Top Voltaire Quotes

Browse top 37 famous quotes and sayings about Voltaire by most favorite authors.

Favorite Voltaire Quotes

1. "My passion for gardening may strike some as selfish, or merely an act of resignation in the face of overwhelming problems that beset the world. It is neither. I have found that each garden is just what Voltaire proposed in Candide: a microcosm of a just and beautiful society."
Author: Andrew Weil
2. "To ride a bicycle is in itself some protection against superstitious fears, since the bicycle is the product of pure reason applied to motion. Geometry at the service of man! Give me two spheres and a straight line and I will show you how far I can take them. Voltaire himself might have invented the bicycle, since it contributes so much to man's welfare and nothing at all to his bane. Beneficial to the health, it emits no harmful fumes and permits only the most decorous speeds. How can a bicycle ever be an implement of harm?"
Author: Angela Carter
3. "For all the enlightened nations that profess a loyalty to liberty, democracy, economy and all the rest, there has long been a readiness to look for a chosen one; as Carlyle pointed out, even the French, those great anti-venerators, those relentless beheaders of Great Men, worshipped Voltaire."
Author: Chris Anderson
4. "Thus, though I dislike to differ with such a great man, Voltaire was simply ludicrous when he said that if god did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. The human invention of god is the problem to begin with."
Author: Christopher Hitchens
5. "Voltaire expected that within fifty years of his lifetime there would not be one Bible in the world. His house is now a distribution centre for Bibles in many languages."
Author: Corrie Ten Boom
6. "I have never played the lottery in my life and never will. Voltaire described lotteries as a tax on stupidity. More specifically, I think, on innumeracy."
Author: Daniel Tammet
7. "Many of them were familiar from childhood with the fables of La Fontaine. Or they had read Voltaire or Racine or Molière in English translations. But that was about the sum of any familiarity they had with French literature. And none, of course, could have known in advance that the 1830s and '40s in Paris were to mark the beginning of the great era of Victor Hugo, Balzac, George Sand, and Baudelaire, not to say anything of Delacroix in painting or Chopin and Liszt in music."
Author: David McCullough
8. "Je m'appelle Gaëlle, j'ai trente-quatre ans, j'ai un gros cul, je suis assistante dans la com', je m'éclate dans mon boulot, je suis super-pro et je ne supporte pas les incompétents. Tous les matins, je prends mon métro à Ledru-Rollin, je lis les gratuits, je me sape chez Zadig & Voltaire, je fais des régimes au printemps, je vote à gauche ou à droite, ça dépend, j'ai les pieds bien sur terre, j'aime pas revoir mes ex, le passé c'est le passé, j'aime pas trop le théâtre, je préfère le ciné, je m'engueule souvent avec ma mère, je me pose pas trop de questions, j'aime pas les gens prise de tête, je lis les bouquins d'Amélie Nothomb et la Star Ac', ça me fait marrer."
Author: David Thomas
9. "One man's Voltaire is another man's Screech."
Author: Dennis Miller
10. "As to your Newton, I confess I do not understand his void and his gravity; I admit he has demonstrated the movement of the heavenly bodies with more exactitude than his forerunners; but you will admit it is an absurdity to maintain the existence of Nothing.[Letter to Voltaire, 25 Nov. 1777]"
Author: Frederick The Great
11. "O Voltaire! O humanity! O idiocy! There is something ticklish in "the truth," and in the SEARCH for the truth; and if man goes about it too humanely—"il ne cherche le vrai que pour faire le bien"—I wager he finds nothing!"
Author: Friedrich Nietzsche
12. "Yes, the laws of self-preservation and of self-destruction are equally powerful in this world. The devil will hold his empire over humanity until a limit of time which is still unknown. You laugh? You do not believe in the devil? Scepticism as to the devil is a French idea, and it is also a frivolous idea. Do you know who the devil is? Do you know his name? Although you don't know his name you make a mockery of his form, following the example of Voltaire. You sneer at his hoofs, at his tail, at his horns—all of them the produce of your imagination! In reality the devil is a great and terrible spirit, with neither hoofs, nor tail, nor horns; it is you who have endowed him with these attributes! But… he is not the question just now!"
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
13. "It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'"
Author: Gabriel Byrne
14. "Every word that is spoken and sung here (the Cabaret Voltaire) represents at least this one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect."
