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Atheism Among The People by Alphonse de Lamartine

XIV. For eighteen years, new sects, or, rather, posthumous sectsà

For eighteen years, new sects, or, rather, posthumous sects, have disputed for the soul of the People, under the names of Fourierism, of Pantheism, of Communism, of Industrialism, of Economism, and, finally, of Terrorism. Look at them, listen to them, read them, analyze them, sift them, handle them; and say, if, with the exception of a vague deifying of every thing, -- that is to say, of nothing, by the Fourierites, -- there is a single one of these philosophical, social, or political sects, which is not founded on the most evident practical Atheism; which has not matter for a God; material enjoyments for morality; exclusive satisfaction of the senses for an end; purely sensual gratifications for a paradise; this world for the sole scene of existence; the body for the only condition of being; the prolonging of life a few more years for its only hope; a sharpening of the senses to material appetites for a perspective; death for the end of all things; after death, an assimilation with the dust of the earth for a future; annihilation for justice, for reward, and for immortality!

No, there has not been since 1830, there has not been since the Revolution, there is not at this moment, one of these schools of pretended apostles, prophets of the future, and saviors of the present, which is not Materialism in action. It is the deadly seed of the century of Helvetius, producing its poisons in the dregs of another century. It is man, deprived of his spiritual and immortal sense, reduced to a solid measure of organized matter, and seeking, not virtue, that key to his future destiny, in his soul; but, in his senses, mere enjoyment, that end of the brute, who only believes in what he can eat and drink.

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