Prometheus Books, 2004 - Philosophy - 248 pages
A leading figure of the French Enlightenment, Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d'Holbach (1723-1789), was an acquaintance of Diderot, Rousseau, and David Hume, among others, and a prolific contributor of scientific articles to Diderot's famous Encyclopedie. A man not only of considerable wealth and influence, but great generosity, he was known among friends as the "maitre d'hotel of philosophy" because he so often entertained noted philosophers and intellectuals of the day at his home. Nonetheless, when he published his radical views on religion, he felt constrained to use pseudonyms. Advocating a philosophy of atheistic materialism, he harshly lambasted all religious interpretations of life as rank superstition, taking special aim at the Christian worldview of his day. This work, originally published in 1772, was intended as a popular digest of the more elaborately developed philosophy presented by Holbach in his magnum opus, Systeme de la nature (The System of Nature, 1770). In 206 very brief chapters, Holbach systematically presents the atheistic challenge to religion, critiquing point by point every contention of religion from the nature of God to the existence of the soul, belief in miracles, heaven and hell, the divine right of kings, the role of the priesthood, and many other points of dogma and tradition. Though the extreme materialism and determinism of his philosophy was disturbing to even some of his colleagues (Voltaire accused Holbach of "snatching consolation and hope" from humanity), Holbach's work remained influential after his death and seems in many respects a forerunner of much contemporary philosophy.
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Preface of the Author
Common Sense Apologue
What is Theology?
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Good Sense: Or Natural Ideas Opposed to Supernatural
Paul Henri Thiry Holbach (baron d'),Jean Meslier
No preview available - 1975
ABSURD according admire adore assured atheist attribute barbarous believe body Caligula causes charlatans chastisements chimeras Christian common sense compelled conclude conduct console contradic contradictions created creatures credulity cruel David Hume desire disorder Divine Providence Doctors of Divinity dogma earth effects enjoy eternal everything evidently evil existence eyes favor fear folly gible give Gods hands mechanically happiness Heaven human race idea ignorance imagination immutable impossible incapable infinite intelligent judge justice least ligion limited minds malice Manicheism matter ministers ministers of religion miracles monarch morality motion myste mysteries nations necessarily necessary ness never object obliged opinions ORIENTAL LEGEND perfect pretend priests princes principles produce prove Providence punish qualities reason religion religious render rience savage nations soon soul sovereign subjects substance suffer supposed tell theologians things tion told torments trouble true truth tyrants understand universe unjust were-wolfs wicked wisdom wish word worship