Edison On Religion


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Alva Edison:

…What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.  When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day… If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things.

Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.

The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased…

I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.

I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God.

I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do… I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation.

The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study….Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.

51 thoughts on “Edison On Religion

  1. Lesley says:

    Very well said! I’m with Mr Edison on this. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Archon's Den says:

      The man did have the ability to think, and would not allow anyone the right to refuse to let him do so. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lesley says:

        This is what I’m going through right now. I was a life-long Christian and can now no longer believe any of it. Christians are saying that I couldn’t possibly walk away from my faith unless I was possessed by demons, so they are praying for me! Like Mr Edison, I refuse to be intimidated.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Rivergirl says:

    Ah, proof. When Christians are asked for it they say we must have faith.
    I say I have faith in proof.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Apostle Thomas also required proof.

      Like

      • Jim Wheeler says:

        The story of doubting Thomas bothers me. According to the story, Thomas only recognized Jesus when he was shown the crucifixion wounds. Why wasn’t Jesus’ face enough? Also, why did the apostles get to see a “proof” which is denied to every subsequent Christian? Are miracles too much trouble for God to produce? It doesn’t make sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thomas didn’t believe his own eyes. He demanded FURTHER proof. The Apostles witnessed miracles because they were WITH Christ. Jesus himself said that they would always have the poor but would not always have him. The apostles also were not the only ones to see the Resurrected Christ or witness his miracles. The people in Jesus time were amazed at what he accomplished even the Pharisees accused him of magic because they witnessed the miracles but refused to believe.

        Like

      • RaPaR says:

        All of that is complete and total malarkey, all of it. You know what amazes me to no end? The fact that all this nonsense; hundreds of witnesses to these “events” and much more, the saints RESURRECTED FROM THE GROUND AND WALKING around Jerusalem wily nily, rocks & boulders cracking in half spontaneously, EARTHQUAKES, etc. and NOT A SINGLE OTHER CONTEMPORANEOUS WRITER CHOSE TO WRITE ABOUT IT! Now THAT’S AMAZING! Not another person even MENTIONS any of these “miracles” at all! Truly amazing. Even more amazing than that? That you ACTUALLY BELIEVE it!

        Please, what nonsense. Save it for children and the simple-minded.

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      • Archon's Den says:

        And was given it! Why was Edison not??! 😕

        Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps because Christ’s miracles happened at the time of Christ. Hundreds of people witnessed the miracles of Christ. I understand if one believes it isn’t “fair” that Thomas experienced physical proof and Edison didn’t. You may as well ask “Why did Edison get to experience the wonder of electricity and not Thomas”? We all live our lives and own experiences. Christ said it himself….”blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

        Like

      • RaPaR says:

        “……for they shall be called the fools.”

        Like

      • RaPaR says:

        OMG! Did you really just say that? Is that all you have for your argumentation is more mythology? If that’s the case then your goose is already cooked! Give us something more than that or stop arguing a point you can’t prove.

        Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      I have proof that I don’t believe in their faith. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Edison was just a man. He obviously didn’t experience a relationship with God. Many others have, including myself. His lack of faith is in no way a problem for God. …it is a problem for Edison.

    “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

    Like

      • Only God is real. There are no others. Jesus Christ proved this through his resurrection.

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      • RaPaR says:

        Wrong again. You accept it because you’re willing to believe in mythology as if it’s real. Religion is just another Ponzi scheme meant to make people wealthy and powerful. Still works that way, apparently always will.

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      • dbenn says:

        You’re right CC: that hypothetical programmer may not be able to tell you the function of or even the method of the creation of the Puma Punku stones. But who created those stones, signifying the place where the “world was created”? Your god? Some other? People who believed in gods of some sort? Your point is unclear.

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    • dbenn says:

      Re: “Only God is real”, as an old Fortran programmer might say: God is real, unless declared integer (frivolous response, yet containing a grain of truth). Regarding the use of the word “proof”, this word may only be used in mathematics. Even in science, it can only ever be said that there is overwhelming evidence for something, not that it has been proved, let alone in the context of history (serious response).

