"Heathen, n. A benighten creature who has the folly
to worship something that he can see and feel."
Ambrose Bierce
(1842-1914) American Civil War soldier, humorist, writer
The Devil's Dictionary
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Reader comments about this quote:
Bierce has an undeniable sense of humor, but the consequences of idolitry are not funny at all.
 -- David L Rosenthal     
    It doesn't even rise to the level of a smile, maybe in context.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    The Devil's Dictionary--now that's "benighten".
     -- EGL, LA     
    I'm sure Ambrose Bierce is burning in hell for this --- NOT.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
     -- Someone, GA      
    Archer and Someone: What exactly about this quote do you find worthy of 5 stars? Or is it just for the pleasure you derive from being perversely contradictory about an issue of such consequence?
     -- David L Rosenthal     
    Deny, deny, deny oh delusional liberal. When you can no longer deny this definition of heathen, change the subject to faith.
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI     
     -- Anonymous      
    Ambrose is a bit caustic, but pretty well right most of the time.
     -- jim k, austin     
    Rosenthal, this quote isn't about idolatry. It's comparing in a humorous way theists' worship of deities to atheists' choice to believe things based on physical evidence. And Joe, why would I deny this definition of heathen? It seems right to me... ;-)
     -- Anonymous, O. Delusional Liberal     
    Correction: I'm not from O. Delusional Liberal. Thanks for the idea for the name, by the way, Joe.
     -- O. Delusional Liberal again     
    Sounds about right. Makes more sense than believing that an invisible man in the sky is looking after you.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
    If you don't believe as I do, if you don't worship my God who is the embodiment of love and tender mercy, I will have to kill you. Hmm. Mr. Rosenthal, how do you distinguish idolators from anyone else with a belief system? What is the difference between swallowing a piece of flour and water thinking it is the body and blood of a God or cutting the head off a chicken, drinking the blood, opening the cavity and reading the entrails?
     -- Gary Mullennix, Naples     
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