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2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Courage to Doubtby James A Haught
Synopses & Reviews
Intelligent, educated people tend to be critical of the supernatural and the so-called revealed truths of religion. So it is hardly surprising to find a great number of skeptics and unbelievers among our major inventors, scientists, writers, social reformers, and other world changers - people usually termed great. The advance of Western civilization has been partly a story of the gradual victory over religious oppression, and these brilliant doubters were men and women who didn't pray, didn't kneel at altars, didn't make pilgrimages, and didn't recite creeds. 2,000 years of Disbelief is a book of quotes that brings together the words of the "greats" of both East and West, from antiquity to the present. Included in this stirring collection are such renowned skeptics as Epicurus, Voltaire, Arthur Schopenhauer, Mark Twain, and Bertrand Russell. But also represented are many whose skepticism is not so well known, and who are for this reason regarded by churchmen and others as conventional believers. Notable among these are many U.S. presidents. Thus we learn, for example, that George Washington had no belief in Christianity and that Abraham Lincoln never joined a church. 2,000 Years of Disbelief is an anthology not only of outstanding philosophers, scientists, and poets, but also of figures in the arts and entertainment as well as prominent scholars and politicians. Arranged chronologically for ease of reference, with each chapter devoted to a particular figure or period, this witty, insightful collection reveals the extent to which the most renowned people in all areas expressed, both publicly and privately, their courage to doubt, often in the face of great personal risk. A delight toread as well a a valuable sourcebook, 2,000 Years of Disbelief provides a powerful weapon against religious conformists, dogmatists, and others who would roll back the clock on the teaching of evolution and who are working to tear down the wall of separation between church and
Book News Annotation:
A lively collection of biographical sketches and quotations demonstrating a long tradition of intelligent, questioning people who doubted or rejected the supernatural. A few of the great thinkers included are Isaac Asimov, W.E.B. DuBois, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, John Stuart Mill, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and many others.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Society rarely acknowledges the many and varied gifts that disbelievers give to the world. Churchmen generally contend that great figures in history, such as America's founders, were conventional believers. That isn't true, and this insightful, witty collection sets the record straight! This collection chronicles dozens of famous people such as Isaac Asimov, W.E.B. DuBois, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Benjamin Franklin, Omar Khayyam, Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, John Stuart Mill, Ayn Rand, Gene Roddenberry, Margaret Sanger, George Bernard Shaw, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Voltaire, with many quotes that reveal their rejection of the supernatural.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 325-326) and index.
About the Author
James A. Haught (Charleston, WV) is the editor of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginias largest newspaper. He is the author of 2000 Years of Disbelief: Famous People with the Couruge to Doubt and four other books.
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