Re: Ch. 21 - The Age of Reason (1796)
Thomas Paine could only be discribed as a deist. He clearly believed in a higher being, but saw no evidence that this entity communicated or interacted with his creation.
...I totally disbelieve that the Almighty ever did communicate any thing to man, by any mode of speech, in any language, or by any kind of vision, or appearance, or by any means which our senses are capable of receiving, otherwise than by the universal display of himself in the works of creation, and by that repugnance we feel in ourselves to bad actions, and disposition to good ones.
I'll wager that Paine would have been an agnostic atheist had he been born 200 years later. He simply existed at a time when science didn't yet have compelling answers to the big questions in life.
On "loving of enemies"...
I like how he addresses the "turn the other cheek"
...it is incumbant on man as a moralist, that he does not revenge an injury; and it is equally as good in a political sense, for there is no end to retaliation; each retaliates on the other, and calls it justice: but to love in proportion to the injury, if it could be done, would be to offer a premium for a crime.
I wish someone would teach the Israelis and Palestinians this lesson. They're caught in a viscious cycle of retaliating...contrary to what their Bible preaches...and contrary to rational self-interest as Paine believes.Chris Edited by: Chris OConnor at: 10/30/05 4:38 pm