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.

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No term of common discourse is so vague and elusive in meaning as the term ‘God.’

— A. Eustace Haydon

True religion, like our founding principles, requires that the rights of the disbeliever be equally acknowledged with those of the believer.

— A. Powell Davies

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 (Émile-Auguste Chartier)

Whatever there is of God in the universe, it must work itself out and express itself through us.

— Albert Einstein

I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble minds harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.

— Albert Einstein

I am a deeply religious nonbeliever — this is a somewhat new kind of religion.

— Albert Einstein

I don’t try to imagine a personal god; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.

— Albert Einstein

We humans, through old habits, and because of the inherent structure of human knowledge have a tendency to make static, definite, and, in a way, absolutistic one-valued statements. But when we fight absolutism, we quite often establish, instead, some other dogma equally silly and harmful. For instance, an active atheist is psychologically as unsound as a rabid theist.

— Alfred Korzybski

Though Buddhism is a religion like any other, it began with at least two specific characteristics that were quite unusual, to wit, its foundational agnosticism and its commitment to public communication and discussion.

— Amartya Sen

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

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

— Christopher Hitchens

The only position that leaves me with no cognitive dissonance is atheism. It is not a creed. Death is certain, replacing both the siren-song of Paradise and the dread of Hell. Life on this earth, with all its mystery and beauty and pain, is then to be lived far more intensely: we stumble and get up, we are sad, confident, insecure, feel loneliness and joy and love. There is nothing more; but I want nothing more.

— Christopher Hitchens

Our belief is not a belief. Our principles are not a faith. We do not rely solely upon science and reason, because these are necessary rather than sufficient factors, but we distrust anything that contradicts science or outrages reason. We may differ on many things, but what we respect is free inquiry, openmindedness, and the pursuit of ideas for their own sake.

— Christopher Hitchens

We have a need for what I would call ‘the transcendent’ or ‘the numinous’ or even ‘the ecstatic,’ which comes out in love and music, poetry, and landscape. I wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t respond to things of that sort. But I think the cultural task is to separate those impulses and those needs and desires from the supernatural and, above all, from the superstitious.

— Christopher Hitchens

Religion comes from the period of human prehistory where nobody — not even the mighty Democritus who concluded that all matter was made from atoms — had the smallest idea what was going on. It comes from the bawling and fearful infancy of our species, and is a babyish attempt to meet our inescapable demand for knowledge (as well as for comfort, reassurance, and other infantile needs). Today the least educated of my children knows much more about the natural order than any of the founders of religion.

— Christopher Hitchens

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

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

— Douglas Adams

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

Is god willing to prevent evil but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him god?

— Epicurus

The name of Robert G. Ingersoll is in the pantheon of the world. More than any other man who ever lived he destroyed religious superstition. He was the Shakespeare of oratory — the greatest that the world has ever known. Ingersoll lived and died far in advance of his time. He wrought nobly for the transformation of this world into a habitable globe; and long after the last echo of destruction has been silenced, his name will be loved and honored, and his fame will shine resplendent, for his immortality is fixed and glorious.

— Eugene V. Debs, at the funeral of Robert Ingersoll

A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.

— Francis Bacon

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.

— Frank Lloyd Wright

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 would believe only in a God that knows how to Dance.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

There is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving any of it away to imaginary beings.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

He was an embittered atheist (the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him).

— George Orwell
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