The Filthy Little Atheist … Founding Father

[Site editor's note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You're Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

Thomas PaineThe story of his life is richer and weirder than any fiction. Among his close friends were visionary poets such as William Blake as well as political icons like Benjamin Franklin. Napoleon slept with his books by his pillow, and told him statues of gold should be erected to him in every city in the universe (but the admiration was not reciprocated). Thomas Edison believed him to be one of the most brilliant minds in human history. Some of his writings rank among the greatest bestsellers of the 18th century. He participated in the two revolutions (the American and the French) that changed the political face of the modern world.

During the American Revolution, George Washington used his writings to inspire his troops to remember what they were fighting for, and even suggested that no other individual had done more for the cause of American independence. John Adams stated that without his pen, Washington’s military victories would have been in vain. In France, the revolutionaries invited him to join the National Convention in charge of drafting a new constitution. His unconditional love for freedom, however, made him allergic to “revolutionary” totalitarianism just as much as he was opposed to monarchic totalitarianism. So, Robespierre and his proto-fascist cronies had him arrested and sentenced to death. But the blade of the guillotine missed the date with his neck thanks to a mistake by the jailer in delivering condemned prisoners. Before the mistake was fixed, a future American president, James Monroe, intervened on his behalf and had him rescued. And another president, Thomas Jefferson, personally offered him political asylum.

The man we are speaking of is Thomas Paine.

Even though his name is relatively well known, it is not nearly as celebrated as one may imagine given such a wild, intense existence, and such a deep impact on history. Paine was after all the man who came up with the terms “United States of America,” and is credited by many to be the ideological father of modern democracy. So why is his face not on the dollar bills? Why is he not hanging out with Jefferson & co. on Mt. Rushmore? Why is he not given his due among the greatest American heroes?

Paine’s problem is that he didn’t die in 1792. Had he done that, his place among the pantheon of beloved founding fathers would have been assured. But instead he lived, and wrote another book entitled The Age of Reason. The result? By the time he actually died in 1809, only six people attended his funeral. The most repeated of his obituaries by the newspapers read, “he had lived long, did some good and much harm.” His supporters found themselves under relentless attacks. Thomas Jefferson’s political opponents had a field day using over and over his friendship with Paine against him. Abraham Lincoln’s friends burned a booklet he had written, in which he defended Paine’s ideas, for fear that this would irreparably ruin his reputation. Over a hundred years after Paine’s death, Theodore Roosevelt still referred to him as a “filthy little atheist.”

What exactly was it about The Age of Reason that transformed Paine into a ghost among the founding fathers? Why did he turn overnight from popular hero into a hated villain? It’s because the man took on organized religion with a furor, in an age when doing so was neither fashionable nor conducive to good health.

As he wrote, “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church. All national institutions of churches … appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

When he had composed passionate defenses of freedom against political tyranny, the masses had loved him. But now that he had composed a passionate defense of freedom against religious tyranny, they hated him. Paine hadn’t changed. It’s simply that his audience was much readier to attack political rather than religious institutions. But for Paine tyranny was tyranny regardless which adjective was attached to it. To him, sworn enemies like the king of England and Robespierre, the pope and Martin Luther were but different faces of the same evil. Whether they called themselves monarchists or revolutionaries, Catholics or Protestants, whether they indulged in inquisitions or guillotines, didn’t matter much since they were all equally addicted to totalitarianism. The Age of Reason was Paine’s declaration of war against the religious dogmatism that had squashed individual liberties over the centuries.

The fame of being a godless atheist followed Paine like a shadow forever afterwards. But the punch line in all of this is that Paine was anything but an atheist. It was precisely because he believed in God that he despised organized religions since—in his view—these turned the divine mystery into bad mythology, and projected onto God their own psychotic hopes and fears. In Paine’s brand of freedom-loving spirituality, God was something greater than any religion. And this was the belief that cost Paine his place of honor among the founding fathers.

The above is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.

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134 Responses to The Filthy Little Atheist … Founding Father

  1. Nugyaah December 31, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    tl;dr

  2. DeepCough December 31, 2011 at 2:17 am #

    Socrates was treated much the same way.

    “Socrates is a doer of evil….who does not believe in the gods of the state….” ~Apology by Plato

  3. DeepCough December 30, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Socrates was treated much the same way.

    “Socrates is a doer of evil….who does not believe in the gods of the state….” ~Apology by Plato

  4. Michael G. O'Hair December 31, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    In what way was this dead man filthy or little?

  5. Michael G. O'Hair December 30, 2011 at 11:05 pm #

    In what way was this dead man filthy or little?

    • Captain Obvious December 30, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

      It’s meant to be ironic. 

      • Ceausescu December 31, 2011 at 2:52 am #

        “Over a hundred years after Paine’s death, Theodore Roosevelt still referred to him as a ‘filthy little atheist’.”

        It’s common sense; you just need to actually read the article.

        • Ron H January 1, 2012 at 6:27 am #

          Theodore Roosevelt was just a man.  He is not quite the hero portrayed in history books.  No President is.

          • DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

            Indeed.  They are elected from our population and are paid by us.  Thus, they are OUR employees and NOTHING more than that.  They’re not special, nor do they have powers above and beyond, say, what my neighbor has.

  6. Bezrker December 31, 2011 at 3:14 am #

    so he did believe in god….. maan that is 2 misleading article titles today

  7. Bezrker December 30, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    so he did believe in god….. maan that is 2 misleading article titles today

    • BezrkerFAIL December 30, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

      ??? Trolling again

    • Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 12:23 am #

      The article refers to Roosevelt’s statement. It wasn’t the author’s description of Paine.  Paine didn’t believe in yhwh.  Being a deist, he believed in a creator being and the spark of internal strength.  Nothing to do at all with the xian god.

  8. BezrkerFAIL December 31, 2011 at 3:20 am #

    ??? Trolling again

  9. Captain Obvious December 31, 2011 at 3:34 am #

    It’s meant to be ironic. 

  10. Americanbanksta December 31, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    The last paragraph made the article misleading

  11. Americanbanksta December 31, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    The last paragraph made the article misleading

  12. spet67 December 31, 2011 at 1:37 am #

    There are two things that you aren’t supposed to discuss in mixed company, politics and religion.  Paine took on both topics.  He got away with one, which is a hell of a lot more than most people do.  But, as Mr. Paine found out, the odds of taking on both successfully are quite small.  

  13. Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 5:37 am #

    There are two things that you aren’t supposed to discuss in mixed company, politics and religion.  Paine took on both topics.  He got away with one, which is a hell of a lot more than most people do.  But, as Mr. Paine found out, the odds of taking on both successfully are quite small.  

  14. Ceausescu December 31, 2011 at 6:52 am #

    “Over a hundred years after Paine’s death, Theodore Roosevelt still referred to him as a ‘filthy little atheist’.”

    It’s common sense; you just need to actually read the article.

  15. Redacted December 31, 2011 at 3:06 am #

    It’s a crime how he was treated, but more so from our modern viewpoint.

    He was a visionary, but his outspoken tactics relegated him to an exile in Europe, and was only allowed to die in America, as a footnote in our history. Rock the boat too much, and don’t be surprised when it capsizes and you drown.

  16. Tibus Heth December 31, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    It’s a crime how he was treated, but more so from our modern viewpoint.

    He was a visionary, but his outspoken tactics relegated him to an exile in Europe, and was only allowed to die in America, as a footnote in our history. Rock the boat too much, and don’t be surprised when it capsizes and you drown.

  17. BuzzCoastin December 31, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    this is just one of many examples
    of how “american history” has been edited
    for the benefit of the 1%

    religion is the opiate of the masses
    and the 1% are its pushers

    • William C. Walker December 31, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

      And masses are the opiate of  zealous Catholics.   :-)

    • GLore January 12, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      so tired of hearing about “the 1% do this, the 1% do that”.
      Do something about it instead of sitting around and bitching. Nothing is going to change until those in control are removed from power.

      • Calypso_1 January 12, 2012 at 11:36 am #

        Meme fatigue.  The great miasma of the internet generation.  Have a pop tart.

      • BuzzCoastin January 12, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

        how do you know hat i’ve done or haven’t done?
        only the CIA & FBI know that
        and even then they haven’t got it all

  18. BuzzCoastin December 31, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    this is just one of many examples
    of how “american history” has been edited
    for the benefit of the 1%

    religion is the opiate of the masses
    and the 1% are its pushers

  19. BuzzCoastin December 31, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    this is just one of many examples
    of how “american history” has been edited
    for the benefit of the 1%

    religion is the opiate of the masses
    and the 1% are its pushers

  20. William C. Walker December 31, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    And masses are the opiate of  zealous Catholics.   :-)

  21. StevenSasur December 31, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    Apparently none of you have ever head of Deism before…

  22. Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 6:43 pm #

    Apparently none of you have ever head of Deism before…

  23. Jose Nungaray January 1, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    The heart of the Christian faith is JesusChrist, the living Son of God who taught us to love one another. It is by faith in Him that we acquire, patience, humility and charity towards our human fellows. When the church steps out of these virtues given by God, then we will fail because it isn’t through our corrupted “good will” but through Jesus, the risen Christ from death that we will do God’s will. The holy faith should never be mixed with human ideals because JesusChrist is the seal of perfection, and politics equals human corruption. Indeed, it is the love of God through JesusChrist that makes us perfect. May the LORD bless all of you.

  24. Jose Nungaray December 31, 2011 at 10:14 pm #

    The heart of the Christian faith is JesusChrist, the living Son of God who taught us to love one another. It is by faith in Him that we acquire, patience, humility and charity towards our human fellows. When the church steps out of these virtues given by God, then we will fail because it isn’t through our corrupted “good will” but through Jesus, the risen Christ from death that we will do God’s will. The holy faith should never be mixed with human ideals because JesusChrist is the seal of perfection, and politics equals human corruption. Indeed, it is the love of God through JesusChrist that makes us perfect. May the LORD bless all of you.

