Where questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanour.
It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent Providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be.
It goes without saying that a civilization which leaves so large a number of its participants unsatisfied and drives them into revolt neither has nor deserves the prospect of a lasting existence.
If the truth of religious doctrines is dependent on an inner experience which bears witness to that truth, what is one to do about the many people who do not have this rare experience?
Think of the depressing contrast between the radiant intelligence of a healthy child and the feeble intellectual powers of the average adult.
Religious ideas have arisen from the same need as have all the other achievements of civilization: from the necessity of defending oneself against the crushingly superior force of nature.
Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis, and he is optimistic enough to suppose that mankind will surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis.
No, our science is no illusion. But an illusion it would be to suppose that what science cannot give us we can get elsewhere.
In the long run nothing can withstand reason and experience, and the contradiction which religion offers to both is all too palpable.