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The Age Of Reason By Thomas Paine


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I saw a fascinating documentary on this guy and have started reading one of his books online. He does a very logical job of de-constructing the premises of Christianity. The book is online as a free download if anyone is interested:

 

generation.feedbooks.com/book/3781.pdf

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I had to read part of "Common Sense" for an American literature class. My god, the man can argue.

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I just downloaded it! Thanks. It's about time I read some Paine. Growing up in Arkansas, I was never encouraged to read Thomas Paine. I wonder why?

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It really is a good read. Below is a good example of how direct he was with the subject. This is the chapter in which he discusses Jesus. Obviously, political correctness was not in vogue then.

 

It is in vain to attempt to palliate or disguise this matter. The story, so

far as relates to the supernatural part, has every mark of fraud and imposition

stamped upon the face of it.

 

And then there's this:

 

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries,

the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with

which more than half the Bible6 is filled, it would be more consistent that

we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of

wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for

my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

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I guess one of these days I'll have to read Age of Reason. I've always been prejudiced against Paine for the same reason as Hitchens. The parallels are actually quite astounding. Paine was heavily involved in creating and distributing revolutionary propaganda that riled up the masses in support of war. I realize today, the revolution is largely seen as one of the good wars, but I'm always inclined to look at Canada and note that they in fact didn't fight a revolution and ended up as free if not more so than the US. Moreover, I'm not sure the new government was any better than the old one if you consider it from the perspective of the native Americans, or the poor Washington attacked during the Whiskey rebellion in order to knock out competition from his own whiskey sales.

 

http://www.mccsc.edu/~jcmslib/silver/amrev/paineweb/index.htm

http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/whiskey/

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I guess one of these days I'll have to read Age of Reason. I've always been prejudiced against Paine for the same reason as Hitchens. The parallels are actually quite astounding. Paine was heavily involved in creating and distributing revolutionary propaganda that riled up the masses in support of war. I realize today, the revolution is largely seen as one of the good wars, but I'm always inclined to look at Canada and note that they in fact didn't fight a revolution and ended up as free if not more so than the US. Moreover, I'm not sure the new government was any better than the old one if you consider it from the perspective of the native Americans, or the poor Washington attacked during the Whiskey rebellion in order to knock out competition from his own whiskey sales.

I'm not going to start a fight but this type of comparison assumes a sort of "All things being equal" on all levels and in all ways for it to work. Between us and Canada it would assume all the same conditions and the same attitudes of the people, the same resources (natural and otherwise), the same <whatever>, etc., etc. and then we turned left into war and they did not. This, of course, is just not true nor is it even in the realm of reality. So there is no way to know, or even predict, what the U.S. might be today without not just the Revolutionary war but all the wars it has engaged in over its history. We are what we are. Canada is what it is.

 

But what is free?

 

From Wikipedia (of course):

The Canada Act 1982 (1982 c. 11) is an Act of Parliament passed by the British Parliament that ended all remaining dependence of Canada on the United Kingdom, by a process known as "patriation." It includes the text of the Constitution Act, 1982, in both of Canada's official languages, in Schedule B, and a translation of the main body into French in Schedule A, making it the first British Act of Parliament since the Middle Ages to be passed in the French language.

...

While the Canada Act 1982 received royal assent on March 29, 1982 in London, it was not until the Queen came to Canada that the Constitution Act, 1982, its Canadian equivalent, was proclaimed by letters patent as a statutory instrument by the Queen during her presence in Canada.[10]

 

The Constitution Act, 1982 was signed into law by Elizabeth II as Queen of Canada on April 17, 1982 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.[10] Queen Elizabeth's constitutional powers over Canada were not affected by the Act, and she remains Queen and Head of State of Canada.[11] Canada has complete sovereignty as an independent country and the Queen's role as monarch of Canada is separate from her role as the British monarch or the monarch of any of the other Commonwealth realms.[12]

So in 1982 they could finally pass all their own laws without the help of the British? Hell, ET was going home and TRON was killing the MCP in 1982 and Canada still hadn't worked out how to get away from the Brits? And they still have the Crown to this day? Good for them. At least they're free. Close enough I guess. Maybe someday they'll not be Her Majesties? Maybe I'll even be alive for that?

