Doubt Quotes

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  • Doubt grows with knowledge.
    o Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Sprüche in Prosa (Proverbs in Prose, 1819)

  • To know much is often the cause of doubting more.
    o Michel de Montaigne, Essais (1588).

  • If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties.
    o Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605), Book I, v, 8.

  • Is God fair? The Christians say that God damns forever anyone who is skeptical about truth of bunkistic religion as revealed unto the holy haranguers. What this means is that a God, if any, punishes a man for using his reason. If there is a God in existence, reasons should be available for his existence. Assuming that such a precious thing as a man’s eternal future depends on his belief in a God, then the materials for that belief should be overwhelming and not at all doubtful. Yet here is a man whose reason makes it impossible for him to believe in a God. He sees no evidence of such an entity. He finds all the arguments weak and worthless. He doubts and he denies. Then is a God fair in visiting upon such a skeptic the penalty for his inevitable intellectual attitude? The intelligent man refuses to believe fairy tales. Can a God blame him? If so, then a God is not as fair as an ordinarily decent man. And fairness, we think, is more important than piety.
    o The Meaning of Atheism by E. Haldeman-Julius

  • Doubt, indeed, is the disease of this inquisitive, restless age. It is the price we pay for our advanced intelligence and civilization. It is the dim night of our resplendent day. But as the most beautiful light is born of darkness, so the faith which springs from conflict is often the strongest and the best.
    o Robert Turnbull, Life Pictures from a Pastor’s Notebook (1857)

  • Doubt is for the dying.
    o Imperial Guard, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

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  • Another meme of the religious meme complex is called faith. It means blind trust, in the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence. The story of Doubting Thomas is told, not so that we shall admire Thomas, but so that we can admire the other apostles in comparison. Thomas demanded evidence. Nothing is more lethal for certain kinds of meme than a tendency to look for evidence. The other apostles, whose faith was so strong that they did not need evidence, are held up to us as worthy of imitation. The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.
    o Richard Dawkins

  • Christianity has done it’s utmost to close the circle and declare even doubt to be a sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature – is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on it’s origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.
    o Friedrich Nietzsche

  • Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.
    o Voltaire

  • Doubt everything. Find your own light.
    o Last words of Gautama Buddha, in Theravada tradition

  • Fear believes – courage doubts. Fear falls upon the earth and prays – courage stands erect and thinks. Fear is barbarism – courage is civilization. Fear believes in witchcraft, in devils and in ghosts. Fear is religion, courage is science.
    o Robert Ingersoll

  • I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong. I have approximate answers and possible beliefs and different degrees of certainty about different things, but I’m not absolutely sure of anything and there are many things I don’t know anything about, such as whether it means anything to ask why we’re here. I don’t have to know the answer. I don’t feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without any purpose, which is the way it really is as far as I can tell. It doesn’t frighten me.
    o Richard Feynman

  • I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.
    o Wilson Mizner

  • I slept with Faith, and found a corpse in my arms on awaking; I drank and danced all night with Doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning.
    o Aleister Crowley

  • I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous – if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.
    o Robert Ingersoll

  • If you cannot examine your thoughts, you have no choice but to think them, however silly they may be.
    o Richard Mitchell

  • It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.
    o Epictetus

  • It is the things for which there is no evidence that are believed with passion. Nobody feels any passion about the multiplication table or about the existence of Cape Horn, because these matters are not doubtful. But in matters of theology or political theory, where a rational man will hold that at best there is a slight balance of probability on one side or the other, people argue with passio and support their opinions by physical slavery imposed by armies and mental slavery imposed by schools.
    o Bertrand Russell

  • Men become civilized not in proportion to their willingness to believe but in proportion to their readiness to doubt.
    o H. L. Mencken

  • The believer is happy; the doubter is wise.
    o Hungarian proverb

  • The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom. The modern world is the child of doubt and inquiry, as the ancient world was the child of fear and faith.
    o Clarence Darrow

  • Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.
    o Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • William James used to preach the ‘will to believe.’ For my part, I should wish to preach the ‘will to doubt.’ … What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
    o Bertrand Russell

  • “Doubt fucks everything. Take a foundation, no matter how strong, sprinkle generously with doubt, and watch it crumble. Me? I’m unfuckwithable. Not this knee, not bad weather, and certainly not the many men that wish bad intentions on me can stop me. I rise up, not like a phoenix, but like the zombie corpse of Dick Murdoch.”
    o Phil Brooks

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