Sunday, August 20, 2006

Quotes of Voltaire

Found at Wikiquote:

François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694 - May 30, 1778) French writer, deist and philosopher; better known by his pen name Voltaire. (Emphasis mine, just for better understanding of his words about religion and churches)

Man is free at the instant he wants to be.

Who serves his country well has no need of ancestors.

It is better to risk sparing a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one.

To pray to God is to flatter oneself that with words one can alter nature.

It is dangerous to be right in matters where established men are wrong.

Opinions have caused more ills than the plague or earthquakes on this little globe of ours

When we hear news, we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.

All men would then be necessarily equal, if they were without needs. It is the poverty connected with our species which subordinates one man to another. It is not inequality which is the real misfortune, it is dependence.

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly- that is the first law of nature.

Formerly there were those who said: You believe things that are incomprehensible, inconsistent, impossible because we have commanded you to believe them; go then and do what is unjust because we command it. Such people show admirable reasoning. Truly, whoever is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust. If the God-given understanding of your mind does not resist a demand to believe what is impossible, then you will not resist a demand to do wrong to that God-given sense of justice in your heart. As soon as one faculty of your soul has been dominated, other faculties will follow as well. And from this derives all those crimes of religion which have overrun the world.

[Christianity] is assuredly the most ridiculous, the most absurd and the most bloody religion which has ever infected this world.

It is said that God is always on the side of the big battalions.

Thought depends largely on the stomach. In spite of this, those with the best stomachs are not always the best thinkers.

Money is always to be found when men are to be sent to the frontiers to be destroyed: when the object is to preserve them, it is no longer so.

Virtue supposes liberty, as the carrying of a burden supposes active force. Under coercion there is no virtue, and without virtue there is no religion. Make a slave of me, and I shall be no better for it. Even the sovereign has no right to use coercion to lead men to religion, which by its nature supposes choice and liberty. My thought is no more subject to authority than is sickness or health.

It requires twenty years for a man to rise from the vegetable state in which he is within his mother's womb, and from the pure animal state which is the lot of his early childhood, to the state when the maturity of reason begins to appear. It has required thirty centuries to learn a little about his structure. It would need eternity to learn something about his soul. It takes an instant to kill him.

In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other

Nothing is so common as to imitate one's enemies, and to use their weapons.

In a word, we only pray to God because we have made him in our image. We treat him like a pasha, like a sultan whom one may provoke or appease.

It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.

To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid; you must also be well-mannered.

Add to this Kants “What is Enlightenment?” and Nietzsches “Last Man”, then you see:

It doesn’t change much since 1750.

Except for?

Global Population explosion...

Global Waste...

Global Wars...

Global Warming...


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