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Patmore, Lewis, and The Angel In the House

Bierce on Modern Religion

The sum of religion, says Pythagoras, is to be like him whom thou worshipest. Had Pythagoras lived in our day, he would have seen his mistake. The sum of modern worship is to make him thou worshipest like unto thyself.

—Ambrose Bierce

A co-worker lent me a collection of excerpts from Bierce's journalism, and I've been browsing in it at odd moments. It's well-suited to my attention-deficit-addled habits. 

I discovered Bierce's Devil's Dictionary when I was young, and found it delightful. Now that I am in principle much less cynical, and a little more charitable, Bierce is something of a guilty pleasure for me. I disapprove of invective, except in fairly extraordinary circumstances, but Bierce is so skillful and so funny that I can't resist his. His attitude toward Christianity is interesting: in principle he deplores it and all religion, and yet one finds hints, as in this quotation, that he has a secret respect for the real thing.


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