      Like

      • Can that Fortran programmer tell me the function of or even the method of the creation of the Puma Punku stones? If he cannot answer that decisively then his opinions mathematical findings about God are as irrelevant as the opinions of my dog.

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      • RaPaR says:

        Or your opinions as well. Essentially groundless.

        Like

  4. rulesoflogic says:

    Although Edison’s friendship with Nazi sympathizer Henry Ford will always be problematic for me, I appreciate these words of his.

    People invented God, religion and the afterlife to explain away the fear of death, the fear of the unknown. Just because something is comforting doesn’t mean it’s true; just because something is frightening doesn’t mean it’s false.

    “Religion is not the opiate of the masses; religion is the placebo of the masses.”

    – Dr. Gregory House in, of course, House

    Like

    • Your opinion relies entirely on your faith that God doesn’t exist. You cannot prove a word of your beliefs, whereas historical documents and records show Christ did exist and had first hand witnesses to his miracles.

      As I stated in a different post. Our greatest minds…our greatest geniuses of the 21st century can’t even explain how men with basic iron tools and no electricity, were able to construct the pyramids or Stonehenge or the Easter Island Moai.

      Whether you want to admit it or not, your entire life revolves around faith. You have faith in man and that man is not lying to you.

      ….yet…..

      Your mind of less than 50 or 60 years can say God doesn’t exist.

      What incredible hubris and hypocrisy.

      Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        I have no faith in Man, or that Man is not lying to me. Anyone who does is gullible. Sadly there is a surfeit of gulli-bull fools around. As Rivergirl said, above, I have faith in proof. My mind of almost 77 years has never been presented with sufficiently convincing evidence, and I am honest enough to admit it. 😯

        Like

      • You’ve been given proof, multiple times throughout your 77 years. You simply chose to ignore it because of your hardened heart. God also hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Not because he chose to but because Pharaoh reacted to God.
        The same sun that melts wax, hardens clay. The problem isn’t God. The problem is you.

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      • RaPaR says:

        This is another classic specious Christian come-back. You don’t see how you are NEVER required to backup your phoney baloney belief with even the slightest scintilla of evidence? nothing. Just mindlessly join in and go with the flow. Tell me, how is this ANY different from any other cult? It isn’t.

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      • rulesoflogic says:

        You are the one with hubris. NO ONE has a monopoly on truth and wisdom and neither does ANY ideology, political or religious.

        Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Religious people make the most extraordinary claim of all with no proof.

        Like

      • rulesoflogic says:

        Where was God when my father watched his family murdered by Nazi troops? Where was God when my uncle, who survived a concentration camp, was murdered when two pieces of sh*t robbed his grocery store? Religion is a fairy tale.

        Like

      • Don’t blame God for life’s horrors…Blame Adam. God made the world and it was good. Then the first Adam destroyed it. God gave us Christ to repair the damage.

        Like

      • rulesoflogic says:

        Enough already! I don’t believe in God, I don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person, I don’t believe in any of it. You are entitled to your beliefs, but so am I. You are the ultimate in self-righteousness. I just want to live my life in peace; you think you have the right to tell everyone else what they have to think and believe.

        Like

      • Then that is on you. You are the one who is angry. I have every right to express my opinion and spread the good news of Christ. Your belief or unbelief is not my problem. Perhaps you should ask yourself why the good news of the Resurrected Christ infuriates you so. I am not self righteous. I don’t think of myself as being better than others. I am a sinner and want to shout the good news of Christ. He conquered death for all who open the door.

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      • RaPaR says:

        Again, did you really just say that? That is the absolute height of ignorance.

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      • How is it ignorant?

        Like

      • RaPaR says:

        I’m sorry to hear that, truly. Let me answer for crusaderchristian: “He works in mysterious ways.” Too bad he didn’t let any of the 6,000,000 of “his” people know any of that while he was sending Hitler and his Storm Troopers in! An oversight?

        Like

      • You lack understanding of the world and of what original sin has caused.

        Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        The man who does not trust himself, beats his wife.
        The Christian who does not trust his faith, beats the faith of others.
        The quietly devout, who have nothing to fear, feel that they have nothing they need to defend. 🙄

        Like

      • I’m not defending my faith because it needs no defense. I’m simply sharing the truth.

        Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        Keep shouting, Thomas! 😯 Let us – and God – hear your unquestioning faith. 😳 He may believe you. 😕 I don’t. 🙄

        Like

      • I’m not shouting. I’m discussing. Perhaps you should ask yourself Why my sharing my faith makes you so unhinged and enraged.

        Like

  5. shimoniac says:

    Winston Churchill once opined that a fanatic is someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. Crusaderchristian, res ipsa loquitur.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You imply I am a fanatic. Why should I change my mind and why should I change the subject if that very subject is the topic if the debate? “Changing the subject” during a discussion is just laziness and lack of conviction.

    Like

  7. Archon's Den says:

    No implying was done. A simple statement of a definition, which you fit, was given. That’s what Shim’s Latin phrase, ‘res ipsa loquitur’ means = The thing speaks for itself. Despite all argumentation, presentation and explanation, you will not/cannot cannot change your mind. That is your right, but, of your own volition, you keep coming back, and coming back…. and coming back! There was no debate until you and your insecure desperation arrived, only the quiet assertion of disbelief in unproven claims. 😳

    Like

    • I’m simply engaging in conversation. Why does that bother you so much that you have to try to insult me?

      You claim to have supplied “presentation and explanation” that God doesn’t exist yet no one has supplied any such thing. I have seen nothing but uninformed opinion and arrogance of man putting himself above God.

      I “keep coming back” because people continue to engage in a conversation with me. Should I just shut up then and protect the fragile emotions of people by keeping quiet?

      That’s not how conversation works. If you respond to me, I will respond back. I don’t see why that makes you so angry.

      Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        I am not bothered, and I have not tried to insult you. If you feel insulted because you think you match the definition of a neurosis given by an intelligent, well-liked world-leader, I offer you a quote from….You. Then that is on you. You are the one who is angry.

        If you do not wish to feel insulted, I could explain the difference between Truth, and Tact. Mr. Miyagi say – Way to avoid insult – not be there. The only fragile emotions you seem worried about – are yours. The rest of the commenters just seem to want to continue the conversation that you say you desire.

        Just because no-one rushes to accept your unproven claims, I don’t believe that any of them hate you. I know I don’t. You and you comments are welcome here anytime. I find you a fascinating case study, and quite amusing and entertaining. You’ve done wonders for my stats. Four…. Uh, five people have signed up to follow me, just to watch the show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No. I don’t feel insulted because your opinion is irrelevant and yes you ARE trying to be insulting. Don’t be disingenuous. If you won’t stand by your words then why say them?

        Like

      • Archon's Den says:

        He who takes offense when none is offered, is a fool.
        He who takes offense, even when offense is offered, is still yet a fool.
        Brigham Young
        Your right to free speech, does not include the right to be taken seriously. 🙄

        Like

  8. dbenn says:

    god-created-world-adam-sinned-leading-to-fallen-world-god-flooded-world-noah-and-some-other-animals-survived-world-still-not-fixed-god-sent-christ-world-still-not-fixed-apocalypse-sometime-in-future is a sick game invented by people to control other people. Like all religions, Christianity is manufactured and all the worlds religions cannot be right at the same time. I can not prove that gods of some sort or another do or do not exist anymore than I prove that fairies do or do not live at the bottom of my garden but I’m not going to base important decisions in my life on the existence of either. You can say that you have the truth but the burden of proof rests with the one postulating ideas not with Doubting Thomases (aka skeptics).

    Like

    • Archon's Den says:

      Control is what it’s all about. The desperation with which some people will offer themselves up to be contolled, just astounds me. 😯

      Liked by 1 person

      • dbenn says:

        As Hitch said in relation to the subtitle of God is Not Great (how religion poisons everything): “I mean to say it infects us in our most basic integrity. It says we can’t be moral without ‘Big Brother,’ without a totalitarian permission, means we can’t be good to one another without this, we must be afraid, we must also be forced to love someone whom we fear—the essence of sadomasochism, the essence of abjection, the essence of the master-slave relationship and that knows that death is coming and can’t wait to bring it on. I say that is evil.”

        Like

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