Thomas Paine

“My own mind is my own church.”

CFS Fall 2019

Founding Freethinker:  Thomas Paine in Our Age of Un-Reason

Friend to Thomas Jefferson, fiend to most everyone else, Thomas Paine (1737-1809) set a fire under the American Revolution before enflaming another revolution in Religion.  This forgotten founder was also a radical freethinker, raising questions we are still wrestling with today.  

With The Age of Reason as our primary text we will discover the true roots of religious freedom in America and address the persistent myth that the republic was founded on one faith, or faith itself.  

Instructor:  Chris Highland

Week One:  The Forgotten Freethinking Founder

Thomas Edison on Thomas Paine

The Age of Reason (Part One)

Week Two: The Age of Reason:  Part One

Ingersoll on Thomas Paine

Development of Paine’s Religious Views



The Age of Reason Preface

The Age of Reason Outline

The Age of Reason First Chapters

Week Three:  Part One—continued

The Age of Reason Outline

Epistle to Quakers

Jacoby on Paine

Paine-ful Questions

Week Four:  The Age of Reason:  Part Two

The Age of Reason Outline

Letter to Samuel Adams

Ernestine Rose on Paine

Paine and Religious Freedom

Week Five:  Part Two—continued

The Age of Reason Outline

Walt Whitman on Paine

Prosecution of the Age of Reason

Private Thoughts on a Future State

Project Blitz

Sectarian to Secular–Paine’s Universal Religion

Week Six:  Paine in an age of un-reason

Liberty Tree

Jefferson, the Rabbi, Ingersoll (Meacham)

Bertrand Russell on Paine

Too much a freethinker for his country? (The Sharpened Quill)

Freethought Pioneers (American Humanist Association)

Questions Tom Presents for Our Age

U.S. Senate Chaplain

The Liberator


Dog God (Graham Sale)


Card TrickCard Trick 1

Book--Founders-TP copy 2

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