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Atheism in France, 1650-1729: Volume I: The Orthodox Sources by Alan Charles Kors

By Alan Charles Kors

Although so much historians have sought the roots of atheism within the heritage of "free thought," Alan Charles Kors contends that assaults at the life of God have been generated specifically through the power 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 lecturers and apologists in seventeenth-century France have been obliged through the common sense in their philosophical and pedagogical structures to create many versions of speculative atheism for heuristic reasons. strange in its huge sampling of the spiritual literature of the early-modern realized global, this booklet finds that the "great fratricide" between bitterly competing faculties of Aristotelian, Cartesian, and Malebranchist Christian proposal inspired theologians to refute every one other's proofs of God and to depict the guidelines in their theological competitors as atheistic. Such "fratricide" used to be no longer new within the background of Christendom, yet Kors demonstrates that its impression was once dramatically amplified via the increasing literacy of the 17th century. shooting the eye of the interpreting public, theological debate supplied highbrow grounds for the disbelief of the 1st iteration of atheistic thinkers.

Originally released in 1990.

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Paris, 1867 [limited ed. 120 copies, by the "Academie des bibliophiles"]), 10-13. "28 In reverse order, then, Charron presents us with an atheism born of hasty judgment by impatient and selfish souls who ignore the counsel of God, seeking to avoid merited punishment in their brutishness and madness. The categories of such judgment, he believed, including a failure to see beyond the operations of nature, had been described by Scripture itself. 32 In short, atheism was a willful blindness, expressed in "oppositions and objections" to orthodox beliefs, and visi­ ble in an unjust, dissolute, ungodly life.

All atheists had gone from vice to depravity to blind­ ness to denial of God, and they must never be allowed to tempt any be­ liever onto the same path. 16 He warned "those who dispute against the atheists," however, that they "always should use this first proof [from the noneternity of the world], as being the principal one that demonstratively proves a Divinity. .. For as to the other proofs, . . , 317-402. , 396-402. " 15 David Derodon, L'ath4isme convaincu. Tratti demonstrant par raisons naturelles qu'il y aun Dieu (Orange, 1659), 4.

ATHEISTS WITHOUT ATHEISM 19 For almost all early-modern theologians there was, from a Christian perspective, no equivocation here. It was clear to them that those who lived immoral lives would seek to persuade themselves, in desperation, that there was no need to believe in a God who would judge and punish them. To live as if there were no God was to place oneself in peril if there were a God. The "ungodly" atheist, then—that is to say, the immoral man—sought to deflect his terror by denying the specific God who judged and punished mankind and by closing his mind to the abundance of ar­ guments that proved His existence.

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