NPR is on a roll with secular topics lately! I’m glad to see them give rare attention to “The Great Agnostic” Robert Ingersoll. More people should know about the eloquent Ingersoll, who was considered one of the greatest orators of his time, if not in American history.
His insightful observations and brilliant arguments – often done with both humor and courtesy towards believers – are still relevant to this day. The man was a dedicated humanist well ahead of his time in terms of his ethics (for example, his attitudes on women’s right were more progressive than even his contemporary free-thinkers). I highly recommend you give this program a listen, as I think anyone can appreciate Ingersoll’s sincerity, wit, and moral clarity.
The US has a long and fascinating history of secular freethought, beginning with many of our own founding fathers, yet the average American still sees irreligion as a recent, and often frightening, development.
From yesterday’s National Public Radio’s “On Point” show, Tom Ashbrook discusses The Great Agnostic, Robert Ingersoll, whom you surely know by now. Ashbrook has two guests (Susan’s book is new, and she’s quite eloquent about the man):
Susan Jacoby, author, “The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought.”
Dale McGowan, writes the secular parenting blog “The Meming of Life.” Author of “Parenting Beyond Belief” and the upcoming “Atheism For Dummies.” (@memingoflife)
The show is 47 minutes long, and I recommend it. At 5:20, you can hear a rare recording of Ingersoll’s voice!