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England’s doubt

When Christianity in England reformulated itself in the 18th century as a scientific hypothesis, it became vulnerable to scientific refutation. A tepid faith engendered a tepid doubt. But science and religion are different systems of thought and feeling. Faith is a passion that cannot be refuted by science.

Every country has its own way of believing, and every country has its own way of not believing. The varieties of atheism are as impressive as the varieties of faith. AN Wilson has written a book about the English way of not believing. God’s Funeral tells the story of doubt, that grave and melancholy process by which the thinking class of Victorian England lost its faith. It is a process that he himself went through several years ago. This book is therefore not only the history of an epoch, but also the construction of a personal intellectual genealogy.

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