The Age of Reason
Cosimo, Inc., 2005 - 220 pages
An idealist, a radical, and a master rhetorician, Thomas Paine wrote and lived with a keen sense of urgency and excitement.In The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine declares that all religious traditions are ultimately established for the dependence of mankind. He openly criticizes the Bible and many of the fallacies contained within, as well as providing a shrewd analysis of Christianity and how it developed from its pagan ancestry-arguments many critics claim carry weight today.Paine alienated many of his countrymen with his incendiary viewpoints. Forced to leave America for England, Paine eventually returned to the United States in 1802, though he remained all but ostracized. He died in poverty seven years later in 1809.AUTHOR BIO: Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was an Anglo-American political theorist and writer born in Norfolk, England. In 1774, Paine emigrated to America, bearing letters of introduction from Benjamin Franklin. Soon thereafter, he became involved in the clashes between England and the American colonies and published the enormously successful pamphlet Common Sense in 1776, which was widely distributed and contributed to the patriot cause throughout the American Revolution.
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The book was a solid challenge to organized religion with an obvious focus on Christianity. He doesn't introduce the history of Egypt or Greek worship which is heavily tied in to the practice of the religion, instead he stays strictly inside the book and notes the flaws and contradictions he finds. What I found so very interesting about the book is it brings to scrutiny the false notion, that every Settler, Colonist during founding of the United States was a bonified believer in Christianity. Many were in fact deists, agnostic, and atheist, yet this is never thoroughly discussed. People of that time also were public believers and closet skeptics due to social norms and even government laws. Rather than remain as one of them, Paine strikes out and delivers his reasons for being outside the boundaries in a well written book. There are a few flaws in the book, and some statements he makes are not made with perfect logic when you read the bible itself. But on the issues he does get right....there is no way a person can read Paines book and not immediately rush to pick up a Bible to verify or debunk his argument.