Richard Dawkins quotations
about God and Religion
Richard Dawkins pictured in Melbourne, Australia in March, 2010, at a Global Atheist Convention:-
Early in 2014 the following image featured prominently, we must presume with his full consent, on Richard Dawkins' Twitter account page :-
This page features some variously blatant, flagrant, unapologetic and headlong criticisms of God, religion, faiths and religious beliefs
attributed to Richard Dawkins.
But! If readers have the time ~ also of interest perhaps?
The Faith vs Reason Debate
The Age of the Sage Home Page
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It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be
made that faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate.
(From the opening line from a speech Richard Dawkins gave in 1996 to the American Humanist Association whilst accepting their "Humanist
of the Year" award for 1996).
"The enlightenment is under threat. So is reason. So is truth. So is science... We have to devote a significant proportion of our time and resources to defending it
from deliberate attack from organized ignorance..."
From an introductory page to the Richard Dawkins Foundation web site
"What has 'theology' ever said that is of the smallest use to anybody? When has 'theology' ever said anything that is demonstrably true
and is not obvious? What makes you think that 'theology' is a subject at all?"
"Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one."
"Everybody is an atheist in saying that there is a god - from Ra to Shiva - in which he does not believe. All that the serious and
objective atheist does is to take the next step and to say that there is just one more god to disbelieve in."
"We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."
"One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all."
"Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time."
"The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry."
"The Bishop goes on to the human eye, asking rhetorically, and with the implication that there is no answer, 'How could an organ
so complex evolve?' This is not an argument, it is simply an affirmation of incredulity."
Richard Dawkins (The Blind Watchmaker)
"Let children learn about different faiths, let them notice their incompatibility, and let them draw their own conclusions about
the consequences of that incompatibility. As for whether they are "valid," let them make up their own minds when they are old
enough to do so."
Richard Dawkins - The God Delusion
"The majority of children born into the world tend to inherit the beliefs of their parents, and that to me is one of the most regrettable
facts of them all."
"Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch
for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that."
"The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels
on people rather than see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion gives strong sanction to both - and mixes explosively with both.
Only the willfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities in
the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East. Those of us who have for years politely concealed
our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different now. All is
changed, changed utterly."
"My point is not that religion itself is the motivation for wars, murders and terrorist attacks, but that religion is the principal label,
and the most dangerous one, by which a "they" as opposed to a "we" can be identified at all."
Richard Dawkins (A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love)
"To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together
anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors,
editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries"
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
"Yahweh: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unplesant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust,
unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal,
filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
"God exists, if only in the form of a meme with high survival value, or infective power, in the environment provided by human culture."
"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even
perhaps because of, the lack of evidence."
"It is often said, mainly by the 'no-contests', that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there
evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position,
at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father
Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove
that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?"
Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
"...when two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them.
It is possible for one side to be simply wrong."
Some Human Mysteries
"You will hear things like, "Science doesn't know everything." Well, of course science doesn't know everything. But,
because science doesn't know everything, it doesn't mean that science knows nothing. Science knows enough for us to
be watched by a few million people now on television, for these lights to be working, for quite extraordinary
miracles to have taken place in terms of the harnessing of the physical world and our dim approaches towards
understanding it. And as Wittgenstein quite rightly said, 'When we understand every single secret of the universe,
there will still be left the eternal mystery of the human heart.'"
Stephen Fry quoting Wittgenstein during a Room 101 TV program
It is widely known that Plato, pupil of and close friend to Socrates, accepted that Human
Beings have a " Tripartite Soul " where the individual Human Psyche is composed of three aspects -
Wisdom-Rationality, Spirited-Will and Appetite-Desire.
What is less widely appreciated is that such major World Faiths as Christianity, Islam,
Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism see "Spirituality" as being relative to "Desire" and to "Wrath".
Human Beings are "social beings" and, that being the case, it seems possible that individual Human-innate
"bundles of relations and knots of roots"
tend to contribute towards giving rise to the "World" of Human Societies!!!
This view suggests that Societies themselves!!!
can often have a "Tripartite" character.
Although this may well depend on such things as:-
How "socio-politically doctrinaire" an individual society might be.
(Societies committed to Marxist ideology, for example, may not be particularly "Tripartite").
Is it credible that Societies could well be often founded on Human Nature???
"Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant
and universal principles of human nature."
"Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances,
which are human actions, like every other natural event, are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history,
which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will
in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual
may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment."
Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View
What is the business of history? What is the
stuff of which it is made? Who is the personage
of history? Man : evidently man and human
nature. There are many different elements in history. What are they?
Evidently again, the elements of human nature. History is therefore the
development of humanity, and of humanity only;
for nothing else but humanity developes itself, for
nothing else than humanity is free. ...
... Moreover, when we have all the elements, I mean
all the essential elements, their mutual relations
do, as it were, discover themselves. We draw from
the nature of these different elements, if not all
their possible relations, at least their general and
Introduction to the History of Philosophy (1832)
Or to quote Emerson, from his famous Essay ~ History
"In old Rome the public roads beginning at the Forum
proceeded north, south, east, west, to the centre of every
province of the empire, making each market-town of Persia, Spain,
and Britain pervious to the soldiers of the capital: so out of
the human heart go, as it were, highways to the heart of every
object in nature, to reduce it under the dominion of man. A man
is a bundle of relations, a knot of roots, whose flower and
fruitage is the world. His faculties refer to natures out of him,
and predict the world he is to inhabit, as the fins of the fish
foreshow that water exists, or the wings of an eagle in the egg
presuppose air. He cannot live without a world."
"There is one mind common to all individual men....
....Of the works of this mind history is the record. Man is explicable by nothing
less than all his history. All the facts of history pre-exist as laws. Each
law in turn is made by circumstances predominant. The creation of
a thousand forests is in one acorn, and Egypt, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Britain,
America, lie folded already in the first man. Epoch after epoch, camp, kingdom,
empire, republic, democracy, are merely the application of this manifold spirit
to the manifold world."
From Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essay ~ History
Key insights, from such formidably authoritative "Traditional" sources as the Great Faiths, Plato, Socrates,
Pythagoras, Shakespeare and Emerson supportive of such a "Tripartite" view of Human Nature are available here at Age-of-the-Sage.
Believe it, or believe it not, Modern Psychological Science, also gives some support to such a "Tripartite" view of Human Nature!!!
We have prepared some fairly detailed, but hopefully entertaining, pages about a most informative
episode in European History in the spirit of attempting to learn worthwhile lessons of history about ~ The Human Condition!!!
Popular European History pages on this site