2018-10-17

Speaking of us little devils…

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

After reading and posting a comment on Greta Christina’s 9 Questions Asked of Atheists… I have just caught up with Mano Singham’s The Morality of Atheists. And Mano’s post is about another post, How a Huguenot philosopher realised that atheists could be virtuous, by an assistant professor of philosophy, Michael Hickson. I’m a history lover so Hickson’s opener grabbed me:

For centuries in the West, the idea of a morally good atheist struck people as contradictory. Moral goodness was understood primarily in terms of possessing a good conscience, and good conscience was understood in terms of Christian theology. Being a good person meant hearing and intentionally following God’s voice (conscience). Since an atheist cannot knowingly recognise the voice of God, he is deaf to God’s moral commands, fundamentally and essentially lawless and immoral. But today, it is widely – if not completely – understood that an atheist can indeed be morally good. How did this assumption change? And who helped to change it?

One of the most important figures in this history is the Huguenot philosopher and historian, Pierre Bayle (1647-1706). His Various Thoughts on the Occasion of a Comet (1682), nominally dedicated towards taking down erroneous and popular opinions about comets, was a controversial bestseller, and a foundational work for the French Enlightenment. In it, Bayle launches a battery of arguments for the possibility of a virtuous atheist.

So if the same interests you and is new to you then you have the links above.

 

Related Posts on Vridar

Response #1 to the Non Sequitur program with Tim O... Last weekend I watched Tim O'Neill present his arguments against the idea that there was no historical Jesus. I said I would respond in a post to his ...
9 Questions Asked of Atheists Alternet has posted a useful guide for those too afraid to ask certain questions of atheists, of for those too cock-sure about atheists they don't bel...
What’s wrong with these atheists? Another atheist's experience on an atheist community has echoed my own experience with an online Australian atheist forum. Mano Singham recently poste...
The Idea of an Atheist Movement is Nonsense I have some disagreements with PZ Myers but I also have some ironclad agreements, such as his post back in mid-March: I ought to be getting used to a...
The following two tabs change content below.

Neil Godfrey

Neil is the author of this post. To read more about Neil, see our About page.

Latest posts by Neil Godfrey (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.