Voltaire's Enlightenment Quotes on Life, Liberty, and Happiness

About Voltaire

Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher known for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, and his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

This quote emphasizes the importance of free speech and tolerance, even in the face of disagreement or opposition.

"Common sense is not so common."

This quote speaks to the tendency of people to overlook obvious truths and to be swayed by superstition, tradition, and other irrational forces.

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

This quote reflects Voltaire's skepticism and his belief in the importance of questioning authority and established beliefs.

"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."

This quote is often misunderstood as an affirmation of belief in God. In fact, it is a critique of religious institutions and their use of God as a tool of control and manipulation.

"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."

This quote emphasizes the importance of curiosity and inquiry, and the value of asking questions rather than simply accepting answers.

"It is better to risk saving a guilty person than to condemn an innocent one."

This quote highlights the importance of justice and the presumption of innocence.

"To hold a pen is to be at war."

This quote speaks to the power of writing and the potential for writers to effect change and challenge the status quo.


Voltaire's quotes are powerful and insightful, and they continue to resonate with people around the world. They remind us of the importance of critical thinking, free speech, and justice, and they challenge us to question our assumptions and to strive for a better world.

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