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Verse VIII


And, tricked by our own early dream

And need of solace, we grew self-deceived,

Our making, soon our maker did we deem,

And what we had imagined we believed.


Thomas Hardy


The full title of the book is 

God's Funeral: A History of Western Atheism





Twenty-five years after producing her modern classic on the Salem witch trials, A DELUSION OF SATAN, Frances Hill has shifted her focus from the lethal effects of belief in such things as specters, witches and the devil to the benefits of its opposite: informed scepticism. Her new book GOD FUNERAL: A HISTORY OF WESTERN ATHEISM begins in Ionian Greece in the eighth century BC with the earliest known thinkers to doubt gods are in any way relevant to explaining the world we live in. Hill traces the course of unbelief through periods when its tolerance led to economic, social and scientific progress and, more frequently, when its suppression by theocracies, dictatorships and rigidly religious democracies kept societies static. The book ends in the present day when ill-informed credulity threatens not just civilisation but human existence. Conspiracy theories about coronavirus, vaccines and climate change are the enemies of solutions to today’s dire threats. But the growth in understanding science including human biology, neuroscience and the nature of the cosmos is increasing disbelief in the supernatural throughout the developed world. It is hardly a coincidence that atheists generally dismiss conspiracy theories while conventional believers or mystics are more liable to embrace them. Hill aims to have GODS FUNERAL ready for publication by the end of this year.    

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