Friday, October 20, 2006

Mokita: The Religion of Paine

mokita (Kiriwina, New Guinea): the truth that everyone knows but no one wants ot talk about openly. This unspoken truth is usually something unpleasant or unwelcome that will disrupt the social peace or bring perceived family embarrassment if brought out into the open.

More on Thomas Paine from the New Yorker article:
"Paine's religious opinions were those of three-fourths of the men of letters of the last age," Joel Barlow observed, probably overstating the case only slightly. Paine's views were hardly original; what was new was his audience. While other Enlightenment writers wrote for one another, Paine wrote, as always, for everyone. His contemporaries believed that radical philosophical speculation-especially critiques of religion-was to be shared only with men of education (and, it was assumed, judgement). The poor could not be trusted with such notions; freed of church-based morality, they would run amok. Paine disagreed, profoundly. To say that he was villified for doing this is to miss the point. He was destroyed.


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