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A Short History of Atheism

A Short History of Atheism
  • Author : Gavin Hyman
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2010-09-30
  • Total pages :232
  • ISBN : 9780857730350
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Summary : The last few years have seen a remarkable surge of popular interest in the topic of atheism. Books about atheism by writers like richard dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have figured prominently in bestseller lists and have attracted widespread discussion in the media. The ubiquity of public debates about atheism, especially in conscious opposition to the perceived social threat posed by faith and religion, has been startling. However, as gavin Hyman points out, despite their prevalence and popularity, what often characterises these debates is a lack of nuance and sophistication. They can be shrill, ignorant of the historical complexity of discussions about belief, and tend to lapse into caricature. What is needed is a clear and well-informed presentation of how atheistic ideas originated and developed, in order to illuminate their contemporary relevance and application. That task is what the author undertakes here. Charting the rise of atheism as an explicit philosophical position (notably in the work of denis diderot), Hyman traces its development in the ideas of descartes, Locke and Berkeley, and draws too on the work of important contemporary scholars like amos Funkenstein and michael J. Buckley. arguing that the plausibility and persuasiveness of atheism is sustained by the demise of a religion that is defined by the presuppositions and assumptions of modernity, the author boldly suggests that atheism - like the belief to which it is antipathetic - is itself vulnerable to a future that challenges the intellectual inheritance of the enlightenment. For anyone interested in the origins of atheism (whether they consider themselves to be ‘an atheist’, or ‘religious’, or indeed somewhere in-between), and in the rich cultural, philosophical and historical matrix out of which it emerged, A Short History of Atheism offers a fascinating exploration of the often surprising co-dependency of faith and its negation.

A Short History of Atheism

A Short History of Atheism
  • Author : Gavin Hyman
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2010-09-30
  • Total pages :232
  • ISBN : 9780857718310
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Summary : The last few years have seen a remarkable surge of popular interest in the topic of atheism. Books about atheism by writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens have figured prominently in bestseller lists and have attracted widespread discussion in the media. The ubiquity of public debates about atheism, especially in conscious opposition to the perceived social threat posed by faith and religion, has been startling. However, as Gavin Hyman points out, despite their prevalence and popularity, what often characterises these debates is a lack of nuance and sophistication. They can be shrill, ignorant of the historical complexity of debates about belief, and tend to lapse into caricature. What is needed is a clear and well informed presentation of how atheistic ideas originated and developed, in order to illuminate their contemporary relevance and application. That task is what the author undertakes here. Exploring the rise of atheism as an explicit philosophical position (notably in the work of Denis Diderot), Hyman traces its development in the later ideas of Descartes, Locke and Berkeley. Drawing also on the work of contemporary scholars like Amos Funkenstein and Michael J Buckley, the author shows that, since in recent theology the concept of God which atheists negate is changing, the triumph of its advocates may not be quite as unequivocal as Hitchens and Dawkins would have us believe.

Western Atheism

Western Atheism
  • Author : James Thrower
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :1971
  • Total pages :143
  • ISBN : 9781615923502
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Summary : Much has been written on religions of all types, the history of religious belief, and on the supernatural interpretation of the world, but where can we turn for an account of unbelief-the naturalistic alternative?James Thrower's concise and direct approach examines the thinkers and schools which defined atheism, beginning with Greece, Rome, and Israel. He notes that the intellectual status of unbelief rose significantly in Western Europe as a result of the clash in the Middle Ages between the powerful force of faith and the emerging but still limited influence of reason. Physical science was developing and the world of the intellect would expand during the Renaissance that followed.This delightfully pertinent short history illustrates the leading issues separating the theist from the atheist and agnostic, and sheds light on world events and the inconsistencies inherent in supernaturalism and theistic theories. Thrower discusses atheism both as a reaction to belief and as a separate and consistent form of belief in a world stripped of the divine, where reason, science, and humankind's endless search for knowledge flourish.James Thrower (Aberdeen, Scotland) is professor of the history of religions at King's College, the University of Aberdeen.

