Divided into four parts, this treatise begins with well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic metaethics. In Part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the ’divine command theory’ and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 criticizes the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines (...) of the atonement, salvation, and the resurrection. (publisher, edited). (shrink)
Difficult Atheism shows how contemporary French philosophy is rethinking the legacy of the death of God in ways that take the debate beyond the narrow confines of atheism into the much broader domain of post-theological thinking. Christopher Watkin argues that Alain Badiou, Jean-Luc Nancy and Quentin Meillassoux each elaborate a distinctive approach to the post-theological, but that each approach still struggles to do justice to the death of God.
_Radical Atheism_ presents a profound new reading of the influential French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Against the prevalent notion that there was an ethical or religious "turn" in Derrida's thinking, Hägglund argues that a radical atheism informs Derrida's work from beginning to end. Proceeding from Derrida's insight into the constitution of time, Hägglund demonstrates how Derrida rethinks the condition of identity, ethics, religion, and political emancipation in accordance with the logic of radical atheism. Hägglund challenges other major interpreters of (...) Derrida's work and offers a compelling account of Derrida's thinking on life and death, good and evil, self and other. Furthermore, Hägglund does not only explicate Derrida's position but also develops his arguments, fortifies his logic, and pursues its implications. The result is a groundbreaking deconstruction of the perennial philosophical themes of time and desire as well as pressing contemporary issues of sovereignty and democracy. (shrink)
Many atheists argue that because gratuitous evil exists, God (probably) doesn’t. But doesn’t this commit atheists to wishing that God did exist, and to the protheist view that the world would have been better had God existed? This doesn’t follow. I argue that if all that evil still remains but is just no longer gratuitous, then, from an atheist perspective, that wouldn’t have been better. And while a counterfactual from which that evil is literally absent would have been impersonally better, (...) it wouldn’t have been better for anyone, including for those who suffered such evils. (shrink)
The so-called “New Atheism” is a relatively well-defined, very recent, still unfold- ing cultural phenomenon with import for public understanding of both science and philosophy. Arguably, the opening salvo of the New Atheists was The End of Faith by Sam Harris, published in 2004, followed in rapid succession by a number of other titles penned by Harris himself, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, and Christopher Hitchens.
In this book two philosophers, each committed to unambiguous versions of belief and disbelief, debate the central issues of atheism and theism. Considers one of the oldest and most widely disputed philosophical questions: is there a God? Presents the atheism/theism issue in the form of philosophical debate between two highly regarded scholars, widely praised for the clarity and verve of their work. This second edition contains new essays by each philosopher, responding to criticisms and building on their previous (...) work. (shrink)
_The Athiest’s Primer_ is a concise but wide-ranging introduction to a variety of arguments, concepts, and issues pertaining to belief in God. In lucid and engaging prose, Malcom Murray offers a penetrating yet fair-minded critique of the traditional arguments for the existence of God. He then explores a number of other important issues relevant to religious belief, such as the problem of suffering and the relationship between religion and morality, in each case arguing that atheism is preferable to theism. (...) The book will appeal to both students and professionals in the philosophy of religion, as well as general audiences interested in the topic. (shrink)
_The easy way to understand atheism and secular philosophy_ For people seeking a non-religious philosophy of life, as well as believers with atheist friends, _Atheism For Dummies_ offers an intelligent exploration of the historical and moral case for atheism. Often wildly misunderstood, atheism is a secular approach to life based on the understanding that reality is an arrangement of physical matter, with no consideration of unverifiable spiritual forces. _Atheism For Dummies_ offers a brief history of atheist philosophy (...) and its evolution, explores it as a historical and cultural movement, covers important historical writings on the subject, and discusses the nature of ethics and morality in the absence of religion. A simple, yet intelligent exploration of an often misunderstood philosophy Explores the differences between explicit and implicit atheism A comprehensive, readable, and thoroughly unbiased resource As the number of atheists worldwide continues to grow, this book offers a broad understanding of the subject for those exploring atheism as an approach to living. (shrink)
