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Written September 13, 2015


As I browse Twitter and Facebook and other websites, I find many pithy remarks and quotes with which I tend to agree.  I'd like them to reach a wider audience, but because I have very few “followers” of my own, I don’t bother to retweet these comments.  Instead, I copy them into a virtual notebook.  Here are some that I’ve collected over the last four months.


Mark Evanier  The more popular a party is, the less likely I am to be able to find a place to sit or to understand one damned thing anyone says to me.  And why, if we can't hear each other, does there have to be music?

Mark Vidonic   Most common phrase used when cleaning your garage — “That’s where that ended up.”

Ken Jennings  If we ever make contact with aliens, my first question would be, “Is you guys' planet named for your word for dirt, or was that just us?”

Scott Adams  I wish I were dumber so I could be more certain about my opinions.  It looks fun.

Scott Renshaw  I want to stop being irritated by things other people do and think.  They just need to meet me halfway by being less stupid.  I'd settle for people seeming less proud of never learning something that changed their mind.
     We're a nation almost staunchly proud of our aversion to reason.  Yay, us.  Human reason is the most astonishing evolutionary development in the history of this planet.  How tragic that so many opt not to use it!
     I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  Every schoolchild should learn the basics of constructing a logical argument.  That includes learning what does not constitute a rational argument:  straw men, emotional appeal, anecdote, deflection. 

Frater Ravus  Faith does not give you the answers.  It just stops you asking the questions.

David Javerbaum, “TheTweetOfGod”  The people who have total faith in Me tend to be the ones I have no faith in whatsoever.

Bertrand Russell  What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.

Mark Evanier  I have an odd fondness for the song “When You Wish upon a Star,” even though I disagree fundamentally with its philosophy.  I don't think there's anything wrong with wishing upon a star or praying to your god(s), as long as you don't mistake that for actually doing something to make something happen.

Scott Renshaw  I confess I don't chat regularly with conservative Christians, but is this view of prayer as “God is my genie” pervasive?  Movies like War Room and Little Boy view prayer through a lens that's almost shockingly infantile.  I really had no idea.  I suppose on some level it's in keeping with prosperity theology, this idea that “winning” at prayer proves your faith.  Ugh.

TheTweetOfGod  Prayer is founded on the fundamental misconception that I take requests.

Neil Carter  I trust science over religion, not because science is always right but because, unlike religion, science is capable of self-correction.

Scott Renshaw  I like it when we collectively react to science as a cool thing that helps us understand the universe better, instead of a devious threat.

Lawrence M. Krauss  (condensed from this article)
     The more we learn about the workings of the universe, the more purposeless it seems.  Scientists have an obligation not to lie about the natural world.  But we have elevated respect for religious sensibilities to an inappropriate level that makes society less free, not more.
     In science, the very word “sacred” is profane.  What is sacred to one person can be meaningless (or repugnant) to another.  When we hesitate to openly question beliefs because we don’t want to risk offense, questioning itself becomes taboo.
     It is here that the imperative for scientists to speak out seems to me to be most urgent.  We owe it to ourselves and to our children not to give a free pass to the suppression of open questioning in order to protect ideas that are considered “sacred.”
     Five hundred years of science have liberated humanity from the shackles of enforced ignorance.  We should celebrate this openly and enthusiastically, regardless of whom it may offend.

Anonymous  If glass comes from sand, why are there still beaches?

Stephen Colbert  Global warming isn't real, because I was cold today!

TheTweetOfGod  Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day.  Teach a man to fish, he'll add to the global overdepletion of the oceans.  So just give him the fish.

Stephen Colbert  Also great news:  World hunger is over, because I just ate.

Stephen Hawking  I think the afterlife is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.

Mother Teresa  Where is my faith?  Even deep down there is nothing but emptiness and darkness.  If there be a God — please forgive me.

CNN reports that in Afghanistan, men threw acid into girls’ faces “for going to school.”  Twitter reacts...

godless_mom  No one would do that if it wasn’t for religion.

AndreWaters20  Every time I hear some religious nut spouting off about all the good religion does, I remind them of this.

Noel McGivern  The harm of religion is very deep and real.  When we point that out, we get anger and fear from believers — because they know it’s true.

ShadowSpadeXIV  At its core it’s harmful, because it indoctrinates children and teaches that belief is equal to fact.  Not true.

Josh Fruhlinger  “Probably no story in all the world is told more often, in so many ways and in so many languages, than the story of the nativity — the birth of Jesus Christ.  But to small children, Christmas means one thing:  Santa Claus is coming!”
     Yes, just about everyone in the world knows the story of the birth of Christ ... except for children, who couldn’t care less about our Lord and Savior and instead worship a bastardized, commercialized version of an ancient Germanic deity, the greedy little pagans.

