A History of Atheism in Britain: From Hobbes to Russell by David Berman

By David Berman

Probably no doctrine has excited as a lot horror and abuse as atheism. this primary heritage of British atheism, first released in 1987, tries to give an explanation for this response whereas displaying the improvement of atheism from Hobbes to Russell. even if avowed atheism seemed strangely past due – 1782 in Britain – there have been covert atheists within the center 17th century. by means of tracing its improvement from so early a date, Dr Berman provides an account of an incredible and interesting strand of highbrow history.

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Extra info for A History of Atheism in Britain: From Hobbes to Russell

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The denial or doubt in Broughton, the Encyclopedia, Curteis and Wise takes a descriptive rather than a conceptual form: there have, as a matter of fact, been no speculative atheists. But these denials - with the possible exception ofCurteis - are not defended in the way we should expect. The defence takes a conceptual rather than a descriptive form: putative atheists cannot be speculative because they must be practical or unthinking atheists (Encyclopedia); or they cannot be speculative atheists because the necessary conditions laid down make this impossible: atheists have been defined out of their speculative atheism and into 29 The Repression of Atheism mixt or unthinking atheism in Curteis and Wise.

The existence of God] is unknown,45 - with a mixture of pity and annoyance. ,46 For St John believes that 'man's mind is naturally fitted for the acquisition of certain ideas ... ' And to support his disagreement with Locke he quotes 'the testimony of Baldaeus, whose opinion on the general question [he says] exactly coincides with my own' (pp. 184-5). Here is the passage he quotes (p. 185) from Baldaeus: The existence of a God, or Supreme Being, is so firmly rooted in the heart of mankind, that there is no nation in the world but has acknowledged the same.

We hear too much commotion. His tactics are becoming increasingly cruder: more like suppression than repression. Atheism can no longer be kept indirectly down. ) The guard is only half a preventer; for he is now also an ejector. , may be located somewhere between deep repression and suppression. 36 Ine Repression rf Atheism Repression admits of degrees. '40 Repression can be a function of both the guard and the pol iceman: both prevention and ejection; although it is more properly called repression the more the former is in operation.

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