Denis Diderot was born today in 1713.
The Chief Editor and co-founder of the Encyclopédie contributed much to the enlightenment and I would recommend that amongst anything else it would be worth reading The Nun (La Religieuse) if you haven’t already.
I have always suspected though, despite his humanist convictions, that he was the kind of man who could start a fight in an empty room. I give you some fantastic examples below…
There’s a bit of testicle at the bottom of our most sublime feelings and our purest tenderness.
Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. (I know there is some debate about this one).
To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!
The God of the Christians is a father who makes much of his apples, and very little of his children.
There is no good father who would want to resemble our Heavenly Father
To prove the Gospels by a miracle is to prove an absurdity by something contrary to nature.
We swallow greedily any lie that flatters us, but we sip only little by little at a truth we find bitter.
The philosopher has never killed any priests, whereas the priest has killed a great many philosophers.
The possibility of divorce renders both marriage partners stricter in their observance of the duties they owe to each other. Divorces help to improve morals and to increase the population.
The blood of Jesus Christ can cover a multitude of sins, it seems to me.