Thomas Alva Edison Quotes on Religion and Faith

Thomas Alva Edison Portrait
Danita Delimont / Getty Images

One of America's most famous inventors, Thomas Alva Edison was a freethinker and skeptic who didn't try to hide his disdain for traditional religion or traditional religious beliefs. He was not an atheist, though some have called him that because his criticisms of traditional theism have much in common with the criticisms generally offered by atheists. It would be more accurate to call him a Deist of some sort. He doesn't seem to have adhered to any systematic belief system, though, it's hard to claim that any such label is entirely accurate. We can only call him a freethinker and skeptic with ease because they are more about methodology than doctrine.

Quotes About God

"I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt."
(The Freethinker, 1970)

"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... Not one of all the gods of all the various theologies has ever really been proved. We accept no ordinary scientific fact without the final proof; why should we, then, be satisfied in this most mighty of all matters, with a mere theory?"
(The Columbian Magazine, January 1911)

"What a wonderfully small idea mankind has of the Almighty. My impression is that he has made unchangeable laws to govern this and billions of other worlds and that he has forgotten even the existence of this little mote of ours ages ago."
(diary entry, July 21, 1885)

Quotes About Religion

"My mind is incapable of conceiving such a thing as a soul. I may be in error, and man may have a soul; but I simply do not believe it."
(Do We Live Again?)

"So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk... All Bibles are man-made."
(The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)

"The great trouble is that the preachers get the children from six to seven years of age, and then it is almost impossible to do anything with them. Incurably religious – that is the best way to describe the mental condition of so many people. Incurably religious..."
(quoted by Joseph Lewis from a personal conversation)

"I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States."
(Do We Live Again?)

"To those searching for truth – not the truth of dogma and darkness but the truth brought by reason, search, examination, and inquiry, discipline is required. For faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction – faith in fiction is a damnable false hope."
(The Book Your Church Does Not Want You to Read, edited by Tim C. Leedon)

"What fools."
(commenting on the spectacle of hundreds of thousands making a pilgrimage to the grave of an obscure priest in Massachusetts, in the hope of effecting miraculous cures, quoted by Joseph Lewis from a personal conversation; source: Cliff Walker's Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations)

"It is the best book ever written on the subject. There is nothing like it!"
(on Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, quoted by Joseph Lewis from a personal conversation; source: Cliff Walker's Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotation)

"Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me – the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love – He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us – nature did it all – not the gods of the religions... I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul... I am an aggregate of cells, as, for instance, New York City is an aggregate of individuals. Will New York City go to heaven?... No, all this talk of an existence beyond the grave is wrong. It is born (Interview with the New York Times Magazine, October 2, 1910)

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Cline, Austin. "Thomas Alva Edison Quotes on Religion and Faith." Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, Cline, Austin. (2023, April 5). Thomas Alva Edison Quotes on Religion and Faith. Retrieved from Cline, Austin. "Thomas Alva Edison Quotes on Religion and Faith." Learn Religions. (accessed June 10, 2023).