"Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, "This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!" But in this exclamation I would have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite company, I mean hell."
John Adams
(1735-1826) Founding Father, 2nd US President
letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 28, 1813, quoted from Charles Francis Adams, ed., Works of John Adams (1856), vol. X, p. 254
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Reader comments about this quote:
Wow!! Amen.
 -- Ethan     
    Volumes here could be written. By way of example: No matter what I or anyone says about the Christ, who He is, did, or said, it doesn't change Him, even a little. Those exploiting his name for personal reasons or advancement, organized into religious rabble, have done much wrong. It is when man follows the words of Christ for the betterment of mankind is hell put asunder and life worth living.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    Right on Mike.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Extremists on any side are not in it for Christ, God, or whatever religion they may put on as a disguise to hide themselves. They are in it for themselves for power or greed. Well said Mike and John Adams.
     -- Ken, Allyn, WA     
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    Nearly every religious practitioner whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim believes their sect is right and the others wrong. The fear of damnation keeps more people 'in line' than the natural reward of being truthful and compassionate inspires people to goodness. A man without religion is like a fish without a bicycle.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Balderdash, Mr. Adams. The world could have gotten along fine without religion... I'm not sure if it'd be any better, but it probably would not be significantly worse off, if at all. We wouldn't have had the Crusades... or the concentration camps... or the subjugation of women... at least not for the same reasons; we probably still would have had stupid wars and conflicts. On the whole, though, I think people would be more rational today, more sane, less blindly submissive to authority, if religion hadn't existed; we'd develop different reasons to stay "in line."
     -- Anonymous     
    Hello, Anonymous here again. Just to let you all know, I'm not an atheist or agnostic or whatever. I'm a Christian, actually, not that that should really matter in the course of rational argument. I just mention this to show you I'm being objective, not biased.
     -- Anonymous     
    Definitions here matter. "The laws of nature and of nature's God" (the intended jurisprudence of a de jure States united) are observed throughout nature as the rules of what naturally occurs (science, gravity, math, life, liberty, etc.). Most simply, everything else that emanates from emotion, morals, ethics and NON-absolutes is religion. By example, socialism is a non-religious economic philosophy. When morals, ethics, social should dos, and/or force enters the category, socialism becomes a religion / theocracy. The quote seemed to be differentiating a formally structured gathering of like believers from those seeking ethics and morality based on the laws of nature. Where Hebrew natural law was the foundation of ethics, morals, etc.; academia's philosophical natural law has as its foundation a primary functioning of carnally interpreted ethics and morals.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Without religion we stop playing devils, gods and other childish games. We leave the playpen, clean ourselves, find our strength,  and begin to create.
     -- Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown     
    Sillik, no matter how you try to change meanings and understandings of concepts, terms, words, etc., you will mostly just confuse yourself. Your "other childish games", according to your word salad then includes, creation and strength being outside of ethics, morals, and social should dos.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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