276. “Michelangelo is the gold standard,” Winston said with a chuckle, “brilliantly posing David in an effeminate contrapposto, his limp wrist casually holding a flaccid slingshot, conveying a feminine vulnerability. And yet David’s eyes radiate a lethal determination, his tendons and veins bulging in anticipation of killing Goliath. The work is simultaneously delicate.”
278. “Sophie, every faith in the world is based on fabrication. That is the definition of faith – acceptance of that which we imagine to be true, that which we cannot prove. Every religion describes God through metaphor, allegory, and exaggeration, from the early Egyptians through modern Sunday school. Metaphors are a way to help our minds process the unprocessible. The problems arise when we begin to believe literally in our own metaphors.”
285. “Faith does not protect you. Medicine and airbags... Those are the things that protect you. God does not protect you. Intelligence protects you. Enlightenment. Put your faith in something with tangible results. How long has it been since someone walked on water? Modern miracles belong to science... Computers, vaccines, space stations... Even the devine miracle of creation. Matter from nothing... In a lab. Who needs God? No! Science is God!”
287. “The term ‘atheist,’ ” Kirsch continued, “should not even exist. No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘nonastrologer’ or a ‘nonalchemist.’ We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive, or for people who doubt that aliens traverse the galaxy only to molest cattle. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs.”
288. “To demolish this basilica,” the king said, ” is to pretend our history never happened – an easy way to allow ourselves to move happily forward, telling ourselves that another ‘Franco’ could never happen. But of course it could happen, and it will happen if we are not vigilant. – Father of Prince Julian.”
295. “To permit ignorance is to empower it. To do nothing as our leaders proclaim absurdities is a crime of complacency. As is letting our schools and churches teach outright untruths to our children. The time for action has come. Not until we purge our species of superstitious thinking can we embrace all that our minds have to offer.”
299. “Having faith requires leaps of faith, cerebral acceptance of miracles – immaculate conceptions and divine interventions. And then there are the codes of conduct. The Bible, the Koran, Buddhist scripture... they all carry similar requirements – and similar penalties. They claim that if I don’t live by a specific code I will go to hell. I can’t imagine a God who would rule that way.”
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