Saturday, June 30, 2007


Sympathy from Satan

A good start against theocracy is a reminder of the sort of theology that lends itself to political dominance. Unthinking acceptance of sacred texts is de rigeur to initiate a theocracy. While many religions have the will to dominion, here in America it is a certain type of Christianity that threatens the secular pillars laid down by the Founders.

And there is no better corrosive against wooden literal readings of Genesis than the humanism of Mark Twain. The following is from "Passage From Satan's Diary," picking up as Eve has taken the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge:

Poor ignorant things, the command to refrain had meant nothing to them, they were but children, and could not understand untried things and verbal abstractions which stood for matters outside of their little world and their narrow experience. Eve reached for an apple! -- oh, farewell, Eden ...

It was pitiful. She was like one who wakens slow and confusedly out of a sleep. She gazed half-vacantly at me, then at Adam, holding her curtaining fleece of golden hair back with her hand, then her wandering glance fell upon her naked person. The red blood mounted to her cheek, and she sprang behind a bush and stood there crying, and saying --

"Oh, my modesty is lost to me - my unoffending form is become a shame to me -- my mind was pure and clean; for the first time it is soiled with a filthy thought!" She moaned and muttered in her pain, and drooped her head, saying, "I am degraded -- I have fallen, oh so low, and I shall never rise again."

Adam's eyes were fixed upon her in a dreamy amazement, he could not understand what had happened, it being outside his world as yet, and her words having no meaning for one void of the Moral Sense. And now his wonder grew: for, unknown to Eve, her hundred years rose upon her, and faded the heaven of her eyes and the tints of her young flesh, and touched her hair with gray, and traced faint sprays of wrinkles about her mouth and eyes, and shrunk her form, and dulled the satin lustre of her skin.

All this the fair boy saw: then loyally and bravely he took the apple and tasted it, saying nothing.

The change came upon him also. Then he gathered boughs for both and clothed their nakedness, and they turned and went their way, hand in hand and bent with age, and so passed from sight.


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Hi, I found your blog via a tag search on humanism. Glad I did.

I'm linking to this article. Though the post is not about humanism, my blog is, sort of. It's about everything, but towards a new form of secular spirituality.

Excellent!! I remember how much I loved Twain's "Letters From Earth".
Lovely passage. Thanks.
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