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By M. Rectenwald

Nineteenth-Century British Secularism bargains a brand new paradigm for realizing secularization within the 19th century. It addresses the challenge within the secularization thesis via foregrounding a nineteenth-century improvement referred to as 'Secularism' – the actual flow and creed based through George Jacob Holyoake from 1851 to 1852. Nineteenth-Century British Secularism rethinks and reevaluates the importance of Holyoake's Secularism, concerning it as a ancient second of modernity and granting it centrality as either a usher in and exemplar for a brand new figuring out of recent secularity. as well as Secularism right, the booklet treats a number of different moments of secular emergence within the 19th century, together with Thomas Carlyle's 'natural supernaturalism', Richard Carlile's anti-theist technology advocacy, Charles Lyell's uniformity precept in geology, Francis Newman's naturalized faith or 'primitive Christianity', and George Eliot's secularism and post-secularism.

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64 Lawrence was forced to withdraw his published Lectures on penalty of being stripped of his gowns. 65 30 Nineteenth-Century British Secularism In light of the English theocratic state that Carlile identified as the impediment to an egalitarian social order, the role that science played for his radical politics is comprehensible. Steven Shapin and Arnold Thackray explain the convergence of science and such socio-political interests in connection with Manchester artisans. 66 Carlile’s peripheral status and the charges of blasphemy that mounted against his publishing ventures may explain his adherence to a progressive version of scientific knowledge.

116 As we shall see, as opposed to appearing exceptional in the more or less recondite writings of Carlile and Carlyle, the secular may also be found within institutional frameworks, and met in scientific, social, and political movements. 44 Nineteenth-Century British Secularism In the next two chapters, I examine secularism in the contexts of gentlemanly geology and artisanal freethought. 117 As these chapters together will make clear, the content, social meanings, and political valences of the secular are by no means stable, nor is the secular ever neutral.

Further, observation revealed the real biological equality obtaining along the otherwise artificial social hierarchy. As the Working Man’s Friend and Family Instructor later put it: Every person must have right or wrong thoughts, and there is no reason why a hedger and ditcher, or a Scavenger, should not have as correct opinions and knowledge as a prince or a nobleman. 109 Much as Carlile had ‘dissected’ the opus of Bacon, taking what parts he liked while vituperating upon the rest, Bacon’s aristocratic ‘soul’ is subjected to Bacon’s own method of induction in an act of epistemological leveling.

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