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Atheism: Introduction

12/05/2011

Martin looks at just a few studies that investigate the character of atheists (p. 6). This may be one area where the most change has occurred. Martin doesn’t come to a very strong conclusion, saying that there is simply insufficient evidence to say atheism has a negative influence on moral character. I’d like to learn more on this topic, but my impression is that overall, atheists aren’t that different. There is a combination of worse and better traits, but the difference is not huge.

One of the most in depth investigations of divine command theory out there, although there isn’t a follow up to a lot of the more common responses. “Although one is supposed to follow the commands of God, there is wide disagreement over what God commands, and there seems to be no rational method to reconcile these disagreements” (p. 13). If true, that looks like a fatal flaw in DCT. I’d be curious as to how defenders claim we can know what God’s commands are.

Amazing section on the supposed lack of purpose for atheists (p. 16-17). I’ve never seen a clearer response to the accusation that atheists have no “purpose.” If by purpose we mean a function we were created for, yes this is true. If by purpose we mean reason to act (love, cooperate, go on living) then no, it is not true that atheists lack a purpose. The question is just an example of equivocation.

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