Brave New World
How we cite our quotes:
"…you know all about God, I suppose."
"Well…" The Savage hesitated. He would have liked to say something about solitude, about night, about the mesa lying pale under the moon, about the precipice, the plunge into shadowy darkness, about death. He would have liked to speak; but there were no words. Not even in Shakespeare. (17.2-3)
This is really the first time John is unable to wield Shakespeare as a weapon. Why? Could it be that God is the one thing he doesn't have a handle on? Maybe, but consider this; John very much ties his spirituality to his solitude. An outcast since he was young, John found God in the times he was alone. For him, spirituality is intensely personal and solitary. If he can't talk about it, it may be because it is simply not something that can be shared in words.
"'We are not our own any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves, we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We are not our own masters. We are God's property. Is it not our happiness thus to view the matter?'" (17.20)
Mustapha holds this passage up as an interesting view into pre-Ford religious thought. In the context of the World State, however, it's rather clear that the World Controllers have taken this sort of authoritative role upon themselves.
"'They say that it is the fear of death and of what comes after death that makes men turn to religion as they advance in years. But my own experience has given me the conviction that, quite apart from any such terrors or imaginings, the religious sentiment tends to develop as we grow older; to develop because, as the passions grow calm, as the fancy and sensibilities are less excited and less excitable, our reason becomes less troubled in its working, less obscured by the images, desires and distractions, in which it used to be absorbed; whereupon God emerges as from behind a cloud; our soul feels, sees, turns towards the source of all light; turns naturally and inevitably; […] Yes, we inevitably turn to God; for this religious sentiment is of its nature so pure, so delightful to the soul that experiences it, that it makes up to us for all our other losses.'" (17.20)
This would seem to be the way that John experiences religion; there are certain, key moments in the text where he obtains sudden resolve, where he claims sudden clarity or instantaneous revelation.