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httpjoke - A collection of jokes and stories circulating among offices on E-Mail as "Internet" folk humor. This is humor for your imagination; do not try these pranks at home.

The attitudes towards courtship, ethnic groups, gender differences, personalities, politics, products, and religion are not necessarily those of the authors, the contributors, or this web site. This is a humor page. All of us are the subjects of some jokes. I hope this collection can be a central repository. It may also help reduce the duplication we currently receive in our daily E-Mail.

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Christian soldiers armed with virtue-
hearts afire with blind obsession,
cannot see the difference 'twixt
compassion and oppression.
 [Sabbat, The Clerical Conspiracy]

It requires only two things to win credit for a miracle: a mountebank and a number of silly women. [Marquis de Sade]

...Anything beyond the limits and grasp of the human mind is either illusion or futility; and because your god having to be one or the other of the 2, in the 1st instance I should be mad to believe in him, and in the 2nd a fool. [Marquis de Sade (1740-1814)]

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. [Carl Sagan]

One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. it is simply too painful to acknowledge -- even to ourselves -- that we've been so credulous. (So the old bamboozles tend to persist as the new bamboozles rise.) [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,]

Finding the occasional straw of truth awash in a great ocean of confusion and bamboozle requires intelligence, vigilance, dedication and courage. But if we don't practice these tough habits of thought, we cannot hope to solve the truly serious problems that face us -- and we risk becoming a nation of suckers, up for grabs by the next charlatan who comes along. [Carl Sagan, The Fine Art of Baloney Detection,]

I maintain there is much more wonder in science than in pseudoscience. And in addition, to whatever measure this term has any meaning, science has the additional virtue, and it is not an inconsiderable one, of being true. [Carl Sagan, The Burden Of Skepticism]

In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. [Carl Sagan, 1987 CSICOP keynote address]

The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying... it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity. [Carl Sagan]

You can't convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it's based on a deep seated need to believe. [Carl Sagan]

You see, the religious people -- most of them -- really think this planet is an experiment. That's what their beliefs come down to. Some god or other is always fixing and poking, messing around with tradesmen's wives, giving tablets on mountains, commanding you to mutilate your children, telling people what words they can say and what words they can't say, making people feel guilty about enjoying themselves, and like that. Why can't the gods let well enough alone? All this intervention speaks of incompetence. If God didn't want Lot's wife to look back, why didn't he make her obedient, so she'd do what her husband told her? Or if he hadn't made Lot such a shithead, maybe she would have listened to him more. If God is omnipotent and omniscient, why didn't he start the universe out in the first place so it would come out the way he wants? Why's he constantly repairing and complaining? No, there's one thing the Bible makes clear: The biblical God is a sloppy manufacturer. He's not good at design, he's not good at execution. He'd be out of business if there was any competition. [Carl Sagan, character Sol Hadden in _Contact_, 1985]

It was a Christian university dedicated to the Christian education of Christians, and this purpose still dominated the campus. It was there like a dense fog shrouding low-lying land on still summer mornings - never a real hindrance to progress but frequently a nuisance to vision. It seemed to be heaviest around the Administration Building. [Ferrol Sams, The Whisper Of The River]

The New York Times reports that evangelist Pat Robertson, who will announce in two weeks whether he will run for the presidency, claims he can pray away bad weather. ... Robertson said in a recent interview that his prayers to keep Hurricane Gloria away from Virginia Beach last June had been successful, which was 'extremely important because I felt, interestingly enough, that if I couldn't move a hurricane, I could hardly move a nation.' ... Robertson said that if the hurricane had come ashore, he would have seen it as a sign from above to abandon his presidential ambitions. [Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, 4 September 1986]

Bound by a common theology and the spreading sensation that their number is great and their time and leader have come, the Rev. Pat Robertson's fellow Pentecostal and charismatic evangelists are stirring to his still-unannounced quest for the Republican nomination for the presidency. ... Robertson is the founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and a regular commentator on its '700 Club.' ... It is a quickening that the Rev. Jerry Falwell, who is supporting Vice President George Bush, said was the beginning of 'a mighty army.' ... No preacher has ever tried to summon this latent religious army to his own political cause. ... In the last two weeks, however, Robertson has persuaded two evangelists, [Jimmy] Swaggert of Louisiana and Oral Roberts of Oklahoma, both of whom are Pentacostals, to give him emotional public endorsements. The evangelist Rex Humbard sat on stage with him at Constitution Hall in Washington last week, and the camera picked him out as Robertson announced to a national audience on a satellite telecast that 3 million signatures on a petition would persuade him to declare for the nomination. Evangelist Jim Bakker of North Carolina, in response to a reporter's inquiry, gave a mild reply: 'I would have no problems standing with him. My feeling is that our viewers would welcome his candidacy.' ... Robertson, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, is a charismatic. Unlike other evangelicals who also believe that the Bible is true and that one must be reborn to experience salvation, Pentecostal churches such as the Assemblies of God and charismatic Christians of any denomination share an additional theology. It is a belief in the 'gifts' of the spirit, the abilities to heal and work other miracles through faith, to speak in tongues, to discern the will of God. [Dudley Clendinen, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 October 1986]

Television preacher Pat Robertson, who plans to officially announce his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination next month, said he would not tolerate atheists in his administration, Time magazine reported yesterday. ... Although Robertson firmly denied a quote attributed to him that only born-again Christians and Jews should hold government jobs, he told Time that nonbelievers would have no place in his administration if he were elected. [San Francisco Chronicle, 21 September 1987 (UPI)]

The Washington newsletter Roll Call reports that a 1981 tape of candidate Pat Robertson, who used to be an evangelical faith healer, has been distributed to several political reporters. The tape shows Robertson at a 1981 faith healing session in Philadelphia, claiming to cure members of the audience of cancer, hemorrhoids and bad teeth. Later, he shouts that God has just fixed a hernia. [Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 October 1987]

Republican presidential hopeful Pat Robertson said yesterday that a quarter of America's autoworkers use illegal drugs, contributing to declining productivity. The remark was criticized by a labor leader as 'stupid'. [San Francisco Chronicle, 4 November 1987 (AP)]

Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson, a former TV evangelist, once said he believed only devout Christians and Jews were qualified to lead the government, the New York Times reported yesterday. Robertson also maintained that government is subservient to the will of God and that democracy is 'next best' to 'government controlled by God,' the newspaper said.... The Times story cited several articles written by Robertson in which he said God had spoken to him, directed his actions or heeded his prayer to steer away a hurricane. The article also said Robertson had a conversation with Satan in 1960 at the time of his religious conversion. 'I heard Satan say, Jesus is playing you for a sucker, Robertson. [San Francisco Chronicle, 28 December 1987 (UPI)]

Pat Robertson, who once claimed to have diverted a hurricane from its path, yesterday had his presidential campaign disrupted by a second-rate snowstorm. A dark-horse contender for the Republican nomination, Robertson was forced to cancel several stops on a scheduled 18-city barnstorming tour of southern Iowa when weather grounded the helicopter he had planned to use. [Jerry Roberts, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 February 1988]

Now that he did so well in Iowa, The Reverend Pat Robertson doesn't want to be called a 'former television evangelist' anymore. He told NBC's Tom Brokaw in no uncertain terms that such a 'slur' was the height of 'religious bigotry. And he's right. Who'd want their sister to marry a television evangelist? But how shall we ace newsmen describe him instead? I've given the matter a great deal of thought, and I think the fairest to all concerned is 'former hemorrhoid healer.' This refers, of course, to the former hemorrhoid healer's celebrated, videotaped sermon to his congregation back in 1981, when he cried: 'Satan has gone! God has just healed somebody! A hernia has been healed! Several people are being healed of hemorrhoids and varicose veins! People with flat feet! God is doing just great things to you!' ... 'Former hurricane deflector' struck me as macho, and most voters would probably like a president who could deflect hurricanes. But Hurricane Gloria, which he deflected back in 1985 to save his broadcasting station in Virginia Beach, slammed into Long Island and Boston instead, doing $320 million worth of damage. [Arthur Hoppe, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 February 1988]

