Active discussions

This is the talk page for discussing improvements to the Atheism page.

Positive AtheismEdit -Adraeus-

Personal quoteEdit

Removed following quote:

  • "Logic and reason are just atheist slang for their own dogma and absolute morality."
    • Unknown

If you knew anything about Atheism, you'd know that we don't believe in absolute morality. That would be a Dogmatic position.

I'm an atheist and I believe in absolute morality. Still, the quote is meaningless. 11:01, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

"If it weren't for Religion, Columbus could have landed on the Moon." (Anon) -


A question of ethics here --

There's a quote on this page that's credited to Don Hirschberg, namely "Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color."

This quote, I (Mark Schnitzius) contend, was actually my own; I thought it up and posted it on Usenet way back in 1993, as you can see here:

As it's the only thing I've ever been quoted on, I'm a little protective about it (grin). It's been collected in lists of "Atheist Quotations" in various places; occasionally it'll pop up with someone else's name to it, but usually it's me. There's no record of the phrase any time early than 1993 on Usenet, but I don't know of any way of proving that no one said it before me. It's certainly been quoted enough times since then on Usenet, so I believe it would've appeared earlier there if someone had actually said it earlier. It's never credited to Don Hirschberg until the 2000s. But I don't know if it's right for me to just go in and change it. Opinions?

Do it, if it's yours. If anyone disgrees, they can post their evidence here and you can debate it. For now, I say change it. --Urbane legend 16:44, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Huh. Well, I did, but now someone's gone and changed it back. And added a thing that says Hirschberg said it in a letter to Ann Landers. No date or anything like that, though... I've added my quote with a year next to his.

There's a reference to the Ann Landers letter here, but I'm not going to update the page with an attribution to Hirschberg -- not because the source is lacking (which it is), but because after reading that alt.atheism post I'm convinced that Schnitzius should be credited with the quotation. Sysmsifa 01:34, 24 May 2008 (UTC)

I've contacted Don Hirschberg; he confirmed that his letter to Ann Landers was after 1993 and indicated he had made some attempt to contact Mark Schnitzius, to no avail. perhaps we could agree that the quote originated with Mark Schnitzius and was popularized by Don Hirschberg.

Internet chatsEdit

Should there really be all these quotations from internet chats? Does Wikiquote have a policy on this? (I don't know, I haven't gotten into wikiquote like it was wikipedia). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 09:37, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Actually, Wikiquote follows the same policy as Wikipedia for requiring sources for its content, which means that Internet chats (and USENET postings, discussion boards, and other unreliable sources) are not valid sources of quotes. Feel free to delete any you find. As with all other wiki work, such trimming is done by those who notice the problem. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 14:53, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Well we could keep in this talk page the ones which get removed from the main page, for fun.
I saw one on the Net today, in a discussion forum : "Atheism is a religion in which no one believes." --Jerome Charles Potts 03:35, 18 December 2010 (UTC)


Should this page contain quotes which are obviously agnostic, there are quite a few. (The first Asimov quote for a start.)

Agnostic is not an alternative to atheist. Gnostic and agnostic refer to knowledge. Atheist and theist refer to gods. If someone states they are agnostic you should ask them of what they do not have knowledge.

Internet quotes?Edit

The quotes put in by user IP look like they're all quotes from internet forum users or something...I don't think that makes them at all relevant and even borders on vandalism. I'm new to this, can anyone confirm my thoughts on this? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 08:28, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Please be careful about the term "vandalism"; it should only be used for irrelevant material clearly meant to sabotage an article. That said, you are correct in thinking that quotes from Internet forums and private conversations are not suitable for Wikiquote. As with other Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wikiquote expects to have reliable sources for its material. Of course, this is often not the case for existing quotes, just as it is with Wikipedia, but the goal remains, whatever the current reality. Because of this, you should never feel any compunction against removing quotes from such sources. In this case, I removed them myself. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 10:39, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Now wait a minute. 1) Is Google Groups not a "reliable source"? Is there question as to its authenticity? Do you think that the historical record of Usenet posts it contains may have been compromised? Don't equate "contains a lot of frivolous material" with "is not an accurate accounting of who said what, when". 2) What about something that was said originally on Usenet, and then was quoted elsewhere in other media? Is one not allowed to mention Usenet as the true source of the quote in that situation? schnitzi

