Baron d'Holbach

Many men without morals have attacked religion because it was contrary to their inclinations. Many wise men have despised it because it seemed to them ridiculous. Many persons have regarded it with indifference, because they have never felt its true disadvantages. But it is as a citizen that I attack it, because it seems to me harmful to the happiness of the state, hostile to the march of the mind of man, and contrary to sound morality, from which the interests of state policy can never be separated.

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.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one. What is most repellent in the System of Nature – after the recipe for making eels from flour – is the audacity with which it decides that there is no God, without even having tried the impossibility. If God did not exist, he would have to be invented.” But all nature cries aloud that he does exist: that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.

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.

How could the human mind progress, while tormented with frightful phantoms, and guided by men, interested in perpetuating its ignorance and fears? Man has been forced to vegetate in his primitive stupidity: he has been taught stories about invisible powers upon whom his happiness was supposed to depend. Occupied solely by his fears, and by unintelligible reveries, he has always been at the mercy of priests, who have reserved to themselves the right of thinking for him, and of directing his actions.

People have suffered and become insane for centuries by the thought of eternal punishment after death. Wouldn’t it be better to depend on blind matter… than a god who puts out traps for people, invites them to sin, and allows them to sin and commit crimes he could prevent. Only to finally get the barbarian pleasure to punish them in an excessive way, of no use for himself, without them changing their ways and without their example preventing others from committing crimes.

The Jehovah of the Jews is a suspicious tyrant, who breathes nothing but blood, murder, and carnage, and who demands that they should nourish him with the vapours of animals. The Jupiter of the Pagans is a lascivious monster. The Moloch of the Phoenicians is a cannibal. The pure mind of the Christians resolved, in order to appease his fury, to crucify his own son. The savage god of the Mexicans cannot be satisfied without thousands of mortals which are immolated to his sanguinary appetite.

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.