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doug bridges <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 4 Jun 2011 13:54:56 -0700
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Scott is right on the money from my perspective.  It is interesting that Twain, 
who was agnostic to say the least, often reflected on or spoke of the sinful 
nature of man, almost in terms of a broken or fallen race, and his moralizing 
and his great concerns for the evil and dishonesty and crooked nature of man and 
his institutions are evidence of his agreement with the tenents of Christian 
belief.  I have had my high school students write essays arguing  the question 
"Was Mark Twain a Christian?" several times on my assumption that Twain 
represented a person whose ethics or morality appears to have been very much 
Christian, especially his love of those who are downtrodden.  Now, obviously he 
was informed by his Presbyterian upbringing, but he was intelligent enough to 
have escaped that had he chosen to do so, and so, I think a case can be made for 
Twain being a practicing Christian, even though he would probably be cursing me 
from the hereafter for even hinting at the thought.  (I realize that I am 
ignoring the supposed necessity of "professing faith in Christ" in my thesis 
here about Twain....but just as one can be a hypocrite without admitting it or 
even knowing it.....then.....and so forth.)  And to clarify,  I did encourage my 
students to argue either side of the issue, and I required them to provide 
evidence from Hucleberry Finn, which was the book we read when that essay topic 
was used.

I hope no one on the list is offended by this line of thought.  I base my own 
thesis regarding Twain on the evidence I see in his behavior rather than on what 
he said about his lack of faith.  He lacked faith, but he did not lack a moral 
compass. And to deal with one more obvious thought,  I also acknowledge that one 
can be a moral person without being Christian or even religious, and that there 
are many supposedly religious persons who are not good or moral people, either 
out of their selfishness, ignorance, or just damn contrariness.

I suppose I will be heartily upbraided for my thoughts, but that is okay as long 
as the correctors enlighten me, educate me, but do not merely assault my 
thoughts. I am always glad to learn what others know that I have not learned.

From: Scott Holmes <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wed, June 1, 2011 2:44:32 PM
Subject: The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg

I have just completed publishing on my web site and YouTube my reading
of The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg.

I didn't find it so much a Faustian tale but more an instance of the
devil coming to collect his due.  The town had sold their souls long
before the stranger came and tempted them.  I was gratified to read in
the introduction and afterward of The Oxford Mark Twain edition
corroboration of my own opinion albeit far more knowledgeable than my