Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for aphorism. Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism.
Thus Spake Zarathustra (Also sprach Zarathustra), is a work composed in four parts between 1883 and 1885. Much of the work deals with ideas such as the "eternal recurrence of the same", the parable on the "death of God", and the "prophecy" of the Overman, which were first introduced in The Gay Science. Described by Nietzsche himself as "the deepest ever written", the book is a dense and esoteric treatise on philosophy and morality, featuring as protagonist a fictionalized Zarathustra. A central irony of the text is that the style of the Bible is used by Nietzsche to present ideas of his which fundamentally oppose Judaeo-Christian morality and tradition.
Ingersoll, Robert G.
Colonel Robert Green Ingersoll (1833–1899) was a Civil War veteran, American political leader and orator during the Golden Age of Freethought, noted for his defense of atheism. This book is the first of two volumes collecting Ingersoll's speeches.
This book presents a brief bio and a summary of important ideas & events in the lives of 23 great philosophers from ancient times through the 19th century. The book focuses on freethinkers, who are known to say things which upset those in power, Several of these men paid for their beliefs with their lives; many others were persecuted and imprisoned for saying what they believed.
George William Foote
A collection of 51 short essays by George William Foote, who in May 1881 founded the magazine "The Freethinker", which is still published (online) today. In the first issue, Foote writes: The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against superstition in general, and against Christian superstition in particular.
The essays of this collection were previously published in "The Freethinker" over more than 10 years, and detail Foote's views on religion and Christianity. He writes about as diverse topics as specific stories from the Bible, the devil, blasphemy and heretics, miracles, the weather, and the view of Christianity on women. What unites these essays is Foote's conviction that atheism is the logical and natural position with respect to religion and gods.
George William Foote
The Freethinker, founded in 1881 was one of the first secular humanist magazines, and also one of the oldest surviving one, moving online only in 2014. It was founded by G. W. Foote, who was its chief editor for 34 years and stated the magazine's purpose as
The Freethinker is an anti-Christian organ, and must therefore be chiefly aggressive. It will wage relentless war against superstition in general, and against Christian superstition in particular. It will do its best to employ the resources of Science, Scholarship, Philosophy and Ethics against the claims of the Bible as a Divine Revelation; and it will not scruple to employ for the same purpose any weapons of ridicule or sarcasm that may be borrowed from the armoury of Common Sense.
Flowers of Freethought is a collection of Foote's articles for the Freethinker; this second series contains 55 of them.
"I have been asked why I have opposed Christianity. I have several reasons, which shall appear in due course. At present I offer one.
I oppose Christianity because it is not true.
No honest man will ask for any other reason. But it may be asked why I say that Christianity is not true; and that is a very proper question, which I shall do my best to answer."
Thus states the author in one of the first chapters of this book, and subsequently he lays down his apology, drawing his conclusions from numerous books published by believers and unbelievers alike, and, of course, from the bible itself.
Brooks, David Marshall
Plain speaking is necessary in any discussion of religion, for if the freethinker attacks the religious dogmas with hesitation, the orthodox believer assumes that it is with regret that the freethinker would remove the crutch that supports the orthodox. And all religious beliefs are "crutches" hindering the free locomotive efforts of an advancing humanity. There are no problems related to human progress and happiness in this age which any theology can solve, and which the teachings of freethought cannot do better and without the aid of encumbrances.
John Bagnell Bury
The great civil liberties we enjoy today, like Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press, have their foundation in Freedom of Thought. Without being able to freely explore all kinds of matter with an inquisitive mind, whether it be religious, political, societal, scientific, etc., any expression thereof is limited in and of itself.
John Bagnell Bury tells the history of freedom of thought from its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome through the dark and restrictive Middle Ages and its renewed liberation in the Renaissance and the Reformation until the Rationalism of the 17th - 19th centuries.
The focus of this book is on religious freethought, but the ideas and values of freedom of thought can be applied to any subject where rigorous thinking is beneficial.
Holbach, Paul-Henri Thiry, Baron d'
In 1770, Baron D'Holbach published his masterpiece, "Systeme de la Nature", which for a long time passed as the posthumous work of M. de Mirabaud. That text-book of "Atheistical Philosophy" caused a great sensation, and two years later, 1772, the Baron published this excellent abridgment of it, freed from arbitrary ideas; and by its clearness of expression, facility, and precision of style, rendered it most suitable for the average student. This text is based on an undated English translation of "Le Bon Sens" published c. 1900. The name of the translator was not stated.
Robert G. Ingersoll
A controversial lecturer, brilliant lawyer, and arguably the most famous orator of the mid to late 1800's, Ingersoll railed against the absurdities of the Bible and cruelties of Christianity, particularly the horrific notion of "eternal damnation". He tirelessly supported the arts, education, science, women’s rights, abolition, home, family, children, and human liberty. As a leader of the Freethought movement, his creed was: “Happiness is the only good, Reason the only torch, Justice the only worship, Humanity the only religion, and Love the only priest.” He was often attacked in the press. Here are 30 published interviews in which Ingersoll spoke extemporaneously, bitingly, sometimes hilariously, on a wide range of topics with newspaper reporters of the day. (Compiled from The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume 8, Dresden Edition, Pub. 1900
Robert G. Ingersoll
A controversial lecturer and famous orator of the mid 1800's, Ingersoll railed against the absurdities of the Bible and cruelties of orthodox Christianity, tirelessly supported the arts, education, science, women’s rights, abolition, home, family, children, and human liberty, whose creed was: “Happiness is the only good, Reason the only torch, Justice the only worship, Humanity the only religion, and Love the only priest.” He was often attacked from the pulpit and in the press. Here are 30 more published interviews (from among hundreds), in which Ingersoll spoke extemporaneously, bitingly, sometimes hilariously, on a wide range of topics, with newspaper reporters of the day. (Compiled from The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume 8, Dresden Edition, Pub. 1900. Summary by Michele Fry
Proof-listening was done by both readers in each duet.
In her autobiography, Annie Besant poignantly writes of her search for the truth of what she believed in, leaving Christianity behind to embrace Atheism, and ultimately finding her peace in Theosophy, which she became interested in after meeting Helena Blavatsky. She moved to India to better study Theosophical ideas and this is where she made her home until her death. She was a gifted orator and writer, often speaking and writing on her religious beliefs, as well as women's rights and social reform. Along with Charles Bradlaugh, she published a paper in support of birth control. It proved to be so controversial for the times that it led to a court trial.
Annie Besant was a remarkable woman, suffering much for her beliefs but steadfastly continuing on in her pursuit in spite of it. [summary by Laura Victoria]
Robert G. Ingersoll
Robert G. Ingersoll was an extremely popular humanist orator in the late nineteenth century, and he wrote Mistakes of Moses after many bootlegged versions of his speeches had been published and circulated. In Mistakes of Moses, through a close, literal reading of the Pentateuch, he challenges biblical stories using science, logic and morality.
Robert G. Ingersoll
Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, one of the greatest orators of the mid-19th century, was a highly sought after lecturer/toastmaster who sold out every hall he engaged throughout America. He was an ardent abolitionist, agnostic, humanist, humanitarian, supporter of the arts, and woman's rights, and member of the Unitarian Church, who railed against the absurdities of the Bible and cruelties of Christianity, praised technology, inventors, authors and great statemen for their contributions to the uplift of mankind. Mark Twain, a contemporary of Ingersoll, reported that no one could stir up a crowd like Ingersoll, and that by the end of the Colonel's toast at General Grant's Victory Banquet after the Civil War, everyone was standing on chairs and tables stomping, cheering, crying and madly waving their napkins.
My Path to Atheism is a remarkable document in many ways, not least that it was written by a woman in Victorian England, not the most open free-thinking of societies, especially for women at that time. It needed a remarkable woman to write such a revolutionary and to 19th century minds, heretical document in a society where the Church had such a stronghold. Besant herself was originally married to a clergyman, but her increasingly anti-religious views and writings led to a legal separation. She went on to become a member of the National Secular Society and thence to co-edit the National Reformer, which put forth ideas on revolutionary ideas at the time such as trades unions, national education, birth control and so on. In 1877 Besant published this book 'My Path to Atheism' which was compiled from a series of lectures in which she surgically dissects the basic tenets of Christianity. As one reads the chapters, one can follow the evolution of her ideas from Theism to Atheism, ending up with a stunning refutation of the Church of England Catechism.
Charles Bradlaugh was an English political activist and atheist who founded the National Secular Society in 1866.
In the 23 "Theological Essays" collected here, he discusses his views on various topics such as whether man has a soul and if there is a God; who was Jesus Christ and the Apostles. He also deals in depth with various books of the Bible, gives an overview of the history of heresy, and tries to answer the question when the Gospels were written.
A thought-provoking treatise from 20th century English freethinker, atheist and secularist writer, Chapman Cohen. Here, he lays out the development of the god-idea from primitive to modern times, and makes a compelling argument for atheism over theism or agnosticism.
Ingersoll, Robert G.
A second volume of lectures by the most famous orator of the 19th century. Ingersoll was a tireless crusader for the dignity of humanity, and a relentless opponent of organized religion.
Lemuel Kelley Washburn
These are more than 100 short essays on all things atheism and freethought penned by Lemuel K. Washburn, an American freethought writer and editor for the Boston Investigator. He talks about a wide range of topics, for example about women and the church, human integrity, the character of god and the idea and teachings of Jesus. At the end of some essays there are aphorisms from his pen. Washburn is best known for the Cosmian Hymn Book: A Collection of Original and Selected Hymns, a collection of hymns promoted as "perfectly free from all sectarianism" published in 1888.