The Catcher in the Rye
by J. D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye Chapter 14 Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Finally, though, I got undressed and got in bed. I felt like praying or something, when I was in bed, but I couldn't do it. I can't always pray when I feel like it. In the first place, I'm sort of an atheist. I like Jesus and all, but I don't care too much for most of the other stuff in the Bible. Take the Disciples, for instance. They annoy the hell out of me, if you want to know the truth. They were all right after Jesus was dead and all, but while He was alive, they were about as much use to Him as a hole in the head. All they did was keep letting Him down. I like almost anybody in the Bible better than the Disciples. If you want to know the truth, the guy I like best in the Bible, next to Jesus, was that lunatic and all, that lived in the tombs and kept cutting himself with stones. I like him ten times as much as the Disciples, that poor bastard. […] I'd bet a thousand bucks that Jesus never sent old Judas to Hell. […] I think any one of the Disciples would've sent him to Hell and all—and fast, too—but I'll bet anything Jesus didn't do it. (14.2)
All Holden really understands and thinks about is people. He can't accept the disciples as symbols or an allegory because he judges them as real individuals—making up backstories, motivations, and rationales.
In the first place, my parents are different religions, and all the children in our family are atheists. If you want to know the truth, I can't even stand ministers. The ones they've had at every school I've gone to, they all have these Holy Joe voices when they start giving their sermons. God, I hate that. I don't see why the hell they can't talk in their natural voice. They sound so phony when they talk. (14.2)
Since he doesn't like sermons, he's an atheist. Since he doesn't like Oral Expression classes, he isn't into learning. Hm. Sounds like Holden isn’t quite seeing the forest for the trees. As they say.