Faith

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If you have the same ideas as everybody else but have them one week earlier than everyone else then you will be hailed as a visionary. But if you have them five years earlier you will be named a lunatic.
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Quotations about faith

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  • "Faith is generally nothing more than the permission religious people give to one another to believe things strongly without evidence." ~Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation (2006)
  • "Faith strikes me as intellectual laziness, but I don't argue with it - especially as I am rarely in a position to prove that it is mistaken. Negative proof is usually impossible"
  • "Faith creates the foundation for conviction."
  • "Faith is cold as ice. Why are little ones born only to suffer for the want of immunity or a bowl of rice? Well, who would hold a price on the heads of the innocent children if there's some immortal power to control the dice?" ~ Rush, Roll the Bones
  • "Faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate." ~ Richard Dawkins
  • "Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." ~ St. Augustine
  • "Faith is the surrender of the mind, it's the surrender of reason, it's the surrender of the only thing that makes us different from other animals. It's our need to believe and to surrender our skepticism and our reason, our yearning to discard that and put all our trust or faith in someone or something, that is the sinister thing to me. ... Out of all the virtues, all the supposed virtues, faith must be the most overrated" ~Christopher Hitchens
  • "Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable." ~ H.L. Mencken
  • "The word faith is not generally regarded as a primary term in the scientist's lexicon, yet . . . Faith is the vial ingredient in the Cyclops project" (i.e., communicating with extraterrestrial races via microwave transmission). - Norman Cousins
  • "Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge about things without parallel." ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
  • Faith, Quinn mused, was a strange power. They had committed their lives to the sect, never questioning its gospels. Yet in all of that time, they had the reassurance of routine […] The bedrock of every religion, that your God is a promise, never to be encountered in this life, this universe.
  • "Faith: The opposite of dogmatism." -John Ralston Saul
    • Source: The Doubter's Companion - "Faith"
  • "I refuse to prove that I exist" says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing." "Oh," says man, "but the Babel Fish is a dead give-away, isn't it? It proves You exist, and so therefore You don't." "Oh, I hadn't thought of that." says God, who promptly vanishes in a puff of logic. - Douglas Adams
  • "Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that thou mayest believe, but believe that thous mayest understand."- St. Augustine (354-430)
  • "I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening; I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning." ~ Aleister Crowley, The Book of Lies
  • "I've never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith -— it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe." ~ Jubal Harshaw in Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein
  • "In like manner, if I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery." -William Kingdon Clifford, The Ethics of Belief (1877)
  • "Most people will never know anything beyond what they see with their own two eyes." ~ Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler in the film X2
  • "Orthodoxy is the abillity to say two and two make five when faith requires it." ~ George Orwell, 1984
  • "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." - Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night
  • "That's the thing about faith. If you don't have it, you can't understand it. And if you do, no explanation is necessary." ~ Major Kira Nerys (from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
  • The moderation we see among nonfundamentalists is not some sign that faith itself has evolved; it is, rather, the product of the many hammer blows of modernity that have exposed certain tenets of faith to doubt. ~ Sam Harris, The End of Faith
  • The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason: the morning daylight appears plainer when you put out your candle. ~ Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758, Chapter "On Virtue, Vice, God, And Faith"
  • "We fall from womb to tomb, from one blackness and toward another, remembering little of the one and knowing nothing of the other...except through faith." ~ Stephen King, Danse Macabre (1981)
  • Doubt, indeed, is the disease of this inquisitive, restless age. It is the price we pay for our advanced intelligence and civilization. It is the dim night of our resplendent day. But as the most beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith which springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best.
  • "Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine/ By which alone the mortal heart is led/ Unto the thinking of the thought divine."
    • George Santayana
  • I credit that eight years of grammar school with nourishing me in a direction where I could trust myself and trust my instincts. They gave me the tools to reject my faith. They taught me to question and think for myself and to believe in my instincts to such an extent that I just said, 'This is a wonderful fairy tale they have going here, but it's not for me.'

