Jonathan Swift quotes on religion and belief

Jonathan Swift was a clergyman, so it’s not surprising he has a lot to say on religion and belief. However, as a satirist, he wasn’t afraid to point out some failings and inconsistencies in the church and its priests.

In A Tale of a Tub, he explores the different strands of Christianity as personified by three brothers who stray from their father’s wishes. Swift was saddened by the way religion, which ought to bring people together, often had the opposite effect and drove them apart.

Jonathan Swift quote. Blessed is he who expects nothing. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I have now lost my barrier between me and death;
God grant I may live to be as well prepared for it, as I confidently believe her to have been!
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What they do in heaven we are ignorant of; what they do not do we are told expressly.
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Jonathan Swift quote. If Heaven had looked upon riches. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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If the way to Heaven be through piety, truth, justice and charity, she is there.
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Complaint is the largest tribute heaven receives, and the sincerest part of our devotion.
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Jonathan Swift quote. The tiny Lilliputians surmise that Gulliver's watch may be his god. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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Opium is not so stupefying to many persons as an afternoon sermon.

Jonathan Swift quote. Opium is not so stupefying to many persons as an afternoon sermon. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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I always love to begin a journey on Sundays, because I shall have the prayers of the church, to preserve all that travel by land, or by water.
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Jonathan Swift quote. We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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It is true there has been all along in the world a notion of rewards and punishments in another life, but it seems to have rather served as an entertainment to poets or as a terror of children than a settled principle by which men pretended to govern any of their actions. The last celebrated words of Socrates, a little before his death, do not seem to reckon or build much upon any such opinion; and Caesar made no scruple to disown it and ridicule it in open senate.
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Jonathan Swift quote. Some men, under the notion of weeding our prejudices. Image copyright Ireland Calling
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I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.
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Jonathan Swift quote. It is remarkable with what Christian fortitude and resignation we can bear the suffering of other folks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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Quotes Cartoon illustration of shamrocks. Image copyright Ireland Calling

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