A Short History of Western Atheism

A Short History of Western Atheism
  • Author : James Thrower
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :1971
  • Total pages :143
  • ISBN : UOM:39015003351114
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Summary :

Atheism: A Very Short Introduction

Atheism: A Very Short Introduction
  • Author : Julian Baggini
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2003-06-26
  • Total pages :119
  • ISBN : 0192804243
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Summary : Do you think of atheists as immoral pessimists who live their lives without meaning, purpose, or values? Think again! Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral.

Atheism: The Basics

Atheism: The Basics
  • Author : Graham Oppy
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2018-09-19
  • Total pages :182
  • ISBN : 9781351367691
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Summary : Atheism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to belief in the non-existence of deities. Atheism has long fascinated people but debate around this controversial position may seem daunting. In this lively and lucid book, Graham Oppy addresses the following important questions: • What does it mean to be an atheist? • What is the difference between atheism, agnosticism, theism and innocence? • How has atheism been distributed over time and place? • What does science tell us about atheism? • Are there good reasons to be an atheist? • Are there good reasons not to be an atheist? • What do we mean by ‘new atheism'? With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical arguments around atheism, making this an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a full introduction to the arguments between those who hold atheistic beliefs and those who do not.

An Atheist's History of Belief

An Atheist's History of Belief
  • Author : Matthew Kneale
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2013-10-10
  • Total pages :272
  • ISBN : 9781448163311
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Summary : What first prompted prehistoric man, sheltering in the shadows of deep caves, to call upon the realm of the spirits? And why has belief thrived ever since, leading us to invent heaven and hell, sin and redemption, and above all, gods? Religion reflects our deepest hopes and fears; whether you are a believer or, like Matthew Kneale, a non-believer who admires mankind's capacity to create and to imagine, it has shaped our world. And as our dreams and nightmares have changed over the millennia, so have our beliefs - from shamans to Aztec priests, from Buddhists to Christians: the gods we created have evolved with us. Belief is humanity's most epic invention. It has always been our closest companion and greatest consolation. To understand it is to better understand ourselves.

Seven Types of Atheism

Seven Types of Atheism
  • Author : John Gray
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2018-04-26
  • Total pages :176
  • ISBN : 9780241199428
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Summary : SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER 'A highly readable, fascinating book that jerks the debate on religion versus atheism right out of its crusted rut into the light of serious intellectual scrutiny' Observer A meditation on the importance of atheism in the modern world - and its inadequacies and contradictions - by one of Britain's leading philosophers 'When you explore older atheisms, you will find some of your firmest convictions - secular or religious - are highly questionable. If this prospect disturbs you, what you are looking for may be freedom from thought.' For a generation now, public debate has been corroded by a shrill, narrow derision of religion in the name of an often very vaguely understood 'science'. John Gray's stimulating and extremely enjoyable new book describes the rich, complex world of the atheist tradition, a tradition which he sees as in many ways as rich as that of religion itself, as well as being deeply intertwined with what is so often crudely viewed as its 'opposite'. The result is a book that sheds an extraordinary and varied light on what it is to be human and on the thinkers who have, at different times and places, battled to understand this issue.

