- History of atheism
Although the term
atheismoriginated in the 16th century, based on Ancient Greek"godless, denying the gods, ungodly" [Modern translations of classical texts sometimes translate "atheos" as "atheistic". As an abstract noun, there was also "atheotēs" ("atheism").] and open admission to positive atheism in modern times was not made earlier than in the late 18th century, atheistic ideas and beliefs, as well as their political influence, have a more expansive history.
The spontaneous proposition that there may be no gods after all is likely as old as
theismitself (and the proposition that there may be no Godas old as the beginnings of monotheismor henotheism). Philosophical atheist thought appears from the 6th or 5th century BCE, both in Europe and in Asia.
Early Asian philosophy
In the Far East, a contemplative life not centered on the idea of gods began in the
6th century BCEwith the rise of Jainism, Buddhism, and certain sects of Hinduismin India, and of Taoismin China.
Although these religions claim to offer a philosophic and salvific path not centering on deity worship, popular tradition in some sects of these religions has long embraced deity worship, the propitiation of spirits, and other elements of folk tradition. Furthermore, the Pali
Tripiṭaka, the oldest complete composition of scriptures, seems to accept as real the concepts of divine beings, the Vedic (and other) gods, rebirth, and heaven and hell. While deities are not seen as necessary to the salvific goal of the early Buddhist tradition, their reality is not questioned.
Supernatural elements of the Buddhist tradition as later additions are generally accepted by modern philology. In fact, such views appeared as early as the 18th century in Japan among scholars from the Kaitokudō School ( _ja. 懐徳堂) which advocated a version of atheism and made the claim that supernatural elements in ancient texts of Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism and Confucianism are fictitious exaggerations. Nakamoto Tominaga ( _ja. 富永仲基, 1715-1746) concluded that, among the vast amount of
MahayanaBuddhist scriptures, only part of the Agama Sutrais the actual words of Siddhartha Gautama. The general thrust of his argument is now supported by modern scholarship, which has identified Dhammapada, the last two chapters of Sutta Nipatain the Pali Tripitaka and the corresponding part of the Agama Sutrain the Sanskrit Tripitaka, as well as a few fragments in other scriptures, to be the oldest compositions.Fact|date=July 2007 This view, often described as nihongo|Mahayana non-Buddhism theory|大乗非仏説|daijyō hibutsu setsu has been the cause of an ongoing controversy in Japanese Buddhism.
Although Jains see their tradition as eternal,
Jainismcan be dated back to Parshvawho lived in the 9th century BCE, and, more reliably, to Mahavira, a teacher of the 6th century BCE, and a contemporary of the Buddha. Jainism is a dualistic religion with the universemade up of matterand souls. The universe, and the matter and souls within it, is eternal and uncreated, and there is no omnipotent creator god in Jainism. There are, however, gods and other spirits who exist within the universe and Jains believe that the soul can attain godhood.
astika("orthodox") schools of Hindu philosophy, the Samkhyaand the early Mimamsaschool did not accept a creator-God in their respective systems.
The principal text of the
Samkhyaschool, the " Samkhya Karika", was written by Ishvara Krishnain the 4th century CE, by which time it was already a dominant Hindu school. The origins of the school are much older and are lost in legend. The school was both dualistic and atheistic. They believed in a dual existence of Prakriti("nature") and Purusha("spirit") and had no place for an Ishvara("God") in its system, arguing that the existence of Ishvara cannot be proved and hence cannot be admitted to exist. The school dominated Hindu philosophy in its day, but declined after the 10th century, although commentaries were still being written as late as the 16th century.
The foundational text for the
Mimamsaschool is the " Purva Mimamsa Sutras" of Jaimini(c. 3rd to 1st century BCE). The school reached its height c. 700 CE, and for some time in the Early Middle Agesexerted near-dominant influence on learned Hindu thought. The Mimamsa school saw their primary enquiry was into the nature of dharmabased on close interpretation of the Vedas. Its core tenets were ritualism ( orthopraxy), anti-asceticism and anti-mysticism. The early Mimamsakas believed in an "adrishta" ("unseen") that is the result of performing karmas("works") and saw no need for an Ishvara("God") in their system. Mimamsa persists in some subschools of Hinduism today.
