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historical atheism

Any topics that are primarily about humanism or other non-religious life stances fit in here.
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coledavis
Posts: 369
Joined: August 17th, 2008, 6:29 pm

historical atheism

#1 Postby coledavis » February 18th, 2016, 11:26 am

This article refers to research showing atheism to be widespread in ancient times. (One of the reasons I prefer Hitchens' God is Not Great to Professor Dawkins' discourses is because I find historical explanations most enlightening, particularly when considering the manmade nature of religions.)

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/atheism-is-as-old-as-religion-new-study-suggests-a6879341.html
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Alan H
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Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: historical atheism

#2 Postby Alan H » February 18th, 2016, 11:40 am

Very interesting. The comments will be 'interesting' I suspect...
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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coledavis
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Re: historical atheism

#3 Postby coledavis » February 18th, 2016, 12:20 pm

Yes, the online 'contributors' are not necessarily the same as those who buy (will have bought) the newspaper. I am gutted but not surprised, by the way, that the Independent as a newspaper is shutting down. I and a club of about 56,000 will miss it.
http://www.coledavis.org - insight analyst, specialist in the interpretation of surveys for charities and education

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animist
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Re: historical atheism

#4 Postby animist » February 18th, 2016, 12:31 pm

I am not that surprised by this finding. We tend to think of beliefs in societies as what passes for some "official" ideology, but we seldom know the concerns of the mass population, and I think that even in mediaeval Europe, with its Catholic stranglehold over heretics and whomever else might challenge orthodoxy, superstition and cynicism would have been more important than religion. Or let's go back to the very attractive religious beliefs of the ancient Egyptians, which centred on the afterlife - how do we square these with the prevalence of grave-robbing during the succeeding centuries? Life has been short and brutal in most societies, and the effort needed to make it just a bit less crappy would usually have trumped any official warnings over eternal damnation. I call these attitudes to life - superstition and opportunism - atheistic in some sense at least, since they contradict the recorded beliefs, highly religious usually, which have prevailed among establishment elites

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coledavis
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Re: historical atheism

#5 Postby coledavis » February 18th, 2016, 1:00 pm

Also, the idea of people in the past all being benighted is most condescending. People forget about about the great philosophers of old; they surely can't have been unique in their ability to think for themselves. I am still in awe of the fact that Democritus suggested the existence of atoms, surely a most counter-intuitive idea.
http://www.coledavis.org - insight analyst, specialist in the interpretation of surveys for charities and education

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animist
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Re: historical atheism

#6 Postby animist » February 18th, 2016, 1:07 pm

coledavis wrote:Yes, the online 'contributors' are not necessarily the same as those who buy (will have bought) the newspaper. I am gutted but not surprised, by the way, that the Independent as a newspaper is shutting down. I and a club of about 56,000 will miss it.
the Indie is not closing down but will be electronic only from now - still a great pity


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