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Scrap Paper Review
Issue #31
July, 1998

1998 A.D. Sullivan
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Chorus of Snores   by David Cope
Juries: 32:5   from the "Mythos Synchronius" of Friar Garlandus   by Garland
The Gospel According To T.C. Insidious   by C.L. Lennon
O Ra Unto Ages   by Patrick Hammer, Jr.
An Honest Look at the Bible

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Chorus of Snores
by David Cope

12 men in a cabin
snore peacefully in dreams,
12 sets of lungs
draw breath in and blow out:
the successful executive
blows bullfrog bass,
the long distance bike champion
turns in short blasts,
the one whose heart is breaking
is shaking his bed unaware,
the thin man whose friend couldn't make it
toots a soft horn,
the others float soft sighs and snorts
into the night,
companions and lovers far away,
now above canyon's rim
worldly dreams and ambitions
afloat in brief eternity,
sigh, brothers,
and moaned through the night,
where the butte's black vastness
is dwarfed by the
wild curtain of starts
in your echoing dreams.

Table of Contents* * *

Juries: 32:5
from the "Mythos Synchronius" of Friar Garlandus

by Garland

Now it happened that in the twenty-third year of the Precious Dominion of Despair, on the outskirts of a town lost to time, there appeared to a local innkeeper of small repute, a mysterious roomer. And the roomer was dark and strange; and he hinted at hidden things and forgotten meanings, and he knew lore like the old men and sayers.

"I am the Penultimate and the empty cupboard," he would oft remark, and his entourage was unkempt and ill-informed.

And the roomer stayed for a day and a night, but in that short time he was much discussed, and the entourage went out amongst the people so that questions should be raised.

And that night was ever more known as the start of something big. And all night long and into the morning, those in the market places made noises of contentment and embraced their prophets.

And when the roomer prepared to leave at the hint of a false dawn, he finally spoke to those that had gathered the closest and knew how to keep an eye on things.

"Remember -- if you've forgotten since the last time your curiosity was stirred -- that I have only prepared space above you. I am a roomer no longer, but already a fading memory. Be yea like harbingers of doom when you elation wanes, for it will return to haunt you. If the prophets spoke words, then would tell you: IF YOU CRACK THE MATERIAL GLOW, AS ABOVE, SO BELOW."

And he walked through the door and out into the desert and was not gone one hour when several remarked that he had disappeared. And so all of this has been sworn true on the eyes of honest fishermen.

Table of Contents* * *

The Gospel According To T.C. Insidious
by C.L. Lennon

ROME TO THADUS C. INSIDIOUS:
The Emperor's tea was cold this morning. He blamed it on some character named Christ. Please investigate.

TCI TO ROME:
All's well, the water's fine. Wish you were here (but glad you're not). As for this character, Christ, strictly a local myth. Nothing to worry about.

ROME TO TCI:
The Emperor does not agree and he got into quite an uproar over your last message. He insists that you send biographical date along immediately before he fiddles Rome to the ground again.

TCI TO ROME:
All right, all right. If you insist. But this is hardly fair. I'd much rather spend my tire in Tyre taking health baths. But I suppose if there's no one else to do it, I can ask around a little.

ROME TO TCI:
Do that.

TCI TO ROME:
A preliminary investigation shows that contrary to previous beliefs, there was actually a character named Christ. Or at least a bunch of people around here think there was. Documented evidence is non-existent.

Oral reports suggest Christ was a real lulu. Some claim he was born of a virgin. But that's nothing new for this part of the world. Most of the local cults make the same claim for their messiahs. It's a regular fad. If your messiah wasn't born of a virgin, you're just not with it.

Anyway, I can't nail down an exact date of birth. But I got some evidence from documents written by four madmen named Luke, Mark, John and Matthew. All four stories run about the same, although I suspect two of the stories were written much later and based on the first two. All four suggest this Christ was born around the time of King Herod, the father, not the son. You know, the jerk who kept sending the Emperor messages signed as "the Great Herod."

From all indications this Herod was a child molester and had a particular thing for the Christ Child. Apparently some passing Wise Guys stopped at his palace to fill up their camels and told the kind of the birth in some far off town. The king, infuriated that he not managed to get first picking, ordered every child under the age of two killed.

