picture of the partial definition of atheism from a dictionary

Quotes about disbelief, lack of belief, or doubt about gods and other deities.

Atheism can be characterized by an active and strong disbelief that deities exist or an explicit denial that gods exist. Or atheism, for other atheists, is simply a lack of belief or assertion that any gods or deities exist (sometimes called nontheism).

Agnosticism also comes in two “flavors” — a belief that it is impossible to know that gods exist, or personal uncertainty about whether gods exist.

Some atheists and agnostics extend the argument to all spiritual beings and any non-material, spiritual “realm.”

Atheist and agnostic are sometimes used as perjoratives for those who don’t believe in, or are uncertain about, a particular conception of deity. Not all who disbelieve in deities use the term “atheism” or “atheist” to describe their beliefs.

It is the human condition to question one god after another, one appearance after another, or better, one apparition after another, always pursuing the truth of the imagination, which is not the same as the truth of appearance.

— Alain

The chief deficiency I see in the skeptical movement is its polarization: Us vs. Them — the sense that we have a monopoly on the truth; that those other people who believe in all these stupid doctrines are morons; that if you’re sensible, you’ll listen to us; and if not, to hell with you. This is nonconstructive. It does not get our message across. It condemns us to permanent minority status.

— Carl Sagan

My view is that if there is no evidence for it, then forget about it. An agnostic is somebody who doesn’t believe in something until there is evidence for it, so I’m agnostic.

— Carl Sagan

You could just as well say that an agnostic is a deeply religious person with at least a rudimentary knowledge of human fallibility.

— Carl Sagan

I have always felt that doubt was the beginning of wisdom, and the fear of God was the end of wisdom.

— Clarence Darrow

The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.

— Clarence Darrow

In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it ‘Christmas’ and went to church; the Jews called it ‘Hanukkah’ and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say ‘Merry Christmas!’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah!’ or (to the atheists) ‘Look out for the wall!’

— Dave Barry

Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.

— Emmett F. Fields

Unbelief is as much of a choice as belief is. What makes it in many ways more appealing is that whereas to believe in something requires some measure of understanding and effort, not to believe doesn’t require much of anything at all.

— Frederick Buechner, Whistling in the Dark

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up – they have no holidays.

— Henny Youngman

I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.

— Isaac Asimov

She believed in nothing. Only her scepticism kept her from being an atheist.

— Jean-Paul Sartre

To be an atheist requires an indefinitely greater measure of faith than to receive all the great truths which atheism would deny.

— Joseph Addison

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

— Marcus Aurelius

The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.

— Mark Twain

God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance.

— Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Everyone — pantheist, atheist, skeptic, polytheist — has to answer these questions: ‘Where did I come from? What is life’s meaning? How do I define right from wrong and what happens to me when I die?’ Those are the fulcrum points of our existence.

— Ravi Zacharias

Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!

— Robert G. Ingersoll

My creed:
To love justice, to long for the right,
to love mercy,
to pity the suffering, to assist the weak,

to forget wrongs and remember benefits,
to love the truth, to be sincere,
to utter honest words, to love liberty,
to wage relentless war
against slavery in all its forms,

to love family and friend,
to make a happy home,
to love the beautiful in art, in nature,
to cultivate the mind,
to be familiar with the mighty thoughts
that genius has expressed,
the noble deeds of all the world;

to cultivate courage and cheerfulness,
to make others happy,
to fill life with the splendor of generous acts,
the warmth of loving words;

to discard error, to destroy prejudice,
to receive new truths with gladness,
to cultivate hope,
to see the calm beyond the storm,
the dawn beyond the night,
to do the best that can be done
and then be resigned.

This is the religion of reason,
the creed of science.
This satisfies the brain and the heart.

— Robert G. Ingersoll

I believe the simplest explanation is, there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful.

— Stephen Hawking

The role played by time at the beginning of the universe is, I believe, the final key to removing the need for a Grand Designer, and revealing how the universe created itself. … Time itself must come to a stop. You can’t get to a time before the big bang, because there was no time before the big bang. We have finally found something that does not have a cause because there was no time for a cause to exist in. For me this means there is no possibility of a creator because there is no time for a creator to have existed. Since time itself began at the moment of the Big Bang, it was an event that could not have been caused or created by anyone or anything. … So when people ask me if a god created the universe, I tell them the question itself makes no sense. Time didn’t exist before the Big Bang, so there is no time for God to make the universe in. It’s like asking for directions to the edge of the Earth. The Earth is a sphere. It does not have an edge, so looking for it is a futile exercise.

— Stephen Hawking

I tell them I have worked 40 years to make the W.S. platform broad enough for Atheists and Agnostics to stand upon, and now if need be I will fight the next 40 to keep it Catholic enough to permit the straightest Orthodox religionist to speak or pray and count her beads upon.

— Susan B. Anthony, on the Woman Suffrage platform

What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.

— Thomas Edison

Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

— Thomas Edison

The real reason why so few men believe in God is that they have ceased to believe that even a God can love them.

— Thomas Merton
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