07 July 2009


(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
American author,
journalist, humorist

Many quotations have been attributed to Twain that came from other sources. If you find I have wrongly attributed a quotation to Twain, please leave a comment or email me at mythoughtsarefree@gmail.com. Thank you.

• “He had no principles and was delightful company.” 

• “Heaven for climate; Hell for society.” (Mark Twain's Speeches, 1910 edition)

• “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” (Mark Twain, a Biography)

• “Human beings seem to be a poor invention. If they are the noblest work of God where is the ignoblest?” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “I am a great and sublime fool. But then I am God’s fool, and all His works must be contemplated with respect.” (Letter to William Dean Howells, December 1977)

• “I believe that our Heavenly Father invented man because he was disappointed in the monkey.” (Autobiographical dictation, November 1906)

• “I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people.” (Is Shakespeare Dead?)

• “If Christ were here now, there is one thing he would not be ---a Christian.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “If I can’t swear in heaven I shall not stay there.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “If man had created man he would be ashamed of his performance.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “...I haven’t a particle of confidence in a man who has no redeeming petty vices.” (Answers to Correspondents)

• [To a Catholic convert, 1885] “I look back with the same shuddering horror upon the days when I believed I believed, as you do upon the days when you were afraid you did not believe.”

• “In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.” (Pudd'nhead Wilson, 1894)

• “It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”

• “It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either one of them.” (More Tramps Abroad)

• “It is curious ---curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage be so rare.” (Mark Twain in Eruption)

• “It is not best that we use our morals week days; it gets them out of repair for Sundays.“ (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• "The Christian's Bible is a drug store. Its contents remain the same; but the medical practice changes...The world has corrected the Bible. The church never corrects it; and also never fails to drop in at the tail of the procession- and take the credit of the correction. During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. the Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church, after eight hundred years, gathered up its halters, thumb-screws, and firebrands, and set about its holy work in earnest. She worked hard at it night and day during nine centuries and imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry.....There are no witches. The witch text remains; only the practice has changed. Hell fire is gone, but the text remains. Infant damnation is gone, but the text remains. More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the texts that authorized them remain."  ("Bible Teaching and Religious Practice" Europe and Elsewhere)

Read more about Mark Twain & his religious skepticism at the end of:

Find more quotations at the above post and these:

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