Works highly critical of theism sometimes end on a note of hesitancy. After carefully criticizing theism, skeptics sometimes feel an onus to offer alternative forms of spirituality or at least to argue that life in a godless universe need not be meaningless. Such doubt and hesitancy are hardly surprising. Although the tide of secularism has risen continually since the end of the Middle Ages, it has not washed away all the fears that contemplation of a thorough and consistent naturalism can engender.
Roger Scruton has recently given eloquent expression to such fears. To Scruton it appears that the naturalistic view of humanity has brought a new kind of evil into the world--the cold, impersonal, and bureaucratic evil of Auschwitz and the Gulag:
The secular humanist's response must be as simple and direct as Scruton's challenge: We are indeed an accident of nature and nothing is forbidden or permitted us by any power beyond ourselves. As Richard Rorty put it "... there is nothing deep down inside us except what we have put there ourselves..." For the secular humanist, these conclusions are inescapable, but the inferences Scruton draws from them are not. There is no reason to see humanity as diminished by the absence of God. God is needed only if humanity is inadequate, that is, only if we are incapable of discovering and creating purpose and meaning although no Purpose or Meaning is bestowed on us from above.
Further, respect for other persons arises from an experience or shared humanity, not from the detection of some divine spark. In fact, the impersonal, reductive view of persons that characterizes totalitarianism is more reasonably viewed as a pathological outgrowth of a religious rather than a humanistic worldview. The distinctive feature of totalitarianism is the exaltation of ideology over persons, the relegation of human life to the service of a system of beliefs. This subordination of the human to the doctrinal did not enter the world with the rise of science and naturalism. It is the legacy of the belief in one God, one Creed, one Church, and one Law.
Perhaps another and equally deep reason for hesitancy at the abandonment of theism is the fear that without God there will be no object commensurate with the human capacity for awe and wonder. This doubt can also be confidently addressed: The mysteries and glories of theology pale beside those that science reveals within the cosmos itself. No one has expressed this better than Carl Sagan:
In conclusion, if the arguments presented in this thesis are sound, they do not need to be qualified or circumscribed at the end, though undoubtedly the philosophical defense of theism will continue for the forseeable future. Some issues in philosophy never seem to be exhausted.
However, certain projects and programs do become exhausted and, even if they are never entirely abandoned, they are pushed ever further towards the periphery of philosophical discourse. This thesis has endeavoured to show that the attempt to employ scientific modes of argument in the defense of traditional theism is just such an exhausted and fruitless project. It has been argued that those who construe theism as a straightforwardly scientific hypothesis will inevitably fail into psuedoscience. Further, the canons and methods of confirmation theory cannot be fruitfully employed in the reformulation of traditional theistic arguments. In addition, a consistent naturalism cannot be disproved by demonstrating the occurrence of miracles. Finally, to treat theism as an explanatory hypothesis leads to its disconfirmation by the facts of evil.
The theistic hypothesis therefore should be laid to rest at last, two centuries after it received its first great blow from Hume. If it is ever again to merit replacement at the forefront of discussion in the philosophy of religion, both theism and science will have to change in profound ways that I cannot foresee.
 Roger Scruton, "The Philosopher on Dover Beach," The Times Literary Supplement, May 23, 1986, pp. 565-566.
 Ibid., p. 565.
 Richard Rorty, The Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), p. xiii.
 Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Ballantine Books, 1980), p. 275.
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