Study Guide

Common Sense Religion

By Thomas Paine


One of the major deals in Common Sense is Paine's hope that the U.S. can be a place of total religious freedom. Many of the people who first came to America did it so they could practice their religion freely. But with the increasing interference of the British rulers, that became harder and harder. So in the end, religious freedom is one of the major cornerstones for Thomas Paine's argument for American independence.

Questions About Religion

  1. When Thomas Paine argues for religious freedom in America, do you think he means religious freedom for everyone, or just for different types of Christians? Why?
  2. Why does Paine think that having a king is an offense to God? Is it a reasonable argument?
  3. What is Paine's response to the Quaker writer who argues that no one should ever go to war because God will take care of everything? Is it a fair response? Why or why not?
  4. Does Thomas Paine manage to follow his own advice about keeping politics and religion separate? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine shows us that sometimes God will support violence if it's for a good reason.

Common Sense shows us that Thomas Paine's apparently "common sense" argument relies heavily on his readers belief in the Christian Bible.

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