Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen

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Allen, Grant (24 Feb 1848 - 25 October 1899)

Charles Grant Blairfindie Allen, the son of an Irish Protestant minister and notable scholar, was born near Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He enthusiastically taught the views on evolution of Darwin and Spencer, writing Charles Darwin (1885) and The Evolution of the Idea of God: An Inquiry into the Origins of Religion (1897).

Using the pseudonym Cecil Power, he wrote a three-volume novel, Philistia, and in 1888 he wrote The Devil’s Die. When George Bedborough was brought to court for selling a copy of Havelock Ellis’s Sexual Inversion, Allen, along with G. W. Foote, George Holyoake, George Bernard Shaw, Edward Carpenter, and J. M. Robertson, formed a Free Press Defence Committee on his behalf.

In a Fortnightly Review article entitled “The New Hedonism” (1894), Allen wrote,

  • It is our duty to think as far as we can think; to get rid of all dogmas, preconceptions and prejudices; to make sure we are not tied by false fears or vague terms; to examine all faiths, all beliefs, all fancies, all shibboleths, political, religious, social, moral. . . . We should each of us arrive at a consistent theory of the universe for ourselves, and of our own place in it.

Allen espoused the cause of “free love,” a controversial topic in his day. He agreed with Herbert Spencer concerning the origin of religion, writing,

  • I believe I had made it tolerably clear that the vast mass of existing gods or divine persons, when we come to analyze them, do actually turn out to be dead and deified human beings. . . . I believe that corpse worship is the protoplasm of religion.

{BDF; Freethinker, December, 1996); FFRF; FUK; [[RAT]; RSR; RE}