Two Responses to the Theist’s Guide

Earlier this month, Greta Christina published a piece on AlterNet, based on my essay "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists", that listed things that would convince her of God's existence. She also repeated the challenge I posed to theists - prove that your beliefs are falsifiable by posting a corresponding list of things that would convince you to become an atheist.The AlterNet post got hundreds of comments, and netted a total of two responses. In this post, I'll briefly analyze them … [Read more...]

The Catholic Church Asks Me for Money

CatholicLetter01

One of the downsides of giving money to charity is that some of the groups I give to resell their donors' names and addresses. As a result, I get an amazing quantity of mail, most from groups I've never heard of, begging for money. It comes from an incredible range of organizations - symphonies, museums, political campaigns, environmental groups, humanitarian groups, animal rights groups, and more. Since I plan my giving in advance and don't respond to random solicitations, I throw these all … [Read more...]

An Unserious Response to the Theist’s Guide

I've received another response to my essay on Ebon Musings, "The Theist's Guide to Converting Atheists", which challenges theists to explain what they would accept as proof that their religious beliefs were mistaken. For the record, I'll point out that this essay has been publicly available since June 2001, almost nine years, and in that time - counting the response just received - I've gotten a total of three replies.What's ironic is that this latest response underscores, rather than … [Read more...]

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...]


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