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54 Thought-provoking Quotes from Robert Ingersoll

Robert Ingersoll was an American lawyer, politician and orator best known as "The Great Agnostic" during the Golden Age of Free Thought. Born in Dresden, New York, on August 11, 1833, Ingersoll was known as a witty lecturer on busting orthodox superstitions of the time, and he popularized scientific rationalism as well as criticism of the Bible. Today, we share 54 categorical quotes from Robert Ingersoll: 

 

On courage:

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"The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart."

 

On happiness:

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"Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so."

 

On love:

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"All I have to say is, Love one another - that is the height of all philosophy. It is beyond all religions. It is the secret of joy - the fountain of Perpetual Youth - the only rainbow on life's dark cloud."

 

On loving yourself:

"Do right, not to deny yourself but because you love yourself and because you love others."

 

On liberty:

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"What light is to the eyes - what air is to the lungs - what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man."

"I am not so much for the freedom of religion as I am for the religion of freedom."

"I am a believer in liberty . That is my religion to give to every other human being every right that I claim for
myself, and I grant to every other human being, not the right because it is his right but instead of granting I
declare that it is his right, to attack every doctrine that I maintain, to answer every argument that I may urge in
other words, he must have absolute freedom of speech."

 

On equality:

"This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself."

"There will never be a generation of great men until there has been a generation of free women - of free
mothers."

 

On leadership:

"As we become civilized we are governed less by persons and more by principles... The best of all leaders
is the man who teaches people to lead themselves."

 

On taking actions:

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"The hands that help are better far than lips that pray."

"They say: "Belief is important." I say: "No, actions are important." Judge by deed, not by creed."

 

On kindness:

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"We rise by lifting others."

"Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows."

 

On common sense:

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"It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense."

 

On education:

"Shakespeare has done far more for the world than the Bible."

"As more people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers."

 

On parenting:

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"When your little child tells a lie, do not rush at him as though the world were about to go into bankruptcy. Be honest with him. A tyrant father will have liars for his children; do you know that? A lie is born of tyranny upon the one hand and weakness upon the other, and when you rush at a poor little boy with a club in your hand, of course he lies."

 

On our duty:

"Every human being should be taught that his first duty is to take care of himself, and that to be self-respecting he must be self-supporting. To live on the labor of others, either by force which enslaves, or by cunning which robs, or by borrowing or begging, is wholly dishonorable. Every man should be taught some useful art."

 

On independence of thought:

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"To be like other people is to be unlike ourselves."

"The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellowmen."

"Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul."

"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."

 

On reasoning:

"Reason is the light, the sun of the brain. It is the compass of the mind, the ever-constant Northern Star, the mountain peak that lifts itself above all clouds."

 

On ignorance:

"Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows."

 

On facts:

"A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie."

 

On truth:

"Truth is the mother of joy. Truth civilizes, ennobles and purifies. The grandest ambition that can enter the soul is to know the truth."

"The more false we destroy, the more room there will be for the true."

 

On integrity:

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"But honest men do not pretend to know; they are candid and sincere; they love the truth; they admit their ignorance, and they say, We do not know."

 

On progress:

"The intellectual advancement of man depends on how often he can exchange an old superstition for a new truth."

"If the world ever advances beyond what it is today, it must be led by men who express their real opinions."

 

On hard work:

"Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers: It is the only prayer that deserves an answer - good, honest, noble work."

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable."

 

On nature:

"In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences."

 

On consequence and result:

"Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result."

 

On anger:

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"Argument cannot be answered with insults. Kindness is strength; anger blows out the lamp of the mind."

 

On hope:

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"Hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers."

 

On superstition:

"Superstition is, always has been, and forever will be, the foe of progress, the enemy of education and the assassin of freedom."

"When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust."

 

On religions:

"Do you not know that every religion in the world has declared every other religion a fraud? Yes, we all know it. That is the time all religions tell the truth - each of the other."

"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!"

"Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent."

"And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?"

"If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant."

"We do not need the forgiveness of God, but of each other and of ourselves."

"It is hard for many people to give up the religion in which they were born; to admit that their fathers were utterly mistaken, and that the sacred records of their country are but collections of myths and fables."

"Blasphemy is what an old dogma screams at a new truth."

"Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery."

 

On the church:

"Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know - the Church does neither."

"The priests of one religion never credit the miracles of another religion. Is this because priests instinctively know priests?"

"The church hates a thinker precisely for the same reason a robber dislikes a sheriff, or a thief despises the prosecuting witness."

"This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves."

 

On god:

"If God created the universe, there was a time when he commenced to create. Back of that commencement there must have been an eternity. In that eternity what was this God doing? He certainly did not think. There was nothing to think about. He did not remember. Nothing had ever happened. What did he do? Can you imagine anything more absurd than an infinite intelligence in infinite nothing wasting an eternity?"

"As a matter of fact, no one knows that God exists and no one knows that God does not exist. To my mind there is no evidence that God exists - that this world is governed by a being of infinite goodness, wisdom and power, but I do not pretend to know."

 

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Close some doors not because of pride incapacity or arrogance but simply because they no longer lead somewhere

Close some doors not because of pride incapacity or arrogance but simply because they no longer lead somewhere

Trust is like a paper once it's crumpled it can't be perfect again you can flatten the paper and try and make it as straight as you want but it will never be perfect again

Trust is like a paper once it's crumpled it can't be perfect again you can flatten the paper and try and make it as straight as you want but it will never be perfect again

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