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ConnieAnnKirk
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CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

CONNECTICUT YANKEE is clearly a satirical novel. One of the targets of its satire that is perhaps most controversial is the novel's attack on organized religion, in particular the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. Sam Clemens had difficulties with religion 'governing' people's lives and behaviors, primarily because he was a rebel against authority of almost any stripe. The more hierarchy and levels of authority, the more likely he was to be against it and say so.

How do you respond to this theme in the novel?

~ConnieK
~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS


ConnieK wrote:
CONNECTICUT YANKEE is clearly a satirical novel. One of the targets of its satire that is perhaps most controversial is the novel's attack on organized religion, in particular the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. Sam Clemens had difficulties with religion 'governing' people's lives and behaviors, primarily because he was a rebel against authority of almost any stripe. The more hierarchy and levels of authority, the more likely he was to be against it and say so.

How do you respond to this theme in the novel?

~ConnieK




Connie, I am curious about the very dark and cynical views on religion in this book. What were Twain's (Clemens')views on religion for himself and his family. Was he an atheist or an agnostic. I just cannot understand why someone would be so unrelentless and vicious otherwise towards religious views or the Church in any of its form. He certainly did not cover up his discontent or lack of beliefs in the book thus far. Just curious about your perspective or what background information that you might have on this topic.

My confirmation from this is that Twain was a closet atheist; but at the very least an "open" agnostic. I could not explain away this book any other way.
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS



bentley wrote:

ConnieK wrote:
CONNECTICUT YANKEE is clearly a satirical novel. One of the targets of its satire that is perhaps most controversial is the novel's attack on organized religion, in particular the Roman Catholic Church of the Middle Ages. Sam Clemens had difficulties with religion 'governing' people's lives and behaviors, primarily because he was a rebel against authority of almost any stripe. The more hierarchy and levels of authority, the more likely he was to be against it and say so.

How do you respond to this theme in the novel?

~ConnieK




Connie, I am curious about the very dark and cynical views on religion in this book. What were Twain's (Clemens')views on religion for himself and his family. Was he an atheist or an agnostic. I just cannot understand why someone would be so unrelentless and vicious otherwise towards religious views or the Church in any of its form. He certainly did not cover up his discontent or lack of beliefs in the book thus far. Just curious about your perspective or what background information that you might have on this topic.

My confirmation from this is that Twain was a closet atheist; but at the very least an "open" agnostic. I could not explain away this book any other way.




I decided about ten minutes ago to see what I could find out about Twain and religion. I asked my computer was Twain an atheist just to see what stuff might come up. The following url was interesting and seems to say No he was not! And supposedly he made these views known "after" the publishing date of ACYIKAC. So I will look up some other viewpoints but I thought this was very interesting (biographical account)to pass along considering his ramblings about religion in the novel:

http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/t/twain/mark/paine/chapter295.html
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

Well I guess this is the opposing view..but as I am reading it...maybe Twain's emotional outlook and what was transpiring in his life at the time colored his strident views on religion..I really am unsure..but it does seem he wrote in a way that would convince one that he did believe in God but not necessarily in any of man's creations regarding God (Church, Bible, etc.)

Here is what I call the opposing view:

http://www.ffrf.org/fttoday/2001/may01/sloan.html
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

I found quite a few quotes that were tagged as religious quotes by Twain:

Interesting:

http://www.twainquotes.com/Religion.html
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

[ Edited ]
bentley and others--

Clemens's world lecture tours put him in the spotlight. Though he was known primarily as the humorist that he was, he was often asked in interviews about his views on politics, religion, philosophy, and other subjects. In his later years, he appears to have thought more seriously about these themes.

Samuel Clemens had a lifelong, ongoing fight with God. He was brought up in a strict "fire and brimstone" kind of religious culture where fear, rather than mercy, was thought to be a powerful God's chief export. The Tom we see fooling around in Sunday School and church in _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ is pretty close to the boy Clemens was in real life.

Clemens married a believer, Livvy Langdon, and respected the faith-filled Langdon family and their work for abolition. After time and several family tragedies, Livvy was reported to have lost her faith, and this was something over which Clemens was apparently not proud of being an influence.

In adulthood, Clemens often talked with clergy about faith and religion and is reported to have even knelt with his preacher friend, Joe Twichell, one night and prayed for faith. Around 1879, he became interested in Christian Science. He predicted that by 1930 there would be 20 million members in the U. S. and by 1940 that it would become the dominant religious thinking of the country. Later, however, Clemens became disillusioned with Mary Baker Eddy's writing on the subject and, in 1907, attacked her and her work in public.

