Raymond Tallis on Bad Reasons for Being an Atheist

Nearly all the bad reasons for being an atheist, or invoked by those who want to make the case for atheism, are rooted in a fundamental confusion between what one might call the “metaphysical” and the institutional or societal aspects of religion: between the part of religion that makes claims about the origin, the nature, the shaping forces and the meaning of the universe, and the part that prescribes how we ought to live, who is authorized to guide us in this respect, and what we should be guided to do… An intelligent defense of atheism should clearly separate religious institutions … from sets of propositions about the origin and nature of the universe and the bit of it we live in.

Raymond Tallis, “Why I Am an Atheist” in In Defense of Wonder and Other Philosophical Reflections (Acumen Press: 2012) pp. 216-217


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