By Alan Charles Kors
Although such a lot historians have sought the roots of atheism within the background of "free thought," Alan Charles Kors contends that assaults at the life of God have been generated specially by way of the energy and controversies of orthodox theistic tradition itself. during this first quantity of a deliberate two-volume inquiry into the assets and nature of atheism, he indicates that orthodox academics and apologists in seventeenth-century France have been obliged via the good judgment in their philosophical and pedagogical platforms to create many types of speculative atheism for heuristic reasons. strange in its large sampling of the non secular literature of the early-modern discovered international, this publication finds that the "great fratricide" between bitterly competing colleges of Aristotelian, Cartesian, and Malebranchist Christian notion inspired theologians to refute each one other's proofs of God and to depict the tips in their theological rivals as atheistic. Such "fratricide" used to be now not new within the background of Christendom, yet Kors demonstrates that its impression was once dramatically amplified by way of the increasing literacy of the 17th century. taking pictures the eye of the examining public, theological debate supplied highbrow grounds for the disbelief of the 1st iteration of atheistic thinkers.
Originally released in 1990.
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Extra resources for Atheism in France, 1650-1729: Volume I: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief
The Hague, 1725), I, 422. B. Drachmann, Atheism in Pagan Antiquity, trans. I. Anderson (Copenhagen, 1922), 1-13. 3 St. Justin Martyr, Writings of Saint Justin Martyr, ed. and trans. Thomas B. 28. The charge of atheism against the Christians was commonly known through many patristic works, especially that of Lactantius. When Henricus Sivers addressed this issue in a thesis presented under the direction of the eminent German philos opher and theologian Christian Kortholt, in De Atheismo, veteribus Christianis, ob Templorum inprimis adversationem, objecto, in que eosdem a nostris retorto, Excercitatio (Kiel, 1689), 1-38, he concluded that the pagan charge of atheism against the early Christians was based on the fact that the latter had no temples, sacrifices, or images devoted to the gods of the country; he noted and cited the many Fathers who, struck by the "iniquity" of the accusation, were obliged to respond to it.
52 By the late seventeenth century, then, theologians and other commen tators on the scandals of irreligion had a well-defined character in place: the wicked atheist without real conviction. On the surface, nothing had changed in the caricature. Atheistic disbelief might be attributed less and less to a variety of merely heterodox views or doubts, but atheism as the "denial" of God continued to be conceived of both as the widespread phenomenon of libertine life-styles and, intellectually, as an inanity so extreme that it could only be a function of the will.
The idea of God is in all men.... Those who combat it speak at the bidding of their corrupted heart, but they do not follow the lights of their mind. They would wish that there were no God who punishes their immoralities: that is the goal of their sentiments. 67 Similarly, Pierre-Jacques Brillon, continuator of La Bruyere's Caracteres, conceded that, in theory, a "virtuous" atheist might be with excuse moeurs de ce siecle, ed. , 2 vols. (Paris, 1700; Amster dam, 1701), ii, 84-90. , Viriti evidente de la religion chritienne..
Atheism in France, 1650-1729: Volume I: The Orthodox Sources of Disbelief by Alan Charles Kors