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The Age of Reason

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  7,748 ratings  ·  526 reviews
The Age of Reason represents the results of years of study and reflection by Thomas Paine on the place of religion in society.

Paine wrote: "Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."

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Paperback, 180 pages
Published April 25th 2007 by NuVision Publications (first published January 27th 1794)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  7,748 ratings  ·  526 reviews


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Trevor
Dec 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: philosophy, religion
Paine is not an atheist, far from it. He believes in the God who created the universe, not in the men who wrote a book. So, first he shows that the Bible was not written by God - showing the near endless contradictions contained in that book, showing where much of the old testament in particular is a hsndbook of genocide. As he says at one point Moses asks his followers to kill the mothers, fathers and brothers and then to debauch the daughters of those they conquer. For people to say they base ...more
A.J.
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Against four thousand years of combined Jewish and Christian tradition, Thomas Paine answers with the eighteenth century equivalent of: "Bitch, please." This isn't your NOMA (Non-overlapping magisterium) kind of argument; this is Total War. With a disciplined rationalism and an acidic wit, Paine produces an assault so complete on organized religion that it makes the so-called new atheist movement a bit of a misnomer. Paine was not an atheist in any sense of the word, but one does wonder if he mi ...more
Jamie
Thomas Paine plays the ace and brings the house of cards down: the wizard behind the curtain is dead, the emperor has no clothes.

Don’t be mistaken, this would be shocking if it were written today. But no, incredibly, this was the eighteenth century, before modern scholarship, in the depths of scientific anthropocentrism and Biblical literalism. “If only,” 200 years later, with what we now know— but here’s America, trying to write Thomas Paine out of history books and cover up the trace.

Here’s
...more
Darwin8u
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
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 (esp ...more
Evan
"It has happened, that all the answers that I have seen to the former part of 'The Age of Reason' have been written by priests: and these pious men, like their predecessors, contend and wrangle, and understand the Bible; each understands it differently, but each understands it best; and they have agreed in nothing but in telling their readers that Thomas Paine understands it not."

That, an opening salvo in part II of Paine's "The Age of Reason," makes me laugh out loud. Surprisingly and to my del
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Wayne Barrett

Whenever I have thought of 'the founding fathers' I have to admit, Thomas Paine would have been at the bottom of the list. Now that I have read 'The Age of Reason', I esteem this great man more than ever. I admire him, not only for all he did for our country and his writings, but for having the courage to publish something of this nature during his time.

One of the saddest fallacies of our countries history that has been passed onto generations even to this day is that the U.S. was founded on Go
...more
Russell
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book is a must-read for every American. Thomas Paine was one of the most influential thinkers in the founding of the United States and in the form that it's government took. His thinking had a profound influence on many of the founding fathers, including the author of the constitution - Thomas Jefferson.

This book was Paine's commentary on religion and his defense of deism, as opposed the Christianity. It will help every American who reads it to understand the nature of thinking that motiva
...more
Marijan
Apr 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To say, that The Age of Reason is not originalis like saying Hamlet is not original. All the things Paine wrote about were repeated somany times afterwards that the realmeaning of the book is difficult to understand today. But I have no doubt that for it's age it was-well, revolutionary. And I'm sure that Paine would have a lot to add if he lived in our age. For starters today deism seems almost as dated as the dogma he was writing against. And yet,it was an interesting insight in one of the gre ...more
Skyler Myers
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in all the errors found in the Bible
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."

PROs:

* One of the greatest deconstructions of theistic religion
...more
Pat Zandi
Dec 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
Sad how he could not understand a 5th grade written book that proves itself as completely infallible. I have read the bible 12 times and I still cannot agree with any of his arguments. I suppose prior to God's salvation In my life i might have agreed with him on some of his arguments. However he wanted irrefutable proof in front of his eye's like Thomas but his eyes were dimmed with pride and a self gratifying way to explain away God that he would not become accountable to Hod himself or others. ...more
Adam
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a tough book (pamphlet?) to review, for a number of reasons. There is a difference between whether the point Paine is trying to make is well argued and well written (which it is), whether I enjoyed reading it (mostly), and whether I would encourage others to read it (strongly encouraged).

The arguments that Paine mounts against Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) are that:
- Revelation can only be experienced individually, and therefor indicating that the Bible is the w
...more
Rosalía
Jan 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Written at the time of the Enlightenment, Thomas Paine virtually instigated the American Revolution and the break from the shackles of religious slavery. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and many others were Deists who believed the human mind needn't suffer from the dogma of the day nor unscientific, supernatural beliefs. Paine breaks down the Bible bit by bit to allow you to see the absurdity of it all: the archaic violence, sexism, racism, and scientific stupidity. He lets you see ...more
Sam
Now this was a very interesting read. Having picked it up for free on the kindle and not really knowing much about it I didn't have many expectations and honestly thought it would be a laborious and difficult read. I could not have been so wrong. Despite being written in the late 18th and early 19th Centuries, it is still very readable and oddly very relevant. Granted Paine is a religious man to a certain extent, he does give an objective review of the bible and its passages and highlights not o ...more
Cody
Jul 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thomas Paine was a political theorist who was perhaps best known for his support for the American Revolution in his pamphlet Common Sense. In what might be his second best known work, The Age of Reason, Paine argued in favor of deism and against the Christian religion and its conception of God. By deism it is meant the belief in a creator God who does not violate the laws of nature by communicating through revelation or miracles The book was very successful and widely read partly due to the fac ...more
Jeff
This is absolutely fantastic, and another book I wish I would've read in high school or early college years when my belief in religion was teetering and could've used a push to get me to where I am today. The great 18th-century American patriot and deist Thomas Paine was ahead of his time, he was an enlightened soul along the lines of the the great Scotsman David Hume when it came to absolutely dismantling the tenets of religions. What a ground-breaking text this must've been to all who read in ...more
Prooost Davis
Jun 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Thomas Paine, one of our Founding Fathers by virtue of having written "Common Sense," lost many friends and made many enemies with "The Age of Reason."

