Not everybody feels religion in the same way. Some it’s in their mouth, but some it’s like a hope in their blood, their bones.

Tillie Olsen, “O Yes”

The religious response that has occurred in the Western world . . . is an understanding that whatever answers there are must come from ourselves. The great turmoil in the religions is caused by the spirit demanding interiority. Faith is not dying in the West. It is merely moving inside.

Anthony Padovano

Since religion is dead, religion is everywhere. . . . Religion was once an affair of the church; it is now in the streets, in each man’s heart. Once there were priests; now every man’s a priest.

Richard Wright, The Outsider

“What is your religion?” said Dorothea. “I mean — not what you know about religion, but the belief that helps you most?”

George Eliot, Middlemarch

I want a human sermon. I don’t care what Melchisedek, or Zerubbabel, or Kerenhappuk did, ages ago; I want to know what I am to do, and I want somebody besides a theological bookworm to tell me . . . somebody like me, who is always sinning and repenting; somebody who is glad and sorry, and cries and laughs!

Fanny Fern

The religious need of the human mind remains alive, never more so, but it demands a teaching which can be understood.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Now is a great time for new religions to pop up. There are people who get religious about jogging, they get religious about sex, and you talk to some of these people who are avowed swingers — they’ll bore your head off. . . . Let’s see, ESP, of course, flying saucers, anything is fertile ground now. There’s a new messiah born every day.

Tom Wolfe

We believe what we want to believe, what we like to believe, what suits our prejudices and fuels our passions.

Sydney J. Harris

Let there be many windows to your soul, / . . . Not the narrow pane / Of one poor creed can catch the radiant rays / That shine from countless sources.

Ella Wheeler Wilcox, “Progress”

I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, “This is what I believe. Finished.” What I believe is alive . . . and open to growth.

Madeleine L’Engle

Loving God is much like a successful long-term relationship. You’ve got to try a lot of different things, be adventurous, in order to keep things interesting.

Margaret Cho

She read many books, some wise, some vague, some full of superstition, all unsatisfactory to one who wanted a living God. She went to many churches, studied many creeds, and watched their fruits as well as she could; but still remained unsatisfied. . . . There was too much machinery, too many walls, laws, and penalties between the Father and His children. Too much fear, too little love.

Louisa May Alcott, Work: A Story of Experience

We make religion a drudgery, a grind, a slavery when it should be a revelry, a festival, an everlasting song.

Frank W. Boreham

The one pleasure that never palls is the pleasure of not going to church.

Mary Roberts Rinehart, The Red Lamp

The Lord . . . can be addressed by any name that tastes sweet to your tongue or pictured in any form that appeals to your sense of wonder and awe.

Sathya Sai Baba

When I am alone in the forest I always say my prayers; and that occasional solitary communion with God is surely the only true religion for intelligent beings.

Gertrude Atherton, The Aristocrats

There is no prospect that man will ever be without religion, but there is every prospect that he will soon be beyond our present religious conceptions and beliefs.

William Pickens

If you can’t have faith in what is held up to you for faith, you must find things to believe in yourself, for a life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live.

George Edward Woodberry