We had so much fun with Karl “Grumpy” Marx on Atheism Tuesday here at The God Project Dot Net that we decided to indulge our newfound interest in Negative Nellies and give them some much-needed air cover. The following 20 reasons were taken from an interesting series of lectures by Boston College philosophy professor Peter Kreeft, a believer who points out that atheists tend to have better-reasoned arguments than his fellow theists. Why? Because theism is still the default position, at least in the U.S. Underdogs have to bark harder.
The first 11 are anti-God and the last 9 are anti-religion. Only the first – and best – of these arguments claims to logically disprove the existence of God. The rest of them just make belief seem irrational, dangerous, silly, pathological, unnecessary, yadda yip.
- Problem of evil – if there is a God, there would not be so much evil in the world; therefore, no God
- God is an unnecessary hypothesis – our old friend Aquinas mentioned this one before Occam’s Razor: science explains the world, psychologists explain us, what’s God for?
- Arguments for God are all flawed – each pro-argument has (a) an ambiguous term, (2) a false assumption, or (3) a logical fallacy
- Atheists can explain religious belief better than theists can explain disbelief – i.e., why does God let atheists get book deals and make so many televangelists look so absurd?
- Scientific method is the best way we have of testing hypotheses and religion does not survive this test — why is God a special case when it comes to “proof”?
- Theists can not describe any experiment that would disprove theism – i.e., believers interpret evidence selectively and any way they want
- Through history, science has gradually replaced religion as it explains more of what we used to think was supernatural
- Evolution by natural selection – this well-established hypothesis contradicts religious belief in creation, for which there is no evidence
- The universe as a whole doesn’t look like God created it – why so much empty space, wasted time and pointless black holes if there is a God?
- Belief in God usually goes with belief in a “spirit” – but when science believed in spirits it didn’t work; “In two words: materialism works”
- Materialism works logically – there is no spiritual experience that can’t be explained materially (e.g., brain chemistry)
The following are arguments against organized religions. They don’t claim to prove that God does not exist, just that religion is a bad idea:
- Religions are full of logical contradictions – e.g., Jesus is divine and human, one and three, Buddha says the self discovers that the self does not exist
- Religions contradict one another – so only one can be right, or none are
- Religion makes people arrogant and dangerously narrow-minded (this is Sam Harris‘ argument in “The End of Faith”)
- Religion is institutionally hypocritical – e.g., condemns rich people and becomes rich, supports goodness but calls us all bad
- Historically religion has done more harm than good – wars, terrorism, bad language
- Guilt – nobody can make God happy, so belief is like working for a boss who hates you; why not quit, dude?
- Religion turns people into conflicted hypocrites – we feel we’re horrible but act like saints
- Religion takes your eye off the reality ball – makes us ignore our real strengths and problems (Marx’s argument)
- Religion makes us hate our bodies and repress our urges
Kreeft’s parting shot: “The key to fun is atheism!”