By David Berman
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 give an explanation for this response whereas displaying the improvement of atheism from Hobbes to Russell. even though avowed atheism seemed strangely overdue – 1782 in Britain – there have been covert atheists within the center 17th century. by way of tracing its improvement from so early a date, Dr Berman provides an account of an enormous and engaging strand of highbrow history.
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Extra resources for A History of Atheism in Britain: From Hobbes to Russell
This is also what I have done in the denials of atheism. 26 The Repression of Atheism This sort of utterance is probably more common than one might at first imagine. ' Very likely the mother is not uttering this in order to describe a state of affairs. She is using the quasi-descriptive statement to bring about or enforce a certain state of affairs. Once again, we should probably become convinced of this by what she might say after the initial utterance. ) Hence if she were to say, 'Daniel does not pull his mother's hair, because he knows what happened to him the last time he did', we would have little doubt about the aim of the first utterance.
But it is hard to be sure about the nature of Fotherby's denial; this is so partly on account of his use of the full-blooded innatist and consensus arguments for God's existence, but also because we are ignorant of the nature and extent of the atheistic threat in his period. 37 For these reasons I am reluctant to pass confident judgement on his denials; whereas I did confidently judge Curteis's denial - which is in some respects quite similar - to be an example of repression; for, although Curteis makes use of the innatist and consensus arguments, they are both weaker and less directly connected with his denial of atheists.
This is so because Herbert argues for the existence of God on the basis of universal assent: it is, he contends, a common notion which 'has been accepted by every normal person, and does not require any further justification' (p. 291). In this way his denial of atheists forms a necessary part or implication of his proof: if there were any atheists (or any normal persons who were atheists), then the belief would not be universal; but then - as universality is a sign of truth for Herbert - the belief in God would not be true.
A History of Atheism in Britain: From Hobbes to Russell by David Berman