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 & Hobbes No efficiency. No accountability. I tell you, Hobbes, it's a lousy way to run a universe.

       - 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."

- A theory on pets A fanatic is someone who does what he knows that God would do if God knew the facts of the case. - There is a theory which states that if ever for any reason anyone discovers what exactly the Universe is for and why it is here it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. - Douglas Adams, "The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy" I love religion. I could make up religions all day. I sort of think that in an ideal world I'd like to be a religion designer. I'd like people come up to me and say, "I need a religion." I'd go talk to them for a while, and I'd design a religion for them. That would be a great job. There's a need for people like that. Fortunately, seeing that one can't actually do it, I get paid for sort of making them up anyway. - Neil Gaiman The Universe is full of people who want to be immortal but don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon - JMS, creator of Babylon 5 SCIENCE: A way of finding things out and then making them work. Science explains what is happening around us the whole time. So does RELIGION, but science is better because it comes up with more understandable excuses when it is wrong. There is a lot more Science than you think. - From A Scientific Encyclopedia for the Enquiring Young Nome by Angalo de Haberdasheri, in 'Wings' by Terry Pratchett He was determined to discover the underlying logic behind the universe - which was going to be hard, because there wasn't one. - Terry Practhett, "Mort" "Do you think there's a God?"
"Well, SOMEbody's out to get me!" "I am well aware that the gods are envious of human success and prone to disrupt our affairs... in all matters look to the end, and to how it turns out. For many people have enjoyed prosperous happiness as a divine gift, only afterwards to be uprooted utterly."

        - 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?

- Robert A. Heinlein, "Job: A Comedy of Justice" Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?"
Priest: "No, not if you did not know."
Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?" - Annie Dillard, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" The Bible is the greatest hoax in all history. The leading characters of the Old Testament would today be in the penitentiary and those of the New would be under observation in psychopathic wards. - Charles Smith (1887-1964) That man says women can't have as much rights as men, because Christ wasn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman. Man had nothing to do with him. - Sojouner Truth (1851) If Christ were here now there is one thing he would not be : A Christian.

        - Mark Twain

It is as respectable to be a modified monkey as modified dirt.

- Thomas H. Huxley It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics and chemistry. - H. L. Mencken When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bike.  Then I realised that The Lord doesn't work that way, so I stole one and asked him to forgive me.
        - Peter Kay

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 myself, Lord.’
        - 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.

- Havelock Ellis Do you know about the Eleventh Commandment? It says, "Thou shalt not bore God, or he will destroy your universe." - John Lilly Why did I become an athiest? I read the Bible from cover to cover twice. How many believers can say that? - JMS, creator of Babylon 5 "Although it is said that faith can move mountains, experience shows that dynamite works better."

"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.

- Robert A. Heinlein, "The Number of the Beast" The meek shall inherit the earth - a 6 foot plot above them.
        - Robert A. Heinlein, "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long"


"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 a second.

- Anon Pray : To ask the laws of the universe to be annulled on behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. - Ambrose Bierce, The Enlarged Devil's Dictionary It goes to show you how we in the press so often miss the big stories that are right under our noses. There is a famous journalistic legend about the time a young reporter covered the Johnstown flood of 1889. The kid wrote: "God sat on a hillside overlooking Johnstown today and looked at the destruction He had wrought." His editor cabled back: "Forget flood. Interview God."
        - Roger Ebert, "Chicago Sun Times"

"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.

- Delos B. McKown "God is as real as I am," the old man said. My faith was restored, for I knew that Santa would never lie. - Anon "Help preserve your child's belief in Santa Claus. Tell him or her that Santa will send them to hell if they don't believe in him."

"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."

- Unknown "Jesus' last words on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" hardly seem like the words of a man who planned it that way. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure there is something wrong here." - Donald Morgan God is dead - Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead - God - Unknown Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven. - Mark Twain #

At first there was nothing. Then god said 'Let there be light!' Then there was still nothing. But you could see it.

- Martin Dougiamas "Do you know, humans think the world was made by a sort of big human?"
"Get away?"
"It took a week."
"I expect it had some help, then,' said Dorcas. - The Nomes discuss religion in Terry Pratchett's "Diggers" Maybe we're just lucky to live in a universe composed by a divine Bach. Perhaps next door, the inhabitants of a John Cage universe muddle along in chaos... - Michael Weiss In sci.physics In the beginning, the universe was created. This is generally regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams If animals believed in god, the devil would look like a human being - T-Shirt parody of Xenophanes's famous quote I like to think of AIDS as God's vengence on the hemophiliacs. - Robert Frederking If a kid asks where rain comes from, I think a cute thing to tell him is 'God is crying.' And if he asks why God is crying, another cute thing to tell him is 'Probably because of something you did.' - Jack Handey God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs... - Ian Malcolm, "Jurassic Park" If God had meant for penguins to fly, he would have given them wings.

If God had meant for us to use computers, he would have given us only two fingers to count with.

- Anon #

When I was young, all I wanted was to be ruler of the universe. Now that isn't enough.

- Alex P. Keaton, "Family Ties" "Do you remember, Abelard...Once I told you that ecstasy was better than being God."
"I remember."
"I was wrong, darling. Being God is better." - Bruce Sterling, "Schismatrix" I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. - Winston Churchill Heaven doesn't want me and hell is scared I am going to take over. - Eve Toth I think that God in creating man overestimated his ability. - Oscar Wilde When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself. - Peter O'Toole, The Ruling Class When someone asks you if you're a god, you say yes! - Doctor Peter Venkman, "Ghostbusters" "Because, like all who stand before the Inquisitor, your judge shall be ... yourself."
"Oh SMEG." - Inquisitor & Rimmer, "Red Dwarf" "There's only one reason Christian girls come downtown to the Planned Parenthood!"
"She's planting a pipe bomb?"

        - 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'. "

- Lister & Rimmer, "Red Dwarf" The Babel fish is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy recieved not from its own carrier but from those around it, It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. the practical upshot of this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any language.

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.

- Douglas Adams, "The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy" God does not play dice with the universe: He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players [i.e. everybody], to being involved in an obscure and complex variant of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won't tell you the rules, and who *smiles all the time*.

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.

- An alternate view of Religion, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld "What have I always believed? That, on the whole, and by and large, if a person lived properly, not according to what any priests said, but according to what seemed decent and honest inside, then it would, at the end, more or less, turn out ok. "

"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. "

- Terry Pratchett, "Small Gods" #

Return to Quotes index, or Site homepage.