    • Alturn January 1, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

      Jesus also said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within” which is the point which this article indicated got Paine in so much trouble.  Challenging external authority in all its myriad outpicturings is not at all inconsistent with the teachings of the Christ.   Yet it is a grave threat to anyone who does not believe in following the God within.

    • DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

      The majority of the world’s population says that’s not true.

      • Cmfbear16 January 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

        the majority of the world’s population is in dire straits, no matter what they say…

        • Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 12:19 am #

          I agree, because most of the world’s population believe in some form of delusional superstition or another.  If people actually started thinking rationally and reasonably, and gave up childish fairy tales, the world would be much better off.

    • Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 12:15 am #

      That is hilarious.  What does your delusional fairy tales have to do with this article?  If jesus had been a real person, you might have something to say, but since your superstition is just a delusion, why bother mentioning it?  There is so much evidence that your religion is false, it’s hard to understand how people get suckered into it.  But, if it makes you happy to ignore all that evidence, I guess you must be in wonderful ignorant bliss.

    • featherknife January 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Patience, humility, and charity are not given by god. They are human qualities that may be possessed by athiests, as well as christians. There are, of course, many athiests that are deficient in these qualities, but there are at least as many christians. Also, small point, hate to even bring it up, but, none of us are perfect. That is one attribute that cannot be assigned to human beings

  25. Corey Lunsford January 1, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Burning is hell, along with the rest of you liberal scum

  26. Corey Lunsford January 1, 2012 at 7:00 am #

    Burning is hell, along with the rest of you liberal scum

  27. FaithNFounders January 1, 2012 at 3:00 am #

    Burning is hell, along with the rest of you liberal scum

    • Ron H January 1, 2012 at 6:28 am #

      We “liberal scum” have a much firmer grip on reality than the right wing nuts.  You would burn your grandmother alive at the stake in the name of your ideology.

    • Andrew January 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Jesus of Nazareth

    • Adam January 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      That means I can smoke there, right?

      Well, fantastic then.

    • Patty January 6, 2012 at 2:39 am #

      well, as a real athiest…I have always found organized religion to be something that the leaders use to control the followers.  the fact that anyone was ever killed for thinking differently is proof of this.  without religious freedom, there is no freedom.  as a caring, giving person who volunteers and helps many, and puts her money where her mouth is, I can tell you that you do not need a deity to do the right thing or help you to be a better person.  we all have the ability within us for compassion, strength, forgiveness, and love.  those who consider themselves better than others, truly need to let love into their hearts and minds.  true freedom is ability to think, speak, and live without fear of reprisal.

      • cleve_blakemore January 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

        Christianity is used as a terrible device to control human beings by the remorseless and crafty. Of all the major religions however I credit atheism as one of the most effective to separate people from an independent adherence to an abstract set of commandments and replace it with the worship of the State. The worst religion in term of abuses is atheism. It’s adherents are as mallable and complacent as animals in a barn.

        • Keith Pinster January 11, 2012 at 11:37 pm #

          WOW!  Seriously?  You think that not believing in invisible pink unicorns makes people a slave to the state?  You might want to look up what “atheist” means.  It means “NON-THEIST”.  As in, I don’t believe in any of your delusional, superstitious fairy tales.  That’s it.  It’s not another word for “socialist” or “communist” or anything else.  Do you also believe that not collecting stamps is a hobby? Do you really not understand that “religion”, by definition is the delusional belief in unfounded superstitions?  Dude, seriously, pick up a dictionary once in a while.

          Cleve, you, my friend, have drunk WAY too much of the cool-aide.  Just because I don’t believe in leprechauns, doesn’t automatically mean that I “worship the state”.  As a matter of fact, I am quite solidly republican.  Unfortunately, I am old school republican, so I can’t, in good conscience vote for any of the GOP loonies that are running.  Unfortunately for the country, the republican party died 40 years ago.  Now we just have a choice between socialism and corporatism.  But it’s ALL big-brother, controlling government.

          Does that sound like I “worship the state”?

    • featherknife January 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      The least christian comment here. Reading the bible, it is hard to escape the fact that Jesus was a liberal, poor, kind, and a political and social revolutionary. You sound like a really fun guy.

  28. Ron H January 1, 2012 at 10:26 am #

    Oh that we had listened to him.

  29. Ron H January 1, 2012 at 6:26 am #

    Oh that we had listened to him.

  30. Ron H January 1, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Theodore Roosevelt was just a man.  He is not quite the hero portrayed in history books.  No President is.

  31. Ron H January 1, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    We “liberal scum” have a much firmer grip on reality than the right wing nuts.  You would burn your grandmother alive at the stake in the name of your ideology.

  32. Alturn January 1, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    Jesus also said “the Kingdom of Heaven is within” which is the point which this article indicated got Paine in so much trouble.  Challenging external authority in all its myriad outpicturings is not at all inconsistent with the teachings of the Christ.   Yet it is a grave threat to anyone who does not believe in following the God within.

