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21 April 2022


Paul Emery


What is your opinion of this statement written by Thomas Payne in his Age of Reason publication that was so influential in the A/American Revolution and printed over 200,000 copies?

"Deism, then, teaches us, without the possibility of being deceived, all that is necessary or proper to be known. The creation is the Bible of the Deist. He there reads, in the handwriting of the Creator himself, the certainty of his existence and the immutability of his power, and all other Bibles and Testaments are to him forgeries. The probability that we may be called to account hereafter will, to a reflecting mind, have the influence of belief; for it is not our belief or disbelief that can make or unmake the fact. As this is the state we are in, and which it is proper we should be in, as free agents, it is the fool only, and not the philosopher, or even the prudent man, that would live as if there were no God.

But the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and of the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog. Viewing all these things in a confused mass, he confounds fact with fable; and as he cannot believe all, he feels a disposition to reject all. But the belief of a God is a belief distinct from all other things, and ought not to be confounded with any. The notion of a Trinity of Gods has enfeebled the belief of one God. A multiplication of beliefs acts as a division of belief; and in proportion as anything is divided it is weakened.

Religion, by such means, becomes a thing of form, instead of fact — of notion, instead of principles; morality is banished to make room for an imaginary thing called faith, and this faith has its origin in a supposed debauchery; a man is preached instead of God; an execution is an object for gratitude; the preachers daub themselves with the blood, like a troop of assassins, and pretend to admire the brilliancy it gives them; they preach a humdrum sermon on the merits of the execution; then praise Jesus Christ for being executed, and condemn the Jews for doing it. A man, by hearing all this nonsense lumped and preached together, confounds the God of the creation with the imagined God of the Christians, and lives as if there were none.

Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself, than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid, or produces only atheists and fanatics. As an engine of power it serves the purpose of despotism; and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests; but so far as respects the good of man in general, it leads to nothing here or hereafter.

The only religion that has not been invented, and that has in it every evidence of divine originality, is pure and simple Deism. It must have been the first, and will probably be the last, that man believes. But pure and simple Deism does not answer the purpose of despotic governments. They cannot lay hold of religion as an engine, but by mixing it with human inventions, and making their own authority a part; neither does it answer the avarice of priests, but by incorporating themselves and their functions with it, and becoming, like the government, a party in the system. It is this that forms the otherwise mysterious connection of church and state; the church humane, and the state tyrannic."



punchy 118pm

You are chasing your tail. No one is trying to say there weren't Deists among the founders.

And all of the founders, Deists included, were steeped in Judeo-Christian philosophy.

Scott O

"But the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and of the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog. Viewing all these things in a confused mass, he confounds fact with fable; and as he cannot believe all, he feels a disposition to reject all."

Sounds like he's speaking for himself and is projecting his confusion into the general public.
I can see why Psul likes this style of writing. You can posit anything while providing zero evidence.
I guess all the clergy that were participants of the Constitutional Convention were in a fog and confused.

Paine was influential as a revolutionary as to the reasons for violent separation from the Crown, but was not influential in the nuts and bolts of the formation of our governance. He later became involved in the French Revolution which devolved into a bloodbath by the 'people' of France.

If Paine were alive and in Washington during the riots at our capitol, he would have happily been fighting the police.

George Rebane

PaulE 118pm - Paine's religious predilections were mostly to completely ignored by the overwhelming share of people in the post-revolutionary America. People in the large continued to hew to their pre-revolutionary religious forms based on Judeo-Christian teachings.

Paul Emery

George, what technology is available to test the "veracity" of what Payne refers to as the "strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and of the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the Testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog." Also he writes" the belief of a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fable of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible".

So to make it simple what criteria should we use when determining the "truth" of the Bible other than our personal inspirations of which we are entitled?

Don Bessee

"George, what technology is available to test the "veracity" of what Payne"

WTF are you mainlining there oh great pony tail of ignorance they put fentanyl in everything now? technology?



Scott O

Paul - Paine is the one who claimed this crap is true. So it's up to him to provide the proof.
If he can't or won't then it's hardly anything of value.
The idea that all Christians are confused and their minds are in a fog is absurd. Some of the greatest authors, scientists and humanitarians were/are practicing Christians.
Paine's ideas of Christianity are twisted and wrong.
He has a perfect right to not believe it but he should at least get his facts straight before pontificating on something he clearly does not understand.
His notion that Christianity is fabricated and God is not would amuse atheists to no end.


Who the fuck is Thomas Payne?

