By William Howell (sometimes spelled Howel)
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Additional info for An Institution of General History (1680) William Howell - Volume Two
ATHEISM RECONFIGURED By the mid-1960s, the resilience of religion in the Soviet Union was causing concern in party circles. On the one hand, two generations had grown up within the Soviet system, largely without any connection to organized religion, and they tended to present themselves as nonbelievers, 48 V. Tismaneanu (2003) Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism (Berkeley, CA: University of California). 49 S. 102. INTRODUCTION 21 if not committed atheists. On the other, there was a widespread if cautiously expressed conviction among political and scientific elites that the drive to eliminate religious belief was failing.
They explored factors such as the loss by millions of women of husbands and potential spouses as a result of the war, low levels of education, isolation in the city, marginalization from the world of employment and—the stand-by since the 1920s—their ‘political backwardness’. In addition, a few cited the ‘heightened emotional perception’ of women compared with men and their ‘desire for beauty’. 61 Elsewhere in the Socialist bloc, official concern about the refractoriness of religious belief also led to the enlistment of the social sciences.
16 Given the striking, rapidly accumulating evidence that ‘traditional’ religious practice in rural Poland was not always robust to begin with, why did Polish commentators subscribe to a narrative in which rural piety only came to be challenged by the novelties of industrialization and modernization? Why, in particular, did Marxist, regime-friendly scholars fail to seize on what would seem to have been tantalizing evidence of weak traditions of popular religiosity across large swathes of the country?