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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

Atheism   Reference library

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

Atheism   Reference library

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...

Religious Practice, Contemporary

Religious Practice, Contemporary   Reference library

Jinghao ZHOU

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...constitution, the party takes Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought as its guide. Atheism is a central tenet of Marxism. Marxism holds that God is a mere fabrication, invented by people to soothe the misery of this world, a fabrication exploited by the ruling classes to oppress the working class. From the Marxist perspective, the abolition of religion and the abolition of the capitalist system go hand in hand. The party requires its members to profess Marxist atheism and to educate the masses in the Marxist perspective on religion. Chinese people...

Ancestor Worship

Ancestor Worship   Reference library

Jeffrey L. RICHEY

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...ancestor worship” were “a kind of superstition,” henceforth they would not be proscribed “as long as they do not affect collective political and economic activities,” and that the government placed its faith in “patient persuasion and lasting education in science, culture, and atheism” to root out such practices eventually. Since the 1980s, both public and private ancestor worship have become more prominent in mainland China, and these practices have remained strong in Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as in overseas Chinese communities. Jeffrey L. RICHEY Further...

Confucianism–Revival

Confucianism–Revival   Reference library

Daniel A. BELL

Berkshire Encyclopedia of China

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016

...recognize the ideal of tolerating different forms of religions. The “fact of pluralism” is a feature of modern societies, and it seems only fair to allow different people to practice the forms of religious life that are most compelling to them. Even those who are convinced of atheism do not argue for banning religion. But some leftists in the West object to any role for religion in public life. Left Confucians do not take a strong view regarding religion. Following the example of the early Confucian thinkers such as Confucius himself, they leave open...

secularism

secularism   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:
244 words

...atheists, lacking belief in divine judgement, must be immoral and incapable of exercising civil rights. Holyoake wished to avoid the negative connotations of the word atheism by finding an alternative which stressed the positive nature of an ethical life inspired to do good for its own sake. Regarding religion as an irrelevance, he argued that secularism could extend beyond the bounds of atheism to include all enlightened reformers. Local secular societies were formed in the 1850s, incorporating earlier groups of anticlerical and atheistic radicals who had...

Reflections on the Revolution in France

Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790)   Reference library

Tim S. Gray

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

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

...English Whigs had sought to protect the established Anglican constitution from subversion by James II , a Roman catholic. In Part II, Burke enumerated the false principles of the revolutionaries in France, including libertinism, egalitarianism, disrespect for private property, atheism, and, above all, rationalism. He feared that the spirit of Jacobinism , unless challenged, would sweep through Europe undermining all traditional institutions. Tim S....

Rand, Ayn

Rand, Ayn (1905–1982)   Reference library

Luey Beth

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

...to philosophy, lecturing, and writing about Objectivism. Objectivism rejects religion, collectivism, statism, and altruism in favor of atheism, laissez-faire capitalism, and “rational egoism.” Its closest political expression is libertarianism, and Rand endorsed the candidacy of Barry Goldwater. Conservatives have been attracted to its support of capitalism and critique of Communism, but are less comfortable with Rand's atheism and pro-choice stance. Although literary critics and academic philosophers have dismissed her work, it has been popular: all her books...

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