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Distinguish between atheism and agnosticism. Analyse a critique of religious belief and consider critically whether it better supports an agnostic or atheist view?

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Introduction

Distinguish between atheism and agnosticism. Analyse a critique of religious belief and consider critically whether it better supports an agnostic or atheist view? Atheism is the idea that there is not a God this is different to agnosticism where people believe that there is the not possible to know if God exists or to know his nature. People do not believe in God for a number of reasons such as they have had a loss of faith, because of unanswered prayers or a negative experience of religion; this is an example of how someone can turn from being a theist to becoming an atheist. In his book 'Varieties of Unbelief' J.C.A. Gaskin argues that there are 5 types of 'unbelief', he avoids using the word atheism, as atheism he argues has negative connotations and has been used as a term of abuse in the past. In Ancient Greece, atheism was seen as a criminal offence and was occasionally punished. Anything that contradicted the teaching of the Christian Church was suppressed and individuals that professed these views were often executed. There are many philosophers and psychologist who criticise religious Belief, such as Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx, who give psychological and sociological views on religious belief. ...read more.

Middle

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world", this shows how Dawkins believes that religion stops people from investigating and having a greater understanding of the world. Another critique which Dawkins makes about religious belief is that religion offers people a poor vision of the world, so they only see the world narrowly. Whereas Dawkins believes that science contrasts with this view, because it offers a "bold and brilliant" vision of the universe and sees it as grand and beautiful. "The universe presented by organised religion is a poky little medieval universe, and extremely limited"; therefore Dawkins believes that religion makes people see the world in a different way to science, because religion limits the mind of new ideas and interpretations. Not only does Dawkins not agree with religious ideas, but he also disapproves very strongly of labelling children, especially young children, as something like 'Catholic children', 'Protestant children' or 'Islamic children'. He believes that it is "wicked" because in effect what someone is doing is making the assumption that the child's beliefs are automatically going to be inherited. He uses the example that a child will not automatically inherit it's father's sports team. Dawkins does however agree with the idea that very often a child will be influenced by a parent to take up a sport or hobby because it is ultimately the child's choice. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are people who support Dawkins view on religion such as D'Holbach who wanted to sweep away belief in God altogether, claiming that belief was the result of misguided human imagination. Therefore it is not just Dawkins who believes that people who believe in God are delusional, because there are many philosophers who Dawkins agrees with when it comes to his anti - theistic views towards religion. Although Ayer suggests 'It is now generally admitted, at any rate by philosophers, that the existence of a being having the attributes which define the God of any non-animistic religion cannot be demonstratively proved.' Therefore Ayer is not claim that God does not exist; but he is arguing that the existence cannot be proved, as we do not have the tools to do so. In conclusion, Dawkins is criticising the whole of society who are religious leaders, because he believes that religion is misguiding both children and adults. Dawkins is an anti - theist, because he is not just being an atheist and disbelieving in God, but he is preaching to others that worshiping God is the wrong thing to do. Therefore Dawkins scientific critique of religious belief best supports an atheist view, because it is against the idea of believing in a God and not being unsure whether there is a God. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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