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

By David Berman

ISBN-10: 0415822114

ISBN-13: 9780415822114

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

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Example text

And, if we were to listen further to the general's speech, we should probably hear the sort of indirect affirmation which we have found in some of the denials of atheism. We might, for example, hear him telling his men that they have nothing to fear from the enemy artillery, because he has certain knowledge that it consists only of small guns, and besides (he might add) the enemy has very little ammunition. He might also mention to his men that they greatly outnumber the enemy who are, in any case, tired from long marching; and so on.

8), Locke had argued that as there are and have been atheists, the idea of (;od cannot be innate; ~ecause the idea of God is not universal it cannot be innate. In this chapter Locke is expressly arguing against Lord Herbert of Cherbury, and he does so by producing evidence from the growing body of travelliterature. e. 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.

According to Fotherby: 'there is no particular person in the world, but that (in some degree) he beleeveth, there is a God' (p. 39). Fotherby differs from Herbert in the way he deals with potential falsification, or, as he puts it, 'objections against the universalite of consent in religion'. He discusses this su~ject in Chapter Ten, which begins with a rather lame and limited defence: if there are atheists, then they are very few in number. But he really holds a stronger position: But now he writes on p.

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


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