11 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.

• “It is simple, direct, gracefully phrased; it always sounds well --IN GOD WE TRUST. I don’t believe it would sound any better if it were true.”

• "The motto stated a lie. If this nation has ever trusted in God, that time has gone by; for nearly half a century almost its entire trust has been in the Republican party and the dollar--mainly the dollar. I recognize that I am only making an assertion and furnishing no proof; I am sorry, but this is a habit of mine; sorry also that I am not alone in it; everybody seems to have this disease." (Mark Twain in Eruption)

• [In Germany] “I went to church the first Sunday, and on Tuesday came a tax of 12 marks for church support; I have not been since. I can’t afford religious instruction at that price. Only the rich can be saved here.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “...I would like, just for five minutes to understand the plan of the Creator, if He has any.” (Clara Clemens, My Father Mark Twain)

• “Let us be thankful for the fools. But for them the rest of us would not succeed.” (Following the Equator, Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar)

• “Lump the whole thing! say the Creator made Italy from designs by Michael Angelo.”

• “A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.”

• [Man] “has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights...sexual intercourse!...His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values.” (Letters From the Earth)

• “Man is the 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.” (The Lowest Animal)

• “Man was made at the end of the week’s work, when God was tired.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “Many...people have the reasoning faculty, but no one uses it in religious matters.”

• “Martyrdom covers a multitude of sins.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook, 1902-03)

• “The moral sense enables one to perceive morality ---and avoid it. The immoral sense enables one to perceive immorality and enjoy it.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand.”

• “No church property is taxed and so the infidel and the atheist and the man without religion are taxed to make up the deficit in the public income thus caused.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “No man that ever lived has ever done a thing to please God ---primarily. It was done to please himself, then God next.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” (Pudd’nhead Wilson, 1894)

• “O, compassionate missionary leave China! Come home and convert these Christians.” (The United States of Lyncherdom, 1901)

• “The only gospel in any monarchy should be the Rebellion against Church and State.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “The physician’s is the highest and worthiest of all occupations, or it would be if human nature did not make superstitions and priests necessary.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter; they are an entire banquet.”  (Mark Twain in Eruption)

• “The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them.” (Notebook)

• “Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.” (Mark Twain’s Notebook)

• “The silent colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that afflict the people ---that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at.”

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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