First Harvard University Press edition.
"First published in Great Britain in 2019 by William Collins"--Title page verso.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. An age of suspicion: Impostors, drunkards and flat-earthers -- The fool's heart -- Physicians, 'naturians' and 'Nulla fidians' -- From ancient to modern -- 2. The Reformation and the battle for credulity: Calvin and the Epicures -- Between superstitionand impiety -- 'Doubt wisely': from innocence to experience -- 3. The atheist's comedy: Incest, thunder and wishful thinking -- Shaking off the yoke -- The good atheist -- 4. The Puritan atheist: 'The monster of the creation' -- Horrid temptations -- Fear of flying -- Unbelievers-- 5. Seeking and losing faith: 'It's a great matter to believe there is a God' -- The spiritualists' progress -- Farther up and farther in -- Seeking a rock to build on --6. The abolition of God: The three impostors -- From thento now, I: anger -- From then to now, II: anxiety -- From Jesus to Hitler.
"Looking back to the crisis of the Reformation and beyond, Unbelievers shows how, long before philosophers started to make the case for atheism, powerful cultural currents were challenging traditional faith. These tugged in different ways not only on celebrated thinkers such as Machiavelli, Montaigne, Hobbes, and Pascal, but on men and women at every level of society whose voices we hear through their diaries, letters, and court records. Ryrie traces the roots of atheism born of anger, a sentiment familiar to anyone who has ever cursed a corrupt priest, and of doubt born of anxiety, as Christians discovered their faith was flimsier than they had believed. As the Reformation eroded time-honored certainties, Protestant radicals defended their faith by redefining it in terms of ethics. In the process they set in motion secularizing forces that soon became transformational. Unbelievers tells a powerful emotional history of doubt with potent lessons for our own angry and anxious age"-- Provided by publisher.
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