February 9, 2011

10 things that would have to be invented if they did not exist...


“If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”
(“Si Dieu n’existait pas, il faudrait l’inventer.”)
       Voltaire (the pen name of François-Marie Arouet; born 1694, died 1778)
       French novelist, poet, historian, philosopher and social critic
       This line, sometimes translated as “If God did not exist, he would have to be invented” or “If God did not exist, we would have to invent him,” appears several times in Voltaire’s writings. He first used it in a poem he wrote in 1768, titled Epître à l'auteur du livre des Trois imposteurs (“Epistle to the Author of the Book the Three Imposters”). The poem was a response to the anonymously-written work Traité sur les trois imposteurs (“The Treatise of the Three Impostors”), an early atheistic manuscript that denied the validity of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Voltaire was more of a Deist than a traditional Christian, but felt strongly that a belief in God and fear of God’s divine retribution against evildoers was necessary to deter crime, maintain social order and restrain excesses by those in power. In
Epître à l'auteur du livre des Trois imposteurs, he argued:
       “This sublime system is necessary to man.
       It is the sacred tie that binds society,
       The first foundation of holy equity,
       The bridle to the wicked, the hope of the just.
       If the heavens, stripped of his noble imprint, 
       Could ever cease to attest to his being,
       If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
       Let the wise man announce him and kings fear him.”
By 1770, the “If God did not exist...” aphorism had become one of Voltaire’s favorites. In
a letter to a M. Saurin, dated November 10, 1770, Voltaire said of it: “I am rarely satisfied with my lines, but I confess that I have a father’s tenderness for that one.” That same month, in a letter to letter to Frederick William, Prince (later King) of Prussia, dated November 28, 1770, Voltaire wrote: “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. But all nature cries aloud that he does exist; that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.”


“Reason tells us that if the skeptic did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.”
       Frater H.J. Hershenow, F.R.C.
       20th Century
Rosicrucian writer
       In his essay
“The Chess Players”
       Rosicrucian Digest, June 1938


“If I didn’t exist, someone would have to have invented me.”
       Bob Dylan
       In his autobiographical book Chronicles: Volume One (2004)


“If heroes do not exist, it is necessary to invent them. Good for public morale.”
       Cardinal Borusa (actor Angus MacKay)
“The Deadly Assassin” episode of the Doctor Who TV series, first aired in four parts on BBC from October 30 to November 20, 1976.


“Men strive for peace, but it is their enemies that give them strength, and I think if man no longer had enemies, he would have to invent them, for his strength only grows from struggle.” 
       Louis L’Amour (1908-1988)
       In his historical novel The Lonesome Gods (1984)


“From a commercial point of view, if Christmas did not exist it would be necessary to invent it.”
       Katharine Whitehorn
       British journalist
her book Roundabout (1962)


“If Nixon did not exist, it would be necessary for Americans to invent him. He’s the Mount Rushmore of failed presidential ambitions.”
       Martin Higgins
       American filmmaker, writer and stand-up comic
       In his compilation of political quotes The Nastiest Things Ever Said About Republicans (2006)


“A figure like Sarah Palin serves a need for both her followers and her detractors. Much as Voltaire famously said about God, if Sarah Palin did not exist, it would be necessary for someone to invent her.”
       Blogger Kevin Camp
a post on his blog Comrade Kevin’s Chrestomathy, November 17, 2010


“If the Jew did not exist, the anti-Semite would invent him.”
       Jean-Paul Sartre
       French writer and existentialist
       In his essay Anti-Semite and Jew (1946), originally titled: Réflexions sur la question juive (“Reflections on the Jewish Question”)


Captain America (Peter Fonda): (Reading a plaque on the wall of a New Orleans brothel) “If God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.”
Billy (Dennis Hopper):
“That’s a humdinger. I’m getting a little smashed, man.”
       In their 1969 film
Easy Rider (at about 1 hour, 16 minutes into the movie)
       If Dennis Hopper had not existed and invented himself, could anyone else have invented him?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

Comments? Corrections? Post them on the Famous Quotations Facebook group.

Further reading: books of quotations about God by believers and non-believers:

Copyrights, Disclaimers & Privacy Policy

Creative Commons License
Copyright © Subtropic Productions LLC

The Quote/Counterquote blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Any duplicative or remixed use of the original text written for this blog and any exact duplications the specific sets of quotations collected for the posts shown here must include an attribution to QuoteCounterquote.com and, if online, a link to http://www.quotecounterquote.com/

To the best of our knowledge, the non-original content posted here is used in a way that is allowed under the fair use doctrine. If you own the copyright to something we've posted and think we may have violated fair use standards, please let me know.

Subtropic Productions LLC and QuoteCounterquote.com are committed to protecting your privacy. We will not sell your email address, etc. For more details, read this blog's full Privacy Policy.