Allegations by U.S. presidential candidate Pat Robertson that the Soviet Union has placed nuclear missiles in Cuba are 'wild fantasy,' the official Soviet news agency Tass said yesterday. 'Of course it is up to the Americans themselves to decide who will be the next occupant of the White House. But in this case we are dealing with problems concerning international security, concerning all,' Tass said. 'That is why Robertson's wild fantasy gives rise to a legitimate question: How is it that such an irresponsible politician could at all become a candidate for the presidency in such a country as the United States?' [San Francisco Chronicle, 17 February 1988 (Chronicle Wire Services)]

It's all very well to say he [Pat Robertson] can't be nominated or elected, though even that remains to be seen. What does it say, meanwhile, about the American people and the system by which they choose their leaders, that a former faith healer, a man who boasted that his religious appeals could change the course of hurricanes, should have become perhaps a decisive factor in the presidential nomination of a major party? [Tom Wicker, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 February 1988]

According to a story in the New Republic magazine, Pat Robertson paid former football star Roosevelt Grier a $3,000 'honorarium' for appearing at a rally in a Brooklyn ghetto to express his support for the candidate. ... He introduced the candidate as Pat Robinson. ... The magazine also reported that Robertson paid singer and Christian Pat Boone $5,000 for his endorsement. [Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 March 1988]

Nearly 25 percent of the nation's 1,411 television stations now have full- time religious programming, according to the 1989 Directory of Religious Broadcasting. That reflects a 30 percent jump over 1988. This doesn't count the three religious television networks, including Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, or the hundreds of stations that carry some religious programming. Of the nation's 10,546 radio stations, 1,485 or 14 percent, are Christian stations -- a 7 percent increase over 1988. Dwarfing the impact of U.S. radio stations is the worldwide network of evangelical ministries that preaches to Third World countries via shortwave radio. From high in the Andes mountains in Quito, Ecuador, HCJB World Radio -- which stands for Heralding Christ Jesus' Blessings -- uses its combined 1-million-watt shortwave power of several transmitter stations to broadcast 24 hours a day to 80 percent of the globe. [Annie Nakao, San Francisco Examiner, 23 July 1989]

Houston. The Rev. Pat Robertson may have lost his political battle for the presidential nomination four years ago, but he's won some impressive victories at the onset of this week's Republican convention here. The party platform contains some of the most conservative language in modern history about abortion, education and homosexuality, and Robertson's Christian Coalition had a lot to do with that. In 1988, Robertson could only muster about 200 delegates and had almost no influence on the platform. The number of Coalition members among delegates this year has risen to about 750, out of a total of 2,210 delegates. [Carl Irving, San Francisco Examiner, 16 August 1992]

The entertainment company headed by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson agreed yesterday to buy Dorothy Hamill's Ice Capades, the skating road show rescued last year by the Olympic gold medalist. International Family Entertainment Inc., which owns the Family Channel cable network, declined to disclose how much it paid for the show and related assets owned by the figure skater and her husband, physician Kenneth Forsythe. The deal expands International Family's interests in live entertainment while providing a new source of material for programs that can be shown on broadcast or cable television here or abroad and on home video. International Family launched a live entertainment division last year with its purchase of three theaters in Myrtle Beach, S.C., where it produces live musical variety shows. 'This agreement will add another facet to our company's philosophy of supplying high-quality, family-oriented entertainment and programming to America and the world,' said Tim Robertson, chief executive and president. His father Pat is chairman of International Family Entertainment. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9 June 1994 (AP)]

Rescue teams battled yesterday to answer the desperate screams of mud-caked survivors of a volcano that killed as many as 20,000 people. ...A man stood buried up to his neck by mud and water, his legs pinned down by a body four feet below the surface. ...Another man, his foot crushed by rubble, lay for more than 24 hours on top of the bodies of his three children -- but he survived along with his pregnant wife. 'It was a miracle,' Jose Martinez, a 49-year-old truck driver, said from his hospital bed in Bogota. 'For those of us who survived, it was a miracle.' [San Francisco Chronicle, 16 November 1985 (Reuters)]

Father Junipero Serra moved closer to sainthood when a miracle attributed to the Spanish friar was 'confirmed' by Pope John Paul II yesterday. ...The miracle was reported by a Franciscan nun, Sister Bonafice Dyrda, who said she was cured in 1960 of a skin disease, diagnosed as lupus, after praying to Serra. ...A group of Indians held a two-day prayer vigil in Carmel to protest the pope's visit to Serra's grave at Carmel Mission. The group charged that Serra set the policies for the Spanish priests and soldiers that led to the death of 80 percent of the local Indian population. [Michael McCabe, San Francisco Chronicle, 12 December 1987]

He [Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci] talked about Father Junipero Serra's qualifications for sainthood: 'They say he cured a nun's lupus. A miracle. Now I'm not a doctor, but I know lupus goes into remission. It's not always fatal. Have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder play ping-pong together. That's a miracle.' [Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 February 1989]

Colfax, Placer County. Yesterday's crowd of pilgrims, some of whom arrived at midnight, saw a blue-gray light form over the right shoulder of a five- foot statue of Jesus near the altar of the 40-year-old Catholic church. For some, the shimmering light that turned green-pink bore the shape of a shawl covering a woman's head and shoulders. Sometimes the image was sharp; other times it was fuzzy. The eerie image appeared about 9:30 a.m., as it has every day since Thanksgiving, and remained for about an hour. At one point, a second light gold in color and resembling the shape of a crown or halo briefly appeared directly above the first image. At the moment the gold light appeared, many people in the line outside said they spotted a rainbow over the church. Inside the 200-seat church, pilgrims gasped, prayed, wept and stared at the image. ...According to James Phelps, a physics professor at Sacramento State University, the image is a phenomenon caused by natural light refracting through a stained-glass window and then bouncing off a light fixture and onto the wall. 'There's nothing exotic, nothing esoteric about it,' said the optics expert, who observed the image at the request of a local newspaper. [Martin Halstuk, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 December 1990]

Colfax. A bishop joined throngs of people packing a Placer County church to see a shining image on the wall that devout Catholics claim is an apparition of the Virgin Mary. ... 'It could be the image of the Blessed Mary in a silhouette pose,' Bishop Francis Quinn of the Sacramento Diocese said Tuesday. ... The image has been appearing for about an hour each morning since Thanksgiving, bringing throngs of the devout and curious to the 40- year-old church along Interstate 80 northeast of Auburn. ... Some viewers say the image, which also resembles the profile of a rabbit head, could be a reflection from a stained glass window. ... 'For those who believe, no explanation is necessary,' Quinn said. 'And for those who not believe, no explanation is possible.' [Press Democrat, 6 December 1990 (AP)]

Colfax. The day before the shining apparition that some believe represents the Virgin Mary began appearing at St. Dominic's church, the hanging light fixtures in the sanctuary were stabilized with wire -- perhaps setting the stage for a reflection that could create the image. ... 'It might explain it,' said parishioner Edmund 'Mick' Molloy, whose father Ed Molloy is the parish coordinator. ... Molloy said the work was done Wednesday afternoon just before Thanksgiving. ... 'So on Thanksgiving morning we have this reflection,' Molloy said. [Press Democrat, 7 December 1990 (McClatchy News Service)]

