It is the test of a
good religion whether you can joke about it.
- Gilbert K. Chesterton
The Yen Buddhists are
the richest religious sect in the universe. They hold that the accumulation
of money is a great evil and a burden to the soul. They therefore, regardless
of personal hazard, see it as their unpleasant duty to acquire as much
as possible in order to reduce the risk to innocent people.
- Terry Pratchett, "Witches Abroad"
Only six need be attempted.
- Bertrand Russell, approaching the Ten Commandments as an exam
The gods don't go to
church, and so the Epicureans follow their example.
- Erik Anderson
One man's religion
is another man's bellylaugh.
- Robert A. Heinlein, "Time Enough For Love"
"You're basically killing
each other to see who's got the better imaginary friend."
- Rich Jeni, on religious wars
"Any god who can be
killed ought to be killed."
- Clifford L. Stanley
"Who doesn't get a
chuckle our of seeing Lego Adam and Eve in the garden, or Lego Moses smashing
the Ten Lego Commandments? For, it's all about making the content of the
Bible more accessible without changing that content."
- Brendan Powell Smith, creator of "The Brick Testament", telling the Bible stories via Lego figures
St. Teresa of Avila
described our life in this world as like a night at a second-class hotel.
- Malcolm Muggeridge
"Heaven for climate.
Hell for society."
- Mark Twain on the afterlife alternatives
Try to be nice to people,
get a bit of exercise now and again and read a few good books.
- The Meaning Of Life, from Monty Python
This column has not
been kind to the Da Vinci Code, but it strikes me that there is a useful
lesson to be derived from Dan Brown's fiction. His idea that Jesus married
Mary Magdalene and had children, a line of descent ending up with gorgeous
Parisian police cryptologist Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), shows the wisdom
of the Catholic Church in insisting on priestly celibacy. Where families
and power meet, dynasties are created; and where dynasties are created,
rivalries abound; and where rivalries abound, killing and war ensue. The
history of Christianity has been bloody enough as it is; imagine what it
would be like if Christ really had had children. Actually, you don't need
to imagine it - you can simply study the history of Islam. Because Mohammed
had many wives and many children (though no surviving son), there was,
almost from the beginning, a dispute about who was rightful successor (caliph).
That is why Sunnis and Shias fight one another to this day. For his next
novel, Brown should "uncover" an amazing Muslim conspiracy to conceal the
fact that Mohammed had no children and that the early caliphs made it up.
That should do a roaring trade at airport bookstalls.
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
The Victorian Prime
Minister Lord Salisbury once criticised Roman Catholicism for being "an
excellent religion for peasants and women". But what sort of a religion
would it be which was not excellent for peasants or women — who made up
about 90 per cent of the world's population in Salisbury's day?
- Charles Moore, "The Spectator"
The Pope, if nothing
else, should be a Catholic. If he were to announce that women would make
great priests, except it's a pity that more of them aren't gay, because
of the greater compassion they could bring to the task, it might endear
him to "liberal" Catholic commentators , but it would make him something
other than a Catholic, in the true sense.
- Declan Lynch, "The Irish Independent"
Modern advocates of
a female priesthood imagine themselves concerned with enlightened new ideas
of the role of women; in the ancient world women priests were extremely
numerous, and they were rejected among the Christians (as among the Jews)
precisely because they were everywhere associated with the obscene rituals
in official classical religions and in the cults.
- Edward Norman, "The Roman Catholic Church"
By pagans the Jews
(and later Christians) were seen as perverse, almost indeed as atheists,
for they denied the very existence of other gods.
- Adrian Goldsworthy, "In the Name of Rome"
An Irish athiest is
one who wishes to God he could believe in God.
- John Mahaffy
"Goodnight, thank you,
and may your god go with you."
- Dave Allen
What happened is that
in the middle of my life I went away and in my own sense of hubris, pride,
cynicism, thought, I am an autonomous being in the world, I can control
things, I am God.' But my experiment at being God failed! And they do have
a great saying in AA: 'Get down off the cross, we need the wood!' And the
important thing is to realise you are not the centre of the universe, you
are not God.
- John Waters, on his recovery from alcoholism
You'll never be quite
the same again after that Bible you've been thumping all these years finally
has enough and beats the living s**t out of you.
- Horoscope seen in "The Onion"
"Do you believe in
the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation,
corruption, and destruction of man?"
"I'm not sure that man needs the help."
- Calvin, "Calvin & Hobbes"
It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.
- Calvin, "Calvin & Hobbes"
"God is like me, a wise old man."
- Father Leo, "Nothing Sacred"
"God hates me, that's
what it is."
"Hate him back. It works for me."
