Atheism: The Case against God

25 December 2005

Perhaps the most popular work on atheism and disbelief in God, Atheism: The Case Against God has been tremendously influential. It is also highly recommended by atheists and humanists, despite being slightly outdated. Due to these reasons, I decided to check out the book for myself.

Overall, I have to admit that I think this book is unimpressive. Smith argues by assertion much too often. Although Smith covers a variety of issues, his writing often contains little substance.

Smith’s book is also a bit outdated. Largely because of this, Smith’s material on the Cosmological Argument and Teleological Argument are all but useless. Smith cannot be blamed for this, but all of his objections have been refuted by philosophers and theologians (as well as my own articles) in the years since his book was originally published.

Perhaps the strangest thing about this book, however, is that its title seems a bit inappropriate. Although Smith claims to be refuting the existence of God, almost the entire book is devoted to refuting Christianity. At times, Smith’s writings come off as a polemical tirade against Christianity rather than a clear case against the existence of God. In fact, out of four main chapters, all but one addresses Christianity specifically. The third chapter (dealing with proofs of God’s existence) is the only chapter that does not specifically target Christianity.

Chapter 2, dealing with “Faith Versus Reason”, was by far the most lengthy chapter and by far the most boring. Smith discusses a concept of “faith” which bears no resemblance to the way I define faith. As a result, I end up agreeing with Smith’s passionate defense of the use of reason. Smith’s second chapter is useless except to those who hold the kind of “faith” that means believing without or in spite of evidence. This chapter is, however, a good defense for the importance of apologetics for Christianity.

Smith also has a tiny chapter on “Revelation”, which deals mostly with the Bible. This is Smith at his worst; he makes claims out of thin air without backing them up or providing references. He also takes the opportunity to spew out a few emotionally charged words about the “vindictiveness” in the Bible. Rational Christians have nothing to worry of Smith’s superficial treatment of the Bible.

The last chapter of the book is dealing with the foundation of morality. Smith takes this opportunity to talk about the “evils” of Christianity and the “psychological harm” caused by such belief. However, such arguments are mere emotional tirades, and as such are no threat to Christians. Smith claims that Christianity attempts to preclude the pleasure from sex by forbidding pre-marital relations. Supposedly, this restriction on sexuality is damaging, but I can only wonder exactly how Smith knows that having pre-marital sex is more pleasurable (in the end) than exclusive sex with one’s marriage partner. Obviously, Smith has not tried both. Smith’s foundation for morality has to do with the “pleasure” of humans, and as such could lead to terrible consequences (especially because of the tendency for humans to “desire” evil things). Smith’s foundation for morality is not objective and it is all but useless, all the while reducing the human being to the status of an animal.

Smith’s book would have been much better if he did not focus so heavily on Christianity and withheld from commentary on topics he (apparently) knows nothing about (such as, for example, biblical criticism). Despite its flaws, though, Atheism: The Case Against God is a decent introduction to atheism.

See HERE for a full critique of this book.






——————————————————————————————————————

  1. A new interpretation of the moral teaching of Jesus the Christ openly challenges 2000 years of theology and tradition.

    (PRWEB) February 16, 2006—Attracting considerable attention over the past year in discussion forums and momentum from a growing number of web sites is a new manuscript by an unknown author entitled: The Final Freedoms. But this continuing and growing interest may inevitably be leading towards a confrontation of David and Goliath proportions, as religious institutions rarely appreciate anyone subverting their foundations. And at stake are two thousand years of history.

    What at first appears an utterly preposterous challenge to the religious status quo rewards those who persevere in closer examination, for it carries within its pages an idea both subtle and sublime, what the combined intellectual histories of religion and science have either ignored or dismissed as impossible. An error of presumption which could now leave tradition staring into the abyss and humble the heights of scientific speculation. For if this material is confirmed, and there appears to be both the means and a concerted effort to authenticate it, the greatest unresolved questions of human existence may finally have been untangled.

    Being distributed freely as a pdf download, made up of twenty nine chapters and three hundred and seventy pages is the first wholly new and complete interpretation for two thousand years of the teachings of Jesus the Christ and the Perfect Law. And this new teaching has nothing whatsoever to do with any existing religious conception known to history. It is unique in every respect.

    Using a synthesis of several thousand scriptural elements from the Old and New Testaments, the Apocrypha , The Dead Sea Scrolls,The Nag Hammadi Library, and some of the worlds greatest poetry, it describes and teaches a single moral LAW, a single moral principle and offers its own proof; one in which the reality of God responds to an act of perfect faith with a direct, individual intervention into the natural world; making a correction to human nature by a change in natural law, altering consciousness, human ethical perception, and providing new, primary insight and understanding of the human condition.

    Also called the Gospel of the Resurrection, this new interpretation reveals the moral foundation of all human thought and conduct and finds expression within a new covenant of human spiritual union, the marriage between one man and one woman. It resolves the most intractable questions and issues of human sexuality and offers possibilities for peace, health and cultural development political process has yet to dream of.

    This new teaching is pure ethics. It requires no institutional framework, no churches, no priest craft, no scholastic theological rational, costs nothing and ‘worship’ requires only conviction and the necessary measure of self discipline to accomplish a new moral imperative.

    As the first ever religious teaching able to demonstrate its own efficacy, the first ever religious claim to knowledge that meets both the ideal and criteria of the most rigourous, testable scientific method, this teaching represents a reality entirely new to human history.

    The beginnings of an intellectual and moral revolution are unfolding on the web. And anyone trying to imagine where solutions to the worlds most difficult conundrums will come from, may comprehend from this material, the catalyst that might very well define the very future of humanity and the earth itself!

    Download links: http://www.energon.uklinux.net

    http://thefinalfreedoms.bulldoghome.com
    Robert Landbeck    Mar 15, 08:21 AM    #
  Textile Help