 

mwc

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Regardless MWC, I read Common Sense in lit years ago and was pretty much turned off by the overt propaganda and appeal to emotion. Some don't mind, I find this kind of appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to rally support for a war extremely distasteful and the man lost any respect I might otherwise have had for him.

 

As far as the war, I see little difference between paying a tax to the king and paying a tax to the government in order to protect Washington's empire pretty much on the same level. It seems rather silly for the average man on the street to put his life at risk for it. Seems to me Paine convinced them to against their own interests.

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Regardless MWC, I read Common Sense in lit years ago and was pretty much turned off by the overt propaganda and appeal to emotion. Some don't mind, I find this kind of appeal to the lowest common denominator in order to rally support for a war extremely distasteful and the man lost any respect I might otherwise have had for him.

As I've noted before people write for any number of reasons. You come across it all the time when reading history. It's just one of the hazards you have to deal with. You don't have to respect anyone to read what they've written. I've read any number of texts that I would tend to disagree with on some level or another but I'd have done myself a great disservice by simply avoiding them. I think that's something you can understand and maybe even agree with?

 

As far as the war, I see little difference between paying a tax to the king and paying a tax to the government in order to protect Washington's empire pretty much on the same level. It seems rather silly for the average man on the street to put his life at risk for it. Seems to me Paine convinced them to against their own interests.

As I said I didn't come to start a fight especially over this. History, like the present, is full of wars and taxes as well as many other things I'm sure aren't to your liking. It's not something we'll be able to settle here.

 

mwc

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It's just my opinion MWC, you don't have to agree with it. I pretty much put the guy in the same category as your modern day spin doctor/pr rep. I respect men like Henry David Thorough because he had a level of conviction that forced him to live and write honestly. Paine, OTH, seems dishonest and lacks a quality of genuineness. Again, this is my opinion. I can't easily shrug off these kinds of issues like you seem to be able to. I guess that makes us different. I still respect you though FWIW.

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It's just my opinion MWC, you don't have to agree with it. I pretty much put the guy in the same category as your modern day spin doctor/pr rep. I respect men like Henry David Thorough because he had a level of conviction that forced him to live and write honestly. Paine, OTH, seems dishonest and lacks a quality of genuineness. Again, this is my opinion. I can't easily shrug off these kinds of issues like you seem to be able to. I guess that makes us different. I still respect you though FWIW.

If that's how you see him then that's how you see him. I'm not defending him one way or the other since my personal reading generally takes me back much further and I've spent little time with these "recent" authors. So you may well be be spot on in your assessment. It's not your opinion of him I'm trying to get at here.

 

For me it's a matter of reading things to gain as much understanding even if I full well don't agree with them or even if they're just plain awful in some way. At the time, or even at some time, these writings become influential. I suppose I should probably take a look at them to see what they're about whether I like it or not. So it's not about shrugging anything off and it's not about attacking your opinion of anything it's more about gathering information.

 

mwc

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For me it's a matter of reading things to gain as much understanding even if I full well don't agree with them or even if they're just plain awful in some way. At the time, or even at some time, these writings become influential. I suppose I should probably take a look at them to see what they're about whether I like it or not. So it's not about shrugging anything off and it's not about attacking your opinion of anything it's more about gathering information.

 

I understand it would be a logical error to assume that someone I disagree with for one reason doesn't have something practical to say to me in other writings. Age of Reason appears to have had a very positive impact on people's lives, just as Hitchen's writings and debates have had.

 

At this point in my life, reading Age of Reason would probably be more of a passing interest at best though. I've been an atheist for almost 20 years and have spent a great deal of time in the past reading about the subject. I'm not sure this book would bring anything new to my table, but if it does for others, then great for them. I'm honestly happy about that.

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I understand it would be a logical error to assume that someone I disagree with for one reason doesn't have something practical to say to me in other writings. Age of Reason appears to have had a very positive impact on people's lives, just as Hitchen's writings and debates have had.

