Saturday April 21, 2018



H.L. Mencken on Religion

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No one ever argued more forcefully or with such acerbic wit against the foolish aspects of religion as H L Mencken. As a journalist, he gained national prominence through his newspaper columns describing the famous 1925 Scopes trial, which pitted religious fundamentalists against a public school teacher who dared to teach evolution. But both before and after the Scopes trial, Mencken spent much of his career as a columnist and book reviewer lampooning the ignorant piety of gullible Americans. S T Joshi has brought together and organised many of Mencken's writings on religion in this provocative and entertaining collection. The articles presented here include satirical accounts of a range of the religious phenomena of his time. On a more serious note are his discussions of the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche and the scientific worldview as a rival to religious belief. Also included are poignant autobiographical accounts of Mencken's own upbringing and his core beliefs on religion, ethics, and politics. H.L. Mencken knew that satire, wit, and clever jesting were the most effective ways to battle religious folly, and he used these weapons to their fullest extent in writings spanning almost three decades.


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