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Atheism

Ephesians 2,12 - Greek atheos

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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][9] and the dogmatism[10][11][12][13] and actions of those who are atheists.[14][15][16][17][18]

Defining atheism

Atheism can be either the rejection of theism,[19] or the assertion that deities do not exist.[20] In the broadest sense, it is the absence of belief in the existence of deities.[21] Some belief systems that are considered religions, such as forms of Buddhism that do not advocate belief in gods, have been described as atheistic.[22] Although some atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism,[23] rationalism, and naturalism,[24] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere.[25]

AtheismImplicitExplicit3

A chart showing the relationship between the definitions of weak/strong and implicit/explicit atheism. An implicit atheist has not thought about belief in gods; such an individual would be described as implicitly without a belief in gods. An explicit atheist has made an assertion regarding belief in gods; such an individual may eschew belief in gods (weak atheism), or affirm that gods do not exist (strong atheism).

Writers disagree how best to define and classify atheism,[26] contesting what supernatural entities it applies to, whether it is an assertion in its own right or merely the absence of one, and whether it requires a conscious, explicit rejection. With respect to the range of phenomena being rejected, atheism may counter anything from the existence of a deity, to the existence of any spiritual, supernatural, or transcendental concepts, such as those of Hinduism and Buddhism.[27]

"Implicit atheism" and "explicit atheism" are subcategories of atheism coined by George H. Smith.[28]:13-18 Implicit atheism is defined by Smith as "the absence of theistic belief without a conscious rejection of it" (i.e., those who have not thought about the existence of deities, let alone decided against it, are de facto atheists). Explicit atheism is defined as "the absence of theistic belief due to a conscious rejection of it" (those who have thought about the existence of deities and have purposely decided against it), which, according to Smith, is sometimes characterized as antitheism.[29]

Philosophers such as Antony Flew,[30] Michael Martin,[31] and William L. Rowe[32] have contrasted strong (positive) atheism with weak (negative) atheism. Strong atheism is the explicit affirmation that gods do not exist. Weak atheism includes all other forms of non-theism. According to this categorization, anyone who is not a theist is either a weak or a strong atheist.[33] While Martin, for example, asserts that agnosticism entails weak atheism,[31] most agnostics see their view as distinct from atheism, which they may consider no more justified than theism or requiring an equal conviction.[34] Some popular atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins prefer distinguishing theist, agnostic and atheist positions by the probability assigned to the statement "God exists".[35]

In practical, or pragmatic, atheism, also known as apatheism, individuals live as if there are no gods and explain natural phenomena without resorting to the divine. The existence of gods is not denied, but may be designated unnecessary or useless; gods neither provide purpose to life, nor influence everyday life, according to this view.[36] A form of practical atheism with implications for the scientific community is methodological naturalism—the "tacit adoption or assumption of philosophical naturalism within scientific method with or without fully accepting or believing it."[37] Theoretical (or theoric) atheism explicitly posits arguments against the existence of gods, responding to common theistic arguments such as the argument from design or Pascal's Wager.

Rejection of theistic arguments

The primary criticism of atheism is that it rejects belief in any supreme being, commonly known as God or gods. In the view of theist and deist critics,[38] there is a variety of long-established arguments for the existence of God. However, atheists regard these as unconvincing or flawed.[39] An early example of such criticism is found in the Bible: "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God' ",[40] while a more recent example is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Since it rejects or denies the existence of God, atheism is a sin against the virtue of religion".[2]

Criticism of atheism in its strong form 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.

Effects of atheism on the individual

Blaise pascal

Blaise Pascal first explained his wager in Pensées (1669)

Philosopher Blaise Pascal in the 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."[41] 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."[41] 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.[42] A number of religions[which?] 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).

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,[43][44] life expectancy,[44] and other factors of wealth are generally higher in countries with a greater percentage of atheist compared to countries with higher proportions of believers.

Morality

Supreme Impiety, Atheist and Charlatan - Picta poesis, by Barthélemy Aneau (1552)

"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!"[45] Emblem illustrating practical atheism and its historical association with immorality, titled "Supreme Impiety: Atheist and Charlatan", from Picta poesis, by Barthélemy Aneau, 1552.

