From Creel's Rebel at Large, p. 21-22
It was the cruelty, even savagery, of the Old Testament tales heard in Sunday school [as a child in Missouri] that first turned me against so-called Christian teaching. ...
I liked the poetry of the Psalms, but thought King David a lecherous, treacherous old man. To this day I can remember the horror I felt at hearing how he lay with Bthsheba, and got her with child, and then the husband off to war with secret instructions to have him killed. If that was Christianity, I wanted none of it.
Later I came to believe in God the Creator, and bowed before Christ as a great teacher, but I could not swallow narrow denominationalism. ... Nowhere in the New Testament could I find that He who delivered the Sermon on the Mount made mention of Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc., etc.On Creel's religious inclinations, from From James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1939), p. 54:
Creel left Kansas City to move farther west, but before going an important event occurred in his literary career: he published his first book. It was called Quatrains of Christ . It was in a precious, gift-book binding and consisted of 121 stanzas after the fashion of Omar.
Edwin Markham referred to this work of "the brilliant young editor of the Independent" as "one of the four or five best books of verse among the many that have come to me from the younger American writers." The Denver Post, to the services of which paper Creel was shortly to be called, went farther, throwing caution to the winds: "A masterpiece . . . which, had it been printed before the translation of Omar, would have ranked higher than it in English literature." A sample stanza from these reflections on the life of Jesus:
God gave us mind and will; we are the free
Unfettered masters of our destiny,
And not as He did make us will He judge,
But as His word has meant that we should be.
Some of Creel's friends chaffed him about the Quatrains of Christ during the war years, and he appears to have taken the badinage good-naturedly. But the high purpose and religious spirit which Creel revealed in these lines was to have an important place in the work of the CPI.Creel says in his Rebel at Large (p. 22) that he wrote this book of poems to convince his devout Episcopalian mother (who essentially raised him, given the drunkedness of his father) that he was "not an atheist."