In the World Wars, people were perfectly able to shoot other people just because they belonged to the wrong country, without ever asking what their opinions were. Faith too is like that.
We frequently look into the future of mankind and see dangers. We see if we carry on doing what we are doing in 20 years' time there will be no rainforests left, just to use one example. Looking into the future may be one of the reasons that brains evolved in the first place.
If saying that religion should be a private matter and should not have special influence in public life is illiberal, then 74% of U.K. Christians are illiberal, too.
It's a horrible idea that God, this paragon of wisdom and knowledge, power, couldn't think of a better way to forgive us our sins than to come down to Earth in his alter ego as his son and have himself hideously tortured and executed so that he could forgive himself.
Disagreements between incompatible beliefs cannot be settled by reasoned argument because reasoned argument is drummed out of those trained in religion from the cradle.
If you were to actually travel around schools and universities and listen in on lectures about evolution, you might find a fairly substantial fraction of young people, without knowing what it is they disapprove of, think they disapprove of it, because they've been brought up to.
Religion is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness.
You can't imagine how gratifying it is to have a reader come up to you and say, 'You changed my life.'
The central dogma of the New Testament is that Jesus died as a scapegoat for the sin of Adam and the sins that all we unborn generations might have been contemplating in the future. Adam's sin is perhaps mitigated by the extenuating circumstance that he didn't exist.
Isn't it sad to go to your grave without ever wondering why you were born? Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be part of it?
Discrimination is not liberal. Arguing against discrimination is not intolerance.
The chances of each of us coming into existence are infinitesimally small, and even though we shall all die some day, we should count ourselves fantastically lucky to get our decades in the sun.
I once wrote that anybody who believes the world is only 6,000 years old is either ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.
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.
Teachers who help to open young minds perform a duty which is as near sacred as I will admit.
By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
The Bible should be taught, but emphatically not as reality. It is fiction, myth, poetry, anything but reality. As such it needs to be taught because it underlies so much of our literature and our culture.
Astrology is an aesthetic affront. It cheapens astronomy, like using Beethoven for commercial jingles.
I like to think 'The God Delusion' is a humorous book. I think, actually, it's full of laughs. And people who describe it as a polarizing book or as an aggressive book, it's just that very often they haven't read it.
Natural selection is anything but random.
Something pretty mysterious had to give rise to the origin of the universe.
I do think imagination is enormously valuable, and that children should be encouraged in their imagination. That's very true.
If you set out in a spaceship to find the one planet in the galaxy that has life, the odds against your finding it would be so great that the task would be indistinguishable, in practice, from impossible.
I do sometimes accuse people of ignorance, but that is not intended to be an insult. I'm ignorant of lots of things. Ignorance is something that can be remedied by education.
As a liberal, I would hesitate to propose a blanket ban on any style of dress because of the implications for individual liberty and freedom of choice.
It has become almost a cliche to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics.
I love words.
Humans have a proven track record in taking over planes by the use of threats, which work because the legitimate pilots value their own lives and those of their passengers.
The reason we personify things like cars and computers is that just as monkeys live in an arboreal world and moles live in an underground world and water striders live in a surface tension-dominated flatland, we live in a social world.