If I were to construct a God I would furnish Him with some way and qualities and characteristics which the Present lacks. He would not stoop to ask for any man’s compliments, praises, flatteries; and He would be far above exacting them. I would have Him as self-respecting as the better sort of man in these regards. He would not be a merchant, a trader. He would not buy these things. He would not sell, or offer to sell, temporary benefits of the joys of eternity for the product called worship. I would have Him as dignified as the better sort of man in this regard. He would value no love but the love born of kindnesses conferred; not that born of benevolences contracted for. Repentance in a man’s heart for a wrong done would cancel and annul that sin; and no verbal prayers for forgiveness be required or desired or expected of that man. In His Bible there would be no Unforgivable Sin. He would recognize in Himself the Author and Inventor of Sin and Author and Inventor of the Vehicle and Appliances for its commission; and would place the whole responsibility where it would of right belong: upon Himself, the only Sinner. He would not be a jealous God – a trait so small that even men despise it in each other. He would not boast. He would keep private His admirations of Himself; He would regard self-praise as unbecoming the dignity of his position. He would not have the spirit of vengeance in His heart. Then it would not issue from His lips. There would not be any hell – except the one we live in from the cradle to the grave. There would not be any heaven – the kind described in the world’s Bibles. He would spend some of His eternities in trying to forgive Himself for making man unhappy when he could have made him happy with the same effort…

… and he would spend the rest of them in studying astronomy.

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)
(Notebook)

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