Imaginings: Battling the Gods - Atheism in the Ancient World

#1
http://newramblerreview.com/book-reviews...imaginings

EXCERPT: [...] Though Whitmarsh’s book moves chronologically, from the time of the Homeric poems down to Byzantium, much of the (slight) evidence for what he calls the “atheist revolution” in Athens is simply passed down, repeated and repackaged over the years.

He also subscribes to the proposition, put forward by David Sedley, of an “atheist underground”. Again, the evidence is slight, the argumentation interesting, but conclusions uncertain. It all depends on whether or not Plato’s—or rather his character the Athenian stranger’s—exclusion of atheists from the ideal city (not Athens) in Book 10 of the Laws reflects an Athenian reality around 350 BCE. There is simply no way of knowing, and Sedley and Whitmarsh both seem to want to find what they do in fact find, card-carrying atheists to serve as progenitors of those moderns whose voices have been heard in recent years. Whitmarsh develops this supposed underground into “virtual networks” of atheists connected across the centuries. In reality the same names keep being brought up, with one or two additions, suggesting that the candidates are fairly limited....
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#2
(Nov 21, 2016 11:27 PM)C C Wrote: http://newramblerreview.com/book-reviews...imaginings

EXCERPT: [...] Though Whitmarsh’s book moves chronologically, from the time of the Homeric poems down to Byzantium, much of the (slight) evidence for what he calls the “atheist revolution” in Athens is simply passed down, repeated and repackaged over the years.

He also subscribes to the proposition, put forward by David Sedley, of an “atheist underground”. Again, the evidence is slight, the argumentation interesting, but conclusions uncertain. It all depends on whether or not Plato’s—or rather his character the Athenian stranger’s—exclusion of atheists from the ideal city (not Athens) in Book 10 of the Laws reflects an Athenian reality around 350 BCE. There is simply no way of knowing, and Sedley and Whitmarsh both seem to want to find what they do in fact find, card-carrying atheists to serve as progenitors of those moderns whose voices have been heard in recent years. Whitmarsh develops this supposed underground into “virtual networks” of atheists connected across the centuries. In reality the same names keep being brought up, with one or two additions, suggesting that the candidates are fairly limited....

The stories of the gods were not "revealed" religion such as the religions of the God of Abraham.  There is even an argument that all the other religions are not religions like the God of Abraham religions because other belief systems do not come complete with controlling organizations.  What there is is stories from all over and some of these stories support each other, and some of them conflict with other stories, but there is no "authority" to declare who is right or wrong, as there is in God of Abraham religions. 

However, there seems to have been a major shift from matirchy to patriarchy where the goddess is replaced by her son, and then a whole pantheon of gods.  Like quantum physicist naming a new particle as needed to explain a new theory, it was necessary to name a new god every time people became aware of a new concept.  This got totally out of hand and forced some cultures to reconsider the whole god issue.  It was sort of like our efforts to have a unifying theory.   

In the meantime, in Athens, there was a shift away from gods representing different aspects of nature, and human archetypes, towards this idea of logos and natural causes.  A couple of days ago you posted something about the universe having consciousness, and this goes nicely with the notion of logos.   This is my preferred understanding of the matter.
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#3
(Nov 21, 2016 11:27 PM)C C Wrote: Whitmarsh develops this supposed underground into “virtual networks” of atheists connected across the centuries. In reality the same names keep being brought up, with one or two additions, suggesting that the candidates are fairly limited....

Even though modern atheists can hardly organize, even with the internet.

(Nov 27, 2016 05:38 AM)Carol Wrote: The stories of the gods were not "revealed" religion such as the religions of the God of Abraham.  There is even an argument that all the other religions are not religions like the God of Abraham religions because other belief systems do not come complete with controlling organizations.  What there is is stories from all over and some of these stories support each other, and some of them conflict with other stories, but there is no "authority" to declare who is right or wrong, as there is in God of Abraham religions. 

Most atheists would claim that Abrahamic religions are just as internally inconsistent and conflicting as any other religion. And the Abrahamic religions did not start as organizations. Men have organized themselves around the ideas because of their perceived value. The Buddha isn't considered an authority?
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