by George Eliot
Silas Marner Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
The white-washed walls; the little pews where well-known figures entered with a subdued rustling, and where first one well-known voice and then another, pitched in a peculiar key of petition, uttered phrases at once occult and familiar, like the amulet worn on the heart; the pulpit where the minister delivered unquestioned doctrine, and swayed to and fro, and handled the book in a long-accustomed manner; the very pauses between the couplets of the hymn, as it was given out, and the recurrent swell of voices in song: these things had been the channel of divine influences to Marner—they were the fostering home of his religious emotions—they were Christianity and God's kingdom upon earth. (1.2.1)
Religion is like brushing your teeth: nothing more than a habit. Silas associates religion not with belief so much as with certain words, phrases, and surroundings. When he leaves those behind, he also leaves behind his beliefs.
It seemed to him that the Power in which he had vainly trusted among the streets and in the prayer-meetings, was very far away from this land in which he had taken refuge, where men lived in careless abundance, knowing and needing nothing of that trust, which, for him, had been turned to bitterness. (1.2.2)
This complicated sentence makes location part of religion. Silas's life in the manufacturing city may have been difficult, but he got by with a little help from his friends. Life is easier. The time at which the novel is set was a good one for farmers—prices were high and they had a few years of good harvests—and comfortable people who live in "careless abundance" don't need to turn to God. In other words—think you're not religious? Wait until times get tough.
The sight of the empty hole made his heart leap violently, but the belief that his gold was gone could not come at once—only terror, and the eager effort to put an end to the terror. He passed his trembling hand all about the hole, trying to think it possible that his eyes had deceived him; then he held the candle in the hole and examined it curiously, trembling more and more. (1.5.5)
Silas refuses to believe that his gold is gone, just like he refuses to believe that God would have let Dane betray him. He's just as terrified to lose his money as he was to lose God—which doesn't say much for his faith in God.