The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Religion Quotes Page 2
How we cite our quotes:
Tho' I seldom attended any Public Worship, I had still an Opinion of its Propriety, and of its Utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual Subscription for the Support of the only Presbyterian Minister or Meeting we had in Philadelphia. (2.39)
Franklin is talking here about the gap between private virtue and public appearances. While church services really aren't for him, he doesn't mind providing them for other people. Since he thinks public services seem proper and useful, he has no problem contributing to the Presbyterian minister's salary, even though you'd never catch him listening to the sermons.
O Powerful Goodness! bountiful Father! merciful Guide! Increase in me that Wisdom which discovers my truest Interests; Strengthen my Resolutions to perform what that Wisdom dictates. (2.48)
In contrast to Franklin's numerous comments about not believing in organized religion or attending church services, it's refreshing to hear him speak about his beliefs, which are important to him. This example of a prayer Franklin wrote is an interesting mixture of piety and praise for God with realistic interest in self-betterment.
It will be remark'd that, tho' my Scheme was not wholly without Religion there was in it no Mark of any of the distinguishing Tenets of any particular Sect. (2.54)
Throughout the book, Franklin is pointing out the difference between religion as belief, religion as virtue, and religion as specified by sect (denomination). Also, while Franklin says there's no "mark" of any other "sect" in his plan, we could argue that there are signs of his extremely particular belief system, which almost counts as its own, individualized kind of organized religion. What we're trying to say is, even when you're trying not to participate in organized religion, you ended in something that's organized, if only by virtue of its refusal to be organized as something else.