The “Four Horsemen” Clockwise from top left: Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Sam Harris. According to Richard Dawkins, “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006.
Christopher Hitchens, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, 2007.
Daniel Dennet, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, 2006.
Sam Harris, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, 2004.
By “religion” I have in mind those institutions or beliefs which claim the existence of a personal god or gods. By a personal god I mean simply a god who is a person. And a person is anything with which you can make agreements.
Now there are countless religions which profess a belief in personal gods. There are monotheisms, dualisms, and polytheisms. The Christian religions offer a basic conceptual problem with the dogma of the Trinity. The dogma is this: There are three persons in one God. What does this mean? Each person of the Trinity is said to be God, and the three together are God. This is to say that there are three Gods in one God. This cannot be unless the word “God” is used in two different senses. We can alter the dogma to read: There are three personal Gods in one Godhead. Isn’t that puzzling?
Instead of reinventing the wheel — so to say, I offer you the wisdom of C. D. Broad on this topic.
Published in the Hibbert Journal 24 (1925): 32-48. Reprinted in C. D. Broad, Religion, Philosophy and Psychical Research (Routledge & Keagan Paul, 1953).
“To conclude. Whether there be in fact a personal God or not, it seems to me that we have no good reason to believe in the existence of such a being. I think that there are such grave difficulties in the notion of a God in the theological sense that there are strong reasons against believing that such a being exists. These objections do not apply to the notion of Gods in the popular sense. For all I can see there may be dozens of such Gods; and the only reason against being a polytheist is that there is no reason for being one.”