One of the objections I’ve run across in speaking with atheists is the idea that God cannot exist because he’s an unembodied mind. All of our experience dictates that persons cannot exist apart from bodies; if the God of traditional theism exists, he is both personal and an unembodied mind; hence, God cannot exist. So any arguments made from natural theology — the moral argument, cosmological arguments, design arguments — cannot get off the ground because they all point to an unembodied mind of some sort that does things or has certain purposes. But surely this is putting the cart in front of the horse. The fact is, arguments from natural theology are arguments that point to at least one unembodied mind.
Saying that there are no such things as unembodied minds is simply just another assertion that atheism is true. It’s question begging to say that God doesn’t exist just because there are no such things as unembodied minds. That is simply starting off with the assumption that materialism is true. What the atheist needs to do is give us reasons that the notion of an unembodied mind is logically incoherent. I don’t think this can be done, and neither does the renowned atheistic philosopher J.L. Mackie. Says Mackie,
“Although all the persons we are acquainted with have bodies, there is no great difficulty in conceiving what it would be for there to be a person without a body: for example, one can imagine oneself surviving without a body, and while at present one can act and produce results only by using one’s limbs or one’s speech organs, one can imagine having one’s intentions fulfilled directly, without such physical means. Knowing what it is to be present in one place, we can form the concept of a spirit who is present everywhere.” (The Miracle of Theism, pp 1-2)
While bodies may be a common property in our experience of what makes up a person, we have to admit our experience is limited. We are not omniscient. What is familiar to us doesn’t necessarily mean it is implausible or impossible. It may be what is common to us is not necessary to being a mind; such properties could arguably be self-awareness, intentionality, self-determination, etc. We might not be familiar through experience of unembodied minds, just a Bushman in the jungle may not be familiar with rivers freezing. But the Bushman should not conclude that it is therefore impossible that rivers can freeze.
Moreover, anyone who has had some sort of experience of a miracle, near-death experience, or religious experience in fact may stand counter to the example that we have no experience of an unembodied mind or spirit. If we have good reasons to believe what they say is true and that natural explanations are left wanting, then it simply isn’t the case that it is contrary to experience. One could argue that the kalam cosmological argument points to at least one unembodied mind, given that everything that begins to exist has a cause, and the universe could not have been brought into being by a mechanically-operating set of necessary and sufficient conditions ruling out state-to-state causation. That leaves us with the universe having a personal cause, unless another type of cause can be demonstrated. As far as atheological arguments go, I think atheists would be wise to shelve this one.