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Atheist Arguments Against Religious Beliefs
Photo: © Andrew McMahon used by kind permission
Religion As The Projection Of Human Emotional Needs
The German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1824-1872) argued that religious belief was simply human beings projecting their deep emotional needs for love and security onto a supernatural being or beings. According to Feuerbach our faith is just human wish fulfilment and is not real at all.
Comte's 'Law Of The Three Phases'
Auguste Comte (1798-1857) is called the Father of Sociology.
His main contribution to theories about religion lies in what he saw as one unifying scientific law at work in all scientific thought - what he called The Law of the Three Phases. These were -
• The Theological Phase involving magical thinking and religion
• The Metaphysical Phase involving humanism without recourse to any appeal to divine authority
• The Scientific Phase involving scientific observation and evidence Ironically, Comte saw himself as the founder of a new religion - humanism.
Freud's Theory Of Religion: Deep Longings For A Father-figure
The Viennese psychologist Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) maintained that religion was the result of deep, unconscious longings for a father-figure and someone to worship out of fear of punishment. But it is all an illusion and the science of psychology has shown it to be just that, he claimed.
Dawkins & Religion As A Virus To Be Eradicated
More recently Richard Dawkins (1941- ), an internationally renowned evolutionary biologist and gifted populariser of scientific ideas in recent years has become better known for his increasingly strident claims that religious belief is not only foolish and without any rational basis, but also dangerous and the cause of most of the evil in the world. For this reason, he argues, religious education and ideas should be eradicated from schools and from society in much the way science attempts to eradicate harmful viruses.
[For a clear exposition and critique of Dawkins’ ideas, read the writings of Alister McGrath who, unlike Dawkins, is qualified both scientifically and theologically. Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes & The Meaning of Life (2005); Dawkins’ Delusion? Atheist Fundamentalism & The Denial of the Divine (2007) ;The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise & Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World (1995)