Atheism: A Brief History of Disbelief - The Final Hour

In this final installment (click here for the entire series), Jonathan Miller continues his investigation of atheism and disbelief, devoting the beginning to explore Thomas Paine's influence not only on the American revolution but on the revolution against oppressive religious doctrines and institutions. Although he wasn't an atheist, you might want to read Paine's The Age of Reason. It's just as powerful as his Common Sense.

This intellectual revolution would later receive empirical support in the 19th century from the geological studies of Charles Lyell and Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. In the 20th century, Sigmund Freud would make the first systematic attempt to understand religious beliefs, classifying them as thought disorders, symptomatic of childhood parental obsessions.

Finally, Miller explores some of the existential concerns concerning religion and disbelief, as he ponders on our mortality and the religious fanaticism of the early 21st century.

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I had read about Jeremy Bentham's will to have his body preserved, but this is certainly the first time I see him...

Although the documentary series is over, in the weeks to come, I will be posting the fascinating full interviews Jonathan Miller conducted, but which could not make it into the final cut, with influential people like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, philosopher Daniel Dennett, philosopher Colin McGinn, playwright Arthur Miller, author Gore Vidal, physicist Steven Weinberg and anthropologist Pascal Boyer. You won't want to miss that...
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