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John Emerson Roberts: Kansas City's ''Up-To-Date'' Freethought Preacher (eBook)

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John Emerson Roberts (1853 - 1942) was a Kansas City, Missouri, success story. Arriving in 1881 as a Baptist minister, his developing ideas led him to abandon the idea of hell and become a Unitarian. Soon that became too limited for him and he decided to preach on his own as a freethinker. The local press eagerly followed his progress. While his intellectual journey was common in his generation, he was unique in creating a Church of freethought. His sermons and lectures show a mixture of original thinking and conventional ideas typical of his time. As an admirer of Robert Ingersoll, the nineteenth century agnostic, and a friend of Clarence Darrow, the twentieth century atheist, Robertss career spans an era of significant change in both cultural and intellectual history.This pioneering study restores to memory the life and work of a once noted and popular religious leader, who went from Baptist pastor to Unitarian minister, and finally to an independent role in the Freethought movement. Informed by profound scholarship and a warmly humanist style, this book is a major contribution to the intellectual history of the Midwest.Fred Whitehead, author of Freethought on the American Frontier.This biography of the authors great-grandfather evokes vividly the now largely forgotten world of the heyday of liberal religion, free thought, and the urban lecture hall in an age when religion was fiercely competitive in the burgeoning cities of the Midwest. Peter Williams, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and American Studies, Miami University.

John Emerson Roberts (1853 - 1942) was a Kansas City, Missouri, success story. Arriving in 1881 as a Baptist minister, his developing ideas led him to abandon the idea of hell and become a Unitarian. Soon that became too limited for him and he decided to preach on his own as a freethinker. The local press eagerly followed his progress. While his intellectual journey was common in his generation, he was unique in creating a Church of freethought. His sermons and lectures show a mixture of original thinking and conventional ideas typical of his time. As an admirer of Robert Ingersoll, the nineteenth century agnostic, and a friend of Clarence Darrow, the twentieth century atheist, Robertss career spans an era of significant change in both cultural and intellectual history.This pioneering study restores to memory the life and work of a once noted and popular religious leader, who went from Baptist pastor to Unitarian minister, and finally to an independent role in the Freethought movement. Informed by profound scholarship and a warmly humanist style, this book is a major contribution to the intellectual history of the Midwest.Fred Whitehead, author of Freethought on the American Frontier.This biography of the authors great-grandfather evokes vividly the now largely forgotten world of the heyday of liberal religion, free thought, and the urban lecture hall in an age when religion was fiercely competitive in the burgeoning cities of the Midwest. Peter Williams, Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and American Studies, Miami University.


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