August 25 in freethought history…

niceaAugust 25, 325 – Council of Nicea concludes in what is now Turkey. Convened by Roman Emperor Constantine I, the most notable product of this council of bishops was the formulation of Nicene Creed and the concept of the (not really Biblically supported) Holy Trinity. One could hardly find a worse example of committee work in the subsequent 1,690 years.

August 25, 1776 – Scottish philosopher David Hume dies in Edinburgh, aged 65. A proponent of empiricism and skepticism, his works include A Treatise of Human Nature, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (which contains his famous skeptical essay “Of Miracles”), An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals and (published posthumously) Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

August 25, 1900 – German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche dies in Saxony, aged 55. Nietzsche was the author of the dubious adages”That which does not kill us makes us stronger” and “God is dead.”  Elaborating on the latter, Nietzsche wrote: God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

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