"Beyond the truths that have been demonstrated is the horizon of the Probable,
and in the world of the Probable every man has the right to guess for himself.
Beyond the region of the Probable is the Possible, and beyond the Possible is
the Impossible, and beyond the Impossible are the religions of this world. My
idea is this: Any man who acts in view of the Improbable or of the Impossible
- -- that is to say, of the Supernatural -- is a superstitious man. Any man
who believes that he can add to the happiness of the Infinite, by depriving
himself of innocent pleasure, is superstitious. Any man who imagines that he
can make some God happy, by making himself miserable, is superstitious. Any
one who thinks he can gain happiness in another world, by raising hell with
his fellow-men in this, is simply superstitious. Any man who believes in a
Being of infinite wisdom and goodness, and yet believes that that being has
peopled a world with failures, is superstitious. Any man who believes that
an infinitely wise and good God would take pains to make a man, intending at
the time that the man should be eternally damned, is absurdly superstitious.
In other words, he who believes that there is, or that there can be, any other
religious duty than to increase the happiness of mankind, in this world, now
and here, is superstitious."
[Robert G. Ingersoll, Thirteen Club
Dinner, New York, December 13, 1886]