Atheist- Review in Candidacy for the Degree Article Review

Excerpt from Article Review :

Atheist- Review


Article Critique "On Being an Atheist" by H.McCloskey

Belief in the spiritual or supernatural is almost always expressed by the individual within such a religious belief system. And there are huge numbers of people who feel that questions which deal with faith and religion should not be questioned, examined or challenged to determine their validity. The problem with this is that since such beliefs cannot be confirmed through the senses and upon initial observation appears to contradict what is reasonable with the proposition of the supernatural, they certainly cannot be considered to be "epistemologically fundamental" concept which generally requires no examination to realize their accuracy. And, since many people tend to view all religious beliefs that exist or have ever existed, except for their own, as erroneous, it would be obvious that the subject of religious beliefs not only should be questioned and investigated as to authenticity, but there is an intellectual obligation for them to be so studies. After all, "reason is the safeguard of the objectivity of religion" (Whitehead 16).

If such matters are not examined and the evidence not properly investigated, the questions and doubts our ultimate existence will always remain and never by brought to any resolution, if that possibility even exists. Moreover, the search for truth and knowledge demands such inquiry. A famous 12th century monk, educator, and philosopher named Peter Abelard, realized even then the necessity of questioning beliefs "By doubting we are led to inquire, and by inquiry we perceive the truth" (Bronowski, 45).

This essay is a critical analysis of the article "On being an Atheist" by H.McCloskey


In this article the author discusses and describes the reasons why atheists do not believe in God. In other words the author has tried explaining the basis of the Atheism. The author also holds a discussion on the assertion of the theist community that atheism is a cold, comfortless state. In the introductory paragraph, the author state that he is going to offer reasons why Atheism more comfortable belief as compared to that of theism and why he thinks that theist are depressed. The author also explained in the introductory paragraph, that he will explain points that theist know but he is not guilty in doing that nor he will seek pardon because according to him atheism is superior to theism and it is beneficial for the atheist community to remind the reasons and virtues of their beliefs.

Three Major Proofs for existence of God

Throughout the ages the belief in a supernatural realm of some type has, as far as can be determined, almost certainly existed within all cultures. The many depictions which represent this non-corporeal realm, and the god or gods comprising it, have been viewed and portrayed very differently from era to era and from culture to culture. Religion has presented itself in so broad an array of disconnected and unique manifestations across the spam of human history that no generalization can conceivably apply to the full variety of its expression" (Carse 2)

When examining religious teachings in belief in the existence of God, admittedly trying to disprove an assertion, even an assertion made without proof at all, is rarely if eve possible. "Anything that involves a logical contradiction cannot exist...which says that nothing can both have a property and lack it at the same time" (Schick 484). An understandable example would be that a round square could not exist. "There is no way to conclusively disprove the existence of God...No matter how absurd the existence claim, we can't look everywhere and check everything in order to assert with absolute confidence that there's no entity having the property" (Paulos 42). It may, therefore, be ultimately impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God, but it should be considered that it is also impossible to prove or disprove the existence of the Greek Goals of Olympus.

Keeping in view this point, McCloskey also presented proofs in favour of non-existence of God. The author discussed in this article three main proofs that are presented against presence of God; cosmological proof, the teleological proof, and the argument from design. McClosky argues that people belonging to theism believe in God because they think that there must be a creator of everything. He states that by doing this people do not think deeply "about the problem of an uncaused cause" (p.1). Similarly Harrison argued that "I suspect that the reason believers try to shift the burden of because they know they cannot prove the existence of their GOD...the person making a claim about something is the one who must be responsible for backing it up" (Harrison 264). People are slaves to their beliefs and prejudices.

Does Evolution prove Creation wrong?

Throughout the world god or the spiritual is viewed very differently and although there are doctrinal differences when it comes to Western belief systems, certain beliefs are characteristics; "religion typically separates the human from the divine, the natural from the supernatural, the person from the person of the god" (Hagan 11).

McCorskey argues that the belief that there is a first cause present and that is a powerful being. Thus he argues that the considerations on which theists base their belief in the existence of God are not very strong. Scientists through the use of "astronomical observations indicate that the universe has not always existed by came in to being apparently out of nothing." Theists believe that God has all the powers and knowledge. For this belief system, "God is defined as being an all-good, all-knowing, and the all-powerful creator of the universe. God is viewed as concerned with our affairs rather than being withdrawn and aloof" (Burr 104). This is God who is "interactive" with humankind, who listens to requests and prayers, and is involved in every aspect of life, in every act, and in every moment that occurs. This includes even the thoughts a person is thinking. "The Judeo-Christian-Islamic God is a nanosecond-by-nanosecond participant in each event that takes place in every cubic nanometres of the universe" (Stenger 12).

Against this belief system, McCorskey argues that there is no enough argument and proofs in favour of the existence of God or the proofs presented are doubtful. With the continuous scientific research it is being revealed that creation is very complicated procedure. When referring to the "Rational Perspective" what is meant is that to be considered rational there need adequate reason to accept something as making sense? In the case of a belief, it must be more likely than not to be true and should be based upon acceptable evidence, empirical experience, and/or cognitive reasoning. A belief is considered meaningless if it does not exhibit a substantial relation to reality. It must be taken into consideration; however, that rationality can be relative. It is relative to the time, place and information/knowledge available. What is rational must be viewed with these perspectives and concepts in mind.

Then he discusses the theist who believes in God through "faith." He discusses this belief that the theist's argument on treating God like an old fried is wrong and that we can believe in the goodness of an old friend because we know him but we don't have any past knowledge about God.

Presence of Evil is a proof of non-existence of God

After discussing the wrongness of three major proofs theist present for presence of God, to reason provides his proofs as why he (Atheist) do not believe in the existence of a powerful being (God). His main argument is that the presence of evil in the world is a proof that there is no creator. He asserts that there are sufferings, pain, privations of suitable goods as well as moral evils in the world that…

Sources Used in Document:


Bronowski, J. 1972. Science and Human Values. New York: Perennial Library, Harper & Row

Carse, James. 2008. The Religious Case Against Belief. New York: Penguin.

H.J McCloskey. 1968. On Being an Athiest.

Paulos, John Allen. 2007. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. Victoria, BC, Canada: Trafford

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