From the Mailbag: Racist Loonball Edition

Every so often, I get a letter I just have to share - whether because it's so eloquent and insightful that I want more people to read it, or because the author deserves to be roundly mocked by as many people as possible. Here's an example of the latter.I got this e-mail the other day. It starts out as seemingly thoughtful praise from someone who's obviously taken the time to read my website; then it abruptly takes a different turn:Dear Ebon Musings:Your front page essay is beautifully … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Atheists in the Closet

As much effort as we freethinkers put into making atheism a viable and socially accepted option, it's important to remember that it's still a difficult feat to extricate oneself from religion when one's family and social life are bound up with church attendance. Consider this e-mail I received a few days ago, whose author's personal information I've omitted:I just wanted to say thanks for your sites, which I've been reading for about a year now. I'm a 49 year old former Salvation Army … [Read more...]

Open Thread: Feedback on The Aura of Infallibility

About two weeks ago, the following comment was posted on the thread "The Aura of Infallibility" by one of the Christians whom I originally quoted in that post.There were some other discussions going on at the time and it fell off the recent comments list before it could attract any replies, and I thought it deserved some. So, I'm promoting it to its own thread. I'll write my own response to it (and I'll contact Matt to let him know about this post) - but readers, what say you?Hi all,I am … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part VII

Hello Quixote,Considering your last letter to me was some time ago, I apologize for the lateness of my reply. To tell the truth, this was the hardest one for me to write. It's not that I couldn't think of anything to say. Much the opposite: If I had said everything I wanted to say, this post would have been too long! Cutting it down to a reasonable length was more of a struggle than writing it. I've endeavored to edit in a way that does justice to your points and to mine.I also want to say … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part VI

To my friend Ebonmuse,Offered with genuine respect to the readership and commentators of DA,The presumption of atheism, the hiddenness of God, the Problem of Evil, the Euthyphro dilemma, epistemic warrant, Pascal's wager, NOMA, Hume's critique of the miraculous, the Kalam cosmological argument...I'm near concluding that I've interacted with far more atheists — or perhaps far more atheists and agnostics of a different type than those who frequent internet blogs — than many here at DA. The ma … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part V

Hello Quixote,In reference to your list of reasons why people become atheists or theists, I have to disagree. I don't think most of those are the initial reasons why people choose one or the other. Many of them are common causes that are frequently taken up by people on one side or the other, or are shared aspects of membership in those communities, it's true. But I don't think people become atheists because they have more fun than theists (although, if true, that might be a reason why people … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part IV

Hello Ebon,To approach your larger question, what are the real reasons people believe or disbelieve, I've offered a bulletized list for anyone who's interested in pursuing this question:Some people do not believe in God for a variety of honestly considered reasons. Some people resent the Christian church's involvement in politics, usually the Christian right's involvement in the Republican Party. Atheism provides a natural outlet for this resentment, and becomes an attractive choice on … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part III

Hello again Quixote,In reply to your last letter:Since we're discussing the real reasons why people become atheists or theists, I concede you make a good point about how many people have just never thought all that deeply about it. That's a good point which I suspect we'll have occasion to return to. I agree that people who've devoted extensive time to investigation and self-reflection are the odd ones out, compared to the population as a whole. (That makes me doubly glad we're engaging in … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote, Part II

[Editor's Note: Yesterday, I posted the first in a series of letters exchanged between myself and Quixote, as part of a discussion of the most important reasons why people become theists or atheists. This is Quixote's first reply.]Most analytic varieties of atheism seem committed to experience, science, and reason as foundations of rational belief. Consider John Shook's definition of Naturalism, as published on Naturalisms.org:Naturalism is usually defined most briefly as the philosophical … [Read more...]

A Dialogue with Quixote

Since its inception, Daylight Atheism has been first and foremost a platform for atheist thought. We've had plenty of theist commenters, but never an entire post written by a theist - until now.Some of you may recognize Quixote, who's been a commenter here for some time. There have been many theists commenting on Daylight Atheism whose beliefs I've strongly disagreed with, and (I like to think) many theists whom I've been able to converse with in a spirit of civility and friendship, but I … [Read more...]


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