Paine's Response to Christian Accounts of Emotionally Charged
In the fifth chapter of Mark, we read a strange story
of the devil getting into the swine after he had been turned out of a
man, and as the freaks of the devil in
that story and the
tumble-down description in this
are very much alike, the two stories ought to go together.
The force of the imagination is capable of producing
strange effects. When animal magnetism began in France, which was while
Doctor Franklin was Minister to that country, the wonderful accounts
given of the wonderful effects it produced on the persons who were under
operation, exceeded anything related in the foregoing letter from
Washington County. They tumbled down, fell into trances, roared and
rolled about like persons supposed to be bewitched.
The Government, in order to ascertain the fact, or
detect the imposition, appointed a committee of physicians to inquire
into the case, and Doctor Franklin was requested to accompany them,
which he did. The committee went to the operator's house, and the
persons on whom an operation was to be performed were assembled. They
were placed in the position in which they had been when under former
operations, and blindfolded.
In a little time they began to show signs of
agitation, and in the space of about two hours they went through all the
frantic airs they had shown before; but the case was, that no operation
was performing upon them, neither was the operator in the room, for he
had been ordered out of it by the physicians; but as the persons did not
know this, they supposed him present and operating upon them. It was the
effect of imagination only.
Doctor Franklin, in relating this account to the writer of this article, said, that he thought the government might as well have let it gone on, for that as imagination sometimes produced disorders it might also cure some. It is fortunate, however, that this falling down and crying out scene did not happen in New England a century ago, for if it had the preachers would have been hung for witchcraft, and in more ancient times the poor falling down folks would have been supposed to be possessed of a devil, like the man in Mark, among the tombs. The progress that reason and Deism make in the world lessen the force of superstition, and abate the spirit of persecution.
The survey shows a giant step forward for Deism in the fact that it actually uses the word "Deist" and for the very significant raw numbers it shows as representing the number of people who are Deists. In reality, the number of Deists is actually higher than the survey shows because the survey uses an outdated definition of Deist. For a more accurate definition please see our Deism Defined page.
Click here to read the actual survey. (It's in PDF)
One of the reasons the freethinker Giordano Bruno was tortured and murdered by being burned alive by the Catholic Church during the Inquisition was that he said the Universe is eternal and infinite which violates the superstitions in the Bible found in Genesis. This new study vindicates Bruno.
Obama supporters forget that when all is said and done, Obama is just another politician. This article shows he's proving that he is nothing but a politician by doing more than any other president to mix religion and government, especially through giving tax-dollars to religious organizations.