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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.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Ambrose Bierce

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

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