History of Atheism


On this episode Five Missing Church history, we are trying something a little different usually talk about things within theism and we were very much interested into theistic tradition. But today, let's talk about the opposite of that and the history of atheism. Well, you could say atheism goes all the way back to the very beginning a back to the garden. You can say it goes back to the psalms. Isn't it psalm fourteen verse one that says the fool has said in his heart, there is no god. But what we're talking about on this episode is the history of Atheism in the modern world as an English term. The first time we see it is in the middle of the fifteen hundred s, but we see especially in the modern world of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. If we look at today's landscape, the latest poll I saw goes back to twenty fourteen, but it says that just under three percent of Americans claim to be atheists. Now, if you throw into that category, the so called Nuns, these are folks with no religious. Affiliation and really no religious inclination. Then we're up in the twenty percentile you might call them practical atheists. So we've got confessing atheists and practical atheists where do they all come from? Well, back in the seventeen twenty s we find an atheist, but he seems to be a literary creation is Tom Puzzle and this figure Tom Puzzle a fictional literary creation which show up in the pages of various magazines in the colonies and he would be used from time to time to comment on current events or to add some color to current events. But what we really find in the seventeen hundreds and into the eighteen hundreds is the precursor to atheism, which is deism. So theism of course believes in God who created the world, a god who is active in sustaining the world see ISM has with the idea of sovereignty in providence that God is controlling his universe controlling. As R, C sproul would say every single molecule there are no maverick molecules and also very active in the lives of people and in his universe through the doctrine of Providence God is intimately involved not only in creating the world but sustaining the world and bringing it to fruition and fulfilment of his good pleasure as theism. deism removes God from the daily life and removes God from actively involved in sustaining creation. God sort of creates the earth sort of like you start a top rate and you get it spinning then you just let it go. Well. That's what God did. He created the world and then he just lets it go. He's a little removed. That's DEISM. A precursor to atheism in what we see in the nineteenth and twentieth century as deism floats around especially in the academy and gained traction among the sort of intellectual and philosophical class we see the various philosophical schools that promote atheism. We see this in Europe and we see it in America. We see it didn't thinkers like Frederick Nietzsche who come to the conclusion that God is dead and we killed him that we have arrived at a point in the modern world, where God is no longer tenable thesis and out of that comes a very desperate despairing dark philosophy and worldview called Nielsen. We see it in some of the schools of thought that her apparently more sophisticated in the twentieth century we see it in the logical positive ISM and in some of those more scientific or properly, we should say scientism worldviews that want to reduce everything that is knowable to what is observable by the five senses and so creation the act of creation God himself, the transcendent world, the spiritual world, the world of faith all of this is outside of the. Realm of science according to scientists, and so God is not part of that equation. Well, that's a brief sketch of the history of atheism and I think we're taking right back to psalm fourteen one. Aren't we? The fool has said in his heart, there is no god.

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