The thoroughly materialistic and anti-religious philosophical
Cārvākaschool that originated in Indiawith the Bārhaspatya-sūtras(final centuries BCE) is probably the most explicitly atheist school of philosophy in the region. The school grew out of the generic skepticism in the Mauryan period. Already in the 6th century BCE, Ajita Kesakambalin, was quoted in Pali scriptures by the Buddhists with whom he was debating, teaching that "with the break-up of the body, the wise and the foolish alike are annihilated, destroyed. They do not exist after death." [cite web
title=Elements of Atheism in Hindu Thought
accessdate=2006-06-26] Cārvākan philosophy is now known principally from its
Astikaand Buddhistopponents. The proper aim of a Cārvākan, according to these sources, was to live a prosperous, happy, productive life in this world. The "Tattvopaplavasimha" of Jayarashi Bhatta(c. 8th century) is sometimes cited as a surviving Carvaka text. The school appears to have died out sometime around the 15th century.
Classical Greece and Rome
Classical Antiquity, theism was the fundamental belief that supported the divine right of the State ( Polis, later the Roman Empire). Historically, any person who did not believe in any deity supported by the State was fair game to accusations of atheism, a capital crime. Diagoras of Melos( 5th century BCE) is known as the "first atheist". He blasphemed by making public the Eleusinian Mysteriesand discouraging people from being initiated. [ Walter Burkert, " Homo necans", p. 278] Around the same time the Atomists Leucippusand Democritusattempted to explain the world in a purely materialistic way, without reference to the spiritual or mystical.
Sophists, Prodicus of Ceoswas said to have believed that "it was the things which were serviceable to human life that had been regarded as gods," [Cicero, "De Natura Deorum", i. 42] and Protagoraswas, according to Cicero, said to have stated at the beginning of a book that "With regard to the gods I am unable to say either that they exist or do not exist." [Cicero, "De Natura Deorum", i. 23]
For political reasons,
Socratesin Athens( 399 BCE) was accused of being 'atheos' ("refusing to acknowledge the gods recognized by the state"). Despite the charges, he claimed inspiration from a divine voice (Daimon). His dying wish that a roosterbe sacrificed to the god Asclepiusis unrelated to polytheistic piety: the gesture was customary for someone who had overcome an illness, and Socrates intended to convey that by dying, he had overcome the "illness" of being alive. Christians in Romewere also considered subversive to the state religion and prosecuted as atheists. Thus, charges of atheism, meaning the subversion of religion, were often used similarly to charges of heresyand impiety— as a political tool to eliminate enemies.
300 BCE, the Cyrenaicphilosopher Theodorus of Cyrene denied that gods exist, and wrote a book "On the Gods" espousing his views. Euhemerus(c. 330– 260 BCE) published his view that the gods were only the deified rulers, conquerors and founders of the past, and that their cults and religions were in essence the continuation of vanished kingdoms and earlier political structures. [Fragments of Euhemerus' work in Ennius' Latin translation have been preserved in Patristic writings (e.g. by Lactantiusand Eusebius of Caesarea), which all rely on earlier fragments in Diodorus 5,41–46 & 6.1. Testimonies, especially in the context of polemical criticism, are found e.g. in Callimachus, "Hymn to Zeus" 8.] Although Euhemerus was later criticized for having "spread atheism over the whole inhabited earth by obliterating the gods", [ Plutarch, "Moralia — Isis and Osiris" [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Isis_and_Osiris*/B.html#23 23] ] his worldview was not atheist in a strict and theoretical sense, because he differentiated that the primordial gods were "eternal and imperishable". [Eusebius of Caesarea, " Preparation for the Gospel" [http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/eusebius_pe_02_book2.htm II.45–48] (chapter 2); Euhemerus also acknowledged that the sun, moon and the other celestial bodies were gods (cf. also Alan Scott, "Origen and the Life of the Stars", Oxford 1991, p. 55), and he regarded elemental earthly phenomena like the wind as divine, for they had "eternal origin and eternal continuance". Nevertheless he concluded that the Titans and all next-generation gods like the Olympian deities existed only as culturally and religiously constructed divine entities with a human past (cp. also Harry Y. Gamble, "Euhemerism and Christology in Origen: 'Contra Celsum' III 22–43", in "Vigiliae Christianae", Vol. 33, No. 1 (1979), pp. 12–29).] Some historians have argued that he merely aimed at reinventing the old religions in the light of the beginning deification of political rulers such as Alexander the Great. ["Euhemeros", in Konrat Ziegler & Walther Sontheimer, "Der Kleine Pauly", Bd. 2 (1979), cols. 414–415] Euhemerus' work was translated into Latin by Ennius, possibly to mythographically pave the way for the planned divinization of Scipio Africanusin Rome. [Spencer Cole, "Cicero, Ennius and the Concept of Apotheosis at Rome". In "Arethusa" Vol. 39 No. 3 (2006), pp. 531–548]
