Is Atheism Needed?

The physicist Richard Feynman famously said “we don’t need God.” When one is trying to explain the results of scientific experiments, that is an appropriate perspective.

I would put things another way: “We don’t need Atheism.” Do we really need to assume there is no God? With atheism, we are assuming that we know all there is to know about the creation of the universe and our place in it. Do we?

Why must we “rush to atheism”? What purpose does that serve? I know there will be many who defend atheism based on the lack of evidence for God. In my view, that defense is a profound misunderstanding. Even in science, one starts with a hypothesis, which is an educated guess. Before the hypothesis is verified, there is not sufficient evidence to believe the hypothesis is true. Science itself must venture beyond the known facts to make progress.

The objective of the atheist is to remove God from consideration. Why do that?

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About Anthony Mannucci

A physicist (yours truly) turns his attention to many subjects...

Posted on October 27, 2012, in Culture, Religion. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. The atheists do not need to take “God” out of the picture, I agree. Why don’t they just become Deists?

  2. Because they think believing in something they cannot prove is childish, foolish and irrational. Of course, they are wrong. I can think of no other explanation. Trying to figure out why people believe as they do is beyond my ability.

  3. You are right, it is irrational. I have never seen Africa, but I believe in it because I have been told there is such a place, I have read about it, and there are pictures (but even the pictures, I don’t know for sure that that is a real place, since I have never been there myself, but, yet I still believe in it. There are a lot of things in the world that I have not personally seen or experienced, but I do believe in them, and that they exist. Do you suppose that would be a kind of “faith” that I have, that they don’t have?

  4. Anthony,
    I would like to expand on my Deist comment earlier.

    I was brought up in a strict Christian environment, but I was constantly struggling with the concept that God would want and expect constant praise for eternity. A God that needs constant praise sounds like the ultimate Narcissist to me. Why should I have to praise him just because he created me? I got to thinking, just because I created life, (my son), I don’t ask him to praise me forever! My son, as an individual, has a right to either love me or not. That is his choice, I am not going to punish him if he doesn’t.

    After reading about various religions, I found that I was drawn more and more towards the concept of Deism, even though it really isn’t a religion but more a belief.

    Deists believe that a creator God does exist, but that after the motions of the universe were set in place, he had no further interaction with the created universe or the beings within it.
    Because Deism is based primarily on nature and reasoning, in contrast to other religions that are based on alleged “revelations” that come through some “supernatural” means, Deists believe that human beings have “free will” and have responsibility for choosing how they live in relation to natural laws that govern the world.

    Also, Deists accept that God in uninterested in praise and that he in unapproachable via prayer, there is little organized religion surrounding deist beliefs. Deists often feel that organized religion add layers of untruth to the reality of God. Some deists, particularly historical ones, however, saw a value in organized religion for the common people, because religion could instill positive concepts of morality and sense of community.

    A large number of United States Founding Fathers were deists, or had strong deist leanings. Some of them identified themselves as Unitarians, a non-Trinitarian form of Christianity that emphasized rationality and skepticism. These deists include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, James Madison and John Adams.

    So, I say the Athiests should adopt Deism.

  5. Correction: God is uninterested in praise and is unapproachable via prayer.

  6. Trisho,
    Amazing comment! I think you are right. I had heard and read that Thomas Jefferson was a Deist. To me, Deism makes more sense than atheism.

  7. I think many (not all) atheists are very religious about their atheism, as dogmatic and evangelical as any other fundamentalist.

    I have a lot of respect for agnostics and think that, for someone who doesn’t believe in a religion, it’s a very intellectually honest point of view and appropriate for those who are not ready to be Deists. After all, we are equally unable to prove whether there is or is not a god(s).

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