  33. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Paine will forever be one of my heroes. Tyranny is tyranny no matter how you slice it. 

    The current crop of GOP contenders proves that quite clearly.  They’re ready to impose their particular flavor of extremist Christianity on all of us whether we like it or not.  They’re pandering to the most uneducated of US voters to gain power and control and NOTHING more. 

  34. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Paine will forever be one of my heroes. Tyranny is tyranny no matter how you slice it. 

    The current crop of GOP contenders proves that quite clearly.  They’re ready to impose their particular flavor of extremist Christianity on all of us whether we like it or not.  They’re pandering to the most uneducated of US voters to gain power and control and NOTHING more. 

  35. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm #

    Paine will forever be one of my heroes. Tyranny is tyranny no matter how you slice it. 

    The current crop of GOP contenders proves that quite clearly.  They’re ready to impose their particular flavor of extremist Christianity on all of us whether we like it or not.  They’re pandering to the most uneducated of US voters to gain power and control and NOTHING more. 

  36. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Indeed.  They are elected from our population and are paid by us.  Thus, they are OUR employees and NOTHING more than that.  They’re not special, nor do they have powers above and beyond, say, what my neighbor has.

  37. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    Indeed.  They are elected from our population and are paid by us.  Thus, they are OUR employees and NOTHING more than that.  They’re not special, nor do they have powers above and beyond, say, what my neighbor has.

  38. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    The majority of the world’s population says that’s not true.

  39. DesertSun59 January 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm #

    The majority of the world’s population says that’s not true.

  40. Jwages99 January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Actually he was a diest not an atheist.

  41. Jwages99 January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Actually he was a diest not an atheist.

  42. Jwages99 January 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    Actually he was a diest not an atheist.

    • Kingsley Oji January 1, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

      ”The fame of being a godless atheist followed Paine like a shadow forever afterwards. But the punch line in all of this is that Paine was anything but an atheist. It was precisely because he believed in God that he despised organized religions since—in his view—these turned the divine mystery into bad mythology, and projected onto God their own psychotic hopes and fears.”

  43. cleve_blakemore January 1, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Thomas Paine was a deeply devout man who believed in God. He despised organized religion just like any good Christian. No comfort to be found for atheistards here.

    This article sets up a straw man. Nobody who has ever read Paine could think he was an atheist.

  44. cleve_blakemore January 1, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Thomas Paine was a deeply devout man who believed in God. He despised organized religion just like any good Christian. No comfort to be found for atheistards here.

    This article sets up a straw man. Nobody who has ever read Paine could think he was an atheist.

    • Andrew January 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      Nor could they think he was a Christian.

      • cleve_blakemore January 6, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

        Wrong, he was one of the “cold” mentioned in scripture. He wrestled with God and was always pursuing his reason in matters of understanding. It’s the Christian way. It is seen frequently in people so devout they seek to undermine institutional religion because they sense it is contradicting scripture.
        It would be good if the real world was as simple a place as the mind of these nouveau atheistards but that crap is adolescent juvenalia custom designed for the Twitter generation who never think too seriously about anything.
        The ones that the Lord truly despises are the lukewarm and that is because they are despicable. That includes all the casual trendy atheists of this generation. Theodore Dalrymple they ain’t. It’s just kids who have grown up masturbating and playing X-Box and don’t accept any moral guidance on any subject. It’s not that they really believe there is no God, it’s that they can’t reason clearly enough on any subject to form a conviction either way. In all fairness this would apply to the majority of evangelicals as well. It is what rushes in to fill a vaccuum where the human soul would normally go. 

        • chubby January 12, 2012 at 12:04 am #

          oh! to the bone……

  45. Andrew January 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Nor could they think he was a Christian.

  46. Andrew January 1, 2012 at 11:00 pm #

    “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” – Jesus of Nazareth

  47. Kingsley Oji January 1, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    ”The fame of being a godless atheist followed Paine like a shadow forever afterwards. But the punch line in all of this is that Paine was anything but an atheist. It was precisely because he believed in God that he despised organized religions since—in his view—these turned the divine mystery into bad mythology, and projected onto God their own psychotic hopes and fears.”

  48. Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    Nice job, HOWEVER, don’t forget that many of the masses continued to love Paine when the Federalist and their clerical shills slander him left and right … especially the Jefferson/Jackson democratic-republicans (to which he was demi-god … Jackson said that Paine had erected a monument to heart of ever lover of liberty) and that much of the trope of Paine’s short shrift in history is just that … a trope and in part a myth. Paine is heralded still and most of his detractors (parsons included) long forgetten. Your account is nevertheless, exceptionally accurate and my hat is off to you for that.

  49. paineite January 1, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    Nice job, HOWEVER, don’t forget that many of the masses continued to love Paine when the Federalist and their clerical shills slander him left and right … especially the Jefferson/Jackson democratic-republicans (to which he was demi-god … Jackson said that Paine had erected a monument to heart of every lover of liberty) and that much of the trope of Paine’s short shrift in history is just that … a trope and in part a myth. Paine is heralded still and most of his detractors (parsons included) long forgetten. Your account is nevertheless, exceptionally accurate and my hat is off to you for that.