Scott O

Thomas Payne

George Rebane

PaulE 808pm - there is no technology that can be brought to bear on the question of the general veracity of faith-based systems of belief that do not succumb to falsifiability.


Posted by: Scott O | 23 April 2022 at 08:51 PM

.....and why is Psul blathering about his influence on the drafting of the constitution?

From Wikipedia,

Thomas Payne (1718–1799) was a bookseller and publisher in London.
Tom or Thomas Payne may also refer to:
Thomas Payn (fl. 1410–1437), MP for Melcombe Regis (UK Parliament constituency)
Thomas Payne (MP for Gloucester) (fl. 1507–1560)
Lynching of Tom Payne, a victim of a lynching in 1927
Thomas Payne (Australian politician) (1862–1932)
Tom Payne (baseball) (fl. 1933), Negro league baseball player
Tom Payne (director) (1914–1996), Brazilian film director
Tom Payne (rugby league), footballer on the 1956 Australia national rugby league team
Tom Payne (newsreader) (born 1943), Australian television newsreader
Tom Payne (basketball) (born 1950), American basketball player
Tony Payne (Thomas Anthony Payne born 1955), American darts player
Tom Payne (theatre maker) (born 1979), British actor, satirist, theatre maker and environmental humanities academic
Tom Payne (actor) (born 1982), English actor
Thomas Payne (soldier) (born 1984), Medal of Honor recipient

Paul Emery


Here is a summary about what Thomas Jefferson believed in. He was a dedicated Deist.

"Deism is a system of beliefs about God that includes everything we can know by the use of unaided human reason and rejects any theological beliefs that can’t be proven by reason and can only be known by God’s revelations to us through sacred scriptures.

The most famous work of Deism in America is Thomas Jefferson’s version of the New Testament, which he published in 1820 as “The Life and Morals of Jesus Christ.” Jefferson retained all the teachings of Jesus that were rational and ethical, and snipped out (literally) all the stories of miracles and the resurrection.

The basic beliefs of all Deist theologies is that God exists and created the world, but beyond that, God has no active engagement in the world except the creation of human reason, which enables us to find God by doing good."

This religious orientation was the one that infused the Declaration of Independence with its religious veneer. It is universal, rational and ethical.

What this who thing concludes is that God is not an old guy up in the clouds listening to our prayers and promising us pie in the sky when we die.

I personally believe the Bible is a remarkable and poetic historical journal.


Scott O

"What this who thing concludes is that God is not an old guy up in the clouds listening to our prayers and promising us pie in the sky when we die."

And just what religion is that referring to?
That is not Christianity.

And -
"...which enables us to find God by doing good."
So, who gets to define what is 'good'?

Barry Pruett

Omg. Paul lost it. Lol

Bill Tozer


You already all put your fierce advocacy of the validity your beliefs in ‘The Separation of Church and State’ (Apr 16). You, sir, are an evangelist for your faith.

Faith is belief in things unseen. Subjective. Not based on intelligence alone. Why are scientists looking for intelligent live on other planets? They would not do so if they did not believe that there has to be intelligent live and civilizations out there. They have much faith that one day science will prove irrefutably life somewhere….beyond our Galaxy perhaps.

Faith takes us the last mile. Over the last hump. The bridge over which we take to get to the other shore.

No need to explain, promote, advocate, defend or try to convince other of your faith in a Deity. You have a belief in things unseen, a faith in the unproven existence of a ‘God’ for lack of a better all-encompassing term. It’s subjective.

Dr. Rebane’s intro into What Is Faith (Apr 22) concluded with these words. Perhaps a second reading might be beneficial. No need to cling to Thomas Payne..or Paine. No need to trash over beliefs….or the wrong kind of faith….or why your faith is the better, the more reasoned and much better than the flaws of Christianity.

“And as we conclude this reflection, we must always remember that beliefs are subjective, and therefore vary in their measure of verity from person to person (depending on the series of belief networks they have solved in traveling their particular world line). What to one individual may be compelling evidence to support/reject a tenet, may not be at all acceptable to another. Thus endeth the epistle for today.“
Fish asked who the fudge is Thomas Payne? I stumbled upon a Thomas Payne article Hiel headline scrolling and posted over there it belonged under The Separation of Church and State (Apr 16). When quoting Thomas Paine, which Thomas Paine are we talking about. Pre-Revolution or Post-Revolution? One man’s opinion.

The Corruption and Debauchery of Thomas Paine

Posted by: Bill Tozer | 21 April 2022 at 11:04 PM

No need to get others to validate your beliefs, Paul. It’s all individual and personal. You are a man of faith!