Some philosophersTemplate:Who? and world religions[which?] 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 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…",[46] 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".[47] The French philosopher Voltaire stated "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."[48] 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."[49]

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 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).[50]

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."[51] Atheists such as Richard Dawkins have proposed that our morality is a result of our evolutionary history. He proposes that the Moral Zeitgeist helps describe how morality evolves from biological and cultural origins and evolves with time.[52]

According to the Catholic Church, human reason, even without knowledge of a revealed divine law, inclines people to seek the good and avoid sin. 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.[53] 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.[54] 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).[55]

In 2003 a Christian-affiliated research organization called the The Barna Group, after conducting a survey of morality in the United States; criticised atheists and agnostics for being more likely than theists to consider the following behaviors morally acceptable: cohabitating with someone of the opposite sex outside of marriage, enjoying sexual fantasies, having an abortion, sexual relationships outside of marriage, gambling, looking at pictures of nudity or explicit sexual behavior, getting drunk, and having a relationship with someone of the same sex."[8] However, other studies have shown that more secular, evolution-accepting nations have lower rates of homicide, teen abortion, teen pregnancy, teen sexually transmitted diseases, and infant mortality than less secular, developed nations such as The United States.[56]

Atheism as faith

Atheism has been criticized as a faith in itself, defining it as a belief in its own right.[57][58][59][60][61][62]

One response is to emphasize that (weak) atheism can be the rejection of belief, or absence of belief.[31][63][64][65][66] This argument can be summarized by reference to Don Hirschberg's saying, "calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color."[67]

Dogmatism

In an hour-long documentary entitled The Trouble with Atheism, Rod Liddle argues that atheism is becoming just as dogmatic as religion.[10][11][12] 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.".[13]

In The New Inquisition, Robert Anton Wilson lampoons the members of skeptical organizations like the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP - now the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) as fundamentalist materialists, alleging that they dogmatically dismiss any evidence that conflicts with materialism as hallucination or fraud.[68] 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."[69]

Richard 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."[70]

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.[71] 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.[15][16] Madeleine Bunting wrote in The Guardian that the purpose of recent books by 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 US 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."[72] 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.[73]

Similarly, 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."[74][75] 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.[76]

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

1922 Bezbozhnik magazine cover

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.[77]

In Soviet Russia the Bolsheviks originally embraced "an ideological creed which professed that all religion would atrophy" and "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."[78] 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."[79]

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."[80][81][82]

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."[17] 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.[18]

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.[83]

Richard Dawkins has stated that Stalin's atrocities were influenced not by atheism but by their dogmatic Marxism,[52] and opines that while Stalin and Mao happened to be atheists, they did not do their deeds in the name of atheism.[84] On other occasions, Dawkins has replied to the argument that Hitler and Stalin were atheists with the response that Hitler and Stalin also grew moustaches in an effort to show the argument as fallacious.[85]

