Home | NATURE OF POPULAR RELIGION--David Hume | THOMAS PAINE ON THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF LOVE | Bertrand Russell on Christianity | Bertrand Russell, "IS THERE A GOD?" | WHY I AM AN UNBELIEVER--Carl Van Doren | JOHN STUART MILL ON IMMORTALITY | THE NECESSITY OF ATHEISM--Shelly | Founding Fathers' religious beliefs | Einstein the agnostic | PASCAL'S WAGER: JK's correct solution | Tacitus on the origin of the Hebrews | HOCUS FOCUS: modern spiritualism | Hocus Focus, a skeptical examination of spiritualism | Walter Kaufmann, "THE FAITH OF A HERETIC" | CHARLES DARWIN, From his Autobiography | Diderot applies the philosopher's tools to Christianity | DENIS DIDEROT, HIS CONTRIBUTION | Denis Diderot Applies Logic to Christianity | JK's Faith | FAMOUS RELIGOUS SKEPTICS & ATHEISTS | 1,000 NOTED FREETHINKERS



Patrick Woodroffe

There are two criterion for inclusion:  one of being a noted enlightened thinker, the other of writing on religion.  There is a modern way of seeing the world, a way consistent with logic and science; that is why my family of websites has been called "Enlightenment", and that is the criterion for the inclusion of these authors.  For about half the writers, there is a link at the bottom of their page to another on them in our biographical site.



Now averaging over 3 1/3rd million pages viewed per year

64,366 x 52 = 3,340.668



General Summary


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Your site had 11132 page views yesterday and 261227 page views so far this month.

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For table of all religious works, divided into categories:  A great aid


This site is one of 3 sites maintained by California Skeptics

All with cool art and informative articles

A = Art with some of the articles.  All home pages have art.


#7  TABLE OF CONTENTS skeptically, a dozen major topic, over 1,000 articles,  averages over 9,000 pages downloaded per weekday.  


#201 TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR CURRENT NEWS ISSUES, 900 current political news, international news, corporate news & archives—over 600 pages downloaded per day A


#31 TABLE OF CONTENTS healthfully, 1,000 health & medical articles, many topics, averages over 1,000 pages downloaded per day. A


#209 THE ARTISTS, bios and samples of their art  A


# 220 VIDCASTS & U-TUBE, for those who like the visuals  A


# 125 The Crash On the economic collapse of 2008 # 151 The Depression


#1 Enlightenment, our favorites, the flagship articles    A


Skeptical sites:

#1   Enlightenment, collection of the best   A

#4   Logical threads

#6   Thinkers on Religion   A

#9   Spiritualism

#17  Quackery

#19  Skepticism

#29  For skeptics

#37  Biographical

#102 Quacks, theories & practice


Religious sites:

#1     Enlightenment  A

#5     Cartoons Mostly Religious

#6     Thinkers on Religion  A

#8     Old Testament Analysis

#26   Ancient Sacred Works of the Hebrews

#9     Spiritualism

#10   Literary Works on Religion

#15   Christian Apocrypha and Essays

#16   New Testament

#18   Against Religious foolishness   A

#20   Ancient Sacred Works of the Christians

#22   Christianity

#24   Bible Studies More

#107 Holy Horrors

#109 Philosophy & religion


Political-economic sites:

#111 World Trade Organization  A

#123 Neoliberalism at Work  A

#125 The Crash A

#131 The Depression

#134 Democrats Obama

#106 Economics    A

#119 Economic Developments  A

#121 Economics the Dismal Science

#132 Economic graphs  A

#116 OIL  A

#128 Terrorism Hegemony

#129 Obama Watch

#21  Muckraking Political Articles

#23  Critical of capitalism  A

#126 Corporate system

#117 Federal court system

#12   Penal system

#14   Labor  A

#28   Nuclear war threat  A

#118 Iraq war A

#127  Military war  

#120 Election reform  A

#124 Managed-Corporate Press

#41   Medical business abuses

#130 Big Pharma at work

#103 Parliament of Whores  A

#104 Government, Presidency, Congress, Courts

#25  Bush Bashing

#112 Bush watch   A

Utopia, ethics, happiness, misc. sites:

#2    Utopia  A

#3    Utilitarianism   A

#5    Cartoons & satire

#7    Table of contents & links

#101 Links & quotes

#105 Scientific psychology

#108 Psychoanalysis, their weird theories

#27  Recreational drugs   A

#110 Recreational drug research  A

#113 Environmental & animals

#114 B.F. Skinner, works and life

#115 Ethics humanistic

#122 Pod casts & u-tube  A


JK’s Poetry, Satire &

Short Stories sites:

#32  Short stories, etc.

#33  Satire

#34  Rhymed poems

#39  Rhymed poems romantic

#40  Rhymed poems melancholy

#42  Rhymed poems social message

#43  Rhymed poems satire


California Skeptics has an excellent collection of political cartoons and huge collection of links to sites with political cartoons and animation

We appreciate feedback.  Contact US

at thinker@skeptically.org.


