Bertrand Russell

British philosopher, logician, mathematician and historian

Bertrand Russell

"And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence."

"I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong."

"One is often told it is wrong to attack religion, because it makes men virtuous. So I am told; I have not noticed it."

"So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence; and in this respect ministers of religion follow gospel authority more closely than in some others."

Brian Keith Dalton

Actor "Mr. Deity"

Brian Keith Dalton

Foto: Mr. Diety

"...when [Richard Dawkins] says something you disagree with, don’t take it as a personal betrayal. Richard never agreed to be your personal spokesman, let alone boyfriend. And if you do feel betrayed, you probably have a little bit too much of your own identity invested in someone else’s thinking."

Christopher Hitchens

God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, journalist at Vanity Fair

Christopher Hitchens

Foto: Hugh Greentree

"The struggle for a free intelligence has always been a struggle between the ironic and the literal mind."

"Well, I’ll put it this way: you can certainly say belief in God makes people behave worse. That can be proved beyond a doubt."

"Forgotten were the elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence."

Daniel Dennett

Professor of Philosophy, Tufts University

Daniel Dennett

Foto: David Orban

"Those who fear the facts will forever try to discredit the fact-finders."

"You don't get to advertise all the good that your religion does without first scrupulously subtracting all the harm it does and considering seriously the question of whether some other religion, or no religion at all, does better."

"The one thing that I think is really dangerous in many religions is that it gives people a gold-plated excuse to stop thinking."

Dave Rubin

Programledare, komiker

Dave Rubin

Foto: David Janet

"The power of ideas is universal. When we discuss free speech, free thought and free expression it is vital that we mean it equally for everyone, not just in an identity politics based pecking order."

Douglas Adams

Författare, satiriker

Douglas Adams

Foto: Chris Ogle

"Now, the invention of the scientific method and science is, I’m sure we’ll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and that it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked and if it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn’t withstand the attack then down it goes."

Michael Nugent

Författare

Michael Nugent

Foto: Michael Nugent (privat)

"Faith corrupts the search for truth by declaring a conclusion before we reach the conclusion."

J.K. Rowling

Novelist, screenwriter and film producer

J.K. Rowling

"If you seek the removal of freedoms from an opponent simply on the grounds that they have offended you, you have crossed a line to stand alongside tyrants who imprison, torture and kill on exactly the same justifications."

John Cleese

Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda

John Cleese

Foto: Paul Boxley

"There's a rumour abroad that I dislike ‘Political Correctness’ This is a complete distortion of my views… I absolutely fucking abhor it."

"I remember a gentleman coming and telling us how very difficult it had proved to get the Bibles into Tibet, you know. They'd had seven occasions. The first time, there'd been landslides. The second time, there'd been rains and the pages had got stuck together. The third time, the mules had fallen of the mountainside. The fourth time, there were thunderbolts and so on. The seventh time, he said, 'God helped us! And we got the Bibles into Tibet.' The obvious conclusion is that God was trying like hell to stop them."

"Robyn Skinner said something very interesting to me: If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior. And when you are around super-sensitive people, you cannot relax and be spontaneous, because you have no idea what’s going to upset them next."

Lawrence M. Krauss

Professor of physics, professor astronomy, director of the Arizona State University Origins Project

Lawrence M. Krauss

Foto: Arizona State University

"Keeping religion immune from criticism is both unwarranted and dangerous."

"The universe has a much greater imagination than we do, which is why the real story of the universe is far more interesting than any of the fairy tales we have invented to describe it."

Noam Chomsky

Logician, cognitive scientist, Professor Emeritus at MIT

Noam Chomsky

Foto: John Soares

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

Richard Dawkins

The Selfish Gene, The God Delusion

Richard Dawkins

Foto: Anders Hesselbom

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."

"As a pejorative, 'Politically Correct' has lost its bite. It's now a cliché. What we have is an Orwellian (but unofficial) 'Thought Police'."

"Coming out as an atheist can cost an academic his or her job in some parts of America, and many choose to keep quiet about their atheism."

"Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong."

"I'm sure Obama is an atheist; I'm sure Kennedy was an atheist, but I doubt if Pope Frank is."

Rowan Atkinson

Not the Nine O’Clock News, Mr. Bean

Rowan Atkinson

Foto: Gerhard Heeke

"What is wrong with inciting intense dislike of a religion if the activities or teachings of that religion are so outrageous, irrational or abusive of human rights that they deserve to be intensely disliked?"

"...personally I suspect, highly unlikely to be arrested whatever laws exist to contain free expression, because of the undoubtedly privileged position that is afforded to those of a high public profile. So my concerns are less for myself and more for those more vulnerable because of their lower profile. Like the man arrested in Oxford for calling a police horse gay. Or the teenager arrested for calling the Church of Scientology a cult. Or the café owner arrested for displaying passages from the bible on a TV screen."

"To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed."

Sam Harris

Neuroscientist, co-founder of Project Reason

Sam Harris

Foto: Steve Jurvetson

"It is taboo in our society to criticize a person’s religious faith. These taboos are offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, they are getting people killed."

"I challenge you o think of a question upon which we had a scientific answer, however inadequate, but for which now the best answer is a religious one."

Sean M. Carroll

Kosmolog, fysikprofessor

Sean M. Carroll

Foto: Sean M. Carroll (privat)

"One increasingly hears rumors of a reconciliation between science and religion. In major news magazines as well as at academic conferences, the claim is made that that belief in the success of science in describing the workings of the world is no longer thought to be in conflict with faith in God. I would like to argue against this trend, in favor of a more old-fashioned point of view that is still more characteristic of most scientists, who tend to disbelieve in any religious component to the workings of the universe."

"We're not allowed to call the Higgs Boson the 'God Particle' anymore because now there's evidence that it exists."

Salman Rushdie

Författare

Salman Rushdie

"The Moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible."

"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."

"Because of it's obviously quite right to say that communities that are discriminated against, and oppressed, and economically disadvantaged, need to have those issues looked at, you know, and we need to try to deal with those issues. That's not the same thing as saying you can't criticize ideas they seem to hold. You can't ring fence ideas. It's one thing to say people must not be discriminated, but to say that ideas become [legitimate] because they're held by disadvantaged people is… It's just a flaw."

Stephen Fry

Comedian, actor, writer and activist

Stephen Fry

Foto: Marco Raaphorst

"It's now very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that' as if that gives them certain rights; it's actually nothing more... It's simply a whine. It's no more than a whine. 'I find that offensive', it has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that', well so fucking what?"