Reading Time: < 1 minute

Two days working on a thread about unorthodox believers — Erasmus, Spinoza, Paine, Jefferson — whose work has been important in freethought history.

Gave me the opportunity to dig back into a book that simply drops my jaw every time — Erasmus’s The Praise of Folly. I’m convinced that nothing but friends in papal places, the fact that he lampoons everyone else before gutting the church, and hiding behind the skirts of satire kept him from execution. The book is now credited with sparking the Reformation eight years later. And Erasmus was a Catholic monk. (Well I guess Luther was too.)

Best of all, it’s damn funny and reads like it was written last month. If you haven’t read it, do.

Another great find: “Jefferson’s Bible” at Beliefnet, complete with icons to show where he cut out the miracles and other supernaturalisms. Pretty jarring to see John 3:16 lying on the Oval Office floor.

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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.