Excerpts from the book "The Age of Reason" by Thomas Paine

"Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike"

"It is a contradiction in terms and ideas, to call anything a revelation that comes to us second-hand, either verbally or in writing. Revelation is necessarily limited to the first communication--after this, it is only an account of something which that person says was a revelation made to him; and though he may find himself obliged to believe it, it can not be incumbent on me to believe it in the same manner; for it was not a revelation made to me, and I have only his word for it that it was made to him."

"When Moses told the children of Israel that he received the two tables of commandments from the hands of God, they were not obliged to believe him, because they had no authority for it than his telling them so; and I have no authority for it than some historian telling me so. The commandments carry no internal evidence of divinity with them; they contain some good moral precepts, such as any man qualified to be a lawgiver, or a legislator, could produce himself, without having recourse to super natural intervention."

"When I am told that the Koran was written in Heaven and brought to Mahomet by an angel, the account comes too near the same kind of hearsay evidence and secondhand authority as the former. I did not see the angel myself, and, therefore, I have a right not to believe it."

"When also I am told that a woman called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not; such a circumstance required much stronger evidence than their bare word for it; but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves; it is only reported by others that they said so--it is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to rest my belief upon such evidence."

Doesn't this just make sense to everyone? How can revealed religions survive based upon this information? Do you agree or disagree?

  • Yeah bro, makes total sense. I might look into this book you speak of.
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  • Infidel! Have faith and suspend your God-given reason and accept our claims!
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  • Que Que?
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Updates:
I'm liking the results a lot, it seems people are more "reasonable" than I thought they would be. Good job at questioning what people tell you to believe people. As Paine says at the beginning of his book, "the most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is Reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall."

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Most Helpful Guy

  • Religion is the opium of the masses!

    The wuss that answered anonymously is a perfect example of what an inexperienced, dumb, self righteous, heartless, uneducated asshole would say. I would have said it directly at him, but he blocked me.

    I think I may know who he is though.

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    • Hahahaha yes dude! I couldn't have commented on sir anonymous any better myself! How and why'd he block you? I suppose he must have done the same thing he did to me to you, insult you first and block you before you can respond? Anyway, if you have a suspect, I have a method; who do you suspect? By the way, Deism is the only legite respectable religion in my eyes, you should look into it and tell me what you think.

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    • Wait what do you mean you got him deleted? Like his account? I simply would have liked to have known who he was so I could block that little pestering fool.

    • Nah. He's been deleted. He's just another little nobody. Don't think about it.

What Girls Said 5

  • I agree. :)

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  • I agree, that's why there isn't any woman as a prophet who gets a revelation, because no one would believe in her or she wouldn't make anyone to believe her at that age of time. A woman could be precious only with being a virgin or a mother, like the Virgin Mary. Religion causes the inequality between men and women by presenting women like they've been created for serving men.

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  • I agree that a primary account makes for proof of a higher degree. But, the question arises - where do you access these accounts from? Do they even exist? And, should you disbelieve anything that does not spring from the protagonist himself/herself?

    Paine was right in not accepting but, questioning the purple passages of religious men. In fact, when you contemplate, you see that the teaching obtained of these texts is not incorrect, it is the preaching that waylays the people.

    Myth becomes religion, God remains real. I personally believe in a higher power but, I do not think going to a church or temple every week will bring me closer to God, forgive my sins and pave my path to heaven or eternal peace. I think my deeds and thoughts will decide that and that is where my faith lies - in that omnipresent presence of the force of goodness within myself.

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    • It's difficult to say for certain what is divine providence and what is subjective interpretation I believe. Even if the information was relayed to me be the "protagonist," I'd still be skeptical as to the validity of any such claim made, I would require evidence. I believe there is a creator as well, at least something from which we spawned from and accounts for perpetual motion. I think Paine was on the right track with his Deistic beliefs.

  • Love it!

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  • You may not agree with religion, but it is also proven that people with faith who believe in something are healthier and happier. Not saying that is a way to prove religion exists, but why would you want to take that away from people?

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    • Because it has also been proven that thousands of people have died in the name of religion. I think people could he healthier and happier if they weren't dying for their religion or being killed because of the religion of others. Besides, enlightening people can never be considered harmful. They can still believe in God, just not the fact that God has promised them anything. Look into deism, www.deism.com you'll understand more.

What Guys Said 6

  • Ive heard of that book before..but I kinda was not too interested as Paine was a deist and not an atheist...but after seeing this...I think ill defintely try and get a copy...I've seen other selections from the work and it looks interesting..esp when he makes common sense cases..like...for example...dueteronomy could not have been written by moses because it includes his DEATH.

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    • Yeah bro hahaha, Paine being a Deist was exactly why I got the book. I'm quite fascinated by it actually...Deism that is.

  • Of course I agree with it. No surprise there.

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  • Everyone should watch Zeitgeist the first one. Which can be played here link it's pretty much separated in 3 parts. The first part is on religion its pretty good.

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    • Makes a lot of bold claims, but I agree that it's an interesting view.

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    • I effing love the beginning of it though! After the speaker, the war scenes with the terror music. It's so eye opening

    • I know the whole movie is pretty eye opening.

  • I've read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine... very good read. Did you know that Christians claim that he "repented" on his death bed? I love how every time there is a free thinking writer who speaks his mind the religious always say they repent.. It is absolutely ridiculous in Thomas Paine's case.

    Just so you guys know I respect religion... I just don't understand it.

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    • Many people respect the differences of religions...doesn't mean they aren't against them though lol

    • Yeah huh! Lol, basically they're lies that the religious think will somehow validate their beliefs. By the way, ever since I discovered Deism I just can't look at any other revealed religions in the same way. Unlike you, I lack respect due to their complacency with these doctrines and the ease in which they're spoon fed by clergymen under supposed "divine guidance."

  • Hence the reason that the original sin was knowledge. Also the reason I refuse to believe in god but instead praise the flying spaghetti monster in his divine noodliness. In the name of the pasta, the sauce and the holy meatballs.

    Ramen

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  • Yeah, I can't agree with much of what Paine is saying. Getting information secondhand doesn't inherently discredit the information itself. Otherwise you clearly could not believe Paine when he tells you that something is reasonable or not. It's just another person stating something they believe to be true.

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    • Well I don't believe Paine is referring to information in general, but rather "revealed" information, or information claimed to have been God sent. Paine isn't asking me to believe anything of the sort, he's simply stating his logical opinions which I then can decide whether to accept it or not, based upon my use of reasoning to discern whether the claims be true or not. I agree with you that "information" can't be inherently discredited, but as the childhood game "whisper down the alley" would

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    • Sorry, anonymous is what I tend to do on potentially touchy situations. I've never heard of/played whisper down the alley. How is it played?

    • It's all good :) whisper down the alley is a game where one person makes up something and whispers it to the ear of the next and so on and so on until the last person says out loud what they have heard and it is almost ALWAYS not what the original person said.

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