Atheism: Jonathan Miller’s Brief History of Disbelief
Posted by madcap on February 22, 2008
This is an excellent presentation on the history of disbelief. I found only one historical omission concerning Aquinas’ influence on the acceptance of reason into religion via Aristotle. As a modern mystic deist, I find myself caught between two opposing camps. One, mythic religion that insists that myth itself is really real, and gay science that insists all that exists is the material world. I find both camps to be short sighted and irrational.
“In this way, advocates of opinions who attack one another in daily politics are grouped together over against their common adversary, the philosopher.”
Part I – Shadows of Doubt Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first ‘unbelievers’ in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.
Noughts and CrossesWith the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D’Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.