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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 and Agnosticism

Atheism and Agnosticism   Reference library

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...

Memorials and Commemoration

Memorials and Commemoration   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
2,053 words
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1

...curriculums were rewritten, research centers were established, state publishing houses were founded, new encyclopedias were published, and books and documents were censored and purged. Museums were established to assure an orthodox past, none as expressive as Soviet museums of atheism located in former Orthodox churches. Dissenting Memory and Critical History. Totalitarianism made the greatest and most systematic attempt of the nation-state to capture the mind and control the memory of all society. In contradistinction, throughout modern and contemporary...

Papacy

Papacy   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
2,069 words
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1

...atheistic, deriding the papacy as a surpassed institution that would be soon destroyed by the need for reason, not faith. They were all strongly condemned and their writings banned by the Catholic hierarchy, but it is undeniable that their ideas raised a wave of agnosticism and atheism throughout Europe. Nonetheless, the French Revolution proved perhaps to be the greatest threat to the papacy. The confiscation of church property of 1789 was only the beginning of a ferocious attack on the spiritual and temporal powers of the pope, which culminated in 1798 ...

Philosophy

Philosophy   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
2,361 words
Illustration(s):
1

...now merely of historical or literary importance—figures such as Denis Diderot ( 1713–1784 ) and Voltaire ( 1694–1778 ). Or they survive as political philosophers, like Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( 1712–1778 ). Although theoretical issues of rationalism, science, materialism, or atheism figured in all their thinking, most of these people saw their purpose as political, and the principal effect of the movement is widely believed to be the French Revolution of 1789 . By then there had already been another revolution, the American, in which the influence of French...

Religion

Religion   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
5,042 words

...shifted the focus of social identity from religious affiliation to membership in an ethnic or linguistic group. The rise of socialist thought in the nineteenth and especially the twentieth century constituted a direct attack on religion because socialism proclaimed doctrines of atheism and materialism, and socialist political systems practiced suppression of religion. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, scientific developments such as the theory of evolution and new theories about the age of the universe contradicted the creationist notions of universal...

Central Asia

Central Asia   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
3,245 words
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1

...Latin alphabets and introduced a newly adapted Cyrillic script for all languages. This facilitated the learning of Russian, but it also eliminated the possibility for the development of a pan-Turkic literature. In the late 1920s a propaganda campaign was launched against Islam. Atheism was promoted, and Islam was depicted as a reactionary religion that humiliated women and was intolerant and xenophobic. In 1927 all traditional Muslim courts were closed. In 1928 all Qur᾽anic schools were banned. All religious endowments ( waqf ) were abolished in 1930 ....

Judaism

Judaism   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
3,019 words
Illustration(s):
2

...regardless of the historical process by which the written text developed. A further challenge to conventional Jewish theological discourse has been thrown up after the Holocaust by the increasingly common rejection of the idea of a covenant and personal relationship with God. Atheism was already a marked feature of European Jewish life in the early twentieth century, particularly on the political left among working-class east Europeans. By the 1930s, Reconstructionist circles, inspired by New York Conservative Mordecai Kaplan ( 1881–1983 ), rejected the...

Victorianism

Victorianism   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
2,922 words
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1

...most influential and revered thinkers, Thomas Carlyle , was vehemently antidemocratic. In Past and Present ( 1843 ), a book he wrote in seven weeks in the heat of responding to working-class uprisings in industrial centers, Carlyle argued that democracy institutionalizes the “atheism” of laissez-faire economics. Carlyle's antidemocratic attitude was later reflected in Victorian intellectuals of both conservative and liberal orientations, such as John Ruskin , Matthew Arnold , George Eliot , and Elizabeth Gaskell . Even John Stuart Mill , who in On...

Conservatism

Conservatism   Reference library

Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern World

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
History, Contemporary History (post 1945)
Length:
6,992 words
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1

...denied basic rights to African Americans. Libertarianism's recognition of individual liberty found a radical expression in the Objectivists, followers of Ayn Rand who espoused an individualistic ethic steeped in self-interest, Nietzschean themes of heroism, and an assertive atheism. Anticommunists found their own caricatures first in the excesses of McCarthyism and later in the John Birch Society, founded by businessman Robert Welch in 1958 . The Birchers adopted an extreme version of anticommunism, claiming that communist conspiracies were ubiquitous in...

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