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Letters from an Atheist Nation: Godless Voices of America in 1903 Paperback – December 13, 2011
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"I very rarely read nonfiction, so it takes a very good nonfiction book to hold my attention. I can't praise this book enough." - Pajiba.com's "Cannonball Read IV"
"Its real value is...in reminding us that freethinking isn't a recent invention but a longstanding and proud part of the American story. In that respect, it's another part of our answer to history-blind apologists who are nostalgic for a past golden age of universal Christianity that never actually existed." - Daylight Atheism
From the Inside Flap
"By his own closest colleagues' admission, the preacher-turned-infidel Charles Chilton Moore could be, and often was, one rough old Kentucky cob. Certainly he was to newsprint what his friend Watson Heston was to art. Even so, with his Blue Grass Blade newspaper, Moore provided an important, even vital, tool of free speech and the exchange of ideas for a free-thinking and independent minority largely disenfranchised by nineteenth-century American society. Thomas Lawson's Letters from an Atheist Nation aptly demonstrates Moore's significance as a pioneer American atheist leader, and the testimonials of his subscribers contained herein are no less vital, or cogent, than they were when they were first printed more than a century ago."
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If we could communicate with these men and women, who range in age from quite old to surprisingly young (people in their 80's who lived through the Civil War, teenagers & people in their 20's, and all ages in between contributed to this project), we would feel completely at home with them, and agree with their conclusions regarding god(s) and the Bible.
The writing is often breathtakingly poetic, but more often straight-forward and matter-of-fact. Yet somehow, this segment of our society seems to have been forgotten by history. All we keep hearing about these days is how our country was founded on Christian principles, and our seemingly recent abandonment of those principles has led to the horrible state our country is in today. I am as guilty as the next person of believing that there is something new and modern about our current questioning of religion.
But when you think about the popularity back then of people like Ingersoll and Twain, there must have been an audience for them, right? The people in this book are members of that audience. I consider them my brothers and sisters.
The book's traditional print version is now available, and I reiterate my thanks to Thomas Lawson for resurrecting, as it were, an obscure but important facet of Kentucky history as well as that of American freethought. The only difference I see between these colorful and variegated testimonies of nonbelief, and similar missives available in blog postings on the Internet today, is that the 1903 letter writers were, by and large, quite a bit more articulate and mannerly than their Internet journalistic heirs. Even so, some of the writers do have an annoying tendency--as do their contemporaries--to employ "shock language" to stir up, as it were, the fretful complacency of their fundamentalist Christian counterparts. But the issues are still the same--and are still waiting to be addressed by the American public at large.