    • Cmfbear16 January 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

      jackson no paragon to be quoted. he was a genocidal sociopath…

      • paineite January 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

        Jackson wasn’t quoted as a paragon, but as an example that Paine was neither forgotten nor scorned by a substantial portion of the population, including the 7th POTUS.

  50. fabmurphy January 2, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Theodore Roosevelt was himself a ‘filthy little egotistical, insecure fraud’. He greased the skids for ‘Moonbeam Wilson’ with Pwoggie Bull Moose Party and it’s been downhill ever since.  

  51. Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    Theodore Roosevelt was himself a ‘filthy little egotistical, insecure fraud’. He greased the skids for ‘Moonbeam Wilson’ with Pwoggie Bull Moose Party and it’s been downhill ever since.  

  52. downtown dave January 2, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    I am against organized religion controlling any society, but I believe morality should govern a society.  There is a balance to find here.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

    • Keith Pinster January 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      The balance we need is to get the delusion of religion out of society.  As to the xian biased web site you mention, there is a big falsehood right from the beginning: It IS xian’s responsibility to prove god exists.  Why?  Because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  And since there is absolutely no evidence that your god exists, and mountains of evidence that your delusional superstition is false, it is very easy to see why there are true atheists and our numbers are growing.  There is no morality that comes out of your fairy tales.  Do we believe that rape is acceptable? Your god does.  Do we believe that mass genocide is acceptable?  Your god does.  Do we believe that it is morally acceptable to steal anything you think you “need”?  Jesus does.  Do you think it’s acceptable to treat women like property?  Your religion does.  There is nothing of morality that comes out of Judeo-Christianity that didn’t come long before and doesn’t come from much more civilized and secular sources.  All in all, training your mind to believe hocus pocus fairy tales has no positive impact on society.

  53. downtown dave January 2, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    I am against organized religion controlling any society, but I believe morality should govern a society.  There is a balance to find here.  http://atheistlegitimacy.blogspot.com/

  54. Adam January 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    That means I can smoke there, right?

    Well, fantastic then.

  55. Adam January 2, 2012 at 11:20 pm #

    That means I can smoke there, right?

    Well, fantastic then.

  56. Rand Lee January 3, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    Sometimes I think that nothing I was taught in History class was true. Great article.

  57. Rand Lee January 3, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    Sometimes I think that nothing I was taught in History class was true. Great article.

  58. Cmfbear16 January 3, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    jackson no paragon to be quoted. he was a genocidal sociopath…

  59. Cmfbear16 January 3, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    the majority of the world’s population is in dire straits, no matter what they say…

  60. Anonymous January 3, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    Jackson wasn’t quoted as a paragon, but as an example that Paine was neither forgotten nor scorned by a substantial portion of the population, including the 7th POTUS.

  61. My name is whatever January 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    Thomas Paine sure was one of the intellectual heroes of his time. As long as the free world exist, his name will be remembered and admired. Many Americans don’t realize how important Thomas Paine was. Common Sense sparked a fire under every American’s ass and inspired thousands, perhaps millions. If it wasn’t for Common Sense I strongly believe Thomas Jefferson would never have written the Declaration Of Independence, considering everything in DOI was written before in Common Sense. Hell, If I remember correctly, I think Thomas Paine even wrote those exact words (Declaration Of Independence) in Common Sense! 
    Let’s not also forget he was one of the first (perhaps even first) to stand up against slavery and for women rights ( it was in a Pennsylvania article 1773? maybe). 
    We owe it to Mr. Paine to find his body and give him the proper burial he deserves… here in America. If it wasn’t for nasty Christians of his time, he would have been resting peacefully right now. I forgot the nut who dug him up and dragged him to England; anyone remember his name? I think it was William Colbbert or something like that.

  62. Arnie Stimpleton January 4, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Thomas Paine sure was one of the intellectual heroes of his time. As long as the free world exist, his name will be remembered and admired. Many Americans don’t realize how important Thomas Paine was. Common Sense sparked a fire under every American’s ass and inspired thousands, perhaps millions. If it wasn’t for Common Sense I strongly believe Thomas Jefferson would never have written the Declaration Of Independence, considering everything in DOI was written before in Common Sense. Hell, If I remember correctly, I think Thomas Paine even wrote those exact words (Declaration Of Independence) in Common Sense! 
    Let’s not also forget he was one of the first (perhaps even first) to stand up against slavery and for women rights ( it was in a Pennsylvania article 1773? maybe). 
    We owe it to Mr. Paine to find his body and give him the proper burial he deserves… here in America. If it wasn’t for nasty Christians of his time, he would have been resting peacefully right now. I forgot the nut who dug him up and dragged him to England; anyone remember his name? I think it was William Colbbert or something like that.

  63. My name is whatever January 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    Great article by the way, well said.

