To be fair, most of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird.
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
The Troy of history was a dirty little town in Asia Minor, full of quarrelsome and small people living in mean and dark and inconvenient houses. But the Troy of poetry is a city of topless walls, of splendid men and women doing splendid deeds of strength and tenderness, a shining city that has actually built better cities over the face of the earth. The geographic Troy is not the real one. The Troy of literature is the real one. That is what literature means.
From “General aspects of literature” in this monolithic single-volume library I just got.
Every thing in this world is big with jest,–and has wit in it, and instruction too,–if we can but find it out.
Lawrence Sterne, Tristram Shandy
To suggest that the first cause, the great unknown which is responsible for something existing rather than nothing, is a being capable of designing the universe and talking to a million people simultaneously, is a total abdication of the responsibility to find an explanation. It is a dreadful exhibition of self-indulgent, thought-denying skyhookery.
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
According to the best accounts which I have been able to obtain, this Chimaera was nearly, if not quite, the ugliest and most poisonous creature, and the strangest and unaccountablest, and the hardest to fight with, and the most difficult to run away from, that ever came out of the earth’s inside. It had a tail like a boa-constrictor; its body was like I do not care what; and it had three separate heads, one of which was a lion’s, the second a goat’s, and the third an abominably great snake’s. And a hot blast of fire came flaming out of each of its three mouths! Being an earthly monster, i doubt whether it had any wings; but, wings or no, it ran like a goat and a lion, and wriggled along like a serpent, and thus contrived to make about as much speed as all the three together.
Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys
And now, conscience, I defy thee!
Young Fashion in The Relapse, John Vanbrugh
O my sweet little people, you have no idea what a weight there was in that same blue sky, which looks so soft and aerial above our heads! And there, too, was the bluster of the wind, and the chill and watery clouds, and the blazing sun, all taking their turns at making Hercules uncomfortable! He began to be afraid that the giant would never come back. He gazed wistfully at the world beneath him, and acknowledged to himself that it was a far happier kind of life to be a shepherd at the foot of a mountain, than to stand on its dizzy summit, and bear up the firmament with his might and main.
Hawthorne, A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys
Seems that human folks has got a kind o’ relation to sech water-beasts – that everything alive come aout o’ the water onct, an’ only needs a little change to go back agin. Them things told the Kanakys that ef they mixed bloods there’d be children as ud look human at fust, but later turn more’n more like the things, till finally they’d take to the water an jine the main lot o’ things daown har. An’ this is the important part, young feller – them as turned into fish things an’ went into thre water wouldn’t never die. Them things never died excep’ they was kilt violent.
Lovecraft, The Shadow Over Innsmouth
In this manuscript (which, as I have explained – for legal reasons as well as reasons of honour – I intend to seal away from all eyes for more than one hundred years after his death and my own), I shall answer the question which perhaps no one else alive in our time knew to ask – “Did the famous and loveable Charles Dickens plot to murder an innocent person and dissolve away his flesh in a pit of caustic lime and secretly inter what was left of him, mere bones and a skull, in the crypt of an ancient cathedral that was an important part of Dickens’s own childhood? And did Dickens then scheme to scatter the poor victim’s spectacles, rings, stickpins, shirt studs, and pocket watch in the River Thames? And if so, or even if Dickens only dreamed he did these things, what part did a very real phantom named Drood have in the onset of such madness?”
Dan Simmons (in the character of Wilkie Collins), Drood
…So mighty is their love for flowers,
and such their glory in making honey.
Virgil’s Georgics, book IV (on bees)
…I now found Barnard to be a disembodied spirit, or a fiction, and his inn the dingiest collection of shabby buildings ever squeezed together in a rank corner as a club for Tom-cats.
We entered this haven through a wicket-gate, and were disgorged by an introductory passage into a melancholy little square that looked to me like a flat burying-ground. I thought it had the most dismal trees in it, and the most dismal sparrows, and the most dismal cats, and the most dismal houses (in number half a dozen or so), that I had ever seen. I thought the windows of the sets of chambers into which those houses were divided were in every stage of dilapidated blind and curtain, crippled flower-pot, cracked glass, dusty decay, and miserable makeshift; while To Let, To Let, To Let, glared at me from empty rooms, as if no new wretches ever came there, and the vengeance of the soul of Barnard were being slowly appeased by the gradual suicide of the present occupants and their unholy interment under the gravel. A frowzy mourning of soot and smoke attired this forlorn creation of Barnard, and it had strewn ashes on its head, and was undergoing penance and humiliation as a mere dust-hole. Thus far my sense of sight; while dry rot and wet rot and all the silent rots that rot in neglected roof and cellar,–rot of rat and mouse and bug and coaching-stables near at hand besides–addressed themselves faintly to my sense of smell, and moaned, “Try Barnard’s Mixture.”
Charles Dickens, Great Expectations