Biography of Religious Critic Thomas Paine

About the famous English religious critic Thomas Paine, history and information about the beliefs of the writer and essayist.

THOMAS PAINE (1737-1809)

An American hero by all standards save one, Thomas Paine became a target for abuse after publication of his religious beliefs in The Age of Reason, 1794. Although Paine insisted that he believed in God, his criticism of religion and of the Bible led many to label him an atheist, a "hater of Christ," "a man steeped in sin." However, he has also been called a "profoundly religious man," a man of "religious fervor, strength, and devotion."

His Person: Believed in a God of moral truth, not a God of mystery and obscurity. Disbelieved the doctrine of the virgin birth. Did not look upon the Bible as the word of God. Called a "filthy little atheist" by Theodore Roosevelt. Was 1st to name country the "United States of America." Was 1st to propose American independence. Advocated justice for women. Urged purchase of the Louisiana Territory. Son of Quaker parents. Wrote: Common Sense, The American Crisis, The Rights of Man.

His Belief: "The only idea man can affix to the name of God is that of a 1st cause of all things."

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