Colfax, Placer County. A mysterious light on a church wall that many believed was a divinely inspired image of the Virgin Mary did not appear yesterday amid heavy clouds, seeming to confirm the theory it was merely sunlight shining through stained-glass window. ... When the image failed to appear at its customary time, however, the worshipers trooped out, some in dismay. ... Church officials had been considering an investigation to determine whether the appearance of the image, which looked like the outline of the top half of a figure, was a miracle. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11 December 1990 (Chronicle Wire Services)]

McDonald's has announced plans to open a restaurant at Lourdes, the French grotto that Catholics believe is a site of miraculous healing. The fast- food restaurant will open in November or December. The grotto of Lourdes, visited by 5.5 million people a year, is said to be where St. Bernardette had a vision of the Virgin Mary in the middle of the 19th century. [Leah Garchik, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 March 1991]

A mystery dating from medieval times -- the ability of the reputed clotted blood of a saint to turn liquid when handled in a religious ceremony -- may be just ordinary chemistry, researchers say. The scientists say they created a dark brown gel that turns easily to liquid when disturbed and then thickens back into a gel. Such a mixture may be in the vial that is said to hold the blood of St. Januarius, also called San Gennaro, in the Roman Catholic cathedral of Naples, Italy, the researchers propose in today's issue of the journal Nature. In a ceremony performed since the 14th century, the hermetically sealed, four-inch glass container is repeatedly turned upside down. Many Neapolitans believe that good luck will come if the vial's contents liquefy, but that disasters such as earthquakes may await if the contents remain solid. ...The gel was made with substances available in the 14th century, including table salt, water, calcium carbonate and ferric chloride hydrate, the researchers wrote. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10 October 1991 (AP)]

A boy missing for 15 hours in a partly flooded cave where six others drowned was pulled out of the cave alive Saturday, providing a moment of light in the relentless gloom of the Midwest flood. ...'It was God that was with him and brought him back,' said his grandmother. The bodies of a 21-year-old female school counselor and another 12-year-old boy were discovered in the cave, raising the total number of victims in the tragedy to six. [Bob Burgdorfer, Reuters, San Francisco Examiner, 25 July 1993]

I think the thing to remember, though, the next time you hear someone who is really certain that he is on the side of the angels, is that the idea of angels was created by human beings, who are famous for being frequently untrustworthy and occasionally crazy. [Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 June 1994]

Watsonville. In this sleepy farm town where thousands are still feeling the effects of the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, people take their signs of hope where they can find them. ... About a month ago, an elderly woman praying in a shaded grove at Pinto Lake County Park found one in the bark of a tree. ... An estimated 4,000 people have flocked every day this week to see what many claim is the outline of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the limb of an oak tree, and park officials have cordoned off part of the tree because pilgrims are carving gashes and dents in it to take bark home as souvenirs. ... She is said to appear on the Watsonville tree as the outline of a cloaked woman. Some visitors claim they see two other Virgins on the same tree. Skeptics see little more than a garden-variety growth on an unremarkable oak. [Dan Turner, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 July 1992]

Chalma, Mexico. At least 41 Indian pilgrims, most of them elderly women and children, were trampled to death yesterday in a crush of worshipers heading through a narrow marketplace to church for this town's Ash Wednesday celebration. ... Chalma, about 35 miles southwest of Mexico City, is famous for its gold-trimmed church and the Father of Chalma image of Christ that is said to perform miracles. [San Francisco Chronicle, 14 February 1991 (Los Angeles Times)]

Dozens of motorists on Memorial Drive say they have seen Jesus shrouded in pasta and tomato sauce on a pizza chain's billboard. ... The billboard overlooks a Jiffy Lube and a Texaco gas station in DeKalb County, Ga. ... According to those who say they see it, the face, with deep-set eyes, beard and crown of thorns, is on a billboard advertising Pizza Hut spaghetti. It shows a forkful of steaming, hot spaghetti and the words 'Spaghetti Junction.' ... Austin Kelly Advertising Inc., which handles the Pizza Hut account locally, used a stock photograph from the food chain, the agency said. ... Nowak, who expressed surprise that people have been seeing the image, said Pizza Hut had used the photograph before, and that she had a difficult time seeing anything unusual in the spaghetti. ... 'I'm looking at it right now,' she said. 'Unless Jesus looks like a Muppet...' [San Francisco Chronicle, 24 May 1991 (Cox News Service)]

With the Virgin Mary's image appearing in churches and auto parts stores all over the country this holiday season, it was bound to happen. Now Dan Quayle has turned up in the bathroom sink of Horschmeyer's Philly Cheesesteak Parlor in El Cerrito. ... The eerie manifestation was first spotted last Tuesday by Elvira Banks, 35, the establishment's pickled tomato slicer. 'I recognized him right away,' Miss Banks, a past president of the El Cerrito Dan Quayle Fan Club, told reporters. ... The mysterious image in the sink bowl looks like a large brown stain. It surrounds the drain, which Miss Banks insists is 'the vice president's mouth opened in a call to all Americans to support the president in the current Middle East crisis.' ... So far, there has been no scientific explanation of the phenomenon. The closest anyone has come was the admission by janitor 'Foggy' Phelps that he had poured a cup of the parlor's coffee in the sink the night before the image was first seen. 'I guess I forgot to rinse it down,' he said. [Arthur Hoppe, San Francisco Chronicle, 24 December 1990]

The Roman Catholic Church announced yesterday that the Shroud of Turin, venerated by millions of Christians over the centuries as the burial cloth of Jesus, cannot be authentic because new scientific tests show that it dates from the Middle Ages. ... Nevertheless, Catholics were encouraged to continue their veneration of the shroud as a pictorial image of Christ, still capable of performing miracles, even though it cannot be accepted as a genuine historic relic, and no one knows how the image was produced. ... At a news conference yesterday, the shroud's custodian, Cardinal Anastasio Ballestrero, revealed that radiocarbon tests conducted independently by three laboratories this year have concluded that the shroud cloth was created between 1260 and 1390. ... The shroud's authenticity has been debated since it was first put on display in the mid-14th century. ... In the Middle Ages, many objects appeared in Europe that were said to be the shroud of Jesus, fragments of his cross or other relics, but most were discarded as fakes long ago, and few others maintain a devoted following as does the Shroud of Turin. ... The shroud, which belongs to the pope, has been kept for the last 410 years at the Cathedral of Turin, where it lies folded inside a silver casket. It is rarely put on public display. ... An estimated 3 million visitors came to see it when it was last exhibited in 1978. [Roberto Suro, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 October 1988]

Progreso, Texas. Hundreds of people a day have visited an auto parts store to view what they believe is the Virgin Mary's image on a bathroom floor. ... The image -- varying shades of gray that store owner Reynaldo Trevino said were once one color -- appeared December 3 on the cement floor of the shower stall in the rear of his Progreso Auto Supply. ... Some days more than 1,000 visit. About 100 per hour stopped at the store Tuesday morning. ... Some knelt to pray by the shower stall, next to a toilet. Others made the sign of the cross or touched the image they saw. ... They see the Virgin's image in the varying shades of gray cement. [San Francisco Chronicle, 20 December 1990 (AP)]

Louisiana's [1981] creationism law, which requires creationism to be taught wherever the theory of evolution is explained, is unconstitutional, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled yesterday.... 'The act's intended effect is to discredit evolution by counterbalancing its teaching at every turn with the teaching of creationism, a religious belief,' the U.S. Court of Appeals said. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9 July 1985 (AP)]