Twain's apparent anger about religion in CY may come from the frustration of this ongoing personal battle with God and faith traditions, or it may come more from the side of Clemens that simply could not abide hierarchy in any form, or both. Note that this novel is also about the monarchy, which draws certain parallels to the Christian church of the period.

Hope this helps. More comments soon...

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 11-09-2007 10:51 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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Everyman
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

Thanks on that summary of Twain's experiences with organized religion. He seems to have been primarily a religious drifter, seeking a faith home but never finding it.
_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS



ConnieK wrote:
bentley and others--

Clemens's world lecture tours put him in the spotlight. Though he was known primarily as the humorist that he was, he was often asked in interviews about his views on politics, religion, philosophy, and other subjects. In his later years, he appears to have thought more seriously about these themes.

Samuel Clemens had a lifelong, ongoing fight with God. He was brought up in a strict "fire and brimstone" kind of religious culture where fear, rather than mercy, was thought to be a powerful God's chief export. The Tom we see fooling around in Sunday School and church in _The Adventures of Tom Sawyer_ is pretty close to the boy Clemens was in real life.

Clemens married a believer, Livvy Langdon, and respected the faith-filled Langdon family and their work for abolition. After time and several family tragedies, Livvy was reported to have lost her faith, and this was something over which Clemens was apparently not proud of being an influence.

In adulthood, Clemens often talked with clergy about faith and religion and is reported to have even knelt with his preacher friend, Joe Twichell, one night and prayed for faith. Around 1879, he became interested in Christian Science. He predicted that by 1930 there would be 20 million members in the U. S. and by 1940 that it would become the dominant religious thinking of the country. Later, however, Clemens became disillusioned with Mary Baker Eddy's writing on the subject and, in 1907, attacked her and her work in public.

Twain's apparent anger about religion in CY may come from the frustration of this ongoing personal battle with God and faith traditions, or it may come more from the side of Clemens that simply could not abide hierarchy in any form, or both. Note that this novel is also about the monarchy, which draws certain parallels to the Christian church of the period.

Hope this helps. More comments soon...

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 11-09-2007 10:51 AM




ConnieK..thank you so much for the above comments. They explain a great deal. Everyman's comments about Twain (Clemens) about his being a religious drifter seem quite possible; another hypothesis is that Twain felt uncomfortable around anything including religion that could not be explained by pure logic even though faith is one of those things that seems to defy logic itself. How could Twain explain the emptiness that he often had because of what he was going through in real life; yet not be able to fill it with any spirituality which might have made him either feel better or be able to cope with his losses and recoup his former self? The answer is most likely that he had no spiritual support system within himself; and therefore he could not. I would have thought that he felt quite alone after the losses within his own family.
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

Oh, yes; I think so. Clemens had a happy marriage and family life, and his writing thrived in the days when the couple was raising their family. The death of his wife and 2 of his 3 daughters must have nearly killed him. The couple also lost a baby son early on.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote, in part:
I would have thought that he felt quite alone after the losses within his own family.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS



ConnieK wrote:
Oh, yes; I think so. Clemens had a happy marriage and family life, and his writing thrived in the days when the couple was raising their family. The death of his wife and 2 of his 3 daughters must have nearly killed him. The couple also lost a baby son early on.

~ConnieK



bentley wrote, in part:
I would have thought that he felt quite alone after the losses within his own family.







I did not realize that he had lost so much of his family. That explains a great deal.
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thinker
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

A spiritual support system does not always assist with the realistic lost before you.
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS



thinker wrote:
A spiritual support system does not always assist with the realistic lost before you.




What do you mean thinker? Are you saying that religion or religious belief does not always help you when someone close to you has died?
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thinker
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS

This will depend on what aspect of this death we are referring to.
In a time of grief, no, I dont think that religion helps, and I think there is a difference between religion and religious belief and one's personnal spiritual belief.
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bentley
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Re: CONNECTICUT YANKEE and Organized Religion -- (potential) SPOILERS



thinker wrote:
This will depend on what aspect of this death we are referring to.
In a time of grief, no, I dont think that religion helps, and I think there is a difference between religion and religious belief and one's personnal spiritual belief.




In a time of grief, I have known many people where religion, religious belief, spirituality (whatever you would like to call it) has helped. Some no...some others know that the person is gone and if it is a child or a young person or someone taken before their time..the question that usually comes to mind is why did God do this or how could he do this? An obvious question I guess.

I see a connection between all three (religion, religious belief and spirituality). Though I have a strong spirituality..and a somewhat strong religious belief...I can stand and look with an unbiased view at my religion. I don't equate I guess God with a man made religion; but I can find solace in my religious beliefs or spirituality. And many times I shake my head at what the papacy does or does not do about the many problems the church faces today..some and many of its own making (man made once again).

Was this where you were going with this thinker?
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