As one of the greatest French Enlightenment writers, François-Marie d'Arouet (1694–1778), who was better known by his pen name “Voltaire,” was a prolific writer and witty philosopher. He dedicated his life to advocating for social concerns on critical issues in the society, such as religious dogma, French government establishments of the time, and the intolerance in the community. Many years after his death, Voltaire quotes seem to reflect on what is happening in society.
Just like most Enlightenment philosophers before him, Voltaire was an outspoken advocate for civil liberties. He addressed issues concerning freedom of expression, freedom of religion, criticism of Christianity, to mention a few. Most of the best Voltaire quotes are available through his literary works and platforms that range from poems, essays, novels, historical documentation, scientific research, and many more.
Below is a compilation of the most famous Voltaire quotes that are sure to captivate your critical thinking abilities while offering you a variety of creative and witty quotes to apply in your day to day conversations.
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Voltaire love quotes
Below is a selection of some of the best Voltaire quotes love from the French philosopher.
- A man loved by a beautiful woman will always get out of trouble.
- This self-love is the instrument of our preservation; it resembles the provision for the perpetuity of mankind: it is necessary, it is dear to us, it gives us pleasure, and we must conceal it
- Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.
- It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self-love
- Whatever you do, crush the infamous thing, and love those who love you.
- The ear is the avenue to the heart.
- Love has features which pierce all hearts, he wears a bandage which conceals the faults of those beloved. He has wings, he comes quickly and flies away the same
- Change everything except your loves.
- Friendship is the marriage of the soul, and this marriage is liable to divorce.
- Behind every successful man stands a surprised mother-in-law.
- It is love; love, the comfort of the human species, the preserver of the universe, the soul of all sentient beings, love, tender love.
Famous Voltaire quotes about knowledge
- The multitude of books is making us ignorant.
- Think for yourself and let others enjoy the privilege of doing so too.
- Dare to think for yourself.
- We only half live when we half think.
- Don't think money does everything, or you are going to end up doing everything for money.
- Men will always be mad, and those who think they can cure them are the maddest of all.
- Fools have a habit of believing that everything written by a famous author is admirable. For my part, I read only to please myself, and like only what suits my taste.
Voltaire Candide quotes
- “…and private misfortunes make the public good, so that the more private misfortunes there are, the more everything is well.”
- If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?
- Nothing could be smarter, more splendid, more brilliant, better drawn up than two armies...Trumpets, fifes, hautboys, drums, cannons, formed a harmony such as never been heard in hell.
- A lady of honor may be rap*d once, but it strengthens her virtue.
- Dogs, monkeys, and parrots are a thousand times less miserable than we are.
- Men...must have corrupted nature a little, for they were not born wolves, and they have become wolves. God did not give them twenty-four-pounder cannons or bayonets, and they have made bayonets and cannons to destroy each other.
- What is optimism?', said Cacambo. 'Alas!' said Candide, 'it is the mania of maintaining that everything is well when we are wretched.
- The malevolence of men revealed itself to his mind in all of its ugliness.
- I confess that when I consider this globe, or rather this globule, I think that God has abandoned it to some evil creature.
- Observe that noses were made to wear spectacles, and so we have spectacles. Legs were visibly instituted to be breeched, and we have breeches. Stones were formed to be quarried and to build castles; and My Lord has a very noble castle; the greatest Baron in the province should have the best house; and as pigs were made to be eaten, we eat pork all year round; consequently, those who have asserted all is well talk nonsense; they ought to have said that all is for the best."
Voltaire famous quotes about life
- Love truth, and pardon error.
- Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
- Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
- Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
- The safest course is to do nothing against one’s conscience. With this secret, we can enjoy life and have no fear from death.
- Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.
- We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.
- Life is too short, time too valuable, to spend it on what is useless.
- Common sense is not so common.
Voltaire quotes on religion criticism
- Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world.
- The Bible. That is What fools have written, what imbeciles commend, what rogues teach, and young children are made to learn by heart.
- Of all religions, the Christian should, of course, inspire the most tolerance, but until now, Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.
- Nothing can be more contrary to religion and the clergy than reason and common sense.
- Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.
- “God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh.
- Voltaire religion quotes about Christianity
- Christians have been the most intolerant of all men.
- Needless to say since Christ’s expiation not one single Christian has been known to sin, or die.
- The Jews have always been waiting for a Messiah, but their Messiah is for them only, not for us, a Messiah who will give them mastery over the Christians.
- If we would destroy the Christian religion, we must first of all destroy man’s belief in the Bible.
- The son of God is the same as the son of man; the son of man is the same as the son of God. God, the Father, is the same as Christ, the son; Christ, the son, is the same as God, the father. This language may appear confused to unbelievers, but Christians will readily understand it.
- We are all full of weakness and errors; let us mutually pardon each other our follies.
Voltaire quotes religion
- I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it.
- When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion.
- If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
- The Truths about religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power to reason.
- Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy the mad daughter of a very wise mother.
- Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.
Quotes from Voltaire about power
- Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.
- Anyone who seeks to destroy the passions instead of controlling them is trying to play the angel.
- It is not enough to conquer; one must learn to seduce.
- What a heavy burden is a name that has become too famous.
- The sovereign is called a tyrant who knows no laws but his caprice.
- Clever tyrants are never punished.
- Business is the salt of life.
- Perfection is attained by slow degrees; it requires the hand of time.
Quotes Voltaire about justice and law
- Let the punishments of criminals be useful. A hanged man is good for nothing; a man condemned to public works still serves the country, and is a living lesson.”
- All men have equal rights to liberty, to their property, and to the protection of the laws.
- I was never ruined but twice: Once when I lost a lawsuit, and once when I won one.
- If you want good laws, burn those you have and make new ones.
- A multitude of laws in a country is like a great number of physicians, a sign of weakness and malady.
- Let the laws be clear, uniform and precise for interpreting laws is always to corrupt them.
Voltaire quotes on government
- It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
- The art of government consists in taking as much money as possible to a class of citizens to give to another.
- When the mob gets involved in reasoning, all is lost.
- Politics has its source in evil than in the greatness of the human spirit.
- Governments need to have both shepherds and butchers.
- One of the chief misfortunes of honest people is that they are cowardly.
- A long dispute means that both parties are wrong.
- Democracy is just filler for textbooks! Do you actually believe that public opinion influences the government?
Voltaire freedom of speech quotes
- I do not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death for your right to say.
- If you have two religions in your land, the two will cut each other’s throats; but if you have thirty religions, they will dwell in peace.
- Liberty of though is the life of the soul.
- Let us leave every man at liberty to seek into him and to lose himself in his ideas.
- The true character of liberty is independence, maintained by force.
- Will is wish, and liberty is power.
- All men are by nature free; you have therefore an undoubted liberty to depart whenever you please, but will have many and great difficulties to encounter in passing the frontiers.
Quotes by Voltaire are an excellent catalyst for a critical thinker. The quotes touch on various human life parameters that include social, political, economic, education, religion, among others. The quotes enable every sensible human to analyze life from Voltaire's point of view and make self-judgments and critical thinking for a better understanding of life and society in large.