"Religion! How it dominates man's mind, how it humiliates and degrades his soul. God is everything, man is nothing, says religion. But out of that nothing God has created a kingdom so despotic, so tyrannical, so cruel, so terribly exacting that naught but gloom and tears and blood have ruled the world since gods began."
"By Jesus's time the Law of Moses, originally established for the government of a semi-barbarous nation of herdsmen and hill-farmers, resembled a petulant great-grandfather who tries to govern a family business from his sick-bed in the chimney-corner, unaware of the changes that have taken place in the world since he was able to get about: his authority must not be questioned, yet his orders, since no longer relevant, must be reinterpreted in another sense, if the business is not to go bankrupt. When the old man says, for instance: "It is time for the women to grind their lapfuls of millet in the querns", this is taken to mean: "It is time to send the sacks of wheat to the water-mill."
"What I ask of American Christianity is not to show us more creeds, but more of Christ; not more rites and ceremonies, but more religion glowing with love and replete with life,--religion which will be to all weaker races an uplifting power, and not a degrading influence. Jesus Christ has given us a platform of life and duty from which all oppression and selfishness is necessarily excluded. While politicians may stumble on the barren mountains of fretful controversy and ask in strange bewilderment, "What shall we do with the weaker races?" I hold that Jesus Christ answered that question nearly two thousand years since. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even so to them."
"The religion of the Bible is the best in the world. I see the infinite value of religion. Let it be always encouraged. A world of superstition and folly have grown up around its forms and ceremonies. But the truth in it is one of the deep sentiments in human nature."
"Fanny was not there! How she would have enjoyed the scene.... I could not but think of her, and in spite of my efforts to prevent, the unbidden tear would flow. Alas! I cannot feel the satisfaction some appear to do in the reflection that her eyes beheld the scene from the other world."
"In the evening we attended a lecture by Rev. Fitch, a missionary for twenty years to China--the husband of our bright cousin, Mary McClelland.... He spoke of the three hundred millions of people in China. Twelve million a year die in ignorance of the Bible--one million a month perishing without salvation! This to me seems monstrous. God, the Father of all, God, who is love, dooms millions of his creatures to eternal torment! ... He is to bring a new religion to a polite and cultivated people!"
"Partisanship should be kept out of the pulpit.... The blindest of partisans are preachers. All politicians expect and find more candor, fairness, and truth in politicians than in partisan preachers. They are not replied to--no chance to reply to them.... The balance wheel of free institutions is free discussion. The pulpit allows no free discussion."
"Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but on earth, in the realm of reality; we only see real things in the entrancing splendor of imagination and caprice, instead of in the simple daylight of reality and necessity."
"Along the highway, all but lost among blatant neon lights flashing 'Whiskey' and 'Dance and Dine,' are crudely daubed warnings erected by itinerant evangelists, announcing that 'Jesus is soon coming,' or exhorting the traveler to 'prepare to meet thy God.'"
"Now folks, I hereby declare the first church of Tombstone, which ain't got no name yet or no preacher either, officially dedicated. Now I don't pretend to be no preacher, but I've read the Good Book from cover to cover and back again, and I nary found one word agin dancin'. So we'll commence by havin' a dad blasted good dance."