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Pre-Modern-Atheists
#1

Pre-Modern-Atheists
You Tube - How to be an Atheist in Medieval Europe

Historian Alec Ryrie  

An interesting video discussing the existence of atheism in medieval Europe.  Some people will tell us there were no atheists until modern times.  No so.   Sometimes funny, always insightful.  Well worth a listen.  Resentment against priests was  apparently a good passage into skepticism and atheism.  A fun listen.
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#2

Pre-Modern-Atheists
"Some people will tell us..." LOL
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#3

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-12-2021, 07:22 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: You Tube - How to be an Atheist in Medieval Europe

Historian Alec Ryrie  

An interesting video discussing the existence of atheism in medieval Europe.  Some people will tell us there were no atheists until modern times.  No so.   Sometimes funny, always insightful.  Well worth a listen.  Resentment against priests was  apparently a good passage into skepticism and atheism.  A fun listen.
The word "atheist" is of relatively recent origin but lack of belief in gods, as a concept, is as old as religion. Prior to the label "atheist" it just was low-key and most often covert, so no word was useful or needed. As soon as the Enlightenment rolled around and open disbelief was, at least for the elites, not a death sentence or guaranteed social marginalization, then the term became helpful.
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#4

Pre-Modern-Atheists
Every single person ever born was an atheist until the propaganda machine started work on them.
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#5

Pre-Modern-Atheists
Free thought (sometimes spelled freethought)[1][2] is an epistemological viewpoint which holds that beliefs should not be formed on the basis of authoritytraditionrevelation, or dogma, and that beliefs should instead be reached by other methods such as logicreason, and empirical observation. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a freethinker is "a person who forms their own ideas and opinions rather than accepting those of other people, especially in religious teaching." In some contemporary thought in particular, free thought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems.[2][3] The cognitive application of free thought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of free thought are known as "freethinkers".[2] Modern freethinkers consider free thought to be a natural freedom from all negative and illusive thoughts acquired from society.[4]

The term first came into use in the 17th century in order to refer to people who inquired into the basis of traditional beliefs which were often accepted unquestioningly. Today, freethinking is most closely linked with secularismatheismagnosticismhumanismanti-clericalism, and religious critique. The Oxford English Dictionary defines freethinking as, "The free exercise of reason in matters of religious belief, unrestrained by deference to authority; the adoption of the principles of a free-thinker." Freethinkers hold that knowledge should be grounded in facts, scientific inquiry, and logic. The skeptical application of science implies freedom from the intellectually limiting effects of confirmation biascognitive biasconventional wisdompopular cultureurban mythprejudice, or sectarianism.[5]

Critical thought has flourished in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, in the repositories of knowledge and wisdom in Ireland and in the Iranian civilizations (for example in the era of Khayyam (1048–1131) and his unorthodox Sufi Rubaiyat poems), and in other civilizations, such as the Chinese (note for example the seafaring renaissance of the Southern Song dynasty of 1127–1279),[18] and on through heretical thinkers on esoteric alchemy or astrology, to the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.

Free thought - Wikipedia
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#6

Pre-Modern-Atheists
My grandfather called himself a "free thnker".  I didn't know my grandfather that well.  He died when I was about 7 but he considered himself to be a freethinker all his life.  On the other hand my grandmother was quite religious.  She was such a snob.  We're American but she considered herself to be a member of the Anglican Church which I always think of as British.  I think the American version of the Anglican Church is Episcoplaian, which always sounds like a disease to me. 

 Anyway, these two were married for 60- some years and my grandmother spent most of those 60 years trying to get my grandfather baptised.  If anyone has ever seen the old movie, Life With Father, it was just like that.  He finally relented but only just to shut her up.  Funnily enough, he belonged to the Mason's even though he was a country dentist and never laid a brick in his life, unless you consider filling cavities similar to brick laying.  He joined the Mason's but he knew it was a bunch of hooey.  He basically joined the Masons just to get away from my grandmother's constant nagging and so he could drink some whiskey and tell a few dirty jokes.  He had a Mason's funeral, much to my grandmothers irritation. 

