Ambrose Bierce was a civil war soldier who became a writer/journalist after the war. Very unconventional. One of his stories takes place in a man's mind during the time it takes for the gallows to drop and his neck to break.

However, he also wrote the very sarcastic "The Devil's Dictionary" and I was struck at his disdain for religion.

THEDEVILSDICTIONARY.COM

For example:

RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.

CONVENT, n. A place of retirement for woman who wish for leisure to meditate upon the vice of idleness.

GARGOYLE, n. A rain-spout projecting from the eaves of mediaeval buildings, commonly fashioned into a grotesque caricature of some personal enemy of the architect or owner of the building. This was especially the case in churches and ecclesiastical structures generally, in which the gargoyles presented a perfect rogues' gallery of local heretics and controversialists. Sometimes when a new dean and chapter were installed the old gargoyles were removed and others substituted having a closer relation to the private animosities of the new incumbents.

HEAVEN, n. A place where the wicked cease from troubling you with talk of their personal affairs, and the good listen with attention while you expound your own.

SCRIPTURES, n. The sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based.

The tradition of skeptics is very rich indeed....

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