Paine called himself a Deist, by which he meant that he believed in one God, the Creator of the universe, and in no other, including Son and Holy Ghost.

Paine believed that, in order to know God, a person needed to study creation. Creation was the only true word of God, the Bible and all other sacred texts being the work of men, and not at all the
...more
Ryan Jackson
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Good anti-religious fun.
Although Mr. Paine would refer to me a fool (as an atheist), I really enjoyed this book. The fact that someone was bold enough to write this book in 1794 says rather a lot about his character, but the fact that some one as well known as Mr. Paine would write it is nothing short of amazing. I can only imagine the recourse that he recieved as a result of pointing out the absurdities of the bible, and of organized religion itself.
This book is certainly not for everyone, es
...more
Seth Hanson
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is another book that I found so riveting that I simply could not put it down and read the entire Part I in a single sitting. (Part II isn't really necessary in my opinion. Kind of like running up the score after the outcome of the game is no longer in doubt. Sure the fans might love it but sometimes you've got to know when to call off the dogs.) Considering that this book was mostly written in the 1790's, it is mind-boggling how fresh and relevant most of it still is. Maybe it was a classic ...more
Jeff
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a forward thinker Thomas Paine was for the late 1700s! HE challenged the U.S. colonies and the state in general with his "Common Sense" tract and followed it up with "The Age of Reason", touting the intellectual standards upon which to base a society and the separation of church and state, a concept integral to the formation of our country. Easy to read and well thought out, I learned to respect Mr. Paine even more after reading about the reaction to these tracts. Ex: effigy burning, formal ...more
Yvonne
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Fearless committent to his beliefs.

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."
Steve Dustcircle
Destroys the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter . . . even whilst a Deist. Stumbled upon this books years ago as an Evangelical Christian, and it rocked my world. Upon investigation into Paine's claims, I gave up Christianity, mostly due to this book.
Miebara Jato
Jun 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Age of Reason was published in 1794. Thomas Paine is a Deist; he believes in a God as the creator of the universe and we can understand his awesomeness from his creations and not from stories written in books like the Bible. Though he wrote part of the book without access to the Bible, yet throughout the book, Paine quoted the Bible to rub it on the nose of the believers of the Biblical God. Furthermore, Paine's arguments against Christian religion are profound than even those of contemporar ...more
Jim
Jan 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
[Note: You can download this for free at Deism.com]

The seminal work on deism - the idea that there is a God, but we come to him through reason, not revelation. That we find God by encountering the world around us, not through a written word.

And Paine has a lot to say about revelation. It's not revelation if it's heard 2nd and 3rd hand. It's not revelation if it's merely a tradition handed down. It's not a revelation if it's a description of events. Revelation has to be directly to a person. If
...more
Ben
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
No stranger to controversy, "The Age of Reason" is perhaps Thomas Paine's most controversial work. Though he shared in the Deism of many of the U.S. founding fathers, this work, while popular and helping spread the message of Deism to a wider audience, branded Paine a miscreant and the true nature of intolerance showed its ugly face; Teddy Roosevelt years later referred to Paine (whose work he reportedly -- and it seems obviously -- never read) as "a filthy little atheist." Thomas Paine had earn ...more
Gary  Beauregard Bottomley
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Before I read this book, I used to think there were just six general arguments that Christians (or other theistic religions) needed to debate: design (teleological), first cause, morality, ontological, purpose of life, and proof of the resurrection. Paine did something else entirely. He argued by showing the absurdity of Christianity as a whole, and the internal contradiction within and between chapters of the bible. Those are the debates apologist never participate in because they are the low h ...more
Wendy
May 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every breathing, thinking human being
Recommended to Wendy by: Found while researching
This book reiterated and confirmed for me a lot of what I had wanted to believe, and was thought provoking at a point in my life where the thoughts were just waiting to be told "it's okay, you can come out now."

Paine explains in the simplest manner the ideas of a deist.

There really is no way to describe this book without mixing my own ideas in, because they are so similar, and yet I feel like I want to tell every person worth the brain that they are painted on to read this book.

This book is co
...more
Leroy Seat
I was glad to read this book, finally, but I was rather underwhelmed by it. In so many ways it was so out of date as regards contemporary biblical scholarship that especially the second part was of little value.

I was surprised to learn that Paine was not an atheist nor an agnostic but was a deist with a strong belief in God as Creator and the Creation as the "Bible."
Mya
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is such an irony that the problems Mr. Thomas Paine was trying to address are still a problem many centuries later. The book was written in a breathtaking point of view almost as if he was a psychic.
Daniel
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful pamphlet written about religious skepticism from an often forgotten and misunderstood American Founding Father.
Todd
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Best bible study I've ever had.

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Thomas Paine was an English-American political activist, author, political theorist and revolutionary. As the author of two highly influential pamphlets at the start of the American Revolution, he inspired the Patriots in 1776 to declare independence from Britain. His ideas reflected Enlightenment-era rhetoric of transnational human rights. He has been called "a corset maker by trade, a journalist ...more

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