See also

References

  1. Alvin Plantinga, God and Other Minds, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1967; rev. ed., 1990. ISBN 0-8014-9735-3
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Catechism of the Catholic Church, English version, section 3.2.1.1.3
  3. 3.0 3.1 Anthony Kenny What I Believe see esp. Ch. 3 "Why I am not an atheist"
  4. 4.0 4.1 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. 6.0 6.1 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. 8.0 8.1 "The Barna Update: Morality Continues to Decay" (archive copy at the Internet Archive), The Barna Group, November 3, 2003 ("The Barna Update: Morality Continues to Decay" - Summary version posted on the Barna website)
  9. Bhikkhu Bodhi, "A Buddhist Response to Contemporary Dilemmas of Human Existence" article link at Access to Insight
  10. 10.0 10.1 Johns, Ian (2006). Atheism gets a kick in the fundamentals. The Times.
  11. 11.0 11.1 David Chater, "Viewing guide: The Trouble with Atheism," The Times, December 18, 2006
  12. 12.0 12.1 Sam Wollaston, "Last night's TV," The Guardian, 16 December 2006
  13. 13.0 13.1 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
  14. "Is Atheism Consistent With Morality? (2001)". http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mark_vuletic/moral.html. Retrieved 2006-10-14. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 RJ Eskow, 2005. "Blind Faith: Sam Harris Attacks Islam." The Huffington Post.
  16. 16.0 16.1 RJ Eskow, 2006. "Reject Arguments For Intolerance – Even From Atheists." The Huffington Post.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history Dinesh D'Souza
  18. 18.0 18.1 Answering Atheist’s Arguments Dinesh D'Souza
  19. Theism is used here in its most general sense, that is belief in one or more deities. This would then define atheism as the rejection of belief that any deities exist, regardless of whether the further conclusion is drawn that deities do not exist.
    • Edwards, Paul (1967). "Atheism". The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 1. Collier-MacMillan. p. 175. "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.". 
  20. Rowe, William L. (1998). "Atheism". in Edward Craig. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 
  21. religioustolerance.org's short article on Definitions of the term "Atheism" suggests that there is no consensus on the defintion 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 0064634612. http://www.ditext.com/runes/a.html. "(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
  22. Kedar, Nath Tiwari (1997). Comparative Religion. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 50. ISBN 8120802934. 
  23. Honderich, Ted (Ed.) (1995). "Humanism". The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press. p 376. ISBN 0198661320.
  24. Fales, Evan. "Naturalism and Physicalism", in Martin 2007, pp. 122–131.
  25. Baggini 2003, pp. 3–4.
  26. ""Atheism"". Encyclopedia Britannica. 1911. http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Atheism. Retrieved 2007-06-07. 
  27. Britannica (1992). "Atheism as rejection of religious beliefs". Encyclopædia Britannica 1: 666. 0852294735. http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-38265/atheism. Retrieved 2006-10-27. 
  28. George H. Smith,Atheism : the case against God, Prometheus Books, 1979, ISBN 087975124X
  29. Smith, George H. (1979). Atheism: The Case Against God. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus. pp. 13–18. ISBN 0-87975-124-X. http://www.positiveatheism.org/writ/smith.htm. 
  30. Flew, Antony. "The Presumption of Atheism". The Presumption of Atheism and other Philosophical Essays on God, Freedom, and Immortality. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1976. pp 14ff.
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 Martin, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge University Press. 2006. ISBN 0521842700.
  32. Rowe, William L. "Atheism". Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward Craig (editor). Routledge: June 1998. ISBN 0415187060. 530-534.
  33. Cline, Austin (2006). "Strong Atheism vs. Weak Atheism: What's the Difference?". about.com. http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismquestions/a/strong_weak.htm. Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  34. Kenny, Anthony (2006). "Why I Am Not an Atheist". What I believe. Continuum. ISBN 0-8264-8971-0. "The true default position is neither theism nor atheism, but agnosticism … a claim to knowledge needs to be substantiated; ignorance need only be confessed." 
  35. Cudworth, Ralph. The true intellectual system of the universe. 1678. Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Bantam Books: 2006, p. 50. (ISBN 0-618-68000-4)
  36. Zdybicka 2005, p. 20.
  37. Schafersman, Steven D. "Naturalism is an Essential Part of Science and Critical Inquiry". Conference on Naturalism, Theism and the Scientific Enterprise. Department of Philosophy, The University of Texas. February 1997. Revised May 2007. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.
  38. 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
  39. 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. 
  40. Psalms 14:1 and 53:1
  41. 41.0 41.1 Pascal, Blaise; Ariew, Roger (2005), Pensées, ISBN 9780872207172, http://books.google.com/books?id=DdlNuvGMPisC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Blaise+Pascal%22&ei=X_lsSp3cBp-UygTK0MWCA, retrieved 2009-07-27 
  42. Pascal, Blaise; Ariew, Roger (2005), Pensées, p. 51, ISBN 9780872207172, http://books.google.com/books?id=DdlNuvGMPisC&printsec=frontcover&dq=inauthor:%22Blaise+Pascal%22&ei=X_lsSp3cBp-UygTK0MWCA, retrieved 2009-07-27 
  43. Paul, Gregory. 2002. The Secular Revolution of the West, Free Inquiry, Summer: 28-34
  44. 44.0 44.1 Zuckerman, P. (2007). M. Martin. ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism (1st ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 58. ISBN 0521842700. 
  45. Translation of Latin text from "Summa impietas" (1552), Picta poesis, by Barthélemy Aneau. Glasgow University Emblem Website. Retrieved on 2007-03-26.
  46. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A685/B713.
  47. Kant, Critique of Pure Reason, A810/B838.
  48. Originally, "Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer.", [[q:Voltaire|]], Épître à l'Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs (1770-11-10).
  49. 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. 
  50. 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.")
  51. "The Dalai Lama Interview | The Progressive Magazine since 1909". Progressive.org. 1935-07-06. http://www.progressive.org/mag_intv0106. Retrieved 2009-04-11. 
  52. 52.0 52.1 Dawkins, Richard (2006-09-18). The God Delusion. Houghton Mifflin. p. Ch. 7. ISBN 978-0618680009. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion. 
  53. "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."Wikisource-logo.svg "Morality". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Morality. 
  54. Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, "Is Christianity Good for the World? Part 2" Christianity Today magazine (web only, May 2007)
  55. Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson, "Is Christianity Good for the World? Part 6" Christianity Today magazine (web only, May 2007)
  56. Gregory S. Paul, "Cross-National Correlations of Quantifiable Societal Health with Popular Religiosity and Secularism in the Prosperous Democracies". Retrieved 2009-08-23.
  57. "Religion: The God-Haters," Time, Aug. 22, 1949
  58. David Limbaugh, "Does atheism require more faith?," Townhall.com, April 20, 2004
  59. Stanley Fish, "Atheism and Evidence," Think Again, The New York Times, June 17, 2007
  60. DHRUV K. SINGHAL, "The Church of Atheism,", The Harvard Crimson, December 14, 2008
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. Nielsen, Kai (2009). "Atheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/40634/atheism. Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  64. Edwards, Paul (1967). "Atheism". The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 1. Collier-MacMillan. p. 175. 
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