This book stresses that any reason or excuse to believe in God is invalid and false. He wants the word atheist to go. He wants living without thinking of a God to be so normalised that the atheist label will be redundant.

Lindsay says that if you are mature you will have a drive to find things out and not fall for the notion that you are okay not knowing things. He warns that faith is a childish and unhealthy expression

He refutes reasons for thinking God exists. He refutes theism, the doctrine that God is real. First of all it does not help explain why the universe and we exist. Religion says that there should be nothing and the reason there is something is because God called it into being.

Some think that the universe is eternal and needs no maker or creator.

Lindsay tells us of Carroll who finds that there are several good models of how the universe could be eternal and which explain not just why the universe is there but why it is the way it is. "Cosmology is a mature subject. We care about more things than just creating the universe; we care about specific details. A real cosmological model wants to predict what is the amount of density perturbation in the universe, and so forth. Theism does not even try to do this because, ultimately, theism is not well-defined."

Nobody really knows what creator means. Even the idea of creator is only words saying that where there was nothing now there is something because of the creator. But there is no understanding.

Lindsay observes that when believers ask us to think of God when the question arises, "Why is there something rather than nothing?" they mean that all things exist just because God wanted them to. So this takes us to a more basic and important question. "Why did God want to?"

Comment: Excellent! It shows the religious are tricksters with that question. They cannot tell you why God made the vast useless empty galaxies. They just say, "He just did." That is not an answer.


Lindsay approvingly quotes Sam Harris, “Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious.  Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle.  The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for.... No one ever needs to identify himself as a non-astrologer – atheism is a term that should not even exist.  Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma.”

This understanding can raise suspicion of trying to put atheism beyond discussion and debate. But you sometimes do have to debate to make sure people see the obvious and keep looking at it.  I think Harris has answered that concern.
Lindsay however writes, "Anyone who doesn't believe in God is automatically an 'atheist' by default. Because it's the default, we cannot really 'end atheism.' Obviously, this isn't what I mean. I like to think of it this way. If theism were to go away, technically everyone would be atheists - if everyone on earth rejected theism, we wouldn't call anyone atheists because we wouldn't need to. We'd just call them people."

The author contradicts himself for we read, “Stop pretending that theism deserves serious rational consideration.” Theists do think it is reasonable to assume God or believe. A guess is an attempt to be reasonable in the sense that you only guess what you think is possible. So if they think it is reasonable when it is not and is as absurd as thinking salt can substitute for sugar in your tea then it is a delusion.

As reason is seen as a gift from God if you assume there is a God or believe you must respect him by honouring and using and trying to use your faculty of reason. There is a link between God and reason so if theism is unreasonable then the theist is delusional. and using and trying to use your faculty of reason. There is a link between God and reason so if theism is unreasonable then the theist is delusional.
Lindsay:  "If theism had any real evidence to support it, it would never make arguments for why it doesn’t need evidence, relying instead on other kinds of non-epistemic warrant, for example, as claimed by Reformed Epistemology.”

Comment: The dishonesty of trying to protect something you think is false or foolish by avoiding the need for evidence may be the real reason but it does not have to be.

Not all systems argue that evidence is not needed. The non-epistemic warrant is compatible with having evidence. You can say that nothing makes sense without a theory and still look for evidence for that theory. This is one of the worst lines ever to appear in an atheist book.

We need reason. Many think they cannot trust their reason unless it is set up by a God who can be trusted. This creates an incentive to need God. If we need to think there is a God so that we can feel looked after in this universe that is just as biased as looking for a God to satisfy your need for reason. Without reason there can be no co-operation. So reason is socially important.

If God is based a bias and is a bias believers cannot ask us to favour their bias over any other bias. Bias by its nature is considered a bad thing.

Lindsay says that if everything is evidence for God "then really, nothing constitutes evidence for 'God' because there is absolutely no way to tell the difference between that which would support belief in 'God ' and that which wouldn't. Therefore, the idea of 'evidence for God', as it is usually understood by religious believers, is effectively meaningless.

The questioner is left with nothing that can undermine the idea of God as real. It is refusing to let evidence against God speak. It is meaningless. The doctrine that all is evidence is evil and arrogant and bigoted and dishonest - the complete opposite of what God is supposed to be really about. It is evil to abuse evidence like that. The suffering of others is abused

Turning everything into evidence for God is a sign of desperation and accusing doubters and disbelievers of being insane or dishonest. You cannot put down blindness as an option. Not when the evidence is everywhere and is there every time. 

Lindsay "God is a mythological object and thus emphatically not best treated philosophically because philosophy takes the idea too seriously in the wrong way. We should address ‘God’ in terms of what it actually seems to do for people. We should also recognise theism as pseudo-philosophical position instead of a properly philosophical one.”

Comment: But we all do philosophy even if we do it badly. There is no such thing as pseudo-philosophy. It is bad philosophy.

Satire is a powerful tool for getting people to rethink the evidence they have.

Lindsay “A satirist mocking a set of beliefs is not mocking an individual. The individuals who hold those beliefs may feel insulted, embarrassed, sheepish, or humiliated for holding those beliefs, but that is the very point of satire and the reason it is effective.”

Comment: Good point! Believers argue that God is intimately connected with them in an unimaginable way and that as creator God is closer to them than they are to themselves. Jesus said that though man is not God to see man as God which is why he said that to hurt a person is to hurt God. It is obvious that the right to satirise or laugh at religion say as part of a comedy act exists. Thus faith in God implies that right is wrong. The belief is a threat to freedom of expression. We have a right to be offended by somebody merely having faith.

Atheism is a valid word. It describes a person who lacks faith in God and by implication shows he more than just not believes but rejects God.


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