It seems extreme to me, but people in these parts are strange. Their stories does have the backing of some officials here in Tyre. At least, the time frame. It seemed our old friend, Publius Quirius, was appointed proconsul of Asia about two years before Herod's death in 6 BC which would explain the registration for tax. Moocho bucks got spent in travel arrangements back to the old cities for all the residents of the land so they could register in the city where they were born. Christ is said to have been born during this tax registration. If so, then his would have been born between 6 BC and 4 BC.

So now that you have it, please leave me alone. I have an appointment with my manicurist.

ROME TO TCI:
You sent not nearly enough information. There is madness about in the streets of Rome. Rumors are talking of all sorts of horrible things. Your report did nothing to help. Investigate, and quickly.

TCI TO ROME:
Investigate? You mean you want me to go out into the sun? With my complexion?

ROME TO TCI:
With the way the Emperor is feeling, I'd think you'd have more to worry about than your complexion.

TCI TO ROME:
All right, so I'm here in Nazareth. I hope you and the Emperor are satisfied. I've talked to Innkeepers and local residents, and anyone else who might have seen something back then. Most of them are quite old by now and came up with very little about this Christ to suggest he had a radical disposition.

The mother raised some stir local when she turned up pregnant when she was unmarried and 15 years old, but she and her boyfriend, Joseph fled for Bethlehem in the guise of registering for their taxes.

Although there is a legend that Christ was born in a stable, evidence seems to indicate that he was born in as cave just outside the town. Locals temple records show numerous circumcisions during that time, anyone of which could have been Christ's.

The one thing that stirred by suspicious was evidence that the family went underground for a while, slipped out of the country just after the birth, apparently avoiding King Herod's sweeps by going to Egypt for a while. Eventually, they made their way back to Nazareth again and settled down into a middle class life style.

If anything theirs was the perfect model family, hardworking husband, a carpenter, stay-at-home mother, and a quiet child.

All indications the whole family was quiet when Christ was young and made no trouble for anyone.

Now, if the Emperor is satisfied. I'm going to Egypt myself. I deserve a vacation.

ROME TO TCI:
Nothing more than that? The rumors here have grown even more wild than before, making him out to be some new kind of king that is going to rule over the world. A few of our investigators seemed to have come up with some evidence that he may have bombed banks in some leftist movement later in life. We keep hearing something about the money changers in the temple. All you've given us so far is stuff about the boy's childhood, and not much of that, I might add.

TCI TO ROME:
That's because there isn't a lot to tell about the boy's childhood. He apparently led a boring life like most of the people in Nazareth and if he performed miracles then like they say he did later, no one's talking about them. The only abnormal detail I can find at all has to do with a trip he and his family took to temple for his Bar Mitzvah. Apparently the family left without him, and when they came back to find him later, they found him in a heavy rap with the local priests. They seemed to be impressed with his mind. At his age, I was humping freaking camels for a living.

ROME TO TCI:
We suggest you keep your perversions private. This isn't the Rome it used to be. A lot of people here are bending over backwards to appease these Christians. It's a political thing that I don't get. The only think I see the Christian are good for is lion food, and even then the lions get heartburn. The Emperor isn't fooled, but he's worried about the implications for the next election. Someone might want to give the fools the vote or something. He is also intrigued by this thing you said the boy had at the temple. Provide more details.

TCI TO ROME:
While I'm not sure what I found, it seems this little incident at the temple as a kid was more than I thought at first. Apparently his family took a trip to Jerusalem for a holiday the Jews call "Passover" that year. They wanted the boy to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah in style. When the kid got to the temple, he started preaching a lot of pinko stuff to the local teachers. It is hard to say where the kid came up with it, maybe some passing Buddhist. The area is loaded with characters like that, passing this way and that. You might speak to the Emperor about sending over some roach powder and some rat traps.

Anyway, he started preaching. I don't think the parents knew what he was up to. The mother thought the boy was with the father and the father thought he was with the mother and they were both surprised to find when they found each other on the mule train home that the boy wasn't with either of them.

The kid was still at it when they got back to the temple. Fairly reliable witnesses overheard the exchange between the boy and the mother. She scolded him for misbehaving. He turned around and said something about "doing his father's business." She shut up right away. Several people pondered the significance, and suggested Christ might be a mole from Huns. But God only knows why they would send a secret agent to an otherwise God forsake place like this.

