Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, published in three parts from 1794, was a best seller in America, where it caused a short-lived deistic revival. Promoting a creator-God while advocating reason in the place of revelation, Paine’s controversial pamphlet caused his native British audience, fearing the results of the French Revolution, to receive it with more hostility than their American counterparts. This passionate and engaging recording of Paine’s classic is as certain to provoke modern listeners to thought as it did his original audience.
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A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
Wow. It is amazing to me to think this book was written in 1794/95. One of the most influential thinkers/writers/pamphleteers of the American AND French revolutions. You can't read Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins or Bart D. Ehrman and not feel that these authors ALL owe huge debts of gratitude to Thomas Paine and his last book. 'The Age of Reason', which essentially advocated deism, promoted humanism, reason and freethinking, and violently quarelled with ALL institutionalized religion (especially Christianity, viz the Bible), turned one of the heroes of the American Revolution into a social pariah. Only 6 people showed up for his funeral in 1809 (15 years after 'The Age of Reason' was first published) because many were still horrified by 'The Age of Reason'. Thomas Paine was an amazing thinker and like Hitch, I might not always agree with the end result of his thinking, but I am always amazed at the energy, force, originality and bravery of his thought.
Worth reading for its historical signifigance but must be read in the light of its age. For example, Paine makes an inspired argument for Deism as the only "true" religion. It would be interesting to see how the author's views might change after the revelations of Darwin in another 70 years. One can presume that Paine's belief in a creative god would be reasoned away just as he has done with the the bible, the testiment and all revealed religion.
Of interest are the notes at the end of Part 1 which describe the author's precarious situation. He completed his manuscript just hours before the knock on his door that lead to his arrest and expulsion from the French National Convention. This was a time when ideas had real consequences.
I love this work, particularly the second part where in Thomas Paine quotes specific passages to make his points. Robin Field did an excellent job narrating and you feel as if Paine were actually reading it to an audience. I have but one small critique and that is there is a delayed echo (by about 3 seconds) barely audible underneath the narration that can be a bit distracting if you are listening with headphones on. Otherwise this was a great buy.
Most of Paine's criticisms against the christian scriptures are as compelling as they were in his time.
This book is a quick listen. Packed with great info and is masterfully read.
Try all of Paine's books. Common Sense especially.
The author comes to life with the reading of Robin Field
I listened to the whole book in one work day
I thought the book was well written and well presented by the reader. A great perspective of the Bible.
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