Quote of the Day (11-3-13 (Max Nordau)

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Atheism, Philosophy, Quotations, Religion
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Max Nordau

Max Nordau (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Religion no doubt has brought comfort to many. That this is so is not, however, to its credit. The practical utility of untruth is a cynical defense that all liars bring forward. No doubt the assurance of immortality robs the idea of death of its terrors. The promise of future reunion helps the mother to bear the loss of her child; the thought that eternal justice will be dealt out to good and evil deeds pours balsam in the wounds of the weak, down-trodden, and ill-used who have succumbed before the pride of the mighty. But the means by which these tortured spirits are soothed are unhealthy and immoral in the extreme–invented tales and arbitrary assertions which cannot stand a moment’s critical examination. The merit that belongs to the consolation of religion must be granted to every superstition–the amulet that averts the evil eye, spells, the interpretation of cards and dreams, the raising of spirits. All this hocus pocus has lightened dark hours for millions who believed in it, given them confidence and self-reliance, lifted heavy burdens from their souls, and reconciled them to the hardness of their lot. Moreover, physical sedatives, like opium, morphine, and alcohol must be assigned an equal value with religion. They, too, console; they, too, bring temporary oblivion of care and suffering; they, too, give an artificial sense of pleasure.”

Max Nordau, The Interpretation of History

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Quoted in The Heretic’s Handbook of Quotations

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