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History of Atheism
#1
History of Atheism
Not certain if we have ever had a thread like this, so here goes:

Quote:Atheism (derived from the Ancient Greek ἄθεος atheos meaning "without gods; godless; secular; denying or disdaining the gods, especially officially sanctioned gods"[1]) is the absence or rejection of the belief that deities exist. The English term was used at least as early as the sixteenth century and atheistic ideas and their influence have a longer history. Over the centuries, atheists have supported their lack of belief in gods through a variety of avenues, including scientific, philosophical, and ideological notions.

......

Later writers have cited Diagoras as the "first atheist",[29][30] but he was probably not an atheist in the modern sense of the word.[20] Somewhat later (c. 300 BCE), the Cyrenaic philosopher Theodorus of Cyrene is supposed to have denied that gods exist and wrote a book On the Gods expounding his views.

Lots more to read here.
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#2
RE: History of Atheism
Anything before the late 1900's = religious fanatics run you over.
[Image: 13075-KILLER_INSTINCT.jpg]
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#3
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 2:16 am)Draconic Aiur Wrote: Anything before the late 1900's = religious fanatics run you over.

This was surely true in some times and places. 

It's interesting, though, to look at how our current freedom has roots and a contingent history. Especially in English-speaking countries, this is all pretty well documented, I think.

For example, 18th century Britain was surprisingly free religiously. The Church of England was still officially the boss, but you can read about all kinds of antinomian and small-scale sects, like Muggletonians. Swedenborg's ideas were still current. These are not atheistic groups, but they were wildly out of the mainstream, and were never in danger of oppression by religious fanatics. 

Shelley was kicked out of university for declaring himself an atheist. If that's oppression I guess it's oppression. But he went out of his way to trumpet his views, and it's well known that many other atheists in his time got along just fine by not poking the officials in the eye. (My personal opinion was that he shouldn't have been kicked out.) 

It's particularly interesting to look at the nascent Romantic movement and the intellectuals in London. Mary Godwin, William Godwin, William Blake, Thomas Paine, Joseph Priestly, etc. Some were religious (Priestly was a minister and also discovered oxygen) and some were atheists (Paine famously so). They all got along fine. Blake (a very heretical Christian) is credited with saving Paine's life by advising him to flee to France -- not for religious reasons, but because the king was touchy about revolutions elsewhere and was cracking down on political dissent. 

This circle continued and enlarged. From the end of the 19th century until today, it was entirely common for people around Cambridge, Oxford, and Bloomsbury circles to be open about their atheism and adamant in their writing. I've been on an autobiography kick lately, and have read the memoirs of William Empson (critic and poet), Kathleen Raine (first a biologist, then a scholar of literature), and E.R. Dodds (one of the century's great Greek scholars). All were atheists while at school, and the two men stayed so all their lives. The influence of Bertrand Russell and particularly A.J. Ayer was dominant in British intellectual circles from surprisingly early. 

So to say "late 1900s" needs quite a bit of qualification, I'd say.
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#4
RE: History of Atheism
Ah but were they open atheists that decreed all religion is untrue?
[Image: 13075-KILLER_INSTINCT.jpg]
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#5
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 3:35 pm)Draconic Aiur Wrote: Ah but were they open atheists that decreed all religion is untrue?

Some were and some weren't.
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#6
RE: History of Atheism
And of those who did did something happen to them by religious people?
[Image: 13075-KILLER_INSTINCT.jpg]
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#7
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 4:20 pm)Draconic Aiur Wrote: And of those who did did something happen to them by religious people?

Side Note for Drac: I don't scroll thru your "signature". All I see is two butt cheeks and a dick.
God(s) and religions are man made and the bane of humanity. 

Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most. Ozzy or Twain/take your pick
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#8
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 4:20 pm)Draconic Aiur Wrote: And of those who did did something happen to them by religious people?

Well, "something happen" is kind of vague. I suppose they got yelled at a few times. 

Karl Marx, for example, died in 1883. He was openly atheist. Nietzsche died in 1900, and Freud in 1939. Russell's Why I am Not a Christian was published in 1927. A.J. Ayers Language Truth and Logic -- in which he declared all religious statements to be nonsense -- was published in 1936.

These were open atheists who had a great deal of influence. Long before the end of the 1900s.
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#9
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 5:21 pm)Belaqua Wrote:
(April 27, 2019 at 4:20 pm)Draconic Aiur Wrote: And of those who did did something happen to them by religious people?

Well, "something happen" is kind of vague. I suppose they got yelled at a few times. 

Karl Marx, for example, died in 1883. He was openly atheist. Nietzsche died in 1900, and Freud in 1939. Russell's Why I am Not a Christian was published in 1927. A.J. Ayers Language Truth and Logic -- in which he declared all religious statements to be nonsense -- was published in 1936.

These were open atheists who had a great deal of influence. Long before the end of the 1900s.

But there were alot of them for fear of religious fanatics that is my point. Today there are more atheists that are open than of the past.
[Image: 13075-KILLER_INSTINCT.jpg]
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#10
RE: History of Atheism
(April 27, 2019 at 7:25 pm)Draconic Aiur Wrote: But there were alot [sic] of them for fear of religious fanatics that is my point. Today there are more atheists that are open than of the past.

Yes, depending on the time and place, some atheists were threatened. Today there are more people open about it. 

But this sentence: 

Quote:Anything before the late 1900's = religious fanatics run you over.

is not a true sentence.
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