Criticism of atheism


Criticism of atheism

Criticism of atheism is based on a variety of arguments, including assessments of its validity,[1][2][3] the consequences of not believing,[4][5] its impact on morality,[6][7][8] and the assertion that some atheists are dogmatic.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Contents

Defining atheism

Atheism, in a broad sense, is the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.[17] In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities.[18] Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist.[19] Atheism is contrasted with theism,[20][21] which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.[21][22]

Rejection of theistic arguments

The primary criticism of atheism is that it rejects belief in God, for whose existence theist and deist critics[23] believe there are well-established arguments. Atheists, however, regard the arguments for the existence of God as unconvincing or flawed.[24]

Criticism of strong atheism also comes from agnostics, who contend that there are insufficient grounds to assert authoritatively that any supreme being does not exist,[3] and from ignostics, who take the theological noncognitivist position that the question of the existence of God (per that definition) is meaningless or not properly defined to allow one to take a meaningful position on. Negative atheism (sometimes referred to as weak atheism) is compatible with both agnosticism and theological noncognitivism.

Effects of atheism on the individual

Blaise Pascal first explained his wager in Pensées (1669)

Philosopher Blaise Pascal in his Pensées discusses the human condition in itself without God in saying "we seek rest in a struggle against some obstacles. And when we have overcome these, rest proves unbearable because of the boredom it produces...How hollow and full of garbage is the heart of man."[25] He goes on to say "no one without faith has ever reached the point at which everyone constantly aims...only an infinite and immutable object – that is, God himself – can fill this infinite abyss."[25] In addition, he says "Atheism shows strength of mind, but only to a certain degree" and goes on to criticize atheists for not seeking out the truth and seeing the signs of God's will.[26] A number of religions (such as Roman Catholicism, for example) also suggest that atheism has highly negative effects on the individuals after death: a point taken up by Pascal in Pascal's Wager (see picture and caption).[citation needed]

Christian author Alister McGrath has criticized atheism, citing studies suggesting that religion and belief in God are correlated with improved individual health, happiness, and life expectancy.[4] However, atheists Gregory Paul and Michael Martin state that in developed countries, health,[27][28] life expectancy,[28] and other factors of wealth are generally higher in countries with a greater percentage of atheists compared to countries with higher proportions of believers. It has also been considered that atheists might have a higher suicide rate than theists.[29][30][31]

Morality

"A child of the mob once asked an astronomer who the father was who brought him into this world. The scholar pointed to the sky, and to an old man sitting, and said: 'That one there is your body's father, and that your soul's.' To which the boy replied: 'WHAT IS ABOVE US IS OF NO CONCERN TO US, and I'm ashamed to be the child of such an aged man!' O WHAT SUPREME impiety, not to want to recognize your father, and not to think God is your maker!"[32] Emblem illustrating practical atheism and its historical association with immorality, titled "Supreme Impiety: Atheist and Charlatan", from Picta poesis, by Barthélemy Aneau, 1552.

Some philosophers and world religions teach that morality is derived from or expressed by the dictates or commandments of a particular deity, and that acknowledgment of God or the gods is a major factor in motivating people towards moral behavior. The German idealist philosopher Immanuel Kant stated the practical necessity for a belief in God in his Critique of Practical Reason. As an idea of pure reason, "we do not have the slightest ground to assume in an absolute manner… the object of this idea…",[33] but adds that the idea of God cannot be separated from the relation of happiness with morality as the "ideal of the supreme good." The foundation of this connection is an intelligible moral world, and "is necessary from the practical point of view".[34] The French philosophe Voltaire stated "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."[35]

Niall Ferguson states that without religion there would be no basis for an ethical framework for a person's life, and refers to the apothegm falsely[36] attributed to G. K. Chesterton that "When men stop believing in God, they don't believe in nothing. They believe in anything". He states that based on historical observation and studies performed by his colleagues at Harvard University that there is "no question there’s a connection between religion and economic and social behaviour" and he is "strongly convinced that religion performs important social functions in the transmission say, of ethical values between generations" and without it exists "a society that’s likely to be less good at maintaining social order".[37][38] Historically, practical atheism or apatheism — which describes individuals who live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without resorting to the divine — has been associated by various theistic writers with depravity, willful ignorance, impiety, and hedonism. According to the French Catholic philosopher Étienne Borne, "Practical atheism is not the denial of the existence of God, but complete godlessness of action; it is a moral evil, implying not the denial of the absolute validity of the moral law but simply rebellion against that law."[6] For many years in the United States, atheists were not allowed to testify in court because it was believed that an atheist would have no reason to tell the truth (see also discrimination against atheists).[39]