Also important in the history of atheism was
Epicurus(c. 300 BCE). Drawing on the ideas of Democritusand the Atomists, he espoused a materialistic philosophy whereby the universe was governed by the laws of chance without the need for divine intervention. Although he stated that the gods existed, he believed that they were uninterested in human existence. The aim of the Epicureans was to attain peace of mind by exposing fear of divine wrath as irrational. One of the most eloquent expression of Epicurean thought is Lucretius' " On the Nature of Things" ( 1st century BCE). Lucretius was not an atheist as he did believe in the existence of gods, but like Epicurus, he thought of them as perfect beings uninterested in human affairs. Both of them also denied the existence of an afterlife. [ Julius Caesar(100–44 BCE), who leaned considerably toward Epicureanism, also rejected the idea of an afterlife, which e.g. lead to his plea against the death sentence during the trial against Catiline, where he spoke out against the Stoicist Cato (cf. Sallust, "The War With Catiline", Caesar's speech: [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Sallust/Bellum_Catilinae*.html#51.20 51.29] & Cato's reply: [http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Sallust/Bellum_Catilinae*.html#52.13 52.13] ).] Perhaps they are better described as materialiststhan atheists. Epicureans were not persecuted, but their teachings were controversial, and were harshly attacked by the mainstream schools of Stoicismand Neoplatonism. The movement remained marginal, and gradually died out at the end of the Roman Empire, until it was revived by Pierre Gassendiin the 17th century.
The Middle Ages
European Middle Ages, hardly any expression of atheism is known. Hrafnkell, protagonist of the eponymous Icelandic sagaset in the 10th century, as his temple to Freyris burnt and he is enslaved states that "I think it is folly to have faith in gods", never performing another sacrifice, a position described in the sagas as "goðlauss" "godless". Jacob Grimmin his "Teutonic Mythology" observes that
It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in theciting several other examples, including two kings.
Sôlar lioð17 we read of Vêbogi and Râdey "â sik þau trûðu," "in themselves they trusted", [Jacob Grimm, 1882, "Teutonic Mythology" Part 1, page 6.]
ChristianEurope, people were persecuted for heresy, especially in countries where the Inquisitionwas active. Thomas Aquinas' five proofs for God's existence, and Anselm's ontological argumentat least acknowledged the validity of the question about god's existence. The charge of atheism was used as way of attacking one's political or religious enemies. Pope Boniface VIII, because he insisted on the political supremacy of the church, was accused by his enemies after his death of holding (unlikely) atheistic positions such as "neither believing in the immortality nor incorruptibility of the soul, nor in a life to come." [John William Draper, 1864, [http://www.h-net.org/~bahai/diglib/books/A-E/D/draper/drap3.htm "History of the intellectual development of Europe"] , page 387.]
Islam, scholars recognized the idea of atheism, and frequently attacked unbelievers, although they were unable to name any actual atheists; when individuals were accused of atheism, they were usually heretics rather than proponents of atheism. [Sarah Stroumsa, 1999, "Freethinkers of Medieval Islam: Ibn al-Rdwandi, Abu Bakr al-Razi, and their Impact on Islamic Thought", page 123. BRILL.] One notable figure was the 9th centuryscholar Ibn al-Rawandiwho criticized the notion of religious prophecyincluding that of Muhammad, and maintained that religious dogmas were not acceptable to reason and must be rejected. [Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1971, Volume 3, page 905.] Other critics of religion in the Islamic world include the physician and philosopher Abu Bakr al-Razi( 865- 925), and the poet Al-Ma`arri( 973- 1057).
Renaissance and Reformation
During the time of the
Renaissanceand the Reformation, criticism of the religious establishment started to become more frequent, but did not amount to actual atheism.