Atheists

Atheists
  • Author : Nick Spencer
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2014-05-08
  • Total pages :224
  • ISBN : 9781472902979
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Summary : The clash between atheism and religion has become the defining battle of the 21st century. Books on and about atheism retain high profile and popularity, and atheist movements on both sides of the Atlantic capture headlines with high-profile campaigns and adverts. However, very little has been written on the history of atheism, and this book fills that conspicuous gap. Instead of treating atheism just as a philosophical or scientific idea about the non-existence of God, Atheists: The Origin of the Species places the movement in its proper social and political context. Because atheism in Europe developed in reaction to the Christianity that dominated the continent's intellectual, social and political life, it adopted, adapted and reacted against its institutions as well as its ideas. Accordingly, the history of atheism is as much about social and political movements as it is scientific or philosophical ideas. This is the story not only of Hobbes, Hume, and Darwin, but also of Thomas Aitkenhead hung for blasphemous atheism, Percy Shelley expelled for adolescent atheism, and the Marquis de Sade imprisoned for libertine atheism; of the French revolutionary Terror and the Soviet League of the Militant Godless; of the rise of the US Religious Right and of Islamic terrorism. Looking at atheism in its full sociopolitical context helps explain why it has looked so very different in different countries. It also explains why there has been a recent upsurge in atheism, particularly in Britain and the US, where religion has unexpectedly come to play such a significant role in political affairs. This leads us to a somewhat paradoxical conclusion: we should expect to hear more about atheism in the future for the simple reason that God is back.

The Twilight of Atheism

The Twilight of Atheism
  • Author : Alister McGrath
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2007-12-18
  • Total pages :320
  • ISBN : 9780307424174
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Summary : In this bold and provocative new book, the author of In the Beginning and The Reenchantment of Nature challenges the widely held assumption that the world is becoming more secular and demonstrates why atheism cannot provide the moral and intellectual guidance essential for coping with the complexities of modern life. Atheism is one of the most important movements in modern Western culture. For the last two hundred years, it seemed to be on the verge of eliminating religion as an outmoded and dangerous superstition. Recent years, however, have witnessed the decline of disbelief and a rise in religious devotion throughout the world. In THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM, the distinguished historian and theologian Alister McGrath examines what went wrong with the atheist dream and explains why religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the twenty-first century. A former atheist who is now one of Christianity’s foremost scholars, McGrath traces the history of atheism from its emergence in eighteenth-century Europe as a revolutionary worldview that offered liberation from the rigidity of traditional religion and the oppression of tyrannical monarchs, to its golden age in the first half of the twentieth century. Blending thoughtful, authoritative historical analysis with incisive portraits of such leading and influential atheists as Sigmund Freud and Richard Dawkins, McGrath exposes the flaws at the heart of atheism, and argues that the renewal of faith is a natural, inevitable, and necessary response to its failures. THE TWILIGHT OF ATHEISM will unsettle believers and nonbelievers alike. A powerful rebuttal of the philosophy that, for better and for worse, has exerted tremendous influence on Western history, it carries major implications for the future of both religion and unbelief in our society.

Battling the Gods

Battling the Gods
  • Author : Tim Whitmarsh
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2016-02-02
  • Total pages :300
  • ISBN : 9780571279326
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Summary : How new is atheism? In Battling the Gods, Tim Whitmarsh journeys into the ancient Mediterranean to recover the stories of those who first refused the divinities. Long before the Enlightenment sowed the seeds of disbelief in a deeply Christian Europe, atheism was a matter of serious public debate in the Greek world. But history is written by those who prevail, and the Age of Faith mostly suppressed the lively free-thinking voices of antiquity. Tim Whitmarsh brings to life the fascinating ideas of Diagoras of Melos, perhaps the first self-professed atheist; Democritus, the first materialist; and Epicurus and his followers. He shows how the early Christians came to define themselves against atheism, and so suppress the philosophy of disbelief. Battling the Gods is the first book on the origins of the secular values at the heart of the modern state. Authoritative and bold, provocative and humane, it reveals how atheism and doubt, far from being modern phenomena, have intrigued the human imagination for thousands of years.