Usenet posts are not a reliable source in the Wikimedia sense. To quote w:Wikipedia:Reliable sources#Bulletin boards, wikis and posts to Usenet:
Posts to bulletin boards and Usenet, wikis or messages left on blogs, are never acceptable as primary or secondary sources. This is because we have no way of knowing who has written or posted them. In the case of wikis, the content of an article could change at any moment, and there is no editorial oversight or third-party fact-checking.
[Emphasis in the original.] If someone quotes Einstein in a Google Groups posting, we can be sure the posting was made when Google Groups says it was, and is intact, but it says nothing confirmable about who is writing or whether their statement is accurate. (For quotes, it's horrifying how often such statements aren't accurate, and 99% of the time, they fail to include any source whatsoever, let alone a verifiable one.) Furthermore, Wikiquote collects quotes from notable people and creative works, not from anyone who knows how to use Usenet, bulletin boards, web discussion forums, blogs, or any other media without any professional editorial supervision. Sadly, we may miss a lot of excellent quotes, but that's how Wikiquote is designed. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 02:53, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Highly MisleadingEdit

A lot of these quotes are highly misleading; for instance, there are numerous quotes from [U.S.] Founding Fathers obviously regarding Deism. Agnosticism does not equate to atheism, nor does deism; this wikiquote needs to be improved and made more accurate. I have no problem removing them myself. ~ Tyler C (talk) 5:03, 16 June 2006

The wiki pages should be making it clear that it is not correct to treat agnostic and atheist as alternative points of view. If someone simply states they are atheist we have no information as to whether they are agnostic or gnostic in their atheism. We are in fact agnostic.
Whether they like it or not, agnostics (as the term is typically understood) do meet the minimum requirement for atheism, that is, they do not believe that a God or gods exist. The fact that they don't believe these things don't exist either is irrelevant, as that is only one type of atheism, namely strong or positive atheism.


Hello! I am RS. I created this account today. I will make several changes in the article in future. RS 03:10, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

HItler quoteEdit

I think the quote

Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith; we need believing people.

should be removed, as it is only tangentially related to atheism, but is rather a (slightly sophistic) argument against religious schools.

I agree and have removed it. "Secular" is not the same thing as atheistic. A secular school deliberately avoids discussing religion, whereas atheists (generally) reject religious beliefs. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:09, 20 August 2007 (UTC)
It's back. I'll remove it, but I doubt it'll do any good.

The Bill Saunders quote seems to have been taken out of contextEdit

Although I'll admit i was a bit confused by the context it was taken out of. I'm not sure if he was expressing this sentiment, reporting it, or claiming that it was the logical consequence of something else. If the first, he's an idiot, and iff either of the other two he could have been clearer. I think it should be at least considered for removal.

The quote is from a book review by Saunders, found here. From what I can tell, he is expressing the exact sentiment implied by the quote. I leave it to others to decide if the quote is appropriate here (I don't know what would make Saunders, apparently a book reviewer for The Independent, notable in this regard). Prothonotar 08:36, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Inadequately sourcedEdit

I've just moved a huge number of unsourced and poorly sourced quotes from the "Sourced" section, some to the "Unsourced" section, most to a section titled "Inadequately sourced" because there are so many of these almost-sourced quotes that I'd like to call specific attention to them in the hopes of getting them fixed quickly.

Wikiquote sources are specific descriptions of where one can find the quote as cited in an existing publication from a reliable publisher. (They are not merely identifying the quotee.) They are required to make the job of verification easier for readers. Wikiquote, like Wikipedia, does not have an editorial board. Our accuracy is directly dependent not upon our non-existent board's reputation, but upon the quality of the sources that anyone can check. Therefore, the sources must be specific, lest we demand that our readers read an entire book, a year's worth of magazines (or even just an entire magazine), or an entire TV series just to confirm for themselves the accuracy of a single quote. Examples of specific sources include:

  • Books: title, author (if not the quotee), original year published, specific edition and date (with an ISBN if one exists to avoid potential confusion between ambiguously described editions), page number or at least a chapter
  • Magazines and journals: article title, magazine title, date and/or volume/issue, page number (arguably not necessary for short, titled articles)
  • Songs: song title, album title, album year
  • Films: film title, year; a specific, concise scene description is very helpful
  • TV shows: show title, episode title and number; date aired is desirable; a specific, concise scene description is very helpful
  • Speeches: specific publication of transcription of speech or citation of the exact quote, following the above guidelines for whatever medium in which it's published
    • Note that speeches are ephemeral sound, and are not inherently verifiable. We absolutely must have a published transcription or citation.

