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March 16, 2006

A Golden Age of Disbelief?

Every day, every week, every month, every quarter, the most widely read journals seem just now to vie with each other in telling us that the time for religion is past, that faith is a hallucination or an infantile disease, that the gods have at last been found out and exploded. -- Max Muller, 1878

Was this -- the time of Darwin, Huxley and Bradlaugh -- indeed the golden age of disbelief? Did it end? When? Have we in fact turned back toward religion? Why? (Forgive me if I've asked such questions before. I'll probably ask them again.)

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at March 16, 2006 11:34 PM


A couple of major figures to add to the lae 19th-century mix: Marx and Nietzsche.

Is disbelief the expansion of science into more domains of life, or the reduction of religion?

Posted by: Bryan Alexander at March 17, 2006 12:46 PM

Then there was Henry Adams's prediction that atheism would win out because it was cheaper than any form of religion:

What he forgot to take into account was that religion was, for the same reasons, the most profitable thing to sell: the original of branded water. And, once established, there's no brand loyalty fiercer.

Posted by: Ray Davis at March 21, 2006 2:35 PM

We cannot survive without believing we are aware of what is out there. Realize the leap of faith required for consciousness is only intellectually possible, not practical or even possible to live out. There can be no golden age of disbelief among those who fight death.

We live in the nuclear age of religion, when superstition and science clash in a dance to replace man. It is just a question of evolution or devolution. Either way, we are at the end of days.

Posted by: Jay at April 11, 2006 12:05 AM

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