Barbara Stanfield

American Literature

Argumentative Paper

Contradictions in Thomas Paineís

The Age of Reason

Thomas Paine wrote The Age of Reason in 1784. In it he included his views on the religions known throughout the world. For this, he was ridiculed and despised by many in society. Thomas Paine once said that a sermon he heard at the age of eight impressed him with the cruelty inherent in Christianity and made him a rebel forever. It is my opinion that, because of this, he lived the rest of his life never to actually study the Bible or Christianity. Because he "was a rebel forever" to the Christian religion, he was compelled to write of it in the 11th chapter of his book The Age of Reason, and quite inaccurately at that. I believe that Thomas Paine did not know enough of the Bible to speak against it; and in this paper, I plan to expose the contradictions in Thomas Paineís The Age of Reason when compared to the Bible and evidence proving that the Bible is accurate. The contradictions most important are Paineís assumption that the stories of the bible are all hearsay and also his claim that Christianity is the worship of a man rather than an omnipotent God.

First, let us prove that the Bible is an incredibly accurate source of history. It is a fact that over 25,000 sites have been discovered that have connection to the Old Testament period. Not only have these discoveries provided external confirmation to hundreds of scriptural assertions, but also, not one archaeological discovery has ever contradicted a biblical reference. The Bible is the only religious book in which the people and places contained in it are verified by history and archaeology. Discovered in 1947 at Qumran the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm the reliability of the biblical text. These scrolls, dating from 3rd century B.C. to 1st century A.D., are the earliest copies of Old Testament books. Their predicated and fulfilled prophecies provide evidence for the divine origin of the Bible.

Going back to the excerpt from The Age of Reason, Paine says that the Bible and the stories contained in it are all hearsay.

"When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave
out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that
her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right
to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence
than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph or

Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they
said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not choose to rest my belief upon
such evidence."

What I think that he failed to do was research before he wrote. Everything about the birth of Christ was prophesied hundreds of years before it actually happened. The evidence of Jesusí life is that he was seen by over 500 known witnesses; an empty tomb; Jesusí disciples would not change their story in the face of execution. Even small details of Christís life were prophesied hundreds of years before his birth. The virgin conception was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14 in which Isaiah says, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," and was fulfilled in the book of Matthew in the first chapter, approximately 750 years later. The birth of Christ at Bethlehem was predicted in Micah 5:2 and was fulfilled in Luke 2:4-11. The miracles performed by Jesus were prophesied in Isaiah 53:5-6 and were fulfilled in Matthew 9:35. Jesusí miracles were performed in the open and served to validate his claims. Jesus healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed thousands of people from a handful of food, demonstrated power over nature and even raised the dead. No first century eyewitness ever denied Jesusí ability to do miracles. Christís being crucified with thieves was predicted in Isaiah 53:12 and accounted for by an eyewitness in Luke 23:33. The prophecy that Jesusí side would be pierced during his crucifixion was written in Zechariah 12:10 and fulfilled by John, a disciple, in John 19:34. The burial of Jesus by the government in