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The Bible and Suicide

Quotations about Religion and Freethought

Thomas Paine

  1. I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any Church that I know of. My own mind is my own Church. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  2. It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  3. Priests and conjurors are of the same trade. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  4. The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  5. Take away from Genesis the belief that Moses was the author, on which only the strange believe that it is the word of God has stood, and there remains nothing of Genesis but an anonymous book of stories, fables, and traditionary or invented absurdities, or of downright lies. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  6. The Bible is a book that has been read more and examined less than any book that ever existed. [The Theological Works of Thomas Paine]


  7. Every phrase and cirsumstance are marked with the barbarous hand of superstitious torture, and forced into meanings it was impossible they could have. The head of every chapter, and the top of every page, are blazoned with the names of Christ and the Church, that the unwary reader might suck in the error before he began to read.[Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason, p.131]


  8. Accustom a people to believe that priests, or any other class of men can forgive sins, and you will have sins in abundance.[The Theological Works of Thomas Paine, p.207]


  9. The adulterous connection between church and state... [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  10. The declaration which says that God visits the sins of the fathers upon the children is contrary to every principle of moral justice. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  11. Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistant that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  12. ..but the Bible is such a book of lies and contradictions there is no knowing which part to believe or whether any... [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  13. The NT, compared with the Old, is like a farce of one act... [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  14. That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not. [The Life and Works of Thomas Paine, Vol. 9 p. 134]


  15. ..we must be compelled to hold this doctrine to be false, and the old and new law called the Old and New Testament, to be impositions, fables and forgeries. [The Life and Works of Thomas Paine, Vol. 9 p. 282]


  16. There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice..... [Thomas Paine]


  17. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication-- after that it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to ME, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  18. The story of the whale swallowing Jonah, though a whale is large enough to do it, borders greatly on the marvelous; but it would have approached nearer to the idea of a miracle if Jonah had swallowed the whale. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  19. Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, t renders the heart torpid or produces only atheists or fanatics. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as ameans of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  20. As to the book called the bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions and a history of bad times and bad men. [Thomas Paine, writing to Andrew Dean August 15, 1806]


  21. It is far better that we admitted a thousand devils to roam at large than that we permitted one such imposter and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God and have credit among us.


  22. The continually progressive change to which the meaning of words is subject, the want of a universal language which renders translation necessary, the errors to which translations are again subject, the mistakes of copyists and printers, together with the possibility of willful alteration, are of themselves evidences that the human language, whether in speech or in print, cannot be the vehicle of the Word of God. The Word of God exists in something else. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  23. It will be proper to take a review of the several sources from which governments have arisen, and on which they have been founded.


  24. They may be all comprehended under three heads -- 1st, Superstition; 2d, Power; 3d, the common interests of society, and the common rights of man.


  25. The first was a government of priestcraft, the second of conquerors, and the third of reason. [Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man]


  26. Toleration is not the opposite of intoleration, but it is the counterfeit of it. Both are despotisms. The one assumes to itself the right of withholding liberty of conscience, and the other of granting it. The one is the pope, armed with fire and fagot, and the other is the pope selling or granting indulgences. [Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man]


  27. ...Thomas did not believe the resurrection [John 20:25], and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. So neither will I, and the reason is equally as good for me, and for every other person, as for Thomas. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  28. What is it the Bible teaches us? - raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us? - to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.


  29. When I see throughout this book, called the Bible, a history of the grossest vices and a collection of the most paltry and contemptible tales and stories, I could not so dishonor my Creator by calling it by His name. [Thomas Paine, in Toward The Mystery]


  30. Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.


  31. As to the book called the Bible, it is blasphemy to call it the Word of God. It is a book of lies and contradictions, and a history of bad times and bad men. There are but a few good characters in the whole book. [Thomas Paine, Letter to William Duane, April 23, 1806]


  32. His [Jesus'] historians, having brought him into the world in a supernatural manner, were obliged to take him out again in the same manner, or the first part of the story must have fallen to the ground.


  33. The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most destructive to the peace of man since man began to exist. Among the most detestable villains in history, you could not find one worse than Moses, who gave an order to butcher the boys, to massacre the mothers and then rape the daughters. One of the most horrible atrocities found in the literature of any nation. I would not dishonor my Creator's name by attaching it to this filthy book. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  34. My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.


