From “What Religion Means to Me”
To me religion has nothing to do with any specific creed or dogma. It means that belief and that faith in the heart of a man which makes him try to live his life according to the highest standard which he is able to visualize. To those of us who were brought up as Christians that standard is the life of Christ, and it matters very little whether our creed is Catholic or Protestant.
To those of us who happen to have been born and brought up under other skies or in other creeds, the object to be attained goes by some other name, but in all cases the thing which counts is the striving of the human soul to achieve spiritually the best that it is capable of and to care unselfishly not only for personal good but for the good of all those who toil with them upon the earth. …
Today I am an Episcopalian, as I was as a child, but I feel that this makes me neither better nor worse than those who belong to any other church. I believe in the habits of regular churchgoing and regular work for the church because there is help for us all in doing things in common and we care more for things that we give to, of our time, of our material wealth, and of our thought. But these are the outward symbols which should proclaim inner growth, and it is the inner growth which is important. If people can attain it without the help of what might be called religious routine, that is for them to decide. The fundamental, vital thing which must be alive in each human consciousness is the religious teaching that we cannot live for ourselves alone and that as long as we are here on this earth we are all of us brothers, regardless of race, creed, or color.
— Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
The Larger Conception of the Church Universal
I believe every Christian should have church relations, and be faithful to them, and I have always studied to render faithful service to the denomination where a good Providence placed me; not by trying to conform to the average opinions which may be current among them today, but by trying to grasp and bring forth anew the vital truths essential alike to individual progress and denominational life. For when brought face to face with the central truths of Christianity, the idea of sect merges in the larger conception of the Church Universal, with Christ for its living Head and daily inspiration. I believe the best service which any man can render his denomination is to help on a consummation like this; and this I would do in perfect loyalty to the branch of the Church to which it is ray privilege to belong, and as some return for the large freedom of opinion and utterance which they have vouchsafed and defended. The time I believe is not far off when there is to be larger freedom in every branch of the Christian Zion for the treatment and readjustment of the great truths of Religion, and that this freedom is to consummate, not in new divisions, but in broader and warmer fellowship, and a more perfect and comprehending unity. For it will be a unity not imposed from without, but a growth within, from more intelligent convictions and the deeper inspirations of the Spirit which comes through these convictions themselves.
— Edmund Hamilton Sears (born April 6, 1810)