Atheism: What Everyone Needs To Know by Michael Ruse

By Michael Ruse

Over the past decade, "New Atheists" corresponding to Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have driven the problem of atheism to the leading edge of public dialogue. but only a few of the resultant debates and discussions have controlled to supply an entire and target therapy of the subject.

Atheism: What everybody must recognize offers a balanced examine the subject, contemplating atheism traditionally, philosophically, theologically, sociologically and psychologically. Written in an simply available variety, the e-book makes use of a query and solution layout to check the historical past of atheism, arguments for and opposed to atheism, the connection among faith and technology, and the problem of the which means of life-and even if you will be a contented and chuffed atheist. chiefly, the writer stresses that the atheism controversy isn't just an issue of the proof, yet a question of burning ethical challenge, either in regards to the stand one should still tackle the problems and the implications of one's dedication.

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The thesis of Daniel Goldhagen (1996) that Nazi anti-Semitism is rooted in Christianity is given full and basically uncritical approval. “And while the hatred of Jews in Germany [under the Nazis] expressed itself in a predominantly secular way, it was a direct inheritance from medieval Christianity” (Harris 2004, 101). In these sorts of discussions, it is usually Martin Luther who is demonized for his table talk, but Harris seems to have a particular animus against Roman Catholics, from their complicity in getting the Nazi leaders safely off to South America when things started to go wrong to putting Descartes’s Meditations on the index of forbidden books.

The creation stories of Genesis were soon seen to be mythological accounts of origins, not literal but intended to express great truths about our relationship to the deity. The much-loved stories of the patriarchs and the kings and the prophets were analyzed for their symbolic meanings and less as true happenings in an ancient land, far away and long ago. And even more dramatically, the stories of the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament were now seen to be constructions bolstering the claim of Jesus as Messiah rather than eyewitness testimonies of events that really occurred.

Perhaps so. These are some of the issues we are going to be raising and discussing later in this book. What we can say is that as the nineteenth century moved along, it became possible to be a respectable nonbeliever. This was the final position of Darwin, although it is interesting to note that he did not jump straight to this after discovering natural selection. Right up through the writing of the Origin, he continued to believe that God designed organisms; it was just that he did this at a distance, through unbroken law.

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