Faith and Critical Reasoning
-The French Revolution was one of the first instances were the ideas of atheism were made public. - The Revolution led many of the clergy to be expelled from the state or killed. - After the Fall of Berlin Wall, atheism declined in popularity. - Russian Revolution continued what French Revolution started. People began to speak of atheism outside of their own homes. - The classical version of atheism is vastly different than the atheism that is known today. - Some consider “modern atheism” as one of the greatest achievements of human intellect. - Immortalization in Greek myths meant “infinite extension of existence, not the infinite projection of moral qualities” - Classical Greek atheism denied “traditional religion of the Athenian establishment” - Protestant reformers wrote against church’s corruption and straying from “authentic models of the New Testament” - Protestantism eventually gained popularity in Western Europe in 1600s -“Historical origins of modern atheism lie primarily in an extended criticism of the power and status of the church - The 18th century was regarded the “most creative period of atheist experimentation and reflection”
- 1789 French Revolution had several socioeconomic influences including the decline of the church. - French Revolution created possibility of turning to atheism due to resentful feelings harbored toward the church. Many of the most radical 18th century French philosophers were in fact deists. René Descartes theorized that, “that a perfect divine being was the best explanation of the universe”. - Voltaire argued that the, “attractiveness of atheism is directly dependent upon corruption of Christian institutions” - American Revolution was not religiously or socially based, it was for more economic reasons. - Marquis De Sade suggests that faith is a barrier to pleasure. - Antitheological developments change France from a “constitutional monarchy” that allowed the Catholic church a role to an “atheist republic” -McGrath finds that French Revolution failed in its attempts to change the state of France. - France would later fall into a dictatorship under Napoleon.
- Atheism would need people to use intellectual skepticism against their ideas of god rather than to attack their members and society. - Atheism would need to have both popular and the intellectual support for it to flourish. - The constant war between France and Germany led to social transformation where there was radical change in both countries behaviors and the class systems. - “Best way of securing irreversible changes in the long term was to change the way in which people thought.” -Ludwig Feuerbach was a revolutionary thinker who believed Christianity denied death. -Feuerbach argued against the idea of immortality because he felt as though that was distracting people from actually having real relationships with other people and their surroundings. - Feuerbach believed that Atheism would progress if the church was seen as not caring about the common person’s problems. - Feuerbach believed that humans had created God, and thus could destroy God if it wanted to. - Karl Marx began the principle of historical materialism, he wrote, “Every aspect of human life is determined by social and economic factors” -Sigmund Freud, inspired by Feuerbach, believed religious ideas were illusions created by the human unconscious.
- Many people believe that there is a conflict between religion and natural sciences. - “To take the idea of God seriously is to commit intellectual suicide” - Science actually proves things whereas religion needs evidence. Religion depends on its dogmas and faith. - Calvin vs. Copernicus and Bishop Willberforce vs. TH Huxley are examples of stereotypes that plague both ideas. - Cultural beliefs: “natural sciences are promethean figures of liberation from bondage to a superstitious and...