Your Hypatia of Alexandria (370 - 415 AD) simply proves that atheism is as old as belief and religion. It demonstrates that the curent crop of atheists have not made any forward progress in proving their disbelief than were they existened intellectually thousands of years ago/<quoted text>
Ha! A dead Christian .... all dressed up and no where to go! <guffa!>
"Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing." - Hypatia of Alexandria (370 - 415 AD)
Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides." - Carl Sagan
Your Jefferson quote fails because in the current intellectual climate it dosent take courage at all to question the existance of God. On the contrary it is defense of belief that takes courage in many circles. Jefferson himself of course found religious belief to be an indespensable part of the democracy he helped create, and fosaw that its diminishment would mean the end of a free peope in the U.S.
Carl Sagan paints the belief in an afterlife as far too comfortinga notion. Ignoring completley the doctrine of Hell and purgatory. A unconcious sleep and non-existgance would strike most people as nmore comforting a notion than a final judgment by an all knowing God that presuposses a verdictg that can send you to Hell for eternity or purgatory until your soul is cleansed.