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Reply #5: A Great American [View All]

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SecularMotion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-25-11 09:07 PM
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5. A Great American
"By the latter part of the 19th century Robert Ingersoll was a household name. Though he was first known as a great patriot, he eventually became known as "The Great Agnostic." He stood by the religion of reason and attacked the superstitions of orthodox religions in a common sense style reminiscent of Thomas Paine. A tall, heavyset man with an electrifying voice, he lectured to packed houses across the country, speaking on topics ranging from Shakespeare and science to religion and racism. In questioning the tenets of Christian belief his lecture were given such titles as "The Gods" (1872), "Some Mistakes of Moses" (1879), "Why I Am an Agnostic" (1896), and "Superstition" (1898) He could command from $400 to as much as $7,000 (in the dollars of the day) for a single evenings performance. Ingersoll was admired by people such as Thomas Edison, Mark Twain, Walt Whitmann, Andrew Carnegie and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and James Garfield, Henry Ward Beecher acclaimed him as the "most brilliant speaker of the English tongue of all men on the globe." He was an early popularizer of Charles Darwin and a tireless advocate of science and reason. More, he argued for the rights of women and African-American. Though his views provoke many death threats, he was undeterred.

He was also praised for his virtues as a man of family and fireside. He practiced what he preached. Opponents frequently despaired of finding anything to disparage in his personal life."
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