Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens) was an American author, humorist, and atheist. Twain wrote Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and numerous other classic works. Twain was known for his keen wit and biting satire. Faulkner considered him "the father of American Literature".
- "Man is a marvelous curiosity … he thinks he is the Creator's pet … he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea."
- "There are those who scoff at the school boy, calling him frivolous and shallow. Yet it was the schoolboy who said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
- "One of the proofs of the immortality of the soul is that myriads have believed in it. They have also believed the world was flat."
- "The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it."
- "I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious -- unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force."
- "Leaving out the gamblers, the burglars, and the plumbers, perhaps we do put our trust in God after a fashion. But, after all, it is an overstatement. If the cholera or black plague should come to these shores, perhaps the bulk of the nation would pray to be delivered from it, but the rest would put their trust in The Health Board."
- "Irreverence is another person's disrespect to your god; there isn't any word that tells what your disrespect to his god is."
- "Let me make the superstitions of a nation and I care not who makes its laws or its songs either."
- "A God who could make good children as easily a bad, yet preferred to make bad ones; who could have made every one of them happy, yet never made a single happy one; who made them prize their bitter life, yet stingily cut it short; who gave his angels eternal happiness unearned, yet required his other children to earn it; who gave is angels painless lives, yet cursed his other children with biting miseries and maladies of mind and body; who mouths justice, and invented hell -- mouths mercy, and invented hell -- mouths Golden Rules and foregiveness multiplied by 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 his poor abused slave to worship him!"
- "The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive ... but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born."