If we go back to the beginnings of things, we shall always find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that imagination, rapture and deception embellished them; that weakness worships them; that custom spares them; and that tyranny favors them in order to profit from the blindness of men.

— Baron d'Holbach

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The universe, that vast assemblage of every thing that exists, presents only matter and motion: the whole offers to our contemplation, nothing but an immense, an uninterrupted succession of causes and effects.


All religions are ancient monuments to superstition, ignorance and ferocity.


All children are born Atheists; they have no idea of God.


Nature, you say, is totally inexplicable without a God.

That is to say, to explain what you understand very little, you have need of a cause which you understand not at all.


If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.


It is only by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of religion that we shall discover truth, reason and morality.


When we examine the opinions of men, we find that nothing is more uncommon, than common sense; or, in other words, they lack judgment to discover plain truths, or to reject absurdities, and palpable contradictions.


It is very strange that men should deny a Creator and yet attribute to themselves the power of creating eels.


Tolerance and freedom of thought are the veritable antidotes to religious fanaticism.


Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under diverse names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty.


The source of man's unhappiness is his ignorance of Nature.


If the ministers of the Church have often permitted nations to revolt for Heaven's cause, they never allowed them to revolt against real evils or known violencess. It is from Heaven that the chains have come to fetter the minds of mortals.


About Baron d'Holbach

Quotes 27 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday December 8, 1723

It is thus superstition infatuates man from his infancy, fills him with vanity, and enslaves him with fanaticism.


Don't say anything about this to anybody.

Any one would say that I am trying to play the good-natured philosopher. I am neither benefactor nor philosopher, but just a human being, and my charities are the pleasantest expense I have on these journeys.


It is thus religion infatuates man from his infancy, fills him with vanity and fanaticism: if he has a heated imagination it drives him on to fury; if he has activity, it makes him a madman, who is frequently as cruel to himself, as he is dangerous and incommodious to others: if, on the contrary, he be phlegmatic or of a slothful habit, he becomes melancholy and is useless to society.


In Nature nothing; is mean or contemptible, and it is only pride, originating in a false idea of our superiority, which causes our contempt for some of her productions. In the eyes of Nature, however, the oyster that vegetates at the bottom of the sea is as dear and perfect as the proud biped who devours it.


What, indeed, is an atheist? He is one who destroys delusions which are harmful to humanity in order to lead men back to nature, to reality, to reason. He is a thinker who, having reflected on the nature of matter, its energy, properties and ways of acting, has no need of idealized powers or imaginary intelligences to explain the phenomena of the universe and the operations of nature.


Religion has ever filled the mind of man with darkness, and kept him in ignorance of his real duties and true interests. It is by dispelling the clouds and phantoms of religion, that we shall discover truth, morality and reason. Religion diverts us from the causes of evils, and from these remedies which nature advocates, far from curing; it only aggravates, perpetuates and multiplies them.


Suns are extinguished or become corrupted, planets perish and scatter across the wastes of the sky; other suns are kindled, new planets formed to make their revolutions or describe new orbits, and man, an infinitely minute part of a globe which itself is only an imperceptible point in the immense whole, believes that the universe is made for himself.


The atheist . . . destroys the chimeras which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason.


Can theology give to the mind the ineffable boon of conceiving that which no man is in a capacity to comprehend? Can it procure to its agents the marvellous faculty of having precise ideas of a god composed of so many contradictory qualities?


These principles, universally recognized, are at fault when the question of the existence of God is considered; what has been said of Him is either unintelligible or perfectly contradictory; and for this reason must appear impossible to every man.


All religious notions are uniformly founded on authority;

all the religions of the world forbid examination, and are not disposed that men should reason upon them.


Men always fool themselves when they give up experience for systems born of the imagination. Man is the work of nature, he exists in nature, he is subject to its laws, he can not break free, he can not leave even in thought; it is in vain that his spirit wants to soar beyond the bounds of the visible world, he is always forced to return.


God, we are told, is willing to render himself inconsistent and ridiculous, to confound the curiosity of those whom, we are at the same time informed, he desires to enlighten by his special grace. What must we think of a revelation which, far from teaching us any thing, is calculated to darken and puzzle the clearest ideas?


The unhappiness of people is due to their ignorance of nature.

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