Some believe that a moral sense does not depend on religious belief. The Dalai Lama has said that compassion and affection are human values independent of religion: "We need these human values. I call these secular ethics, secular beliefs. There’s no relationship with any particular religion. Even without religion, even as nonbelievers, we have the capacity to promote these things."[40] Atheists such as biologist and popular author Richard Dawkins have proposed that human morality is a result of evolutionary, sociobiological history. He proposes that the "moral zeitgeist" helps describe how moral imperatives and values naturalistically evolve over time from biological and cultural origins.[41]

According to the Catholic Church, human reason, even without knowledge of a revealed divine law, inclines people to seek the good and avoid sin.[citation needed] In this view, natural law provides a foundation on which people may build moral rules to guide their choices and regulate society, but does not provide as strong a basis for moral behavior as a morality that is based in religion.[42] Douglas Wilson argues that while atheists can behave morally, belief is necessary for an individual "to give a rational and coherent account" of why they are obligated to lead a morally responsible life.[43] Wilson says that atheism is unable to "give an account of why one deed should be seen as good and another as evil" (emphasis in original).[44] Speaking for the Catholic Church in 2009, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, outgoing Archbishop of Westminster, expressed this position by describing a lack of faith as “the greatest of evils” and blamed atheism for war and destruction, implying that it was a "greater evil even than sin itself."[45]

Atheism as faith

Atheism has been criticized as a faith in itself, with some defining it as a belief in its own right, with a certainty about the falseness of religious beliefs that is comparable to the certainty about the unknown that is practiced by religions themselves.[46][47][48][49][50][51]

One response is to emphasize that (weak) atheism can be the rejection of belief, or absence of belief.[52][53][54][55][56] This argument can be summarized by reference to Don Hirschberg's saying, "calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color."[57]

Also, a belief is not necessarily a belief without evidence or firm foundation. For example a belief can be in contrast to faith because the holder of the belief might not hold it with a complete degree of being certain it is true but only as far as the evidence pertains to the belief being true.[58]

In his book First Principles (1862), the nineteenth-century English philosopher Herbert Spencer has a chapter on "Ultimate Religious Ideas" in which he writes that, as regards the origin of the universe, three hypotheses are possible: self-existence (atheism), self-creation (pantheism) or creation by an external agency (theism).[59] Analyzing these three hypotheses, however, Spencer finds that, "differing so widely as they seem to do", they all "contain the same ultimate element. It is impossible to avoid making the assumption of self-existence somewhere",[60] whether with regard to a part of the universe (atheism), the universe as a whole (pantheism), or an external creator (theism). Furthermore, the idea of self-existence is not merely inescapable but "rigorously inconceivable; and this holds true whatever be the nature of the object of which it is predicated". For Spencer, therefore, atheism, pantheism and theism alike, despite "seeming to their adherents quite rational, turn out, when critically examined, to be literally unthinkable".[61] In view of its inability to evade assuming self-existence somewhere, "even that which is commonly regarded as the negation of all religion — even positive Atheism comes within the definition" of religion.[62]

Dogmatism

In an hour-long documentary entitled The Trouble with Atheism, Rod Liddle argues that atheism is becoming just as dogmatic as religion.[9][10][11] In The Dawkins Delusion?, Christian theologian Alister McGrath and psychologist Joanna Collicutt McGrath compare Richard Dawkins' "total dogmatic conviction of correctness" to "a religious fundamentalism which refuses to allow its ideas to be examined or challenged." [12]

Michael Novak, reviewing books by Sam Harris, Daniel C. Dennett and Richard Dawkins in National Review, writes that "all three pretend that atheists 'question everything' and 'submit to relentless, almost tedious, self-criticism.' Yet in these books there is not a shred of evidence that their authors have ever had any doubts whatever about the rightness of their own atheism."[63]

Stephen Jay Gould criticized Richard Dawkins for having a "Darwinian fundamentalism" and "uncompromising ideology".[64] Dawkins has responded to this form of criticism by stating that, "Passion for passion, an evangelical Christian and I may be evenly matched. But we are not equally fundamentalist. The true scientist, however passionately he may 'believe', in evolution for example, knows exactly what would change his mind: evidence! The fundamentalist knows that nothing will."[65]

