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Quote of the Day: A Strange God by Mark Twain

mark twain

Strange…a God who could make good children as easily as bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness multiplied seventy times seven and invented Hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none himself; who frowns upon crimes yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man’s acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon himself; and finally with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship him!

— Mark Twain, The Mysterious Stranger

13 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Trenton

    I wish they had taught me this quote at school. However that would contradict their message of America being a “christian” nation

  2. Avatar
    Appalachian Agnostic

    It makes me wonder why all the churches aren’t preaching against Mark Twain. If anything, he seems to be admired by Christians. I thought of this while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the umpteenth time last week. The irony of Clarence the angel giving George a book of Twain’s writing never gets mentioned in discussions of the movie.

  3. Avatar
    Daniel Wilcox

    Another of Clemens’ bitterly satiric insights.

    I still remember reading a number of such anti-Christian commentaries by him when I was a Christian young adult,
    but most of them didn’t upset me as a Christian since I agreed with Clemens’ keener ethical insights.

    The best one by far was when Huck was wrestling with his conscience about whether or not to do his moral duty and turn in Jim.

  4. Avatar
    M Widlund

    Greetings. This quote is an excerpt from fictional work No. 44, Mysterious Stranger. No. 44 set in 1400s Austria is a character portrayed in three different Twain manuscripts as either Satan’s nephew, Satan’s son, or an interdimensional dream being who essentially is like Satan.

    Mark Twain was never an atheist, though he serious cast doubt on human organizations and authority claiming religious power.

    Lastly, No. 44 in the Dream being version, after engaging in magic and claimed that there was no reality and no God and no Afterlife, and that we were just dreams and thoughts.

    These words expose Satan’s ultimate strategy, to turn Man against belief in God so that God condemns him to hell for eternity as He will do to Satan.

    As for the quote, there is no pure evil person. And thus, in every child and person, there are God’s mercies, grace, blessings bestowed upon creation, life, humanity, directly and indirectly, explicitly and implicitly. Even the mass murderer finds moments in his life in which he provides mercy and benefits others for their lives and so on. The bleakness depicted by No. 44 or the August character does not fathom the extend of God’s incalculable mercies for all life and how even those who are evil become co suits for mercy and grace.

    • Avatar
      Bruce Gerencser

      Twain may have not been an atheist, but he most certainly was not a Christian. Thus, either way, according to your theology, Twain is in Hell.

      There is no God; there is no Satan. Thus, “God” gives no mercies, grace, or blessings. The only gods are us. We extend mercy, grace, and blessings to others — no Bible God needed.

  5. Avatar
    William

    “These words expose Satan’s ultimate strategy, to turn Man against belief in God so that God condemns him to hell for eternity as He will do to Satan.”

    ^ To add, I am seeing more and more of this from evangelicals. Gone are the days when they would say, ‘God did it’, but now they more often say, ‘the Devil did it’.

    It’s almost as if they doubt the power of the God who they worship, perhaps even given up. I don’t remember it this way.

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