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(Coffee) Shop Talk

Welcome to the shop where I talk about things that go well with coffee, which is almost everything.

After my American Lit. exam today I was flipping through the Norton anthology for that class to check a few of my guessed answers when I came across an excerpt of Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason. Since I'll probably never crack that particular volume of Norton open again, and since it was only four pages, I gave it a look. Here's a fun quote that I found, and that I would dearly want to put on Facebook if I were less concerned with domestic tranquility.

“Revelation when applied to religion, means something communicated immediately from God to man. No one will deny or dispute the power of the Almighty to make such a communication if He pleases. But admitting, for the sake of a case, that something has been revealed to a certain person, and not revealed to any other person, it is revelation to that person only. When he tells it to a second person, a second to a third, a third to a fourth, and so on, it ceases to be a revelation to all these persons. It is revelation to the first person only, and hearsay to every other, and, consequently, they are not obliged to believe it.”

He goes on to apply this to Moses, Jesus, and Mohamed, explaining how the three of them may be compelled to believe that God spoke to them, but the rest of us (according to Paine's theory) have a right to choose to take their words for it or not.

Thomas Paine was my hero from the time I found out about him (middle school?) until I started revising my views of American history and history in general, probably in Mr. Simmons' class in 11th grade if not somewhat before. I loved Paine because he was a writer who, through simple wielding of his quill, played a major role in starting a revolution. This was something that I was very interested in growing up to do. Of course that was back when I mentally equated starting a revolution with liberating the heinously oppressed colonists and accepted the theory that George Washington was personally sent by God to ensure the founding of this great Christian nation. Hmm…I've come (or fallen) a long way.


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