  64. Arnie Stimpleton January 4, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Great article by the way, well said.

  65. Patty January 6, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    well, as a real athiest…I have always found organized religion to be something that the leaders use to control the followers.  the fact that anyone was ever killed for thinking differently is proof of this.  without religious freedom, there is no freedom.  as a caring, giving person who volunteers and helps many, and puts her money where her mouth is, I can tell you that you do not need a deity to do the right thing or help you to be a better person.  we all have the ability within us for compassion, strength, forgiveness, and love.  those who consider themselves better than others, truly need to let love into their hearts and minds.  true freedom is ability to think, speak, and live without fear of reprisal.

  66. cleve_blakemore January 6, 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    Wrong, he was one of the “cold” mentioned in scripture. He wrestled with God and was always pursuing his reason in matters of understanding. It’s the Christian way. It is seen frequently in people so devout they seek to undermine institutional religion because they sense it is contradicting scripture.
    It would be good if the real world was as simple a place as the mind of these nouveau atheistards but that crap is adolescent juvenalia custom designed for the Twitter generation who never think too seriously about anything.
    The ones that the Lord truly despises are the lukewarm and that is because they are despicable. That includes all the casual trendy atheists of this generation. Theodore Dalrymple they ain’t. It’s just kids who have grown up masturbating and playing X-Box and don’t accept any moral guidance on any subject. It’s not that they really believe there is no God, it’s that they can’t reason clearly enough on any subject to form a conviction either way. In all fairness this would apply to the majority of evangelicals as well. It is what rushes in to fill a vaccuum where the human soul would normally go. 

  67. cleve_blakemore January 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    Christianity is used as a terrible device to control human beings by the remorseless and crafty. Of all the major religions however I credit atheism as one of the most effective to separate people from an independent adherence to an abstract set of commandments and replace it with the worship of the State. The worst religion in term of abuses is atheism. It’s adherents are as mallable and complacent as animals in a barn.

  68. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 3:07 am #

    The balance we need is to get the delusion of religion out of society.  As to the xian biased web site you mention, there is a big falsehood right from the beginning: It IS xian’s responsibility to prove god exists.  Why?  Because extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  And since there is absolutely no evidence that your god exists, and mountains of evidence that your delusional superstition is false, it is very easy to see why there are true atheists and our numbers are growing.  There is no morality that comes out of your fairy tales.  Do we believe that rape is acceptable? Your god does.  Do we believe that mass genocide is acceptable?  Your god does.  Do we believe that it is morally acceptable to steal anything you think you “need”?  Jesus does.  Do you think it’s acceptable to treat women like property?  Your religion does.  There is nothing of morality that comes out of Judeo-Christianity that didn’t come long before and doesn’t come from much more civilized and secular sources.  All in all, training your mind to believe hocus pocus fairy tales has no positive impact on society.

  69. Keith Pinster January 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm #

    Thomas Paine may have been a deist at the time, but I firmly believe that, if he were alive today, he would have given up that delusion.  In his quest for freedom, he would have seen that belief in a superstition is, in itself a form of slavery.

    Other than that, Thomas Paine is by far my hero.  He was awesome then and his teachings are still awesome today.  He should be, and I think eventually will be our highest praised hero as soon as there are more atheists than theists in this country.

    • libertystreet January 12, 2012 at 1:48 am #

      And I would love to witness a debate between Paine and yourself, considering as how you regard his Deism as “that delusion”.  Do you really think he picked Deism because he was afraid of atheism ?  Hell, when he wrote the Age of Reason, he was in a prison cell waiting to get his head chopped off.  Chopped off by atheists, mind you.  The entire world hated him – and he did not care.  Later on, he even told George Washington to fuck off.

      His Deism was in no way an acceptance of superstition or a tyranny of the mind.  And it wasn’t a frightened avoidance of the spiritual vacuum of atheism, or a clever way to cheat the deux back into the machina.  Deism is not theism.  Many modern scientists arrive at Deism strictly through logical thought.

      Often, when I tell an atheist that I am a Deist, they pat me on the head and say good boy, you’ve broken free.  Now keep studying and one day you’ll be a brilliant atheist and know all the answers

  70. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Thomas Paine may have been a deist at the time, but I firmly believe that, if he were alive today, he would have given up that delusion.  In his quest for freedom, he would have seen that belief in a superstition is, in itself a form of slavery.

    Other than that, Thomas Paine is by far my hero.  He was awesome then and his teachings are still awesome today.  He should be, and I think eventually will be our highest praised hero as soon as there are more atheists than theists in this country.

  71. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 3:37 am #

    WOW!  Seriously?  You think that not believing in invisible pink unicorns makes people a slave to the state?  You might want to look up what “atheist” means.  It means “NON-THEIST”.  As in, I don’t believe in any of your delusional, superstitious fairy tales.  That’s it.  It’s not another word for “socialist” or “communist” or anything else.  Do you also believe that not collecting stamps is a hobby? Do you really not understand that “religion”, by definition is the delusional belief in unfounded superstitions?  Dude, seriously, pick up a dictionary once in a while.