But it was enough to make me take another, closer look. I went to a lot of the local officials, looked up their records on suspicious happenings. I talked to a lot of old timers, many of whom say the kid didn't always hang around his father's workshop the way some people claim. Some claim he went away on trips from time to time, trips to India and to China. I can't find any hard evidence for that. But many did confirm his talks with the traveling priests from those regions, some claim he even took up finger cymbals and cut his hair shot and began chanting on the streets while selling incense, just like the Hari Krishnas do on the streets of Alexandria. Speaking of which, there's a ship leaving from Tyre in about a week for that wondrous place, I intended to be on it. I'll let you know how the hot baths are.

ROME TO TCI:
Thadus! Thadus! Thadus!

The Emperor is calling for you head. He says you've not investigated nearly as well as you ought, claiming he has information on this end that Christ was executed by Roman Order, some old soldier reporting a trial and crucifixion under a local magistrate named Pilate. We have checked our records and come up with a magistrate Pilate. We've pacified the Emperor saying you were still looking into the details, so get the hell out of Alexandria and back to Jerusalem before he has a fit. He was having his hair done when he heard the news, and it wilted. So be warned.

TCI TO ROME:
Great Jupiter! How could I have missed all this before. Radical? This Christ guy is worse than the Greeks!

To begin with, I got a description from a number of independent sources hanging around Jerusalem, some of them claiming he is still alive.

Most describe the man as taller than average, well built, and handsome as hell. According to some sources, he had as many as thirty women following him around like a harem. No evidence of his having sexual relations with any of them, but hell, from what I heard these were not your gutter tripe (though a few did have questionable reputations). Each one, according to these reports, was more gorgeous than the one before, and some of those women late said they "carried Christ" inside of them. You put two and two together for yourself.

He was bearded, too (a regular hippie type) and a Semite, looking like every other Arab or Jew in his part of the world. His parents were Jewish, but only the Arabs and Jews can tell each other apart. He had a dark complexion like many Arabs, almost brown.

Everyone I talked to agrees he was one hell of a talker. He seemed to hypnotize people when he spoke to crowds. People claim he felt their pain (I got this from a cured cripple). Yet some others claim he could be hard and tactless, especially when he was talking to reach folks who wouldn't give any coin to his local charities.

But here's the real clincher, he hated banks and money lenders, which seems to lend some credence to reports you got about bank bombings, though I've never heard about him bombing any banks out here. I got some reports about a conflict in the local temple, but I haven't verified any of that yet, so I won't make extensive comment.

Most people, even his enemies, claim this Christ had guts. They said he jested a lot, and taunted some of the best thinkers in this area (sounds a lot like that radical Socrates, doesn't it?)

Early reports have this Christ in the company of a well-known leftist named "John the Baptizer," another talker. Local authorities have a record on the baptizer a mile long, but had him beheaded early on before his influence could spread. But if local suspicions are true, Christ was even more radical than the Baptizer ever was, and it was after their meeting that Christ came out into the open and began to spread his radical ideas.

More than one witness verified the meeting at which the Baptizer claimed he was not worthy to baptize Christ and did so only at Christ's insistence, some kind of radical induction ceremony, I've discovered. After this meeting occurred Christ went out into the desert for something he called "meditation" and stayed there 40 days and nights.

Most of this I got from local agents who trailed the Baptizer, none of whom thought Christ was much of anything until much later. They had their sting on to bust the Baptizer and didn't want to get distracted by some other character. In retrospect, this was a mistake. If they had turned their attention to Christ and eliminated him then and there, you would have had none of the problems now plaguing Rome. As it is, they let him go into the dessert, figuring if the fool wanted to fast for 40 days, let him. I guess they figured he would starve. He did not. When Christ got back, he started preaching.

He apparently centered his activities around Galilee with Capernaum as his headquarters (the home of fellow leftist, Simon Peter.) All totaled, Christ had a consistent following of about 70 men and women. But this did not count the crowds that came to listen to him talk. At times, this number swelled into the thousands.

Of the 70, Christ had a core group of 12 men, largely selected on the mystical number that is prominent in many of the religions in this area, matching the 12 Jewish tribes, the 12 months of the year (they have a different calendar here), and the 12 signs of the zodiac. Some suggest Christ also kept the number low to prevent infiltration. Little did he know that he had a traitor in his midst already.

ROME TO TCI:
That's it? What about the execution? What about these rumors of his rising from the dead?

TCI TO ROME:
Hold your Chariots! Athens wasn't invaded in a day. It takes time to sort through all the conflicting information. There are a lot of fanatics running around mixing the religion up, splinter groups forming all the time here. One idiot got hit by lightning, became blinded, fell off his horse, and now is chief spokesman for the main body of what has come to call itself "Christian." You can hear them hooting and hollering in the streets, singing, "Jesus Saves."