Posted by: Bill Tozer | 24 April 2022 at 09:13 AM

Fish asked who the fudge is Thomas Payne?

Yes…..mainly because when Psul decided to rejoin the high school debate society discussing the topic of “Deism” a couple of days ago he began with the generally agreed upon spelling of “Paine”. In his very next comment he had switched to “Payne”. Now he may have done this because he’s still butthurt over his new name but I think it’s entirely possible that he’s developed a slow brain bleed and no longer recognizes the difference! It happens to the elderly.

Speaking as someone who has had that particular affliction in the past I can assure you it isn’t to be trifled with.

Bill Tozer

Easter is a hard time for some, as most Christian holidays are. I kept waiting for Steven to run over here as per his habit for a couple of years and tell us we Christians are talk of peace and love on Easter Day, and do and say the opposite the rest of the year…until Christmas. Fair enough. Never seen anyone walk the talk…. Hypocrites we be, hypocrites we all are. The Physician comes for the sick.

Paul, doesn’t this all boil down to you taking great offense to the notion that the USA was founded upon Judeo-Christian principles and traditions? It’s that such a sticking point? There are always exceptions. Take the ‘what is woman’ debate. Women have XY chromosomes. Sure, there are those who have an extra chromosome like Xx-Y and such, but generally when we speak in the biological or DNA sense, it’s been accepted that women have X-Y chromosomes, while acknowledging there are some abnormalities among a few.
Generally speaking, our nation was founded upon the Judeo-Christian tradition. And without that foundational belief, Thomas Jefferson could not have ever penned that we have unalienable rights granted from God that precedes any formation of a government. Nor could any atheist, agnostic, crystal worshipper, Christian, Jew, or whatever argue that his rights have been violated…those rights given to human beings from Divine Providence that are guaranteed in our Founding Documents.

It’s not such a leap of faith to say this nation, our nation, was founded on the Jude’s-Christian principles. It was the Christians that believed in so strongly in Freedom of Religion to worship as you please as evidenced by their break from Government Sponsored Religion in their homeland that made the Puritans, Quakers, Pilgrims take the voyage from their motherland to freedom. Liberty. First things first.

No government, no laws to stand between men and their faith. Religious freedom, if you will.

To bad you are still stuck on the concept historically that this nation was founded on the Judeo-Christian beliefs of Western Civilization. Me thinks you argument is not with Dr. Rebane or,Christians and organized religion, but with something deeper. There is something that you going like fingernails on the chalkboard.

Paul Emery

Bill, George

I can agree that deism did not develop a large following After the Revolutionary War but you must agree that it had a huge influence on many or our countries founders including Thomas Jefferson and Franklin. For example this is the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence:

"The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."


Paul Emery

Here is more about "natures God"

The term "nature's God" refers to that which responsible for human (and the rest of) nature being what it is. It is a way of speaking of God insofar as God is knowable by human reason. In other words, our minds, unassisted by divine revelation, can figure out that there is such a thing as human nature, and that there are laws or rules that we must follow if we are to live justly and well.


Bill Tozer

Paul. Yes, deism as you see it did not gain in followers after the Revolutionary War. Many a movement is but a shadow of its former self. But, deism, IMHO, just changed names and forms. And more palatable.

Intelligent Design comes to mind. Intelligent Designer is a step too far for some. The hard drive, not the software. Who/What designed the hardware and when?

A Power Greater than Yourself is accepted, unless one believes they a God. God of Your Of Own Understanding is a way to phrase it and not become too churchy or afflicted with any organized religion, except the G word. (Afflicted was a typo for affiliated, but let’s keep it for this conversation). I remember well when Spirituality was preferred over the word religion and especially organized religion.

What I purposely omitted in the previous posts was the word reason. Reason has a role to play, for sure. ‘God gave us brains to use’. A look at nature itself tells one with reason that….well here is what Paul the former zealot wrote in early Christian times.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”


The finite can never understand the infinite….reason tells me. I also strongly agree with another thing Paul of the New Testament wrote AD. He wrote the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Powerful stuff.

Scott O

Psul - "but you must agree that it had a huge influence on many or our countries founders including Thomas Jefferson and Franklin."
But that does not invalidate that our country was founded on the basis of Judeo Christian beliefs.
The vast majority of the founders were Christians.
The vast majority of the population were Christians.
Jefferson and Franklin were raised as Christians and were well aware of the ideas of Christianity and none of them ever said that our country was founded on Deism.
Gee - what happened to Paine?
He sure disappeared fast.

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