Oh, those early freethinkers could turn a phrase on a dime, my darlings, and it’s time we had a selection of their quotable bits. Here I’ve a small selection of quotes loosely themed around religion and morality. Do you have any favorites of your own? Do share!
Elizabeth Cady Stanton: “When women understand that governments and religions are human inventions; that Bibles, prayer-books, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brains of man, they will no longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority of ‘Thus sayeth the Lord.’”
Robert Ingersoll: “Religion has not civilized man—man has civilized religion. God improves as man advances.”
Baron d’Holbach: “Is there anything better calculated to annihilate every idea of morality in the minds of men, than to make them understand that their God, who is so powerful and so perfect, is often compelled to use crime to accomplish His designs?”
Charles Southwell: “Witness the character of Him implied in the conceit of that popular preacher who declared ‘there are children in hell not a span long’—a declaration which could only be made by one whose humanity was extinguished by divinity.”
Matilda Joslyn Gage: “The church has ever obstructed the progress of humanity, delaying civilization and condemning the world to a moral barbarism from which there is no escape except through repudiation of its teachings.”