ROME TO TCI:
We can hear it in the streets here, too. The fanatics scream it day and night in front of the Emperor's Palace. We've posted archers everywhere along the walls to shoot them down, but the minute a man nods, one pops up and shots. We even hear the echoes of it when we're in the toilet, and find it written all over the walls. The Emperor found the remark on His royal toilet and had a fit, forcing the troops to drag in as many of the little devils as we can. But they're all over the place, so many that the lions are getting bored with their taste. If they were cockroaches, we could spread a little boric acid on the street and hope that did the trick. We've thought of putting sulfuric acid out, but feared we'd hurt the horses.

Tell us more about this Christ character. We're hoping to find some scandal we might use to discredit the bastard.

TCI TO ROME:
As I have indicated in past reports, many people are amazed. Yet not everybody is convinced this guy is for real. And he has stirred up real trouble among the rich who hate his guts. Too much preaching about sharing the wealth and all that other socialistic crap.

More than once this guy has had to snake out of a town after local reactionaries threatened to string him up. You know, the usual "Commie pig," stuff.

It's the crowds this guy gets. The rich look at it as a revolution.

The two groups most incensed by him are the Sankedrin (a Jewish tribunal and ruling body) and the Pharisees (A conservative lot no so different from some of the crowd in Rome). Both would like to see this new messiah dead -- and quickly -- but haven't yet figured out how to get away with it.

It is one thing to preach about feeding the poor and taking in the homeless, but quite something else to suggest the rich should pay for it.

But these guys couldn't just come out an assassinate the guy. Look at what happened with Caesar in Dallas. Too much press coverage. Someone was bound to suspect a conspiracy. What they wanted was to set him up so that the law would take care of everything.

They sent undercover agents into the crowds so as to provoke him into saying something against the government. But this guy is smarter than all that. He kept talking in parables. Everyone knew what he meant, that he was making fun of government and talking revolution. But it's not the stuff that would stand up in Roman court.

But I recently received news that they might have succeeded and I'm on my way to Jerusalem now to find out what happened during what the Jewish call "Passover."

More later.

ROME TO TCI:
Thadus, please! We've got these Christians crawling through the catacombs like mice. The Emperor complains constantly that he hears them squeaking at night. He's order their student loans cut off, but still they persist. We need something to use against them. Perhaps you can dig up a body?

TCI TO ROME:
Believe me, I'm trying. But nothing's that simple in this part of the world. I find plenty of talk, but little substance. People say he slept here, he slept there, all of them singing his praises and claiming to know him personally. But from what I gather, these are the same people who turned on the poor bastard when he started saying things they didn't like. One minute he was riding into Jerusalem in a white Cadillac with them waving palms and preaching peace, the next minute their denting his fenders with stones and calling him a dirty hippie.

From what I can gather it got pretty hairy for him for a while, so that he had to hide out. No one would have found him except that one of his "flock" turned traitor and gave him up for a bribe, a real scum bag named Judas who lead the local police to the a garden called Gethsemane.

The rest of his underground split, blending into the masses of people who hung out around the court while Jesus got tried. One got recognized a few times, from what I'm told, and he denied everything.

The mob ... and from every indication that's what it was ... took Christ to a guy named Annas, whose son-in-law had been spreading a tale among the people that someone ought to die as a sacrifice for the people, some throw back to the savage fertility rights so popular in this part of the world before our legions tamed the tribes.

A local court found Jesus guilty of sedition and sentenced him to death. Just who did it is still unclear. Some people say we did, some mysterious order from the Emperor himself. Others say the local mob took the matter into their own hands and the Emperor's guard just went along to make sure there wasn't a riot.

The best I can determine is that the locals dragged this Jesus to one of the Emperor's governors first, a man named Pilate who they knew had sentenced other men like him to death. The locals seemed to want to blame Rome for the execution, figuring Jesus' followers would go on a killing spree once their Messiah was dead.

The Sankedrin and the Pharisees, in fact, are counting on Pilate to do their dirty work. How could he not? Didn't all of us Romans hate Jews anyway? Well, Pilate proved the fools wrong, by telling them he didn't find any guilt in the Christ. I guess he didn't fully understand the level of sedition Christ had started otherwise, the good governor would have ordered the army out and killed every potential Christian they could find, stopping the nasty thing before it spread too far.

