At the Origins of Modern Atheism by Michael J. Buckley

By Michael J. Buckley

During this ebook, Michael J. Buckley investigates the increase of contemporary atheism, arguing convincingly that its roots achieve again to the 17th century, whilst Catholic theologians started to name upon philosophy and science-rather than any intrinsically non secular experience-to protect the lifestyles of god. Buckley discusses intimately thinkers resembling Lessius, Mersenne, Descartes, and Newton, who cleared the path for the categorical atheism of Diderot and D'Holbach within the eighteenth century. "[A] capaciously realized and brilliantly written book....This is likely one of the finest and heavily argued works on theology that i've got learn within the final decade."-Lawrence S. Cunningham, Theology this day

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Leonard Leys, latinized into Lessius, was born in Brecht on October 1, 1554, and died on January 15, 1623, in Louvain. Louvain drew to itself most of his life. He was educated at its University, taking the doctorate as primus in philosophy in 1571. Leonard entered the newly founded Society of Jesus in 1572, even though the chancellor of the University attempted to dissuade him, the redoubtable Michael de Bay with whom Lessius was later to find himself in almost continuous conflict. From 1581 until 1584, he studied Religion as Bankrupt 43 theology at the Roman College, sitting in the lecture halls of Francis Suarez and Robert Bellarmine.

20 The scene could hardly be more unlikely: the Flemish Jesuit, who crossed swords with James I over the powers of the papacy, now making his entrance into English letters through the man whom James beheaded. Lessius' tractate "frustrateth with shame and confusion all the impugners of so illustrious and evident a Principle (Charactered in our Soules by Gods own scale;)" and Raleigh begs his friend—as a "Boone, or Favour"—to translate the Latin book into English and let it bear Raleigh's name. "21 The ghost and its appeal were literary devices, a bit of preface to introduce the work of Lessius to the English audience and to smooth the passage between Louvain and London.

The god who had disappeared from conviction was finally irrelevant. Nietzsche never draws out the implication of these two insights, but they are points of critical importance. For if the death of god is constituted by his massive incredibility and if this incredibility rests upon one who is fundamentally trivial, then the issues of the Seventh Epistle about meaning and instance can be legitimately leveled at the Madman of The Gay Science and the prophetic Zarathustra: What god has died beneath these knives?

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