"[The human mind] finds more facility in assenting to the self-existence of an invisible cause possessing infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, than in the self-existence of the universe, visibly destitute of these attributes, and which may be the effect of them."
"Religion, or the duty which we owe our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force and violence; and therefore all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience."
"It is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties.... Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?"
"Is a Bill of Rights a security for [religious liberty]? If there were but one sect in America, a Bill of Rights would be a small protection for liberty.... Freedom derives from a multiplicity of sects, which pervade America, and which is the best and only security for religious liberty in any society. For where there is such a variety of sects, there cannot be a majority of any one sect to oppress and persecute the rest."
"Poetry has this much, at least, in common with religion, that its standards were fixed long ago, by certain inspired writers, whose authority it is no longer lawful to call in question; and that many profess to be entirely devoted to it, who have no good works to produce in support of their pretensions. The catholic poetical church, too, has worked but few miracles since the first ages of its establishment; and has been more prolific, for a long time, of doctors than of saints: It has had its corruptions, and reformation also, and has given birth to an infinite variety of heresies and errors, the followers of which have hated and persecuted each other as cordially as other bigots."
"I told him that Goldsmith had said,... "As I take my shoes from the shoemaker, and my coat from the taylor, so I take my religion from the priest." I regretted this loose way of talking. JOHNSON. Sir, he knows nothing; he has made up his mind about nothing."
"The conflict between science and religion is in reality a misunderstanding of both. Scientific materialism has merely introduced a new hypostasis, and that is an intellectual sin. It has given another name to the supreme principle of reality and has assumed that this created a new thing and destroyed an old thing. Whether you call the principle of existence "God," "matter," "energy," or anything else you like, you have created nothing; you have merely changed a symbol. The materialist is a metaphysician malgré lui. Faith, on the other hand, tries to retain a primitive mental condition on merely sentimental grounds. It is unwilling to give up the primitive, childlike relationship to mind-created and hypostatized figures; it wants to go on enjoying the security and confidence of a world still presided over by powerful, responsible, and kindly parents."
"Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in himself, though both the indestructible element and the trust may remain permanently hidden from him. One of the ways in which this hiddenness can express itself is through faith in a personal god."