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H.L. Mencken on Religion

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4.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
No one ever argued more forcefully or with such acerbic wit against the foolish aspects of religion as H. L. Mencken (1880-1956). As a journalist, he gained national prominence through his newspaper columns describing the now-famous 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted Fundamentalists against a public school teacher who dared to teach evolution. But both before and after the Sc ...more
Hardcover, 330 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Prometheus Books (first published June 1st 2002)
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John Harder
Dec 21, 2012 John Harder rated it really liked it
It is necessary for me to give a synopsis of my personal religious views as way of full disclosure prior to giving a review. You should consider my statements in that context. I am an atheist, but a very pro Christian one. I think having faith usually makes people happier, and I wish I had it. I think the concept that supernatural forces created the universe is preposterous and it is ridiculous that an omnipotent being is aware or even cares about my activities – but I know very smart Christians ...more
Daniel
Jun 10, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it
Why I am a great father:


a.) I made my eldest daughter think for herself one fine morning by offering forth satirical cross-examination deliberately contrived to be idiotic.

b.) After a brief discussion on the benefits of community college, my son now has visions of becoming a highly respectable gentleman of French origin who operates a men's hat store in West Baltimore.

c.) I offer forth the following to my children whenever I forget to pay the electrical bill: Sock Puppet Theatre: The Dramatis Pe
...more
NJ Wong
Feb 03, 2016 NJ Wong rated it liked it
It is interesting to read compilations like this to realise that there were actually many atheistic writers who wrote about religion (chiefly against religion) from the early 20th century. However, as such writers are anti-establishment, they are not as renown or their books as promoted as the religious ones. The name H L Mencken did not even register with me until I came across this compilation of his religion essays.

Mencken is a fine writer. But as most of the essays in this compilation were w
...more
Valerie
Apr 25, 2012 Valerie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE H.L. Mencken, and this is a great collection. His honesty, his wit, his snark (is that a noun?), his intellect, his humor--it's all here. I always enjoy reading his work and I always learn new words. I recommend this book for anyone who is contemptuous of religion or otherwise holds him or herself above the "common man."
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I read this awhile back, but it wasn't in the good reads database when I joined. We really need someone like Mencken in the world today----someone who is bold and brilliant and can stick it to the self-righteous ones who think they have a handle on "truth".
Mark
Mar 04, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it
Mencken is a journalist, but a journalist with a dry and biting humor that bleeds out of his writing. In this collection of his journalistic deeds, including the famous "Monkey Trial" coverage, he let's his sarcasm lose on the perhaps unsuspecting readers of The Baltimore Sun, The New Yorker, and other publications.
The book is organized by subject matter, the Scopes Trial having its own section. Each essay, being from a newspaper, is short enough to read quickly. So, if you want to read two or t
...more
Jesse
Nov 03, 2013 Jesse rated it liked it
My interest in Mencken started in January, when Anti-Intellectualism in American Life occasionally referred to him as who intellectuals were reading during the 20's and 30's, then again as a central character while reading Summer for the Gods (both highly-recommended books) What better way to get a picture of the 20's than through the lens of a popular intellectual journalist?

Mencken provides exactly that---a view into the 20's that is not only light-hearted and witty but touches on prohibition,
...more
Eric Sexton
Aug 10, 2013 Eric Sexton rated it it was amazing
Put simply, Mencken is the foremost American badass. His wit, clear prose, and damning critiques make all of his writings a national treasure.

This compilation is particularly great. Mencken shits on each of the big three monotheistic religions, but devotes a majority of his attention to the organized religion which inflicted its wrath on the United States most profoundly during his time: Christianity.

Somewhat depressingly, Mencken's critique of Christianity in the American south and the rural M
...more
Graham
Oct 14, 2008 Graham rated it liked it
I had heard about H.L. Mencken from various sources so I decided to pick up this book. His sentiments on religion are pragmatic. He realizes that most people do not have the mental capacity to live their lives without some form of religion and therefore eradication is untenable.

He has quite the sense of humor also. For example he states persuading someone away from religion is the equivalent of a husband taking advice to stop beating his wife. In other words the husband should have figured that
...more
Anners
Apr 06, 2014 Anners rated it it was amazing
Best quote so far: "The meaning of religious freedom, I fear, is sometimes greatly misapprehended. It is taken to be a sort of immunity, not merely from governmental control but also from public opinion. A dunderhead gets himself a long-tailed coat, rises behind the sacred desk and emits such bilge as would gag a Hottentot. Is it to pass unchallenged? If so, then what we have is not religious freedom at all, but the most intolerable and outrageous variety of religious despotism. Any fool, once h ...more
Onyango Makagutu
Mar 24, 2015 Onyango Makagutu rated it really liked it
Great read
Michael Milton
Dec 24, 2009 Michael Milton rated it really liked it
Well-done polemic. Entertaining to read even when one disagrees, which in my case is more often than not.
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Henry Louis "H.L." Mencken became one of the most influential and prolific journalists in America in the 1920s and '30s, writing about all the shams and con artists in the world. He attacked chiropractors and the Ku Klux Klan, politicians and other journalists. Most of all, he attacked Puritan morality. He called Puritanism, "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
At the height o
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“One of the most irrational of all the conventions of modern society is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected. …[This] convention protects them, and so they proceed with their blather unwhipped and almost unmolested, to the great damage of common sense and common decency. that they should have this immunity is an outrage. There is nothing in religious ideas, as a class, to lift them above other ideas. On the contrary, they are always dubious and often quite silly. Nor is there any visible intellectual dignity in theologians. Few of them know anything that is worth knowing, and not many of them are even honest.” 20 likes
“The American moron’s mind simply does not run in that direction; he wants to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights” 7 likes
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