Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know®
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Over the last decade, "New Atheists" such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have pushed the issue of atheism to the forefront of public discussion. Yet very few of the ensuing debates and discussions have managed to provide a full and objective treatment of the subject.
Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know provides a balanced look at the topic, considering atheism historically, philosophically, theologically, sociologically and psychologically. Written in an easily accessible style, the book uses a question and answer format to examine the history of atheism, arguments for and against atheism, the relationship between religion and science, and the issue of the meaning of life-and whether or not one can be a happy and satisfied atheist. Above all, the author stresses that the atheism controversy is not just a matter of the facts, but a matter of burning moral concern, both about the stand one should take on the issues and the consequences of one's commitment.
think that it would at least be clear 68 Atheism: What Everyone Needs to Know on the notion or concept of God. Boy, would you ever be making a big mistake. As soon as you start to ask, you find two thousand years of unbroken debate and that is still going on. As the Skeptics realized very early on in the game, the problem for Christianity is that it suffers from divided loyalties. It looks to two very different traditions for guidance and understanding—Athens and Jerusalem, the Greek
To the memory of my parents and the other loving Quakers of my childhood CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS IX Prologue 1 1. From the Greeks to the Enlightenment 7 2. From the Enlightenment to the Present 25 3. Statistics 53 4. God and Humans 67 5. Belief 83 6. The Matter of Science 100 7. Questions for the Christian 122 8. Are There Good Reasons to Believe? 148 9. Alternative Religions 169 10. Naturalistic Explanations 188 11. Is
just seizing on the nice parts of the New Testament and ignoring the less wholesome comments. Jesus tells us to leave our families. Is that really what God wants? “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14, 26). Or what about the views of St. Paul on women? Since God went out of his way to make Paul his apostle, surely this is authentic? “Women should be silent in the churches. For
be scared of something and that he overcomes his emotions. Sextus was not an atheist. But he was certainly planting seeds that would germinate and fruit, if long after his time. Is Medieval Europe Important to Our Story? Well, it is and it isn’t (Weltecke 2013)! In some respects, it is perhaps the most relevant of all, for it was then that great philosophers—notably St. Anselm (1033–1109) and St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)—were developing and elaborating their arguments for the existence of God.
religions—namely, talking of that which in a certain sense is beyond human comprehension—but there are positive things said of nibbana: that it is endless and wholly radiant, the “further shore,” the “island amidst the flood,” the “cool cave of shelter” (no small thing given the Indian climate), the “highest bliss” (Harvey 1990, 63). All of this is placed in a rather complex ontology that puts one in mind of modern cosmology. There are apparently an infinite number of universes, with galaxies,