Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Atheism and Violence

An article from First Things.
Books advocating atheism have recently been enjoying a modest boomlet. Sales are solid, book readings are sold out, and their authors grace the highbrow talk shows and op-ed pages in prestigious newspapers and periodicals. But their arguments are shopworn, stale hand-me-downs and threadbare heirlooms inherited from an era that was fading away even before the French Revolution had made the connection between atheism and violence clear to any fair observer. Yet these books read as if they came from authors who had never heard of the Reign of Terror or Robespierre.
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7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Looks like I'm going to have to defend the French. The reason the French came in conflict with the Catholic church was two fold. First the church proped up the old regime (aka monarchies) and two the church was the largest land owner and france. When the middle class took over the country they still had to pay of France's debt. They could declare bankruptcy, because they were the ones the government borrowed money from. So they went with plan B- take the churches land and use it to back loans to pay of the debt.

Robspierre was not an atheist- he was a deist with his own plans for France, that involved creating a republic of virtue with himself at the head. So he was a tyrant and a utopian. None of the other major leaders were professed atheists. The reason many religious people were killed is because they support the king and the church- the enemies of the republic and revolution.

elena maria vidal said...

That is true, Robespierre was not a true atheist. He knew people had to worship something, and so instituted the worship of the Supreme Being and the celebration of Reason over the old Faith. But he was really the forerunner of the modern Utopian, replacing the God of Christianity with the State as god. Unfortunately, the new religion was not widely accepted and those who resisted it were indeed killed.

It was one of Louis XVI's plans to begin taxing the nobility; one of the treasons he summoned the Estates-General-- to reform the antiquated tax system. It could have been reformed without the confiscation of Church lands and the nationalization of the Church in France, which created many martyrs.

lara77 said...

The First French Republic's barbarous attacks on the French Royal Family, the aristocracy and the Roman Catholic Church were a precursor to the genocide against the people of the Vendee. Beheadings, firing squads, mass drownings, etc. France's name was forever disgraced and what happened was replayed in Russia and China centuries later.

elena maria vidal said...

You said it, Lara.

julygirl said...

Louis XVI's efforts to summon the Estates-General was the nail in his coffin so to speak because it threatened his powerful enemies in the aristocracy, as well as derail the revolutionary plans of the intelligentsia.

lara77 said...

If only good King Louis had the military on his side, like his late father the Dauphin. They adored Louis XVI's father; unfortunately not having the army, powerful enemies like the Duc d'Orleans, rabid anti clerical intellectuals and jealous provincial politicians all conspired against King Louis XVI.How ironic that this good Christian King would be executed for loving his people and only wanting to help them! He would never have taken arms against his people like Charles I of England. May King Louis XVI be at peace forevermore.

elena maria vidal said...

Interesting point about the military....