Col. Ethan Allen
On this date in 1738, Col. Ethan Allen was born. U.S. patriot Allen was the author of the first rationalist book published in America, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man (1785). The New England revolutionary soldier critiqued Calvinist theology while promoting a deistic ("Nature's god") philosophy. Allen was colonel of the "Green Mountain Boys," and later a member of the Vermont State Legislature. "Allen was in church one Sunday with a number of friends listening to a very high Calvinistic minister (exact stature not recorded). The text chosen was, 'Many shall strive to enter in, but shall not be able,' and the preacher premised his remarks by observing that the grace of God was certainly sufficient to include one person out of ten. 'Secondly' disclosed the fact that not one in twenty would attempt to avail himself of salvation. At 'thirdly' it came out that but one man in fifty was really an object of Divine solicitude. 'Fourthly' was announced and the estimate of elect now reduced to great correctness, the sad conclusion being drawn that but one of eighty — when Allen [famous as an atheist] seized his hat and evacuated the pew, 'I'm off, boys; any one of you may take my chance' " (Harper's Magazine, July 1875, p. 308 — from One Night Stands with American History, 1982). D. 1789.
"[Calvinism is] a doctrine derogatory to the nature of man and the rank and character of being which he holds in the universe. . ."
—Col. Ethan Allen, Reason: The Only Oracle of Man
Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo Public Domain
© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.