Subject: Food for thought Date: 28 May 90 03:18:23 GMT The following is an excerpt from an

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From: vor@math9.math.umbc.edu (Voice O'Reason) Subject: Food for thought Date: 28 May 90 03:18:23 GMT The following is an excerpt from an essay by H. L. Menken titled "Poetry of Christianity". I hope that this provides some food for thought for the readers of this newsgroup. --VOR ----------------------------------------------------------------- Men may live decently without it [religion] and they may die courageously without it. But not, of course, _all_ men. The capacity for that proud imperturbability is still rare in the race -- maybe as rare as the capacity for honor. For the rest there must be faith, as there must be morals. It is their faith to live absurdly, flogged by categorical imperatives of their own shallow imagining, and to die insanely, grasping for hands that are not there. Once, in my days as an activce journalist, I attended one such poor fellow in his last moments. With the Seventh Commandment in mind, he had butchered his erring wife, and was now about to pay his debt to the Sixth. A devout Babtist, he was attended by a clergyman of his faith, and gave over his last hours to prayers to and praises of Yahweh who had dealt with him so cruelly. When, finally the sheriff came to his cell and summoned him to the gallows he broke into a loud, confident recitation of the Twenty-third Psalm. Thus the last scene: The march begins -- first the sheriff, then the condemned with his arms bound, and then the clergyman. The Condemned -- (Loudly) The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me lie down in green pastures. (They reach the foot of the gallows.) He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul. (They mount the steps.) He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death (The sheriff binds his legs) I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me. (The sheriff adjusts the noose.) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runeth over. (The sheriff signals to the hangman.) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of --- The drop falls. As an American I naturally spend most of my time laughing, but that time I did not laugh. -- I used to think thereofore I was. I think.

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