I'm accustomed to thinking about atheism arising about the time of the printing press. Apparently that's wrong.
People in the ancient world did not always believe in the gods, a new study suggests – casting doubt on the idea that religious belief is a “default setting” for humans.
Despite being written out of large parts of history, atheists thrived in the polytheistic societies of the ancient world – raising considerable doubts about whether humans really are “wired” for religion – a new study suggests.
Early societies were far more capable than many since of containing atheism within the spectrum of what they considered normal Tim Whitmarsh
... the study challenges two assumptions that prop up current debates between atheists and believers: Firstly, the idea that atheism is a modern point of view, and second, the idea of “religious universalism” – that humans are naturally predisposed, or “wired”, to believe in gods.
The book, entitled Battling The Gods, is being launched in Cambridge...
The rejection of man-made gods is one thing. That same rejection as a product of an objective understanding of the universe we live in and the possibility to justify that rejection is entirely another. The ancients who said no to the concept of creator-manipulator gods didn't have Darwin or Einstein or Hawking to lean on, but (mostly) logical arguments, which may have had some degree of satisfaction, but not the force of fact. With the advent of the scientific method and the mountains of evidence supporting descriptive theories which have no dependence on a god or gods but on a naturalistic foundation, we can be far more certain of our position, even if we can't prove it 100%.
Yet they led the way on far less substance than we have now, and for that, they deserve no small measure of respect.
I just bought the Kindle version.
This is all interesting. I've recently found out that 3rd century church father, Origen, did not believe all the Biblical nonsense taught to people today and had a less than realisitc view for much of the Bible. The startling thing about this is that they told me just the opposite when I was studying for the ministry. It's amazing what believers will tell you just because they want you to believe.
I have a church friend that claims no recollection of Jesus saying he would return in the lifetime of his followers, but it's right there in his Bible. The reason he does not see it is because his minister tells him differently 3 times a week. You start believing what you see and hear the most.
I find it very logical that there has always been non-believers even if they just rejected the common cult like beliefs of their times with no counter argument to claim.