Quotes by Voltaire

Quotes by Voltaire

French author, humanist, rationalist, & satirist (1694 – 1778) • 81 quotes.
  1. A witty saying proves nothing.
  2. I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
  3. If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.
  4. It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.
  5. I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.
  6. Anything too stupid to be said is sung.
  7. The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.
  8. Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
  9. God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.
  10. To succeed in the world it is not enough to be stupid, you must also be well-mannered.
  11. Work saves us from three great evils: boredom, vice and need.
  12. When we hear news we should always wait for the sacrament of confirmation.
  13. The secret of being boring is to say everything.
  14. Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference.
  15. Every man is guilty of all the good he didn’t do.
  16. …the safest course is to do nothing against one’s conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death.
  17. Love truth, and pardon error.
  18. Use, do not abuse; neither abstinence nor excess ever renders man happy.
  19. The public is a ferocious beast — one must either chain it up or flee from it.
  20. Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
  21. Common sense is not so common.
  22. Doubt is not a pleasant condition but certainty is an absurd one.
  23. It is far better to be silent than merely to increase the quantity of bad books.
  24. We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
  25. Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
  26. The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.
  27. I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.
  28. Verses which do not teach men new and moving truths do not deserve to be read.
  29. Life resembles the banquet of Damocles; the sword is ever suspended.
  30. He is a hard man who is only just, and a sad one who is only wise.
  31. Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.
  32. It is an infantile superstition of the human spirit that virginity would be thought a virtue and not the barrier that separates ignorance from knowledge
  33. The superfluous is very necessary.
  34. It is amusing that a virtue is made of the vice of chastity; and it’s a pretty odd sort of chastity at that, which leads men straight into the sin of Onan, and girls to the waning of their color.
  35. It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.
  36. If God created us in his own image, we have more than reciprocated.
  37. England has forty-two religions and only two sauces.
  38. Canada: A few acres of snow.
  39. I was never ruined but twice: once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.
  40. Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly.
  41. It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
  42. When it is a question of money, everyone is of the same religion.
  43. The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman nor an Empire.
  44. A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live.
  45. Once the people begin to reason, all is lost.
  46. The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of the citizens to give to the other.
  47. Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung.
  48. This poem will never reach its destination.
  49. May God defend me from my friends; I can defend myself from my enemies.
  50. Since the whole affair had become one of religion, the vanquished were of course exterminated.
  51. Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less in human beings of whom they know nothing.
  52. This is no time to make new enemies.
  53. God created sex. Priests created marriage.
  54. There is an astonishing imagination, even in the science of mathematics… We repeat, there was far more imagination in the head of Archimedes than in that of Homer.
  55. The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
  56. As long as there are fools and rascals, there will be religions.
  57. Now, now my good man, this is no time for making enemies.
  58. Indeed, history is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.
  59. Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
  60. Judge of a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
  61. Prejudice is opinion without judgement.
  62. All sects are different, because they come from men; morality is everywhere the same, because it comes from God.
  63. You despise books; you whose lives are absorbed in the vanities of ambition, the pursuit of pleasure or indolence; but remember that all the known world, excepting only savage nations, is governed by books.
  64. There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable.
  65. The man who leaves money to charity in his will is only giving away what no longer belongs to him.
  66. True greatness consists in the use of a powerful understanding to enlighten oneself and others.
  67. It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
  68. Regimen is superior to medicine.

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