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The Age of Reason [Hardcover]

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Item Number 360174  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   220
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.75" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.38 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2007
Publisher   Cosimo Classics
ISBN  1602067457  
EAN  9781602067455  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
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. Being an idealist, a radical, and a master rhetorician, Paine wrote and lived with a keen sense of urgency and excitement. However, he 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. 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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More About Thomas Paine

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Thomas Paine was born in England in 1737 and worked as a schoolteacher, storekeeper, and customs inspector before moving to Philadelphia in 1774. He quickly acquired a reputation as a journalist and published his hugely successful and influential pamphlet Common Sense in 1776. The Crisis, written when Paine was a soldier in the darkest days of the revolution--with its famous opening words, -These are the times that try men's souls---called for perseverance and prevented Washington's army from disintegrating. To honor him for defending the French Revolution in Rights of Man, France made him a citizen and elected him to their constitutional convention. He died in 1809.

Thomas Paine was born in 1737 and died in 1809.

Thomas Paine has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > History   [447  similar products]
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3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [3773  similar products]
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Good argument against Revelation  Oct 26, 2008
Thomas Paine makes as powerful and argument as one might hope to make against the idea that the Bible - both the Old Testament and the New Testament - can possibly be direct revelations from God. His logic is very sound that revelation only occurs first to one person, and after that to believe in revelation is to put a great deal of trust in the person to whom revelation was supposedly delivered. He also makes fine textual criticism of many parts of the Bible. While some of his analysis and criticism is not well-founded, the whole of his argument against revelation seems forceful. (five stars on that) Where I dissent with Paine is his overall bitter diatribe against the Christian religion itself (two stars on that). There is much yet good in the Christian message, and I wonder if Paine did not give enough credit to the Quaker belief system, which was undoubtedly formative for his father and for himself. Paine does not describe much about Deism as an alternative, save that it is faith in knowledge of God through Creation. One should read this book for its good (and not so good) arguments - but don't acquire the Nuvision Press copy. It is chalked full of embarrassingly bad typos that should have been fixed before publication.
Life Changing  Sep 28, 2008
I read this book about 20 years ago, and it got me thinking more and more about religion. I can't say that I was ever a "religious person", just that I needed to define what it is and how it fit in my life. This book had me questioning the bible, and that led to me questioning religion as a whole. I know this was not the intent of Mr. Paine, but I am beholding to him because his words began to open my eyes to the truth. I am proud to be an atheist.
Free-Thought  Jul 17, 2008
This is the exact reason why I must say that I'm proud to be an american, this literary classic totally de-bunks what is "expressed" in what we call the 'holy' bible. Thomas Paine had the courage to write this essay at A time when he most likely would've been imprisoned or executed for heresy. Thomas Paine, the man responsible for entitling this great country of ours the "United States Of America", he is A great american hero.
A review of the Bible  Jul 13, 2008
Thomas Paine was probably one of the most brilliant people to ever walk the face of the earth, he was extremely logical with a very scientific and mathmatical mind. His take on the Bible was done with care and due dilligence. Worth the read if you have an open mind and not afraid of facts.
Paine defended God's reputation  Jun 2, 2008
Given the vitriol with which Christians have denounced Thomas Paine for more than 200 years, one may be under the impression, as I was, that he was an atheist. He was generally denounced as such, and Theodore Roosevelt's reference to him as a "filthy little atheist" was not atypical. But upon actually reading this famous tome of his, I discovered he was in fact a devout man of God. It was only Christianity and other organized religions he had a problem with, and he explains why.

Paine was a creationist who believed nature is God's primary revelation of himself to humankind. In this revelation are all the tools we need, to understand, to behave, to treat others with respect and kindness, to stand in awe of the creator and worship him. Thomas Paine did not appreciate anyone belittling God by suggesting he behaved as "revealed" in those old writings of men who did dastardly things and then justified their behaviors by claiming God told them to do it! Paine could see that the biblical God was created by men the same way they created all the other pagan gods of the day. (Christianity was not the first to have a virgin birth, resurrections and blood sacrifices.)

