These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. [63], The Age of Reason provoked a hostile reaction from most readers and critics, although the intensity of that hostility varied by locality. 'My own mind is my own church': Blake, Paine and the French Revolution. Paine mistakes Smith’s personal conjecture for an unintended confession about Freemasonry’s concealed origins. As an engine of power, it serves the purpose of despotism, and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests, but so far as respects the good of man in general it leads to nothing here or hereafter.”, “Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course or that a man should tell a lie? [52] Harmer, Tom Paine, 92; and Vincent, Transatlantic Republican, 16, 90, and 153. Paine reveals the lunacy of faith in that which can be easily disproved by turning the tables and the faithful: if God intervened it the affairs of men, wouldn’t it have made much more sense for Jonah to swallow the whale? He is then introduced into the Garden of Eden, in the shape of a snake or a serpent, and in that shape he enters into familiar conversation with Eve, who is no way surprised to hear a snake talk; and the issue of this tête-à-tête is that he persuades her to eat an apple, and the eating of that apple damns all mankind.

Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2014. Historian Eric Foner argues that Paine's works "forged a new political language" designed to bring politics to the people by using a "clear, simple and straightforward" style. Few men have ever been more unjustly and cruelly maligned than this great patriot, who was the first to utter the name “United States,” and who, instead of being a sceptic, believed in “the religion in which all men agree” — that is, in God, Duty, and the immortality of the soul. Thomas Paine's opinions were really very much ahead of his time. How happened it that he did not discover America, or is it only with kingdoms that his sooty highness has any interest? Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Bishop Richard Watson, forced to address the new audience in his influential response to Paine, An Apology for the Bible, wrote: "I shall, designedly, write this and the following letters in a popular manner; hoping that thereby they may stand a chance of being perused by that class of readers, for whom your work seems to be particularly calculated, and who are the most likely to be injured by it. [8] Dixon Wecter, “Thomas Paine and the Franklins,” American Literature 12 (1940): 306; and Vincent, Transatlantic Republican, 36. Williams also produced his own edition, but the British government indicted him and confiscated the pamphlets. It is in The Age of Reason that Thomas Paine lays out the foundation for the establishment of America as a Deist country in much the same way that The Crisis established America as the model for democratic ideals.

This article expands upon my prior surveys of the topic, including most recently “Thomas Paine, Freemasonry, and Deism,” Heredom 22 (2014): 95-106.

Common Sense and Other Writings, Thomas Paine (introduction by Joyce Appleby), Barnes and Noble Classics, 2005 — ISBN 10: 1- 59308 — 209 — 6.

He deserves to be widely read, especially by those who engage in the, frequently unedifying and sterile, debate between religionists and atheists. . Paine utterly rejected religion and used The Age of Reason in part to outline how one could very definitely be deeply spiritual without buying into Moses, Jesus, Mohammed or any other avatar of redemptive activism from the beyond.

Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving, it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”, “Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law.”, “Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity. It follows in the tradition of 18th-century British deism, and challenges institutionalized religion and the legitimacy of the Bible.

Your email address will not be published. This complete edition contains some of his writings not included in other copies and is a must for those that want full insight to the world of Deism and the freedom that comes from it. . “The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. PLEASE CHANGE READING AGE LEVEL - AGE 9 TO 12 NOT CORRECT, Reviewed in the United States on December 14, 2010. That the Soul is immortal.”[44] Although, as Robert P. Falk notes,  Paine “nowhere states outright, as Franklin does, that he was a ‘thorough Deist,’ [he] speaks of the religion always in terms of intimate sympathy,”[45] and “it seems safe to conclude that ‘the creed of Paine’ was . “That many good men have believed this strange fable [Christianity], and lived very good lives under that belief (for credulity is not a crime) is what I have no doubt of. There's a problem loading this menu right now. "[43] Foner also maintains that with The Age of Reason Paine "gave deism a new, aggressive, explicitly anti-Christian tone".[44]. Between 1818 and 1822, Carlile claimed to have "sent into circulation near 20,000 copies of the Age of Reason". [65] Although critics responded to Paine's analysis of the Bible, they did not usually address his specific arguments. [61] The sermonic quality of Paine's writing is one of its most recognizable traits. Please try again.

Very interesting article, exposing a commonly held myth! Sexton, Timothy. This book will not BORE you. After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.

By convincing people that they required a priest's help to overcome their innate sinfulness, deists argued, religious leaders had enslaved the human population. "[22] Describing the Bible as "fabulous mythology," Paine questions whether or not it was revealed to its writers and doubts that the original writers can ever be known (for example, he dismisses the idea that Moses wrote the Pentateuch or that the Gospel's authors are known). This is seen, for example, in the tendency of some American Masonic Grand Lodges to publish informational brochures that have placed Paine on the roster of famous Freemasons.

[59] Ibid., 204, first note; 213, second note; and note on page 222. Paine non temeva le critiche e rispettava le idee altrui. Paine realized after studying them that as is Christian Andersen's fairy tale, the emperor was naked. Throughout this essay I will cite the Conway edition of The Age of Reason. They also issued ad hominem attacks against Paine, describing him "as an enemy of proper thought and of the morality of decent, enlightened people". [24], Masonic scholar Albert G. Mackey quips in his 1898 History of Freemasonry that Paine “knew, by the way, as little of Masonry as he did of the religion of the Druids.”[25] He calls the essay “frivolous” and Paine “a mere sciolist in the subject of what he presumptuously sought to treat.”[26] Mackey is only slightly more charitable toward Paine in the entry on him in An Encyclopedia of Freemasonry and its Kindred Sciences, allowing that “for one so little acquainted with his subject, he has treated it with considerable ingenuity.”[27] Echoing that verdict, Masonic historian Joseph Fort Newton writes in The Builder Magazine (1915): “The notion that he was a Mason is probably due to the fact that he wrote an essay on Freemasonry, but the essay, while ingenious in its argument, betrays a vast incomprehension of the Order.”[28]. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”. Find all the books, read about the author, and more. But this does not prove, any more than any other detail or fact that we know of, that Paine was a Mason. Many of them responded specifically to Paine's attack on the Bible in Part II (when Thomas Williams was prosecuted for printing Part II, it became clear its circulation had far exceeded that of Part I).

[45] Robert P. Falk, “Thomas Paine: Deist or Quaker?,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 62 (1938): 55. The church had no priest or minister, and the traditional Biblical sermon was replaced by scientific lectures or homilies on the teachings of philosophers. As Walter Woll has noted in his book on Paine, there are "remarkable similarities" between Paine's creed and his friend. There can be no severer satyr [sic] on the age. ”, “Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.”, “Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. Its legacy can be seen in Thomas Jonathan Wooler's radical periodical The Black Dwarf, Carlile's numerous newspapers and journals, the radical works of William Cobbett, Henry Hetherington's periodicals the Penny Papers and the Poor Man's Guardian, Chartist William Lovett's works, George Holyoake"s newspapers and books on Owenism, and freethinker Charles Bradlaugh's New Reformer. [25] Albert G. Mackey, The History of Freemasonry (New York: The Masonic History Company, 1898), 1:199. Paine’s general tone, however, discloses him as an outsider trying to assess what is in the Order, rather than a member of it, and indicates that he was not a Freemason when he composed the essay. The 1795 Acts prohibited freedom of assembly for groups such as the radical London Corresponding Society (LCS) and encouraged indictments against radicals for "libelous and seditious" statements. Paine’s confrontational religious approach is evident in “On the Origin of Free-Masonry,” as well, where he writes that “the christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.”[54] Further on, he depicts druidism as a “wise, elegant, philosophical religion . "[21].

As he evidently was not a Master Mason when he wrote “On the Origin of Free-Masonry” — and as there is no suggestion he joined the fraternity in the interval between composing the essay and his death a few years later, in 1809 — it may be concluded that Paine was not a Freemason. See also Morais, “Deism in Revolutionary America,” 448-449; and Harold E. Taussig, “Deism in Philadelphia During the Age of Franklin,” Pennsylvania History, 37 (1970): 217-218. "[34] Paine "transformed the millennial Protestant vision of the rule of Christ on earth into a secular image of utopia," emphasizing the possibilities of "progress" and "human perfectibility" that could be achieved by humankind, without God's aid. While working on my Tom Paine biography, I was intrigued from the outset by the fact that all of a sudden, within just a few weeks or months, and as if … If Paine could glimpse the truth in the 1790's, what are we as a society waiting for?