20 Arguments for Atheism

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.

  1. Problem of evil – if there is a God, there would not be so much evil in the world; therefore, no God
  2. 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?
  3. Arguments for God are all flawed – each pro-argument has (a) an ambiguous term, (2) a false assumption, or (3) a logical fallacy
  4. 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?
  5. 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”?
  6. Theists can not describe any experiment that would disprove theism – i.e., believers interpret evidence selectively and any way they want
  7. Through history, science has gradually replaced religion as it explains more of what we used to think was supernatural
  8. Evolution by natural selection – this well-established hypothesis contradicts religious belief in creation, for which there is no evidence
  9. 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?
  10. 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”
  11. 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:

  1. 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
  2. Religions contradict one another – so only one can be right, or none are
  3. Religion makes people arrogant and dangerously narrow-minded (this is Sam Harris‘ argument in “The End of Faith”)
  4. Religion is institutionally hypocritical – e.g., condemns rich people and becomes rich, supports goodness but calls us all bad
  5. Historically religion has done more harm than good – wars, terrorism, bad language
  6. Guilt – nobody can make God happy, so belief is like working for a boss who hates you; why not quit, dude?
  7. Religion turns people into conflicted hypocrites – we feel we’re horrible but act like saints
  8. Religion takes your eye off the reality ball – makes us ignore our real strengths and problems (Marx’s argument)
  9. Religion makes us hate our bodies and repress our urges

Kreeft’s parting shot: “The key to fun is atheism!”

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3 responses to “20 Arguments for Atheism

  1. 3 and 6 are my favorite from the first section. I think the epistimelogical issues that theism faces are insurmountable. I can barely prove I’m here. How can I be expected to ever be able to detect and all-powerful, omnipotent force? It seems a bit too much to ask of my limited ability to perceive reality. I like 9 as well. Hadn’t thought of that one. Through that logic you could say the appendix could be used as an atheist argument. After all, why would a perfect being give us stuff we can’t use. I think a theist could refute that by arguing that we never know for sure what an appendix is used for. Problem with that argument is it opens up the we don’t know what anything is really for can of worms.

    As for the second section, they are all convincing. 8 (Marx’s argument) is my favorite. My problem is most similar to that one. Religion allows us to think we know things we can’t possibly know. The mystery of the universe is explained (by a highly implausible argument no less). If we’ve already explained the universe “simple questions” like is there a provable objective reality seem to be explained. What we really end up doing is taking our subjective beliefs and universalizing them, thinking that they are actually objectively true. Then, we get angry at those other lunatics who don’t believe in the “objective” truth that we see as being obvious. I believe that this misconception is the root of a good deal of the suffering we run into.

    I’m loving this atheism direction. Full speed ahead!

  2. I like the appendix analogy – although maybe it used to have a purpose? Mine certainly hasn’t helped me at all. And what about all those icy, barren planets? God certainly doesn’t seem to have been very efficient with creation.

  3. What you’re saying is—God should exist on your terms, You say there’s no God because of the errors of those that say there is. You must conclude then, that you must find on your own. Use “Creator” instead of “God” and you’ll be surprised what you find. There’s no law in the universe that says a Creator has to be “good”. Consider the Creator to be both good and evil-it’s up to you to partake of either. If you choose good then you are a manifest of God the Good. If you chose evil you make enemies. If you and they (the ones that say there is a God)are both then you and they are confused—Which of these choices produces your present condition. If there is good and evil then there is “God”. Behold, the man has become as “one” of us to know good and evil. there-fore lest he put forth his hand and eat of the tree of live also and live forever—- The info here is that “God” is both the good and the evil. A better word to use in place of “God” is “way”. Alpha Guardian 4.

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