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Class Thirty American Transcendentalism and Its Liberation from Traditional Christianity

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Published on Jul 28, 2014

American Transcendentalism and Its Liberation from Traditional Christianity




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AtheistScholar.org
Class 30 American Transcendentalism and Its Liberation from Traditional Christianity




The references I mention during this talk may be found in the Bibliography to the written lecture, “An Atheist View of American Transcendentalism,” at atheistscholar.org.
Transcendentalism was never an atheistic movement in America, but it may be seen as one precursor among many to the present secular resurgence in this country. There is a large difference between 19th Century Transcendentalism and the deism that was embraced by many Americans in the 18th Century. Deism is the basic belief that god set the universe in motion but no longer interferes in human affairs or this world. The concept corresponds to a material viewpoint, or what has been called the idea of the “clockwork universe” of Isaac Newton, the scientist, and John Locke, the philosopher, both of them 17th Century thinkers. Several of our Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, embraced deism, and it was an important factor in much of their thinking about religion, the state and the new Constitution.

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