"Whenever I'm asked why Southern writers particularly have a penchant for writing about freaks, I say it is because we are still able to recognize one. To be able to recognize a freak, you have to have some conception of the whole man, and in the South the general conception of man is still, in the main, theological."
"The exterior must be joined to the interior to obtain anything from God, that is to say, we must kneel, pray with the lips, and so on, in order that proud man, who would not submit himself to God, may be now subject to the creature."
"There are only three kinds of people: those who serve God, having found him; others who are occupied in seeking him, not having found him; while the remainder live without seeking him and without having found him. The first are reasonable and happy; the last are foolish and unhappy; those between are unhappy and unreasonable."
"Scepticism is true; for after all, men before Jesus Christ did not know where they were, nor whether they were great or small. And those who have said the one or the other, knew nothing about it, and guessed without reason and by chance. They also erred always in excluding the one or the other."
"Those to whom God has imparted religion by feeling of the heart are very fortunate and are rightly convinced. But to those who do not have it, we can give it only by reasoning, waiting for God to give it by feeling of the heart--without which faith is only human and useless for salvation."
"We do not weary of eating and sleeping every day, for hunger and sleepiness recur. Without that we should weary of them. So, without the hunger for spiritual things, we weary of them. Hunger after righteousness--the eighth beatitude."
"The conduct of God who disposes all things kindly, is to put religion into the mind by reason, and into the heart by grace. But to attempt to put it into the mind and heart by force and threats is not to put religion there, but terror."
"All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely."
"The churches ... have lost much of their authority over youth because they have refused to re-examine their religious sanctions and their dogmatic preaching in the light of modern physiology, psychology and sociology."
"Our rural village life was a purifying, uplifting influence that fortified us against the later impacts of urbanization; Church and State, because they were separated and friendly, had spiritual and ethical standards that were mutually enriching; freedom and discipline, individualism and collectivity, nature and nurture in their interaction promised an ever stronger democracy. I have no illusions that those simpler, happier days can be resurrected."