Candide by Voltaire.
Cacambo respectfully asked what was the religion of El Dorado, and the old man grew redder. "Can there be two religions, then? We have, so I suppose, the same religion as the rest of the world. We worship God from morning till night."
"Do you worship a single God?" asked Cacambo, still acting as Candide's interpreter.
"Certainly. There are not two, three or four Gods. I must confess that the people of your world ask most singular questions."
Candide, however, persisted with his interrogation. He asked in what manner people prayed in El Dorado.
"We do not pray at all. We have nothing to ask of God. He has given us all we want, and we unceasingly give Him thanks."
Candide next inquired where could he find the priests of this religion. The old man smiled: "My friends," he said, "we are all priests. The King and all the heads of families sing hymns of thanksgiving each morning (...)."
"Then, have you no monks among you to teach, dispute, govern, intrigue, and burn people who disagree with them?"
"Do you take us for madmen? There is no disagreement among us; and I do not know what you mean by monks."

Voltaire. Candide. Wordsworth Classics. 1993. P.37.

Posted: 2001/01/29