I have observed, indeed, generally, that while in protestant countries the defections from the Platonic Christianity of the priests is to Deism, in catholic countries they are to Atheism. Diderot, D’Alembert, D’Holbach,Condorcet, are known to have been among the most virtuous of men. Their virtue, then, must have had some other foundation than the love of God.
Deists are goddites except they don’t believe in revealed religion.
The author of does god exist? tells us yes.
The author tells us we commit a category error when compare Santa, fairies and god. He writes
fairies and Santa Claus demonstrably belong in the realm of childhood and most people, adults and children, know what they are and look like.
and I say that gods belong to our more childlike origins, that is, they belong to the ignorant ages. That adults believe in gods or that today god is conceived as anything from being personal to a vague ground of being doesn’t negate the fact that belief in god is similar to belief in gremlins. The only difference being some people grow up and stop believing in gremlins.
So when he writes
This is not true of God. Islam rejects any possibility of representing Allah and Judaism used Yahweh to signify God, originally not a name, rather an unpronounceable collection of letters. Christianity has given God a human face in Christ, but even then that is only an aspect of God who is ineffably greater.
it is only to say that human beings have created, in their imagination, a being whose name they fear to mention, a monster. I remember as we were growing up, we would not mention leopards by name at night. They told us, if we mentioned its name, we would be its meal for the night. I never found out the reason behind this prohibition. Fear was enough to prevent us from trying. The church uses the same mechanism to get its adherents to toe the line.
One wonders why most people think of atheism as a belief system just like theism. How is it difficult to comprehend atheism is a lack of belief. The author tells us
it is as much a belief system as theism, both being faiths profoundly held. It often seems the God atheists vehemently do not believe in is not a God theists do.
I want to count those atheists of faith. And if you missed it, atheists lack belief in all gods.
Agnostics, like the ones I interact with, and Bob comes to mind, is in practice an atheist. His position of agnosticism is one of knowledge. He says, as an empiricist, the nature of god is unknowable one way or the other. From this point, I only go a step further and say, if the nature of god is unknowable it is not for us to know and for all purposes, non-existent. I only differ with my friend Bob in the fact that I believe to know the origins of god belief, we must look at the savage state, and we will find in all cases, god belief was born out of ignorance and the rationalizations are later developments.
One can see even in this statement
This leads some to posit a Prime Mover or Grand Designer, which is not to suggest some human-like being on a grander scale. Both phrases can be picked apart if they’re taken literally, but accepting the limitations of language to describe what may always lie beyond human comprehension, they can be used indicatively.
that it is ignorance that is the mother of all gods. The author instead of admitting his ignorance of why the universe is, imagines there is a grand designer and very quickly tries to defeat accusations of anthropomorphism by declaring this designer as something other than human like.
Deists like Voltaire were those who could no longer believe in the god of revelation. They imagines a god who didn’t give a fuck, but still believed in a god. It is easy to understand then why Voltaire is accused of trying to suppress the Testament of Jean Meslier, a priest turned atheist.
I will conclude in the words of Ingersoll
A few years ago the Deists denied the inspiration of the bible on account of its cruelty. At the same time, they worshiped what they were pleased to call the God of Nature. Now we are convinced that Nature is as cruel as the bible; so that if the God of Nature did not write the bible, this god at least has caused earthquakes and pestilence and famine, and this god has allowed millions of his children to destroy one another. So that now we have arrived at the question- not as whether the bible is inspired and not as to whether Jehovah is the real God but whether there is a god or not. The intelligence of christendom today does not believe in an inspired art or an inspired literature. If there be an infinite god, inspiration in some particular regard would be a patch-it would be the puttying of a crack, the hiding of a defect, in other words, it would show that the general plan was defective.