With no written description of God, and only the creation to go on, Paine was in the uncommon position of actually having to think for himself about what God must be like, what he expects of us, how we should behave. Thinking is work, but like most work, it can be invigorating and rewarding--written descriptions are severely limiting, confined to the words used, while one's imagination is limitless. (Similarly, the more literally one takes something, the more limited its application.) Paine loved observing and imagining what God must be like; he wasn't limited to the feeble, misguided words of ancients.

Those of us conditioned to getting our description of God through written material might at first think Paine to be at a great disadvantage. How silly, we are tempted to think, to imagine our understanding of God could be complete merely by looking around us. How could we possibly figure out that God wants us to have slaves, keep the Ten Commandments, offer sacrifices, flatter him more on Sunday (or is it Saturday?) and burn witches--all merely by observing nature? Then it dawns on us, and wow! If we believe God is good, then without these writings our imagination about his goodness is limitless. Throughout our lives, no matter how much we mature and grow in understanding, at any given moment we push the limits of God's goodness to the extremes of our imagination--never fully comprehending it, only approaching it. We are filled with awe and we are drawn to emulate that goodness. How silly all this stuff about a touchy biblical god who throws his weight around killing people at the drop of a pin if they don't offer the right sacrifice begins to look!

Thus Thomas Paine was offended by the pettiness and absurdities of man-made religion. By observing God directly, he did not find himself in the awkward position of having to create excuses for God's supposed evil behaviors, his weird pagan-like fascination with blood sacrifices, his horrible temper or his morbid fascination with punishment--like stoning unruly kids to death, striking people dead for small infractions and imposing the death the penalty for every human being's mistakes, misdeeds or mere failures to flatter him (to say nothing of torturing them to death by endless fire). Paine wasn't saddled with the burden of explaining why the deity he worships doesn't want women in pulpits or gays in love. He's not stuck with having to defend fantastic promises that are (let's be honest) never kept, and prophecies never really fulfilled. Ironically, the only thing he ever had to defend was God's reputation--which Bible writers had dragged through the mud by attributing their own wicked pursuits to God.

Paine's respect and adoration for God was pure, unadulterated by human contraption. In other words, he worshipped God without all the baggage. And all the while, Christians called him an atheist for not helping them carry theirs.

It's worth noting that Thomas Paine's contemplation of God was not some kind of nebulous feel-good meditation. He was moved to action. In addition to defending God's reputation, Paine personally worked to end slavery, particularly with his 1775 essay, "African Slavery in America." That makes Paine a better person than the biblical God, and not by a little; I mean, God isn't even neutral on slavery, he encourages it (emphatically and repeatedly, according to the Bible). And, of course, while Paine worked to end slavery, his biggest obstacle was Christians who defended the practice on clear biblical grounds. They got their understanding of God through a written description, while Paine got an entirely different understanding of God merely by contemplating God's real revelation, the creation.

Would Paine still believe in God today? Who knows? When he died, Charles Darwin was but a four-month-old baby. In that day, there simply was no plausible explanation for the origin of species.* Nearly everyone, including Paine, chalked it all up to God--the source of all things existing. Things of mystery have always been affairs of the gods.

*(It is a common misconception among Christians that evolution attempts to explain the origin of life, but it does not.)

But for the fact that Paine was not an atheist, one might consider The Age of Reason a foreshadowing of today's popular works by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others. They and Paine all easily demonstrate how the writings that eventually got voted into the canon that is our present-day Bible could not possibly be a revelation from God. But unlike the others, Paine's purpose was to defend God, not doubt his existence.

This book affords an additional plus. We get a fascinating glimpse of Paine's life and times in the 18th century, 200+ years ago. I was especially interested in his arrest over the nature of his writings. And while this review is an overview, Paine's meticulous tribute to "the age of reason" is a thing of real substance--you'll find detailed arguments not routinely employed by today's writers. You'll also get a more balanced view of deism than we usually get from Christians, who typically misrepresent it as a message of gloom and doom (God created us and then just "abandoned" us). The founding fathers of the United States were more deist than anything else, and thus not Christian, contrary to popular belief.

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