URLs are certainly helpful, but they should meet three requirements:

  • They must include the quote. (You might be surprised how often this basic requirement is not observed.)
  • They must be permalinks (i.e., links to pages whose content does not change frequently, like blogs or discussions).
  • They must be reliable sources, not just any webpage found in Google or another search engine. This especially disallows blogs, discussion boards, and personal webpages (often identifiable by a tilde and user name in the URL, like "~jenniferp").

Perhaps one way to think of it is to ask yourself, "If I had the source in front of me, could I find the quote in less than 30 minutes?" If not, I suggest the quote be consider unsourced and moved to that section. In addition, it is helpful to cite the specific problems (e.g., "unidentified article", "unidentified page", "unidentified date", "unidentified episode") to encourage editors who may have access to the material to fill in the missing information.

I ask editors of this article to help work to resolve the sourcing deficiencies described above. Thank you for your attention and assistance. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 18:57, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Favorite, unsourced quoteEdit

"Once you understand why you reject all other gods, you'll realize why I reject yours as well" Unfortunately I don't know who originally said it, but I love it! -- MacAddct1984  22:00, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I first read it in Sam Harris' book "Letter to a Christian Nation". I believe he did cite who had coined it. Or maybe the cite was in Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion". When I have more time I'll dig it up. -- Greyed 22:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)
On his website, Harris credits Australian historian Stephen Henry Roberts with the original quote:
I don't have a copy of Letter handy (stupid, because I have another need for it at the moment and forget to grab it while I was at two different libraries in the past few hours!), but I've cited what I do have so it can be added somewhere. (Neither we nor Wikipedia currently have an article for Roberts.) ~ Jeff Q (talk) 00:16, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah, excellent work! I didn't realize it was actually quoted already in the article, but I've added the reference and moved it up to the "Inadequately sourced" section. -- MacAddct  1984 (talk • contribs) 02:36, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
I've tweaked your changes to the citation in the article. There seems to be some confusion among websites about which Stephen Roberts said this (which is the kind of thing that makes us not want to use them even as preliminary sources). But Harris is clear about it being Stephen Henry Roberts. I also took the opportunity to recast it with {{Cite news}}, since you correctly observed that Harris's website was reprinting an LA Times article. (Sorry 'bout that.) Normally, we would consider this to be adequately sourced, as it's a specific article and date of a reliable publication, even though it doesn't cite the original quote's source, which is of course preferred. On Wikiquote, "inadequate source" tends to mean newspaper titles without article titles or pages (or sometimes even dates!), book titles without editions and page numbers or at least chapters, TV-series titles without episode titles/numbers or airdates — basically anything that forces someone to spend hours sifting through material trying to find the specific quote. On the other hand, I would really would like to find that original source. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 03:12, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Seems like good changes, the F. Roberts was a mistake carried through from the previous version of the page. --MacAddct  1984 (talk • contribs) 05:17, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
While we're on the topic of that article, Sam has another great quote: "There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable." Is that worth adding? -- MacAddct  1984 (talk • contribs) 02:44, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
It is a good quote but I'm not sure if it is appropriate for Atheism. The context of the quote is in response to the often raised argument against Atheism; Nazi Germany and Communist Russia. Both were nominally secular states but suffered from the same fanaticism Harris argues is part and parcel of organized religion. So it isn't about theism or atheism but about fanaticism. -- Greyed 03:07, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, as I was posting that I thought it may be straying too far from atheism, or even religion for that matter. --MacAddct  1984 (talk • contribs) 05:17, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Another removalEdit

I removed this:

As the actual quote is:

  • The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschells’ universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews; And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world. -- letter to Jefferson 22/1/1825

and is therefore, I think, not really saying what it is quoted for. MeltBanana 02:48, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

