If there ever was a pitiable man in this world undeserved of his poisoned reputation, it would have to be poor Thomas Paine. He was abandoned by his former brothers not for being a raving lunatic, but for being the most sane among them. His "anti-Christian" views proved too embarrassing for his once adamantly unified brethren... With the exception of Jefferson, of course. However difficult this may have been to endure, he remained firm in his Deist beliefs (Which these days is closer to Atheism than Theism) and perished with his pride intact. Thomas Paine is an illuminating example of an intelligent man being persecuted for surpassing the broken reasoning of his society. It is for this reason that he remains one of my most constant sources of inspiration. If you have not read his book "The Age Of Reason" I suggest that you do. It is a masterful work of logic for a world conditioned to insanity.