Download e-book for kindle: Atheists: The Origin of the Species by Nick Spencer

By Nick Spencer

The conflict among atheism and faith has develop into the defining conflict of the twenty first century. Books on and approximately atheism maintain excessive profile and recognition, and atheist pursuits on either side of the Atlantic catch headlines with high-profile campaigns and advertisements. despite the fact that, little or no has been written at the historical past of atheism, and this e-book fills that conspicuous gap.

Instead of treating atheism simply as a philosophical or medical inspiration in regards to the non-existence of God, Atheists: The foundation of the Species areas the stream in its right social and political context. simply because atheism in Europe built in response to the Christianity that ruled the continent's highbrow, social and political existence, it followed, tailored and reacted opposed to its associations in addition to its principles. for this reason, the background of atheism is as a lot approximately social and political hobbies because it is clinical or philosophical ideas.

This is the tale not just of Hobbes, Hume, and Darwin, but additionally of Thomas Aitkenhead hung for blasphemous atheism, Percy Shelley expelled for adolescent atheism, and the Marquis de Sade imprisoned for libertine atheism; of the French innovative Terror and the Soviet League of the Militant Godless; of the increase of the united states non secular correct and of Islamic terrorism.

Looking at atheism in its complete sociopolitical context is helping clarify why it has appeared so very varied in several nations. It additionally explains why there was a contemporary upsurge in atheism, rather in Britain and the united states, the place faith has without notice come to play any such major position in affairs of state. This leads us to a slightly paradoxical end: we must always anticipate to listen to extra approximately atheism sooner or later for the easy cause that God is again.

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Extra info for Atheists: The Origin of the Species

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So modem readers are to be dissuaded from imposing their own psychological insight on to the biblical text. Historical critics have discouraged us from 'psychologizing' by positing a major gap between the interests of the biblical writers and those of modem Western readers. While today we may be interested in real people and actual events, the Hebrew Bible, many critics have < previous page page_47 next page > < previous page page_48 next page > Page 48 argued, is not history in the modem sense of the term, but theological literature with a long and complex composition history.

A forlorn wish. Narrative does provide us something of that luxury. We experience biblical characters as mediated through a narrator who selects and shapes what we experience. While in some biblical literature the narrator may not be easily distinguished from the author (as in the book of Nehemiah, narrated in the first person by Nehemiah himself), this is not usually or obviously the case. Historical criticism, for example, has taught us that the authorship of Genesis-2 Kings is a complex matter, involving probably various authors and editors from various time periods.

Or perhaps it is both patriarchal and politically authoritarian. For their part, Boesak and Mosala make no bones about their interest. They are reading passionately for liberation and that in a particular context, the struggle in South Africa. Their candour is refreshing. The religious traditions of commentators obviously shape interpretations. In this respect we can do no other than join the crowd. Both of us are Christians, currently teaching in protestant seminaries, though our specific traditions within protestantism diverge.

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Atheists: The Origin of the Species by Nick Spencer


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