"[33] It is this vision that scholars have called Paine's "secular millennialism" and it appears in all of his works. [95] Despite all of these attacks, Paine never wavered in his beliefs; when he was dying, a woman came to visit him, claiming that God had instructed her to save his soul. "The Bible of the Deist," he contends, should not be a human invention, such as the Bible, but rather a divine invention—it should be "creation". Thomas Paine is especially noteworthy both for his contributions to the cause of the American revolution and to the cause of deism. That he ought to be worshipped by Adoration, Prayer & Thanksgiving. When it is sunshine, he prays for rain, and when it is rain, he prays for sunshine. Urging his readers to employ reason rather, than to rely on revelation, Paine argues that the only reliable, unchanging, and universal evidence of God's existence is the natural world. The Jews say that their Word of God was given by God to Moses face to face; the Christians say, that their Word of God came by divine inspiration; and the Turks say, that their Word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from heaven. He can now provide for his own comfort, and learn from my munificence to all to be kind to each other.”. But that the most acceptable Service of God is doing Good to Man. If he was not a Master Mason when he wrote the essay, could Paine have been an Entered Apprentice or a Fellow-Craft? This edition contains the seldom seen third part to The Age of Reason and, unlike any other editions, also includes all of Thomas Paine's known essays and correspondence regarding God, Deism, the Bible and theology. The most distinctive element of Paine's style in The Age of Reason is its "vulgarity". [43] Julius F. Sachse, “The Masonic Chronology of Benjamin Franklin,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 30 (1906): 238-240. “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. . The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology is a work by English and American political activist Thomas Paine, arguing for the philosophical position of deism. On the Latin quotation towards the end—"Salus populi sumprema lex . Paine would have been exposed to Spinoza's ideas through the works of other 18th-century deists, most notably Conyers Middleton. A great example that conjectures can open interesting lines of historical research. In order to navigate out of this carousel please use your heading shortcut key to navigate to the next or previous heading. George Spater explains that "the revulsion felt for Paine's Age of Reason and for other anti-religious thought was so great that a major counter-revolution had been set underway in America before the end of the eighteenth century." (reference covers entire paragraph), Herrick, 30–39; see also Claeys, 178–79. But we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time. In Part I, Paine outlines his major arguments and personal creed. Reviewed in the United States on March 19, 2012. It is only in the Master Mason’s Lodge, that whatever knowledge remains of the origin of Masonry is preserved and concealed.[33]. That the Soul is immortal.”[44] Although, as Robert P. Falk notes,  Paine “nowhere states outright, as Franklin does, that he was a ‘thorough Deist,’ [he] speaks of the religion always in terms of intimate sympathy,”[45] and “it seems safe to conclude that ‘the creed of Paine’ was . Between 1818 and 1822, Carlile claimed to have "sent into circulation near 20,000 copies of the Age of Reason". Thomas Paine (Painted by Matthew Pratt) THE AGE OF REASON by Thomas Paine TO MY FELLOW-CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I PUT the following work under your protection. Each of those churches accuses the other of unbelief; and, for my own part, I disbelieve them all.”. I believe the equality of man; and I believe that religious duties consist in doing justice, loving mercy, and endeavoring to make our fellow-creatures happy.”[36] Such statements, which Joseph Fort Newton felt had a Masonic ring to them, prompted him to write of Paine in The Builders: A Story and Study of Masonry: Though not a Mason, [he] has left us an essay on The Origin of Freemasonry. Are we sure that the books that tell us so were written by his authority? [101] Its message still resonates, evidenced by Christopher Hitchens, who stated that "if the rights of man are to be upheld in a dark time, we shall require an age of reason". See also Morais, “Deism in Revolutionary America,” 448-449; and Harold E. Taussig, “Deism in Philadelphia During the Age of Franklin,” Pennsylvania History, 37 (1970): 217-218. 'My own mind is my own church': Blake, Paine and the French Revolution. Let us know what’s wrong with this preview of, “It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.”, “One good schoolmaster is of more use than a hundred priests.”