If the above version is widely quoted as the BBC presents it, it might be useful to include it here under "Misattributed" or "Misquoted", with the correct version underneath. However, we would need a cited reliable source (i.e., a specific publication that includes the letter or at least the quote), not just our own assertion that it comes from a particular letter, in order to confirm it as a misattribution. ~ Jeff Q (talk) 05:10, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

list of atheism quotesEdit

There is a list of atheism quotes given here and they are all negative in tone in regards to atheism: Quotes that are critical of atheism Yellowdog 01:02, 8 May 2008 (UTC)


Wikiquote no longer allows unsourced quotations, and they are in process of being removed from our pages (see Wikiquote:Limits on quotations); but if you can provide a reliable and precise source for any quote on this list please move it to Atheism.

  • The Seventh Judicial Circuit of the Court of Appeals of the United States held that atheism is a religion and therefore it cannot be promoted by a public school. Currently public schools are promoting atheism through a dogmatic and uncritical teaching of materialistic theories of origins. - John Calvert, Intelligent Design leader[228]
  • Atheism is a disease of the soul before it becomes an error of understanding. - Plato[229]
  • An atheist's most embarrassing moment is when he feels profoundly thankful for something, but can't think of anyone to thank for it. - Mary Anne Vincent[233]
  • You think you are too intelligent to believe in God. I am not like you. - Napoleon Bonaparte
  • The real attitude of sin in the heart towards God is that of being without God; it is pride, the worship of myself, that is the great atheistic fact in human life. – Oswald Chambers
  • The truth of God's existence is the benchmark from which all landmark's are located. The truth of God's existence is the foundation on which all truth rests. God existed before evil existed, and God will exist after evil is annihilated. To deny the existence of God is an act of insanity so severe that God says that person is a fool (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). - Dr. Joseph Thomas Kennedy
  • The atheist risks everything for the present and the future, on the basis of a belief that we are uncaused by any intelligent being. We just happen to be here. That one is willing to live and die in that belief is a very high price to pay for conjecture. - Ravi Zacharias[238]
  • In his essay rebutting a work of atheist Jeffery Jay Lowder Christian apologist JP Holding wrote the following: "...I find that there is no such thing as "reasonable non belief." The litany of excuses, wild speculations, and other absurdities ground out by skeptics and critics doesn't deserve the adjective "reasonable"."[239]
  • How to trap an atheist: Serve him a fine meal, then ask him if he believes there is a cook. — Source Unknown[244]
  • I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up . . . they have no holidays. - Henny Youngman[245]
  • A major problem in the Jewish world is that when an Orthodox Jew takes a look at me, he thinks 'Such wasted potential for a Jew'. And It does not help things, that when I see an Orthodox type, I think 'Such wasted potential for a Jew'. - Yuriy Bortnik
  • The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike. - Delos B. McKown
  • It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
    • quoted in The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain, Alex Ayres, p. 24, without source.
  • A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.
    • quoted in The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain, Alex Ayres, p. 40, sourced only as "Attributed".
  • Atheism is a non-prophet organization. - George Carlin
  • When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion, it is called Religion. - Robert Pirsig
    • Attributed to Pirsig by Richard Dawkins in preface to The God Delusion (2006). May be paraphrasing Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals (1992): "An insane delusion can't be held by a group at all. A person isn't considered insane if there are a number of people who believe the same way. Insanity isn't supposed to be a communicable disease. If one other person starts to believe him, or maybe two or three, then it's a religion." Exact quote not in Lila, nor Lila's Child, nor Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 11:45, 11 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Animals do not have gods, they are smarter than that. - Ronnie Snow
  • If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. - Isaac Asimov

I added a CS Lewis quote

I put it at the very end of the first section ( I wasn't sure where to put it)Gideon.judges7 16:05, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

What's the difference between atheism and scientific discoveries which prove the earth to be older or younger than a religion says it is?Edit

There are no clerics of atheism, what makes one an official expert if not the weight of their arguments and personal notability? Why is this quote notable on atheism when it's clearly talking about science and not atheism.