The term "athéisme" itself was coined in France in the 16th century. The concept of atheism re-emerged initially as a reaction to the intellectual and religious turmoil of the
Age of Enlightenmentand the Reformation— as a charge used by those who saw the denial of god and godlessness in the controversial positions being put forward by others. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the word 'atheist' was used exclusively as an insult; nobody wanted to be regarded as an atheist. [cite book |last=Armstrong |first=Karen | authorlink = Karen Armstrong |title=A History of God |page=288 |year=1999 |publisher=London: Vintage |id=ISBN 0-09-927367-5] How dangerous it was to be accused of being an atheist at this time is illustrated by the fact that in 1689the Polish nobleman Kazimierz Łyszczyński, who had directly denied the existence of God in his philosophical treatise "De non existentia Dei", was condemned to death in Warsaw for atheism and beheaded after his tongue was pulled out with a burning iron and his hands slowly burned. Similarly in 1766, the French nobleman Jean-François de la Barre, was tortured, beheaded, and his body burned for alleged vandalismof a crucifix, a case that became celebrated because Voltairetried unsuccessfully to have the sentence reversed.
Among those accused of atheism was
Denis Diderot( 1713– 1784), one of the Enlightenment's most prominent "philosophes", and editor-in-chief of the Encyclopédie, which sought to challenge religious, particularly Catholic, dogma: "Reason is to the estimation of the "philosophe" what grace is to the Christian", he wrote. "Grace determines the Christian's action; reason the "philosophe's". [ [http://www.pinzler.com/ushistory/diderotsupp.html "The Philosophe" ] ] Diderot was briefly imprisoned for his writing, some of which was banned and burned.
The English materialist philosopher
Thomas Hobbes( 1588– 1679) was also accused of atheism, but he denied it. His theism was unusual, in that he held god to be material. Even earlier, the British playwright and poet, Christopher Marlowe( 1563– 1593), was accused of atheism when a tract denying the divinity of Christ was found in his home. Before he could finish defending himself against the charge, Marlowe was murdered, although this was not related to the religious issue.
The Age of Enlightenment
1770s, atheism was ceasing to be a dangerous accusation that required denial, and was evolving into a position openly avowed by some. The first open denial of the existence of god and avowal of atheism since classical times may be that of Paul Baron d'Holbach ( 1723– 1789) in his 1770work, The System of Nature. D'Holbach was a Parisian social figure who conducted a famous salon widely attended by many intellectual notables of the day, including Denis Diderot, Jean Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Adam Smith, and Benjamin Franklin. Nevertheless, his book was published under a pseudonym, and was banned and publicly burned by the Executioner.
The pamphlet "Answer to Dr Priestley's Letters to a Philosophical Unbeliever" (
1782) is considered to be the first published declaration of atheism in Britain — plausibly the first in English (as distinct from covert or cryptically atheist works). The otherwise unknown 'William Hammon' (possibly a pseudonym) signed the preface and postscript as editor of the work, and the anonymous main text is attributed to Matthew Turner(d. 1788?), a Liverpool physician who may have known Priestley. Historian of atheism David Berman has argued strongly for Turner's authorship, but also suggested that there may have been two authors (see Berman 1988, Chapter 5).
The Modern Period
French Revolutionof 1789catapulted atheistic thought into political notability, and opened the way for the 19th centurymovements of Rationalism, Freethought, and Liberalism. Born in 1792, Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, a child of the Age of Enlightenment, was expelled from Oxford University in 1811 for submitting to the Dean an anonymous pamphlet that he wrote titled "The Necessity of Atheism." This pamphlet is considered by scholars as the first atheistic ideas published in the English language. An early atheistic influence in Germany was "The Essence of Christianity" by Ludwig Feuerbach( 1804– 1872). He influenced other German 19th century atheistic thinkers like Karl Marx, Arthur Schopenhauer( 1788– 1860) and Friedrich Nietzsche( 1844– 1900). The freethinker Charles Bradlaugh(1833–1891) was repeatedly elected to the British Parliament, but was not allowed to take his seat after his request to affirm rather than take the religious oath was turned down (he offered to take the oath, but this too was denied him). After Bradlaugh was re-elected for the fourth time, a new Speaker allowed Bradlaugh to take the oath and permitted no objections: he became the first outspoken atheist to sit in Parliament, where he participated in amending the Oaths Act. In many countries, denying god was included as a crime of blasphemy. In several countries, such as Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom, these laws remain Fact|date=February 2007, however these laws would be in direct conflict with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rightsthus making them unenforcable relics. Likewise, some American states, such as Massachusetts, retain such laws; however, these laws are rarely enforced, if at all.
