|A sketch of Goethe studying in Frankfurt in the years circa 1769 to 1772 (see: Goethe timeline), before and after which he had begun delving into the religion question.|
1755 | age 6 | Faith questioner
1758 | age 9 | Chemical / Natural history worshiper
1770 | age 21 | Christianity debunker
1782 | age 33 | Decided non-Christian | Stoic deism religion
1790 | age 41 | Un-Christian / Anti-Christian / Crucifix-loathing
1809 | age 60 | Bergmanian / Physiochemical moralist
1810 | age 61 | Decried the Bible as the most dangerous book ever
1815 | age 66 | God-denier | Universalistic panentheist (Ѻ) | Cosmic animating force philosopher
1831 | age 81 | Skeptical / Faithless
“I know of no poorer thing under the sun, than you gods! And you would starve if children and beggars were not fools full of hope.”
“I perceived something in nature (whether living or lifeless, animate or inanimate) that manifested itself only in contradictions and therefore could not be expressed in any concept, much less any word. It was not divine, for it seemed irrational; not human, for it had no intelligence; not diabolical, for it was beneficent; and not angelic, for it often betrayed malice. It was like chance, for it laced continuity, and like providence, for it suggested context. Everything that limits us seemed penetrable by it, and it appeared to dispose at will over the elements necessary to our existence, to contract time and expand space. It seemed only to accept the impossible and scornfully to reject the possible.”
|Scene from the 2011 film Young Goethe in Love, wherein he is told that his Christianity-dismantling law degree dissertation failed.|
“He who possesses science and art,
Possesses religion as well;
He who possesses neither of these,
Had better have religion.”
“With the kindest greetings, let me exhort and cheer you on to persevere in that activity, to cultivate which—in the midst of peace—we are encouraged and compelled by the hostile pressure of the world. If we help ourselves, God will help us.”
“I have found no confession of faith to which I could ally myself without reservation.”
|The central aim of Goethe's Elective Affinities, according to his 1830 statements, was to show that the laws of god, the 6th commandment in particular, are incompatible with the laws of physical chemistry.|
“Following on what went before, let me tell you in fun, that in my Elective Affinities, I took care to round off the inward, true catharsis, with as much purity and finish as possible, but I do not therefore imagine that any handsome fellow could thereby be purged from the lust of looking after the wife of another. The sixth commandment, which seemed to the Elohim-Jehovab to be so necessary, even in the wilderness, that he engraved it on granite tables with his own finger,—this it will still be necessary to uphold in our blotting-paper catechisms.”
See main: Gretchen questionOn the question of whether Goethe believed in the existence of god, several citations seem to point to Goethe’s Faust and his so-called Gretchenfrage, meaning “crutch question” or Gretchen question, the incident in the story when the figure Margarete, called Gretchen, asks the main character Heinrich Faust the about his attitude to religion and if he believe in god; specifically: 
“Now tell me how you feel about religion? You are cordially good man, But I think you do not think much of it?”
|Faust and Gretchen in the garden during which time she asks the so-called "Gretchen question", namely: what is your opinion on religion and do you believe in God? (Painting James Tissot, 1861) (Ѻ) The riddled poetic answer to which Faust gives, supposedly, being indicative of his own views, to some extent.|
“Leave that, child! Truly, my love is tender;
For love, blood and life would I surrender,
For Faith and Church, I grant to each his own.
My darling, who shall dare
‘I believe in God!’ to say?
Ask priest or sage the answer to declare,
And it will seem a mocking play,
A sarcasm on the asker.
Hear me not falsely, sweetest countenance!
Who dare express Him?
And who profess Him,
Saying, I believe in Him?
Who, feeling, seeing,
Deny His being,
Saying: I believe Him not!
“ ‘Tell me: how do you stand on religion?’ — If Goethe’s Faust contains at all a simple phrase that captivates even a sophisticated listener and arouses a hidden tension within him, it must be this worried question of an innocent girl, in fear for her newly-found happiness, to her lover whom she recognizes as a higher authority.”
“The Bible grows more beautiful as we grow in our understanding of It.”If indeed he did say this, and when, one cannot fault thinkers before the translation of the Rosetta stone (c.1820s), for making faulty statements about the Bible, being that after Egyptian hieroglyphics were deciphered, it was found that the entire Bible is but a monotheistic re-dress of Anunian theology, centered around the Osiris resurrection theory.
“All unsuccessful attempts at conversion leave him who has been selected for a proselyte stubborn .and obdurate; and this was especially the case with me when Lavater (Ѻ) at last came out with the hard dilemma.—'Either Christian or atheist!' Upon this I declared that if he would not leave me my own Christianity as I had hitherto cherished it I could readily decide for atheism, particularly as I saw that nobody knew precisely what either meant.”— Johann Goethe (c.1790), Truth and Fiction (Book XIV) (pg. 240) (Ѻ)
“Spinoza does not prove the existence of god. Being is god. If others denounce him as an atheist for this, I wish to exalt him.”— Johann Goethe (c.1810), response to a book that labeled Spinoza as an atheist 
“Christianity is the fairytale of Christ.”— Johann Goethe (c.1810) 
“The most dangerous of all books, so far as the history of the world is concerned, is indubitably the Bible, because no other book has brought so much good and so much evil to the human race.”— Johann Goethe (1810), conversation (Ѻ) with a bigoted Roman Catholic doctor, in the presence of the pious Louis Bonaparte, ex-king of Holland, as recorded by Falk, Nov 10
"When man had ceased to utter his lament, / A god then let me tell my tale of sorrow."— Johann Goethe (1823), motto of the Marienbad Elegy (Ѻ)
“If god created this world, he should review his plan.”— Johann Goethe (c.1820) (Ѻ)
“God himself could not alter the course of nature.”— Johann Goethe (c.1820), cited by Oliver Heaviside (1903) amid ‘what is entropy debate?’ with Max Planck in respect to the perceived idea that entropy increase means that ‘nature has a choice’