User:Andrewstewart1/History of atheism

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The history of Atheism can be traced back to ancient times. As long as peoples of antiquity were believing in gods, just as many were not. Throughout history, more authoritarian religions codified Atheism as a heresy, particularly in the West, while Eastern religions were able to form cosmologies that allowed Atheists to integrate into the greater theology. However, it should be further emphasized that cultural and political rivalries often also played a role in the growth and furtherance of religions, no matter what their grasp and approach towards Atheism. For example, Hinduism has a set of dogmas which accept Atheists and allows them to achieve better karma, but it also has a caste system which has outlasted the American slave trade by several millennia. Buddhism also grants a certain amount of enlightenment to Atheists, but sectarianism within the various branches has led to oftentimes bitter civil wars across history. Furthermore, a Dogmatic State Atheism, such as those in Revolutionary France or Soviet Russia, oftentimes merely replaces the object of worship, what Freud called a totem, with a worship of material settings and realities, be it the nation, people, or Great Leader. This itself is a form of population control, in that the people are guided to worship the religion of the State, emphasized through the agencies of the State (school, military, work, media, etc.) in a way to make their behaviors conform en masse to the desires of the Ruling Party. As such, this article will exclusively focus on the history of those who voluntarily chose to renounce Faith, as opposed to the intentional ransacking and pillaging by various governments across time of houses of worship so to maintain ideological hegemony and obtain precious metals from the Sacristy.

Ancient History[edit]

As far back as perhaps Lucretius, the un-belief in the deities was being discussed seriously by the philosophers.

Modern Free-Thought[edit]