The world possibly owes the enlightenment and the USA owes its independence from Britain to Paine.
Paine was also a deistic man of science who considered the laws and principles of Science as the only "True Theology".
Without Paine's writings, the French revolution may not have occurred and America would likely still be under British control and smaller than it is.
Yes, Hitch was a big supporter of Paine's importance in history.
I didn't agree with Hitch until I dug deeper and it does appear that Paine and his "Common Sense" was the major inspiration for the French revolution as the French gobbled up a massive amount of copies of the leaflet months prior to the beginning of their revolt.
The "Rights of Man" further influenced Britain to turn against the monarchy, and Thomas Paine realized that a king banning books only made the books more popular and extended the readership of his works.
He actually warned the king of this fact, but the king didn't take note and made Paine a criminal and only increased the sales of his writings.
Paine was beyond brilliant!
In "The Age of Reason", Paine totally disembowels the Bible and Torah.
Essentially he destroyed Judaism, Christianity and Islam in turn.
He finds so many contradictions and problems that anybody reading "The Age of Reason" with a rational mind, could never believe in Judaism, Christianity or Islam.
There are humanistic Jews who take the notion of a Jewish people -- independent of invisible friends -- seriously, and take the Hebrew Scriptures (Torah, Prophets, and Writings) and teachings derived from them as a cultural relic, explicitly not as any sort of divine pronouncement or mandate.
(I can't speak much about attitudes towards the Christian Bible, and not at all about the Qur'an.)
I know of such so called humanist Jews.
Fact is that they may call themselves Jews, probably to keep their relatives happy, but if they don't prescribe to any Judaic practices and doctrines, they really are not Jews, in spite of what they call themselves.
I'd challenge them to be able to show that they are actually Jews.
I bet they cannot.
Just as my ex-Jewish friends know full well that they cannot ever call themselves Jews, they are Humanists and Atheists, but never Jews.
Because they reject Judaic doctrines and dogma.
I'll let people define themselves. It's undoubtedly more accurate to say that there are multiple Judaisms, just as there are multiple Christianities.
Worth a look: Judith Seid's book God-Optional Judaism, which discusses lots of nontheistic yet quite Jewish practices, and how Judaism/Jewishness isn't "a" (single) religion, or an ethnic group (often correlated, but people adopt in as well) -- it's most like a big extended family, with a history and a commitment to each other even when Jews disagree (sometimes vehemently!) on things. A quite traditional Hasidic (Orthodox, theistic) rabbi gave the book a five-star review on Amazon, writing that while he completely disagrees with her theology [if you can call it that], he too tries to tell people that Judaism isn't just a religion.
Yet the history of Judaism is BS.
All of its tenets and history is based on belief in YHWH.
They cannot really be divorced from a belief in YHWH.
So to enable one form of Judaism is to enable them all.
I don't believe BS of any form should be enabled.
Enabling moderate anything also encourages fundamentalism.
So by enabling even moderate Islam enables fundamentalist Islam.
Fundamentalist Judaism is little different from fundamentalist Islam.
So enabling the practice of moderate or fake humanist Judaism also enables fundamentalist Judaism which calls for execution of gays, apostates, infidels and those working on Shabbat.
Even Christopher Hitchens would agree with me.
Letting sheep into the pen, encourages lions.
If and when Israel becomes fully Jewish as many Rabbis propose, those so called 'Humanist Jews' will likely be expelled from Israel or executed as apostates.
As those hard line rabbis want to expel Christians, atheists and Muslims from Israel.
They would consider your humanist Jews as infidels or apostates.
Just as hard line Muslims consider moderate Muslims as infidels and apostates.
Remember that prior to the 1st Century CE, Judaism was no different to hard line Islam.
All the horrors of Islam originated from Judaism.
Read your Old Testament, it is little different from the early hard line Koran that I read in the 1970s.
Years ago, while doing my studies on power, I read Thomas Paine. I could see why he was such a firebrand for his time. Knowing that he died, poor, obscure, and unrecognized while the story of his bones leaves one cold. Sadly, my books on and by Paine disappeared during my recent move, probably to Goodwill. I miss my books most of all, next to my garden.
"At the time of his death, most American newspapers reprinted the obituary notice from the New York Evening Post that was, in turn, quoting from The American Citizen, which read in part: "He had lived long, did some good, and much harm". Only six mourners came to his funeral, two of whom were black, most likely freedmen."
During this time of chaos, caused by the thoughts and actions of foolish men and women, it is important to stay focused and stand firmly on the ground of sound principles.
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.
~ Thomas Paine
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/lists/authors/top_10_thomas_paine_quotes
She whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves her conduct, will pursue her principles unto death.
~ a paraphrase of Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine was a great advocate for the rights of women and also anti-racism.
He tried to get Thomas Jefferson to include anti-slavery laws in the constitution, which failed miserably.
Though the only reason Paine was so hated was his derision of religion and the Bible.
So those who deride Thomas Paine are really just dumbasses.
He did no wrong, only good.
and the next paragraph:
"Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.”
― Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason
Yes, Thomas Paine abhorred the violence in the Bible, Koran and Torah.
He considered that the universe and nature were the elements of God.
He considered Natural Philosophy or Science as the only way to discover the workings of God.
So it is interesting as to project what would such a rational person as Paine believe had he been born today with his obvious brilliant mind?
This paragraph from "The Age of Reason" demonstrates clearly Thomas Paine's indifference to Christianity.
"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. "