“You tell me that I am an atheist, because we do not each of us seek God in the same way. Or rather, you believe that you’ve found Him. Congratulations. I am still searching for Him. And I’ll carry on searching for the next ten or twenty years, if He grants me life. I fear not finding Him, but I’ll carry on searching all the same. He might be grateful for my attempt. And perhaps He will have pity on your smug confidence and your lazy, simple-minded faith.”
An entry from The Journal of Jules Renard, January 7th, 1903.
In the the next day’s entry, Renard wrote, among other things, “In my church, there is no vaulting between me and the sky.” He also later observed that, “If you’re afraid of being lonely, don’t try to be right,” and, “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.”
As with many French writers of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, Renard’s determined anticlericalism was mistaken by many to be atheism. He continually, frustratedly scrawls notes to this effect in his journals, blowing hot air as he berates the stupidity and simplicity of those critics who could not distinguish between his (or anyone else’s) distrust of the church and disbelief in God. He should have known, however, that this tendency is a universal one; it certainly is manifest in the attitudes of many in our own society.