- Murtaugh and Riggs, "Lethal Weapon"
With a dog, you feed him, you give him plenty of affection, you take him for walks and he thinks, "Wow, this guy must be a god. With a cat, however, you feed him, you love him, you care for him and he thinks, "Wow, I must be a god."
- Solon of Ancient Greece, quoted by Herodotus in "History"
"Under an oak, in stormy
weather I joined this rogue and whore together;
And none but he who rules the thunder can put this rogue and whore asunder."
- Marriage certificate from an impromptu ceremony performed by Dean Jonathan Swift
A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven. An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain—then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity. Is that the system?
- Mark Twain
It is as respectable to be a modified monkey as modified dirt.
To minimize my guilt
at going to the pictures — to call this wanton pursuit of an effete pleasure
by another name — I needed movie companions as drunkards need drinking
partners. If I entered a cinema alone, God might plunge his arm through
the roof of the auditorium booming in a stereophonic voice, ‘And you, Crisp,
what are you doing here?’ I would never have dared reply, ‘I’m just enjoying
- Quentin Crisp
..God, from whose territory
I had withdrawn my ambassadors at the age of fourteen. It had become obvious
that he was never going to do a thing I said.
- Quentin Crisp
"I don't know why I
have these dreams. I've never wanted to be Pope. In fact, I have a greater
affinity to Martin Luther."
- Peter Ustinov, on his bizarre recurring dream of becoming Pope
I've just heard that
photons have mass. I didn't even know they were Catholics .
- Don Geddin
"Where would Christianity
be if Jesus got eight to fifteen years, with time off for good behavior?"
- NY State Senator James H. Donovan on capital punishment.
The glories of religions
do not shine brilliantly with a readiness to see each other's point of
view. How less painful are opposing politicians than rancorously antagonistic
priests, because politicians shrewdly spot their rivals' good ideas and
pinch them for their own.
- Richard Gordon
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
"If the Bible is mistaken in telling us where we came from, how can we trust it to tell us where we're going?"
The Bible is such a gargantuan collection of conflicting values that anyone can "prove" anything from it.
"Dear Lord: The gods
have been good to me. For the first time in my life, everything is absolutely
perfect just the way it is. So here's the deal: You freeze everything the
way it is, and I won't ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give
me absolutely no sign. OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering
of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, give me no sign.
Thy will be done."
- Homer Simpson
"The President said
that Gold told him to invade Iraq. You see that's what happens when you
mix New Testament and Old Milwaukee."
- Bill Maher, at the 2006 Emmys
Well a man said to God, what's a million dollars to you? And God said, a penny. And a man said to God, what's a million years to you? And God said, a second.Well, the man said to God, will you give me a penny? And God, he replied, yes I will......in a second.
"God loves you just
the way you are. But He loves you too much to let you stay that way."
- Ashley to Johnny, "Junebug"
The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike.
"Like all religions, the Holy Religion of the Invisible Pink Unicorn is based upon both Logic and Faith. We have Faith that She is Pink; we Logically know that She is Invisible, because we can't see Her."
At first there was nothing. Then god said 'Let there be light!' Then there was still nothing. But you could see it.
If God had meant for us to use computers, he would have given us only two fingers to count with.
When I was young, all I wanted was to be ruler of the universe. Now that isn't enough.
- Cassandra and Roland, "Saved!"
"Rimmer, you said that
about King of Kings, the story of Jesus! "
"Well it's true! A simple carpenter's son who learns how to do magic tricks like that, and doesn't go into show business! Do any of us believe that, even for a second? "
"He was supposed to be the son of god! "
"And when he was carrying that cross up the hill. Any normal realistic bloke would have mule kicked the guy on the left, clobbered the one on the right, been over that green hill and far away before you could say 'ponctious pilot'. "
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bogglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes like this : "I refuse to prove that I exist", says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing."
"But", says Man, "the Babel fish is a dead giveaway isn't it? it could not have evolved by chance. it proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED."
"Oh dear", says God, "I hadn't thought of that," and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
The plain fact of the matter was that the Disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle, and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists houses and smashing their windows.
The Gods Of The Disc have never bothered much about judging the souls of the dead, and so people only go to hell if thats where they believe, in their deepest hearts, that they deserve to go. Which they can't do if they don't know about it. This explains why it is important to shoot missionaries on sight.
"Humans! They lived
in a world where the grass continued to be green and the sun rose very
day and flowers regularly turned into fruit, and what impresses them?
Weeping statues, and wine made out of water, a mere quantum-mechanistic-tunnel effect that'd happen anyway if you were prepared to wait zillions of years. As if the turning of sunlight into wine, by means of vines and grapes and time and enzymes wasn't a thousand times more impressive and happened all the time. "
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