Monday, March 30, 2009

Atheist Quote of the Week 28

If we go back to the beginning, we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests. If the ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, the knowledge of nature is calculated to destroy them.
~ Baron D'Hollbach

The Baron D'Hollbach was a French aristocrat and perhaps the first modern atheist to express his views pointedly and without reservation. He did write his incredibly controversial book anonymously, but at his home he hosted many gatherings of like-minded people to give them an opportunity for expression of controversial views and a feeling of belonging to a common mindset about religion. If atheism has a modern "founder" of the philosophy, it would probably be him, and not the Hitchens and Dawkins phenomenon of the last decade, who took the first steps to make saying "there is no god and believing in one is neither necessary nor a foregone conclusion" acceptable in society.

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