Here is every reason to be an atheist

Without doubt the more to perplex matters, theologians have chosen to say nothing about what their God is; they tell us what He is not. By negations and abstractions they imagine themselves composing a real and perfect being, while there can result from it but a being of human reason. A spirit has no body; an infinite being is a being which is not finite; a perfect being is a being which is not imperfect. Can any one form any real notions of such a multitude of deficiencies or absence of ideas? That which excludes all idea, can it be anything but nothingness? To pretend that the divine attributes are beyond the understanding of the human mind is to render God unfit for men. If we are assured that God is infinite, we admit that there can be nothing in common between Him and His creatures. To say that God is infinite, is to destroy Him for men, or at least render Him useless to them.

God, we are told, created men intelligent, but He did not create them omniscient: that is to say, capable of knowing all things. We conclude that He was not able to endow him with intelligence sufficient to understand the divine essence. In this case it is demonstrated that God has neither the power nor the wish to be known by men. By what right could this God become angry with beings whose own essence makes it impossible to have any idea of the divine essence? God would evidently be the most unjust and the most unaccountable of tyrants if He should punish an atheist for not knowing that which his nature made it impossible for him to know.

J. Meslier

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I have nothing against spiritualists, but please….

The barbarian, when he speaks of a spirit, attaches at least some sense to this word; he understands by it an agent similar to the wind, to the agitated air, to the breath, which produces, invisibly, effects that we perceive. By subtilizing, the modern theologian becomes as little intelligible to himself as to others. Ask him what he means by a spirit? He will answer, that it is an unknown substance, which is perfectly simple, which has nothing tangible, nothing in common with matter. In good faith, is there any mortal who can form the least idea of such a substance? A spirit in the language of modern theology is then but an absence of ideas. The idea of spirituality is another idea without a model.

J. Meslier

And finally, those meta-physicists

By metaphysics, God is made a pure spirit, but has modern theology advanced one step further than the theology of the barbarians? They recognized a grand spirit as master of the world. The barbarians, like all ignorant men, attribute to spirits all the effects of which their inexperience prevents them from discovering the true causes. Ask a barbarian what causes your watch to move, he will answer, “a spirit!” Ask our philosophers what moves the universe, they will tell you “it is a spirit.”

Jean Meslier

Theists, listen up!

Can one honestly say that he is convinced of the existence of a being whose nature is not known, who remains inaccessible to all our senses, and of whose qualities we are constantly assured that they are incomprehensible to us? In order to persuade me that a being exists, or can exist, he must begin by telling me what this being is; in order to make me believe the existence or the possibility of such a being, he must tell me things about him which are not contradictory, and which do not destroy one another; finally, in order to convince me fully of the existence of this being, he must tell me things about him which I can comprehend, and prove to me that it is
impossible that the being to whom he attributes these qualities does not exist.

A thing is impossible when it is composed of two ideas so antagonistic, that we can not think of them at the same time. Evidence can be relied on only when confirmed by the constant testimony of our senses, which alone give birth to ideas, and enable us to judge of their conformity or of their incompatibility. That which exists necessarily, is that of which the non−existence would imply contradiction. These principles, universally recognized, are at fault when the question of the existence of God is considered; what has been said of Him is either unintelligible or perfectly contradictory; and for this reason must appear impossible to every man of common sense.

Jean Meslier

There would never have been any religion if there had never been any dark and barbarous ages

The origin of religious opinions dates, as a general thing, from the time when savage nations were yet in a state of infancy. It was to coarse, ignorant, and stupid men that the founders of religion addressed themselves in all ages, in order to present them with Gods, ceremonies, histories of fabulous Divinities, marvelous and terrible fables. These chimeras, adopted without examination by the fathers, have been transmitted with more or less changes to their polished children, who often do not reason more than their fathers.

Jean Meslier

Man neither born religious nor deistical

My friend JZ wrote a while ago that every child is born an atheist and some theists objected to this claim.

Today while I was going through one of my books I came across this gem by Jean Meslier.

All religious principles are founded upon the idea of a God, but it is impossible for men to have true ideas of a being who does not act upon any one of their senses. All our ideas are but pictures of objects which strike us. What can the idea of God represent to us when it is evidently an idea without an object? Is not such an idea as impossible as an effect without a cause? An idea without a prototype, is it  anything but a chimera? Some theologians, however, assure us that the idea of God is innate, or that men have this idea from the time of their birth. Every principle is a judgment; all judgment is the effect of experience; experience is not acquired but by the exercise of the senses: from which it follows that religious principles are drawn from nothing, and are not innate.