Keywords:atheism, theism, agnosticism, naturalism, supernaturalism, sacred text, Shook, Dennett, Dawkins, Kuhn, Quine, Neurath, Koran, Bible, Islam, Buddhism, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, miracles, Marxist atheism
Many modern theological debates are built around a false dichotomy between 1) an atheism which asserts that the universe was created by purposeless mechanical processes and 2) acceptance of a religious system which requires both faith in the infallibility of sacred texts and belief in a supernatural God. I propose a form of naturalistic theism, which rejects sacred texts as unjustified, and supernaturalism as incoherent. I argue that rejecting these two elements of traditional organized religion would have a strongly positive impact on the beliefs and practices of religion, even though many religious people feel strongly attached to them. It is belief in sacred texts that is responsible for most of the evil done in the name of religion, not belief in God. Many of the strongest arguments for atheism work only against a supernatural God, and have no impact on the question of the existence of a natural God.
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