God was dead to Kevin Vost for most of his adult life. Baptized, confirmed, and raised Catholic, at age 17 Vost left it all behind as he immersed himself in atheism for a period that lasted over two decades. Paralleling a successful career as a psychologist and professor, Vost allowed his clinical perspective to drive his faith perspective as well, falling into a common trap for many Catholics. This timely book's unique approach gives credit where credit is due, as (...) Vost describes the good elements in the thinking of several famous atheists. But then, from experience and logic, he shows how each of these thinkers falls short. From there, Vost opens the doors to the philosophers and psychologists whose work, implicitly or explicitly, has paved the way toward belief in God, and even in Jesus Christ. And finally, from the perspective of a clinical psychologist, Vost unveils how theologians, popes, and Catholic philosophers persuaded him to abandon this atheism and embrace faith in Christ and the Church. Each chapter ends with a "Truth Box" that spotlights a chink in atheism's armor, adds a cautionary perspective, or highlights an important argument foundational to faith. With patience and perspective, Vost will lead you on a journey that reveals how reason, science, and faith work together to find the truth. (shrink)
This work traces the development of Heidegger's explanation of philosophy as a methodological atheism, relating it to his reading of Aristotle, Aquinas and Nietzsche. A predominant issue throughout this study is Heidegger's pursuit of an answer to the question: How did God get into philosophy?
Explicit atheism is a philosophical position according to which belief in God is irrational, and thus it should be rejected. In this paper, I revisit, extend, and defend against the most telling counter arguments the Kalām Cosmological Argument in order to show that explicit atheism must be deemed as a positively irrational position.
Prima facie there is confusion in that part of Marx's theory which deals with religion and revolution. On the basis of Marx's scattered statements on religion one can construct two views of the relationship between revolutionary action and the abolition of the religious mentality. One view is that the exploited class can come to atheism prior to the creation of communist society, and, indeed, must attain a secular consciousness if it is to be the agency of revolution. The other (...) view is that the power of religion cannot be broken until after the communist revolution because only a new economic order can remove the material conditions which sustain religion as a mass phenomenon.In the face of these conflicting views we are left with two alternatives. Either we can take one of the constructions as the authentic one, or, we can conclude that Marx's position is incoherent. Seeking the best in both worlds, my approach involves showing why the charge of incoherence appears plausible while arguing for a resolution in the direction of the first construction. (shrink)
Atheist Persona is a summary of the most recent research on the subject of atheism. In an effort to create a more courteous dialogue between theists and atheists, this book acknowledges that while there are reasons for believing in God, there are also reasons for not believing in God.
Atheism: The Basics is a concise and engaging introduction to belief in the non-existence of deities. Atheism has long fascinated people but debate around this controversial position may seem daunting. In this lively and lucid book, Graham Oppy addresses the following important questions: -/- • What does it mean to be an atheist? -/- • What is the difference between atheism, agnosticism, theism and innocence? -/- • How has atheism been distributed over time and place? -/- (...) • What does science tell us about atheism? -/- • Are there good reasons to be an atheist? -/- • Are there good reasons not to be an atheist? -/- • What do we mean by ‘new atheism'? -/- With a glossary of key terms and suggestions for further reading throughout, the book considers key philosophical arguments around atheism, making this an ideal starting point for anyone seeking a full introduction to the arguments between those who hold atheistic beliefs and those who do not. (shrink)
In this volume, the sixth in Blackwell's Great Debates in Philosophy series, Smart and Haldane discuss the case for and against religious belief. The debate is unusual in beginning with the negative side. After a short jointly authored introduction, there is a fairly extended presentation of the atheist position by Smart. Haldane then offers an equally extended defense of theism. The authors respond to one another in the same order, and the book concludes with a brief co-authored treatment of antirealism, (...) which both reject. The discussion is broad-ranging, in part reflecting the size of the topic. It addresses the existence of God and the problem of evil, along with related issues having to do with God's nature and his involvement with the world: necessary being, eternity versus sempiternity, the relation between divine sovereignty and human freedom, and the possibility of miracles. But there is also discussion of subjects having to do with revealed religion, such as the reliability of scripture, and the roles of faith and reason in the life of the believer. The fact that the book commences with the case for atheism also contributes to its scope, since without a specific version of theism on which to focus, Smart has to aim broadly. The result is that topics that might otherwise have been ignored—moral arguments, and Pascal's wager, to cite two—are at least broached, though not pursued. (shrink)
Prologue -- Introduction -- The virtuous atheist -- The oral and written public sphere -- Books and pamphlets -- Periodicals -- The philosophe response -- Institutional reactions in France -- The Christian Enlightenment? -- Beyond the Christian Enlightenment -- Appendices. D'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- Responses in French to d'Holbach's publications, 1752-1789 -- The corpus of periodical press articles produced in reaction to d'Holbach's publications.
