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A Treatise On Toleration And Other Essays

Author: Voltaire
Publisher: Pyr Books
ISBN: 9780879758813
Size: 71.95 MB
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Voltaire (1694-1778), novelist, dramatist, poet, philosopher, historian, and satirist, was one of the most renowned figures of the Age of Enlightenment. In this collection of anti-clerical works from the last twenty-five years of Voltaire's life, he roundly attacks the philosophical optimism of the deists, the so-called inspiration of the Bible, the papacy, and vulgar superstition. These great works reveal Voltaire not only as a polemicist but also as a profound humanitarian. Selections include "Poem on the Lisbon Disaster," "We Must Take Sides," "The Questions of Zapate," "The Sermon of the Fifty," homilies on superstition and the interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, and his famous "Treatise on Toleration."

Treatise On The Gods

Author: H.L. Mencken
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 0307830926
Size: 14.58 MB
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"I am quite convinced that all religions, at bottom, are pretty much alike. On the surface they may seem to differ greatly, but what appears on the surface is not always religion. Go beneath it, and one finds invariably the same sense of helplessness before the cosmic mysteries, and the same pathetic attempt to resolve it by appealing to higher powers."--from Treatise on the Gods H. L. Mencken is perhaps best known for his scathing political satire. But politicians, as far as Mencken was concerned, had no monopoly on self-righteous chest-thumping, deceit, and thievery. He also found religion to be an adversary worthy of his attention and, in Treatise on the Gods, he offers some of his best shots, a choreographed cannonade. Mencken examines religion everywhere, from India to Peru, from the myths of Egypt to the traditional beliefs of America's Bible Belt. He compares Incas and Greeks, examines doctrines, dogmas, sacred texts, heresies, and ceremonies. He ranges far and wide, but returns at last to the subject that most provokes him: Christianity. He reviews the history of the Church and its founders. "It is Tertullian who is credited with the motto, Credo, quia absurdum est: I believe because it is incredible. Needless to say, he began life as a lawyer." Mencken is no less interested in the dissidents: "The Reformers were men of courage, but not many of them were intelligent." Against the old-time religion of fellow countrymen, Mencken posed as a figure of old-time skepticism, and he reaped the whirlwind. Controversial even before it was published in 1930, Treatise on the Gods remains what its author wished it to be: the plain, clear challenge of honest doubt.