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Is Objectivism atheistic? What is the Objectivist attitude toward religion?

asked Aug 26 '10 at 18:56

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦


Yes, Objectivism is atheistic. For more details, you might see the Lexicon entry on God. As for why the arguments for God's existence fail, I'd strongly recommend George H. Smith's book, Atheism: The Case Against God. I've also done a podcast series on philosophy of religion. (That's still ongoing.)

answered Sep 06 '10 at 20:05

Diana%20Hsieh's gravatar image

Diana Hsieh ♦


Is there any way to fit in something about atheism not being a positive statement? That is, Objectivism IS atheistic, but that doesn't so much say something about what the content of Objectivism is, just what the content isn't.

(Sep 11 '10 at 09:03) shlevy ♦ shlevy's gravatar image

Do you mean the non belief in vs. all atheists are necessarily strong atheists?

(Jan 04 '11 at 03:24) Cog Cog's gravatar image

The answer as to why Objectivists arrive at the Atheist conclusion comes back to axiomatic metaphysical and epistemological positions.

Objectivist Metaphysics acknowledges that the universe is stable, which is to say that it is governed by natural laws. It is knowable and the laws governing it are absolute.

Mans knowledge of the laws governing the universe may be incomplete in places but we know there are natural and scientific laws, and the universe does work in accordance with them. The fact that we do not, as of yet, understand all there is to understand does not negate the facts of this reality.

All religions, to some extent, deny the knowable universe. To them it is malleable (unstable), able to be altered on the whim of their deity. It sprang out of nothing created by and for god. It is also unknowable, in that God can arbitrarily alter any and all of its “laws”. So while all mystics seek to acquire knowledge from and about the Universe as it is they, through their religion, introduce the arbitrary, the fanciful and the miraculous into it.

Epistemologically Objectivists recognize man as a being of rational faculty, which is to say that he validates knowledge through the use of his mind. Man is born tabula rasa, and it is through reason that he integrates and validates the information from his senses, and through this process he arrives at certainty with regard to the knowledge he has integrated. Epistemologically Objectivism knows that man MUST think to survive.

Mystics believe man can be granted certain knowledge through divine revelation, and that there is no validation required for certain ideas and ideals garnered by that method. The religious claim that we possess certain innate knowledge, that our brains are pre-loaded from the factory as it were. As a result, at the core, the believer can not claim any knowledge as being irrefutable for the mere existence of God, an omnipotent being, means that what is true and valid today could be negated tomorrow by divine mandate.

All of these religious epistemological machinations lead to one thing, the negation of reason. Man is told to believe certain things only because god ordained it and not through any rational process. The result being that he believes that he can not rely on the real physical world and its laws because it could all change if God willed it.

The mystics take the arbitrary and make the word of god out of it. Remember that, religious metaphysics (how one views the universe), epistemology (how one acquires knowledge about that universe), and as a result of the first two, religious ethics (how one ought to react within human society) are based on the arbitrary.

For the Objectivist it is from the metaphysical and epistemological that we derive our atheism. It is a by-product of the philosophy, a corollary of our existence in the real, known and knowable universe. It isn’t a central tenant, it’s not a commandment or a directive but a rational, non-contradictory position arrived at by observing reality and integrating that information through the use of reason.

Any philosophy (and that includes all religions) that proposes or supports the existence of god must do so arbitrarily, without evidence and without reason to back it up.

Objectivism simply can't accept this sort of unstable arbitrary and irrational assumption about the universe, to do so would invalidate the very axioms our philosophy is based upon.

answered Sep 16 '10 at 19:39

Martin%20Gasser's gravatar image

Martin Gasser ♦

Objectivism is atheistic because it is dedicated to reason. Religions cannot be reasoned out, and most often require men to discard reason, to believe on blind faith. There is no way to arrive at religious beliefs using reason, so Objectivism doesn't arrive at them. It's that simple.

answered Jan 03 '11 at 20:56

Mindy%20Newton's gravatar image

Mindy Newton ♦

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Asked: Aug 26 '10 at 18:56

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Last updated: Jan 04 '11 at 03:24