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Jonathan Miller

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Paradoxically, some of the sources of disbelief are to be found amongst the arguments of believers. … Theologians often formulated the most dangerously skeptical arguments in their efforts to test the impregnability of their own faith, and in doing so, they unknowingly furnished atheists with ready-made weapons.
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Episode one: "Shadows of Doubt"

 
Jonathan Miller

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I come now to Berkeley’s empirical arguments. To begin with, it is a sign of weakness to combine empirical and logical arguments, for the latter, if valid, make the former superfluous. [Footnote: E.g., "I was not drunk last night. I had only had two glasses; besides, it is well known that I am a teetotaller."] If I am contending that a square cannot be round, I shall not appeal to the fact that no Square in any known city is round. But as we have rejected the logical arguments, it becomes necessary to consider the empirical arguments on their merits.

 
George Berkely
 

[T]here used to be in the old days three intellectual arguments for the existence of God, all of which were disposed of by Immanuel Kant in the Critique of Pure Reason; but no sooner had he disposed of those arguments than he invented a new one, a moral argument, and that quite convinced him. He was like many people: in intellectual matters he was skeptical, but in moral matters he believed implicitly in the maxims that he had imbibed at his mother's knee. That illustrates what the psychoanalysts so much emphasize — the immensely stronger hold upon us that our very early associations have than those of later times.

 
Immanuel Kant
 

There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot, therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.

 
Thomas Aquinas
 

There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading. I cannot, therefore, feel that he deserves to be put on a level with the best philosophers either of Greece or of modern times.

 
Thomas Aquinas
 

Religion in so far as it is a source of consolation is a hindrance to true faith; and in this sense atheism is a purification. I have to be an atheist with that part of myself which is not made for God. Among those in whom the supernatural part of themselves has not been awakened, the atheists are right and the believers wrong.

 
Simone Weil
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