I am just finishing this, and it is one of those works that I wish were required reading for every child in America. I skimmed parts of it because Paine spent some time disproving the Bible on the basis of history, chronology and self-contradiction… and I don’t need any more convincing on that front. Still, it is an awesome book. Sidenote - you can definitely see the seeds of Hitchens’ view of religion in Paine’s writing.
Much agreed Morse.
Classic reading by an intellectual giant.
Read ‘Freethinkers’ by Susan Jacoby if you have not. She pays great respect to Paine, and his influence on America’s secularism.
I had precisely the same reaction. It took 40 years for me to fully realize my regret that basic philosophy, logic, and critical thinking are not mandatory high-school courses in the United States.
I’ve always been skeptical of orthodox religion, even in childhood, but only now do I fully realize what a crime it was to send me, and so many others with me, into the world without even the most basic lessons in the philosophy of logic. I feel violated, as though my entire life’s potential was denied me without so much as a whoopsie-daisy.
The ability to reason effectively is something that every child should be taught well before the university level.
I can think of no compelling reason to deny children this vital tool except that religions very much prefer it that way.
Yea… I don’t necessarily agree with his belief in a “deity”, but I hear what he was saying about creation being the only true “God”.
Moving on to Rights of Man now. Looking forward to hearing what he had to say on a more non-religious level.
I have this book but I haven’t read it yet. I’ve ordered so many books to read that I don’t know how I will get to all of them. Right now I am reading “Misquoting Jesus”, by Prof. Bart Ehrman. As soon as I am done with that, I will read the “Age of Reason.”
work in some Daniel Dennett when you have time. ‘Darwins Dangerous Idea’ and ‘Breaking the Spell’ should be mandatory.
Many folks also like ‘Consciousness Explained’ one of his earlier works, but I have not gotten to that one yet.
Also, Christopher Hitchins ‘God is Not Great’ is wonderful as well.
McCreason, thanks for the tips on the books. I will try and squeeze those books in as well. I love Christopher Hitchens. He doesn’t care who he pisses off. I admire that of him. I don’t know much about Daniel Dennett other than what I saw on “The Four Horsemen” and “The Atheism Tapes”. I have so many books I have to read. I look up on my book shelf and sigh!
Picked up Paine’s ‘Age of Reason’ and Jacoby’s ‘Freethinkers’ today for a double dose of American secularism. Hoping it will give me some more ammo for the good old family debate game.