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Classical antiquity[edit]

The first century BC Roman poet, Titus Lucretius Carus, in his magnum opus, De Rerum Natura, wrote: "But 'tis that same religion oftener far \ Hath bred the foul impieties of men:"[1] A philosopher of the epicurean school, Lucretius believed the world was composed soley of matter and void, and that all phemonenon could be understood as resulting from purely natural causes. Lucretius, like Epicurus felt that religion was born of fear and ignorance, and that understanding the natural world would free people of it shackles.[2]


Niccolò Machiavelli, at the beginning of the sixteenth century said: "We italians are irreligious and corrupt above others... because the church and her representatives have set us the worst example."[3] To Machiavelli, religion was merely a tool, useful for a ruler wishing to manipulate public opinion.[4]

The Enlightenment[edit]



  1. ^ Titus Lucretius Carus. "De Rerum Natura". Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  2. ^ "Lucretius [Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy]". Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  3. ^ S. G. C. Middlemore; Burckhardt, Jacob; Murray, Peter; Burke, Peter. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (Penguin Classics). Penguin Classics. ISBN 014044534x Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help). 
  4. ^ "The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli". Retrieved 2007-08-10.