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Q&A on God and Religion with Aaron Smith and Mike Mazza

Our experts take your questions on arguments for God, whether morality depends on religion, and other issues related to religion.

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In this episode of New Ideal Live, Aaron Smith, Mike Mazza and Ziemowit Gowin address questions about God, religion, and faith submitted by the podcast’s audience.

Among the topics covered:

  • Whether one must assess and refute every purported “proof” of religious beliefs before rejecting it;
    • Why there can be no logical inference from observed reality to the supernatural;
    • The difference between arguments in natural theology and mere storytelling;
    • How to evaluate the concept of “God”;
  • Why knowledge of morality doesn’t depend on God;
  • The refutations of Aquinas’s arguments for God’s existence;
    • Recommended books, including Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion;
    • The fact that some theologians, invoking faith, agree with these refutations;
    • The value of examining Aquinas’s arguments and their dependence on the primacy of consciousness;
    • Why a supernatural being cannot serve as an explanation;
  • Whether some Abrahamic religions are better than others;
    • The fact that Ayn Rand did not publicly address this subject;
    • The importance of distinguishing between the religious texts and the values of some adherents;
  • Whether ideologies like Marxism, Nazism, and Hegelianism are religions;
    • Why there can be non-religious types of mysticism;
    • Commitment by faith to the supernatural as an essential feature of religion;
    • The nature of faith;
  • Whether people are attracted to the idea of a God;
    • The importance of taking a global and historical perspective on religion;
    • Explanatory vs. psychological motivations for postulating a god;
  • How to respond to the Buddhist claim that desires and attachments cause suffering;
    • Why this view amounts to a call for “non-self;”
    • How to think about Buddhist religious precepts;
  • Why Ayn Rand called religion a primitive form of philosophy.

Mentioned in the discussion are Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and his 1999 radio broadcast on the arguments for God’s existence,  Onkar Ghate’s article “Finding Morality and Happiness Without God” and his talk “Can There Be Good Without God?,” and Robert Mayhew’s course on Thomas Aquinas at Ayn Rand University.

This episode was recorded on January 13, 2023. Listen to the discussion below. Listen and subscribe from your mobile device on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify or Stitcher. Watch previous episodes here.

Podcast audio:


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Dan Schwartz

Dan Schwartz, PhD in philosophy and formerly a professor, is a visiting fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute.

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