God and Explicit Atheism

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  • Topic: Atheism, God, Theism
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aAtheism: the Case Against God by George Smith
Contents:

Introduction

Part One - Atheism And God
1. The Scope Of Atheism
2. The Concept Of God
3. The God Of Christianity

Part Two - Reason, Faith And Revelation
4. Reason Versus Faith
5. The Skepticism Of Faith
6. The Varieties Of Faith
7. Revelation

Part Three - The Arguments For God
8. Natural Theology
9. The Cosmological Arguments
10. The Design Arguments

Part Four - God - The Practical Consequences
11. Ethics, Rationality, And Religion
12. The Sins Of Christianity

Notes
Atheism: the Case Against God by George Smith

Introduction

Does a god exist? This question has undoubtedly been asked, in one form or another, since man has had the ability to communicate. Men have pondered the question, discussed it, argued it, and killed over it. It appears to be a simple question calling for a simple answer, but its simplicity is deceptive. Thousands of volumes have been written on the subject of a god, and the vast majority have answered the question with a resounding "Yes!" You are about to read a minority viewpoint. This book is a presentation and defense of atheism. This is not a sympathetic examination or interpretation of religious doctrines; it is a straightforward critique, philosophically and psychologically, of the belief in a god, especially as manifested in Christianity. The subtitle—The Case Against God—has a twofold meaning: first, it refers to the philosophical case against the concept god; and, secondly, it refers to the psychological case against the belief in a god. As a philosopher, I am continually amazed by the credence given to religious claims in the intellectual community; and, as a human being, I am appalled by the psychological damage caused by religious teachings—damage that often takes years to counteract. Atheism, even in today's "liberal" atmosphere, is still somewhat unacceptable. Simply being an atheist may be acceptable— if, that is, one keeps it to oneself. What is frequently considered inappropriate is to advertise this fact, or openly to attack religious doctrines. Thus, some excellent critiques of theistic belief have been written by philosophers who, for reasons known best to themselves, refuse to acknowledge that what they are advocating is, in fact, atheism. And we also have the unfortunate spectacle of the philosopher who, after demolishing the idea of god philosophically, goes on to assure his audience, with a gesture of glib modesty, that he has merely presented his own opinion, and that he is not so presumptuous as to suggest that his listeners should abandon their belief in god. Finally, there is the philosopher or psychologist who, while openly admitting the irrationality of theistic belief, actually recommends it as a kind of therapeutic device designed to give emotional aid and comfort to mankind—thus lending support to the myth that the average man is emotionally incapable of facing facts. It is my firm conviction that man has nothing to gain, emotionally or otherwise, by adhering to a falsehood, regardless of how comfortable or sacred that falsehood may appear. Anyone who claims, on the one hand, that he is concerned with human welfare, and who demands, on the other hand, that man must suspend or renounce the use of his reason, is contradicting himself. There can be no knowledge of what is good for man apart from knowledge of reality and human nature—and there is no manner in which this knowledge can be acquired except through reason. To advocate irrationality is to advocate that which is destructive to human life. It is not my purpose to convert people to atheism; such efforts are usually futile. It is my purpose, however, to demonstrate that the belief in god is irrational to the point of absurdity; and that this irrationality, when manifested in specific religions such as Christianity, is extremely harmful. In other words, I have attempted to remove the veneer of intellectual and moral...
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