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A Moral Case for Respectful Disbelief

by Scott F. Aikin and Robert B. Talisse

Pub Date: April 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61614-383-1
Publisher: Prometheus Books

An investigation into the moral value of atheism for the faithful set.

Aiken and Talisse (Pragmatism: A Guide for the Perplexed, 2008) return with a philosophical text that examines the importance of a logical approach to atheism. With simple language and easy-to-understand references, the authors attempt to convince an audience of believers that "atheism is a morally and intellectually responsible position." Believers, whom the authors assume regard all atheists as immoral individuals, are asked to consider atheists in the same light as they do those who embrace a religious belief different than their own. With an academic approach and a title unlikely to attract their desired audience, the authors may find their arguments, however sound or logical, falling on deaf ears. Several of the issues raised, including a discussion of conversing about religion in mixed company, are well reasoned, but the third section of the book is the most interesting, exploring the ties between religion and the modern U.S. political system. The book includes two appendices: one that ponders "The Problem of Hell," and the other, a religion and morality test designed to broaden the reader's scope of all forms of religion, atheism included.

Although it may ultimately fail to attract its intended audience, an intriguing view of the complexities of modern atheism.