Former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali visited the ruins of the World Trade center in the days following the disaster. When reporters asked how he felt about the terrorists sharing his faith, he replied, "How do you feel about Hitler sharing yours?"

What do our leaders and thinkers say?

Lighthouses are more helpful than churches. -- Benjamin Franklin

If they are good workmen, they may be from Asia, Africa, or Europe; they may be Mahomedans, Jews, or Christians of any sect, or they may be Atheists. -- George Washington.

The Government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion ... -- John Adams

The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as his father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. -- Thomas Jefferson

Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise, every expanded prospect. -- James Madison

I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion. -- James Buchanan

My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them. -- Abraham Lincoln

In 1850, I believe, the church property in the United States, which paid no tax, amounted to $87 million. In 1900, without a check, it is safe to say, this property will reach a sum of $3 billion. I would suggest the taxation of all property equally. -- Ulysses S. Grant

I know that human prejudice - especially that growing out of race and religion is cruelly inveterate and lasting. -- Grover Cleveland

... religious intolerance which exists among many of our citizens. I hold it to be a menace to the very liberties we boast and cherish. -- Warren G. Harding

As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

For my part, I would as soon be descended from [a] baboon ... as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies ... treats his wives like slaves ... and is haunted by the grossest superstitions. -- Charles Darwin

It is time the clergy are told that thinking men, after a close examination of that doctrine [Christianity], pronounce it to be subversive of true moral development and, therefore, positively noxious. -- George Eliot.

The Church hates a thinker precisely for the same reason a robber dislikes a sheriff, or a thief despises the prosecuting witness. -- Robert Ingersoll

Missionarying - that least excusable of all human trades. -- Mark Twain

The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age, and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them. Incurably religious - that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people. Incurably religious. -- Thomas Edison

When a man is freed of religion, he has a better chance to live a normal and wholesome life. -- Sigmund Freud

It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society, it is belief. -- George Bernard Shaw

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear ... fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. -- Bertrand Russell

A man's ethical behavior should be based effectively on sympathy, education and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. -- Albert Einstein

I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings. Like Confucius of old, I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. -- Pearl Buck

What mean and cruel things men do for the love of god. -- W. Somerset Maugham

To work hard, to live hard, to die hard, and then to go to hell after all would be too damned hard. -- Carl Sandburg

Why do people go on pretending about this Christianity? -- H. G. Wells

Christianity as an institutionalized religion has laid no stress on the pursuit of truth. Indeed, for the most part it has been suspicious of the truthseeking process. The truthseeker might overturn accepted beliefs. -- Harry A. Overstreet

I do not want church groups controlling the schools of our country. They must remain free. -- Eleanor Roosevelt

Religion ... is the first enemy of the ability to think. -- Ayn Rand

I have never, in all my life, not for one moment, been tempted toward religion of any kind. The fact is that I feel no spiritual void. I have my philosophy of life, which does not include any aspect of the supernatural. -- Isaac Asimov

If people need religion, ignore them and maybe they will ignore you, and you can go on with your life. It wasn't until I was beginning to do "Star Trek" that the subject of religion arose again. What brought it up was that people were saying that I would have to have a chaplain on board the Enterprise. I replied, "No, we don't". - Gene Roddenberry

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile! -- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is quite staggering. -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Religion is but a desperate attempt to find an escape from the truly dreadful situation in which we find ourselves. Here we are in this wholly fantastic universe with scarcely a clue as to whether our existence has any real significance. No wonder then that many people feel the need for some belief that gives them a sense of security, and no wonder that they become very angry with people like me who say that this is illusory. -- Fred Hoyle

Men rarely (if ever) managed to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. -- Robert A. Heinlen

The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas - uncertainty, progress, change - into crimes. -- Salman Rushdie

There are a score of great religions in the world, each with scores or hundreds of sects, each with priestly orders, its complicated creed and ritual, its heavens and hells. Each has its thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of "true believers"; each damns all the others with more or less heartiness - and each is a mighty fortress of graft. -- Upton Sinclair

Christianity is such a silly religion. -- Gore Vidal

All your Western theologies, the whole mythology of them, are based on the concept of God as a senile delinquent. -- Tennessee Williams

As a historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our present-day concern for human rights. ... In fact, the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights. -- Aurthur Schlesinger

By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God. -- Gloria Steinem

In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told. Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man -- living in the sky -- who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit! -- George Carlin