Atheism: the case against god

February 13th, 2009

I was recommended this book by a friend and it is above and beyond the most relevant address of the question of religion I have so far encountered. George Smith sets out to argue that the notion of a god in general, and the god of Christianity in particular, cannot be supported rationally. Other authors of atheist books have addressed the social and historical impact of religion, but none have gone straight to the foundation of religion in order to refute its logical premises. To follow Smith's reasoning takes effort, but he is persuasive.

After discussing the concept of god in the most general sense, Smith proceeds to show that Christianity is stacked high with self contradictions in its various doctrines, all of which makes it even more absurd (if one can say such a thing) than merely the idea of a god itself. The central problem in knowing god is that of assigning attributes to an inherently supernatural and transcendental (that is to say unknowable) being. Either a proposition is unknowable or it isn't. It makes no sense to accept the premise of unknowabability only to then assign attributes that are contingent upon knowability. Christianity attempts to jump the fence by making all attributes infinite. Instead of temporal he is eternal. Instead of finite he is infinite. The obvious problem is that the meaning of such attributes is predicated upon finiteness. To make an attribute infinite is to make it meaningless. So all that can be accomplished is to assign unintelligible attributes to an unintelligible being. This is most characteristic of the Christian doctrine, which essentially drapes layers of rhetoric in order to create the illusion of a god that is effectively not distinguishable from nothing at all.

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1 Responses to "Atheism: the case against god"

  1. Aca says:

    It all boils down to that one single question. Is there god or not? Discussing metaphysical "issues" as relevant to our daily life makes sense only if the god is real as we understand what the real means. If not, it's all just fancy talk, a chit-chat if you like, which one can entertain as an amusing exercise in linguistics. But nothing more than that.