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The Age of Reason Paperback – Apr 21 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 132 pages
  • Publisher: Aziloth Books (April 21 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908388080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908388087
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 0.7 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

Product Description

About the Author

Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, England, in 1737, the son of a staymaker. He had little schooling and worked at a number of jobs, including tax collector, a position he lost for agitating for an increase in excisemen’s pay. Persuaded by Benjamin Franklin, he emigrated to America in 1774. In 1776 he began his American Crisis series of thirteen pamphlets, and also published the incalculably influential Common Sense, which established Paine not only as a truly revolutionary thinker, but as the American Revolution’s fiercest political theorist. In 1787 Paine returned to Europe, where he became involved in revolutionary politics. In England his books were burned by the public hangman. Escaping to France, Paine took part in drafting the French constitution and voted against the king’s execution. He was imprisoned for a year and narrowly missed execution himself. In 1802 he returned to America and lived in New York State, poor, ill and largely despised for his extremism and so-called atheism (he was in fact a deist). Thomas Paine died in 1809. His body was exhumed by William Cobbett, and the remains were taken to England for a memorial burial. Unfortunately, the remains were subsequently lost. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Race on Feb. 19 2003
Format: Paperback
I have been a freethinker for a year now, and I find the topic of religion as fascinating, especially now because I am not a part of it.
I have read many books from various skeptical authors like Ingersoll, Doherty, Acharya S, Twain, and Barker. I always avoided Paine because I thought 1700's literature might be a little dry and difficult to read. I was also getting to the point where I wasn't really expecting to get any new insight or critique of christianity. I WAS WRONG. Even if you have lots of good skeptic books, buy this one for the following 3 reasons.
1) Thomas Paine is a great writer! He is witty, humorous, and insightful. I only raised my eyebrow one or two times because of the language. (Shew = Shown btw)
2)Thomas Paine did not have the benefit of carbon dating, and a lot of the biblical documentation that skeptics take for granted today. He critiques the bible using the bible itself. His critiquing of biblical history and authorship book by book is eye candy to any skeptic. For example:
[If Moses wrote the pentatauch in third person then isn't] "Moses ridiculous and absurd: for example, Num 12:3 'now the man moses was very meek. Above all the men which were on the face of the earth' If Moses said this of himself then instead of being the meekest of men, he was one of the most vain and arragant coxcombs...If he was the author, the author is without credit, because to boast of meekness is the reverse of meekness, and is a lie in sediment."
Paine also uses clever internal dating techniques to show these documents were not written when they were supposed. How could Moses have known about the city of Dan (Gen 14) when its name wasn't changed (from Laish) until 331 years after his death (Judges 18). These little inconsistancies fill the second part of his book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LZ-1 on Feb. 18 2003
Format: Paperback
In "The Age of Reason", an angry, well-researched, and surprisingly witty book, Thomas Paine makes the case for deism. The book is divided into three parts: the first part attacks organized religion in general, the second, written much later, demolishes the Bible piece by piece, and the third sums it all up. Included in this edition is a very thorough biographical introduction to Paine, written by Philip S. Foner in 1948.
The problem is that Paine's work depends largely on two basic assumptions, neither of which applies today. First, most of his criticisms of Judeo-Christianity are aimed at Biblical literalism. For instance: Matthew and Luke disagee about Jesus' ancestors; therefore the Bible is not divinely inspired. But many Christians today acknowledge some Biblical imperfections, and say that the underlying message is what's important. So errors of chronology and inconsistencies would not disprove the Christian religion. In fact, many more liberal Biblical scholars have devoted themselves to finding and explaining Biblical imperfections.
I say this not because I disagree with Paine that Judaism and Christianity are false, but only because his critique is insufficient to deal with religion as it is practiced today. This book is sure to baffle any fundamentalist, though.
The second problem is Paine's assumption that deism is the "true" religion. He bases this on the order of the world and universe, and because conditions on Earth are so amenable to man that a higher power seems likely. Paine was writing before Darwin's theory of evolution, however, which would have provided an alternate explanation for this. And explorations into black holes and the like have shown us that the universe is much more chaotic than we once thought.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Derek Blaire on May 17 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful book. I wish I would have read it earlier in my life. In the Age of Reason Paine is trying to free human thought from the bondage of Organized religion's scare tactics and superstition. Think what the world would be like today if we were Deist and quit arguing and killing over religous text. Paine's arguments are well organized and easy to read. I also believe this book should be taught in schools. I strongly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Derek Blaire on June 30 2004
Format: Paperback
One of the best books I have ever read. I have a new respect for Thomas Paine. Paine spent his life defending the cause of freedom. In this book, Paine tries to break the chains of religious superstition. The thoughts expressed in this book might help to reduce the problem of religious extremism we are facing today. We should spend more time learning about the thoughts and ideas of our founding fathers. It is amazing how brilliant these men were.
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Format: Paperback
Thomas Paine, like others among our nation's founders (Ethan Allen, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Joel Barlow), considered himself a deist, a term that encompasses a wide range of beliefs but is principally based on "religious rationalism": that, initially created by a benevolent God, the universe operates on rational rather than supernatural principles. Paine (and Allen), however, departed from the cautiously nuanced approach to religious issues adopted by his peers and vociferously rejected Judeo-Christian tenets and scriptures. In "The Age of Reason," Paine outlines his objections to theism and his belief in deism, and he dissects the inconsistencies in both the Old and New Testaments.
Paine published the book in two parts: the first he hurriedly finished in January 1794 when he realized he would be arrested during the French Revolution (passages were in fact written from the Luxembourg Palace in Paris, where he was imprisoned). The second part was written the following year, and he responds to the critics of the first part with a no-holds-barred attack on the veracity of the Bible.
Paine presents his basic belief that "it is only in the creation that all our ideas and conceptions of a word of God can unite," and later in the book he says that "the creation is the bible of the deist." To Paine, the Bible is the word of man, not the Word of God, and he confronts many of the literalist beliefs proffered by the clergy and worshippers in his day. Many of his arguments, once shocking and blasphemous, are now taken for granted.
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