left biblioblography: Profiles In Atheism – The Mexican Necromancer

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Profiles In Atheism – The Mexican Necromancer

"No hay Dios; los seres de la naturaleza se sostienen por sí mismos" (There is no God: Natural Beings Support Themselves") - El Nigromante

Ignacio Ramírez Calzada (23 June 1818 - 15 June 1879) was a Mexican writer, poet, journalist, lawyer, atheist, and political libertarian from San Miguel de Allende who used the pen name, El Nigromante (The Necromancer). He defended the rights of Indians. He was known as, “The Voltaire of Mexico” and worked with Guillermo Prieto to start the satirical periodical, Don Simplicio. In 1844, he wrote, "No hay Dios; los seres de la naturaleza se sostienen por sí mismos" (There is no God: Natural Beings Support Themselves").

According to the web site of the Mexican government, “He was persecuted and imprisoned for his ideas, but managed to promote various changes to the law, such as that guaranteeing the autonomy of the municipality. He was named Minister for Instruction and Promotion, instituting important educational and economic reforms. During the reign of the Emperor Maximilian, he was banished to California, but on his return to the Republic, he was elected to the Supreme Court of Justice as a magistrate. He died on June 15, 1879, in Mexico City.

Ramírez founded the Instituto Literario de Toluca, where he mentored the famous novelist Ignacio Manuel Altamirano. The Mexican Government named a town in the Northern State of Durango after Ignacio Ramírez, which is the birth place of Oscar De La Hoya the famous Mexican Boxer.

His atheism was the subject of a scandal in 1948 when the muralist Diego Rivera painted a mural at the Del Prado Hotel with Ramírez holding a sign reading, "Dios no existe"  ("God does not exist"). Rivera would not remove the inscription, so the mural was not shown for 9 years – after Rivera agreed to remove the offending words. He stated: "To affirm "God does not exist", I do not have to hide behind Don Ignacio Ramírez; I am an atheist and I consider religions to be a form of collective neurosis. I am not an enemy of the Catholics, as I am not an enemy of the tuberculars, the myopic or the paralytics; you cannot be an enemy of the sick, only their good friend in order to help them cure themselves."

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Anonymous said...

For the mural, see:
The white bearded man below Juarez

Krystalline Apostate said...

Thanks, that's a beautiful painting. Is that a Rivera work?