Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet NULL

French Satirist, Essayist, Dramatist, Philosopher and Historian

"Atheist: A name given by theologians to whoever differs from them in their ideas concerning the divinity, or who refuses to believe in it in the form of which, in the emptiness of their infallible pates, they have resolved to present it to him. As a rule an Atheist is any or every man who does not believe in the God of the Priest."

"Atheism is the vice of a few intelligent people."

"Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law."

"Auto de Fe: An act of faith. A dainty feast offered to the Divinity from time to time, and which consisted of roasting, in great pomp, the bodies of Jews or heretics for the salvation of their souls and the edification of the lookers-on."

"Better a devil you know than an angel you know it!"

"Being unable to make people more reasonable, I preferred to be happy away from them"

"Being a bird ain't all about flying and shitting from high places."

"Beware of the words internal security, for they are the eternal cry of the oppressor."

"Better is the enemy of good."

"But for what purpose was the earth formed? asked Candide. To drive us mad, replied Martin."

"But nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor."

"Business is the salt of life."

"But in this country it is necessary, now and then, to put one admiral to death in order to inspire the others to fight."

"But once they are in hand, he alone must decide"

"But that a camel-merchant should stir up insurrection in his village; that in league with some miserable followers he persuades them that he talks with the angel Gabriel; that he boasts of having been carried to heaven, where he received in part this unintelligible book, each page of which makes common sense shudder; that, to pay homage to this book, he delivers his country to iron and flame; that he cuts the throats of fathers and kidnaps daughters; that he gives to the defeated the choice of his religion or death: this is assuredly nothing any man can excuse, at least if he was not born a Turk, or if superstition has not extinguished all natural light in him."

"Canada: A few acres of snow."

"But whether he be, or whether he be not, I want bread."

"Candide said: I also know that he must cultivate our garden. Banglos said: You're right: that when a man in the Garden of Eden, it works... Which proves that man was not born to rest. Martin said: Let us work without thinking: this is the only way to make life unbearable."

"Candide, that tender lover, seeing his fair Cunégonde sunburned, blear-eyed, flat-breasted, with wrinkles around her eyes and red, chapped arms, recoiled three paces in horror, and then advanced from mere politeness."

"Certainly that is able to make you absurd is able to make you unjust."

"Candide, who had been taught never to judge everything for himself, was greatly surprised by what he heard."

"Change everything except your loves."

"Chance is a word void of sense, nothing can exist without a cause."

"Chance is not, nor can it be ignored rather than a cause of an unknown effect"

"Clearly, I said, we should choose not to have good sense, if that good sense contributes to our misery."

"Clever tyrants are never punished."

"Come! you presence will either give me life or kill me with pleasure."

"Complacency is a coin by the aid of which all the world can, for want of essential means, pay its club bill in society. - It is necessary, however, that it may lose nothing of its merits, to associate judgment and prudence with it."

"Constant happiness is the philosopher's stone of the soul."

"Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it."

"Change everything, except your passions."

"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world"

"Christianity: A religious system attributed to Jesus Christ, but really invented by Plato, improved by St. Paul, and finally revised and corrected by the Fathers, the councils, and other interpreters of the Church. Since the foundation of this sublime creed, mankind has become better, wiser, and happier than before. From that blessed epoch the world was forever freed from all strife, dissensions, troubles, vices, and evils of every kind; an invincible proof that Christianity is divine, and that it is to be possessed of the very devil himself to dare to commit such a creed or doubt its origin."

"Christians have been the most intolerant of all men."

"Devil: The black sheep of the heavenly host, and the main prop of the Church....Without the devil God would cut but a sorry figure at best. The love of God is frequently but the fear of the devil."

"Dare to think for yourself."

"Crush the infamous thing!"

"Do not most of us resemble that old general of ninety who, having come upon some young officers debauching some girls, said to them angrily: Gentlemen, is that the example I give you?"

"Despite the enormous quantity of books, how few people read! And if one reads profitably, one would realize how much stupid stuff the vulgar herd is content to swallow every day."

"Divorce is probably of nearly the same age as marriage. I believe, however, that marriage is some weeks the more ancient."

"Discord is the great ill of mankind; and tolerance is the only remedy for it."

"Demand happiness is like a drunkard who cannot hit his way home, but knows that a home"

"Do you believe,' said Candide, 'that men have always massacred each other as they do to-day, that they have always been liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools?'"

"Do well and you will have no need for ancestors."

"Don’t think money does everything or you are going to end up doing everything for money."

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one."

"Doctors put drugs of which they know little into bodies of which they know less for diseases of which they know nothing at all."

"Do you think... that men have always massacred each other, as they do today? Have they always been liars, cheats, traitors, brigands, weak, flighty, cowardly, envious, gluttonous, drunken, grasping, and vicious, bloody, backbiting, debauched, fanatical, hypocritical, and silly?"

"Dogs, monkeys, and parrots are a thousand times less miserable than we are."

"Doubt is not a pleasant mental state, but certainty is a ridiculous one."