Atheists and religious groups

Former atheist Ignace Lepp states "some modern atheists are unquestionably neurotics" which he bases typically on an unhappy experience with religion.[66] Neuroscientist and popular author Sam Harris has been criticized by some of his fellow contributors at The Huffington Post. In particular, RJ Eskow has accused him of fostering an intolerance towards faith, potentially as damaging as the religious fanaticism which he opposes.[13][14] Madeleine Bunting wrote in The Guardian that the purpose of recent books by the so-called "Four Horsemen" of the New Atheism—Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens—"is to pour scorn on religious belief—they want it eradicated," and argues that the books are "deeply political," sharing a "loathing" of the role of religion in American culture and politics. Quoting Harris as saying "some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them," Bunting says "[t]his sounds like exactly the kind of argument put forward by those who ran the Inquisition."[67] Quoting the same passage, theologian Catherine Keller asks, "[c]ould there be a more dangerous proposition than that?" and argues that the "anti-tolerance" it represents would "dismantle" the Jeffersonian wall between church and state.[68]

Sam Harris has responded at length to these criticisms, stating that this "passage seems to have been selectively quoted, and misconstrued, more than any I have written". He further states that "This paragraph appears after a long discussion of the role that belief plays in governing human behavior, and it should be read in that context." "Some critics have interpreted the second sentence of this passage to mean that I advocate simply killing religious people for their beliefs." "Such a reading remains a frank distortion of my views. Read in context, it should be clear that I am not at all ignoring the link between belief and behavior. The fact that belief determines behavior is what makes certain beliefs so dangerous." Using the examples of Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri, he states the view that even though they had not killed anyone personally, it would still be ethical to target them because "they are likely to get a lot of innocent people killed because of what they and their followers believe about jihad, martyrdom, the ascendancy of Islam, etc."[69]

In December 2007, the Archbishop of Wales Barry Morgan criticized what he referred to as "atheistic fundamentalism", claiming that it advocated the view that religion has no substance and "that faith has no value and is superstitious nonsense."[70][71] He claimed that atheistic fundamentalism led to situations such as councils calling Christmas "Winterval", schools refusing to put on nativity plays and crosses removed from chapels, though others have disputed this.[72]

As a theistic religion, Christianity necessarily rejects atheism. While the Catechism of the Catholic Church identifies atheism as a violation of the First Commandment, calling it "a sin against the virtue of religion", it is careful to acknowledge that atheism may be motivated by virtuous or moral considerations, and admonishes Catholic Christians to focus on their own role in encouraging atheism by their religious or moral shortcomings:

(2125) [...] The imputability of this offense can be significantly diminished in virtue of the intentions and the circumstances. "Believers can have more than a little to do with the rise of atheism. To the extent that they are careless about their instruction in the faith, or present its teaching falsely, or even fail in their religious, moral, or social life, they must be said to conceal rather than to reveal the true nature of God and of religion.[2]

Atheism and totalitarian regimes

USSR. 1922 issue of the Bezbozhnik (The Atheist) magazine. By 1934, 28% of Christian Orthodox churches, 42% of Muslim mosques and 52% of Jewish synagogues were shut down in the USSR.[73]

One criticism of atheism is that godless nations have been responsible for aggressive campaigns against religions or religious people. Pope Benedict XVI, for example, stated in 2010:

As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a "reductive vision of the person and his destiny"[74]

While research suggests that atheists are more numerous in peaceful nations than they are in turbulent or warlike ones,[75] proponents of this view cite examples, such as the Bolsheviks (in Soviet Russia), who, inspired by "an ideological creed which professed that all religion would atrophy", "resolved to eradicate Christianity as such". In 1918 "[t]en Orthodox hierarchs were summarily shot" and "[c]hildren were deprived of any religious education outside the home."[76] Increasingly draconian measures were employed. In addition to direct state persecution, the League of the Militant Godless was founded in 1925, churches were closed and vandalized and "by 1938 eighty bishops had lost their lives, while thousands of clerics were sent to labour camps."[77]

In 1967, Enver Hoxha's regime conducted a campaign to extinguish religious life in Albania; by year's end over two thousand religious buildings were closed or converted to other uses, and religious leaders were imprisoned and executed. Albania was declared to be the world's first atheist country by its leaders, and Article 37 of the Albanian constitution of 1976 stated that "The State recognises no religion, and supports and carries out atheistic propaganda in order to implant a scientific materialistic world outlook in people."[78][79][80]

