Category Archives: Inspirations

People and works I enjoy that have inspired the Sermons.

Titus Lucretius Carus, my paragon and archetype

You might think that a very long poem that describes the natural laws of the universe to demonstrate how supernaturalism is unnecessary is a novel idea. It’s not.

Around 2070 years ago, probably in or near Rome, a poet and philosopher named Titus Lucretius Carus spent years writing a truly spectacular poem: De rerum natura. The title is commonly translated as On the Nature of Things. This epic poem describes a naturalistic worldview and explains how all sorts of physical, biological, social and mental phenomena are made of atoms – 18 centuries before this was widely accepted. It makes a vague but correct guess at natural selection 19 centuries before Darwin. Before Christianity was even invented, this poem said that if gods exist, they’re made out of atoms and don’t care about us. It is classic epic poetry in dactylic hexameter and about half as long as the Iliad. Its rediscovery is credited with ending the Middle Ages.

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