The End of Atheism: a review of Everybody is Wrong About God

by Ryan Bell

In January of 2014, after a long, 19-year career as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, three theological degrees, and the slow liberalization of my belief system, I began a personal exploration of atheism that I called, Year Without God. I set out to understand the world without my “god glasses” on. In short, I wondered, how does a naturalistic worldview hold up to scrutiny?

Very quickly I grew weary of the God question. In a March 10, 2014 post entitled, “Deconstructing (a)theism,” I wrote,

From the first weeks of my exploration of atheism the closest thing I’ve come to a ‘conclusion’ so far is that the question of the existence or nonexistence of the Jewish/Christian/Muslim god is not the best or most important question, though I admit it is a very interesting one and one that won’t ultimately leave us alone.

I wrote a few things in this blog post that now, over a year and a half later, I disagree with, but in principle, I have felt since very early, that the atheism v. theism debate will ultimately get us nowhere. A few sentences later I wrote, “I for one hope this debate has nearly run out of gas, but I am being naive, I’m sure.”

To my delight, James Lindsay has stepped into this particular conversation with a new book entitled, Everybody Is Wrong About God (Pitchstone Press 2015). Lindsay holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and is the author of two previous books, God Doesn’t; We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges and Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly.

From the very first page, he throws down the gauntlet with a series of bold statements that he then proceeds to unpack in the book:

First, he says, “God” exists.

Second, “people who do not believe in God have it more or less right, and in fact, that at the level of ideas, their view has already rightfully won.”

Thirdly, he claims that understanding the difference between “God” and God is essential to putting God behind us and moving on with our lives in productive ways.


Read more by clicking on the name of the source below.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Our concept of God must change, and we should reject the past and live in the present the now. All religions must do this, especially Islam it must evolve, to meet modern need, knowledge from science , discovery and human consctousness

  2. @OP link – First, he says, “God” exists.

    With a capital “G” this is the Abrahamic god as he explains in the text! – All other gods appear to be simply dismissed or ignored without any consideration!

    Second, “people who do not believe in God have it more or less right, and in fact, that at the level of ideas, their view has already rightfully won.”

    Which is correct, but the science inconsistent with an Abrahamic god – so he appears to have been liberated from theism to a certain extent, but has only made it as far transforming his previous god into a deist god in an attempt to integrate it with modern knowledge. Perhaps a year was not long enough to clear out all the indoctrination.

    Thirdly, he claims that understanding the difference between “God” and God is essential to putting God behind us and moving on with our lives in productive ways.

    Thirdly he tries to insert his modified “god” into the neuropsychology of god-delusions and god-spots in the brain.
    Putting gods behind us is fine, except that we have to keep on dealing with the social and political activities of theists.

  3. William
    Dec 2, 2015 at 8:29 am

    All religions must do this, especially Islam it must evolve, to meet modern need, knowledge from science , discovery and human consctousness

    The problem is , that this is like starting with a horse drawn chariot or a steam traction engine, any trying to modify it to convert it into a jet aircraft! –
    Along with trying to make the driver into a pilot!

  4. Seems Lindsay approaches the topic of “God” in a refreshing way, but I wonder if he is simply redefining the concept from the ancient idea of an entity to some amalgam of psychology, ethics, and sociology. We already have psychology, ethics, and sociology addressing some of the issues under this canopy; so do we need to call them “God”? What is the value of doing so? Is it for the optics of the issue? Does Lindsay make a compelling case for wrapping all these human concerns under a rubric as charged and potentially as confusing as “God”? Not sure this is just an attempt to sweeten the pill on the realization that God is dead and moving on to the reasons as to why humans invented it on the first place.

  5. I think he may be on the right track. This is just a slghtly different take on the a-teapotist argument.
    There is no god other than what wishful thinking produces in ones imagination, but in this psyco-delusionary sense god still exists …. if one wishes to belive it.
    In reality there is no point to actually calling oneself an atheist if we reach the enlightened stage of there being no theists, i.e. there are no teapotists that I know of. More recently I have noticed that Sam Harris has also been trying to avoid the use of the atheist label.
    I have found it very productive in conversation to assert ‘there is no god’ but never say I am an atheist. It seems to provoke far less opposition from those who might then present themselves as theists automatically on the other side of the stated claim.
    I think this guy has realised there is no god but is still comming to terms with his discovery. We should give him the moral support and encouragement he needs.

  6. It is possible the religion is the result of a pleiotropic effect. Conformity has a very high selective value and it can be observed in many vertebrates. In the evolution of the human species, conformity had a high selective value as the use of tools increased the survival rate (also avoiding predation or finding a mate).

    However conformity also played into the hands of those who wanted to control others. So as these charismatic individuals would be “leaders” convinced they alone had the “true” word of some delusionary god and that if their word was obeyed the people would go to heaven and if not they would go to hell after death When a few believed this nonsense it formed a nucleus that by conformity others would also go along with these scam artists. The more people that accepted these religious beliefs the greater the gravitational attraction and even more conformists would rally to the delusions. Religion then prevailed because of the genetically based tendency to conform.

  7. I get the impression that the intent of this book is somewhat similar to Sam Harris’ book “Waking Up: Spirituality without Religion”. But I think that Sam’s approach benefits from a major advantage since it posits the rejection of supernatural belief as its premise instead of Lindsay’s cryptic and vaguely wishful claim “God exists”.

    Sam’s book, it seems to me, has more potential appeal to readers who have already “put God behind them”.

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