 

At this point in my life, reading Age of Reason would probably be more of a passing interest at best though. I've been an atheist for almost 20 years and have spent a great deal of time in the past reading about the subject. I'm not sure this book would bring anything new to my table, but if it does for others, then great for them. I'm honestly happy about that.

I don't think that I'm making my case here.

 

mwc

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For what it's worth, Robert Ingersoll, who were he alive today, would make the fundie apologists shit themselves in terror, by merit of his debating skills, was a great admirer of Paine.

 

This essay of Ingersoll's expounds upon why he respected Paine's work so much.Thomas Paine-by Robert Ingersolll(1870)

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  • 11 months later...

I'm reading this now and love this footnote toward the end of the book, which is actually a later edition. He mentions how some reader's handwritten notes made it into a reprinting of the book and uses this to further the claim that this probably happened many times over with the bible. I'm simply blown away that this stuff has been known about for centuries. It really leads me to believe that most preachers are charlatans.

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I just downloaded it! Thanks. It's about time I read some Paine. Growing up in Arkansas, I was never encouraged to read Thomas Paine. I wonder why?

 

Another Arkansan!! There's quite a few Arkies on here!

 

WPS!!!!

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I just downloaded it! Thanks. It's about time I read some Paine. Growing up in Arkansas, I was never encouraged to read Thomas Paine. I wonder why?

 

Another Arkansan!! There's quite a few Arkies on here!

 

WPS!!!!

 

I hope we dont become a targeted minority.

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We should be a protected and respected minority. We did give the world Billy Bob Thornton and Bear Bryant after all.

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Thanks for this free version mcdaddy! Reading Paine's Age of Reason Part 3 Examination of the Prophecies was one of the big reasons I de-converted! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

 

CORRECTION: Don't know why I thought mcdaddy started this thread! Thanks to wannabewise for the link.

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We should be a protected and respected minority. We did give the world Billy Bob Thornton and Bear Bryant after all.

 

And walmart

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Reading the writings of Thomas Paine & Ralph Waldo Emerson were crucial in my re-thinking the bible & it's twisted belief system.

 

One of the arguments I recall was that the scriptures can't be trusted because even though the writers of the bible -say- it's god's word....all of the rest of us,

who never had a revelation directly from god are not required to believe it because it would be hearsay

(gawd, I think it was Paine, but if I'm wrong I'm sorry..it's too late to look it up & so I'm winging it, if I am wrong anyone feel free to correct me.blush.png )

 

I am NOT obligated to believe in a book to be "god's word" because someone told me that god told him he's got the "truth". Until god comes & reveals it directly to me, it is hearsay.

I'm pretty sure that was the argument & it blew me away. I NEVER allowed myself to think that far in the damn bible cult.

I love Thomas Paine & Emerson wub.png ...they helped me to see straight!

 

Oh thanks wannabewise for starting this thread. :)

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Thanks for this free version mcdaddy! Reading Paine's Age of Reason Part 3 Examination of the Prophecies was one of the big reasons I de-converted! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

 

 

I've not read either book but from what I've read it seems more people like this Examination of the Prophecies more than the Age of Reason (first two parts). I have both books on my to read list though.

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Thanks for this free version mcdaddy! Reading Paine's Age of Reason Part 3 Examination of the Prophecies was one of the big reasons I de-converted! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book.

 

 

I've not read either book but from what I've read it seems more people like this Examination of the Prophecies more than the Age of Reason (first two parts). I have both books on my to read list though.

 

Part 3 is a fairly quick read and incredibly revealing about the gospels.

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Reading the writings of Thomas Paine & Ralph Waldo Emerson were crucial in my re-thinking the bible & it's twisted belief system.

 

NAV, What have you read by Emerson that helped you? I would be interested in reading that too.

 

BTW, I wub.png Paine, too, especially for his examination of the prophesies. What an eye opener that was! It made things so easy to see that the gospels can't be inspired by God cuz they just don't make any sense!

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