Oct 31, 2010
Robert Green Ingersoll (1833 – 1899) The Great Agnostic On Halloweeen, nothing is as scary to a Christian as a discussion of Robert Ingersoll... MNA members Jim Barri and Steve Petersen will interview Tom Flynn, Executive Director of Center for Inquiry and Editor of Free Inquiry and Manager of the Ingersoll Birthplace Museum in Dresden, NY. We will discuss the life and legacy of Robert Green Ingersoll, The Great Agnostic. Ingersoll is one of America’s great freethinkers. He was born in Dresden, NY. He was the son of a minister, had a photographic memory and was college educated. He became a lawyer and served as Illinois first Attorney General and during the Civil War he was given the rank of Colonel and the command of the 11th Illinois Calvary. He was quoted as his role in the Civil War was to “break the chains from the bodies of men.” Later, he would redefine his role in society to free people from the “phantoms of the soul.” Ingersoll was a successful lawyer and the premier orator of his time and Eugene Debs gave him the title of the “Shakespeare of Oratory.” He traveled the country speaking to large gatherings and politicians requested his endorsement. Ingersoll challenged the religious orthodoxy; he was a contemporary of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, he endorsed women’s rights for the vote, equal pay and equal opportunity to employment, and the right for birth control. Margaret Sanger admired his progressive philosophy. His writings on religion, ethics and other related topics are American Classics and are relevant today.