Competing Theologians

Jim West quotes C. H. Spurgeon,

Peace and rest belong not to the unregenerate, they are the peculiar possession of the Lord’s people, and of them only. The God of Peace gives perfect peace to those whose hearts are stayed upon him.

I quote Mark Twain writing to his longtime friend Charles Stoddard,

Peace of mind is a most valuable thing. The Bible has robbed the majority of the world of it during many centuries; it is but fair that in return it should give some to an individual here & there. But you must not make the mistake of supposing that absolute peace of mind is obtainable only through some form [of] religious belief: no, on the contrary I have found that as perfect a peace is to be found in absolute unbelief. [letter dated June 1, 1885]

This part of Twain’s letter to Stoddard is often quoted. Not so frequently quoted is how he closed the letter. Referring to Stoddard’s published account of his conversion to Roman Catholicism, Twain wrote,

You have told your story eloquently, beautifully, – how well a gifted man can argue from false premises, false history, false everything!
But dear old boy, I love you just the same!

So to those of you who, like Jim, would agree with Spurgeon rather than Twain, I say, “I love you just the same.”

Gross, Seymour C. “Mark Twain on the Serenity of Unbelief: An Unpublished Letter to Charles Warren Stoddard,” Huntington Library Quarterly 22 (1959): 160-62.