    Cleve, you, my friend, have drunk WAY too much of the cool-aide.  Just because I don’t believe in leprechauns, doesn’t automatically mean that I “worship the state”.  As a matter of fact, I am quite solidly republican.  Unfortunately, I am old school republican, so I can’t, in good conscience vote for any of the GOP loonies that are running.  Unfortunately for the country, the republican party died 40 years ago.  Now we just have a choice between socialism and corporatism.  But it’s ALL big-brother, controlling government.

    Does that sound like I “worship the state”?

  72. chubby January 12, 2012 at 4:04 am #

    oh! to the bone……

  73. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 4:15 am #

    That is hilarious.  What does your delusional fairy tales have to do with this article?  If jesus had been a real person, you might have something to say, but since your superstition is just a delusion, why bother mentioning it?  There is so much evidence that your religion is false, it’s hard to understand how people get suckered into it.  But, if it makes you happy to ignore all that evidence, I guess you must be in wonderful ignorant bliss.

  74. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    I agree, because most of the world’s population believe in some form of delusional superstition or another.  If people actually started thinking rationally and reasonably, and gave up childish fairy tales, the world would be much better off.

  75. Keith Pinster January 12, 2012 at 4:23 am #

    The article refers to Roosevelt’s statement. It wasn’t the author’s description of Paine.  Paine didn’t believe in yhwh.  Being a deist, he believed in a creator being and the spark of internal strength.  Nothing to do at all with the xian god.

  76. libertystreet January 12, 2012 at 5:48 am #

    And I would love to witness a debate between Paine and yourself, considering as how you regard his Deism as “that delusion”.  Do you really think he picked Deism because he was afraid of atheism ?  Hell, when he wrote the Age of Reason, he was in a prison cell waiting to get his head chopped off.  Chopped off by atheists, mind you.  The entire world hated him – and he did not care.  Later on, he even told George Washington to fuck off.

    His Deism was in no way an acceptance of superstition or a tyranny of the mind.  And it wasn’t a frightened avoidance of the spiritual vacuum of atheism, or a clever way to cheat the deux back into the machina.  Deism is not theism.  Many modern scientists arrive at Deism strictly through logical thought.

    Often, when I tell an atheist that I am a Deist, they pat me on the head and say good boy, you’ve broken free.  Now keep studying and one day you’ll be a brilliant atheist and know all the answers

  77. GLore January 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    so tired of hearing about “the 1% do this, the 1% do that”.
    Do something about it instead of sitting around and bitching. Nothing is going to change until those in control are removed from power.

  78. Anonymous January 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Meme fatigue.  The great miasma of the internet generation.  Have a pop tart.

  79. Parker Gabriel January 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

    Paine was no atheist. He was a Deist, as were many of the Constitution’s Framers–of whom he was, alas, NOT one.

  80. Parker Gabriel January 12, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Paine was no atheist. He was a Deist, as were many of the Constitution’s Framers–of whom he was, alas, NOT one.

  81. BuzzCoastin January 13, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    how do you know hat i’ve done or haven’t done?
    only the CIA & FBI know that
    and even then they haven’t got it all

  82. ptmorga314 January 14, 2012 at 1:12 am #

    it’s quite hypocritical that Americans profess freedom of religion as one of our greatest liberties, yet one our greatest Founding Fathers was unable to proclaim his beliefs in the same way his contemporaries were. the funny thing is that he wasn’t even a real atheist, but actually was a firm believer in God!

    let’s put an end to hypocrisy and really put our Constitution to work

  83. ptmorga314 January 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    it’s quite hypocritical that Americans profess freedom of religion as one of our greatest liberties, yet one our greatest Founding Fathers was unable to proclaim his beliefs in the same way his contemporaries were. the funny thing is that he wasn’t even a real atheist, but actually was a firm believer in God!

    let’s put an end to hypocrisy and really put our Constitution to work

  84. U.Space January 14, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Great piece, well done!  Thank you for this.

  85. U.Space January 14, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Great piece, well done!  Thank you for this.

  86. Wayne Gorsek January 15, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Great article, Thomas Paine is my favorite founding father, without Paine we would have not had a Declaration of Independence nor would we have won the war!  I visited his home and museum in New Rochelle, NY and I strongly recommend everyone to do the same to honor Thomas Paine.

    Wayne Gorsek

  87. Wayne Gorsek January 15, 2012 at 2:30 am #

    Great article, Thomas Paine is my favorite founding father, without Paine we would have not had a Declaration of Independence nor would we have won the war!  I visited his home and museum in New Rochelle, NY and I strongly recommend everyone to do the same to honor Thomas Paine.

    Wayne Gorsek

  88. Wayne Gorsek January 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    Great article, Thomas Paine is my favorite founding father, without Paine we would have not had a Declaration of Independence nor would we have won the war!  I visited his home and museum in New Rochelle, NY and I strongly recommend everyone to do the same to honor Thomas Paine.