Seventy-two American winners of the Nobel Prize in science urged the Supreme Court yesterday to strike down a Louisiana law requiring public schools teaching evolution to also teach creationism. ...Creation-science is linked closely to a literal interpretation of the biblical book of Genesis, teaching that Earth and most of its life forms came into existence suddenly about 6000 years ago. ...The case before the high court is Edwards v. Aguillard,85-1513. [San Francisco Chronicle, 19 August 1986 (AP)]

More than half the college students polled in three states, including California, said they are creationists who believe that God created Adam and Eve, while about one-third believe in aliens, Big Foot and the lost city of Atlantis. ...The poll results, released yesterday by Texas researchers, also indicated that students who believe in creationism are less likely to read books, tend to be more politically conservative and have a lower grade-point average than students who dispute that God created Earth in six days. ...Last fall, about 1000 students attending colleges in Texas, Connecticut and California filled out detailed questionnaire on their beliefs. ...In Texas, 71 percent of students said they believe in the story of Adam and Eve, while 51 percent in Connecticut and 47 percent in California said they believed in the biblical first couple. An average of 44 percent of the students in the three states said the story of Noah's Ark is true. About one-third of all the students surveyed believed that Big Foot, a hairy man- like creature reputed to live in the mountains of northwest America, actually exists. An equal number believed in the lost city of Atlantis, a legendary island of advanced civilization that supposedly sank into the ocean. Thirty percent of the students responding to the survey said aliens from outer space visited Earth in ancient times. Overall, 37 percent said they believed in ghosts, and 39 percent said it is possible to communicate with the dead. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3 November 1986 (UPI)]

On a June day nearly 300 years ago, two young women were hanged in Salem village, and by the end of the summer, colonists had executed 13 women and seven men convicted of being witches. [San Francisco Chronicle, 13 April 1988 (AP)]

A woman suspected of being a witch was dragged from her hut, tied to a tree and then axed to death by her neighbors in an eastern India village, police said yesterday. Sonamoni Kisku was killed Sunday by Ganesh Soren and his brother, Meghraj, in Goaljoi, about 155 miles northwest of Calcutta, police said. ...It was the latest in several killings of women suspected of being witches in the predominantly tribal region of the state. [San Francisco Chronicle, 26 April 1989 (AP)]

Now the religious right is joining the war against children, saying Halloween is a satanic plot. A Costa Mesa Christian group, Citizens for Excellence in Education, says the witch's broomstick is a phallic symbol of pagan worship. Yet another reason not to clean the house. The group says a 'spiritual battle' is raging on this night as covens of witches and other pagan religions call forth their demon spirits.' Even kids know demons are make-believe. It's unreal adults you have to worry about. [Rob Morse, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 October 1993]

[The U.S. Supreme Court] Declined, without comment, to hear a challenge to the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Vatican. Religious groups challenged the establishment of diplomatic relations, saying the ties would violate the First Amendment's requirements for separation of church and state. American Baptist Churches vs. Reagan, 86-113, said that religious groups did not have legal standing to try to block the administration's decision. [San Francisco Chronicle, 21 October 1986]

Manila. Cardinal Jaime Sin yesterday ordered Roman Catholics who vote in next month's Philippine national elections to reject Communists and candidates who advocate divorce or abortion. ...Sin, who distributed copies of the letter at a press conference, insisted that church and state are separate in the Philippines. [San Francisco Chronicle, 23 April 1987 (Los Angeles Times)]

President Bush, saying faith has fostered democratic change around the world, told the National Religious Broadcasters yesterday that 'one cannot be America's president without a belief in God.' [San Francisco Chronicle, 30 January 1990 (UPI)]

Exhausted, dehydrated, yet spiritually uplifted, some 350,000 Catholic pilgrims packed themselves onto a hot and dusty field yesterday to say good-by to Pope John Paul II. ... More than 10,000 people were treated at field hospitals for mostly minor problems. Leading the list of maladies were dehydration, severe asthma, altitude-caused dizziness, and twisted ankles suffered by pilgrims tripped up by prairie-dog holes. ...The 73-year-old pontiff made two visits to the site by Marine helicopter. [Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, 16 August 1993]

Montgomery, Alabama. A white Republican state senator running for Congress wrote a speech in which he argued that slavery is justified by the Bible and was good for African Americans. ... 'People who are bitter and hateful about slavery are obviously bitter and hateful against God and his word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere humans say concerning slavery,' Charles Davidson wrote. [San Francisco Chronicle, 10 May 1996 (Associated Press)]

People who are bitter and hateful about slavery are obviously bitter and hateful against God and his word, because they reject what God says and embrace what mere humans say concerning slavery. This humanistic thinking is what the abolitionists embraced. [Alabama State Senator Charles Davidson, citing biblical defenses of slavery, 1996]

Yekaterinburg, Russia. Three-quarters of a century after Czar Nicholas II and his family were executed by Bolsheviks in this Ural Mountain city, people are flocking to the site of the killings, drawn by reports of miraculous cures... A drive is under way to build an imposing cathedral in an empty field near the execution site, where a second cross and a small wooden chapel already have been constructed. [James P. Gallagher, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Examiner, 29 August 1993]

Phnom Penh. A Texas evangelist fled Cambodia on Saturday [26 November] after a mob, angry over his failure to perform faith-healing miracles, rioted outside his hotel. ...Only the arrival of 20 armed police on Friday night kept the crowd from storming the luxury Hotel Cambodiana, where the Rev. Mike Evans and his entourage were staying after arriving for a scheduled five-day visit here Wednesday. ...The preacher's appearance had been heralded on radio and television stations. 'Blind eyes will open, the paralyzed will walk,' promised the promotional announcements. Thousands of Cambodians, including sick, blind and paralyzed people from remote areas, came to the capital to attend his meetings. ...Evans, 47, is pastor of Church on the Move in Euless, Texas, and is head of Mike Evans Ministries Inc., a Euless- based group that organizes Christian crusades in developing countries and inner-city neighborhoods. Evans sought unsuccessfully in 1987 to replace Jim Bakker as host of the PTL, a popular televised ministry, after Bakker was involved in a sex scandal. [San Francisco Examiner, 27 November 1994 (AP)]

Two recent surveys rate the United States at the top among Western nations in belief in God and at the bottom among six major countries in school kids' understanding of science and math. This could be dismissed as chance, but it shouldn't be. While our economic competitors' schools are teaching students advanced math and science, many of our schools are wasting energy debating whether to teach evolution or creationism, which maintains that God created the universe over a six-day period about 6,000 years ago. [Bill Mandel, San Francisco Examiner, 12 February 1989]

Walnut Creek. The movement to grant California families credit toward private tuition just got some unexpected support -- a coven of witches who plan to open their own school if the program passes. ...Proponents say a school based on their religion is as valid as any church school. [San Francisco Examiner, 18 July 1993]

Jesus was mentioned in Josephus' _Antiquities of the Jews_....The Jewish historian certainly knew something about Jesus, and there is a paragraph on him in the _Antiquities_. But Josephus' works were preserved by Christian scribes, who could not resist the temptation to revise the text and thus make Josephus proclaim that Jesus was 'the Messiah'; that he taught 'the truth'; and that after death he was 'restored to life'. Failing a fluke discovery, we shall never know what Josephus actually wrote. [E.P. Sanders, _The Historical Figure of Jesus_ ISBN 0-713-99059-7]

A Christian Reconstructionist is a Dominionist. He takes seriously the Bible's commands to the godly to take dominion in the earth. This is the goal of the gospel and the Great Commission. The Christian Reconstructionist believes the earth and all its fullness is the Lord's: that every area dominated by sin must be reconstructed in terms of the Bible. This includes, first, the individual; second, the family; third, the church; and fourth, the wider society, including the state. [The Creed of Christian Reconstruction by Rev. Andrew Sandlin]