I never met my other grandfather but I know a few things about him.  He was a railroad engineer but also a free thinker so both my grandfathers were "free thinkers".   I'm proud of that.  He didn't need to join a faternal men's club to drink wiskey and tell dirty jokes though.  Telling dirty jokes and drinking whiskey was what he did every day.  He had worked on the Panama Canal when he was younger and didn't touch the water there, he drank whiskey the entire time and never got sick like so many other people did.   He earned the name "Hickery" because of his whiskey drinking.  

He died in a Burlesque theatre in Chicago at the age of 68 watching naked women prance around the stage.  He had a whiskey in one hand and a cigar in  the other and proceeded to have a massive heart attack sitting in his seat.   People thought he had passed out and stepped over him when the show was over.  He passed out all right.  He was so passed out that he was dead.   This happened the evening after my mother married her first husband when she was 18.  When her father didn't come home that night or the night after that she had to go from morgue to morgue looking for her father.  She finally found him.  

So those are my two free thinking grandfathers.   Sun
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#7

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-12-2021, 04:25 PM)mordant Wrote:
(02-12-2021, 07:22 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: You Tube - How to be an Atheist in Medieval Europe

Historian Alec Ryrie  

An interesting video discussing the existence of atheism in medieval Europe.  Some people will tell us there were no atheists until modern times.  No so.   Sometimes funny, always insightful.  Well worth a listen.  Resentment against priests was  apparently a good passage into skepticism and atheism.  A fun listen.
The word "atheist" is of relatively recent origin but lack of belief in gods, as a concept, is as old as religion. Prior to the label "atheist" it just was low-key and most often covert, so no word was useful or needed. As soon as the Enlightenment rolled around and open disbelief was, at least for the elites, not a death sentence or guaranteed social marginalization, then the term became helpful.

The Greeks coined the word "ἄθεος " prior to the 5th century BCE.
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#8

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-12-2021, 04:25 PM)mordant Wrote:
(02-12-2021, 07:22 AM)Cheerful Charlie Wrote: You Tube - How to be an Atheist in Medieval Europe

Historian Alec Ryrie  

An interesting video discussing the existence of atheism in medieval Europe.  Some people will tell us there were no atheists until modern times.  No so.   Sometimes funny, always insightful.  Well worth a listen.  Resentment against priests was  apparently a good passage into skepticism and atheism.  A fun listen.
The word "atheist" is of relatively recent origin but lack of belief in gods, as a concept, is as old as religion. Prior to the label "atheist" it just was low-key and most often covert, so no word was useful or needed. As soon as the Enlightenment rolled around and open disbelief was, at least for the elites, not a death sentence or guaranteed social marginalization, then the term became helpful.

Ryrie goes into this.  A look at Ryrie on You Tube shows he has a number of videos available.  As a historian, he is interested in the rise of Protestantism, atheists and skeptics, and similar movements.  Ryrie points out many religious skeptics were not taking their cue from philosophers and the like, but from their own observations about the gap between what the priests said and did and the reality of life.

Ryrie has a number of books available on Amazon.  he has written on the rise of Protestantism and similar subjects from the stance of intellectual history.
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#9

Pre-Modern-Atheists
Before the First Damn Fool conceived the concept of a "Superior Being", everyone was atheist. Not in any sense of refuting a deity, but in the sense of not even considering any non-pre-existing concept of one. Everyone was free of any idea of a deity until THAT DAMNED FOOL came up with the idea. THeists love to say that some traumatic event casuses us atheiests to deny a deity. I say that original person who thought of the idea "had a problem". LOL!

If I had a time machine, I would like to kill that idiot and all who came to a similar idea afterwards. Dedicate my remaining life to it. But that probably wouldn't work. I would likely be descended from one of them and would not exist to kill them.

Time is SO interesting.
I came to a fork in the road, and I took it!
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#10

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(02-13-2021, 03:18 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Before the First Damn Fool conceived the concept of a "Superior Being", everyone was atheist.  Not in any sense of refuting a deity, but in the sense of not even considering any non-pre-existing concept of one.  Everyone was free of any idea of a deity until THAT DAMNED FOOL came up with the idea.  THeists love to say that some traumatic event casuses us atheiests to deny a deity.  I say that original person who thought of the idea "had a problem".  LOL!