By the term ‘New Atheism’ several authors and their books are subsumed under one label, most prominently The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris, and God Is Not Great: Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens. Besides an introduction to the ideas expressed in these books and the reception of the ‘New Atheists’ in the public discourse, (...) the article comprises a criticism of the label ‘New Atheism’. (shrink)
Arguing for Atheism introduces a wide range of topics in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics. Robin Le Poidevin does not simply defend a denial of God's existence; he presents instead a way of intepreting religious discourse which allows us to make sense of the role of religion in our spiritual and moral lives. Ideal as a textbook for university courses in the philosophy of religion and metaphysics, Arguing for Atheism is also designed to be accessible, in its (...) style and its numerous explanations, to the general reader. (shrink)
Contemporary science presents us with the remarkable theory that the universe began to exist about fifteen billion years ago with a cataclysmic explosion called "the Big Bang." The question of whether Big Bang cosmology supports theism or atheism has long been a matter of discussion among the general public and in popular science books, but has received scant attention from philosophers. This book sets out to fill this gap by means of a sustained debate between two philosophers, William Lane (...) Craig and Quentin Smith, who defend opposing positions. Craig argues that the Big Bang that began the universe was created by God, while Smith argues that the Big Bang has no cause. Alternating chapters by the two philosophers criticize and attempt to refute preceding arguments. Their arguments are based on Einstein's theory of relativity and include a discussion of the new quantum cosmology recently developed by Stephen Hawking and popularized in A Brief History of Time. (shrink)
This is a Cambridge *Element*, on the topic of atheism and agnosticism. It contains four main parts. First, there is an introduction in which atheism and agnosticism are explained. Second, a theoretical background to assessment. Third, a case for preferring atheism to theism. Fourth, a case for preferring agnosticism to theism.
In recent years atheism has become ever more visible, acceptable, and influential. Atheist apologists have become increasingly vociferous and confident in their claims. In Atheist Overreach, Christian Smith takes a look at the evidence and explains why we ought to be skeptical of some key atheists' claims about morality, science, and human nature.
Henry More was probably the most important English philosopher between Hobbes and Locke. Described as the 'hammer' of the Cartesians, More attacked Descartes' conception of spirit as undermining its very intelligibility. This work, which analyses an episode in the evolution of the concept of spiritual substance in early modernity, looks at More's rational theology within the context of the great seventeenth century Cartesian controversies over spirit, soul-body interaction, and divine omnipresence. This work argues that More's new, univocal spirit conception, highly (...) influential upon Newton and Clarke, contributed unwittingly to a slow secularisation process internal to theistic culture. It thus fills a lacuna in scholarship by examining how conceptual changes in early modern metaphysics, as opposed to better researched transformations in moral philosophy, were an additional ingredient in the origins of modern speculative atheism. It also suggests that these controversies are by no means merely of historical interest but represent a resource for contemporary philosophical reflection. (shrink)
The theistic argument from beauty has what we call an 'evil twin', the argument from ugliness. The argument yields either what we call 'atheist win', or, when faced with aesthetic theodicies, 'agnostic tie' with the argument from beauty.
