Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Religious Progress

Ambrose Bierce 1842 (Meigs County) – 1914 (Chihuahua)

Professor dear, I think it queer
That all these good religions
('Twixt you and me, some two or three
Are schemes for plucking pigeons)

I mean 'tis strange that every change
Our poor minds to unfetter
Entails a new religion-true
As t' other one, and better.

From each in turn the truth we learn,
That wood or flesh or spirit
May justly boast it rules the roast
Until we cease to fear it.

Nay, once upon a time long gone
Man worshipped Cat and Lizard:
His God he'd find in any kind
Of beast, from a to izzard.

When risen above his early love
Of dirt and blood and slumber,
He pulled down these vain deities,
And made one out of lumber.

'Far better that than even a cat,'
The Howisons all shouted;
'When God is wood religion's good!'
But one poor cynic doubted.

'A timber God-that's very odd!'
Said Progress, and invented
The simple plan to worship Man,
Who, kindly soul! consented.

But soon our eye we lift asky,
Our vows all unregarded,
And find (at least so says the priest)
The Truth-and Man's discarded.

Along our line of march recline
Dead gods devoid of feeling;
And thick about each sun-cracked lout
Dried Howisons are kneeling.

Font size:

Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:04 min read

Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was an American editorialist, journalist, short story writer, fabulist, and satirist. more…

All Ambrose Bierce poems | Ambrose Bierce Books

FAVORITE (1 fan)

Discuss this Ambrose Bierce poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Religious Progress" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 29 Nov. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/1882/religious-progress>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    What are the first eight lines of a sonnet called?
    • A. octet
    • B. octopus
    • C. octane
    • D. octave

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets