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Constructing the Past

Publication Date

4-2013

Abstract

Never in American history has an outspoken freethinker gained so much widespread attention as Robert Green Ingersoll. One of the greatest orators in American history, Ingersoll traveled across the country entrancing audiences with his astonishing speaking skills, quick wit, and genuine concern for humanity. Despite the religiosity of his audiences, Ingersoll's ability as an orator allowed him to speak freely about his nonbelief at a time when it was usually dangerous to do so. Some Christians like to think they have a monopoly on virtue and that nonbelievers must be tempted by sin, so Ingersoll debunked this misconception with logic in his speeches and impeccable behavior in his personal affairs. Ingersoll became famous for uncovering the inconsistencies and dangers of religion; however, he also devoted considerable efforts to outlining his own secular philosophy.

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