Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2011-10-25
October 25: Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet (1838) It was on this date, October 25, 1838, that French opera composer Alexandre César Léopold Bizet – know as Georges Bizet – was born in Paris. His parents home-schooled him in music and at the age of nine the precocious child was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire. There he studied under Gounod, Halévy and […]

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2011-10-24
October 24: Religious War for 30 Years

Peace of Westphalia (1648) Religion and the Thirty Years War It was on this date, October 24, 1648, that the Holy Roman Emperor, the French, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Swiss, the Swedes, the Portuguese and representatives of the Pope signed the Treaty of Westphalia, calling for "a Christian and Universal Peace," thus ending the […]

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2011-10-23
October 23: The Beginning of the World

James Ussher and the Creation (4004 BCE) It was on this date, October 23, 4004 BCE, that the Earth was created by God. It is disheartening to report that many Christians will leave it at that. The exact dating of the age of the earth was arrived at by an Irish theologian, Archbishop of Armagh, […]

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2011-10-22
October 22: The End of the World

End of the World? The Great Disappointment (1844) It was on this date, October 22, 1844, that the world did not end. What may appear obvious at this late date, was believed by about 100,000 followers of Baptist preacher William Miller. Miller made meticulous calculations from the Bible – something Irish Archbishop James Ussher had […]

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2011-10-21
October 21: Religion and the Nobel Prizes

Alfred Nobel (1833) It was on this date, October 21, 1833, that Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm. It is one of the ironies of his life that a man who made his fortune in the invention and manufacture of weapons of war – dynamite and other nitroglycerine derivatives – bequeathed among […]

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2011-10-20
October 20: John Dewey

John Dewey (1859) It was on this date, October 20, 1859, that American philosopher and educator John Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont. Educated first in Vermont and taking his degree in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Dewey gradually shed the strictures of his strict religious upbringing. Initially from the idealist school of […]

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2011-10-19
October 19: Sir Thomas Browne

Sir Thomas Browne (1605) It was on this date, October 19, 1605, that British writer Sir Thomas Browne was born in London, the son of a prosperous silk merchant who died when Thomas was eight. Browne nevertheless studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, where he took his B.A. in 1626 and his M.A. three years later. […]

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2011-10-19
October 19: Leigh Hunt

Leigh Hunt (1784) It was on this date, October 19, 1784, that English writer James Leigh Hunt was born in Southgate, Middlesex. His father was a clergyman, but got into financial difficulties and ended up in a debtor's prison, leaving Leigh Hunt in the care of his mother. Early on, Hunt developed a twin passion […]

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2011-10-18
October 18: Henri Bergson

Henri Bergson (1859) It was also on this date, October 18, 1859, that French philosopher Henri-Louis Bergson was born in Paris, in the Rue Lamartine, not far from the Opera House. His heritage was a blend of a prominent Jewish family from Poland and Irish stock on his mother's side. Bergson spent most of his […]

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2011-10-17
October 17: Religion and the Chartres Cathedral

Consecration of Chartres Cathedral (1260) It was on this date, October 17, 1260, that one of the finest examples of high Gothic art, Chartres Cathedral in northern France, was consecrated under King (Saint) Louis and Pope Alexander IV. It is known officially as the "Cathedral of Our Lady in Chartres," (French: Cathédrale Nôtre-Dame de Chartres) […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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January 28: Artur Rubinstein

As an adult, Rubinstein referred with pride to his Jewish origins, but he called himself an agnostic. He was reluctant to call himself an Atheist.



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