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  • Mark Twain

    1835-1910

    By Punkerslut

    Mark Twain

         "Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to." -- "Adam was but human--this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake; he wanted it only because it was forbidden." -- "When angry, count a hundred; when very angry, swear." -- "He (Satan) hasn't a single salaried helper; the Opposition employ a million." -- "Satan to newcomer, with discontent: 'The trouble with you Chicago people is that you think you are the best in Hell--whereas you are merely the most numerous.'" -- "There is nothing more impressive than a miracle, except credulity that can take it at par." -- "In God We Trust. It is simple, direct, gracefully phrased. It always sound well--In God We Trust. I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true." -- "It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me--it's the parts that I do understand." The wit of Mark Twain was incredible and many of his phrases still exist and are commonplace today. He is the author of many numerous and popular works, including the stories of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

         His real name was Samuel Clemens, but he took on the pen name of Mark Twain. Towards the end of his life, Twain held a bitter detestment of religion. His animosity towards Christianity was seething. In his book Christian Science (1907), he attacked the new religion of Mary Baker Eddy; the work was considered sacrilegious. Clemens' book Letters from Earth was suppressed by his daughter and several publishers due to the fact that it was anticlerical. It was not published until 1962, over half a century after Clemens' death. He called the Mormon Bible "an insipid mess of inspiration. It is chloroform in print." (Resource: Who's Who In Hell, by Warren Allen Smith.) Although Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer were some of his more popular works, many of his antireligious works include, From Adam's Diary (1904), From Eve's Diary (1906), and Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven (1909). In one of his essays, "Bible Teaching and Religious Practice," he wrote...

    "The Christian Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes. For eighteen hundred years these changes were slight -- scarcely noticeable. The practice was allopathic -- allopathic in its rudest and crudest form. The dull and ignorant physician day and night, and all the days and all the nights, drenched his patient with vast and hideous doses of the most repulsive drugs to be found in the store's stock; he bled him, cupped him, purged him, puked him, salivated him, never gave his system a chance to rally, nor nature a chance to help. He kept him religion sick for eighteen centuries, and allowed him not a well day during all that time. The stock in the store was made up of about equal portions of baleful and debilitating poisons, and healing and comforting medicines; but the practice of the time confined the physician to the use of the former; by consequence, he could only damage his patient, and that is what he did." [Mark Twain: Selected Writings of an American Skeptic (Prometheus Books)]

         His view of Christianity was that it had damaged society leaving innumerable scars. The pain, suffering, and devastation left by Christianity was horrendous. Even though many people in his day, and still in our day, believed church to be a connection in society, he viewed it as a hellhole that brainwashed individuals and to the thorough degree where they were hateful and ignorant. He is also candid for saying the following concerning religion...

    "Even the Church, which is credited with having spilt more innocent blood, since the beginning of its supremacy, than all the political wars put together have spilt, has observed a limit. A sort of limit. But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered." ["Letter 11," by Mark Twain, p. 52.]

    ...and...

    "In August 1572... in Paris and elsewhere in France... it was Christian against Christian. The Roman Catholics, by previous concert, sprang a surprise upon the unprepared and unsuspecting Protestants, and butchered them by the thousands -- both sexes and all ages. This was the memorable St. Bartholomew's Day. At Rome the Pope and the Church gave public thanks to God when the happy news came. During several centuries, hundreds of heretics were burned at the stake every year because their religious opinions were not satisfactory to the Roman Church..." ["Letter 11," by Mark Twain, pp. 175-176.]

         What he fought so ardently against his whole life was Imperialism and Colonialism. He had served as vice president to the Anti-Imperialist League of America. He held fervent hatred to the Spanish-American war in which the United States invaded Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico after stationing the USS Maine off the coast of Cuba. When reports came back that the ship had blown up (later to be proven that it was an internal explosion), the US had invaded. In his essay, "The War Prayer" (1904-1905), Clemens says the following concerning war...

    "O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen."

         When on his deathbed in 1910, he asked his nurse for his glasses. When he died, Thomas Carlyle's French Revolution was on his bed. He was a brilliant writer and an incredible person. When war broke out, he was in the incredible minority when he detested it. He was not afraid of being persecuted, nor was afraid of oppression, and he dealt with both. To act rightly, to act justly, was his main purpose, and he tried to this as much as he could.

    Punkerslut,

    Mark Twain Links
  • Wikipedia: Mark Twain
  • Wikiquote: Mark Twain
  • Gutenberg.org: Mark Twain Collected Works
  • About Mark Twain
  • Ever The Twain Shall Meet; Mark Twain on the Web
  • Mark Twain at Large; His Travels Here and Abroad
  • Mark Twain Circle of New York
  • Mark Twain In Cyber Space
  • Mark Twain Quotations, Newspaper Collections, & Related Resources
  • Twainweb - A Mailing List Forum
  • Biography and Collected Works
  • Mark Twain in His Times
  • Mark Twain House and Museum
  • Mark Twain Project, The - An Online Catalogue of his Archived Materials
  • "Mark Twain they didnít teach us about in school, The" - By the International Socialist Review

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