I think Pilate had a conscience ... an amazing thing in these times ... He just couldn't find a justification to give the mob what it wanted. Give Christ a haircut, a shave, send him to business school, but kill him?

The rich people, seeing a betrayal coming their way, howled. How could a rich Roman do such a thing to them? Weren't all rich people supposed to stick together regardless of nationality? But here Pilate threatened to loose this radical on them, just when the rich thought they could get rid of his preachings. Some of the rich threatened to take their investments out of local congressional district, just to teach Pilate and Emperor a lesson.

Pilate was no fool. He recognized his predicament, but he didn't quite understand the fury of the conservative revolution. This Rich people had a "contract with their constituents" and weren't going to settle for anything less than blood and massive welfare reform. Pilate did then what all competent politicians do in a crisis, they compromise. He sent Christ out to get beaten for a few hours then had the bloody body dragged back, bleeding, but still clearly alive.

But nothing would sway the mob who wanted to re-institute the Death Penalty.

Pilate then offered them another deal, he would agree to kill someone they knew to be a dangerous murderer, a Charlie Manson kind of character. But the mob wanted Christ dead, not the killer (later, many of these same fools would be the ones who cried "Jesus Saves" the loudest in the streets.)

The Rich, of course, didn't care if the mass murdered went loose since they had auto alarms and body guards.

Christ was crucified the next afternoon just outside Jerusalem on a call called the Skull Place, or Calvary. He did at 3 P.M. Some of his followers removed his body at sundown and buried it. The body, however, was gone in the morning, no doubt chipped away by tourists seeking to take something home to show the neighbors.

Christ's followers, however, went crazy, claiming the man had risen from the dead. (Some of these were the same nuts who kept spreading the story that Caesar really hadn't been killed in Dallas but was kept brain-dead but alive all these years in a sanitarium.) That's the real problem as I see it. You aren't exactly dealing with the best and brightest of the human race here, but a flock of seagulls with something missing upstairs. You're not going to get rid of them, because like cockroaches, they breed faster than you can kill them. Maybe if you let the lions loose in the streets, you might stand a chance, or perhaps blow up Rome and hope you get them all.

As for me, I'm heading out on a sea cruise until the whole thing blows over...

Table of Contents* * *

O Ra Unto Ages
by Patrick Hammer, Jr.

O Ra unto ages of ages your ka breathes
o living Aton, son of the sun
Osiris flesh of the sun
Tutankhaton lives
death slays
swift
wings
the defiled
tomb of the King
underworld of sinners
strange this land of goring
O Ra unto ages of ages your ka breathes

Table of Contents* * *

An Honest Look at the Bible
Evaluating Mark Twain's "Letters from the Earth"

Mark Twainhevhel.gif - 3879 Bytes

Let us suppose, then, that when the Devil rebelled (Satan and his infamous bunch of Leftist mongrels), God chose to have mercy on him and not send him to that unspeakable place of fire, down deep in the sub-sub basement of our minds, but instead chose to educate the wayward angel by sending him instead to Earth.

So begins one of the most revealing books on humankind ever written, a book whose honest look at human faith shakes the foundations of Western Civilization with frightful glee. This mockery, written by a master of language, was never meant to be published. Mark Twain himself admitted the slim chance of anyone putting it into print. But he didn't foresee the national change in mood some 30 years after his death, that would allow this closet masterpiece to survive.

"One of (Man's) principle religions," writes Twain's Satan back to the other angels in Heaven, "is called Christian. A sketch of it will interest you. It is set forth in a book containing two million worlds called the Old and New Testaments... Christians think every world of it was dictated by God."

These letters from Satan make up a reinterpretation of the Good Book, evaluating it from an outsider's point of view. It is a mockery not of what is good and evil, but of what human kind has come to accept as inviolable.

"This Bible is built mainly out of the fragments of old bibles that in their day and crumbled into ruin," Twain's Satan writes. "So it noticeably lacks in originality."

The language of these letters is simple, their tone delicious, but their content, ah, the content is refreshing in a recycle of supposed moral values, looking at the Bible literally, and putting passages side by side to examine just what kind of values human kind's invented God actually has.

"That innocent Bible," our friend Satan continues, "tells about creation. Of what -- the Universe? Yes, the Universe. In six days, God did it. He did not call it the Universe -- that name is modern. His whole attention was upon this world. He constructed it in five days -- and then? It took him only one day to make twenty million suns and eighty million planets."

