To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture.
— Thomas Paine
He that rebels against reason is a real rebel, but he that in defence of reason rebels against tyranny has a better title to Defender of the Faith, than George the Third.
There are matters in the Bible, said to be done by the express commandment of God, that are shocking to humanity and to every idea we have of moral justice.
That God cannot lie, is no advantage to your argument, because it is no proof that priests can not, or that the Bible does not.
It is not a God, just and good, but a devil, under the name of God, that the Bible describes.
It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.
Every science has for its basis a system of principles as fixed and unalterable as those by which the universe is regulated and governed. Man cannot make principles; he can only discover them.
It is not a field of a few acres of ground, but a cause, that we are defending, and whether we defeat the enemy in one battle, or by degrees, the consequences will be the same.
To establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might be to Nations, would be to take from such Government the most lucrative of its branches.
Human nature is not of itself vicious.
Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best stage, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.
Time makes more converts than reason.
Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property... Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them.
When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.
Virtues are acquired through endeavor, Which rests wholly upon yourself. So, to praise others for their virtues Can but encourage one's own efforts.
The Vatican is a dagger in the heart of Italy.
My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
War involves in its progress such a train of unforeseen circumstances that no human wisdom can calculate the end; it has but one thing certain, and that is to increase taxes.
Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society.
Is it not a species of blasphemy to call the New Testament revealed religion, when we see in it such contradictions and absurdities.
Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be true.
The strength and power of despotism consists wholly in the fear of resistance.
It is an affront to treat falsehood with complaisance.
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
But such is the irresistable nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants is the liberty of appearing.
Titles are but nicknames, and every nickname is a title.
That which we obtain too easily, we esteem too lightly.
It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.
The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.
Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.
It is the direction and not the magnitude which is to be taken into consideration.
When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.
We can only reason from what is; we can reason on actualities, but not on possibilities.
The instant formal government is abolished, society begins to act. A general association takes place, and common interest produces common security.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
Every religion is good that teaches man to be good; and I know of none that instructs him to be bad.
He who is the author of a war lets loose the whole contagion of hell and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.
Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.
These are the times that try men's souls.
Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice.
If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.
Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.
To say that any people are not fit for freedom, is to make poverty their choice, and to say they had rather be loaded with taxes than not.
'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
My mind is my own church.
The abilities of man must fall short on one side or the other, like too scanty a blanket when you are abed. If you pull it upon your shoulders, your feet are left bare; if you thrust it down to your feet, your shoulders are uncovered.
There are two distinct classes of what are called thoughts: those that we produce in ourselves by reflection and the act of thinking and those that bolt into the mind of their own accord.
Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us.