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Age Of Reason Paperback – September 14, 2012

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From the Publisher

COSIMO CLASSICS offers distinctive titles by the great authors and thinkers who have inspired, informed and engaged readers throughout the ages. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Author

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. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 140 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145656854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1456568542
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.3 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (242 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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189 of 197 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on May 15, 2004
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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112 of 119 people found the following review helpful By Sara on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
It is evident to me that the staying power of Paine's Age of Reason is strong-- I need only look through the mixed opinions here at Amazon to see how dramatically it impacts those who read it. For me, it was a great wake-up call. I read Age of Reason at the beginning of this year and didn't know much about what to expect. From the first few pages I knew that I had found a book that reflects how I feel about religion. Paine offers a sensible alternative to atheism and the vast supply of revealed religions that abound in the world. To be logical, Paine points out, you need not give up a belief in a Higher Power. But you also don't have to sell your soul to charlatans and holy books written hundreds of years ago by men, not gods.
The first half of Age of Reason outlines Paine's own beliefs as well as those he rejects. He gives reasons for every point he agrees or disagrees with and it is clear to the reader how Paine feels. Paine wants to spell out what his thoughts are so that he won't be misjudged by his peers. (Jefferson went through a similar ordeal-- because of his connections with France, he was labeled "a French infidel and atheist" neither of which was a true statement. See _The Religious Life of Thomas Jefferson_ for more info.)
In the second half, Paine sets out to show the Biblical discrepancies to those who wanted to prove his ideas false by using the Bible as their "evidence". In a relatively small number of pages, Paine debunks and demystifies (in my opinion) a fair amount of 'Christian' theology and scripture. If one man can do it so well in only a few pages, what does that say for revealed religion? That question is for each of us to answer individually and Age of Reason is required reading for anyone who is serious in doing just that.
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75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Bradley P. Rich on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the title above seems like hyperbole, I am prepared to defend it: Thomas Paine was one of the most important figures of the American revolution, his pamphlet "Common Sense" did more to bring the colonies to revolt than any other document. After the revolution he went to France believing the French revolution to be the next step in the development of the freedom of mankind. While there he was condemned to death by Robespierre and detained pending execution. Believing that his death was imminent, Paine wrote Part One of Age of Reason, which is a compelling critique of the Bible and the faults of Christianity. His analysis is thorough, detailed and compelling, which is particularly impressive since he did it entirely without access to a Bible! This topic will offend many (which explains Paine's current demise from the pantheon of revolutionary heroes) but it should be read both for its analysis of the Bible and for appreciation of one of America's founding fathers.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Ruppert on April 5, 1999
Format: Library Binding
Thomas Paine believed in a creator. He saw all around him the evidence of a creator. Within himself, he felt the inspiration of a creator. But he was repulsed by what he read in the Bible. I am in full agreement with Mr. Paine that the god depicted in the Bible and the man-made systems of religion which claim divine inspiration for authority are an insult to the creator. This book, whether one would agree with its conclusions or not, at least will inspire the reader to think about the books and teachings to which men tell us to bow. Paine analyzes the logic of revealed religions with the critical thinking he was given and encourages us to do the same. And why shouldn't we? The fact is, most people I have met have thought more about what kind of car to buy than about their religion. They have taken the religion of their parents as mindlessly as they put on socks. And most organized religions don't push the issue as long as the tax-free money keeps coming in. Thomas Paine states clearly and unflinchingly the arguments against revealed religions. And Paine's writing stands the test of time without the need of apologetics.
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