The following conceptual history of the Beyond draws on the early history of Free Religion to bring into sharper relief the structures of dissent that were hollowing out heaven and driving the emergence of secularism in the second third of the nineteenth century.
Here, the essay turns to the history of early Free Religion, in which arguments for the non-existence of the Beyond were tied to the ongoing separation from and struggle with the state churches.
To explain Feuerbach's popularity and to understand the conditions under which he made the transition to a polemical negation of the Beyond in the mid-1840s, one can usefully turn to the structures of religious and political dissent best exemplified at that time by Free Religion.
The key theological development within early Free Religion was the displacement of Christian rationalism by natural scientific monism.
The British Idealist movement, influenced especially by Thomas Hill Green in Oxford and Edward Caird in Glasgow, both professors of moral philosophy, tried to free religion
from its historical context by studying religion philosophically.