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Carl Sagan – Contact (1997)

He looked up once more at the cold flickering blue-white light from Vega, and then turned to her.

“Don’t you ever feel … lost in your universe? How do you know what to do, how to behave, if there’s no God? Just obey the law or get arrested?”

“You’re not worried about being lost, Palmer. You’re worried about not being central, not the reason the universe was created. There’s plenty of order in my universe. Gravitation, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, superunification, they all involve laws. And as for behavior, why can’t we figure out what’s in our best interest—as a species?”

“That’s a warmhearted and noble view of the world, I’m sure, and I’d be the last to deny that there’s goodness in the human heart. But how much cruelty has been done when there was no love of God?”

“And how much cruelty when there was? Savonarola and Torquemada loved God, or so they said. Your religion assumes that people are children and need a boogeyman so they’ll obey the law. That’s the only means that occurs to you: a strict secular police force, and the threat of punishment by an all-seeing God for whatever the police overlook. You sell human beings short.”

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