I know this famous quote "In God we Trust, all others bring data" explains to us the importance of understanding and leveraging the big data.

I would like to know the literal meaning of this quote.

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    I haven't heard the data version before, but God, we trust; everyone else must pay cash has been around for a long time, and presumably means approximately the same thing. As to the specific "literal" meaning, I suppose you could rephrase it as Unless you're God, I won't believe any claims you make unless they are backed up with hard data / facts. Oct 2, 2019 at 11:58
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    Adding to what FumbleFingers has noted, that joke originated due the words "IN GOD WE TRUST" appearing on all U.S. currency, both coin and paper. The humor arising from the fact that this motto appears on the money, and most of us have to use the money to buy stuff. God alone can get it on credit.
    – cobaltduck
    Oct 2, 2019 at 12:06
  • Go to quoteinvestigator.com/2017/12/10/cash for historical research about this quote. With examples, it indicates the phrase can be found already in the 1860s and 1870s in Philadelphia: it had to do with whether a merchant was willing to sell goods on credit. Nov 29, 2020 at 12:39

1 Answer 1


The motto "In God We Trust", which became a common motto in the 19th century in the United States, was used on American coins frequently after 1864. "In God we trust, all others pay cash" was a common phrase in America in the early decades of the 20th century. It means "God is the only 'person' we trust: everyone else has to pay cash". [Source: Wikipedia]

"In God we Trust, all others bring data" is a similar, though less witty, play on words. It simply means "God is the only 'person' we trust: everyone else has to bring data."

If you wanted to hear an early use of the expression and, presumably, to see what the speaker was describing, you might want to get it from the horse's mouth. 'Mick' here says, "I believe I have seen a video of one of W. Edwards Deming’s seminars where he has the audience participating in the red bead scenario, and he uses the phrase “In God we trust, all others bring data,”


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