Mark Twain and Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Religion: Two different lights cast on the diamond


Image by Jackie Ramirez from Pixabay, Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s pictures available for public use.

Mark Twain has some good zingers when it comes to a well-placed jab at organized religion. Although his eloquent critiques of doctrinal organization and dogma don’t completely aim to do away with religion, they do provide plenty of fuel to the fire for people who like to scapegoat religion as The Problem in the world. Consider the following:

“So much blood has been shed by the Church because of an omission from the Gospel: “Ye shall be indifferent as to what your neighbor’s religion is.” Not merely tolerant of it, but indifferent to it. Divinity is claimed for many religions; but no religion is great enough or divine enough to add that new law to its code.”

Mark Twain, A Biography

Or:

“Man is a 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. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven….The higher animals have no religion. And we are told that they are going to be left out in the Hereafter. I wonder why? It seems questionable taste.”

Mark Twain, “The Lowest Animal”
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