11: Thomas Paine’s ‘The Age of Reason’

In ‘The Age of Reason’, Thomas Paine offers devastating arguments against the “Christian mythology” that make the rantings of people like Richard Dawkins look infantile in comparison. Paine rejects both organized religion and the bible’s portrayal of a vindictive, vengeful God. Like Aristotle, he argues in favour of deism and rejects any appeal to divine revelation. Rather, the belief in God is a logical conclusion to the question of why anything should exist at all.

In this excerpt from ‘The Age of Reason’, there are twenty-six short paragraphs. Be sure to follow the reading technique as set out earlier. You should get into the habit of making notes while you read, and especially of noting down the main idea of each paragraph.

At first, you will find this slow-going, but after a little practice you will become adept at it, and you will find it saves you an enormous amount of time and thought when you come to writing your essays and revising for exams. Equally, once you’ve made your notes, don’t forget to write a 50-75 word word summary of the text (paragraph main ideas are given in the answer key, the link to which is at the end of the excerpt).

Go to excerpt or continue reading

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