Christian writer Dinesh D'Souza writes that "The crimes of atheism have generally been perpetrated through a hubristic ideology that sees man, not God, as the creator of values. Using the latest techniques of science and technology, man seeks to displace God and create a secular utopia here on earth."[15] He also contends:

And who can deny that Stalin and Mao, not to mention Pol Pot and a host of others, all committed atrocities in the name of a Communist ideology that was explicitly atheistic? Who can dispute that they did their bloody deeds by claiming to be establishing a 'new man' and a religion-free utopia? These were mass murders performed with atheism as a central part of their ideological inspiration, they were not mass murders done by people who simply happened to be atheist.[16]

In response to this line of criticism, Sam Harris wrote:

The problem with fascism and communism, however, is not that they are too critical of religion; the problem is that they are too much like religions. Such regimes are dogmatic to the core and generally give rise to personality cults that are indistinguishable from cults of religious hero worship. Auschwitz, the gulag and the killing fields were not examples of what happens when human beings reject religious dogma; they are examples of political, racial and nationalistic dogma run amok. There is no society in human history that ever suffered because its people became too reasonable.[81]

Richard Dawkins has stated that Stalin's atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by dogmatic Marxism,[41] and concludes that while Stalin and Mao happened to be atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism.[82] On other occasions, Dawkins has replied to the argument that Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin were antireligious with the response that Hitler and Stalin also grew moustaches, in an effort to show the argument as fallacious.[83] Instead, Dawkins argues in The God Delusion that "What matters is not whether Hitler and Stalin were atheists, but whether atheism systematically influences people to do bad things. There is not the smallest evidence that it does."[84] D'Souza responds that an individual need not explicitly invoke atheism in committing atrocities if it is already implied in his worldview, as is the case in Marxism.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967; rev. ed., 1990. ISBN 0-8014-9735-3
  2. ^ a b Catechism of the Catholic Church, English version, section 3.2.1.1.3
  3. ^ a b Anthony Kenny What I Believe see esp. Ch. 3 "Why I am not an atheist"
  4. ^ a b The Dawkins Delusion? by Alister McGrath, citing, e.g., David Myers, “The Funds, Friends and Faith of Happy People.” American Psychologist 55 (2000): 56–67; Harold G. Koenig and Harvey J. Cohen, The link between religion and health : psychoneuroimmunology and the faith factor. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002; Marc Galanter, Spirituality and the healthy mind : science, therapy, and the need for personal meaning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.
  5. ^ See http://www.milforded.org/schools/foran/greenstone/greenstonefinal.htm
  6. ^ a b Borne, Étienne (1961). Atheism. New York: Hawthorn Books. ISBN 0-415-04727-7. 
  7. ^ Josef Cardinal Ratzinger, Marcello Pera, "Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam" (Basic Books, 0465006345, 2006).
  8. ^ Bhikkhu Bodhi, "A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence" article link at Access to Insight
  9. ^ a b Johns, Ian (2006). Atheism gets a kick in the fundamentals. The Times.
  10. ^ a b David Chater, "Viewing guide: The Trouble with Atheism," The Times, December 18, 2006
  11. ^ a b Sam Wollaston, "Last night's TV," The Guardian, 16 December 2006
  12. ^ a b Alister McGrath and Joanna Collicutt McGrath, The Dawkins Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK), February 15, 2007, ISBN 978-0-281-05927-0
  13. ^ a b RJ Eskow, 2005. "Blind Faith: Sam Harris Attacks Islam." The Huffington Post.
  14. ^ a b RJ Eskow, 2006. "Reject Arguments For Intolerance – Even From Atheists." The Huffington Post.
  15. ^ a b Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history Dinesh D'Souza
  16. ^ a b c Answering Atheist’s Arguments Dinesh D'Souza
  17. ^
    • Nielsen, Kai (2010). "Atheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism. Retrieved 2011-01-26. "Atheism, in general, the critique and denial of metaphysical beliefs in God or spiritual beings.... Instead of saying that an atheist is someone who believes that it is false or probably false that there is a God, a more adequate characterization of atheism consists in the more complex claim that to be an atheist is to be someone who rejects belief in God for the following reasons (which reason is stressed depends on how God is being conceived)..." 
