Religion is brought up as a social issue in The Crucible. The play's society is governed by religion, and those accused of being witches are seen as dealing with the devil, and told to turn back to God. No one is not allowed to be an atheist or non believer. This is used to manipulate Tituba into naming others as witches:
Hale: You would be a good Christian woman, would you not, Tituba?
Tituba: Aye, sir, a good Christian woman.
Hale: And you love these little children?
Tituba: Oh, yes, sir, I don’t desire to hurt little children.
Hale: And you love God, Tituba?
Tituba: I love God with all my bein’.
Hale: Now, in God’s holy name -
Tituba: Bless Him. Bless Him. (She is rocking on her knees, sobbing in terror.)
Hale: And to His glory -
Tituba: Eternal glory. Bless Him - bless God...
Hale: Open yourself, Tituba - open yourself and let, God’s holy light shine on you.
Tituba: Oh, bless the Lord.
Religious knowledge is also used as a test to determine whether one is innocent or a witch. Mary Warren tells us that Goody Osborne was not able to recite the Ten Commandments in court. When Hale visits the Proctors, he also asks John to recite them. John's feud with Reverend Parris paints him as not very religious. This makes us wonder, what determines the depth of one's faith? Is it about attending church weekly, or is praying on one's own satisfactory?
Hale: Twenty-six time in seventeen month, sir. I must call that rare. Will you tell me why you are so absent?
Proctor: Mr. Hale, I never knew I must account to that man for I come to church or stay at home. My wife were sick this winter.
Hale: So I am told. But you. Mister, why could you not come alone?
Proctor: I surely did come when I could, and when I could not I prayed in this house.
Hale: Mr. Proctor, your house is not a church; your theology must tell you that.
Proctor: It does, sir, it does; and it tells me that a minister may pray to God without golden candlesticks upon the altar.
John looks bad because he is not always present in church. But John brings up the point of the golden candlesticks; Parris seems more concerned with money and fine things than the simplicity of the word of God. He says of Parris:
"I labor the earth from dawn of day to blink of night, and I tell you true, when I look to heaven and see my money glaring at his elbows - it hurt my prayer, sir, it hurt my prayer."
The Proctors' third child is not baptized because John does not want Parris touching his child: "I see no light of God in that man. I’ll not conceal it." Hale, however, brings up that Parris is ordained and therefore holy. John is our protagonist, and the play seems to paint him as a better Christian than Parris.
Those found guilty of witchcraft will be hanged unless they confess their crime and repent. Given that there is no witchcraft, the "confession" is a lie. Rebecca Nurse and John Proctor refuse to lie or name others in order to save themselves. Rebecca says, "Let you fear nothing! Another judgment waits us all!"
The religious issues brought up in the play make us question what it means to be a good person, or a good Christian. Institutionalized religion is pitted against an individual's faith. We see how religion can govern a society and influence its rules.