20th February 2008

“O Lord our God, help us 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 their 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.”

Mark Twain1835 – 1910

5 Responses to “20th February 2008”

  1. Terence Meaden Says:

    In short, as Mark Twain might alternatively have put it — had he been limited to four words — “There is no god”.

  2. Bar?? Alt?nta? Says:

    This is from the War Prayer, a short story by Twain. It is not about whether God exists or not. It is the best written indictment of war and how religion and patriotism blinds us to compassion and to our own humanness.

  3. Critic Says:

    As usual, Twain’s wit never fails to amuse through derision.

    I do not know if he ever stated that he was an atheist, but, based on my reading, Twain despised religion and the religious mind and never failed to take a stab at the childish and ridiculous nature all religions.

    Fairly bold writing considering the time and place in which he was writing. Sacrilegious statements were not treated with as much tolerance as they are today.

  4. Chris Says:

    Read “Letters from Earth” by Twain. Funny and incisive and free. Letters home to Heaven from Satan who gets himself banished occasionally for his cheekyness.Twain was very hostile to religion if not god as well.

  5. Terence Meaden Says:

    From his many anti-Christian quotations, it looks like he was a fine freethinking non-theist all right.
    e.g.
    “Our Bible reveals to us the character of our [supposed] god with minute and remorseless exactness… It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light … by contrast.”

    “If there is a god, he is a malign thug.”

    “I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious — unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force.”