Weird Science  Almost 1% of American mothers claim to be virgins when they give birth.  So apparently Mary wasn't that unusual.

PZ Myers  Toxic Christian belief says distrust all emotions, and distrust your thoughts too.
     Now I’m feeling some sympathy for the poor stunted Christians.  They’re told they can’t trust feelings, but they can’t trust logic and reason, either?  So they’re just stuck with accepting what they’re told by religious authorities?  Tragic.
     As for the Bible, it’s a book of self-serving legends and stories that an ancient people used to identify themselves.  I wouldn’t consider it a book of lies if people accepted it for what it is:  a collection of myths, poetry, metaphor, and garbled history.  It’s when they try to promote it as something more, a detailed and perfectly accurate history of the world, in defiance of all of the evidence, that it becomes a tool for spreading lies.

Ken Jennings  The greatest plot twist of all time is in the Bible where, halfway through, God suddenly turns out to be nice.

Atheistic One  Yes, “God's love” is a major theme of the Bible.  But it's clear what happens if you don't accept.

PZ Myers  I don’t know how I would react if I encountered your psychopathic thug of a god.  If there were such a thing as an all-powerful super-being who confronted me, I know I’d be afraid, especially if he were threatening me with torture if I disagreed with him, and eternal enslavement if I obeyed him.  I’d probably also feel despair that this was the nature of the universe, a kingdom ruled by a hateful tyrant.

TheTweetOfGod  Hell is reserved for those who spent their lives telling others they would go there.

ChicagoLarry  Pastor E.W. Jackson said, “There does seem to be a rising hostility against Christians in this country because of our biblical views.”
     NOTICE TO CHRISTIANS: No one cares about your biblical views or beliefs.  We care only about your behaviors.
     If you don't want “persecution,” then practice your religion among yourselves and leave others alone.  If you don't believe in marriage equality, for example, then don't marry a person of the same sex.  It's that simple!
     Now if you go out and try stopping others from enjoying equality, then that is when your behavior hurts others and you can expect to be called out for it — or as you like to call it, “persecuted.”

Rachel Held Evans  No one’s being jailed for practicing her religion.  Someone’s being jailed for using the government to force others to practice her religion.

Ed Wenck (to a longtime friend)
     I knew you were conservative, and I knew we agreed to disagree on a lot of points.  But over the past few years, something shifted.  Then it got downright weird.  Scary, even.  And today you equated marriage equality with pedophilia!  I don't know when exactly you fully embraced the dogma you hold as truth, but I really think it's toxic.
     You grieve for me as some kind of “lost soul.”  You believe I'll spend eternity in a lake of fire because I'm the wrong kind of Christian (United Church of Christ, if you're curious).  I'm an unrepentant sinner destined for damnation.  At least my atheist, agnostic, (insert 50 Christian denominations here), Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Shinto and — especially by your standards, apparently — LGBT friends and colleagues will keep me company, I guess.
     I'm so sorry, but this is a wrap.  I just can't engage — face to face, phone to phone, or message to message — with anyone who holds such a terribly ugly view of the people I hold dear.  Your God has condemned me, and those I care for, to infinite torture.  My God has never been that angry.

Sally Kohn  Strikingly, 64 percent of self-identified millennial evangelicals support same-sex marriage.  As the literal future of orthodox Christianity, they are a portrait not of a post-Christian America, but a post-homophobic Christianity.  Liberty, freedom, and the ever-bending arc toward equality have won.  Intolerance and hate have lost.
     To those who remain in the fringe minority stubbornly mired in hatred and the dark rationalizations of the past, please try to lose gracefully.  You are not being exiled.  The world is simply moving on without you.

Justin Schieber  Maybe evangelicals will focus on their own marriages now.  Lower those divorce rates, folks.

Carl Newman  If you're paranoid enough to think that someone is going to take your guns away, someone should probably take your guns away.

Dave McConnell  NRA – “Guns don't kill people, people kill people.”
Me – “Well then, we should be really strict about who can have a gun.”
NRA – “Not what we meant.”

TheTweetOfGod  America was founded on the obliteration of one race, the enslavement of another, the mass cultivation of a death crop ... and moxie!

Doug Stanhope  Nationalism teaches you to take pride in things you haven't done and hate people you've never met.

George Dvorsky  Much of this effect may have to do with oxytocin — the so-called “love molecule.”  This neurotransmitter, while helping us to forge tighter bonds with people in our ingroup, performs the exact opposite function for those on the outside — it makes us suspicious, fearful, and even disdainful of others.  Ultimately, the ingroup bias causes us to overestimate the abilities and value of our immediate group at the expense of people we don't really know. 

TheTweetOfGod  America is the greatest country on earth when it comes to telling everyone it's the greatest country on earth.

Coily Cue  You'd have to be completely psychotic to believe that America is as great as we've always been told.

