Civil War Denialism: A Further Response to “The Jewish Prophecy of Exile”

I didn't notice until recently that Narabelad, the apologist for Judaism whose claims I addressed in "The Jewish Prophecy of Exile", has written a further reply to me. In this post, I'll address it briefly.First, let me note that my correspondent has evidently conceded that his list of things that would make him an atheist was impossible to satisfy and was offered in bad faith, because in his latest response, there's not a word about it. Clearly, he'd rather avoid the difficult question of how … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Prelude to Cosmology

The Language of God, Chapter 3By B.J. MarshallPart 2 of this book, "The Great Questions of Human Existence," covers topics of cosmology, life on earth, and unpacking the human genome. Chapter 3 begins by tackling cosmology, but Collins throws in a little prelude - a little homage to science. We should keep in mind that Collins' point through all this is to find a way to reconcile faith and science. He's not big into NOMA, but rather argues that science complements faith. Although he gets … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Rusty Containers

The Language of God, Chapter 2By B.J. MarshallChapter 2 reminds me of a Tim Minchin song, Storm, where one line goes "Keeps firing off clichés with startling precision / Like a sniper using bollocks for ammunition." The next theme Collins discusses in this chapter involves addressing all the harm done in the name of religion and wondering how anyone could subscribe to the tenets of any religion that perpetrates such wrongs in the world. He gives two answers, but one is really a … [Read more...]

Book Review: The Naked Bible

(Editor's Note: This review was solicited and is written in accordance with this site's policy for such reviews.)Summary: Entertainingly irreverent, but with a sharp point under the silliness - though I still haven't figured out why the Bible on the cover is wearing a bra.It's always good to see fellow atheist bloggers breaking into the publishing world, and it's in that vein that I'm pleased to review The Naked Bible by Andrew Bernardin, the blogger behind 360 Degree Skeptic. The lengthy … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Joy and Wishful Thinking

The Language of God, Chapter 2By B.J. MarshallCollins continues on his theme of the universal search for the divine with an argument from emotions. He cites his beloved C.S. Lewis, who describes this in his book Surprised by Joy. Lewis relates how this search, this intense longing, is triggered by moments of joy, which he describes as "an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction" (p.35). After reading this line several times, I still have no idea what … [Read more...]

Rebutting Reasonable Faith: The Atheists Are Multiplying!

Since I've been busy the past year and a half answering Lee Strobel's Case for a Creator, I haven't written any posts responding to William Lane Craig's "Reasonable Faith" columns. But I'm done with Strobel's book now - and Craig has avoided my fire for far too long!Today I'll address question #170, in which Craig answers a correspondent who frets that there are just so damn many atheists at his university, and he doesn't know how to respond to them all:Dr. Craig, I attend Louisiana State … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Ultimate Meaning

The Language of God, Chapter 2By B.J. MarshallIn this section, Collins poses the questions of whether the near-ubiquity of the search for the existence of a supernatural being represents "a universal but groundless human longing for something outside ourselves to give meaning to a meaningless life and to take away the sting of death" (p.35). The search for meaning in one's life is an important question, but I don't think the search for the divine stops there. We have a curious approach to … [Read more...]

The Ingratitude of American Theocrats

When America's founders ratified the Constitution, they created something that arguably had never existed in the world before: a republic where freedom of religion was explicitly enshrined in the charter, where toleration wasn't just the whim of a benevolent ruler but the immutable law of the land. As George Washington wrote in his famous letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport:It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that … [Read more...]

The Language of God: A Doubtful Belief

The Language of God, Chapter 2By B.J. MarshallCollins starts off this chapter noting that, if we've followed him this far, we've no doubt begun to form numerous objections. That's an understatement to be sure! He gives us some of his own: Isn't belief in God just a case of wishful thinking? Hasn't a great deal of harm been done in the name of religion? How could a loving God permit suffering? How can a serious scientist accept the possibility of miracles? We'll upack those questions in a few … [Read more...]

Strange and Curious Sects: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

When a new sect with strange and unfamiliar beliefs bursts onto the scene, it almost invariably meets with hostility (most of it from the old sects with strange and familiar beliefs). And depending on the nature of the newcomer, there are two common responses. It may stress its own virtue and righteousness all the more strongly, wearing its persecution as a badge of pride. Or it may become bitter and apocalyptic, denouncing its enemies as God's enemies and warning of a day of reckoning. Those … [Read more...]