    Wayne Gorsek

  89. Laura January 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Interesting, but to focus on this negative is to undermine the quest for our freedoms.  Our country has been “formed” by the Public School System, in cahoots with Wall Street who owns Hollywood TV and movies, need I say more.  GOD was taken out of our school textbooks in early 1963, or there abouts.  It’s fine to be an atheist.  That’s our freedom, but I would argue that most Christians during his time felt he was trying to brainwash their chldren, and to put “doubt” in their minds.  Let’s just look at what he “did” that supported the revolution of our times, the revolution MY ancestors fought for, the revolution my direct ancestors supported with the Edenton Party in North Carolina!

  90. Laura January 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Interesting, but to focus on this negative is to undermine the quest for our freedoms.  Our country has been “formed” by the Public School System, in cahoots with Wall Street who owns Hollywood TV and movies, need I say more.  GOD was taken out of our school textbooks in early 1963, or there abouts.  It’s fine to be an atheist.  That’s our freedom, but I would argue that most Christians during his time felt he was trying to brainwash their chldren, and to put “doubt” in their minds.  Let’s just look at what he “did” that supported the revolution of our times, the revolution MY ancestors fought for, the revolution my direct ancestors supported with the Edenton Party in North Carolina!

  91. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    The least christian comment here. Reading the bible, it is hard to escape the fact that Jesus was a liberal, poor, kind, and a political and social revolutionary. You sound like a really fun guy.

  92. Anonymous January 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

    Patience, humility, and charity are not given by god. They are human qualities that may be possessed by athiests, as well as christians. There are, of course, many athiests that are deficient in these qualities, but there are at least as many christians. Also, small point, hate to even bring it up, but, none of us are perfect. That is one attribute that cannot be assigned to human beings

  93. Nomad January 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Don’t you think Paine’s life would make a great film? His escape from execution was better than fiction. 

    • Arnie February 25, 2012 at 3:00 am #

      I’ve been thinking about this for years! I would love to see his story on the bis screen.

  94. Jimmy January 19, 2012 at 12:30 am #

    For a really good lecture on Thomas Paine, listen to Robert Green Ingersoll’s take (read be Ted Delorme):  http://librivox.org/lectures-of-col-r-g-ingersoll-volume-2/

    “A second volume of lectures by the most famous orator of the 19th
    century. Ingersoll was a tireless crusader for the dignity of humanity,
    and a relentless opponent of organized religion.”

  95. GRF January 22, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Get your fact strait.  Paine was not an Atheist.  He was a Deist.  He believed in God, Just not a religion.  If you actually read “the age of reason” you would know he talks about god a lot.  All of his complaints are about organized religion and the contradictions / hypocrisy each one of them shows.  

  96. bugume January 23, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    He was a deist not athiest. Some day athiest will have their or you wish. Non believers, a choice, will be separated from God for eternity. The bible says that only a fool believes that there is no God. God loves you and gives you a choice to either accept his Sons sacrafice or not. Only a loving God would do that. Just because you do not believe, does not make him true and God. God is light and you will spend eternity, by choice, separated from him and all light, as God is light. It will be a place of suffering and torment of the mind/soul. Complete darkness as even at night the moon and stars give off light. You can fall for the Devils lie, that there is not God , but you should consider his love and accept his Son Jesus in to your life. The world offers nothing worthwhile , outside of his Love. Your choice but do not fall for following the God of this world Satan. Think about how miserable putting your trust in Man is and how all followers of the flesh try and get plastic surgery or some type of instrument to try and please man in this world. Very shallow. God is love and God is light. Your mind will be directed to him and heaven and love. Dispite what you hear, there will be no parties in Hell or electricity or light or people who you will see etc. Utter darkness and weeping and knashing of the teeth.

  97. DesertSun59 January 23, 2012 at 10:34 am #

    Anyone who deliberately pushes tribal Jewish Bronze Age mythology as truth, is a charlatan, a liar and a sociopath.  That is a fact.

    • Jin The Ninja January 23, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      “…[myth] supplies models for human behavior and, by that
      very fact, gives meaning and value to life. To understand the structure
      and function of myths in these traditional societies not only serves to
      clarify a stage in the history of human thought but also helps us to
      understand a category of our contemporaries.”
      -Eliade, Myth and Reality

  98. Foo January 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Note that Paine was a deist, not an atheist.

  99. michael3ov February 9, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    And what exactly are you doing? Are you participating in rational discourse where you point out the inequality between the one percent and the rest of the population? Have you done anything?

  100. paineite February 18, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    Nicely written essay, but there are several errors and I have a few quibbles. For example, John Adams did NOT write that “without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” I’ve detailed the answer to this and other issues in a short critique here: http://kenburchell.blogspot.com/2012/02/review-daniele-bolelli-disinformation.html

  101. Michael Bodger February 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Religion is just another man made control mechanism and the indoctrination process starts at a very early age so by the time you are an adult, you are totally indoctrinated and you will kill people who say or think differently than your religion dictates and Afghanistan is a “perfect example” of mass brainwashing by the religious zealots.  They too are prepared to kill for their religion but are you prepared to die for it.

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