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Age of Reason

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By chenxian1991
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The Age of Reason, Part I (1794)- Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine (1737-1809) - was born in England in 1737, a son of a Quaker. In 1774, Thomas Paine met Benjamin Franklin in London and was invited to immigrate to America. He landed in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774. Working as a publicist, he first published African Slavery in America in 1775, criticizing slavery in America as being unjust to the African slaves. After the Boston Tea party, Thomas Paine had a sensed of rebellion against the British government. He published Common Sense stating America had lost touch with its mother country, Great Britain. “Nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments and common sense.” Thomas Paine had a great influence on the Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776. He also fought and volunteered during the Independence War. In 1787, Thomas Paine left for England. He was involved in the French Revolution. He was imprisoned in 1793. He published The Age of Reason while he was imprisoned. He went back to the America in 1802 after invited by Thomas Jefferson, who was a true admirer of him. But he realized he was forgotten by the works he had done for America.
The Age of Reason was written by Thomas Paine while he was imprisoned in 1794 due to the opposition of the execution of the king Louis XVI of France. The Age of Reason was a praise of the achievement of the Age of Enlightment. He was also accused as being an atheist because of the book. Thomas Paine presented in a clear style of way to against the behavior of churches and religionists. “I do not believe in the creed professed by...the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my church. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. (Paine, P.39)” Thomas Paine argues that his own mind is his church, and he does not believe in any other churches, such as the Protestant church, or any other churches such as Jewish and Christian. But Paine is not an atheist, because he does believe in God. Paine wrote in the first line that he believes in one God, and only one God that he’s hoping for happiness in his life. He argues that he also believes in equality of man, justice, and loving mercy and religion could make that happen. Thomas Paine then continues on discussing about political revolution and religious revolution. He argues “that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion. (Paine, P. 39)” because there’s a connection between church and state. First, he makes a number of different arguments against churches and Bibles, arguing that the world have been changed to mean different things. Thomas Paine mentions “Revelation”, it means something communicated immediately from God to man. He believes that there is God. He is surrounding us, gives us messages when he is please, and the message is only revealed to one person, and not revealed to any other person. Thomas Paine states “ it is not true... That such a person as Jesus Christ existed. (Paine, P. 41)” which again, another reason of why people think he was an atheist and his argument against to bilical Christianity. He went on and argues about the Old and New Testament, that there’s no evidence to prove and believe these books are the Words of God. They’re just books which were collected by human beings and put it altogether. And the prophets in the Bible are the works of the Jewish poets. At the end of the book, he talks about the relationship he sees between religion and philosophy. He started to talk about Atheism, which is a religious denial of God. Thomas Paine was not an antheist, instead, he believes in one God, a God that is set inside his mind.

Why do you think The Age of Reason was banned? When and where?
What was the controversy about the book? "I would advise you... not to attempt unchaining the Tyger, but to burn this Piece before it is seen by any other Person, whereby you will save yourself a great deal of Mortification from the Enemies it may raise against you, and perhaps a good deal of Regret and Repentance. If Men are so wicked as we now see them with Religion what would they be if without it?"

This is a quote from Benjamin Franklin. He wrote this to Thomas Paine after reading The Age of Reason. What do you think Benjamin Franklin’s view on the book?

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