Few Americans know that Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to a nephew:
"Question with boldness even the existence of a God."
Or that Albert Einstein said:
"I do not believe in a personal God, and I have never denied this, but have expressed it clearly."
Or that Mark Twain wrote in his journal:
"I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious -- unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force."
Or that Thomas Paine wrote in The Age of Reason:
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
Or that Thomas Edison told The New York Times in 1910:
"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul.... No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life -- our desire to go on living -- our dread of coming to an end."
Or that Voltaire wrote, in a letter to Frederick the Great:
"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."
Or that Beethoven shunned religion and scorned the clergy.