Against the State, against the Church, against the silence of the medical profession, against the whole machinery of dead institutions of the past, the woman of to-day arises. [Margaret Sanger, Shall We Break This Law?, The Birth Control Review, vol. 1 no. 1, Feb. 1917]

My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image to be servants of their human interests. [George Santayana 1863-1952]

The true contrast between science and myth is more nearly touched when we say that science alone is capable of verification. [George Santayana (1863-1952), The Life of Reason (1905-1906)]

The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don't understand it. [George Santayana (1863-1952) U.S. philosopher, writer, professor]

People who feel themselves to be exiles in this world are mightily inclined to believe themselves citizens of another. [George Santayana]

One real world is enough. [George Santayana]

Each religion, so dear to those whose life it sanctifies, and fulfilling so necessary a function in the society that has adopted it, necessarily contradicts every other religion, and probably contradicts itself. [George Santayana, Reason in Religion]

What religion a man shall have is a historical accident, quite as much as what language he shall speak. [George Santayana, Reason in Religion]

For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He chose nothing. [George Santayana, The Absence of Religion in Shakespeare]

The fact of having been born is a bad augury for immortality. [George Santayana, The Life of Reason]

Couples who are not childless by choice are of course not culpable. But something is wrong if a couple refuses to have children without a very good reason. [Bishop Santer, addressing the Birmingham [england] Diocesan Synod, Daily Telegraph, June 26 1995 pg 8]

Shelley was familiar with tyranny and intolerance. In 1811, while yet an undergraduate, he'd had the 'The Necessity of Atheism' published at Worthing in Sussex. It appeared for sale in the bookshop window of Munday and Slater's for just twenty minutes. The brevity of the sale was due, unfortunately, not to an exhaustion of the edition, but the appearance upon the scene of a clerical wowser yclept John Walker. The good Rev., strolling by the bookstore, saw the essay upon display, and exhibiting correct Christian indignation, upbraided the two miserable sinners. The pamphlets were removed and burned in true Hitlerian fashion - except for one that Slater kept, and which is the surviving copy. [Joseph Sapere]

GARCIN: Open the door! Open, blast you! I'll endure anything, your red-hot tongs and molten lead, your racks and prongs and garrotes - all your fiendish gadgets, everything that burns and flays and tears - I'll put up with any torture you impose. Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough. [Jean-Paul Sartre, from No Exit]

God is dead. Let us not understand by this that he does not exist or even that he no longer exists. He is dead. He spoke to us and is silent. We no longer have anything but his cadaver. Perhaps he slipped out of the world, somewhere else like the soul of a dead man. Perhaps he was only a dream...God is dead. [Sartre]

This (Aum sect Tokyo nerve gas attack) was done not by people with a political ideal but by a lunatic religious group whose idea of a happy death is mass suicide. [Atsuyuki Sassas, Japanese expert on terrorism]

I stand forth to challenge the wisdom of the world; to interrogate the laws of man and of God! I request reasons for your golden rule and ask the why and wherefore of your ten commands. Before none of your printed idols do I bend in acquiescence, and he who saith thou shalt to me is my mortal foe! [Infernal Diatribe I:3-5, Satanic Bible]

Whatever alleged truth is proven by results to be but an empty fiction, let it be unceremoniously flung into the outer darkness, among the dead gods, dead empires, dead philosophies, and other useless lumber and wreckage! [Infernal Diatribe II:12, Satanic Bible]

Anti-abortionists believe that life begins at the moment you agree with them. [Saturday Night Live]

HUMANISM: an exaltation of freedom, but one limited by our need to exercise it as an integral part of nature and society. [John Ralston Saul]

A healthy nature needs no God or immortality. [Johann Schiller]

It's very healthy for a young girl to be deterred from promiscuity by fear of contracting a painful, incurable disease, or cervical cancer, or sterility, or the likelihood of giving birth to a dead, blind, or brain-damage [sic] baby even ten years later when she may be happily married. [Phyllis Schlafly]

We are starting a movement in the state legislatures...to forbid the installation of clinics that dispense contraceptives. [Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum]

Women have babies and men provide the support. If you don't like the way we're made you've got to take it up with God. [Phyllis Schlafly, hypocrite who has had a successful business career and run for public office, who would apparently deny that to other women]

Sex education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions. [Phyllis Schlafly]

Many years ago Christian pioneers had to fight savage Indians. Today missionaries of these former cultures are being sent via the public schools to heathenize our children. [Phylis Schlafly's Eagle Forum]

If atheism is a religion, then bald is a hair color. [Mark Schnitzius on alt.atheism]

The initial word does not lie within the province of the theologian, but of the historian and the psychologist. [Hugh J. Schonfield, _The_Passover_Plot_]

Theism is incompatible with the responsibility of a moral being because in theism responsibility always falls back on the Creator of that being....If our will is free it is also original being, and vice versa. [Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)]

Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all lands and in all ages, in splendour and vastness, testify to the metaphysical need of man, which, strong and ineradicable, follows close upon his physical need. Certainly whoever is satirically inclined might add that this metaphysical need is a modest fellow who is content with poor fare. It sometimes allows itself to be satisfied with clumsy fables and insipid tales. If only imprinted early enough, they are for a man adequate explanations of his existence and supports of his morality. Consider, for example, the Koran. This wretched book was sufficient to found a religion of the world, to satisfy the metaphysical need of innumerable millions of men for twelve hundred years, to become the foundation of their morality, and of no small contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and most extended conquests. We find in it the saddest and the poorest form of Theism. Much may be lost through translation; but I have not been able to discover one single valuable thought in it. Such things show that metaphysical capacity does not go hand in hand with the metaphysical need. Yet it will appear that in the early ages of the present surface of the earth this was not the case, and that those who stood considerably nearer than we do to the beginning of the human race and the source of organic nature, had also both greater energy of the intuitive faculty of knowledge, and a truer disposition of mind, so that they were capable of a purer, more direct comprehension of the inner being of nature, and were thus in a position to satify the metaphysical need in a more worthy manner. Thus originated in the primitive ancestors of the Brahmans, the Rishis, the almost superhuman conceptions which were afterwards set down in the Upanishads of the Vedas. [Schopenhauer, World as Will and Idea]

Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think. [Arthur Schopenhauer]

There is no absurdity so obvious that it cannot be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to impose it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity. [Arthur Schopenhauer]

Aristotle once said, Plato is dear to me, but dearer still is truth. So we say, The Bible is dear, but dearer still is truth. [J. Frank Schulman, in UU pamphlet UU views of the Bible.]

Without cultural sanction, most or all our religious beliefs and rituals would fall into the domain of mental disturbance [John F. Schumaker, Corruption of Reality, Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis and Psychotherapy]

There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the life of Jesus. The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the kingdom of God, who founded the kingdom of God upon earth, and died to give his work its final consecration, never had any existence. His image has not been destroyed from without, it has fallen to pieces, cleft and disintegrated by the concrete historical problems which come to the surface one after another.... He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in a historical garb. [Dr Albert Schweitzer, _The Quest for the Historical Jesus_]

It is, therefore, our unequivocal conclusion that creationism, with its accounts of the origin of life by supernatural means, is not science. [Science and Creationism, National Academy Press, 1984]

If you're looking for a little background reading on scientific creationism, it's best not to take the word scientific too seriously. A three-year database search of 4,000 scientific publications -- focusing on the names of people associated with the Institute for Creation Research and on phrases and keywords such as 'creationism' -- didn't turn up a single paper. A follow-up study of 68 journals found that only 18 of 135,000 total manuscript submissions concerned scientific creationism, and all 18 were rejected. Reasons cited included 'flawed arguments,' 'ramblings,' and 'a high-school theme quality'. [Science 85 6(7):11, September 1985]

Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to. [George Seaton]

..that freedom of the press is one of the greatest evils threatening modern society. Freedom of the press was universally one of the most pernicious of the evils of the day. [Cardinal Pedro Segura, NY Herald Tribune, 12/5/52]

Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. [Seneca the Younger (4? B.C. - 65 A.D.)]

