"The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. . . . Religion, then, is simply another form of hope, and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect and a sort of violent distortion of their true nature; they are invincibly brought back to more pious sentiments. Unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind."
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America I (1835).I.XVII[.6] ("Principal causes which render religion powerful in America")