Author: Hugo Ball
15. "And as Voltaire, one of our nation's Founding Fathers, once said, "I do not agree with what you have to say, but at your death I'll defend what you rightfully should have said."
Author: Jarod Kintz
16. "Enlightenment writer and philosopher Voltaire likened life to a game of cards. Players must accept the cards dealt to them. However, once they have those cards in hand, they alone choose how they will play them. They decide what risks and actions to take."
Author: John C. Maxwell
17. "Tolerance, which is one form of love of neighbor, must manifest itself not only in our personal relations, but also in the arena of society as well. In the world of opinion and politics, tolerance is that virtue by which liberated minds conquer the evils of bigotry and hatred. Tolerance implies more than forbearance or the passive enduring of ideas different from our own. Properly conceived, tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices, and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them. Tolerance quickens our appreciation and increases our respect for our neighbor's point of view. It goes even further; it assumes a militant aspect when the rights of an opponent are assailed. Voltaire's dictum, "I do not agree with a word that you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it," is for all ages and places the perfect utterance of the tolerant ideal."
Author: Joshua Loth Liebman
18. "During this earlier period of his activity Voltaire seems to have been trying - half unconsciously, perhaps - to discover and to express the fundamental quality of his genius."
Author: Lytton Strachey
19. "As individuals, great writers from Villon to Diderot to Voltaire toRousseau to Byron or Shelley have often shown themselves to beirresponsible, selfish, mean or sometimes even cowardly people. Their lives were drab or self destructive or reckless.We read them for their Words, not for their deeds."
Author: Max Vegaritter
20. "A jealous lover of human liberty, deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that, if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him."
Author: Mikhail Bakunin
21. "They could not help loving anything that made them laugh. The Lisbon earthquake was "embarrassing to the physicists and humiliating to theologians" (Barbier). It robbed Voltaire of his optimism. In the huge waves which engulfed the town, in the chasms which opened underneath it, in volcanic flames which raged for days in the outskirts, some 50,000 people perished. But to the courtiers of Louis XV it was an enormous joke. M. de Baschi, Madame de Pompadour's brother-in-law, was French Ambassador there at the time. He saw the Spanish Ambassador killed by the arms of Spain, which toppled onto his head from the portico of his embassy; Baschi then dashed into the house and rescued his colleague's little boy whom he took, with his own family, to the country. When he got back to Versailles he kept the whole Court in roars of laughter for a week with his account of it all. "Have you heard Baschi on the earthquake?"
Author: Nancy Mitford
22. "Man first creates the universe in his image, and then turns round to say that God created man in his image... As Voltaire quipped, if God created man in his image, man has returned the compliment."
Author: Neel Burton
23. "I had a veritable rnania for finishing whatever I began, which often got me into difficulties. On one occasion I started to read the works of Voltaire when I learned, to my dismay, that there were close on one hundred large volumes in small print which that monster had written while drinking seventy-two cups of black coffee per diem. It had to be done, but when I laid aside the last book I was very glad, and said, "Never more!"
Author: Nikola Tesla
24. "The take-home message is that we should blame religion itself, not religious extremism - as though that were some kind of terrible perversion of real, decent religion. Voltaire got it right long ago: 'Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.' So did Bertrand Russell: 'Many people would sooner die than think. In fact they do."
Author: Richard Dawkins
25. "This may sound somewhat obvious but, as the French philosopher Voltaire once famously pointed out, the main problem with common sense is that it is not so common."
Author: Richard Wiseman
26. "Mi chiedo se Averroè, Kant, Socrate, Newton, Voltaire avrebbero mai creduto che nel Ventesimo secolo la piaga delle città, l'avvelenatore dei polmoni, l'omicida di massa, l'oggetto di culto sarebbe diventato un carrello di lamiera con le ruote e che le persone avrebbero preferito morire schiantate al suo interno durante gli esodi di massa per i fine settimana, anzichè restarsene tranquillamente a casa."
Author: Stanisław Lem
27. "Anyhow, the criterion of common sense was never applicable to the history of the human race. Averroës, Kant, Socrates, Newton, Voltaire, could any of them have believed it possible that in the twentieth century the scourge of cities, the poisoner of lungs, the mass murderer and idol of millions would be a metal receptacle on wheels, and that people would actually prefer being crushed to death inside it during frantic weekends exoduses instead of staying, safe and sound, at home?"