Same religion that saves - Damns You [Sepultura]

To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. [Michael Servetus]

Preachers in pulpits talked about what a great message is in the book. No matter what you do, somebody always imputes meaning into your books. [Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel), 1904-1991]

What is really happening is that the religious right, as usual, wants to force their will upon the world. It's been happening since Christianity spawned the Crusades and as long as we as a species cling to our monotheistic tenets then it will never ever stop. Anyone with an iota of intelligence understands that a mandated moment of silence is a moment when the religionist can say to the rest of the world, Look at me. I'm praying to my god. Maybe you should be praying also. [sgtcyber@datanet.ab.ca (SgtCyber)]

Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn't! [George Bernard Shaw]

I see little divinity about them or you. You talk to me of Christianity when you are in the act of hanging your enemies. Was there ever such blasphemous nonsense! [Shaw, The Devil's Disciple]

All religions begin with a revolt against morality, and perish when morality conquers them. [George Bernard Shaw]

The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. [George Bernard Shaw]

There are scores of thousands of human insects who are ready at a moment's notice to reveal the Will of God on every possible subject. [George Bernard Shaw]

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. [George Bernard Shaw]

Common people do not pray, my lord: they only beg. [George Bernard Shaw]

No sooner had Jesus knocked over the dragon of superstition then Paul boldly set it on its legs again in the name of Jesus. [George Bernard Shaw]

It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief. [George Bernard Shaw]

Beware of the man whose God is in the skies. [George Bernard Shaw]

What God hath joined together no man shall put asunder: God will take care of that. [George Bernard Shaw]

All great truths begin as blasphemies. [George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), Annajanska (1919)]

Martyrdom is the only way in which a person with no ability can become great. [George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)]

There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it. [George Bernard Shaw]

An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support. [Fulton Sheen (1895-1979)]

The same means that have supported every other popular belief, have supported Christianity. War, imprisonment, assassination, and falsehood: deeds of unexampled and incomparable atrocity have made it what it is. [Percy Bysshe Shelley, notes to Queen Mab]

Christianity inculcates the necessity of supplicating the Deity. Prayer may be considered under two points of view; -as an endeavor to change the intentions of God, or as a formal testimony of our obedience. But the former case supposes that the caprices of a limited intelligence can occasionally instruct the Creator of the world how to regulate the universe; and the latter, a certain degree of servility analogous to the loyalty demanded by earthly tyrants. Obedience indeed is only the pitiful and cowardly egotism of him who thinks that he can do something better than reason. [Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab]

They say one day He'll liquidate His holdings up on high, I say it's all speculation. [Michelle Shocked God is a Real Estate Developer]

There are in fact so many strong biblical, doctrinal, and logical arguments against the existence of a literal hell that this question naturally arises: Why do the churches teach it and why do people often believe it? ... The churches tend to believe that fear, rather than love conquers all. [Robert Short, Methodist clergyman, U.S. Catholic magazine, April 1980 pp. 37-40]

Too much thinking can give people diabetes. It is not sugar that causes diabetes, it's thinking. We can cure diabetes. After realization. And this new thing AIDS. After realization we can cure that too. [Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, yet another Eastern mystic]

I do not consider it a sign of divine love to consign to hell people who live good lives but make an honest mistake in belief [Moshe Shulman]

The central problem of Christianity is: if the Messiah has come, why is the world so evil? For Judaism, the problem is: if the world is so evil, why does the Messiah not come? [Seymour Siegel]

The dropping of context -- deliberately and deceitfully -- by Creationist spokesmen is part of their game of fraud in the use of quotations from scientists. And it works (rhetorically, for the kinds of audience in front of which they use it) when the readers do NOT have the basic background in critical reading... [Michael Siemon, in talk.religion.misc]

The extracts from Holy Writ unequivocally assert the right of property in slaves. [Rev. E.D. Simms, professor, Randolph-Macon College]

Faith is an island in the setting sun, But proof is the bottom line for everyone. [Proof, Paul Simon]

The separation of church and state is a socialist myth perpetrated by the ACLU. [Robert Simonds, head of Citizens for Excellence, group which took over Vista CA school board]

Dear God. We paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing. [Bart Simpson saying grace]

I was at Bible camp, learning how to be more judgmental. [Mrs. Flanders (Homer Simpson's neighbor)]

If the Bible has taught us nothing else, and it hasn't, it's that girls should stick to GIRLS sports, such as hot oil wrestling, foxy boxing, and such and such. [Homer Simpson]

Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder [Homer Simpson's version of Pascal's Wager, The Simpsons]

I put out these milk and cookies as a sacrifice. If Thou wishest me to eat them, please give me a sign by doing absolutely nothing. MMMMmmmm... [Homer Simpson]

Marge, have you ever actually sat down and read this thing? Technically, we're not even allowed to go to the bathroom. [Priest on The Simpson's]

Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion. [School Superintendent on The Simpsons]

Most of the dogmatic religions have exhibited a perverse talent for taking the wrong side on the most important concepts in the material universe, from the structure of the solar system to the origin of man. [George Gaylord Simpson]

If you keep saying things are going to be bad, you have a chance of being a prophet. [Isaac Bashevis Singer]

God knows everybody needs a hand in their decisions. Some of us are not so sure. [Sisters of Mercy, Something fast]

Poor David Hume is dying fast, but with more real cheerfulness and good humour and with more real resignation to the necessary course of things, than any Whining Christian ever dyed with pretended resignation to the will of God. [Adam Smith, on the death of David Hume. In the published version of Smith's introductory letter to Hume's autobiography, these words are tempered to exclude the Whining Christian.]

'Atheism, therefore, is the absence of theistic belief.' One who does not believe in the existence of a god or supernatural being is properly designated as an atheist. Atheism is sometimes defined as the belief that there is no God of any kind, or the claim that a god cannot exist. While these are categories of atheism, they do not exhaust the meaning of atheism-- and are somewhat misleading with respect to the basic nature of atheism. 'Atheism, in its basic form, is not a belief: it is the absence of belief.' An atheist is not primarily a person who 'believes' that a god does 'not' exist, rather he does 'not believe' in the existence of a god. [George Smith]

Reason is not one tool of thought among many, it is the entire toolbox. To advocate that reason be discarded in some circumstances is to advocate that thinking be discarded- which leaves one in the position of attempting to do a job after throwing away the required instrument. [George Smith,_Atheism, The Case Against God_, p.110]

Few theologians would care to pursue their research to its logical conclusion and finally assert, as did Thomas Paine, that the biblical account of Jesus has every mark of fraud and imposition stamped upon the face of it. [George H. Smith, from _Atheism: The Case Against God_, chapter 2, The Concept of God]

... why have those countries with a strong Church-State alliance displayed such an eagerness to enforce religious dogmas and eliminate dissent through the power of the state. Why has Christianity refused, whenever possible, to allow its beliefs to compete in a free marketplace of ideas? The answer is obvious and revealing. Christianity is peddling an inferior product, one that cannot withstand critical investigation. Unable to compete favorably with other theories, it has sought to gain a monopoly through a state franchise, which means: through the use of force. [George H. Smith, from _Atheism: The Case Against God_]

