Existentialism Philosophy


Atheism, Morality, and Meaning
Father Dan: "The problem with outstanding books like this one is that rarely will anyone except non-theists read them. Very few theists want to test the strength of the safety bubble they live in. I challenge you to broaden your intellectual horizons and pick up a copy of Atheism, Morality, and Meaning

"Morality has played an important role in both religion and theism throughout human history. So deeply intertwined have the two been that most people today sincerely believe that morality isn't possible outside of religion or, at the very least, without belief in God. As a consequence, atheists are commonly thought of as being immoral and lacking any purpose or meaning to their lives. But what if this common prejudice is without foundation? What if neither morality nor meaning depend upon either religion or theism?

Martin's task is very broad in scope: to show that morality is possible absent any assumption of the existence of any gods, to show that human life can have meaning and purpose absent those same assumptions, and to show moreover that traditional theistic beliefs actually don't do a good job at grounding morality, meaning, or purpose - just what believers claim to be true about atheism. Martin is very much the man for the job, however, tackling the issues systematically and carefully over his book's four sections and laying out his case in as clear and unambiguous a manner as possible."

About.com has a full review of the book. Despite the clarity and skill with which Martin writes, quite a lot of what he has to say may still prove difficult for most lay readers. A person with little or no background in philosophy and ethics will probably struggle with some of the arguments. That isn't Martin's fault: it is unlikely that very much of what he writes could be made any simpler. On the other hand, a person does not need to be a philosophy student or expert in order to understand and learn quite a lot in this volume. It really does belong on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in discussions about naturalism, atheism, theism, and morality.

posted by SARTRE at 9/13/2003 |

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