Been wanting an atheist quote in Latin as a tattoo for some time now.  I started reading Christopher Hitchens - GOD IS NOT GREAT yesterday and was very happy to see a latin quote...


Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum

(To such heights of evil are men driven by religion.)

-Lucretius, De Rerum Natura


Excited about the prospect of my new tattoo (to which I started to design straight away), a thought entered my mind that usually does when getting a different language tattoed!!!... 'What if this is wrong?' - So I started looking this quote up.  To my surprise... Hitchens was WAY OFF.. the most popular of the few translations that I found was..


`So potent was religion in persuading to evil deeds`...


Is there anyone out there that could clarify this?

Or can anyone tell me of any great atheist quotes in Latin?

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Language, unlike maths, is malable and can mean different things to different people. Latin is particularly prone to interpretation. I think these two quotes are sufficiently similar to make little difference when it comes to a tattoo. Now if this was an inscription for the facade of the Capitol building....

Thanks for that... think I will go for it.  I like Mr Hitchens version anyway... so that it will be :)

although 'religion' is obviously derived from 'religio', i'm not sure that it is precise to translate 'religio' as 'religion' since, as far as i can tell, 'religio' is a more general word referring to "conscientiousness, sense of right, moral obligation, duty." But then again, the specific way that Lucretius was using the word is really what would determine the best translation, but I don't know the larger context of the passage the quote was taken from. He may have been speaking about what we think of as 'religion'.

Just for interests sake, Google translate says it translates to:

Only he could to persuade the religion of evil

Yeah i did that too

I have "Cogito, ergo sum" tattooed on my shoulder. "I think, therefore I am".

I like that :)

Which leads to another:

"bibo ergo sum"

I drink, therefore I am?!

Found another....


scientia vincere tenebras - conquering darkness by science

Ha Ha!.... I love it....


'Si hoc legere scis nimium eruditionis habes' - If you can read this you have too much education


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