1844, Karl Marx( 1818– 1883), an atheistic political economist, wrote in his "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"::"Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. [ [http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/intro.htm Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right ] ]
Marx believed that people turn to religion in order to dull the pain caused by the reality of social situations; that is, Marx suggests religion is an attempt at transcending the material state of affairs in a society — the pain of class oppression — by effectively creating a dream world, rendering the religious believer amenable to
social controland exploitation in this world while they hope for relief and justice in life after death. In the same essay, Marx states, "... [m] an creates religion, religion does not create man..." Friedrich Nietzsche, a prominent 19th century philosopher, is well-known for coining the aphorism " God is dead" "(German: "Gott ist tot"); incidentally the phrase was not spoken by Nietzsche directly, but was used as a dialogue for the characters in his works. Nietzsche argued that Christian theism as a belief system had been a moral foundation of the Western world, and that the rejection and collapse of this foundation as a result of modern thinking (the "death of God") would naturally cause a rise in nihilismor the lack of values. While Nietzsche was staunchly atheistic, he was also concerned about the negative effects of nihilism on humanity. As such, he called for a re-evaluation of old values and a creation of new ones, hoping that in doing so man would achieve a higher state he labeled the Overman.
Atheism in the 20th century found recognition in a wide variety of other, broader philosophies, such as
existentialism, objectivism, secular humanism, nihilism, logical positivism, Marxism, feminism, [Overall, Christine. "Feminism and Atheism", in Martin, Michael, ed. (2007), The Cambridge Companion to Atheism, pp. 233-246. Cambridge University Press] and the general scientific and rationalist movement. Neopositivismand analytical philosophydiscarded classical rationalism and metaphysics in favor of strict empiricism and epistemological nominalism. Proponents such as Bertrand Russellemphatically rejected belief in God. In his early work, Ludwig Wittgensteinattempted to separate metaphysical and supernatural language from rational discourse. A. J. Ayerasserted the unverifiability and meaninglessness of religious statements, citing his adherence to the empirical sciences. The structuralismof Lévi-Strauss sourced religious language to the human subconscious, denying its transcendental meaning. J. N. Findlay and J. J. C. Smartargued that the existence of God is not logically necessary. Naturalists and materialists such as John Deweyconsidered the natural world to be the basis of everything, denying the existence of God or immortality. [Zdybicka, Zofia J. (2005), "Atheism", p. 16 in Maryniarczyk, Andrzej, Universal Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1, Polish Thomas Aquinas Association] [Smart, J.C.C. (9 March 2004). "Atheism and Agnosticism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved on 12 April 2007]
The 20th century also saw the political advancement of atheism, spurred on by interpretation of the works of Marx and Engels. State support of atheism and opposition to organized religion was made policy in all
communist states, including the People's Republic of China[http://www.tibet.ca/wtnarchive/1999/1/21_1.html] and the former Soviet Union. In theory and in practice these states were secular. The justifications given for the social and political sidelining of religious organizations addressed, on one hand, the "irrationality" of religious belief, and on the other the "parasitical" nature of the relationship between the church and the population. Churches were sometimes tolerated, but subject to strict control - church officials had to be vetted by the state, while attendance of church functions could endanger one's career. Very often, the state's opposition to religion took more violent forms; Aleksandr Solzhenitsyndocuments widespread persecution, imprisonments and torture of believers, in his seminal work The Gulag Archipelago. Consequently, religious organizations, such as the Catholic Church, were among the most stringent opponents of communist regimes. In some cases, the initial strict measures of control and opposition to religious activity were gradually relaxed in communist states. On the other hand, Albaniaunder Enver Hoxhabecame, in 1967, the first (and to date only) formally declared atheist state. [Majeska, George P. (1976). " [http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0037-6752(197622)1%3A20%3A2%3C204%3ARAAITU%3E2.0.CO%3B2-G Religion and Atheism in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe, Review] ." "The Slavic and East European Journal." 20(2). pp. 204–206.] Hoxha went far beyond what most other countries had attempted and completely prohibited religious observance, systematically repressing and persecuting adherents. The right to religious practice was restored in 1991.
