5) The Age of Reason, Thomas Pain
…to learn how the power of rational thought is the primary source of freedom in the world.
I’d not even heard of this one, this list is making me feel stupider by the nanosecond. Apparently The Age of Reason rails against corruption in the Christian Church and criticizes its attempt to acquire political power. Paine prefers reason in the place of revelation, leading him to poo-poo miracles and to view the Bible as “an ordinary piece of literature rather than as a divinely inspired text”.
Pain promotes natural religion and argues for the existence of a creator-God. The Age of Reason caused a stir in Britain when it was first released as three pamphlets between 1794 and 1806. Here are a couple of quotes:
It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.
I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.