. Deists also rejected the claim that there was only one revealed religious truth or "one true faith". It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God in his mouth, and have credit among us. One way of accounting for this, one hypothesis (which has several times been made), is to consider that Paine became a Freemason and that, as such, he enjoyed, first in America, then in England and France, the kindly assistance of certain lodges or of certain individual Masons. [33][64], Paine's Age of Reason sparked enough anger in Britain to initiate not only a series of government prosecutions but also a pamphlet war. Forgoing what Vincent terms “the discreet Deism of leaders like Franklin or Jefferson,” Paine was vocal in his opposition to organized religion. However, Vincent dismisses this line of reasoning as well: Paine’s interest in Freemasonry was such that toward the end his life, in 1805, he wrote a lengthy piece entitled An Essay on the Origin of Freemasonry . . "[48] By thus emphasizing the presence of the reader and leaving images and arguments half-formed, Paine encourages his readers to complete them independently.[49]. "[22] Describing the Bible as "fabulous mythology," Paine questions whether or not it was revealed to its writers and doubts that the original writers can ever be known (for example, he dismisses the idea that Moses wrote the Pentateuch or that the Gospel's authors are known). [50] [emphasis Paine's], The irreverent tone that Paine, combined with the vulgar style, set his work apart from its predecessors. Few men have ever been more unjustly and cruelly maligned than this great patriot, who was the first to utter the name “United States,” and who, instead of being a sceptic, believed in “the religion in which all men agree” — that is, in God, Duty, and the immortality of the soul. [94], Adams viewed Paine's Age of Reason not as the embodiment of the Enlightenment but as a "betrayal" of it. That is insane. [16] William M. Van der Weyde, The Life and Works of Thomas Paine (New York: Thomas Paine National Historical Association, 1925), 1:171. A thing which everybody is required to believe, requires that the proof and evidence of it should be equal to all, and universal; and as the public visibility of this last related act was the only evidence that could give sanction to the former part, the whole of it falls to the ground, because that evidence never was given. (Herrick 130–34), Qtd. . [19] For despite using the Bible to support his arguments in such works as Common Sense, The Crisis, and Rights of Man, Paine was in fact strongly opposed to Christianity — and to revealed religion in general — and sought to debunk the Bible in his later writings, including The Age of Reason. What I blame you for is this—that you have attempted to lessen the authority of the Bible by ridicule, more than by reason. [2] One such brochure, “The Real Secret of Freemasonry,” claims that “the pantheon of Masons holds George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, among others.”[3] Masonic websites have also continued to make similar assumptions about Paine and Freemasonry,[4] as have articles in Masonic journals.[5]. I wish I could give this book 6 stars. “That many good men have believed this strange fable [Christianity], and lived very good lives under that belief (for credulity is not a crime) is what I have no doubt of. Even the liberal Analytical Review was skeptical of Paine's claims and distanced itself from the book. We’d love your help. ”, “Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe. . “I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. . [28] Joseph Fort Newton, “Who’s Who,” The Builder Magazine 1 (1915), 276. But it appears that Thomas did not believe the resurrection; and, as they say, would not believe without having ocular and manual demonstration himself. There were four major factors for this animosity: Paine denied that the Bible was a sacred, inspired text; he argued that Christianity was a human invention; his ability to command a large readership frightened those in power; and his irreverent and satirical style of writing about Christianity and the Bible offended many believers. Paine as a writer and thinker is a pure genius. . There can be no severer satyr [sic] on the age. The creation is the Bible of the Deist. The public was receptive, in part, because they approved of the secular ideals of the French Revolution. [47] Paine's conversational style draws the reader into the text. Robbins, 135–42; Davidson and Scheick, 58–60. Many of them responded specifically to Paine's attack on the Bible in Part II (when Thomas Williams was prosecuted for printing Part II, it became clear its circulation had far exceeded that of Part I). [25] Albert G. Mackey, The History of Freemasonry (New York: The Masonic History Company, 1898), 1:199. He immediately published a second edition of 3,000 copies. Paine's deism was simply too radical for these more moderate reformers and they feared being tarred with the brush of extremism. Our work has been featured by the New York Times, TIME magazine, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, NPR, and more. [71] Although the book had been selling well before the trial, once Carlile was arrested and charged, 4,000 copies were sold in just a few months. [19], Paine takes that argument even further by maintaining that the same rules of logic and standards of evidence that govern the analysis of secular texts should be applied to the Bible. Schwartz, Thomas D. "Mark Twain and Robert Ingersoll: The Freethought Connection". [38] Vincent, Transatlantic Republican, 35.