quotations about superstition
A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.
JOSÉ BERGAMÍN, El cohete y la estrella
Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the mad daughter of a wise mother.
VOLTAIRE, "A Treatise on Toleration"
The way to deal with superstition is not to be polite to it, but to tackle it with all arms, and so rout it, cripple it, and make it forever infamous and ridiculous. Is it, perchance, cherished by persons who should know better? Then their folly should be brought out into the light of day, and exhibited there in all its hideousness until they flee from it, hiding their heads in shame.
H. L. MENCKEN, Baltimore Evening Sun, September 14, 1925
Superstition is the poetry of life.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe
Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
It is only the inferior thinker who hastens to explain the singular and the complex by the primitive shortcut of supernaturalism.
H. P. LOVECRAFT, "The Temple"
Superstition is the reservoir of all truths.
CHARLES BAUDELAIRE, My Heart Laid Bare
Superstition, the mother of those hideous twins, fear and faith, from her throne of skulls, still rules the world.
ROBERT G. INGERSOLL, "Individuality", The Gods and Other Lectures
All men are superstitious; they only differ in degrees.
JOHN TOLAND, attributed, Day's Collacon
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.
EDMUND BURKE, Reflections on the Revolution in France
Oftimes our belief, if in another, we would regard a superstition.
LEWIS F. KORNS, Thoughts
Superstition is a part of the very being of humanity; and when we fancy that we are banishing it altogether, it takes refuge in the strangest nooks and corners, and then suddenly comes forth again, as soon as it believes itself at all safe.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, The Maxims and Reflections of Goethe
The tendency to superstitions should be counteracted from the earliest age; or rather steps should be taken to protect the mind of the child from superstitions imposed upon it by ignorant nurses or silly mothers.
ARTHUR ALFRED LYNCH, Moods of Life
And what, O superstition, have been thy cruel triumphs! Thou hast selected thy victims from among the excellent of the earth; it is thy peculiar character to have reversed all the laws of nature, and of God; to have inflicted on men of the sublimest virtue, the tortures of the foulest villainy; to have rendered purity unsullied, and piety sweeter and more celestial than thou couldst comprehend, the certain prey of misery and death; thou hast fashioned to thyself a God stern and sullen, retiring in awful gloom from His creation not to be appeased but by blood! Thy worship has been worthy of thy idol; the dungeon has been thy chosen temple, instruments of torture thy means of instruction, the stake thy eloquence, and thy piety the abolition of all human sympathy.
SOUTHWOOD SMITH, The Chartist Circular, Volumes 1-2
Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition. They avoid rather than confront the world. But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.
CARL SAGAN, Cosmos
Such people as can be prevailed upon to believe that their reason is depraved, may easily be led by the nose, and duped into superstition at the pleasure of those in whom they confide, and there remain from generation to generation: for when they throw by the law of reason the only one which God gave them to direct them in their speculations and duty, they are exposed to ignorant or insidious teachers, and also to their own irregular passions, and to the folly and enthusiasm of those about them, which nothing but reason can prevent or restrain.
ETHAN ALLEN, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man
You will search the world over and not find a nonsuperstitious community. As long as there is ignorance, there will be adherence to superstition. Dispelling ignorance is the only solution. That is why I teach.
IRVIN D. YALOM, The Spinoza Problem
Superstition originates among ordinary people in the early and all too zealous instruction they receive in religion: they hear of mysteries, miracles, deeds of the Devil, and consider it very probable that things of this sort could occur in everything anywhere.
GEORG CHRISTOPH LICHTENBERG, The Waste Books
IT WERE better to have no opinion of God at all, than such an opinion, as is unworthy of him. For the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: Surely (saith he) I had rather a great deal, men should say, there was no such man at all, as Plutarch, than that they should say, that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his children as soon as they were born; as the poets speak of Saturn. And as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy, in the minds of men. Therefore theism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further: and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Caesar) were civil times. But superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition, is the people; and in all superstition, wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said by some of the prelates in the Council of Trent, where the doctrine of the Schoolmen bare great sway, that the Schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs, to save the phenomena; though they knew there were no such things; and in like manner, that the Schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms, and theorems, to save the practice of the church. The causes of superstition are: pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; overgreat reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the church; the stratagems of prelates, for their own ambition and lucre; the favoring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters, by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations: and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; for, as it addeth deformity to an ape, to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion, makes it the more deformed. And as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and orders corrupt, into a number of petty observances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think to do best, if they go furthest from the superstition, formerly received; therefore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad; which commonly is done, when the people is the reformer.
FRANCIS BACON, "Of Superstition", Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral
I would rather dwell in the dim fog of superstition than in air rarified to nothing by the air-pump of unbelief, in which the panting breast expires, vainly and convulsively gasping for breath.
JEAN PAUL, Titan