Philosophical atheism claims not only that there are no sufficient reasons for believing there is a God, but also that there are sufficient reasons for thinking no such deity exists. The purpose of this article is to explicate the typical commitments of this position. After distinguished several related views, the article will then consider typical grounds for the rejection of theistic commitments, first by showing that the theistic position makes a stronger claim and therefore carries the burden of proof. (...) The article will then consider rejections of theistic attempts to shift this burden and atheist responses, including considerations of both natural and revealed theology. The intent is to present the general shape of rejections and commitments rather than proffering conclusive refutations and defenses. (shrink)
Do you think of atheists as immoral pessimists who live their lives without meaning, purpose, or values? Think again! Atheism: A Very Short Introduction sets out to dispel the myths that surround atheism and show how a life without religious belief can be positive, meaningful, and moral.
This paper addresses recent examples of militant atheism. It considers the theistic reply that describes atheism as deriving from a “God-shaped hole” in the human soul. The paper will argue that American pragmatism offers a middle path that avoids militant atheism without suffering from this problem. The paper describes this middle path and considers the problem that is seen in Rorty’s recent work: how the pragmatist can remain critical of religious fundamentalism without succumbing to a militant version (...) of atheism. The solution proposed is tolerant acceptance of religion along with melioristic criticism developed within shared norms of inquiry. (shrink)
In this paper I will argue, contrary to common assumptions, that rational atheistic prayer is possible. I will formulate and respond to two powerful arguments against the possibility of atheistic prayer: first, an argument that the act of prayer involves an intention to communicate to God, precluding disbelief in God’s existence; second, an argument claiming that reaching out to God through prayer requires believing God might exist, precluding rational disbelief in God. In showing options for response to these arguments, I (...) will describe a model on which atheistic prayer is not only possible, but is on a par with theistic prayer in many more ways than one might expect. (shrink)
In this article, we examine in detail the New Atheists' most serious argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, namely, Richard Dawkins's Ultimate 747 Gambit. Dawkins relies upon a strong explanatory principle involving simplicity. We systematically inspect the various kinds of simplicity that Dawkins may invoke. Finding his crucial premises false on any common conception of simplicity, we conclude that Dawkins has not given good reason to think God does not exist.
People in many parts of the world link morality with God and see good ethical values as an important benefit of theistic belief. A recent survey showed that Americans, for example, distrust atheists more than any other group listed in the survey, this distrust stemming mainly from the conviction that only believers in God can be counted on to respect morality. I argue against this widespread tendency to see theism as the friend of morality. I argue that our most serious (...) moral obligations -- the foundations of what can be called “ordinary morality ” -- remain in place only if God doesn’t exist. In recent years, some atheists have reacted to society’s distrust of them by claiming that atheism accommodates ordinary morality just as well as theism does. The truth is even stronger: only atheism accommodates ordinary morality. Logically speaking, morality is not common ground between theists and atheists. Morality depends on atheism. (shrink)
At first glance, atheism seems simple to define. If atheism is the negation of theism, and if theism is the view that at least one god exists, then atheism is the negation of this view. However, the common definitions that follow from this insight suffer from two problems: first, they often leave undefined what “god” means, and, second, they understate the scope of the disagreement between theists and atheists, which often has as much to do with the (...) fundamental character of reality as with the existence of one being in it. Some writers address the second problem by reinterpreting atheism as the logical consequence of particular metaphysical views, such as naturalism or physicalism, which are then taken as the true meaning of atheism. These interpretations, though more satisfactory in some respects, can result in concepts of atheism that are unclear or too narrow, and they often still leave “god” undefined. In this paper, I propose that atheism be defined as the proposition that reality is solely an impersonal order. Theism is the proposition that reality is not solely an impersonal order, being either a personal order, that is, an order founded by at least one person, or an impersonal order plus at least one transcendent person. A god is a person who is not subject to the laws governing that order and thus transcends it. I explain these definitions and briefly discuss some of their implications. First I survey prior definitions of atheism to display the problems they raise. (shrink)
The United States is a deeply Christian country, but over the last sixty years American public culture has become increasingly detached from religious concerns. Christian activists, when not speaking within the Republican Party, have had to assert their privilege in a way that they never had to do in the past. In spite of their efforts, the role of Christianity in culture and politics has seen a more or less continuous decline. This essay examines how and why that process occurred. (...) It puts forward a schematic narrative that relies on the concepts of public reason, the avant-garde, and an overlapping consensus to explain how different people came together in the mid-twentieth century to secularize and liberalize American public life. (shrink)
Inaugurating the Prometheus Lecture Series, this collection of clear and compelling essays by distinguished philosopher Flew (philosophy emeritus, U. of Reading, UK) addresses the many and diverse aspects of atheistic humanism, and is arranged in four parts: fundamentals of unbelief; defending knowledge and responsibility; scientific socialism?; and applied philosophy. Most of the essays draw more or less heavily on previous publications. Annotation copyright by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR.