Author: Stanisław Lem
28. "He's over your head!" He was, but naturally I'd flung myself into the Sea of Voltaire anyway and emerged with nothing more than several aphorisms."
Author: Sue Monk Kidd
29. "Examinez cette balance : toutes les jouissances dans le plateau du riche, toutes les misères dans le plateau du pauvre. Les deux parts ne sont-elles pas inégales ? La balance ne doit-elle pas nécessairement pencher, et l'état avec elle ? Et maintenant dans le lot du pauvre, dans le plateau des misères, jetez la certitude d'un avenir céleste, jetez l'aspiration au bonheur éternel, jetez le paradis, contre-poids magnifique ! Vous rétablissez l'équilibre. La part du pauvre est aussi riche que la part du riche. C'est ce que savait Jésus, qui en savait plus long que Voltaire. Donnez au peuple qui travaille et qui souffre, donnez au peuple, pour qui ce monde-ci est mauvais, la croyance à un meilleur monde fait pour lui. Il sera tranquille, il sera patient. La patience est faite d'espérance"
Author: Victor Hugo
30. "Joie est mon caractere,C'est la faute a Voltaire;Misere est mon trousseauC'est la faute a Rousseau.[Joy is my character,'Tis the fault of Voltaire;Misery is my trousseau'Tis the fault of Rousseau.]- Gavroche"
Author: Victor Hugo
31. "Gavroche had fallen only to rise again; he remained in a sitting posture, a long thread of blood streaked his face, he raised both arms in the air, glanced in the direction whence the shot had come, and began to sing: "Je suis tombe par terre, "I have fallen to the earth, C'est la faute a Voltaire; 'Tis the fault of Voltaire; Le nez dans le ruisseau, With my nose in the gutter, C'est la faute a . . . " 'Tis the fault of . . . "He did not finish. A second bullet from the same marksman stopped him short. This time he fell face downward on the pavement, and moved no more. This grand little soul had taken its flight."
Author: Victor Hugo
32. "That is why all romantics are anti-Voltairean, even Michelet, whose political fervor ought to have made him stand aligned with Voltaire; and that is why, on the other hand, all the minds which accept the world and recognize its irony and indifference are Voltairean."
Author: Voltaire
33. "Now, now my good man, this is no time to be making enemies."(Voltaire on his deathbed in response to a priest asking him that he renounce Satan.)"
Author: Voltaire
34. "After all, is our idea of God anything more than personified incomprehensibility?{Said in a letter to Voltaire}"
Author: Voltaire
35. "There are, and always have been, destructive pseudo-scientific notions linked to race and religion; these are the most widespread and damaging. Hopefully, educated people can succeed in shedding light into these areas of prejudice and ignorance, for as Voltaire once said: 'Men will commit atrocities as long as they believe absurdities."
Author: Voltaire
36. "As a rule, theologians know nothing of this world, and far less of the next; but they have the power of stating the most absurd propositions with faces solemn as stupidity touched by fear.It is a part of their business to malign and vilify the Voltaires, Humes, Paines, Humboldts, Tyndalls, Haeckels, Darwins, Spencers, and Drapers, and to bow with uncovered heads before the murderers, adulterers, and persecutors of the world. They are, for the most part, engaged in poisoning the minds of the young, prejudicing children against science, teaching the astronomy and geology of the bible, and inducing all to desert the sublime standard of reason."
Author: Voltaires
37. "In editing a volume of Washington's private letters for the Long Island Historical Society, I have been much impressed by indications that this great historic personality represented the Liberal religious tendency of his time. That tendency was to respect religious organizations as part of the social order, which required some minister to visit the sick, bury the dead, and perform marriages. It was considered in nowise inconsistent with disbelief of the clergyman's doctrines to contribute to his support, or even to be a vestryman in his church.In his many letters to his adopted nephew and younger relatives, he admonishes them about their manners and morals, but in no case have I been able to discover any suggestion that they should read the Bible, keep the Sabbath, go to church, or any warning against Infidelity.Washington had in his library the writings of Paine, Priestley, Voltaire, Frederick the Great, and other heretical works.[The Religion of Washington]"
Author: Washington

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