A Brief History of Atheism Part II
A Brief History of Atheism Part II
Ancient and Continuing
Charles J. Hunsinger
Not all Atheistic thought is positive, as not all Atheists were or are of a positive mindset, as is demonstrated in the above story. In saying that, it was the Atheistic philosopher who gave authorship to the theory and practice of Marxist Communism, which. I believe, can be described, as an atheistic theism, as that is precisely the essence of Marxist thought. Frederick Engels and Karl Marx, both men of intellectual achievement and philosophers in their own right viewed humanity with disdain, much like the religious thinkers of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Man was weak, evil and, most certainly, incapable of self government. Marx held a utopian vision for humanity; a vision of harmony, prosperity, peace, equality. All this would be achieved on a global basis under the rule of a benevolent elite. Marx simply transposed all the attributes of the godly reward of heaven to an earthly Plan. The Plan, as any religious plan for salvation, would require a constant struggle, blind loyalty, adherence and obedience. As religion demands a submission to a god and to the instruments of god i.e. priests, rabbis, imams shamans and ministers; Marxism demands the same submission to its bureaucrats and functionaries all of whom are delighted to administer to the flock in exchange for authority, power and wealth.
The Antiquity of Atheistic Thought
Perhaps, the most articulate spokeswoman or for that matter spokesperson, for Atheistic thought in modern times, the 20th century, was Ayn Rand. Rand was born in Russia and immigrated to the USA in 1926. She was born in 1905 and died in 1982 in her home in New York City. Rand was an accomplished writer and philosopher. She however, was never to achieve academic acclaim, nor would she be truly recognized, as a staunch defender of American freedom, due to her gender and the fact that she espoused Atheism, a supposed contradiction to American freedom. Rand will be covered in greater depth, as we continue our research. For purposes of thought stimulation, however, let me note that people such as Alan Greenspan, Ron Paul, Ronald Reagan, Clarence Thomas and Rush Limbaugh have been influenced by Rand, her writings, her thought and her passion for American freedom.
Claims of origin are easy to make. It is much more difficult to sustain such claims with evidence. I will give indication of claimed origin, but concentrate on evidence of origin. Atheistic thought and social practice, manifested in social behavior can be found in India, China, Greece and Rome from, as early, as 5,000 BCE, 7000 years ago. The Jain philosophy claims an origin, as old, as the world itself, but there is no evidence.
Tao or Taoism (Dao-ism or Pathway) claims an origin of 2700 BCE to 4700 BCE. The founder of Tao is said to be Lao Tze at about 1500 BCE, with a claimed founder, the first legendry Emperor of China, Fu Hsi. Fu Hsi has some striking parallels to modern religions. Hsi was born of a virgin and was considered a shepherd, as he taught men to hunt and fish. There was also abandonment at birth and care was given by animals and birds.
The principles of Tao are;
The Three Jewels—compassion, moderation and humility
The Three Treasures—abstinence from aggression, simplicity of living and refusal to assert active authority
The Tao philosophy does not possess a creator, savior or damnation deity. The ideas of sin, whether inherent or active, heaven and hell do not exist. Tao is an active life philosophy and continues today with about 30 million followers.
Confucianism is dated to 551 BCE the birth year of Confucius, who is an historical figure.
Ethical teachings; ritual, propriety and etiquette. There is a pronounced belief in the family, as a love of parents and children is an expectation. Honesty, trustworthiness, benevolence, and kindness toward others are also a social and cultural expectation. Social harmony is the primary objective with a strong demand of subservience to the State.
Governance under Confucianism can be summed in the following quotes.
“To govern by virtue, let us compare it to the North Star: it stays in its place, while myriad stars wait upon it.”
“There is government when the prince is the prince, the minister is the minister, when the father is the father and the son is the son.”
Again, as in Tao there is no creator, savior or damnation deities. Sin and the prescribed guilt that is inherent with a sin mentality does not exist.