By David Berman

Probably no doctrine has excited as a lot horror and abuse as atheism. this primary heritage of British atheism, first released in 1987, tries to give an explanation for this response whereas showing the advance of atheism from Hobbes to Russell. even supposing avowed atheism seemed strangely past due – 1782 in Britain – there have been covert atheists within the center 17th century. through tracing its improvement from so early a date, Dr Berman offers an account of a major and engaging strand of highbrow history.

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But it is hard to be sure about the nature of Fotherby's denial; this is so partly on account of his use of the full-blooded innatist and consensus arguments for God's existence, but also because we are ignorant of the nature and extent of the atheistic threat in his period. 37 For these reasons I am reluctant to pass confident judgement on his denials; whereas I did confidently judge Curteis's denial - which is in some respects quite similar - to be an example of repression; for, although Curteis makes use of the innatist and consensus arguments, they are both weaker and less directly connected with his denial of atheists.

100). There may also have been some men who denied the existence of all gods; but their denial was not sincere; or it may not have been constant: it may have been caused by 'some sodaine passion', and hence lasted only a short time (p. 107). What appears to be pure atheism tends to collapse under Fotherby's scrutiny into unthinking and/or 'practical Atheisme, (p. 107). This tendency can be seen in a remarkable passage in which Fotherby formulates what I have called the crucial clash, while resisting the suggestion that he is himself guilty of it: And, whereas in divers passages of it [Fotherby's book], we affirme, that there be no Atheists; and yet, in other places, do we acknowledge many, and dispute against them: for the avoyding of offence by this seeming contradiction, I desire the reader to carry out with him this distinction: ...

The most famous 20 The Repression of Atheism opponent of both the empirical and conceptual forms of this kind of denial was Pierre Bayle. 20 Richard Blackmore, who has much in common with Bentley, is more successful in resisting the repressive tendency. But even Blackmore, although he is convinced that there are speculative atheists, tends to doubt the existence of speculative atheism of former times. 'I am apt to think [he writes in the Creatwn, p. ' But since Blackmore does allow that speculative atheism is to be found in his own time, there is nothing to clash with the arguments against atheism he presents in his various books.

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