The Age of Reason
by Thomas Paine

Summary: The same Thomas Paine who wrote Common Sense in 1776 and helped usher in the American Revolution, later pointed his potent quill at religion--and religion is the worse for wear. Paine reasoned through each section of the bible, exposing, for example, the irrationality of so-called divine revelations, the absurdity of "miracles," and the immoral character of the "lying prophets." Paine also proved that virtually each book in the bible was written centuries after most theologians claim, rendering those books "anonymous and therefore without authority." Paine leaves no stone unthrown--when the bible gives a list of numbers and their supposed sum, Paine simply tallied them up and showed that the "divinely inspired" writer couldn't add. When the bible lists two genealogies of Jesus in separate gospels, Paine simply put the two lists side-by-side and noticed that they didn't even come close to matching. Refering to the apostle Paul's writing, Paine charged, "All this is nothing better than the jargon of a conjurer who picks up phrases he does not understand to confound the credulous people who come to have their fortune told."

Paine believed in God--he was a self-proclaimed Deist--but utterly rejected mysticism, faith and all churches. "My own mind," wrote Paine, "is my own church." Such is the attitude that makes this book such an enjoyable read.

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