In his provocative essay The Age of Reason, Thomas Paine didn’t mince words on Christianity. ”What is it the Bible teaches us?” he asked, and answered: ”repine, cruelty and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us?—to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married; and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.”
In 1819, the English deist Richard Carlile was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to two years in prison for selling the Age of Reason.
Read the full article by Flemming Rose and Jacob Mchangama in Quillette.