    • Edwards, Paul (2005) [1967]. "Atheism". In Donald M. Borchert. The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 1 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA (Gale). p. 359. ISBN 0028657802. "On our definition, an 'atheist' is a person who rejects belief in God, regardless of whether or not his reason for the rejection is the claim that 'God exists' expresses a false proposition. People frequently adopt an attitude of rejection toward a position for reasons other than that it is a false proposition. It is common among contemporary philosophers, and indeed it was not uncommon in earlier centuries, to reject positions on the ground that they are meaningless. Sometimes, too, a theory is rejected on such grounds as that it is sterile or redundant or capricious, and there are many other considerations which in certain contexts are generally agreed to constitute good grounds for rejecting an assertion." (page 175 in 1967 edition)
  18. ^ Rowe, William L. (1998). "Atheism". In Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415073103. http://books.google.ca/books?id=lnuwFH_M5o0C&pg=PA530&lpg=PA530&dq=atheism+routledge&source=bl&ots=D7oHkocuKE&sig=IOLNADKE-9gpnREO-S8QJfJft3g&hl=en&ei=3kpQS8_sBYyQtgOKltGKCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CB8Q6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=atheism%20routledge&f=false. Retrieved 2011-01-26. "As commonly understood, atheism is the position that affirms the nonexistence of God. So an atheist is someone who disbelieves in God, whereas a theist is someone who believes in God. Another meaning of "atheism" is simply nonbelief in the existence of God, rather than positive belief in the nonexistence of God. …an atheist, in the broader sense of the term, is someone who disbelieves in every form of deity, not just the God of traditional Western theology." 
  19. ^ Religioustolerance.org's short article on Definitions of the term "Atheism" suggests that there is no consensus on the definition of the term. Simon Blackburn summarizes the situation in The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy: "Atheism. Either the lack of belief in a god, or the belief that there is none". Most dictionaries (see the OneLook query for "atheism") first list one of the more narrow definitions.
    • Runes, Dagobert D.(editor) (1942 edition). Dictionary of Philosophy. New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams & Co. Philosophical Library. ISBN 0-06-463461-2. http://www.ditext.com/runes/a.html. Retrieved 2011-01-26. "(a) the belief that there is no God; (b) Some philosophers have been called "atheistic" because they have not held to a belief in a personal God. Atheism in this sense means "not theistic". The former meaning of the term is a literal rendering. The latter meaning is a less rigorous use of the term though widely current in the history of thought"  – entry by Vergilius Ferm
  20. ^ "Definitions: Atheism". Department of Religious Studies, University of Alabama. http://web.as.ua.edu/rel/aboutreldefinitions.html. Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  21. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). 1989. "Belief in a deity, or deities, as opposed to atheism" 
  22. ^ "Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary". http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theism. Retrieved 2011-01-26. "belief in the existence of a god or gods" 
  23. ^ See e.g. Alvin Plantinga, who suggests that belief in God is like belief in other minds in this respect, in his God and Other Minds, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967; rev. ed., 1990. ISBN 0-8014-9735-3
  24. ^ See e.g. Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. Ch.3: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-618-68000-4.  and Harris, Sam (2005). The End of Faith. W.W. Norton. http://www.samharris.org/site/book_end_of_faith. 
  25. ^ a b Pascal, Blaise; Ariew, Roger (2005). Pensées. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub. Co.. ISBN 9780872207172. http://books.google.com/?id=DdlNuvGMPisC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Blaise+Pascal%22. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  26. ^ Pascal, Blaise; Ariew, Roger (2005). Pensées. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub. Co.. p. 51. ISBN 9780872207172. http://books.google.com/?id=DdlNuvGMPisC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Blaise+Pascal%22. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  27. ^ Paul, Gregory. 2002. The Secular Revolution of the West, Free Inquiry, Summer: 28–34
  28. ^ a b Zuckerman, P. (2007). M. Martin. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0521842700. 
  29. ^ http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/161/12/2303
  30. ^ http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=3213
  31. ^ http://www.adherents.com/misc/religion_suicide.html
  32. ^ Translation of Latin text from "Summa impietas" (1552), Picta poesis, by Barthélemy Aneau. Glasgow University Emblem Website. Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  33. ^ Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A685/B713.
  34. ^ Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A810/B838.
  35. ^ Originally, "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.", [[q:Voltaire|]], Épître à l'Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs (1770-11-10).
