Whilst Protestant opponents put him in the list of atheists like Vanini, and the Catholics held him as dangerous as Luther or Calvin, there were zealous adherents who ventured to prove the theory of vortices in harmony with the book of Genesis.
Anaxagoras was threatened with a law against atheists, and felt compelled to leave Athens.
But he taught that the state may interfere with legal or public duties only, and not with moral or private ones; He would not have even atheists punished, though they should be expelled the country, and he came forward as an earnest opponent of the prosecution of witches and of the use of torture.
Among other features of interest the constitution forbids the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, makes duelling a disqualification for holding office or exercising the right to vote, and authorizes the exclusion of atheists from office.
Atheists, theists, pagans, Jews and Mahommedans," with the proviso that controversies between Christians were not to be mentioned.
Conspicuous as a champion of orthodoxy against atheists, Jews and Protestants - without resigning this position, and still upholding practical orthodoxy - Charron suddenly stood forth as the representative of the most complete intellectual scepticism.
Declared atheists are similarly disqualified.
According to him, `EXXnvucb, rauSeia is quite indispensable within the Church; many Greek philosophers were not far from the knowledge of God, as is proved by their triumphant arguments against atheists and gainsayers of divine providence.
The term "deism" not only is used to signify the main body of the deists' teaching, or the tendency they represent, but has come into use as a technical term for one specific metaphysical doctrine as to the relation of God to the universe, assumed to have been characteristic of the deists, and to have distinguished them from atheists, pantheists and theists, - the belief, namely, that the first cause of the universe is a personal God, who is, however, not only distinct from the world but apart from it and its concerns.
"Free-thinker" (in Germany, Freidenker) was generally taken to be synonymous with "deist," though obviously capable of a wider signification, and as coincident with esprit fort and with libertin in the original and theological sense of the word.(Fn 1) "Naturalists" was a name frequently used of such as recognized no god but nature, of so-called Spinozists, atheists; but both in England and Germany, in the 18th century, this word was more commonly and aptly in use for those who founded their religion on the lumen naturae alone.
The rest of the Jews rated the Sadducees as atheists, just as the rest of the Greeks rated the Epicureans as atheists and discerned, as Plutarch said, the sardonic grin behind the mask of their obsequious devotion to the ceremonies at which the force of public opinion compelled their attendance.
It was intended to be the first of three discourses, in the second of which he was to attempt a particular and rational explanation of the reputed mysteries of the gospel, and in the third a demonstration of the verity of Divine revelation against atheists and all enemies of revealed religion.