Friday, April 25, 2008

Brief History of Disbelief

Just a simple recommendation today. Jonathan Miller and the BBC made a documentary a few years ago called "A Brief History of Disbelief" consisting of interviews with six prominent scientists and philosophers regarding their atheism, and investigations by the host into the history of faith and reason. It's really really great. Get it.

I've undertaken this series partly because I want to investigate the antecedents of my own disbelief and to consider the history of what I'm reluctant to call atheism. In fact, I'm rather reluctant to call myself an atheist. But that's not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed of it, or because I fear for my life as I might have done in the olden days when I announced that I was. Nor have I any reason to think that I may be socially disabled in a way I once might have been. No, the reason I'm so reluctant is that atheism itself has acquired almost sectarian connotations and it hardly seems worthwhile to have a name for something that scarcely enters my thoughts at all. For myself, as for many people, it's only in the light of such current controversies with regard to belief that I've found myself explicitly willing to articulate my disbelief.

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