  36. ^ This is a paraphrase, and not a quote, coined by Emile Cammaerts in The laughing prophet; the seven virtues and G.K. Chesterton (1937), OCLC 4248043, p 211, itself quoted in Knowles, Elizabeth (2005). The Oxford dictionary of quotations. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-860720-2. 
  37. ^ Ferguson, Niall (2005-07-31). "Heaven knows how we'll rekindle our religion, but I believe we must". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/3618721/Heaven-knows-how-well-rekindle-our-religion-but-I-believe-we-must.html. 
  38. ^ Niall Ferguson on Islam and demographics
  39. ^ See, e.g., United States v. Miller, 236 F. 798, 799 (W.D. Wash., N.D. 1916) (citing Thurston v. Whitney et al., 2 Cush. (Mass.) 104; Jones on Evidence, Blue Book, vol. 4, §§ 712, 713) ("Under the common-law rule a person who does not believe in a God who is the rewarder of truth and the avenger of falsehood cannot be permitted to testify.")
  40. ^ "The Dalai Lama Interview | The Progressive Magazine since 1909". Progressive.org. 1935-07-06. http://www.progressive.org/mag_intv0106. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  41. ^ a b Dawkins, Richard (2006-09-18). The God Delusion. Ch. 7: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0618680009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion. 
  42. ^ "Where morality is divorced from religion, reason will, it is true, enable a man to recognize to a large extent the ideal to which his nature points. But much will be wanting. He will disregard some of his most essential duties. He will, further, be destitute of the strong motives for obedience to the law afforded by the sense of obligation to God and the knowledge of the tremendous sanction attached to its neglect – motives which experience has proved to be necessary as a safeguard against the influence of the passions. And, finally, his actions even if in accordance with the moral law, will be based not on the obligation imposed by the Divine will, but on considerations of human dignity and on the good of human society." "Morality". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  43. ^ Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, "Is Christianity Good for the World? Part 2" Christianity Today magazine (web only, May 2007)
  44. ^ Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, "Is Christianity Good for the World? Part 6" Christianity Today magazine (web only, May 2007)
  45. ^ Gledhill, Ruth (May 22, 2009). "Archbishop of Westminster attacks atheism but says nothing on child abuse". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article6334837.ece. 
  46. ^ "Religion: The God-Haters," Time, Aug. 22, 1949
  47. ^ David Limbaugh, "Does atheism require more faith?," Townhall.com, April 20, 2004
  48. ^ Stanley Fish, "Atheism and Evidence," Think Again, The New York Times, June 17, 2007
  49. ^ DHRUV K. SINGHAL, "The Church of Atheism,", The Harvard Crimson, December 14, 2008
  50. ^ Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist," Crossway Books, March 01, 2004, 447 Pages, ISBN 1581345615
  51. ^ John F. Haught, God and the New Atheism: A Critical Response to Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens, Westminster John Knox Press, December 31, 2007, 156 pages, ISBN 978-0664233044, page 45
  52. ^ Martin, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge University Press. 2006. ISBN 0521842700.
  53. ^ Nielsen, Kai (2009). "Atheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  54. ^ Edwards, Paul (1967). "Atheism". The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 1. Collier-MacMillan. p. 175. 
  55. ^ Cline, Austin (2006). "What Is the Definition of Atheism?". about.com. http://atheism.about.com/od/definitionofatheism/a/definition.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  56. ^ Flew, Antony (1984). God, Freedom, and Immortality: A Critical Analysis. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus. ISBN 0-87975-127-4. 
  57. ^ "Quotations : Atheism, Atheist. Quotes of Asimov, Allen, Buchan, Chesterton, Crisp, Goldman, Roberts, Rossetti, Santayana, Sartre, Vidal". Atheisme.free.fr. http://atheisme.free.fr/Quotes/Atheist.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  58. ^ Belief
  59. ^ Spencer, Herbert (1862). First Principles. London: Williams and Norgate, pp. 30-35.
  60. ^ Spencer, First Principles, p. 36.
  61. ^ Spencer, First Principles, p. 35.
  62. ^ Spencer, First Principles, p. 43.
  63. ^ Michael Novak, "Lonely atheists of the global village," National Review, March 19, 2007
  64. ^ Stephen Jay Gould, "Darwinian Fundamentalism", The New York Review of Books, June 12, 1997.
  65. ^ Richard Dawkins, "How dare you call me a fundamentalist: The right to criticize ‘faith-heads’," The Times, May 12, 2007
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  67. ^ Madeleine Bunting, "The New Atheists loathe religion far too much to plausibly challenge it," The Guardian, May 7, 2007
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