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The Systems of Nature

By Dholbach, Baron

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Book Id: WPLBN0000698094
Format Type: PDF eBook
File Size: 945.56 KB.
Reproduction Date: 2005

Title: The Systems of Nature  
Author: Dholbach, Baron
Volume:
Language: English
Subject: Political science., Economics and literature, Economic & political studies series
Collections: Economics Publications Collection
Historic
Publication Date:
Publisher: Archive for the History of Economic Thought

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D'holbach, B. (n.d.). The Systems of Nature. Retrieved from http://community.worldlibrary.net/


Description
Economic Theory Literature

Excerpt
Excerpt: The System of Nature. Volume 2. Chapter I. Of the confuted and contradictory ideas of Theology. Every thing that has been said, proves pretty clearly, that in despite of all his efforts, man has never been able to prevent himself from drawing together from his own peculiar nature, the qualities he has assigned to the being who governs the universe. The contradictions necessarily resulting from the incompatible assemblage of these human qualities, which cannot become suitable to the same subject, seeing that the existence of one destroys the existence of the other, have been shown: ? the theologians themselves have felt the insurmountable difficulties which their Divinities presented to reason: they were so substantive, that as they felt the impossibility of withdrawing themselves out of the dilemma, they endeavoured to prevent man from reasoning, by throwing his mind into confusion ? by continually augmenting the perplexity of those ideas, already so discordant, which they offered him of their God. By this means they enveloped him in mystery, covered him with dense clouds, rendered him inaccessible to mankind: thus they themselves became the interpreters, the masters of explaining, according either to their fancy or their interest, the ways of that enigmatical being they made him adore. For this purpose they exaggerated him more and more ? neither time nor space, nor the entire of nature could contain his immensity ? every thing became an impenetrable mystery. Although man has originally borrowed from himself the traits, the colours, the primitive lineaments of which he composed his God; although he has made him a jealous powerful, vindictive monarch, yet his theology, by force of dreaming, entirely lost sight of human nature; and in order to render his Divinities still more different from their creatures, it assigned them, over and above the usual qualities of man, properties so marvellous, so uncommon, so far removed from every thing of which his mind could form a conception, that he lost sight of them himself. From thence he persuaded himself these qualities were divine, because he could no longer comprehend them; he believed them worthy of God, because no man could figure to himself any one distinct idea of him. Thus theology obtained the point of persuading man he must believe that which he could not conceive; that he must receive with submission improbable systems; that he must adopt, with pious deference, conjectures contrary to his reason; that this reason itself was the most agreeable sacrifice he could make on the altars of his fantastical master who was unwilling he should use the gift he had bestowed upon him. In short, it had made mortals implicitly believe that they were not formed to comprehend the thing of all others the most important to themselves.1 On the other hand, man persuaded himself that the gigantic, the truly incomprehensible attributes which were assigned to his celestial monarch, placed between him and his slaves a distance so immense, that this proud master could not be by any means offended with the comparison; that these distinctions rendered him still greater; made him more powerful, more marvellous, more inaccessible to observation. Man always.

Table of Contents
Table of Contents The System of Nature. Volume 2 ............................................................... 4 Chapter I. Of the confuted and contradictory ideas of Theology. .............. 4 Chapter II. Examination of the Proofs of the Existence of the Divinity, as given by Clarke. ........................................................................... 19 Chapter III. Examination of the Proofs of the Existence of God given by Descartes, Malebranche, Newton, &c. ......................................... 43 Chapter IV. Of Pantheism, or of the Natural Ideas of the Divinity. ......... 55 Chapter V. Of Theism or Deism; of the System of Optimism; and of Final Causes. ......................................................................................... 66 Chapter VI. Examination of the Advantages which result to men from their Notions on the Divinity, or of their Influence upon Morals, upon Politics, upon the Sciences, upon the Happiness of Nations and Individuals. ............................................................................ 84 Chapter VII. Theological Notions cannot be the Basis of Morality. Comparison between Theological Morality and Natural Morality. Theology Prejudicial to the Progress of the Human Mind. .......... 97 Chapter VIII. Men can form no Conclusion from the Ideas which are given them of the Divinity: Of the want of Just Interference in, and of the Inutility of, their Conduct on his Account. ...................... 109 Chapter IX. Defence of the Sentiments contained in this Work. Of Impiety. Do there exist Atheists? ............................................... 124 Chapter X. Is Atheism compatible with Morality? ................................ 132 Chapter XI. Of the Motives which lead to Atheism? Can this System be Dangerous? Can it be Embraced by the Uninformed? ............... 141 Chapter XII. A Summary of the Code of Nature. .................................. 158 Appendix. The True Meaning Of the System of Nature. ....................... 167 Notes ...................................................................................................... 193

 

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