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416Platonism and Atheism

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  • ourfreeworld11
    Apr 8, 2004
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      I am new to the list and thought I would start a new topic since it
      has been quiet.

      I have been reading "The Christians As The Romans Saw Them" by Robert
      L. Wilken recently and the subject of "Superstition versus Atheism"
      comes up in Ch.3 called The Piety of the Persecutors. I think it is
      Plutarch who is quoted when the author asserts that when irrational
      and superstitious religious thinking become intolerable to a person,
      the tendency is for the person to become an atheist. "Atheists do not
      see the gods at all".

      On the other hand, the superstitious person "believes in them against
      his will, for he is afraid not to believe". Then he goes on to say
      that superstition must be driven out because "it is the seed from
      which atheism springs".

      I was interested in this because I went through this personally as a
      young adult. From a Platonic perspective though, I think it may be
      ridiculous to be an atheist because the Platonic conception of a
      species of gods is that of virtuous abstractions and/or archetypal
      thought-forms. To deny these types of deity would be the same as
      denying that thought exists. The other type of deity is that of the
      various parts of the natural cosmos such as the earth and sun and
      moon etc. To deny them and their influences on us would be equally as
      irrational as the superstitious zealots.

      Does anyone have any comments?


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