Unsourced

  • A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith. - Richard Wurmbrand, If Prison Walls Could Speak (1972)
  • "A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
  • A faith that cannot survive collision with the truth is not worth many regrets. ~ Arthur C. Clarke
  • "A man full of faith is simply one who has lost (or never had) the capacity for clear and realistic thought. He is not a mere ass; he is actually ill. Worse, he is incurable." ~ H.L. Mencken
  • "A reasonable scale of probability--what is likely--forbids believing a whole range of imaginative possibilities, even though we do not know anything for sure." ~ Jennifer Michael Hecht
  • "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense." ~ Buddha
  • "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." ~ Buddha
  • "The essence of faith is fewness of words and abundance of deeds." ~ Bahá'u'lláh
  • Every religion, as far as reason will help them, makes use of it gladly - and where it fails them, they cry out: "It is a matter of faith, and above reason!" ~ John Locke
  • "Faith" is a fine invention, when gentlemen can see
    But microscopes are prudent, in an emergency. ~ Emily Dickinson
  • Faith is a wondrous thing; it is not only capable of moving mountains, but also of making you believe that a herring is a race horse. ~ Arthur Koestler
  • "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1 (New English Translation)
  • "By faith is meant, first, conscious knowledge and second, the practice of good deeds." ~ Bahá'u'lláh
  • "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." The Bible
  • "Faith is believing what you know ain't so." ~ Mark Twain, Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar
  • Faith is essentially intolerant ... essentially because necessarily bound up with faith is the illusion that one's cause is also God's cause. ~ Ludwig Feuerbach
  • "Faith means not wanting to know what is true." ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Variant: Faith: not wanting to know what is true.
  • I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up." ~ Penn Teller
  • I have more faith in my plumber than I do the eternal being. Plumbers do a good job. They keep the shit flowing. ~ Charles Bukowski
  • If you have a faith, it is statistically overwhelmingly likely that it is the same faith as your parents and grandparents had. No doubt soaring cathedrals, stirring music, moving stories and parables, help a bit. But by far the most important variable determining your religion is the accident of birth. The convictions that you so passionately believe would have been a completely different and largely contradictory set of convictions, if only you had happened to be born in a different place. Epidemiology, not evidence. ~ Richard Dawkins
  • If you think that your belief is based upon reason, you will support it by argument, rather then by persecution, and will abandon it if the argument goes against you. But if your belief is based on faith, you will realize that argument is useless and will therefore result to force either in the form of persecution or by stunting and distorting the minds of the young in what is called education. ~ Bertrand Russell
  • "Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" ~ Douglas Adams
  • "Men become civilized, not in proportion to their willingness to believe, but in proportion to their readiness to doubt." ~ H. L. Mencken
  • "Not knowing is much more interesting than believing an answer which might be wrong." ~ Richard Feynman
  • "Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear." ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • "Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom." ~ Clarence Darrow
  • "Skepticism is the highest of duties, and blind faith the one unpardonable sin." ~ T. H. Huxley
  • The alleged short-cut to knowledge, which is faith, is only a short-circuit destroying the mind. ~ Ayn Rand
  • The improver of natural science absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties: blind faith the one unpardonable sin. ~ Thomas Huxley
  • The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry. ~ Richard Dawkins
  • "The most pernicious of absurdities is that weak, blind, stupid faith is better than the constant practice of every human virtue." ~ Walter Savage Landor
  • The old faiths light their candles all about, but burly Truth comes by and puts them out. ~Lizette Reese
  • To those searching for truth -- not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction -- faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. ~ Thomas Edison
  • We are a people of faith. We have been so secure in that faith that we have enshrined in our constitution protection for people who profess no faith. And good for us for doing so. That is what the First Amendment is all about. ~ Bill Clinton
  • We do not speak of faith that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups, substitute different emotions. ~ Bertrand Russell
  • "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." ~ Bertrand Russell
  • What with blowing up clinics, shooting doctors, and the endless terrorists blowing themselves up hither and yon, the truth regarding the cause of the violence is not addressed by anyone at all: Blind faith in interactive Deities. ~ Rack Jite
  • You, the religious believer, may well find subtle support for your faith in recent discoveries - that is, if you're willing to upgrade your metaphors and definitions as the latest data demand; and seek out new niches of ignorance or ambiguity to fill with the goose down of faith. ~ Natalie Angier
  • Faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves.
  • Ignorance is lack of knowledge, whereas faith is rejection of it.
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.
  • Of all the human virtues... all the supposed virtues, faith would be the most harmful.

See also

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