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Mark Twain's Wrong View of Guilt

Mark Twain held a wide range of views on Christianity and the Bible at different times in his life. His theological beliefs changed many times as he dealt with the tragic deaths of family and friends, as well as considerations of his own mortality. His misconceptions of sin and guilt may have contributed to his rejection of the gospel. In his book, Huck Finn's America: Mark Twain and the Era that Shaped His Masterpiece, Butler University's Andrew Levy wrote about Twain's faith:

He spent his Sundays in a church where the preachers were very clear about hell and the odds of a wayward child going there. He wept to his mother that he had "ceased to be a Christian," but his "trained Presbyterian conscience," as he later called it, swallowed guilt like air. There was no death in his family or among his friends he did not blame himself for: "I took all the tragedies to myself, and tallied them off in turn as they happened, saying to myself in each case, with a sigh, 'Another one gone—and on my account.'" Later there would be no economic or social injustice in which he regarded his hands as clean.

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