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A Sept 20 00 Review of Jim Herrick: AGAINST THE FAITH Prometheus Books 1985 250 p.
This book is a history covering the best known deists, skeptics and atheiests from the earliest Greek philsophers until the present. Although I read history a lot, I find I am quite surprised on almost every page that there is much I didn't know about each person described. And need to know to understand his concepts and positions. The thought ofThales, Anaxagoras, Protagotas, Plato and Aristole each get a paragraph; Epicurus gets more explaination. In turn, Roman times, early Christianity, Renaissance, and Enlightenment and Diests main figures are featured. Montaigne, Decartes, Shaftsbury, Raleigh, Bacon and others each hold the stage for a time. Several I had never thought of as having questioned the prevaling religion now stand out as such. Especial attention is given to writers whose probing thoughts are published as being major influences on the trends of history. Voltaire, Diderot, Hume Gibbon, each leave their lasting impressions. The heroic phamphleters such as Tom Paine are specially annoying to both religious and aristocratic authorities. And endure alarming constant intolerant brutal harrassment from blasphemy and sedition trials, heavy fines andimprisonment for their insistance on freedom of speech. But most, in the end, win out very well in public opinion approval. Carlisle's coverage is especially enlightening. Given special attention: Emerson's vague Trancendentalism, Ingersoll andTwain's irreverent humor. Topping out the list: Bertrand Russell, and Whitehead are thinkers not easy to causally dismiss. All of the above hold their own. I much recommend this book to Fundamentalists and skeptics alike for it's good fund of most helpful pertinent history not genearally elsewhere given exposure. Readers will come away wiser than they came. I heartily and gratefully rate it as five stars quality.