The Tolerant Philosopher: Why Pierre Bayle is the Forgotten Figure of the Enlightenment

Bayle’s inner convictions are certainly something of a puzzle. When a clergyman questioned him about his religious views, he supposedly replied that he was a good Protestant, ‘in the full sense of the term,’ because ‘I protest against everything that is said, and everything that is done.’ ...

It is easy to see why many of Bayle’s readers thought that he was only pretending to believe in God. Could such a merciless critic of religious reasoning really have been pious in private, or was he feigning faith? It is impossible to tell. Besides, there is a third possibility. Perhaps sometimes he believed, and sometimes he didn’t. One reason why he was such a peerless dialectician is that he was good at seeing both sides of an argument.
— Anthony Gottlieb