Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Quote check ..."the belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man."

This quotation has proliferated widely on the internet and though it seemed at first a bit suspect, it turns out to accurate. The full quotation and citation are as follows:

“It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.”
     Thomas Paine -- "A letter: being an answer to a friend, on the publication of The age of reason." Paris; May 12, 1797.

This letter was originally printed in The Prospect, Or View of the Moral World, published by the blind deist lecturer Elihu Palmer. Insofar as I can tell, the recipient is unknown.


  1. A discerning colleague spotted this same work in Conways four volume "Works" of Paine: volume 4, p. 198. Thanks, GC.

  2. “Then most of the gods that men have believed in have been cruel gods.”
    ~ Jiří Trebissky


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