A history of Atheism

Mollie Ziegler pens a useful and learned survey of the history of atheism at Modern Reformation . The main point: There is nothing new or modern or enlightened about atheism, which has ALWAYS been contending against the faith.

HT: Anthony Scaramone at First Things.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Samuel Skinner

    I am missing something. Atheism has never been presented as new, modern or enlightened- it is simply a lack of belief. It is sort of hard for a lack of belief to have any of those characteristics.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Samuel (@1), “atheism has never been presented as new, modern or enlightened”? That’s just silly.

    Countless times I have read atheists talk about the idea that people used to believe in God or gods a long time ago because they didn’t understand science and how things work. But now, goes the argument, in these modern times, we are more enlightened. We have no need of such fairy tales, they say.

    Have you really never heard anyone argue as much?

  • Samuel Skinner

    They are refering to the “God of the gaps mentality”- god used to do alot more than he is credited with now. You know, the creation of the universe, evolution, opening flowers, creating mankind, shaping the earth- etc. Now he is pushed down into setting the constants.

    Not to mention that widespread atheism is new. And secular societies are new- previously morality and the like was based on its relation to god (for God and Country, in the Lords name, by the divine will of Ceaser, etc…).

    Although these atheists are sounding quite arrogant, they are right. They logical framework and scientific evidence make it impossible for a well educated person to believe in god without ignorance and double think. It sounds arrogant, but I could say the same thing about communism, relativism or 2+2=5- the only differance is in this case you are attached to the idea.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Samuel, as far as I can tell, your statement @3 agrees with what I wrote @2, even though that was in contrast to what you wrote @1. So I’m not confused what your position is with regard to your statement @1.

    Furthermore, you wrote (@3), that morality used to be “based on its relation to god”. Which then produces the question: what are morals based on now?

    I don’t think I can agree that God is now only relegated to “setting the constants”. Perhaps by some. But I’m pretty certain most here — myself included — would agree that God created the universe, the Earth, and mankind, in addition to the laws (and constants) of science.

    Anyhow, I guess I would like to know what your argument is for why I and the rest here are (1) not well educated (2) ignorant and/or (3) users of “double think”. I’ll wager it all comes down to semantics and a difference of opinion, but go ahead, wow us with your atheist intellect.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Whoops. There goes my poorly educated, ignorant mind, committing typos. I meant to say (@4) in the first paragraph that “I’m confused what your position is …”


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