A Short History of Secularism

A Short History of Secularism
  • Author : Graeme Smith
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2007-11-28
  • Total pages :232
  • ISBN : 9780857716798
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Summary : What does it mean to call Western society 'secular'? What is 'secularism'? And how should we understand the concept of 'secularism' in international relations, particularly the clash between radical Islam and the West? The Latin term from which the word 'secular' is derived - 'saeculum' - means 'generation' or 'age', and came to mean that which belongs to this life, to the here and now, in this world. It is widely used as a shorthand for the ideology which shapes contemporary society without reference to the divine.However, according to Graeme Smith, 'secularism' represents a great deal more. He offers a radical reappraisal of the notion of secularism and its history, beginning with the Greeks and proceeding to modernity and the contemporary period. The assumption that the West is becoming increasingly secular is often unquestioned. By contrast, Dr Smith discerns a different kind of society: one informed by a historical legacy which makes sense only when it is appreciated that it is religious. Secularism was born of Christianity. Daringly - and very originally - Smith argues that it is impossible to understand the idea of the secular without appreciating that, at root, it is Christian. "A Short History of Secularism" will fundamentally reshape discussions of western culture, religion and politics. It will have strong appeal to students of religion, political philosophy, and the history of ideas.

God Is Not Great

God Is Not Great
  • Author : Christopher Hitchens
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2008-11-19
  • Total pages :320
  • ISBN : 9781551991764
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Summary : Christopher Hitchens, described in the London Observer as “one of the most prolific, as well as brilliant, journalists of our time” takes on his biggest subject yet–the increasingly dangerous role of religion in the world. In the tradition of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris’s recent bestseller, The End Of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope’s awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.

Unbelievers

Unbelievers
  • Author : Alec Ryrie
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2019-12-24
  • Total pages :288
  • ISBN : 9780674243279
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Summary : Long before philosophers started making the case for atheism, powerful, affectively laden cultural currents were sowing doubt in Europe. Alec Ryrie looks to the history of the Reformation and argues that emotions—anger at priestly corruption and anxieties attending the erosion of time-honored certainties—were the handmaidens of atheism.

A History of Atheism in Britain

A History of Atheism in Britain
  • Author : David Berman
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2013-05-02
  • Total pages :272
  • ISBN : 9781135975579
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Summary : Probably no doctrine has excited as much horror and abuse as atheism. This first history of British atheism, first published in 1987, tries to explain this reaction while exhibiting the development of atheism from Hobbes to Russell. Although avowed atheism appeared surprisingly late – 1782 in Britain – there were covert atheists in the middle seventeenth century. By tracing its development from so early a date, Dr Berman gives an account of an important and fascinating strand of intellectual history.

Atheism for Beginners

Atheism for Beginners
  • Author : Michael Palmer
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2013-02-28
  • Total pages :238
  • ISBN : 9780718840778
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Summary : 'Hurray for Michael Palmer!' is how Michael Martin, the distinguished American philosopher, greeted Palmer's The Atheist's Primer (Lutterworth, 2012). Atheism for Beginners, by providing a 'coursebook for schools and colleges,' differs from its predecessor in being designed specifically for teachers and their students. Yet, although different in focus and format, the intention remains the same: to reinstate the importance of philosophy within the debate about God's existence and to act as a corrective tothe largely Darwinian criticisms levelled against religious belief by Richard Dawkins and the so-called 'new atheists'. So, in Palmer's lively history of atheism, extending from the ancient Greeks to the present day, we meet the enduring philosophical arguments against God and the great literature in which they are expressed. Atheism for Beginners is user-friendly and presumes no special grounding in philosophy. Throughout assistance is given by numerous aids to learning: there are exercises, marginal notes, essay questions, bibliographies and a glossary. Also provided are fourteen short biographies of famous atheists. In these respects Palmer follows the format first presented in his widely-read Moral Problems of 1991, long established as a core text inthe teaching of philosophy. In Atheism for Beginners, Palmer covers the main atheistic arguments, discussing issues such as creation, morality, evil, miracles and the motivations of belief. Particular attention is paid to the work of Hume, Marx, Nietzsche and Freud, with a special chapter devoted to the development of 'disproof atheism'. Atheism is often criticized for being unduly pessimistic: that without God there is nothing to look forward to, no life after death, no final righting of wrongs and no hope of salvation. But this, Palmer argues, is 'a slander against the atheistic outlook'. He concludes, therefore, on a positive note, explaining that happiness and personal fulfilment are to be found in the very materialism that religious belief rejects.

