Atheism, Morality, and Meaning

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Prometheus Books, Jan 1, 2003 - Philosophy - 330 pages
3 Reviews
Despite the pluralism of contemporary American culture, the Judaeo-Christian legacy still has a great deal of influence on the popular imagination. Thus it is not surprising that in this context atheism has a slightly scandalous ring, and unbelief is often associated with lack of morality and a meaningless existence. Distinguished philosopher and committed atheist Michael Martin sets out to refute this notion in this thorough defense of atheism as a both moral and meaningful philosophy of life. Martin shows not only that objective morality and a meaningful life are possible without belief in God but that the predominantly Christian world view of American society is seriously flawed as the basis of morality and meaning.

Divided into four parts, this cogent and tightly argued treatise begins with a refutation of well-known criticisms of nonreligious ethics and then develops an atheistic meta-ethics. In Part 2, Martin criticizes the Christian foundation of ethics, specifically the Divine Command Theory and the idea of imitating the life of Jesus as the basis of Christian morality. Part 3 demonstrates that life can be meaningful in the absence of religious belief. Part 4 criticizes the theistic point of view in general terms as well as the specific Christian doctrines of the Atonement, Salvation, and the Resurrection.

This highly informed and sophisticated defense of atheism is a stimulating challenge to religious believers and a serious contribution to ethical theory.

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User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

Much more accessible than many of Martin's other books, because there is a great deal less of the dense philosophical argumentation. It's much more straightforward. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Yoshikawa - LibraryThing

Although this book raises (and will raise) many eyebrows, A,M,M is a great book to read for Christians, Atheists and others alike! Just a tip: bring a dictionary. Read full review

Contents

Preface
9
THE NONRELIGIOUS
19
THE CHRISTIAN FOUNDATION OF MORALITY
21
Copyright

21 other sections not shown

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About the author (2003)

Martin is professor emeritus of philosophy at Boston University. He has done research in the philosophy of religion, the philosophy of law, and the philosophy of social sciences.

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