The main reproach that religious people or theists make against atheism is that without religion or god the world would tear itself apart! That is one of the central support structures that still holds religion together, the concept that religion enforces or brings about morality in people. Also they say that religion or god gives people a purpose in life, something to strive towards. Various people have been wrestling with this concept of how to refute this argument for quite some while now, on how to show people that religion in itself does not hold you to be moral but it is you who decides to be moral or not. To show that it is by your actions and only by your actions that you define yourself and find a purpose.
Jean-Paul Sarte makes an excellent argument for the cause of Atheism and Existentialism in his ‘Existentialism is a Humanism’. This is his famous lecture and it is widely considered one of the defining texts of the Existentialist movement. He makes an wonderful argument that human beings exist before there ever was an essence or a purpose to our life. Put simply, this means that there is nothing to dictate that person’s character, goals in life, and so on; that only the individual can define his or her essence. And by his or her choice they not only define themselves but affect all of humanity.
Click here for the original essay: Existentialism is a Humanism – Jean-Paul Sarte 1946
The material in the pdf was obtained from marxists.org, originally reproduced under the “Fair Use” provisions; I’ve formatted it into a pdf file, compatible with various e-readers such as kindle for ease of reading and access.