"I never saw any people who appeared to live so much without amusement as the Cincinnatians.... Were it not for the churches,... I think there might be a general bonfire of best bonnets, for I never could discover any other use for them."
"Miss Watson she took me in the closet and prayed, but nothing come of it. She told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get it. But it warn't so. I tried it. Once I got a fish-line, but no hooks. It warn't any good to me without hooks."
"We all went to church, about three mile, everybody a-horseback. The men took their guns along, so did Buck, and kept them between their knees or stood them handy against the wall. The Shepherdson's done the same. It was pretty ornery preaching--all about brotherly love, and such-like tiresomeness; but everybody said it was a good sermon, and they all talked it over going home, and had such a powerful lot to say about faith, and good works, and free grace, and preforeordestination, and I don't know what all, that it did seem to me to be one of the roughest Sundays I had run across yet."
"There warn't anybody at the church, except maybe a hog or two, for there warn't any lock on the door, and hogs likes a puncheon floor in summertime because it's cool. If you notice, most folks don't go to church only when they've got to; but a hog is different."
"It was not sufficient for the disquiet of our minds that we disputed at the end of seventeen hundred years upon the articles of our own religion, but we must likewise introduce into our quarrels those of the Chinese. This dispute, however, was not productive of any great disturbances, but it served more than any other to characterize that busy, contentious, and jarring spirit which prevails in our climates."
"Religion differs from magic in that it is not concerned with control or manipulation of the powers confronted. Rather it means submission to, trust in, and adoration of, what is apprehended as the divine nature of ultimate reality."
"René of Anjou [(1409-80)] painted a picture of his mistress's corpse as he found it eaten by worms on having it [her tomb] opened on his return from a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. This [is] another instance of the strange mixture of religion and gallantry in those ages."
"Science tries to answer the question: "How?" How do cells act in the body? How do you design an airplane that will fly faster than sound? How is a molecule of insulin constructed? Religion, by contrast, tries to answer the question: "Why?" Why was man created? Why ought I to tell the truth? Why must there be sorrow or pain or death? Science attempts to analyze how things and people and animals behave; it has no concern whether this behavior is good or bad, is purposeful or not. But religion is precisely the quest for such answers: whether an act is right or wrong, good or bad, and why."
"He spoke of an Indian of his acquaintance who had been with some ministers to Ktaadn, and had told him how they conducted.... I judged from this account that their every camp was a camp-meeting, and they had mistaken their route,--they should have gone to Eastham; that they wanted an opportunity to preach somewhere more than to see Ktaadn. I read of another similar party that seemed to have spent their time there singing songs of Zion. I was glad that I did not go to that mountain with such slow coaches."
"The tavern will compare favorably with the church. The church is the place where prayers and sermons are delivered, but the tavern is where they are to take effect, and if the former are good, the latter cannot be bad."