Moreover, JK has something to say, and he likes saying it.  He has written several works of fiction in need of a publisher.  Can you help? 


M. C. Escher







born , Dec. 4, 1835, Langar Rectory, Nottinghamshire, Eng.
died June 18, 1902, London

English novelist, essayist, and critic whose satire Erewhon (1872) foreshadowed the collapse of the Victorian illusion of eternal progress. The Way of All Flesh (1903), his autobiographical novel, is generally considered his masterpiece.

Butler was the son of the Reverend Thomas Butler and grandson of Samuel Butler, headmaster of Shrewsbury School and later bishop of Lichfield. After six years at Shrewsbury, the young Samuel went to St. John's College, Cambridge, and was graduated in 1858. His father wished him to be a clergyman, and young Butler actually went as far as to do a little slumming in a London parish by way of preparation for holy orders. But the whole current of his highly independent and heretical nature was carrying him away from everything his father stood for: home, church, and Christianity itselfor what Christianity had appeared to mean at Langar Rectory. Butler returned to Cambridge and continued his musical studies and drawing, but after an unpleasant altercation with his father he left Cambridge, the church, and home and emigrated to New Zealand, where (with funds advanced by his father) he set up a sheep run in the Canterbury settlement.

When Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) came into his hands soon after his arrival in New Zealand, it took him by storm; he became one of Mr. Darwin's many enthusiastic admirers, and a year or two later he told a friend that he had renounced Christianity altogether. Yet, as it proved, Christianity had by no means finished with him. For the next 25 years it was upon religion and evolution that Butler's attention was mainly fixed. At first he welcomed Darwinism because it enabled him to do without God (or rather, without his father's God). Later, having found a God of his own, he rejected Darwinism itself because it left God out. Thus, he antagonized both the church and the orthodox Darwinians and spent his life as a lonely outsider, or as Butler called himself after the biblical outcast, an Ishmael. To the New Zealand Press he contributed several articles on Darwinian topics, of which twoDarwin Among the Machines (1863) and Lucubratio Ebria (1865)were later worked up in Erewhon. Both show him already grappling with the central problem of his later thought: the relationship between mechanism and life. In the former he tries out the consequences of regarding machines as living organisms competing with man in the struggle for existence. In the Lucubratio he takes the opposite view that machines are extracorporeal limbs and that the more of these a man can tack on to himself the more highly evolved an organism he will be.

Having doubled his capital in New Zealand, Butler returned to England (1864) and took the apartment in Clifford's Inn, London, which was to be his home for the rest of his life. In 1865 his Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . Critically Examined appeared anonymously. For a few years he studied painting at Heatherley's art school and tried to convince himself that this was his vocation. Until 1876 he exhibited occasionally at the Royal Academy. One of his oil paintings, Mr. Heatherley's Holiday (1874), is in the Tate Gallery, London, and his Family Prayers, in which the ethos of Langar Rectory is satirically conveyed, is at St. John's College, Cambridge. Later he tried his hand at musical composition, publishing Gavottes, Minuets, Fugues and Other Short Pieces for the Piano (1885), and Narcissus, a comic cantata in the style of Handelwhom he rated high above all other composersin 1888; Ulysses: An Oratorio appeared in 1904. It was typical of Butler to use his native gifts and mother wit in such exploits, and even in literature, his rightful territory, much of his work is that of the shrewd amateur who sets out to sling pebbles at the Goliaths of the establishment. I have never, he said, written on any subject unless I believed that the authorities on it were hopelessly wrong; hence his assault on the citadels of orthodox Darwinism and orthodox Christianity; hence, later, his attempt to prove that the Odyssey was written in Sicily by a woman (The Authoress of the Odyssey, 1897); and hence his new interpretation of Shakespeare's sonnets (Shakespeare's Sonnets Reconsidered, and in Part Rearranged, 1899).

Erewhon (1872) made whatever reputation as a writer Butler enjoyed in his lifetime; it was the only one of his many books on which he made any profit worth mentioning, and he only made £69 3s. 10d. on that. Yet Erewhon (nowhere rearranged) was received by many as the best thing of its kind since Gulliver's Travelsthat is to say, as a satire on contemporary life and thought conveyed by the time-honoured convention of travel in an imaginary country. The opening chapters, based upon Butler's recollections of the upper Rangitoto Mountains in New Zealand, are in an excellent narrative style; and a description of the hollow statues at the top of the pass, vibrating in the wind with unearthly chords, makes a highly effective transition to the strange land beyond. The landscape and people of Erewhon are idealized from northern Italy; its institutions are partly utopian and partly satiric inversions of our own world. Butler's two main themes, religion and evolution, appear respectively in The Musical Banks (churches) and in chapters called Some Erewhonian Trials and The Book of the Machines. The Erewhonians have long ago abolished machines as dangerous competitors in the struggle for existence, and by punishing disease as a crime they have produced a race of great physical beauty and strength.

The Fair Haven (1873) is an ironical defense of Christianity, which under the guise of orthodox zeal undermines its miraculous foundations. Butler was dogged all through life by the sense of having been bamboozled by those who should have been his betters; he had been taken in by his parents and their religion; he was taken in again by friends, who returned neither the money nor the friendship they accepted from Butler for years; life itself, and the world, sometimes seemed to him a hollow sham. Was Darwin himself, his saviour from the world of Langar Rectory, now to prove a fraud as well? This was the suspicion that dawned upon him while writing Life and Habit (1878) and envenomed the series of evolutionary books that followed: Evolution, Old and New (1879), Unconscious Memory (1880), and Luck or Cunning (1887). Darwin had not really explained evolution at all, Butler reasoned, because he had not accounted for the variations on which natural selection worked. Where Darwin saw only chance, Butler saw the effort on the part of creatures to respond to felt needs. He conceived creatures as acquiring necessary habits (and organs to perform them) and transmitting these to their offspring as unconscious memories. He thus restored teleology to a world from which purpose had been excluded by Darwin, but instead of attributing the purpose to God he placed it within the creatures themselves as the life force.

Many regard The Way of All Flesh, published in 1903, the year after Butler's death, as his masterpiece. It certainly contains much of the quintessence of Butlerism. This largely autobiographical novel tells, with ruthless wit, realism, and lack of sentiment, the story of Butler's escape from the suffocating moral atmosphere of his home circle. In it, the character Ernest Pontifex stands for Butler's early self and Overton for his mature self; Theobald and Christina are his parents; Towneley and Alethea represent nice people who love God in Butler's special sense of having good health, good looks, good sense, experience, and a fair balance of cash in hand. The book was influential at the beginning of the anti-Victorian reaction and helped turn the tide against excessive parental dominance and religious rigidity.

Basil Willey

Essays containing a sustained reasoned analysis


George Bernard Shaw said of him that he was the best
of all English novelists; and for that reason I read the 3
most easily obtained works.  Erewhon (from the letters
of nowhere) and Erewhon Revisited are for the reader
delightful exercises in satirical analysis.  Unequalled in
wit and effectiveness are his backward criticisms of our
penal system and of our belief in heavenly rewards. 
Overall, these books  surpass Swifts Gullivers Travels. 
The Way of All Flesh, made into a movie some years
ago, portrays the suffocation of the young Butler through

the love of the Anglican priest father and zealot mother--both of gentle dispositions. This work stands up well beside the


best of the English Gothic novels.  I have also read his


passable prose translation of the Illiad.






       Erewhon and Erewhon Revisited are for the person who has both a love for works that requires  total concentration and also present a critical examination of the social patterns of society; these works stand before all others.  The principal character sets out to explore the uncharted interior near where he works in a land on the other side of the world from England.  His life among the civilized people he encounters is striking similar to that in England or Germany, only several of their social institutions are quite the opposite of what we would expect.  Butler presents reasons Erewhon peoples reasons for these social institutions.  Their oddness turns out to be no more than that of the British-German practices.  In Erewhon they punish their people for becoming ill, while those who are social ill (behave criminally) are sent to physicians to straighten their minds.  Punishing the sick promotes health through deterrence.  There is also an inverted banking system where the imaginary credits are saved for the hereafter--a satire on the Christian belief that good deeds will bring heavenly rewards.  The presentation and conclusions are done with such wit, that these two books once read will demand a second reading several years hence:  reread not because they are difficult, but because they are pleasing. 


Butlers shows by example the subtle, pernicious effects of religion upon his parents and himself in the biographical novel, The Way Of All Flesh   Erewhon & Erewhon Revisited exposes the contrary-to-reason qualities of the pie-in-the-sky dogma of Christianity. 

Where is Nowhere?
The term utopia was coined by Henry Moore, who titled his novel this when setting down his vision of the ideal society.  Utopia is from Greek and means nowhere.  Samuel Butler scrambling of the letters into Erewhon. Thomas Moore, the English designer, Fabian Socialist, friend of George Bernard Shaw, and writer thought Nowhere a fitting title for one of his books.  Today, there is a company which markets health foods under the banner of Erewhon.

Erewhon, A Bach Toccata of satire, A UNIQUE MUST READ!

Original sin is the difference between my pleasures and yours--B.F. Skinner

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QuackWatch, guide to health fraud by Dr. Stephen Barrett


http://www.worstpills.org/:  Part of the Nader network of Public Citizen


http://skepdic.com:  Contains The Skeptic Dictionary by Robert Carroll, over 460 first rate articles on all the topics of interest to a skeptic


George Carlin on religion, his best, over 5 million views 6/09 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

Carlin from HBO on swearing to god and the bill of rights http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lm-Mi1_lLo0

On the 10 commandments, only need 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkRYaMiP4K8

On war and U.S. hegemony, war is a lot of prick waving, mislabeled losing my religion.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yH54dJeVb0A


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