  • I would, like any other scientist, willingly change my mind if the evidence led me to do so. So I care about what's true, I care about evidence, I care about evidence as the reason for knowing what is true. It is true that I come across rather passionate sometimes — and that's because I am passionate about the truth. … I do get very impatient with humbug, with cant, with fakery, with charlatans.
    • Richard Dawkins, BBC interview, April 2004.

Richard Dawkins is quoted no less than 4 times on the page for atheism, equal to the amount of quotes I would like to attribute to Trey Parker, who has written more on the notoriously difficult to define subject of atheism, and is better known. Evolutionary biology and zoology are only some of several fields that provide evidence against a young age creation, why not quote Alfred Wegner or Willard Libbey? Should Darwins thoughts on the non existence of god be included more than Richard Dawkins, if there's sufficient quotes? Evidence against a recent creation Rationalwiki CensoredScribe (talk) 18:55, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, that quote has nothing to do with atheism. It doesn't even seem particularly notable. ~ Robin Lionheart (talk) 07:00, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Inadequately sourcedEdit

 NOTICE: This article needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
  • A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
  • I do not believe in God, but as I sat there in the damaged [balloon] capsule, hopelessly vulnerable to the slightest shift in weather or mechanical fault, I could not believe my eyes.
  • In this subject of the nature of the gods, the first question is, do the gods exist or do they not? It is difficult, you will say, to deny that they exist. I would agree if we were arguing the matter in a public assembly. But in a private discussion of this kind, it is perfectly easy to do so.
  • I want you to have courage to declare yourself to be an atheist, or to serve your god with all your might and power in perfect consecration, whatever or whoever that god may be — whether it be the crocodile of the Nile or our Jehovah, "God over all blessed for evermore."
    • Charles F. Deems, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 20.
  • Morals — all correct moral laws — derive from the instinct to survive. Moral behavior is survival behavior above the individual level.
  • If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.
  • The clergy believe that any power confided in me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes, and they believe rightly.
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Quoted in BBC Four, Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, unidentified episode, unidentified 2005 date.
    • This is Jefferson but it is slightly out of context. He wrote it in a letter to Benjamin Rush on September 23, 1800 (available at Here is the full context, which includes the famous quote engraved below the dome of the Jefferson Memorial:
      • “I promised you a letter on Christianity, which I have not forgotten. on the contrary it is because I have reflected on it, that I find much more time necessary for it than I can at present dispose of. I have a view of the subject which ought to displease neither the rational Christian or Deist; & would reconcile many to a character they have too hastily rejected. I do not know however that it would reconcile the genus irritabile vatum, who are all in arms against me. their hostility is on too interesting ground to be softened. the delusions into which the XYZ plot shewed it possible to push the people, the successful experiment made under the prevalence of that delusion, on the clause of the constitution which while it secured the freedom of the press, covered also the freedom of religion, had given to the clergy a very favorite hope of obtaining an establishment of a particular form of Christianity thro’ the US. and as every sect believes it’s own form the true one, every one perhaps hoped for it’s own: but especially the Episcopalians & Congregationalists. the returning good sense of our country threatens abortion to their hopes, & they believe that any position of power confided to me will be exerted in opposition to their schemes. and they believe truly. for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. but this is all they have to fear from me: & enough too in their opinion; & this is the cause of their printing lying pamphlets against me, forging conversations for me with Mazzei, Bishop Madison &c which are absolute falshoods without a circumstance of truth to rest on; falshoods too of which I acquit Mazzei & Bishop Madison for they are men of truth.” Silver&Gold (talk) 19:06, 10 May 2019 (UTC)
  • My earlier views on the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation have become clearer and stronger with advancing years.
  • The moths & atheists are doubly divine.
    • Jim Morrison, An American Prayer, unidentified ISBN/edition, unidentified chapter/page.
  • Crush the infamy! (Écrasez l'infâme!)
    • Common signature of Voltaire in his letters and pamphlets.
  • They felt that science would be corrosive to religious belief and they were worried about it. Damn it, I think they were right. It is corrosive to religious belief and it's a good thing.
  • This is one of the great social functions of science—to free people from superstition.
    • Steven Weinberg, unidentified article/page, Freethought Today, April 2000.
  • Science should be taught not in order to support religion and not in order to destroy religion. Science should be taught simply ignoring religion.
    • Steven Weinberg, unidentified article/page, Freethought Today, April 2000.
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