Already, the discomfort sets in. Twain touches upon the subject which still haunts us today in modern courts: Creationism v. Evolution. But he isn't backing either. He simply questions human kind's egotism that allow an "All Mighty God" to spend his attention on such small creatures as us, while letting the rest of the universe come as an after-thought.

Of Adam and Eve, our Twainish Satan writes: "The best minds will tell you that when a man has begotten a child, he is morally bound to tenderly care for it, protect it from hurt, shield it from disease, clothe it, feed it, bear its waywardness, lay no hand upon it save in kindness and for its own good ... God's treatment of his earthy children is exactly opposite. God banished Adam and Even from the Garden and eventually assassinated them... he requires of his children to deal justly, and gently, with offenders and forgive them seventy and seven times... and he did not forgive the ignorant and thoughtless first pair of juveniles even their first small offense. On the contrary, he elected to punish their children all throughout the ages to the end of time..."

But if it only ended there. If this God that these humans had chosen to love had been satisfied or, at least, fair, but as this Satan sees it, God left away out only for himself:

"The Bible and man's statures forbid murder, adultery, fornication, lying, treachery, robbery, oppression and other crimes, but contend that God is free of these laws, and has a right to break them when He wills..."

Twain (in the guise of this Satan) dances over and around the beliefs which form the foundation of modern Western society, revealing constantly the double-talk that began in the Bible (and is there for all of us to see) and extends into the medium of leadership in general. Often as not, what God does, in this holy of holies, violates what God says. Some parts contradict others directly:

"God wrote upon the tablets of stone, `Thou shalt not kill,' and also `Thou shalt no commit adultery.' (St.) Paul, speaking by divine voice, advised against sexual intercourse altogether," Satan wrote, "(This was) a great change of view as it existed at the time of the Midianite incident."

Twain constantly plays with these contradictions, twisting them so that, strangely, they show an essential truth, about God, and about mankind. While the book has tons of laughs, it also contained many moments of serious thought the turn truth inside-out with laughter, and make the reader seek out the original test to see if what Twain wrote is true.

Twain, in this book, shows his mastery of the Bible, a greater understanding in most cases than many of those who call themselves fundamentalists and preach. He understands fully the horrors of taking any book literally and obeying any rules as written, knowing fully that this book like all books was not authored by God, but by men, and thus automatically flawed. And in his effort, Twain turns on his humor to underline those passages which shows man's great capacity for cruelty, but putting that cruelty in the hands of God.

Even more strangely, Twain outlines at the beginning of the 20th Century, many of the turns the human race would take by the end. As he had in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court," Twain predicts both World War One and Two, but here goes beyond that fiction to show how such wars were consistent with human values and perhaps inevitable based on the system of values humanity has learned from the Bible:

"Human history in all ages is red with blood, and bitter with hate, and stained with cruelties" Twain's Satan wrote. "But not since Biblical times have these features been without limit of some kind. When the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy ... he who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays, slays. He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty. The babies were innocent. The beasts were innocent. Many of the men, many of the women... What the insane Father required was blood and misery. He was indifferent as to who furnished it."

Of course, Twain's Satan notes a different testament that distinguishes the Old Testament from the New. The Gold of the Old Testament was one of thunder and vengeance, where as the God of the New (coming in the name of Jesus Christ) was gentle and kind, speaking softly of salvation, speaking of eternal life:

"In time, the deity perceived that death was a mistake, in that it was insufficient; insufficient, for the reason that while it was an admirable agent for the inflicting of misery upon the survivors, it allowed the dead person himself to escape from all further persecution in the blessed refuge of the grave. This was not satisfactory. A way must be contrived to pursue the dead beyond the tomb. The Deity pondered this matter during four thousand years unsuccessfully, but as soon as he came down to earth and became a Christian, his mind cleared and he knew what to do. He invented Hell and Proclaimed it -- which is to say that as the meek and gentle savior he was a thousand billion times crueler than ever he was in the Old Testament..."

It is just as difficult to examine every facet of "Letters from the Earth," as it is for them book to examine every facet of the Bible which it strives to mock. But Twain has found the meat of the Great book and reveals those aspects of humanity which it superimposes over the image of God. While Twain clearly sees the historic merit of the Bible, he sees it as a most revealing portrait, not of God, but of humanity, the good, the bad and the ugly. Twain here simply points out the details missed in popular preaching.

Table of Contents* * *

Copyright 1998 A.D. Sullivan
Written by A.D.Sullivan except as indicated.
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