However, Durkheims’ critique has been criticised as his arguments overlooks vital points. His theory fails to explain how religious believers are prepared to sometimes go against the norms and laws of society and even each other. In addition, with a constantly changing society, religion seems to stay the same. Based on his argument, this would seem unusual if religion is solely created to align with society and that the primary goal is for the society to gain an identity rather than to worship God. If this is the case, why do religious believers aim to please God rather than each other? If religion complements society, why would a believer need to go against society at times e.g Martin Luther King? Furthermore, Durkheim modelled his thesis on primitive aboriginal societies, which is not applicable to modern religion belief.
Marx has been accused of making too many assumptions about religion. For instance, the separation between the church and the state is bigger than Marx assumed as he has overlooked liberation theology. This is where Latin American churches have been fighting against the state for the rights of the working class. Religious teachings often express love for each other e.g Mark 12:31 “love thy neighbour”. In addition, the capitalist society that Marx advocates against does not use religion as its main tool to indoctrinate people yet religion is still widely practiced.
Dawkins has been said to be hypocritical by Melvin Tinker who says that he “exhibits all the hallmarks… of religion he so despises… [but] he is a Fundamentalist of the scientific kind”. This also suggests that his atheism and anti-theism is an infectious virus too. Dawkins also narrows his evidence too much by solely focusing on religious extremism despite this being a significantly small proportion of religious believers. He also reduces our purpose of living to needed to pass on our DNA but many people do not have children yet live successful and fulfilling lives. Dawkins uses science to prove everything yet science does not prove atheism.
Hitchens has been criticised by David Bentley Hart in his book First Things about God is Not Great as he said that on matters of simple historical and textual fact… Hitchens’ book is so extraordinarily crowded with errors that one soon gives up counting them”. Daniel C. Peterson states the same but adds that the “errors are always, always, in Hitchen’s favour… there is not a disputed fact… that has struck me as questionable that I’ve checked… where it has not turned out that he’s wrong”. In chapter 4 of his book God is Not Great, Hitchens says that religions are hostile to treating diseases e.g polio vaccine, HIV however this is a big assumption as many religions such as Islam even declare that it is halal to go against any and all rules of the religion in order to preserve your life e.g consuming drugs. His quote, “you can certainly say belief in God makes people behave worse. That can be proved beyond a doubt” can easily be counteracted as there are sufficient examples of when people have behaved worse due to their belief that nothing is out there.
In conclusion, the critiques against religious belief and the existence of God are somewhat valid with regard to religion being used as an oppressive tool e,g widely, with theocracies or personally with parents to their children. However, it is evident that all religions and religious believers are being categorised together which weakens some arguments as they can be easily disputed. Overall, these critiques are more successful in advocating for religious reformation rather than total abolition.