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Penn Jillette

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Every nut who kills people has a Bible lying around. If you're looking for violent rape imagery, the Bible's right there in your hotel room. If you just want to look up ways to screw people up, there it is, and you're justified because God told you to.
Bull Sessions with Penn Jillette(15 January 2008)

Penn Jillette

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The End of Faith is one of those books that deserves to replace the Gideon Bible in every hotel room in the land.

Sam Harris

Consider his life which was valueless
In terms of employment, hotel ledgers, news files.
Consider. One bullet in ten thousand kills a man.
Ask. Was so much expenditure justified
On the death of one so young and so silly
Lying under the olive tree, O world, O death?

Stephen Spender

But what we've got going wrong is we've got a kind of bifurcation [in cultural development]:
You take your classified telephone directory, and open up "Churches", and have a ruler in your hand. And you will find that the longest space is occupied by authoritarian, Bible-banging churches. And these people are barbarians, who take the written word of the Bible literally. Because they need terribly, they have a personal need, for something to depend on. … The government realizes that there is a very large number of people like that; and therefore, to keep their votes, they have to pander to those kind of people. And these are the boys who never grew up; they always need Papa. … The trouble is that the boys who need Papa, are violent. They have the guns. And they are the types of people who like to be soldiers, policemen— tough guys. And therefore they have a great deal of power.

Alan Watts

According to The Open Society, Vol. 77 (Autumn 2004) Voltaire's House and The Bible Society, p. 14: "The myth seems to have originated from an 1849 Annual Report of the American Bible Society where the relevant section reads: Voltaire... predicted that in the nineteenth century the Bible would be known only as a relic of antiquity. He could say, while on this topic, that the Hotel Gibbon (so-called from that celebrated infidel) is now become the very depository of the Bible Society, and the individual who superintends the building is an agent for the sale and receipt of the books. The very ground this illustrious scoffer often paced, has now become the scene of the operation and success of an institution established for the diffusion of the very book against which his efforts were directed."


At this late date in the post-Christian Era, it might be questioned whether the Bible should even be brought into an ethical discussion. I argue that it should. Many people who do not explicitly call on the Bible for backing are nevertheless influenced by what they believe the Bible says. (Everyone knows about the Good Samaritan, even though they may not be able to remember what Samaritans in general were.) It is considered good form to speak politely of Scripture: revere it, but don't bother reading it seems to be the rule. Above all, don't read it thoughtfully.

Garrett Hardin
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