"What I was fascinated by, was that when people would enter the church, they’d say, ‘I don’t know what people are talking about. God doesn’t talk to me.’ And then they would try praying in this interactive, free-form imagination-rich kind of way, and after six months, they would start to say that they recognize God’s voice the way they recognize their mom’s voice on the phone."
— Anthropologist T.M. Luhrmann observed people who attend a Vineyard church in California. There congregants were taught to discern thoughts coming from their imagination with thoughts that were coming directly from God. (via nprfreshair)
"Three presidential candidates claim God has chosen them to win. … At least two are wrong, and I’m guessing three are."
— The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church in State, in accepting an award from The Roosevelt Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y.
"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed”? Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way."
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot
"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
— Susan B. Anthony, in an address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, Vol. ii., p. 217
"I was a good boy. I went to church and believed in God – what a relief for a working-‐class mother. You see, growing up where I did, mums didn’t hope as high as their kids growing up to be doctors; they just hoped their kids didn’t go to jail. So bring them up believing in God and they’ll be good and law abiding. It’s a perfect system. Well, nearly. 75 percent of Americans are God-‐fearing Christians; 75 percent of prisoners are God-‐fearing Christians. 10 percent of Americans are atheists; 0.2 percent of prisoners are atheists."
— Ricky Gervais offers ‘A Holiday Message’ on why he’s an atheist
"But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."
John the Savage, Brave New World
This is quite possibly my favorite literary quote of all time.