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Directory of Mark Twain's maxims, quotations, and various opinions:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


RELIGION

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Dave Thomson
So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: "Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor's religion is." Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

We despise all reverences and all the objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our own list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us.
- Following the Equator

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion--several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven....The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.
- "The Lowest Animal"

India has two million gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.
- Following the Equator

Alas! those good old days are gone, when a murderer could wipe the stain from his name and soothe his trouble to sleep simply by getting out his blocks and mortar and building an addition to a church.
- The Innocents Abroad

Monarchies, aristocracies, and religions....there was never a country where the majority of the people were in their secret hearts loyal to any of these institutions.
- The Mysterious Stranger

The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one's religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one's religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life--hence it is a valuable possession to him.
- Mark Twain, a Biography

In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

My land, the power of training! Of influence! Of education! It can bring a body up to believe anything.
- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

We were good boys, good Presbyterian boys, and loyal and all that; anyway, we were good Presbyterian boys when the weather was doubtful; when it was fair, we did wander a little from the fold.
- 67th birthday dinner, 11/28/1902

I do not know what we should do without the pulpit. We could better spare the sun--the moon, anyway.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

Man is kind enough when he is not excited by religion.
- A Horse's Tale

Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.
- Notebook, 1879

I was educated, I was trained, I was a Presbyterian and I knew how these things are done. I knew that in Biblical times if a man committed a sin the extermination of the whole surrounding nation--cattle and all--was likely to happen. I knew that Providence was not particular about the rest, so that He got somebody connected with the one He was after.
- Autobiography of Mark Twain

We don't cut up when mad men are bred by the old legitimate regular stock religions, but we can't allow wildcat religions to indulge in such disastrous experiments.
- "The New Wildcat Religion"

A religion that comes of thought, and study, and deliberate conviction, sticks best. The revivalized convert who is scared in the direction of heaven because he sees hell yawn suddenly behind him, not only regains confidence when his scare is over, but is ashamed of himself for being scared, and often becomes more hopelessly and malignantly wicked than he was before.
- Letter San Francisco Alta California, November 15,1868

I do not take any credit to my better-balanced head because I never went crazy on Presbyterianism. We go too slow for that. You never see us ranting and shouting and tearing up the ground, You never heard of a Presbyterian going crazy on religion. Notice us, and you will see how we do. We get up of a Sunday morning and put on the best harness we have got and trip cheerfully down town; we subside into solemnity and enter the church; we stand up and duck our heads and bear down on a hymn book propped on the pew in front when the minister prays; we stand up again while our hired choir are singing, and look in the hymn book and check off the verses to see that they don't shirk any of the stanzas; we sit silent and grave while the minister is preaching, and count the waterfalls and bonnets furtively, and catch flies; we grab our hats and bonnets when the benediction is begun; when it is finished, we shove, so to speak. No frenzy, no fanaticism --no skirmishing; everything perfectly serene. You never see any of us Presbyterians getting in a sweat about religion and trying to massacre the neighbors. Let us all be content with the tried and safe old regular religions, and take no chances on wildcat.
- "The New Wildcat Religion"

The Koran does not permit Mohammedans to drink. Their natural instincts do not permit them to be moral. They say the Sultan has eight hundred wives. This almost amounts to bigamy.
- The Innocents Abroad

Apparently one of the most uncertain things in the world is the funeral of a religion.
- Following the Equator

Zeal and sincerity can carry a new religion further than any other missionary except fire and sword.
- Christian Science

The altar cloth of one aeon is the doormat of the next.
- Notebook, 1898

I have a religion--but you will call it blasphemy. It is that there is a God for the rich man but none for the poor.....Perhaps your religion will sustain you,will feed you--I place no dependence in mine. Our religions are alike, though, in one respect--neither can make a man happy when he is out of luck.
- Letter to Orion Clemens, 10/19-20/1865

We have to keep our God placated with prayers, and even then we are never sure of him--how much higher and finer is the Indian's God......Our illogical God is all-powerful in name, but impotent in fact; the Great Spirit is not all-powerful, but does the very best he can for his injun and does it free of charge.
- Marginalia written in copy of Richard Irving Dodge's Our Wild Indians

 
Bible According to Mark Twain

THE BIBLE ACCORDING TO MARK TWAIN
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