This one’s from American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, a book that ALL of you absolutely HAVE to read, and that’s not a recommendation I make very often. (Which is to say, I usually say “this rocks” when I mean “this rocks if you’re a SF/F fan, or are into that special kind of chick-lit that’s not really for chicks-or at least “empowered” ones- or like weird philosophical concepts; but in this case, I really DO mean everyone.) I thought about putting the somewhat more famous speech that Sam makes to Shadow, the one with the “I believe” list, but then decided this was more…interesting. THAT’s something I should have gone with for elocution, though…or should, I don’t know if it’s over or anything. Of course, I’m too afraid and too lazy to try, so that’s a moot point.
If it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as metaphor. Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you–even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition. Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.
By the way, the entire book is very thickly populated grounds for quote-hunters: if you’re determined to avoid a literary treat, try the wiki-quotes page, you’ll certainly find something there. And it might just make you change your mind about reading the book.