Atheists In The Ancient World
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
22-05-2013, 06:23 PM
Atheists In The Ancient World
I'm sure every Atheist has had the infamous Psalm 14:1 quoted at them; "The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"

This interests me because I had no idea Atheism was widespread enough in ancient Israel for the Psalmist to make note of them.

Just how common was Atheism in those days?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TheLastEnemy's post
22-05-2013, 07:10 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
(22-05-2013 06:23 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  I'm sure every Atheist has had the infamous Psalm 14:1 quoted at them; "The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"

This interests me because I had no idea Atheism was widespread enough in ancient Israel for the Psalmist to make note of them.

Just how common was Atheism in those days?

It was certainly around. Though, I don't recall offhand when the Psalms were compiled, so it's a bit hard to say without that reference point... By at least a couple hundred BC the attitude among Greek intellectuals (and, somewhat later, Romans as well) was pretty non-theist - certainly against literalism of their own mythology; probably more like the fuzzy vague deism that was vogue during the Enlightenment, if not outright atheists. Coming to a purely rational explanation of the world was a lot harder back then, after all!

The best evidence, though is surely Epicurus. Who I hope you've heard of. He of the following:
Epicurus Wrote:Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
And he died in 270 BC, so that's pretty old.

That, uh, doesn't really answer your question as to demographics. Oh well.\

EDIT: Oh, and I just realized, it's probably worth checking the original language on that particular one. The English translation might be just 'no God', but the original could well be 'no [to our] God', which was obviously pretty common indeed.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
22-05-2013, 07:52 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
(22-05-2013 07:10 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(22-05-2013 06:23 PM)TheLastEnemy Wrote:  I'm sure every Atheist has had the infamous Psalm 14:1 quoted at them; "The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"

This interests me because I had no idea Atheism was widespread enough in ancient Israel for the Psalmist to make note of them.

Just how common was Atheism in those days?

It was certainly around. Though, I don't recall offhand when the Psalms were compiled, so it's a bit hard to say without that reference point... By at least a couple hundred BC the attitude among Greek intellectuals (and, somewhat later, Romans as well) was pretty non-theist - certainly against literalism of their own mythology; probably more like the fuzzy vague deism that was vogue during the Enlightenment, if not outright atheists. Coming to a purely rational explanation of the world was a lot harder back then, after all!

The best evidence, though is surely Epicurus. Who I hope you've heard of. He of the following:
Epicurus Wrote:Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?
And he died in 270 BC, so that's pretty old.

That, uh, doesn't really answer your question as to demographics. Oh well.\

EDIT: Oh, and I just realized, it's probably worth checking the original language on that particular one. The English translation might be just 'no God', but the original could well be 'no [to our] God', which was obviously pretty common indeed.

And before him...

Shrines! Shrines! Surely you don't believe in the gods. What's your argument? Where's your proof?
Aristophanes ca. 446 BC – ca. 386 BC

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but also with regard to their mode of life.
Aristotle 384 BC – 322 BC

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Full Circle's post
22-05-2013, 08:06 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
Atheists have been around longer than theists, for the same reason man has been around longer than the wheel.

Atheism didn't remain very popular after religion took hold though, apparently because when and atheist said "there is no god" the theist heard "please run me through with your sword or feed me to that lion over there".

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names. - Chinese Proverb
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes bbeljefe's post
22-05-2013, 09:34 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
Probably worth remembering one of the charges levied against early Christians was of atheism.

Humanists of West Florida
GC CoR
P'cola Skeptic in thePub
GC Freethinker
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes KeenIdiot's post
23-05-2013, 03:08 AM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_atheism

I think this pretty much says it all.

I will have to add though, concerning Ancient Greece, it is not very clear whether they actually believed in gods. Yes, they exist in mythology, in art, in literature, but there is little mention of them in history and philosophy.
There are also documents that prove that religion was used as a tool to get rid of "infidels", that is philosophers who were considered somehow threatening to the state (in his trial, Socrates was accused of not respecting the religion).

Most philosophers who mention the gods of Olympus do it simply out of keeping the tradition and conforming. It seems that religious ceremonies served mostly as an excuse to eat meat (animal sacrifices) or just simply keeping the tradition.
The most beloved and celebrated-for god was Dionysus, the god of wine. And well, they were well-known party animals.

In Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, it is quite obvious that the gods were not taken seriously. And well, let's face it, it's quite funny to think that such intelligent people who set the foundations of philosophy would believe that Zeus was going around raping women and animals (not to mention other even more ridiculous myths).

After Christianity appeared on the map, many Greeks were considered "Pagans" when they were actually atheists. So many centuries later, the "Greek religion" was somewhat dead, if you look into Hypatia for example, you'll get an idea of what it was to be a non-Christian philosopher at those times.

Well, that's my input as a Greek, sorry for over-analyzing Unsure

"Behind every great pirate, there is a great butt."
-Guybrush Threepwood-
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-05-2013, 08:48 AM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
Quote:I'm sure every Atheist has had the infamous Psalm 14:1 quoted at them; "The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"

This interests me because I had no idea Atheism was widespread enough in ancient Israel for the Psalmist to make note of them.

Just how common was Atheism in those days?

An apologist was once asked in my presence why Atheism received scant mention in the Bible. "People were more intelligent in those days," he replied. Wink
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-05-2013, 09:11 AM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
(23-05-2013 08:48 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  An apologist was once asked in my presence why Atheism received scant mention in the Bible. "People were more intelligent in those days," he replied. Wink

I'd like to ask that same apologist if he considers cooking with poop to be "intelligent behavior." Big Grin

If Jesus died for our sins, why is there still sin? If man was created from dust, why is there still dust? If Americans came from Europe, why are there still Europeans?
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-05-2013, 02:11 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
Quote:I'd like to ask that same apologist if he considers cooking with poop to be "intelligent behavior."

It was cooking over poop, not with poop. Don't you want the Travel Channel or the Food Network? Wink

And the point of the cooking over poop had to do with what... hmm... sin? Satan? (Church Lady voice.) Smile
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
23-05-2013, 02:20 PM
RE: Atheists In The Ancient World
(23-05-2013 08:48 AM)PleaseJesus Wrote:  
Quote:I'm sure every Atheist has had the infamous Psalm 14:1 quoted at them; "The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God"

This interests me because I had no idea Atheism was widespread enough in ancient Israel for the Psalmist to make note of them.

Just how common was Atheism in those days?

An apologist was once asked in my presence why Atheism received scant mention in the Bible. "People were more intelligent in those days," he replied. Wink

Why is it your religion needs schools and departments full of those "apologizing" and not one science department, or hospital, or research department on the planet has an "apology" department ? Dodgy

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein
Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: