The Truth about Conservative Christians

There is an interesting recent book by two Catholic sociologists, Andrew Greeley and Michael Hout: The Truth about Conservative Christians (The University of Chicago Press, 2007). Much of it is not news to anyone who has been paying attention to the conservative Protestant subculture, though Greeley and Hout put a very useful emphasis on the diversity of this group and repeatedly moderate common stereotypes. What's more interesting is two side claims they argue for and present evidence in … [Read more...]

Christian deception about The Art of Deception

I recently read a review of Robert Morey's 21-year-old book The New Atheism at Bill Muehlenberg's CultureWatch blog, which describes Nicholas Capaldi's The Art of Deception as "a famous atheist debating guide, in which every trick in the book is offered to fellow atheists as they attack theists."There are just a few problems with this statement--Capaldi is a Catholic, not an atheist; the book is an introduction to informal logic, not an atheist debating guide; and most of the few examples in the … [Read more...]

Creationism in Europe

There's an interesting draft of a report to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that lists recent creationist and intelligent design activity in Europe, both Muslim and Christian. It's interesting that enough of this is going on to require such a concerned report, though naturally the level of anti-evolution activity in Europe remains nowhere near that in the United States. Another illustration that in some aspects, US society is more similar to Third World examples than the rest … [Read more...]

Faith

Susan Blackmore has an interesting op-ed opposing faith in The Guardian.The common understanding of faith, "Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence," however, is a bit fishy. No doubt that's often how it's presented: I've had no end of students who conceive of faith as having to do with realities beyond ordinary ways of investigation. Many even think of faith as a kind of faculty of attaining truth on the cheap, and it's immune to criticism as an extra bonus. But people … [Read more...]

Global trends towards secularization

Brink Lindsey has an interesting post at his blog about the increasing numbers of nonreligious people globally over the last five decades, and speculation about why the U.S. remains so religious. He suggests that it's not the separation of church and state (with Australia and New Zealand as counter-examples to the U.S.), but ethnic heterogeneity and geographic mobility--that church membership acts to ease the transition of a move to a new geographic region.The post that inspired Lindsey's … [Read more...]

Nonbelief and mainstream values

There is a lot of prejudice toward religious nonbelievers in many parts of the United States; indeed, throughout much of the world. We're not trusted. One of the first questions we face is whether we can be moral — after all, even if perchance we might behave decently, what possible basis can we have for such behavior? What keeps us from cheating if no one else, not even the gods, are watching? Open skepticism brings a burden of social mistrust.So we get pissed off. It's bad enough that … [Read more...]


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