During the French Revolution, several decrees were issued ordering the bells of suppressed churches to be melted and converted to money and cannons. Through examples drawn from literary and historical sources, this essay explains this fateful condemnation by showing how bells were part and parcel of pre-revolutionary anti-clerical writing. This essay also argues that the conflicting attitudes toward church bells do not just encapsulate a time period in French history in which the experience of religion underwent a significant change; they also represent differing attitudes toward the experience of time.