If I had a time machine, I would like to kill that idiot and all who came to a similar idea afterwards.  Dedicate my remaining life to it.  But that probably wouldn't work.  I would likely be descended from one of them and would not exist to kill them.  

Time is SO interesting.

Almost all original theology was polytheistic.  The proto-Israelites most certainly were.  The first mention of the God that is all spirit, and what we might call a super God was an idea from Xenophanes.

1. God is one, supreme among gods and men, and not like mortals in body
or in mind.
2. The whole [of god] sees, the whole perceives, the whole hears.
3. But without effort he sets in motion all things by mind and thought.
4. It [i.e. being] always abides in the same place, not moved at all,
nor is it fitting that it should move from one place to another.
 - Xenophanes

Others soon followed. Plato did, see Plato's "Law - Book X"
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#11

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 03:18 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Before the First Damn Fool conceived the concept of a "Superior Being", everyone was atheist.  Not in any sense of refuting a deity, but in the sense of not even considering any non-pre-existing concept of one.  Everyone was free of any idea of a deity until THAT DAMNED FOOL came up with the idea.  THeists love to say that some traumatic event casuses us atheiests to deny a deity.  I say that original person who thought of the idea "had a problem".  LOL!

If I had a time machine, I would like to kill that idiot and all who came to a similar idea afterwards.  Dedicate my remaining life to it.  But that probably wouldn't work.  I would likely be descended from one of them and would not exist to kill them.  

Time is SO interesting.
I see religion as an inevitable default mindset that arises from the fact that the human mind is a sloppy mess of confirmation bias and agency inference. Until recently, the combination of that plus ignorance and, usually, illiteracy, practically guaranteed submission to ecclesiastical abuse.

So if you went back and killed the first shaman, a hundred more would rise up to take his place.

The only real antidote to theism is critical thinking -- a skill that, sadly, most of us are still not trained in.
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#12

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 12:08 PM)mordant Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 03:18 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Before the First Damn Fool conceived the concept of a "Superior Being", everyone was atheist.  Not in any sense of refuting a deity, but in the sense of not even considering any non-pre-existing concept of one.  Everyone was free of any idea of a deity until THAT DAMNED FOOL came up with the idea.  THeists love to say that some traumatic event casuses us atheiests to deny a deity.  I say that original person who thought of the idea "had a problem".  LOL!

If I had a time machine, I would like to kill that idiot and all who came to a similar idea afterwards.  Dedicate my remaining life to it.  But that probably wouldn't work.  I would likely be descended from one of them and would not exist to kill them.  

Time is SO interesting.
I see religion as an inevitable default mindset that arises from the fact that the human mind is a sloppy mess of confirmation bias and agency inference. Until recently, the combination of that plus ignorance and, usually, illiteracy, practically guaranteed submission to ecclesiastical abuse.

So if you went back and killed the first shaman, a hundred more would rise up to take his place.

The only real antidote to theism is critical thinking -- a skill that, sadly, most of us are still not trained in.

There once was a time when no human was a theist. SOMEONE came up with the whole sad concept. But you might be right that others would imagine a deity "somewhere above". I'd be happy to keep knocking them off if it meant we would be free of it now.
I came to a fork in the road, and I took it!
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#13

Pre-Modern-Atheists
I like the religious conversation in "Conan the Barbarian".
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#14

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: I like the religious conversation in "Conan the Barbarian".

You mean like Sky vs Earth?
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#15

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 12:42 PM)Cavebear Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: I like the religious conversation in "Conan the Barbarian".

You mean like Sky vs Earth?

Yep. Conan looked dubious there.
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#16

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 01:41 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 12:42 PM)Cavebear Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: I like the religious conversation in "Conan the Barbarian".

You mean like Sky vs Earth?

Yep. Conan looked dubious there.

The Sky covers the Earth. He was quite surprised at the idea. Just goes to show how easily people are impressed. And all those little points of light in the nighttime are probably the campfires of heroes. Why not, when you are as strong as an ox but dumb as as a box of rocks?
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#17

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 03:18 AM)Cavebear Wrote: Before the First Damn Fool conceived the concept of a "Superior Being", everyone was atheist.  Not in any sense of refuting a deity, but in the sense of not even considering any non-pre-existing concept of one.  Everyone was free of any idea of a deity until THAT DAMNED FOOL came up with the idea.  THeists love to say that some traumatic event casuses us atheiests to deny a deity.  I say that original person who thought of the idea "had a problem".  LOL!

