Quotations – religion and anti-clericalism

This selection of French Revolution quotations contains remarks about religion and anti-clericalism from significant leaders, political figures, philosophes and observers. It has been selected and compiled by Alpha History authors. New quotations are regularly added. If you would like to submit a relevant and interesting quotation, please contact Alpha History.

“Man will only be free when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”
Denis Diderot

“The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.”
Denis Diderot, 1746

“If you want me to believe in God, you must make me touch him.”
Denis Diderot, 1749

“Christianity preaches only servitude and dependence. Its spirit is so favourable to tyranny that it always profits by such a regime. True Christians are made to be slaves, and they know it and do not much mind. This short life counts for too little in their eyes.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762

“I had been brought up in a church which decides everything and permits no doubts, so that having rejected one article of faith I was forced to reject the rest.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, 1762

“Superstition sets the whole world in flames, but philosophy douses them.”
Voltaire, 1765

“The institution of religion exists only to keep mankind in order, and to make men merit the goodness of God by their virtue. Everything in a religion which does not tend towards this goal must be considered foreign or dangerous.”
Voltaire, 1765

“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
Voltaire, 1770

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