  35. Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death, and religiosu wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? [Thomas Paine, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt by James Haught]


  36. The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system. [Thomas Paine, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt by James Haught]


  37. Prophesying is lying professionally. [Thomas Paine, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt by James Haught]


  38. If thou trusteth to the book called the Scriptures, thou trusteth to the rotten staff of fables and of falsehood. [Thomas Paine, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt by James Haught]


  39. One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests. [Thomas Paine, quoted in 2000 Years of Disbelief, Famous People with the Courage to Doubt by James Haught]


  40. Science is the true theology. [Thomas Paine, quoted in Emerson, The Mind on Fire pg 153]


  41. All this [Paul's writing] is nothing better than the jargon of a conjurer who picks up phrases he does not understand to confound the credulous people who come to have their fortune told. [Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason]


  42. ...to argue with a man who has renouced his reason is like giving medicine to the dead. [Thomas Paine, The Crisis, quoted in Ingersoll's Works, Vol. 1, p.127]


  43. Everything wonderful in appearance has been ascribed to angels, to devils, or to saints. Everything ancient has some legendary tale annexed to it. The common operations of nature have not escaped their practice of corrupting everything.


  44. No falsehood is so fatal as that which is made an article of faith.


  45. When an objection cannot be made formidable, there is some policy in trying to make it frightful; and to substitute the yell and the war- whoop, in the place of reason, argument and good order. Jesuitical cunning always endeavors to disgrace what it cannot disprove.


  46. The story of the redemption will not stand examination. That man should redeem himself from the sin of eating an apple by committing a murder on Jesus Christ, is the strangest system of religion ever set up.


  47. Yet this is trash that the Church imposes upon the world as the Word of God; this is the collection of lies and contradictions called the Holy Bible! This is the rubbish called Revealed Religion!


  48. The Christian system of religion is an outrage on common sense.


  49. The countries the most famous and the most respected of antiquity are those which distinguished themselves by promoting and patronizing science, and on the contrary those which neglected or discouraged it are universally denominated rude and barbarous. The patronage which Britain has shown to Arts, Science and Literature has given her a better established and lasting rank in the world than she ever acquired by her arms. And Russia is a modern instance of the effect which the encouragement of those things produces both as to the internal improvement of a country and the character it raises abroad. The reign of Louis the fourteenth is more distinguished by being the Era of Science and Literature in France than by any other circumstance of those days.


  50. The Church was resolved to have a New Testament, and as, after the lapse of more than three hundred years, no handwriting could be proved or disproved, the Church, which like former impostors had then gotten possession of the State, had everything its own way. It invented creeds, such as that called the Apostle's Creed, the Nicean Creed, the Athanasian Creed, and out of the loads of rubbish that were presented it voted four to be Gospels, and others to be Epistles, as we now find them arranged.


  51. The Christian religion begins with a dream and ends with a murder.


  52. All the tales of miracles, with which the Old and New Testament are filled, are fit only for imposters to preach and fools to believe.


  53. Had the news of salvation by Jesus Christ been inscribed on the face of the sun and the moon, in characters that all nations would have understood, the whole earth had known it in twenty-four hours, and all nations would have believed it; whereas, though it is now almost two thousand years since, as they tell us, Christ came upon earth, not a twentieth part of the people of the earth know anything of it, and among those who do, the wiser part do not believe it.


  54. There is scarcely any part of science, or anything in nature, which those imposters and blasphemers of science, called priests, as well Christians as Jews, have not, at some time or other, perverted, or sought to pervert to the purpose of superstition and falsehood.


  55. The New Testament, they tell us, is founded upon the prophecies of the Old; if so, it must follow the fate of its foundation.


  56. Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity.


  57. I put the following work under your protection. It contains my opinion upon religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.


  58. The story of Jesus Christ appearing after he was dead is the story of an apparition, such as timid imaginations can always create in vision, and credulity believe. Stories of this kind had been told of the assassination of Julius Caesar...


  59. The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.


  60. 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.


  61. Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true.


  62. Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.


  63. But though every created thing is, in this sense, a mystery, the word mystery cannot be applied to moral truth, any more than obscurity can be applied to light. ... Mystery is the antagonist of truth. It is a fog of human invention, that obscures truth, and represents it in distortion. Truth never envelops itself in mystery, and the mystery in which it is at any time enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself.





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