Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach

  • If the ignorance of nature gave birth to such a variety of gods, the knowledge of this nature is calculated to destroy them

    Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach
  • Man’s life is a line that nature commands him to describe upon the surface of the earth, without his ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant. He is born without his own consent; his organization does in nowise depend upon himself; his ideas come to him involuntarily; his habits are in the power of those who cause him to contract them; he is unceasingly modified by causes, whether visible or concealed, over which he has no control, which necessarily regulate his mode of existence, give the hue to his way of thinking, and determine his manner of acting. He is good or bad, happy or miserable, wise or foolish, reasonable or irrational, without his will being for any thing in these various states

    Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach
  • In all parts of our globe, fanatics have cut each other's throats, publicly burnt each other, committed without a scruple and even as a duty, the greatest crimes, and shed torrents of blood . . . Savage and furious nations, perpetually at war, adore, under divers names, some God, conformable to their ideas, that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish, blood-thirsty. We find, in all the religions, 'a God of armies,' a 'jealous God,' an 'avenging God,' a 'destroying God,' a 'God,' who is pleased with carnage, and whom his worshippers consider it a duty to serve. Lambs, bulls, children, men, and women, are sacrificed to him. Zealous servants of this barbarous God think themselves obliged even to offer up themselves as a sacrifice to him. Madmen may everywhere be seen, who, after meditating upon their terrible God, imagine that to please him they must inflict on themselves, the most exquisite torments. The gloomy ideas formed of the deity, far from consoling them, have every where disquieted their minds, and prejudiced follies destructive to happiness

    Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach
  • When it shall be desired to enlighten man, let him always have truth laid before him. Instead of kindling his imagination by the idea of those pretended goods that a future state has in reserve for him, let him be solaced, let him be succoured; or, at least, let him be permitted to enjoy the fruit of his labour; let not his substance be ravaged from him by cruel imposts; let him not be discouraged from work, by finding all his labour inadequate to support his existence, let him not be driven into that idleness that will surely lead him on to crime: let him consider his present existence, without carrying his views to that which may attend him after his death: let his industry be excited; let his talents be rewarded; let him be rendered active, laborious, beneficent, and virtuous, in the world he inhabits; let it be shown to him that his actions are capable of having an influence over his fellow men, but not on those imaginary beings located in an ideal world

    Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach
  • if in the heat of the dispute he insists and asks, 'Am I not the master of throwing myself out of the window?' I shall answer him, no; that whilst he preserves his reason there is no probability that the desire of proving his free agency, will become a motive sufficiently powerful to make him sacrifice his life to the attempt: if, notwithstanding this, to prove he is a free agent, he should actually precipitate himself from the window, it would not be a sufficient warranty to conclude he acted freely, but rather that it was the violence of his temperament which spurred him on to this folly. Madness is a state, that depends upon the heat of the blood, not upon the will. A fanatic or a hero, braves death as necessarily as a more phlegmatic man or a coward flies from it

    Paul Henri Thiry d'Holbach
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