Friday, August 15, 2008

At the age of 39

To rally flagging colonial rebellion morale , Thomas Paine wrote "one of the greatest campfire and eve-of-battle orations since Agincourt":
THESE are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it NOW, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly - Tis dearness only that gives every thing its value.
- Thomas Paine [1737-1809], from The American Crisis, December 23, 1776

Facing bankruptcy in England, Paine, armed with a (tepid) reference from Benjamin Franklin, crossed the ocean and moved to Philadephia in 1774. He participated in both the American and French Revolutions.

Deist Founding American Father Thomas Paine on religion:
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 strive beyond the grave and pursue us into eternity.
All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.
It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine and murder for the belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man and the Bible is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.
The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties and the greatest miseries that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called religion.