Reviews by Panopticon

The Age of Reason

by Thomas Paine

A sterling work by one of the great thinkers and polemicists of the American Revolution.

l find hlhenry's insinuation that the "Founding Father's" rejected Paine's "Age of Reason" because they "experienced "particular and personal Providence." at best a half truth. Yes, the Founders were often disposed to reject Paine's work, but as excessively radical and invidiously "democratical" as much as for any religious reasons

If we think of the Founders as comprised of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, major figure in politics and war that led victory, and the framers of the Constitution, then in terms of religion we have a diverse group. Many, perhaps a majority were titular Episcopalians, but the American branch of the Church of England was all but entirely disposed toward Latitudinarianism, that is to say Deism with sermons. A few were protestants of other denominations, and a handful were Roman Catholic. Some joined with Jefferson, in a more public embrace of Deism. Other's were the same, but in less visible fashion. A few like Paine and Franklin publicly or privately took Deist positions that today would be seen as edging on atheism, arguing that the voice of nature provides surfeit grounds for moral knowledge and human advancement.

As an aside- after a decades long work in support of the French Revolution- Paine returned to the United States at the personal invitation of President Jefferson. At his death, he was buried on the farm given him by Congress at the end of the Revolutionary war.

hlhenry writes with half truths, exaggeration and misdirection, tactics common to the religious fanatics who today endanger our republic.

The point of this mild diatribe is to encourage a reading of this wonderful document. History is a friend of freedom and a remedy to tyranny.

Reviewed on 2010.07.15

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