Letters From the Earth
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11-04-2017, 09:33 PM
Letters From the Earth
In the event some of you are not familiar with this story written by Mark Twain here is a pdf for you. With Easter next week and the new influx of believers I can’t think of a a better piece of biting satire to share, so enjoy.

Letters From The Earth
by Mark Twain
Harper & Row, 1962, 1974
originally written in 1909, according to Mark Twain A to Z and Mark Twain's Last Days

http://www.cs.umd.edu/~mvz/bible/ltrs-from-earth.pdf

I’d be curious to see you post your favorite lines form the story. If it were up to me I’d just post the whole thing...wait, I did that already.

Happy Chocolate Bunny Day

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-04-2017, 03:11 AM
RE: Letters From the Earth
Back in the 1960's, when I was attending Catholic schools, Letters from the Earth was on the Church's Index of Forbidden Books. One of my classmates managed to smuggle a copy into the school one day and I had the good fortune to borrow it. The book was instrumental in my eventually becoming an atheist. Smile
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12-04-2017, 04:07 AM
RE: Letters From the Earth
I read it so long ago I can't remember any lines...but I liked it.
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12-04-2017, 07:58 AM
RE: Letters From the Earth
From Satan’s third letter to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Smile


Letter III
You have noticed that the human being is a curiosity. In times past he has had (and worn out and flung away) hundreds and hundreds of religions; today he has hundreds and hundreds of religions, and launches not fewer than three new ones every year. I could enlarge that number and still be within the facts.

One of his principle religions is called the Christian. A sketch of it will interest you. It sets forth in detail in a book containing two million words, called the Old and New Testaments. Also it has another name -- The Word of God. For the Christian thinks every word of it was dictated by God -- the one I have been speaking of.

It is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.

...


That innocent Bible tells about the Creation. Of what -- the universe? Yes, the universe. In six days!

God did it. He did not call it the universe -- that name is modern. His whole attention was upon this world. He constructed it in five days -- and then? It took him only one day to make twenty million suns and eighty million planets!

What were they for -- according to this idea? To furnish light for this little toy-world. That was his whole purpose; he had no other. One of the twenty million suns (the smallest one) was to light it in the daytime, the rest were to help one of the universe's countless moons modify the darkness of its nights.

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-04-2017, 10:45 AM
RE: Letters From the Earth
I've read Letters from the Earth several times, most recently about a year ago. It's always been one of my favorites. Twain was extremely good at this sort of thing.
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12-04-2017, 11:56 AM
RE: Letters From the Earth
Picking and choosing passages. Twain beat us to the punch more than a century ago.


During the Six Days, God created man and the other animals.
He made a man and a woman and placed them in a pleasant garden, along with the other creatures. they all lived together there in harmony and contentment and blooming youth for some time; then trouble came. God had warned the man and the woman that they must not eat of the fruit of a certain tree. And he added a most strange remark: he said that if they ate of it they should surely die. Strange, for the reason that inasmuch as they had never seen a sample death they could not possibly know what he meant. Neither would he nor any other god have been able to make those ignorant children understand what was meant, without furnishing a sample. The mere word could have no meaning for them, any more than it would have for an infant of days.

...

Adam and Eve entered the world naked and unashamed -- naked and pure-minded; and no descendant of theirs has ever entered it otherwise. All have entered it naked, unashamed, and clean in mind. They have entered it modest. They had to acquire immodesty and the soiled mind; there was no other way to get it. A Christian mother's first duty is to soil her child's mind, and she does not neglect it. Her lad grows up to be a missionary, and goes to the innocent savage and to the civilized Japanese, and soils their minds. Whereupon they adopt immodesty, they conceal their bodies, they stop bathing naked together.

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-04-2017, 12:48 PM
RE: Letters From the Earth
Thanks for posting this; it had been a long time since I had read it. Like much of Twain, it deserves a full re-reading now and again.
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12-04-2017, 01:05 PM
RE: Letters From the Earth
Continued from Satan’s third letter, the hits just keep on coming.

Many of these people have the reasoning faculty, but no one uses it in religious matters. Bowing

The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear with its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good, and never in any case inflict upon it a wanton cruelty. God’s treatment of his earthly children, every day and every night, is the exact opposite of all that, yet those best minds warmly justify these crimes, condone them, excuse them, and indignantly refuse to regard them as crimes at all, when he commits them.


Very well, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden, and eventually assassinated them. All for disobeying a command which he had no right to utter. But he did not stop there, as you will see. He has one code of morals for himself, and quite another for his children. He requires his children to deal justly -- and gently -- with offenders, and forgive them seventy-and-seven times; whereas he deals neither justly nor gently with anyone, and he did not forgive the ignorant and thoughtless first pair of juveniles even their first small offense and say, “You may go free this time, and I will give you another chance."

On the contrary! He elected to punish their children, all through the ages to the end of time, for a trifling offense committed by others before they were born. He is punishing them yet. In mild ways? No, in atrocious ones.

You would not suppose that this kind of Being gets many compliments. Undeceive yourself: the world calls him the All-Just, the All-Righteous, the All-Good, the All-Merciful, the All-Forgiving, the All-Truthful, the All-Loving, the Source of All Morality. These sarcasms are uttered daily, all over the world. But not as conscious sarcasms. No, they are meant seriously: they are uttered without a smile.

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-04-2017, 01:11 PM
RE: Letters From the Earth
Excerpts from Satan’s fourth Letter from the Earth.

The pleasant labor of populating the world went on from age to age, and with prime efficiency; for in those happy days the sexes were still competent for the Supreme Art when by rights they ought to have been dead eight hundred years. The sweeter sex, the dearer sex, the lovelier sex was manifestly at its very best, then, for it was even able to attract gods. Real gods. They came down out of heaven and had wonderful times with those hot young blossoms. The Bible tells about it. Gasp

They were a very bad people, and as he knew of no way to reform them, he wisely concluded to abolish them. This is the only really enlightened and superior idea his Bible has credited him with, and it would have made his reputation for all time if he could only have kept to it and carried it out.

Nothing could be more characteristic of him. He created all those infamous people, and he alone was responsible for their conduct. Not one of them deserved death, yet it was certainly good policy to extinguish them; especially since in creating them the master crime had already been committed, and to allow them to go on procreating would be a distinct addition to the crime. But at the same time there could be no justice, no fairness, in any favoritism -- all should be drowned or none.

No, he would not have it so; he would save half a dozen and try the race over again. He was not able to foresee that it would go rotten again, for he is only the Far-Sighted One in his advertisements. Laugh out load

“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
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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12-04-2017, 03:22 PM
RE: Letters From the Earth
And if you like this Twain, try:

Extract from Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/1044/1044-h/1044-h.htm

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

Cheerful Charlie
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