Atheist Delusions

Atheist Delusions
  • Author : David Bentley Hart
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2009-04-21
  • Total pages :272
  • ISBN : 9780300155648
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Summary : Religious scholar Hart argues that contemporary antireligious polemics are based not only upon conceptual confusions but upon facile simplifications of history and provides a powerful antidote to the New Atheists' misrepresentations of the Christian past.

Atheism

Atheism
  • Author : Michael Ruse
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2015
  • Total pages :304
  • ISBN : 9780199334582
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Summary : Over the last decade, "New Atheists" such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have pushed the issue of atheism to the forefront of public discussion. Yet very few of the ensuing debates and discussions have managed to provide a full and objective treatment of the subject. Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know provides a balanced look at the topic, considering atheism historically, philosophically, theologically, sociologically and psychologically. Written in an easily accessible style, the book uses a question and answer format to examine the history of atheism, arguments for and against atheism, the relationship between religion and science, and the issue of the meaning of life-and whether or not one can be a happy and satisfied atheist. Above all, the author stresses that the atheism controversy is not just a matter of the facts, but a matter of burning moral concern, both about the stand one should take on the issues and the consequences of one's commitment.

The New Atheist Denial of History

The New Atheist Denial of History
  • Author : B. Painter
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2015-12-19
  • Total pages :194
  • ISBN : 1349502154
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Summary : This compact, forcefully argued work calls Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, and the rest of the so-called 'New Atheists' to account for failing to take seriously the historical record to which they so freely appeal when attacking religion.

A Little History of Religion

A Little History of Religion
  • Author : Richard Holloway
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2016-08-23
  • Total pages :288
  • ISBN : 9780300222142
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Summary : For curious readers young and old, a rich and colorful history of religion from humanity’s earliest days to our own contentious times In an era of hardening religious attitudes and explosive religious violence, this book offers a welcome antidote. Richard Holloway retells the entire history of religion—from the dawn of religious belief to the twenty-first century—with deepest respect and a keen commitment to accuracy. Writing for those with faith and those without, and especially for young readers, he encourages curiosity and tolerance, accentuates nuance and mystery, and calmly restores a sense of the value of faith. Ranging far beyond the major world religions of Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Hinduism, Holloway also examines where religious belief comes from, the search for meaning throughout history, today’s fascinations with Scientology and creationism, religiously motivated violence, hostilities between religious people and secularists, and more. Holloway proves an empathic yet discerning guide to the enduring significance of faith and its power from ancient times to our own.

Atheism in France, 1650-1729, Volume I

Atheism in France, 1650-1729, Volume I
  • Author : Alan Charles Kors
  • Publisher :Unknown
  • Release Date :2014-07-14
  • Total pages :410
  • ISBN : 9781400860791
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Summary : Although most historians have sought the roots of atheism in the history of "free thought," Alan Charles Kors contends that attacks on the existence of God were generated above all by the vitality and controversies of orthodox theistic culture itself. In this first volume of a planned two-volume inquiry into the sources and nature of atheism, he shows that orthodox teachers and apologists in seventeenth-century France were obliged by the logic of their philosophical and pedagogical systems to create many models of speculative atheism for heuristic purposes. Unusual in its broad sampling of the religious literature of the early-modern learned world, this book reveals that the "great fratricide" among bitterly competing schools of Aristotelian, Cartesian, and Malebranchist Christian thought encouraged theologians to refute each other's proofs of God and to depict the ideas of their theological opponents as atheistic. Such "fratricide" was not new in the history of Christendom, but Kors demonstrates that its influence was dramatically amplified by the expanding literacy of the seventeenth century. Capturing the attention of the reading public, theological debate provided intellectual grounds for the disbelief of the first generation of atheistic thinkers. Originally published in 1990. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.