I am arguing that faith as such, faith as an alleged method of aquiring knowledge, is totally invalid and as a consequence, all propositions of faith, because they lack rational demonstration, must conflict with reason. [George H. Smith, from _Atheism: The Case Against God_]

The third major characteristic of God -- infinitude -- is the catchall, the universal modifier of Christian theology. God is not merely a being; he is infinite being. God is not merely good; he is infinite goodness. God is not merely wise; he is infinite wisdom. And so on down the list. God is exaggeration run amuck [George H. Smith, _Atheism: The Case Against God_, chapter 3 The God of Christianity]

A nation can assume that the addition of the words under God to its pledge of allegiance gives evidence that its citizens actually believe in God whereas all it really proves is that they believe in _believing_ in God. [Huston Smith, The Religions of Man (Buddhism)]

If I had been the Virgin Mary, I would have said No. [Margaret Stevie Smith (1902-1971)]

Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. [Patti Smith]

We need a new cosmology. New Gods. New Sacraments. Another drink. [Patti Smith]

The observances of the church concerning feasts and fasts are tolerably well-kept, since the rich keep the feasts and the poor keep the fasts. [Sydney Smith]

Religion: just say `no'. [Tim Smith]

Is it just me, or does anyone else read `bible humpers' every time someone writes `bible thumpers?' [Joel M. Snyder]

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. [Han Solo]

His heart shall be torn from his living bosom and thrown in his face, after which his head is to be taken off and exposed on the church steeple in his native village. His body is to be cut into four pieces and a quarter fastened upon different towers of the City of Alkamaar. [Diedrich Sonoy, Lutheran governer in Holland, on the Catholic Nanning Koppezoon, who was tortured for refusing to convert]

Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds. [Susan Sontag (1933)]

Madison observed in criticizing religious presidential proclamations, the practice of sponsoring religious messages tends, over time, -to narrow the recommendation to the standard of the predominant sect.- Madison's -Detached Memoranda,- 3 Wm. & Mary Q. 534, 561 (E. Fleet ed. 1946)] [Justice Souter, concurring opinion in Lee Vs. Weisman]

The sweep [of the Establishment Clause] is broad enough that Madison himself characterized congressional provisions for legislative and military chaplains as unconstitutional -establishments.- Madison's Detached Memoranda- 558-559] [Justice Souter, concurring opinion in Lee Vs. Weisman]

It needs but to glance over the world and to contemplate the doings of Christians everywhere to be amazed at the ineffectiveness of current theology. Or it needs only to look back over past centuries and the iniquities alike of populace, nobles, kings, and popes to perceive an almost incomprehensible futility of the beliefs everywhere held and perpetually insisted upon. [Herbert Spencer, Facts and Comments, 1901]

Most studies show that conventional religion is not an effective force for moral behavior or against criminal activity. [The Psychology of Religion, by Bernard Spilka, Ralph Hood, and Richard Gorsuch, standard psychology text]

I call him free who is led solely by reason. [Spinoza]

As nature preserves a fixed and immutable order; it must clearly follow that miracles are only intelligible as a relation to human opinions, and merely mean events of which the natural cause cannot be explained by a reference to any ordinary occurrence, either by us, or at any rate, by the writer and narrator of the miracle. [Benedict Spinoza, Ethica ordine geometrica demonstrata]

Unlike Descartes, however, he regarded mind and body (or ideas and the physical universe) as merely different aspects of a single substance, which he called alternately God and Nature, God being Nature in its fullness. This pantheism was considered blasphemous by the religious and political authorities of his day. [_The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia_, Second Edition, 1989, on Spinoza's beliefs]

One might be asked How can you prove that a god does not exist? One can only reply that it is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved. [David A. Spitz]

Like my parents, I have never been a regular church member or churchgoer. It doesn't seem plausible to me that there is the kind of God who watches over human affairs, listens to prayers, and tries to guide people to follow His precepts -- there is just too much misery and cruelty for that. On the other hand, I respect and envy the people who get inspiration from their religions. [Benjamin Spock]

The best way to lose all is to cling with desperation to that which cannot possibly be sustained literally. Literalistic Christians will learn that a God or a faith system that has to be defended daily is finally no God or faith system at all. They will learn that any god who can be killed ought to be killed. Ultimately they will discover that all their claims to represent the historical, traditional, or biblical truth of Christianity cannot stop the advance of knowledge that will render every historic claim for a literal religious system questionable at best, null and void at worst. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 22]

Integrity and honesty, not objectivity and certainty, are the highest virtues to which the theological enterprise can aspire. From this perspective, all human claims to possess objectivity, certainty, or infallibility are revealed as nothing but the weak and pitiable pleas of frantically insecure people who seek to live in a illusion because reality has proved to be too difficult. Papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy are the two ecclesiastical versions of this human idolatry. Both papal infallibility and biblical inerrancy require widespread and unchallenged ignorance to sustain their claims to power. Both are doomed as viable alternatives for the long-range future of anyone. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 99]

They amuse themselves by playing an irrelevant ecclesiastical game called Let's Pretend. Let's pretend that we possess the objective truth of God in our inerrant Scriptures or in our infallible pronouncements or in our unbroken apostolic traditions. [Bishop John Shelby Spong, Episcopal (Anglican) Bishop of Newark, NY, in Resurrection: Myth or Reality? pg. 100]

I know it isn't the fetus's fault, but the mother shouldn't have had an abortion if she didn't want the baby to go to hell. [Jim Staal, net.fundie.idiot]

The religious superstitions of women perpetuate their bondage more than all other adverse influences. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

The whole tone of Church teaching in regard to women is, to the last degree, contemptuous and degrading. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), U.S. campaigner for women's rights. Free Thought Magazine (Sept. 1896)]

The Bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgment seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a condition of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependant on man's bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

The memory of my own suffering has prevented me from ever shadowing one young soul with the superstitions of the Christian religion. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Eight Years and More]

The happiest people I have known have been those who gave themselves no concern about their souls, but did their uttermost to mitigate the miseries of others [Elizabeth Cady Stanton, _Eighty Years and More_]

The bible teaches that woman brought sin and death into the world, that she precipitated the fall of the race, that she was arraigned before the judgement seat of Heaven, tried, condemned and sentenced. Marriage for her was to be a condition of bondage, maternity a period of suffering and anguish, and in silence and subjection, she was to play the role of a dependent on man's bounty for all her material wants, and for all the information she might desire . . . Here is the Bible position of woman briefly summed up. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton]

All through the centuries scholars and scientists have been imprisoned, tortured and burned alive for some discovery which seemed to conflict with a petty text of Scripture. Surely the immutable laws of the universe can teach more impressive and exalted lessons than the holy books of all the religions on earth. [Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman's Bible Part 2. (From Great Infidels pg. 143.)]

