But an issue of this sort should not be left to implications. What I was referring to was not religion as such, but a special category of abstractions, the most exalted one, which, for centuries, had been the near-monopoly of religion: ethics—not the particular content of religious ethics, but the abstraction "ethics," the realm of values, man's code of good and evil, with the emotional connotations of height, uplift, nobility, reverence, grandeur, which pertain to the realm of man's values, but which religion has arrogated to itself.
The same meaning and considerations were intended and are applicable to another passage of the book, a brief dialogue between Roark and Hopton Stoddard, which may be misunderstood if taken out of context:
" 'You're a profoundly religious man, Mr. Roark—in your own way. I can see that in your buildings.'
" 'That's true,' said Roark."
In the context of that scene, however, the meaning is clear: it is Roark's profound dedication to values, to the highest and best, to the ideal, that Stoddard is referring to (see his explanation of the nature of the proposed temple). The erection of the Stoddard Temple and the subsequent trial state the issue explicitly.
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand, p. viii-ix