Mark Evanier  I came across this quote from Steve Schmidt, who was one of the main guys behind John McCain's campaign in 2008. He was asked to explain why Donald Trump was doing so well and he replied, “We're at the moment in time when there's a severability between conservatism and issues.  Conservatism is now expressed as an emotional sentiment.  That sentiment is contempt and anger.”

Buddha  You will not be punished for your anger.  You will be punished by your anger.

Steven Rosenfeld  A majority of the Republican Party’s base is living in a right-wing bubble where facts don’t matter — and it has become increasingly acceptable to publicly voice racist positions because the leading presidential candidate is modeling that behavior.

Allen Clifton  If you dare step out of line, you’re quickly and aggressively attacked by many Republicans as “not being a real conservative.”  Not only that, but conservatives constantly cling to the past.  Heck, it’s 2015 and they’re still basically just recycling the same policies and ideas from Ronald Reagan who was first elected 35 years ago.


Undocumented immigrants refuse to learn local language

Still get food assistance

Shelly Strauss  With all the publicity and support that Trump and other Republican candidates are getting, expect a surge in racism, homophobia, xenophobia and classism in the next couple years since kids who are watching this are thinking “This has to be true if people are supporting this!”
     Stand up to the racists, homophobes, xenophobes and classists, and tell them that their fear-mongering is not welcome in our society.  Use your voice.  Use your power.  Use your heart to help heal this world.

Earl Pomerantz  Their ranting and their “crusades,” the extremism of their language and their point of view, it just sounds crazy.  Some minister blames Hurricane Katrina on the gay lifestyle in New Orleans, or Pat Robertson proclaims that God is punishing our sinfulness by making people from another religion fly planes into the World Trade Center.  You listen to this foolishness and you wonder, “Have these people completely lost their minds?  Who's going to believe any of this?”
     The answer to that question is this:  People who aren't like you.  These leaders and commentators are speaking directly to their followers, who totally agree with them.
     As a bonus, our outrage at their ridiculous comments reinforces their certainty, because the believers believe that we — the passionate critics of their leaders — are going to hell.
     Here's what you need to remember.  When leaders appear on national television, and you reflexively think, “They're on national television; that must mean they're talking to everyone” — don't do that.  Why?  Because when they start saying outrageous things, you're going to immediately think that they're nuts.  They're not.  They're just not talking to you.  (They may be nuts too.)

Rocket_Gamera  Christianity is so far removed from Jesus' teachings that it has to be considered a new religion.  Bigotianity.

TheTweetOfGod  America, I cannot in good conscience bless you anymore.

Paul Krugman  What conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans' lives.  That's why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993 and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act.  But Obamacare has survived, it's here, and it's working.  The great conservative nightmare has come true.  And it's a beautiful thing.

Mark Schweeb  When I brought up to a very conservative friend about paying taxes to support education, her reply was, “Well, I don't have kids.  So why would I pay for something I am not going to use?  Let the parents pay for it!  It is not the government’s job to take my money to use for someone else.”
Eugene Tauber  My reply to such ignorant questions is, everyone around you and everyone taking care of you is a product of those schools.  Do you want your babysitter or personal care nurse to be able to read your medicine bottles?  Do you want the people building your house to know what they are doing?  Do you want your accountant to be able to do long division?
Mary Goodson  All reasonable arguments, but you're talking to someone who isn't interested in facts or reality.  They have their fantasy world they live in, and that's all they're willing or able to perceive.
Mark Schweeb  They care nothing about society at large or the good of this country, only themselves and their selfish needs.

Roberta Witt   People who get the power they lack in their life by acting out behind the wheel of a car are pathetic and dangerous.

Dalai Lama  Be kind whenever possible.  It is always possible.

Justin Schieber  After the loss of a loved one, those who beg for the death penalty and demand “closure” are just using a vacuous term in place of “revenge.”

Virginia Montanez  Racism is so mind-blowingly dumb — feeling superior for being born a race when you had nothing to do with being born that race.

Daily Pittsburgh Gazette (near end of Civil War, March 29, 1865)
     Are people whose heroism has been attested on many battle fields and still better attested in acts of perilous kindness to dying prisoners of the Union, to be still kept down as a debased, disfranchised caste?
     We hold that it is impossible to found firm and enduring institutions upon an uneven foundation — that an upper and lower caste are as dangerous to a free state as Liberty and Slavery.

Earl Pomerantz  We used to sing this at camp — a song of tolerance and respect for those we disagree with, around the world, and also at home.

I'm proud to be me, but I also see
You're just as proud to be you.
We may look at things a bit differently
But lots of good people do.

It's just human nature
So why should I hate ya
     For being as human as I.
We'll get as we give
And we'll live and let live
     And we'll all get along if we try.

I'm proud to be me, but I also see
You're just as proud to be you — it's true — 
You're just as proud to be you.



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