Intellectual atheism seeks to prove that the fallibility of theistic arguments, such as the teleological and ontological argument, is evidence that God does not exist. The absence of indisputable proof for God's existence is reason enough not to believe in Him. Two proponents of this atheistic school are Ludwig Feuerbach and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Both extrapolate an argument from this initial claim by undermining the concept and existence of God in two different ways. Feuerbach has an anthropological disproof of God; that He merely satisfies a human desire as "man writ large".Nietzsche, however, denies the existence of any external God as an incredible and "dead" idea. Feuerbach (1804-1872) is the father of projectionist atheology; he insists that by studying the relationship between ideas about God and the societies from which they arose, one has evidence for God's non-existence. He is an empiricist who argues that God is the imaginary focus of human ideals that are a reaction to practical conditions and inadequacies.

Gaskin asserts that the same sentiments are found in the writings of Xenophanes, as he believed that "the gods of oxen would be like oxen and horses'... ike horses".Feuerbach maintains that religious beliefs are essentially vicarious as they fulfil what we desire to be, "a poor man has a rich God". Although humans have limited power, God's omnipotence is a projection which highlights feelings of impotence and alienation.

The zenith of qualities we want to have, such as unconditional compassion and love, can be found in God and his incarnate son. The Resurrection is another example; the belief that Jesus overcame death quells our innate fear of death. These aspirations can be harnessed for good as long as religion is not misinterpreted.However, Feuerbach argues that this insistent belief of a God and the afterlife ultimately obstruct people from true freedom. By glorifying God, people cannot mature and realise their potential in this world. He has had an enormous influence on subsequent atheists; Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) consider God to be the manifestation of economic and psychosexual influences.

Another such atheist is Nietzsche (1844-1900), although he is unique in his comprehensive denial of God's existence.As well as Feuerbach, Nietzsche was influenced by Darwin and Shopenhauer as his existentialist outlook is peppered with the competition of survival. He believed that there was no external referent to theistic faith as humans are primarily egocentric. God is not only an anachronistic concept invented to satisfy insecurities of the past, but is also obsolete as the world is inevitably becoming more secularised. He ceases to exist because more and more people do not believe in Him.

Furthermore, the fallacious and infantile notion of God serves as a "gross answer... and) prohibition".Nietzsche saw Christianity as emasculating and suffocating as its proscribed morality enslaved great men from acting on their autocratic instincts. This is psychologically damaging; religion is little more than a "neurosis" which undermines and represses the virtuous will to power.

This particular idea was later adopted by Freud as he too highlights the detrimental effect of sublimation. Belief in God only serves the interests of the weak as they receive an equitable share in life's good things.Nietzsche, in the vein of Marx, sees religion as a consolation to the "ordinary" as it extols the goodness of agape and being passive. Consider whether an atheological writer supports agnosticism or atheism. Feuerbach's projectionist account of religion is rooted in intellectual atheism which argues that the inconclusive proofs of God which theists put forward is reason not to believe in God. This stance is logically contentious, as the absence of evidence should not be considered as evidence of absence.

Although Feuerbach's argument is more comprehensive than this initial assertion, it is debatable whether it offers a positive disproof of the existence of God. Perhaps his anthropological view of religion and God could be reconciled with theism being true. The crucial question therefore is if Feuerbach offers a truly atheological account of the world and/or indisputable evidence of God's non-existence. Feuerbach's influence on subsequent atheists is irrefutable; the idea that God is a projection of a person's desires and circumstances is central to Marxism and Freudianism.His theory that God is "man writ large", a vicarious mechanism which people have used to overcome inferiority and alienation, appears plausible. Most humans experience this feeling of powerlessness over life and death which can be frightening.

Therefore the idea that an eternal and omnipotent being is a focus one aspires to is entirely reasonable. The Old and New Testament are filled with anthropomorphic images of God as a shepherd and lover, typified by Him eventually becoming incarnate.Feuerbach is not condemnatory of this, in fact Pailin argues that he has a "sympathetic appreciation of what (he) rejects" to his benefit. He does however offer a constructive alternative to what he sees as the debilitating effect of theism. His vision of self-realisation and maturity in this life is both imaginable and attractive. The intellectual basis of Feuerbach's argument is particularly cogent as it is a posteriori.

As an empiricist, he drew it from historical data which led him to this inductive assertion.Yet Feuerbach merely undermines the existence of God, not utterly refutes it. It being an inductive argument only makes it a probable rather than a definite conclusion. Hick argues that he commits a genetic fallacy, Feuerbach's hypothesis of the origins of religious belief does not result in it being completely false or unfounded with any validity. Moreover, this notion of God being nothing more than the manifestation of human desire is an oversimplification of religion. Religion can also counter and restrict what people instinctively want such as sexual gratification.

Feuerbach does not offer a conclusive proof of God's nonexistence so much as encourages agnosticism. Unlike Epicurus' argument from the problem of evil, Feuerbach's account of the world does not categorically disprove the referent of theistic belief. In addition, his argument is conjecture; it is equally open to criticism as arguments for the existence for God are despite its empirical basis. His atheological explanation of the world may reaffirm an atheist's belief or suspend a person's judgment on whether God exists or not, however it would not necessarily convert His believers.