E. V. Ramasami Naicker(Periyar), a prominent atheist leader, fought against Hinduismand the Brahminsfor discriminating and dividing people in the name of casteand religion. [cite book |last=Michael |first=S. M. |year=1999 |chapter=Dalit Visions of a Just Society |editor= S. M. Michael (ed.) |publisher=Lynne Rienner Publishers |title=Untouchable: Dalits in Modern India |id=ISBN 1555876978 |pages=pp. 31u201333] This was highlighted in 1956 when he made the Hindu god Ramawear a garland made of slippers and made antitheistic statements. ["He who created god was a fool, he who spreads his name is a scoundrel, and he who worships him is a barbarian." Hiorth, Finngeir (1996). " [http://www.iheu.org/node/548 Atheism in South India] ". International Humanist and Ethical Union, "International Humanist News". Retrieved on 2007-05-30.]
Cold War, the United Statesoften characterized its opponents as "Godless Communists," [http://www3.niu.edu/univ_press/books/257-5.htm] which tended to reinforce the view that atheists were unreliable and unpatriotic. Against this background, the words "under God" were inserted into the pledge of allegiancein 1954, [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A30720-2002Jul5 How 'Under God' Got in There (washingtonpost.com)] ] and the national motto was changed from E Pluribus Unumto In God We Trustin 1956.
21st centuryhas continued to see secularismand atheism promoted in the Western world. This has been assisted by the Brightsmovement, as well as a plethora of accessible antitheistand secularist literature. [BBC News, [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7053157.stm "Keeping the faith"] , 19 October 2007] Authors of such books have included: Sam Harris, David Mills, Daniel Dennett, Ibn Warraq, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Victor J. Stenger, and Anthony C. Grayling. Currently among 16-29 year olds in the USA, atheism is rising at higher levels than ever before recorded. [ [http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=272 "Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians"] ]
Lists of atheists
Psychology of religion
Sociology of religion
Theory of religious economy
*Armstrong, K. (1999). "A History of God." London: Vintage. ISBN 0-09-927367-5
*Berman, D. (1990). "A History of Atheism in Britain: from Hobbes to Russell." London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-04727-7
*Buckley, M. J. (1987). "At the origins of modern atheism." New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
*Drachmann, A. B. (1922). "Atheism in Pagan Antiquity." Chicago: Ares Publishers, 1977 ("an unchanged reprint of the 1922 edition"). ISBN 0-89005-201-8
*McGrath, A. (2005). "The Twilight of Atheism : The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World." ISBN 0-385-50062-9
*Thrower, James (1971). "A Short History of Western Atheism". London: Pemberton. ISBN 1573927562
* [http://www.positiveatheism.org/india/s1990c25.htm The History of Freethought and Atheism] - by Dr. Gordon Stein Ph.D. at [http://www.positiveatheism.org positiveatheism.org] .
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Atheism — Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods, [The Oxford American Dictionary defines atheist as a person who does not believe in the existence of a god or gods. New York: Avon Press, 1980.] or the… … Wikipedia
Atheism — • That system of thought which is formally opposed to theism Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Atheism Atheism † … Catholic encyclopedia
atheism — /ay thee iz euhm/, n. 1. the doctrine or belief that there is no God. 2. disbelief in the existence of a supreme being or beings. [1580 90; < Gk áthe(os) godless + ISM] * * * Critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or divine beings.… … Universalium
Atheism and religion — Atheism, in its broadest definition, is the absence of theism, viz., of belief in a God or gods. The degree to which one can be considered an atheist while simultaneously being and adherent of a sect of a traditionally monotheistic, polytheistic … Wikipedia
Atheism in Hinduism — Atheism (Sanskrit: IAST| nir īśvara vāda , lit. statement of no Lord , doctrine of godlessness ) or disbelief in God or gods has been a historically propounded viewpoint in many of the ‘heterodox’ and astika streams of Hindu philosophies. [ [http … Wikipedia
History of science — History of science … Wikipedia
History of Afghanistan — Timeline … Wikipedia
History of the Russian Orthodox Church — Foundation by St. AndrewThe Russian Orthodox Church is traditionally said to have been founded by the Apostle Andrew, who is thought to have visited Scythia and Greek colonies along the northern coast of the Black Sea. According to one of the… … Wikipedia
History of creationism — The history of creationism is tied to the history of religions. The term creationism in its broad sense covers a wide range of beliefs and interpretations, and was not in common use before the late 19th century. Following the spread of… … Wikipedia
History of the Eastern Orthodox Church — The Eastern Orthodox Churches trace their roots back to the Apostles and Jesus Christ. Eastern Orthodoxy reached its golden age during the high point of the Byzantine Empire, and then continued to flourish in Russia after the Fall of… … Wikipedia