A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 7

This is part 7 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply.Hello Andrew,Well, I'm back! Since we've gone several rounds on the historical existence of Jesus already, I don't want to prolong this, but I do have a few brief closing remarks. First, on Josephus and the Testimonium Flavianum:Mainstream scholarship doesn't postulate the entire Josephus passage is a forgery. Rather, they accuse Christians … [Read more...]

Prayer Can’t Fight Ebola

Ebola

The worst-ever outbreak of Ebola virus is still raging in West Africa. There are over 1,500 confirmed deaths so far - including, heartbreakingly, doctors and nurses treating other sufferers - though the real number is probably much higher, since widespread fear and mistrust means that many of the sick never come forward.The epidemic has also been helped along by traditional herbalists who claim they can treat Ebola, but only end up spreading the virus. Some people don't even believe it … [Read more...]

Repost: The Theodicy of Narnia

LamppostWinter

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from December 2006.]When I was a child, I read and devoured C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia books. I was too young then to understand most of the religious symbolism, and didn't realize that Lewis had intended the series as a Christian allegory until the end of the very last Narnia book, The Last Battle, which makes the comparison explicit. I will say, however, that I enjoyed … [Read more...]

Facing Up to the Bible’s Darkness

DarkForest

Via Slacktivist, I came across an interesting essay by Greg Boyd, Getting Honest about the Dark Side of the Bible. (You might remember Boyd as one of the theologians interviewed in Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ, as well as his more recent and praiseworthy stand against the use of Christianity to support American imperial militarism.)I have to give Boyd credit for doing something I've rarely seen Christians do: facing up squarely to the dark and savage morality of the Bible. In his post, … [Read more...]

No Greater Power

PlanetEdge

When you arise from the abyssal depths of self-chosen slavery, when you step out from the obscuring shadow of superstition, you begin to see the world as it truly is. And with the clear sight that atheism grants, the next step follows naturally. Once we know what beliefs are false, we have to begin the much harder task of discovering what's true. I'd like to offer a signpost in that quest.As human beings, we find ourselves in a world not of our own making. But although we didn't choose it, … [Read more...]

The Delusion of a Just World

You've probably heard religious apologists assert that if God didn't exist, the world would be an unjust place where some people were never rewarded or punished as their behavior deserved. (They usually hold back from explicitly stating the conclusion, "Therefore, God must exist, because it would make us very sad if he didn't," probably out of subconscious recognition that this would make the fallacy too obvious.) As prominent a religious figure as Pope Benedict has endorsed this … [Read more...]

They Have No Answer

The other day, I came across an essay titled "Staining the Silence" on Vox Nova, a Catholic group blog. The author, Mark Gordon, writes about how his son was deployed to combat in Iraq in 2007, how he feared for his safety as any parent would, and how at first he prayed every day for his son's safe return. But as time went by, he found himself unable to avoid an obvious and unpleasant realization: tens of thousands of parents, despite offering countless prayers of their own, had seen their sons … [Read more...]

From the Mailbag: Shedding the Burden of Suffering

Earlier this week, I got a lengthy letter whose author gave me permission to share it with you:Dear Ebonmusings:I gave a glimpse to your musing about the carrot and the stick - I didn't expect it to talk about morality, mainly because I realized that the latest part of my life as a christian was about pursuing a carrot and a stick.*Allow me to share my story. Sorry if it's a bit depressing, but I can assure you that I'm much better now (and much better than before, since I embraced … [Read more...]

Theodicy Is Useful in Everyday Life

So, I've been debating Catholic commenters on Unequally Yoked again, and I came across a comment that was so astute, so unusually perceptive, that I just had to share it.The war with the Canaanites is really just a specialization of the problem of suffering, right? Why does a good God allow suffering, which is presumably evil.The short answer (from a Catholic perspective) is that we don't know... Nonetheless, it is not the knock-down blow that atheists tend to present it as. It is at least … [Read more...]

Weekly Link Roundup

• President Obama signs a law to fight British libel tourism by barring such judgments from being enforced in the U.S.• My esteemed guest author, Sarah Braasch, has an article in the latest issue of The Humanist on the French burqa ban.• After a scary brush with mortality, everyone's favorite squid-loving atheist professor is back in action. Visit his blog and leave some get-well-soon comments!• Did a Catholic priest carry out an IRA bombing? And if so, did the church … [Read more...]


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