Weekly Link Roundup

There are couple of news items this week that I thought merited a brief mention. First, in the New Yorker, James Wood provides another piece of evidence for my theory that the only kind of atheists considered “respectable” are the ones who wish they were religious: What is needed is neither the overweening rationalism of a Dawkins nor the rarefied religious belief of an Eagleton but a theologically engaged atheism that resembles disappointed belief. And while we’re on the topic… Read more

There Is No God-Shaped Hole

In A Shattered Visage, a book-length emotional rant against atheism, Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias puts forth the following assertion: The words of Augustine are most appropriate: “You have made us for yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.” Or, as Pascal put it, “There is a godshaped vacuum in the heart of every man, and only God can fill it.” [p.89] Although they probably don’t realize it, apologists who say this have committed themselves… Read more

The Case for a Creator: It's All Because of Quantum

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 5 In discussing the kalam argument, William Lane Craig makes some points that touch on modern research in cosmology and physics, so I’ll address those. He begins with the premise that “whatever begins to exist has a cause”: “It seems metaphysically necessary that anything which begins to exist has to have a cause that brings it into being. Things don’t just pop into existence, uncaused, out of nothing.” [p.99] If we accept that William… Read more

Religion Promotes Morality: The Evidence

One could argue that atheism leads to immorality. With no God-given commandments, the atheist pretty much has to make up moral standards as he or she goes along… The philosopher John Locke – one of the intellectual forebears of American democracy – once said that atheists can’t ultimately be trusted in their promises and commitments, since they have no ultimate divine authority to whom they must answer. —http://stpaulsamityville.com/messagefeb07.htm The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sued a California man and his… Read more

Defending Genocide

Of all the evil verses in the Bible, some of the worst must be the ones in which God orders his chosen people to slaughter and utterly exterminate the Canaanites who were living in the promised land, commanding them to kill men, women and children and to show no mercy to anyone under any circumstances. Passages like these are why Thomas Paine said of the Old Testament, “…it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a… Read more

Thanks to Los Angeles Readers

I wanted to write a quick post to thank all the Daylight Atheism readers who were able to attend yesterday’s meetup in Pasadena. We got a great crowd together, and it was a thrilling experience to meet you all and to finally be able to match names with faces, and I’m greatly appreciative for the warmth, good company, and great conversation. (Plus, assembling at the restaurant and splitting the check turned out to be ridiculously easy. Who ever said that… Read more

The Case for a Creator: You're Interviewing Who?!

The Case for a Creator, Chapter 5 Back in chapter 2, Strobel claimed that he would be interviewing “authorities in various scientific disciplines about the most current findings in their fields” [p.28]. How has this promise played out so far? Up till now, he’s interviewed Jonathan Wells – who has a legitimate degree in biology, albeit one which he admits he acquired for the express purpose of attacking evolution – and Stephen Meyer, who has a doctorate in the history… Read more

Christian Troll Masquerades as Racist Atheist

Over the past two weeks, an individual calling himself Steve Leone has attempted to leave about half a dozen variations of the following comment on my thread about the “miracle” of Fatima: “Oh yeah? Well, how did three illiterate Portuguese peasant children know that some strange atmospheric phenomenon was going to appear in the sky over Fatima at the exact date and time they predicted? Answer that, you smarty-pants atheists!” Here’s an entirely typical example from my moderation queue: Author:… Read more

In Defense of Optimism

Among the writers who oppose the New Atheists, one common theme in their criticism is that we’re too optimistic about the possibility of human progress. For example, take this essay by Terry Eagleton attacking Richard Dawkins, in which the sneering condescension drips from every word: It thus comes as no surprise that Dawkins turns out to be an old-fashioned Hegelian when it comes to global politics, believing in a zeitgeist (his own term) involving ever increasing progress, with just the… Read more

Original Virtue

Central to nearly every branch of Christianity is the notion of original sin – the belief that humans in some sense start out corrupted, that sinfulness is our default state. The apostle Paul expresses this idea in verses like these from Romans: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned… Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men… Read more

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