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Overview

atheism

Subject: Religion

The theory or belief that God does not exist. The word comes (in the late 16th century, via French) from Greek atheos, from a- ‘without’ + theos ‘god’.

Atheism

Atheism   Reference library

Thoralf KLEIN

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...the term, Confucianism, which came under fire for its association with the official cult of the state. Because these intellectuals formed the backbone of revolutionary movements and of the emerging political parties, atheism played an important role in the political transformation of China. Atheism during the Republican Period Chinese atheism was first and foremost directed against religion’s most “superstitious” form: folk, or popular, religion, which also includes certain elements of Buddhism and Daoism. The republican revolution of 1911–1912 witnessed...

atheism

atheism   Reference library

Edward Royle

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
623 words

...Necessity of Atheism’. In Britain the best-known atheist, Thomas Paine ( 1737–1809 ), was in fact a deist whose Age of Reason was written to counter the progress of French atheism. As loyalist propaganda in the 1790s was directed against those radical ideas in religion and politics associated with the French Revolution, atheism became identified with lower-class subversion, though only a few radicals, such as William Godwin ( 1756–1836 ) and Jeremy Bentham ( 1748–1832 ), were actually atheists. In the 19th cent., materialistic atheism was taken up in...

Atheism

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Martin E. Marty

The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of the American Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...great.” He had no names to name. Positively, the almost invisible presence of atheism made it possible for more moderate and public doctrines like those of deism to escape the worst criticism. Negatively, the attacks on it left a legacy of abhorrence of atheism, which for the next two centuries has been exploitable by the enforcers of orthodoxy in church and state. Organizations devoted to propagating atheism have been few and small, but what is sometimes called “practical atheism,” in which citizens act the same way whether or not God exists has found a home...

Atheism

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Nathalie Caron

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... a before the Greek theos , a position described as “negative atheism” in the Cambridge Companion to Atheism , edited by Michael Martin, 2007 ) and those who believe that there is no God or gods (“positive atheism”). As a consequence of globalization, urbanization, secularization, and a number of sociodemographic developments, including immigration, religious pluralism, and the rise of political and religious conservatisms, however, usage and attitudes toward atheism are changing in the early twenty-first century. The phrase “closeted atheist” has...

Atheism

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Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945)
Length:
3,197 words

...Generation ; and Toland, John .] Berman, David . History of Atheism in Britain from Hobbes to Russell . London, 1988. A book that finds atheism where the author of this article often would not, and so a book that provides an important alternative view of the problem of the history of atheism. Buckley, Michael J. , S. J. At the Origins of Modern Atheism . New Haven, Conn., 1987. A rich and deep theological and philosophical contextualization of the origins of Enlightenment (and other) atheism. Deprun, Jean , Roland Desné , and Albert Soboul . Jean...

atheism

atheism   Quick reference

Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
350 words

... The Greek for atheism is ‘not to recognize the gods’ or ‘deny that the gods exist’ or, later, ‘to remove the gods’. The Greek word atheos can be applied to atheism (e.g. in Plato's Apology ), but in the earliest instances it means ‘impious, vicious’ or ‘hated, abandoned by the gods’, and these senses persist along with the other. Christians and pagans were to swap charges of atheism, by which they meant ‘impious views about the divine’. The gods of popular polytheism were rejected or drastically reinterpreted by all philosophers from the 6th cent. ...

atheism

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Robert Christopher Towneley Parker

The Oxford Classical Dictionary (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2012
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
580 words

... , The Greek for atheism is ‘not to recognize (νομίζειν) the gods’ or ‘deny that the gods exist’ or, later, ‘to remove (ἀναιρεῖν) the gods’. (The old doctrine that θεοὺς νομίζειν never means to ‘believe in’ but always to ‘pay cult to’ the gods is wrong; but it is true that borderline cases exist.) The Greek word ἄθεος can be applied to atheism (Pl. Ap. 26c), but in the earliest instances it means ‘impious, vicious’ or ‘hated, abandoned by the gods’, and these senses persist along with the other; so too with ἀθεότης. Thus Christians and pagans were to...

Atheism and Agnosticism

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Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
3,540 words
Illustration(s):
1

... and Agnosticism . Atheism in the modern world has both theoretical and practical manifestations, and developed mainly in reaction to Christian theology. The word has meant different things at different times: bad behavior, scoffing at holy things, irreligion, wrong religion (as in the controversies among Christians that followed the Reformation), or a well-thought-out rejection of God and religion. In the West, atheism is usually a rejection of God as understood in Christianity. Western European societies traditionally feared and hated “atheism” and...

German-American Bund

German-American Bund   Reference library

Stephanie Brookins

The Oxford Companion to World War II

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003

...a small minority of Americans of German ancestry, the Bund's membership, which at its peak may have totalled more than 20,000, was concentrated in eastern and Midwestern cities containing substantial numbers of German immigrants. The organization opposed racial intermixture, atheism, communism , Jewish financial interests, and labour movements, and promoted Aryan culture. As Nazism became increasingly unpopular among the American public, including the majority of German Americans, the Bund tried to obscure its allegiance to Nazi ideology , claiming it had...

Natural Philosophy (Science)

Natural Philosophy (Science)   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
5,186 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

... 1795 . However, Coleridge began to think that Newton's followers encouraged a mechanical philosophy that explained too much by secondary causes, leaving God as an indolent First Cause. He concluded that the concept of lifeless matter separated from God was a large step towards atheism; and secondly, that Priestley's alternative of active matter was a form of pantheism. Thus after about 1800 Coleridge sought a natural philosophy that escaped the atomistic and mechanical conceptions of the natural world. This search took him into German Naturphilosophie and...

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