The second in my series examining the poetry of Kipling. Kipling liked to keep his religious views obscure. In 1908 he described himself as a “God-fearing Christian atheist”. There are many other remarks he made about his religious views which are just as cryptic. Why he did this is hard to say, except perhaps for his own amusement. Kipling had a well-developed sense of humor and enjoyed practical jokes both literary and otherwise. He was an enthusiastic mason for a number of years, but there is little evidence he viewed it as anything other than an amusing convivial organization.
In his poems Kipling did not shy away from religious themes. More than a few of his poems, short stories and novels have a fairly strong religious element. Perhaps his most strongly religious poem is a Hymn Before Action which he composed in 1896: