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Atheism Among The People by Alphonse de Lamartine

VIII. Sometimes the masses have been driven to Atheism by science.à

Sometimes the masses have been driven to Atheism by science. There are some geometers great in paradox, men who, of all the senses that the Creator has given to his creatures, have cultivated only one, the sense of touch, -- leaving out entirely that chief sense, which connects and confirms all others, -- the sense of the invisible, the moral sense. These savans, geometers, physicians, arithmeticians, mathematicians, chemists, astronomers, measurers of distances, calculators of numbers, have early acquired the habit of believing only in the tangible. These are the beings who, so to speak, live and think in the dark; all, which is not palpable, does not exist for them. They measure the earth, and say, |We have not met God in any league of its surface!| They heat the alembic, and say, |We have not perceived God in the smoke of any of our experiments!| They dissect dead bodies, and say, |We have not found God, or thought, in any bundle of muscles or nerves in our dissection!| They calculate columns of figures, long as the firmament, and say, |We have not seen God in the sum of any of our additions!| They pierce, with eye and glass, into the dazzling mysteries of night, to discover, across thousands and thousands of leagues, the groups and the evolutions of the celestial worlds, and say, |We have not discovered God at the end of our telescopes! The existence of God does not concern us; it is no affair of ours!| -- Madmen! They do not suspect that the knowledge and adoration of God are, at bottom, the only business of the creature; and that all these distances, these globes, these numbers, these mysteries of the living being, this dissected mechanism of the dead, these compositions and decompositions of combined elements, these hosts of stars, and these eternal evolutions of suns around the divine hand which guides them, have no other reason for existence, for movement, and for duration, than to compel the acknowledgment, fear, admiration, and adoration of God, by that supreme sense, that sense superior to all other senses, that sense imponderable and impalpable, invisible yet beholding all things, -- that sense which we call intelligence!

Alas! it is not that God has denied this sense to these men of figures, of science, and calculation; but they have blinded themselves, they have cultivated the other senses so much, that they have weakened this. They have believed too much in matter, and so they have lost the eye of the spirit. These men, we are told, have made great progress in experimental science, but they have made good, evil, to the People, by saying to them, |We, who are so high, we cannot see God! -- blind men! what do you see, then?|

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