It is a commonly held view that the existence of moral value somehow depends upon the existence of God. Some proponents of this view take the very strong position that atheism entails that there is no moral value; but most take the weaker position that atheism cannot explain what moral value is, or how it could have come into being. Call the first position Incompatibility, and the second position Inadequacy. In this paper, I will focus on the arguments (...) for Inadequacy. There are two main arguments for this position: the Argument from Arbitrariness and the Screening-Off Argument. I’ll discuss each in turn., and argue that neither is successful. To conclude, I’ll sketch what I think is a promising beginning to a naturalistic account of morality. (shrink)
Kripshe treats ‘god’ as an empty natural kind term such as ‘unicorn’. She applies Saul Kripke's fresh views about empty natural kinds to ‘god’. Metaphysically, says Kripshe, there are no possible worlds in which there are gods. Gods could not have existed, given that they do not actually exist and never did. Epistemologically, godlessness is an a posteriori discovery. Kripshe dismisses the gods in the same breath that she dismisses mermaids. Semantically, the perspective Kripshe finds most perspicacious, no counterfactual situation (...) is properly describable as one in which there are gods. Perhaps it is not quite a necessary truth that there are no gods. According to Saul Kripke, failed natural kind terms are ill-defined. Incorporating ill-defined terms into declarative sentences yields only mock propositions. Just as the meteorologist has no professional interest in mock thunder, the logician has no professional interest in mock propositions. Kripshe disagrees with agnostics who assign a low probability to ‘There is at least one god’. The bearers of probabilities must be propositions. Despite this deference to science, Kripshe agrees with the a priori atheist that, necessarily, no future experience could constitute an encounter with a god. Divine revelation is impossible. Kripshe's a posteriori necessary atheism compares favorably to familiar forms of atheism and to non-cognitivists. It reveals interesting challenges to a coherent formulation of atheism. (shrink)
During the eighteenth century, the specter of atheism was a major concern among many intellectuals in Europe. Many of the leading figures of the period such as François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire refuted atheism at every turn. These debates centered on living organisms, particularly questions about generation. Efforts to explain the process of generation raised biological, religious, and political questions. One popular theory put forward to address the question of generation was preformation, the belief that “germs” had been in (...) existence since God created the world. This chapter first discusses the rise of preformationist thinking in the late seventeenth century before turning to the biological evidence that challenged preexistence in the mid-eighteenth century and analyzing the reaction it triggered among the preformationists. It also examines the work of Voltaire and Denis Diderot to illustrate how the generation debates are linked to the materialism question. The chapter concludes by showing how these controversies about nature and biology became entangled with politics in eighteenth-century France. (shrink)
This paper criticizes the assumption, omnipresent in contemporary philosophy of religion, that a perfectly good and loving God would wish to confer on finite persons free will. An alternative mode of Divine-human relationship is introduced and shown to be as conducive to the realization of value as one involving free will. Certain implications of this result are then revealed, to wit, that the theist's free will defence against the problem of evil is unsuccessful, and what is more, that free will, (...) if it exists, provides positive support for atheism. (shrink)