If I had a time machine, I would like to kill that idiot and all who came to a similar idea afterwards.  Dedicate my remaining life to it.  But that probably wouldn't work.  I would likely be descended from one of them and would not exist to kill them.  

Time is SO interesting.

I'm no expert but I wonder if it started with animal worship.   The Caves of Lascaux in France are 20,000 years old and depict a reverance and gratitude for the animals they hunted and ate.  The concept that death would in turn keep you alive is something that was mysterious to them and made them feel appreciation and awe for the sacrificed animal.  Jesus hanging on a cross sacrificing himself for your sins isn't  all that removed from the animals pearced with arrows and painted on the walls of Lascaux who sacrificed their life too.   Same stuff.
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#18

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-13-2021, 12:32 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: I like the religious conversation in "Conan the Barbarian".

My knowledge from the movie long ago and the Marvel comics would be something like (correct me if I wrong): Conan was a deist.  His god (Crom?) was one of many and was too powerful and above humans to give a shit about them.  Maybe Crom would be pleased by some act of great strength or courage or warfare, but best not to seek his pleasure.  Maybe he would grant a favor to a human, but probably not.
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#19

Pre-Modern-Atheists
Our intelligence is based on pattern seeking. All living things seek patterns and adjust behavior accordingly. 

The farther you go back in time, the less knowledge of "why" there was. Why is there thunder? Lightning? death? suffering? etc etc etc.

Original religion is a mix of story telling (THE entertainment of the times, other than dance or song) and connecting dots of unknown origin to make sense. Much like today's conspiracy theories, connecting dots with stories. 

Religion has morphed with knowledge, no one thinks thunder is god speaking anymore. Religion gets smaller and smaller as knowledge provides reason. I see conspiracy theories as the modern version of the tales of yore.
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#20

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(02-13-2021, 02:01 PM)Cavebear Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 01:41 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote:
(02-13-2021, 12:42 PM)Cavebear Wrote: You mean like Sky vs Earth?

Yep. Conan looked dubious there.

The Sky covers the Earth. He was quite surprised at the idea.  Just goes to show how easily people are impressed.  And all those little points of light in the nighttime are probably the campfires of heroes.  Why not, when you are as strong as an ox but dumb as as a box of rocks?

I don't think he was surprised the sky covers the earth, just that there was a god up there he'd never heard of. Lots of people, especially those in isolated communities like he came from, thought of their gods as the only one. If there was more than one it would diminish their god's mojo.
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#21

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(02-14-2021, 03:00 AM)Dancefortwo Wrote: I'm no expert but I wonder if it started with animal worship.   The Caves of Lascaux in France are 20,000 years old and depict a reverance and gratitude for the animals they hunted and ate.  The concept that death would in turn keep you alive is something that was mysterious to them and made them feel appreciation and awe for the sacrificed animal.  Jesus hanging on a cross sacrificing himself for your sins isn't  all that removed from the animals pearced with arrows and painted on the walls of Lascaux who sacrificed their life too.   Same stuff.
The animals were literally life-of-death for the cave dudes and dudettes, and this makes me suspect they were trying to conjure the beasties with their imagery.
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#22

Pre-Modern-Atheists
(02-14-2021, 03:19 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote:
(02-14-2021, 03:00 AM)Dancefortwo Wrote: I'm no expert but I wonder if it started with animal worship.   The Caves of Lascaux in France are 20,000 years old and depict a reverance and gratitude for the animals they hunted and ate.  The concept that death would in turn keep you alive is something that was mysterious to them and made them feel appreciation and awe for the sacrificed animal.  Jesus hanging on a cross sacrificing himself for your sins isn't  all that removed from the animals pearced with arrows and painted on the walls of Lascaux who sacrificed their life too.   Same stuff.
The animals were literally life-of-death for the cave dudes and dudettes, and this makes me suspect they were trying to conjure the beasties with their imagery.

I think the cave paintings were MOSTLY about what they desired to return to hunt. There were probably some shamanistic aspects of curing human problems too. Though no examples of trepanning I recall... So it was more symbolic than practical.
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