"We are experiencing now the results of the freedom of thought which has been established during the last two or three centuries. The old ontology, the old ethics, and the old social order, based upon systems of theology that were generally accepted, are crumbling under the influence of new ideas inspired by the discoveries of science. Urgent practical questions—of personal and social morality, of economic organization, of international relationship—press upon the peoples, but the leaders of thought give little guidance for their solution. This generation is dissatisfied, anxious, apprehensive. It feels itself as in a ship, launched on an unknown sea, without navigator, chart, or compass. Since the old theologies cannot meet the new problems, and since science cannot claim to deal with the larger issues, men are asking what philosophy has to say to the present age."
— Herbert Samuel (1934)
"Every true faith is infallible — it performs what the believing person hopes to find in it, but it does not offer the least support for the establishing of an objective truth. Here, the ways of men divide. If you want to achieve peace of mind and happiness, have faith. If you want to be a disciple of truth, then search."
— Friedrich Nietzsche, in a letter to his sister
"The most serious parody I ever heard was this: ‘In the beginning was the nonsense, and the nonsense was with God, and the nonsense was God.’"
— Friedrich Nietzsche - Human, All Too Human
The condemned man visited by the priest every day. Because the neck is sliced off, because the knees give way, because the body thrusts itself madly toward the earth to hide itself in a “My God, My God.”
And every time, the resistance of the man who doesn’t want this easy way out, and who wants to chew over and taste all his fear. He dies without a word, his eyes full of tears.
— Albert Camus - Notebooks
"Faith in God’s directing creativity is always challenged by man’s experience of a world in which the conditions of the human situation seem to exclude many human beings from even an anticipatory and fragmentary fulfillment. Early death, destructive social conditions, feeble-mindedness and insanity, the undiminished horrors of historical existence — all these seem to verify belief in fate rather than faith in providence. How can an almighty God be justified in view of realities in which no meaning whatsoever can be discovered?"
— Paul Tillich - Reason and Revelation, Being and God
"You can’t just say there is a god because the world is beautiful — you have to account for bone cancer in children, you have to account for the fact that almost all animals in the wild live under stress, with not enough to eat, and will die violent, bloody deaths. There is not any way that you can just choose the nice bits, and say that means that there is a god, and ignore the true fact of what nature is; the wonder of nature must be taken in the totality, and it is a wonderful thing…"
— Stephen Fry
"We might more properly call a soul great if it can bear a life full of calamity and not flee from it, and if it can in the light of a pure conscience hold human judgment in contempt: especially in the judgment of the vulgar, which is so commonly wrapped in the darkness of error."
— St. Augustine - The City of God against the Pagans
"Men do not accept their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and worship those whom they have tortured to death."
— Fyodor Dostoevsky
"The ethical as such is the universal; as the universal it is in turn the disclosed. The single individual, qualified as immediate, sensate, and physical, is the hidden. Thus his ethical task is to work himself out of his hiddenness and to become disclosed in the universal. Every time he desires to remain in the hidden, he trespasses and is immersed in spiritual trial from which he can emerge only by disclosing himself."
— Søren Kierkegaard
"We fear and tremble before the inaccessible secret of a God who decides for us although we remain responsible, that is, free to decide, to work, to assume our life and our death."
— Jacques Derrida - Whom to Give to
"Ivan [Karamazov] is the incarnation of the refusal to be the only one saved. He throws in his lot with the damned and, for their sake, rejects eternity. If he had faith, he could, in fact, be saved, but others would be damned and suffering would continue. There is no possible salvation for the man who feels real compassion. Ivan will continue to put God in the wrong by doubly rejecting faith as he would reject injustice and privilege. One step more and from All or Nothing we arrive at Everyone or No One."
— Albert Camus, The Rebel
"Trouble is, there is absolutely no evidence that the universe has any purpose whatsoever. This, like causality, is an extrapolation of puny human experience to an inappropriate cosmic scale."
— Peter Atkins
"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."