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Iíve always tended to give the 19th century a short shrift. Iíve read writers from the very beginning and end but ignored almost everyone in-between. A.N. Wilsonís Godís Funeral is a survey of the decline of faith among the Victorian intelligentsia in the wake of Hume, geology and Darwin.
Wilsonís own falling away from Christianity seems to be the definining event of his own life. I suspect he was compelled to look at the lives of people whoíd experienced the same loss. It shapes the whole book. Probably mostly clearly in his fervid excitement in William Jamesí unexceptional statement that people have a need to believe. But Godís Funeral is a work of popular history, not scholarship.
My own atheism is too old for me to have enough interest to want to read an academic study of the growth of agnosticism and atheism. Godís Funeral is a good, entertaining light account of the early days of the death of god.