The cosmos is interesting rather than perfect, and everything is not part of some greater plan, nor is all necessarily under control. [Starhawk]

Primus in orbe deos facit timor. (Fear created the first gods in the world.) [Caecilius Statius (220-168 B.C.), Thebais]

St. Augustine found lying among the clergy so prevalent that he wrote two books (De Mendacio in 395 A.D. and Contra Mendacium in 420 A.D.), urging that it stop. [Gordon Stein, _A Second Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism_,p. 65]

By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God... [Gloria Steinem, Saturday Review of Education, March 1973]

It is an incredible con job when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous. [Gloria Steinem]

In the realm of science, all attempts to find any evidence of supernatural beings, of metaphysical conceptions, as God, immortality, infinity, etc., thus have failed, and if we are honest, we must confess that in science there exists no God, no immortality, no soul or mind as distinct from the body. [Charles P. Steinmetz, American inventor and engineer, American Freeman, July 1941]

God's only excuse is that he does not exist. [Stendhal]

All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few. [Stendhal]

The popes, like Jesus, are conceived by their mothers through the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost. All popes are a certain species of man-gods, for the purpose of being the better able to conduct the functions of mediator between God and mankind. All powers in Heaven, as well as on earth, are given to them. [Pope Stephanus V, 9th century]

If atheism is to be used to express the state of mind in which God is identified with the unknowable, and theology is pronounced to be a collection of meaningless words about unintelligible chimeras, then I have no doubt, and I think few people doubt, that atheists are as plentiful as blackberries... [Leslie Stephen]

The truth cannot be asserted without denouncing the falsehood. [Leslie Stephen]

The division between faith and reason is a half-measure, till it is frankly admitted that faith has to do with fiction, and reason with fact. [Leslie Stephen, Essays on Freethinking and Plainspeaking (1905)]

Why, when no honest man will deny in private that every ultimate problem is wrapped in the profoundest mystery, do honest men proclaim in pulpits that unhesitating certainty is the duty of the most foolish and ignorant? Is it not a spectacle to make the angels laugh? We are a company of ignorant beings, feeling our way through mists and darkness, learning only by incessantly repeated blunders, obtaining a glimmering of truth by falling into every conceivable error, dimly discerning light enough for our daily needs, but hopelessly differing whenever we attempt to describe the ultimate origin or end of our paths; and yet, when one of us ventures to declare that we don't know the map of the universe as well as the map of our infintesimal parish, he is hooted, reviled, and perhaps told that he will be damned to all eternity for his faithlessness... [Leslie Stephen, An agnostic's Apology, Fortnightly Review, 1876]

Y.T. is supposed to be on her way to a Reverend Wayne's Pearly Gates franchise. If she screws up this delivery, that means she's double-crossing God, who may or may not exist, and in any case who is capable of forgiveness. The Mafia definitely exists and hews to a higher standard of obedience. [Neal Stephenson, _Snow Crash_]

Here's what happens when you die--you sit in a box and get eaten by worms. I guarantee you that nothing cool happens when you die. [Howard Stern, on E! network show, 4/12/95]

In addition, the New York Supreme Court, in a well known case (Miami Military Institute v Leff 129 Misc. 481, 220 N.Y.S. 799, 810) said of the principle of religious freedom that it, 'has always been regarded by the American people as the very heart of its national life.' This would be difficult to maintain in a democracy without constitutional separation of church and state. [Anson Phelps Stokes, Church And State In The United States Vol I, p. 34]

The world is proof that God is a committee. [Bob Stokes]

For those of us who have not believed, it is not expected to be very jolly. [David Stoll, Fishers of Men or Founders of Empire?]

The remaining part of the clause declares. that 'no religious test shall ever be required, as a qualification to any office or public trust, under the United States.' This clause is not introduced merely for the purpose of satisfying the scruples of many respectable persons, who feel an invincible repugnance to any religious tests, or affirmation. It had a higher object; to cut off for ever every pretence of any alliance between church and state in the national government. [Joseph Story, _Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States_, Vol. III page 703, referring to the ban on religious tests found in Article VI, Section III of the U.S. Constitution]

The great mass of women and common people cannot be induced by mere force of reason to devote themselves to piety, virtue, and honesty. Superstition must therefore be employed, and even this is insufficient without the aid of the marvelous and the horrible. [Strabo of Amasia, geographer and contemporary of the Roman Emperor Augustus]

Thank you, but I'm afraid I can't accept your compliment. You see, I'm an atheist, so if I'm also God, that would mean that I don't believe in myself, and at this point in my life, I don't need the added insecurity. [J. Michael Straczynski is the producer of Babylon 5, when a fan of Babylon 5 told Straczynski that he was God]

Would raise a glass of champagne, but I don't drink... won't thank the great Mojo since I'm an atheist. But there's always chocolate. [J. Michael Straczynski]

There's no more proof for the existence of God than there is for the existence of the Easter Bunny. That's right. The Easter Fucking Bunny. [Stryder, on alt.atheism]

Obviously, a man's judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it. Give him the truth and he may still go wrong when he has the chance to be right, but give him no news or present him only with distorted and incomplete data, with ignorant, sloppy or biased reporting, with propaganda and deliberate falsehoods, and you destroy his whole reasoning processes, and make him something less than a man. [Arthur Hays Sulzberger]

She manifested an entire want of instruction as to the nature and effect of an oath, of all religious training, and utter ignorance of the existence of a Supreme Being, the rewarder of truth and avenger of falsehoods. [Supreme Court of Alabama, 1882, disqualifying an 11-year old girls's testimony at her rape trial. The rapist went free.]

The man who has the harihood to avow that he does not believe in a God, shows a recklessness of moral character and utter want of moral responsibility, such as very little entitles him to be heard or believed in a court of justice in a country designated as Christian. [Supreme Court of Tennessee, 1871]

There is no such source and cause of strife, quarrel, fights, malignant opposition, persecution, and war, and all evil in the state, as religion. Let it once enter our civil affairs, our government would soon be destroyed. Let it once enter our common schools, they would be destroyed. [Supreme Court of Wisconsin, Weiss v. District Board, March 18, 1890

The Amendment's purpose was not to strike merely at the official establishent of a single sect, creed, or religion, outlawing only a formal relation such as had prevailed in England and some of the colonies...It was to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion. [Supreme court, Everson case]

The Establishment Clause, unlike the Free Exercise Clause, does not depend upon any showing of direct governmental compulsion and is violated by the enactment of laws which establish an official religion whether those laws operate directly to coerce nonobserving individuals or not. [U.S. Supreme Court, Wallace v. Jaffree (1985)]

Neither the fact that the prayer is denominationally neutral nor the fact that its observance on the part of the students is voluntary can serve to free it from the limitations of the Establishment Clause. [U.S. Supreme Court, Engle v. Vitale (1962)]

We agree [that the State's use of the Regents' prayer in its public school system breaches the constitutional wall of separation between Church and State] since we think that the constitutional prohibition against laws respecting an establishment of religion must at least mean that in this country it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government. [U.S. Supreme Court, Engel v. Vitale]

Lemon v. Kurtzman, is not only that government may not be overtly hostile to religion, but also that it may not place its prestige, coercive authority, or resources behind a single religious faith or behind religious belief in general, compelling nonadherents to support the practices or proselytizing of favored religious organizations and conveying the message that those who do not contribute gladly are less than full members of the community. [U.S. Supreme Court, Texas Monthly v. Bullock]

The minister of the Gospel is really the yardstick by which the nation measures its morals. [Jimmy Swaggart]

Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it. ... Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory. [Rev. Jimmy Swaggart]

If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell. [Jimmy Swaggart, 5/20/88]

Sex education classes in our public schools are promoting incest. [Jimmy Swaggart, TV preacher, self-described pornography addict who paid prostitutes to commit pornographic acts, hypocrite]

I turn on my television set. I see a young lady who goes under the guise of being a Christian, known all over the nation, dressed in skin-tight leather pants, shaking and wiggling her hips to the beat and rhythm of the music as the strobe lights beat their patterns across the stage and the band plays the contemporary rock sound which cannot be differentiated from songs by the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, or anyone else. And you may try to tell me this is of God and that it is leading people to Christ, but I know better. [Jimmy Swaggart, hypocritical sexual pervert and TV preacher, self-described pornography addict, Two points of view: 'Christian' rock and roll., The Evangelist, 17(8): 49-50.]

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. [Jonathan Swift]

If you talk to God, you're praying; if God talks to you, you have schizophrenia. [Thomas Szasz]

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. [Thomas Szasz]