Humanism: Robert Green Ingersoll, Classics in Religion March 2, 2020

This program is part of the Classics in Religion series. This group is open to all and meets Mondays (11 a.m. to Noon) at the Penn Yan Public Library, 214 Main St. Penn Yan.

The Humanism of Robert Green Ingersoll

Monday, March 2, 2020
with Tom Close

Born in Dresden, NY, in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll was an American writer and orator during the Golden Age of Free Thought who campaigned in defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed “The Great Agnostic.” A lawyer and political speechmaker, he repeatedly crisscrossed the country lecturing on politics, culture, and (most controversially) religion.

After an introductory overview, we’ll explore Ingersoll’s legacy through his work and notable quotations, with ample time for discussion of his ideas and how his contributions have been overlooked.

Ingersoll was part of an extensive history of progressivism and innovation in western NY in the 19th century. Though popular in his day, he is less well known in our times than Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, Frederick Douglass, Mary Jemison, and Harriet Tubman. Ingersoll influenced many of these people, and others such as Cornell University co-founder Andrew Dickson White, Thomas Edison, Andrew Carnegie, and Eugene Debs.

Facilitator: Tom Close contributes to various community organizations in the Town of Jerusalem as well as in the county, including the Keuka Lake Land Use Steering Committee, the Office of the Aging, the Bluff Point Association, and Yates County Progressives. He enjoys people, music, and outdoor activities, and builds and plays violins in his home workshop.

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