A Guide for New Visitors

by Luke Muehlhauser on June 23, 2009 in General Atheism


New here?

First, read my deconversion story, which explains why I left Christianity. Also see my fondest memories of God.

Second, read what I mean by “common sense” atheism. (I do not mean that believers are any more irrational than atheists are.)

Next, you’ll want to know Why I Write This Blog and Why This Blog Is Different.

For a month-by-month breakdown of highlights, see The History of Common Sense Atheism.

Some of my most useful posts are my list of 400+ atheism vs. theism debates and my list of living philosophers of religion (with links to hundreds of their best books and articles).

You’ll probably enjoy my favorite posts, but much of my best work is contained in my many post series covering complex topics.

Finally, see The Archives. I read (and often respond to) every single comment posted, even on really old posts.

Enjoy Common Sense Atheism!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Justin Martry August 16, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Greetings dude! I love your website. I feel like you are my long lost brother, except the exact opposite. Gould, Dawkins, Sagan, you know the drill. I would be interesting in having a debate, or series of debates, with you. Reason brought you away from the Lord but after reading your archives I think a running dialogue on ethics, evidence, and so forth can bring you back.
Frankly, I’m surprised by a few things.
1. The first is that you put so much stock Jean Bodin’s “religions refute each other” argument. Ethics: When you understand why you dismiss all those other ethical theories will you understand why I dismiss  yours? The fact that most ethical theories are wrong does not mean that they are all wrong. Is there a hidden premise – that all religions make common claims? Then that seems to take us to some other ground, perhaps an evidential argument.
2. The historical Jesus and other scholarship arguments. My own experience from converting is that atheism spends 99.99% of its time knocking down strawmen and about 0.01% seriously engaging the best arguments. I don’t blame atheism for this. It the biggest and popular worldview in intellectual circles so you expect laziness. Its a common pattern with all insurgent intellectual movements. Neoclassical economists don’t know much about behavioral economics and evolutionary game theory even when they disagree. But it makes me wonder: why were those atheist books so compelling to you?
And there is a whole lot more! I await your reply!


lukeprog August 16, 2009 at 8:04 pm

Justin Martry,

Obviously, I do not intend for one sentence to be a coherent argument for atheism. Soon I will post an explanation of the quote.

Most atheist arguments don’t attack straw men. They attack doctrines that tens of millions of people believe, even if they don’t attack your specific concept of God. But I do try to engage the best arguments. For example, I’m writing a post series on each chapter of The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology.

This entire blog is one very long explanation of what persuades me toward atheism.

I don’t have time for debate, but I welcome a dialogue.


Justin Martyr August 17, 2009 at 7:50 am

Thanks for the prompt and polite reply. I look forwards to watching your explanations become more developed. But in the meantime do you have time for a quick and dirty defense of Bodin’s “religions refute each other” argument? As you yourself <a href=”http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=772″>point out</a>, there are tons of different ethical theories.  Does that mean that they all refute each other and nihilism is true? Of course not. Let’s apply your catchphrase:
“Once you understand why you dismiss all those other ethical theories you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
That’s silly. The fact that the vast majority of ethical theories is wrong does not mean that they are all wrong. We can do the same thing for the Grand Unified Theory of physics, the cause of cancer, what solution would bring peace to the Middle East, etc… There are many competing theories but the fact that there are many competing theories does not mean that they are all wrong. Let’s push the argument and  treat atheism as just one worldview among many.
“Once you understand why you dismiss all those other worldviews you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
If Bodin’s “religions refute each other” argument forms the heart of your case against Christianity then it seems like you have a lot of work to do.


William September 30, 2009 at 9:03 am

I am having trouble viewing some of the pages from your blog; not the main page, but individual entries. Any ideas what might be causing this?

Anyway, what are the chances that you are going to comment on the Dan Barker/James White debate? I believe that it was held on Sept 26. Not sure where, but videos and blog posts ae starting to appear on the web.



lukeprog September 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm


Which pages are not showing up for you?


Damein October 2, 2009 at 8:01 am

Still looking for the list of atheist saints. List provided of secular charities is primarily advocacy, not charity. Secular humanist council list of 29 accomplishments was mostly advocacy and it raised ten of thousands of dollars for relief work. Tens of thousands. Amazing atheists post here leads with writers. Material provided thus far seems to confirm the data in Who Really Cares?


Freethinker October 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

I, too, had trouble viewing some pages, specifically some of the “epic posts” pages. I had trouble with it in Internet Explorer, but had no problem with Firefox, so if you are having trouble, you might try a different browser.


Don Loeb October 30, 2009 at 11:49 am

I think disagreement among moral theories does indeed provide at least some evidence that none of them is true, and I discuss that on a podcast, posted here today, and also in an article in PHILOSOPHICAL STUDIES in 1998, I think.

Furthermore, I like the quotation. It isn’t meant as an argument against the existence of God, if I understand it aright. It is ad hominem, in the good sense. You, theist, seem amazed that I can reject your view as utterly misguided (notwithstanding all those who agree with you and so on). But you too reject as utterly misguided a multitude of religious views held by many people–all of those incompatible with your view, in fact. So we are alike, though I take it a step further.

That’s not an argument against theism, so it can’t be a straw man argument against it. It’s a way of explaining a phenomenon that seems deeply puzzling to many (though not all) theists.


lukeprog October 30, 2009 at 6:51 pm


Further discussion on the merits of the quote at the top of my site here:

Thanks for commenting.


damein November 8, 2009 at 4:21 am

The quote assumes that other views are necessarily dismissed by Christian theism. There are truths in atheism, in other religions, “worldviews,” etc. The Catechism of Catholic Church acknowledges this, to take one example.

It is clear from the exchanges at this site and others that there is a rational, empirical basis for the Christian position: creation (big bang, fine tuning, order in the universe, etc), “creation” cares for us (documented miracles at Lourdes, Fatima, etc.), there is a connection between the soul, compassion and life after death (near death research), and so on. The Christian position may be wrong, but it has a basis in logic and evidence. From a fuzzy logic perspective Christian theism is simply more true on some major issues (or so I claim). Christian theism is not entirely true and certainly not true to the exclusion of any and all truths coming from other perspectives.

Christianity, at least in the West, has been improved in some aspects from its encounters with atheism (separation of church and state, greater reliance on evidence to advance claims in the public square, etc.). I am grateful for those aspects of the encounter.


J Nernoff III M.D. December 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

Dear L: I really enjoy your site. Good job. I’m not a prude or stick-in-the-mud, and am all for exuberance, but I think it best to get rid of your silly acid-rock style open mouthed picture, not that I am offended by it in the least. It just unnecessarily takes away from your serious credibility and higher level purpose and demeanor. Look at your nemesis William Lane Craig. Does he ever depict himself as a foolish clown? No. Thanks. John Nernoff III


Kornhusk December 9, 2009 at 10:07 am

The word “God” needs to be discussed. In short this ONLY refers to an old man in the sky. All believers start out and usually continue with a bio-action figure in the sky. Look at ANY of the Gods: Jesus, Yahweh, Ganesha, Zeus, Odin, Allah (no specific description but copied from OT and they all *DO* stuff like humans). Other than anthropomorphic references and projection, theists have NO IDEA what the “God” IS. Just none. More later. K.


nate December 11, 2009 at 1:32 pm

i was trying to post here http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=5018#more-5018 but it never showed up. is there a reason? sry about hitting it more than 1x too.


lukeprog December 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm


I’m not sure. Please try again.


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