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Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt
Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt

Unbelievers: An Emotional History of Doubt

Product ID : 41990707


Galleon Product ID 41990707
Shipping Weight 0.93 lbs
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Manufacturer Belknap Press
Shipping Dimension 8.46 x 5.83 x 0.98 inches
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About Unbelievers: An Emotional History Of Doubt

Product Description “How has unbelief come to dominate so many Western societies? The usual account invokes the advance of science and rational knowledge. Ryrie’s alternative, in which emotions are the driving force, offers new and interesting insights into our past and present.”―Charles Taylor, author of A Secular AgeThe award-winning author of Protestants offers a new vision of the birth of the secular age, looking to the feelings of ordinary men and women―so often left out of the history of atheism.Why have societies that were once overwhelmingly Christian become so secular? We think we know the answer, but in this lively and startlingly original reconsideration, Alec Ryrie argues that people embraced unbelief much as they have always chosen their worldviews: through their hearts more than their minds.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. Review “How has unbelief come to dominate so many Western societies? The usual account invokes the advance of science and rational knowledge. Ryrie’s alternative, in which emotions are the driving force, offers new and interesting insights into our past and present.” ― Charles Taylor, author of A Secular Age “Ryrie, who locates himself in the camp of the believers, offers a sensitive and sympathetic account of those on the other side. He wears his learning lightly, letting the actors speak for themselves. Unbelief, in his diverse range of subjects, is not unthinking or perverse, but the outcome of genuine and profound struggles of conscience. The book does a wonderful job of bringing these previously unheard voices to our attention, and in doing so adds a vital new dimension to our understanding of the origins of modern unbelief.” ― Los Angeles Review of Books “Well-researched and thought-provoking…Ryrie is definitely on to something right and important.” ― Christianity Today “Ryrie traces the root of religious skepticism to the anger, the anxiety, and the ‘desperate search for certainty’ that drove thinkers like the religious poet John Donne to grapple with church dogma. They did not always manage to hold on to their faith, and their probing undermined religion from within. The currents of atheism were stirred not by the levelheaded philosophers of a later era but by these seekers’ struggle, and occasional failure, to ‘doubt wisely.’” ― New Yorker “Most of us like to believe that we believe what we believe because rigorous reasoning and reliable evidence have led us there…In reality, as Alec Ryrie shows in this short but beautifully crafted history of early doubt, unbelief was (and is) chosen for ‘instinctive, inarticulate and intuitive’ reasons just as much as is belief… Unbelievers covers much ground in a short space with deep erudition and considerable wit.” ― The Spectator “With wit and remarkable breadth of learning, Ryrie addresses an issue that touches us all.” ― Rev. John O’Malley, author of Vatican I “Ryrie doesn’t debunk; he describes. He traffics in empathy, not criticism…For those looking to make sense of [atheism], Unbelievers w