STEVE ALLEN QUOTES

American comedian (1921-2000)

This is The Tonight Show. I can't tell you too much about it, other than the fact that this program is going to go on forever.

STEVE ALLEN, first broadcast, The Tonight Show, 1953

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The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism.

STEVE ALLEN, Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality

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It's a long show.... We specially selected this particular theater, this is the New York theater called the Hudson, and we specially selected it for this very late show because this theater, oh, I think it sleeps about 800 people.

STEVE ALLEN, first broadcast, The Tonight Show, 1953

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I do not understand those who take little or no interest in the subject of religion. If religion embodies a truth, it is certainly the most important truth of human existence. If it is largely error, then it is one of monumentally tragic proportions--and should be vigorously opposed.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Tags: religion


In a rational society we would want our presidents to be teachers. In our actual society we insist that they be cheerleaders.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Tags: politics


It is not hardness of heart or evil passions that drive certain individuals to atheism, but rather a scrupulous intellectual honesty. The average believer rarely examines his beliefs and, indeed, would not know how to subject them to proper critical analysis. The average atheist has usually arrived at his intellectual position through a tough-minded consideration of deep philosophical questions. Indeed, the typical atheist is more interested in religion than is the average believer. Only the atheist has a logical explanation of the existence of evil. Unfortunately he has a somewhat unsatisfactory explanation of the existence of good.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Tags: atheism


Humor is a social lubricant that helps us get over some of the bad spots.

STEVE ALLEN, How to Be Funny: Discovering the Comic in You

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Tags: humor


No actual tyrant known to history has ever been guilty of one-hundredth of the crimes, massacres, and other atrocities attributed to the Deity in the Bible.

STEVE ALLEN, More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, & Morality

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Tags: God


Historically there has long been a certain tension between the arts and social policy. Humankind has always been practiced at breaking the moral law, but poets, novelists, philosophers, dramatists, and journalists have at least attempted to transmit positive messages, often by specifically criticizing what is vile and criminal in society. What we are witnessing today, by way of contrast, is the apparently willing cooperation--sometimes even the enthusiastic leadership--of the practitioners of popular culture to degrade an already deeply disturbed society.

STEVE ALLEN, Vulgarians at the Gate

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To those who wish to punish others -- or at least to see them punished, if the avengers are too cowardly to take matters in to their own hands -- the belief in a fiery, hideous hell appears to be a great source of comfort.

STEVE ALLEN, Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality

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Tags: Hell


Totalitarianism is patriotism institutionalized.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Tags: patriotism


God is by definition the holder of all possible knowledge, it would be impossible for him to have faith in anything. Faith, then, is built upon ignorance and hope.

STEVE ALLEN, More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, & Morality

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Tags: faith


That our nation is in the throes of a moral collapse of serious dimensions is, apparently, no longer a debatable conclusion. Liberal and conservative spokesmen vie to see who shall express the conviction most vigorously. Churchmen and secularists, too, agree that we have fallen upon evil days. These various groups naturally differ as to the reasons for the situation, but that it exists no one seems prepared to deny.

STEVE ALLEN, But Seriously: Steve Allen Speaks His Mind

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Tags: morality


Without laughter life on our planet would be intolerable. So important is laughter to us that humanity highly rewards members of one of the most unusual professions on earth, those who make a living by inducing laughter in others. This is very strange if you stop to think of it: that otherwise sane and responsible citizens should devote their professional energies to causing others to make sharp, explosive barking-like exhalations.

STEVE ALLEN, Funny People

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Tags: laughter


Thousands of years ago only Christ could walk on the water. Today anybody can do it; you just step on the garbage.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences.

STEVE ALLEN, More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, & Morality

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Tags: ideas


Religious believers of the world, you are free to continue to debate the simple, narrow question that divides you from atheists, but you have no right, in so doing, to treat the Humanists of the world with contempt. You owe them a deep debt of gratitude, for not only have they shed much light on a naturally dark world but they have very probably helped civilize your own specific religion.

STEVE ALLEN, Vulgarians at the Gate

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If you pray for rain long enough, it does eventually fall. If you pray for flood-waters to abate, they eventually do. The same happens in the absence of prayers.

STEVE ALLEN, Reflections

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Tags: prayer


I'm all for sex. Seven nights a week. Days, too.

STEVE ALLEN, How to Be Funny: Discovering the Comic in You

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Tags: sex


The Bible is unfortunately unclear on a long list of moral and social questions and sex is one of them. On the one hand, there are expressions of admiration for the reportedly virgin mother of Jesus, but other portions of scripture speak quite accommodatingly of polygamy.

STEVE ALLEN, Vulgarians at the Gate

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Tags: sex