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Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) was perhaps the greatest celebrity of the 19th century, yet forgotten to modern generations. His thoughts and oratories were so revolutionary, so ahead of his time that his words, works and causes would be as timely today as they were prescient then.

Ingersoll was a famous orator, celebrity and agnostic. His creed was simple: You didn’t need a deity to be a humanitarian.

The son of an abolitionist, a fire and brimstone minister, Ingersoll became the most outspoken agnostic and freethinker of his time. His oratories drew tens of thousands. A staunch advocate for the separation of church and state, a champion of civil rights, women’s rights and animal rights, Ingersoll mesmerized these crowds with his gift for humor and artful language. His beliefs, speeches and published works, especially those that were an indictment of organized religion, spurred both controversy and enlightenment – and even 125 years later, his ideas are sure to spark both again.

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