see God, that there is no heaven or Judgement Day. [Kurt Vonnegut Jr., address at Twain's home in Hartford, Conn., April 30, 1979. quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught]


  5. The trouble with God isn't that He so seldom makes Himself known to us... He's holding you and me and everybody else by the scruff of the neck practically _constantly_... Contentedly adrift in the cosmos, were you?... That is a perfect description of a non-epiphany, that rarest of moments, when God Almighty lets go of the scruff of your neck and lets you be human for a little while... [Kurt Vonnegut, Bluebeard, pg. 173]


  6. How on earth can religious people believe in so much arbitrary, clearly invented balderdash? ... The acceptance of a creed, any creed, entitles the acceptor to membership in the sort of artificial extended family we call a congregation. It is a way to fight lonliness. Any time I see a person fleeing from reason into religion, I think to myself, There goes a person who simply cannot stand being so goddamned lonely anymore. [Kurt Vonnegut Jr., address to a Unitarian congregation, Cambridge, Mass., January 27, 1980. quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt, by James A. Haught]


  7. The sermon was based on what he claimed was a well-known fact, that there were no Atheists in foxholes. I asked Jack what he thought of the sermon afterwards, and he said, 'There's a Chaplain who never visited the front.' [Kurt Vonnegut, Hocus Pocus, pg. 182]


  8. Artists use frauds to make human beings seem more wonderful than they really are. Dancers show us human beings who move much more gracefully than human beings really move. Films and books and plays show us people talking much more entertainingly than people really talk, make paltry human enterprises seem important. Singers and musicians show us human beings making sounds far more lovely than human beings really make. Architects give us temples in which something marvelous is obviously going on. Actually, practically nothing is going on. [Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Wampeters, Foma and Granfallons, When I Was Twenty-One (1974)]


  9. Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying. [Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.]


  10. I am an atheist (or at best a Unitarian who winds up in church quite a lot). [Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Fates Worse than Death: An Auotbiographical Collage of the 1980s]




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