Jesus and Hell

From Secular Planet Whenever I hear Jesus referred to as loving or merciful, I wince. While the gospels do contain some benevolent teachings, these are completely overshadowed by Jesus’ recurrent threat of unending torture for anyone who fails to accept his message. One cannot expect praise for preaching love while simultaneously executing divine blackmail. An [Read More...]

Objections To Religious Moderates and Intellectuals (part 4)

our remaining option is to study cognitively what factors are at play in religious participation—community building, personal and communal ritual, moral teaching, literary delight, artistic expression, sensual appeal, deep meditation, metaphysical imagination, historical connection, etc.—and we start systematically reforming the broader culture to meet more of these needs (so the government does not step in and try to exploit them and so that people unmoored from these things do not lose all direction in life or feeling of communal attachment).

In other words, we can figure out how religion uses these various good things to make many happy and virtuous, while figuring out outlets for people to have these benefits without the cost of cultivating their worst intellectual tendencies towards pre-Enligtenment habits of thought and without promoting the nasty streaks of ethical authoritarianism that come with characteristically religious forms of irrationality. [Read more...]

Objections To Religious Moderates and Intellectuals (part 3)

Shane’s reply to this post addressing him (and you can find part 1 which initiated the conversation here): An excellent response! Much more in-depth than my teasing comment probably warranted. Sorry, but my response is a bit rambling. That comes with the blog commenting genre, I think. My earlier point wasn’t about intellectual virtues or [Read More...]

Daily Hilarity: “Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor”

I couldn’t resist posting this one, even though just an hour ago I posted this one. [Read more...]

Why Camels With Hammers?

Evangelos has asked and it’s a good question, so here’s a brief explanation: It’s a combination of two images in Nietzsche.  The camel comes from “The Three Transformations,” a section of Thus Spoke Zarathustra.  He is there describing transformations that the “spirit” must undergo.  First it must become a camel.  The camel represents austere, ascetic, [Read More...]

“True” Christianity? (part 2)

Njustus writes in the comments section of this post: I certainly stand in awe of your attempt to comprehensively define Christianity. It’s a burden I’m not sure I could give myself. I of course could offer a definition, but I’m not sure I could do so without revealing more about myself than any objective concept [Read More...]


My colleague, Joshua Thomas has an excellent set of preliminary remarks on his views about hope on his blog, which I recommend you go check out. Here are a few highlights.  First he distinguishes dreams as the objects or aims of our hopes, distinct from hope itself, which he takes rather to be related to [Read More...]

Chris Dodd Standing Up Against Retroactive Immunity For Telecoms

An important speech. [Read more...]

The Substance of Style

Amidst an insightful piece on Obama’s use of language, there’s this interesting thesis about what style indicates about substance. How much can you tell about a candidate’s fitness to lead a country based on a single clause? The substance/style debate has been around for centuries—and, like all the other venerable binaries, is probably best considered [Read More...]