Monday, October 31, 2005

The Necessity of Atheism (1811)

My relative Percy Bysshe* Shelley got kicked out University for distributing leaflets on the necessity of atheism. I find strange irony that almost two centuries later I'm engaged in the opposite endeavour on university campuses in the UK.... I hope over the coming weeks to write some answers to his questions. If anyone else wants to try, feel free to...

*the Bysshe bit got changed to Bish somewhere between 1811 and now


  1. Very ironic - families are funny things.

    Interesting questions as well - they are all quite philosphical, and yet populist at the same time.

    They are not easy though.
    Either, Divine accomodation, Impossiblility of understanding an infinite God or Human Sinfulness, would be my very Calvin-influenced approach to most of the answers. I look forward to what you have to say.

    You never know I may even attempt to answer the last question (or perhaps the third to last one) myself on my blog sometime this week if I get the time, as it may be benifical for me to think about the issues.

  2. How did you find this out??

    The first one seems straightforward enough to me:
    If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
    - That we aren't infinitely good.

    The others aren't easy, but seem to assume a rather deistic view of God; he is more than a machine. Some of these questions find explicit answer in Romans with not much more to say. I look forward to your answers!

    PS did he have a website thebluefysshe?

  3. his questions, from wikipedia, but the story I knew before from somewhere else.... that we're related because some distant cousin of my grandfather did the research... back about 700 years

  4. If you found some answers this would make a very interesting book. A chapter per question? Just a thought.

  5. Firstly, it's amazing you can trace your family back that far! started tracing my family history once, then got interuupted by GCSE's, A-Levels, Uni...must start again.
    Secondly, interesting questions. It's good and interesting to htink through them properly for ourselves, especially because they're still asked so often today.
    Yeah, i'd go with Nathan's book idea...!!

  6. Really interesting list of questions. Christians should get a list that killer to hand out, a sort of dead opposite Necessity of Christ thing!

    About the same time in history, one of my relatives was slowly going mad. It's the truth! of course, all of his genes have left the family ;-)
    Probably driven to insanity trying to answer the questions on a Bysshe pamphlet....