Archives for 2009

What if God Disappeared?

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Infidel weirdness

I often think of religion in the context of weirdness. Especially when I get frustrated with religion, I tend to see God as the biggest paranormal claim out there, and the Abrahamic religions being as crazy as Scientology but made respectable by time and custom.That, actually, might be a good reason to also go looking for atheist versions of weirdness. We're all human, after all, and therefore we're all incurably insane.Individual examples are easy to find. One of my favorites is the Time Cube. … [Read more...]

5-minute description of atheism

Standing alone, atheism is a disagreement. Atheists do not agree that God exists. We are not absolutely certain that there is no God, but then again, we cannot know with 100% certainty that Santa Claus is not real. We think that God, like Santa Claus, is very likely a fiction.A rejection of God is only part of the story. Many atheists, certainly most of the atheists you encounter in academic and intellectual environments, reject all supernatural claims. We think there are no gods or demons, no … [Read more...]

Atheist Atrocities?

I notice that some comments on recent posts have resurrected the old canard about atheism being responsible for some of history's worst atrocities. The argument goes like this: Communists committed horrible atrocities. Communits were atheists. Therefore atheism is to blame for horrible atrocities. Prof. Alister McGrath of Oxford Univbersity makes this claim in his book The Twilight of Atheism, Doubleday, 2004. I responded to it at length in my essay "Atheism: Twilight or Dawn?" in The Future of … [Read more...]

With a solution, without a solution

There is a sense in which the whole problem of the existence of supernatural powers such as God is soluble. You try to come up with the best broad picture of the universe. You pay special attention to phenomena that have traditionally been explained as due to gods and demons, spirits and ghosts. If a naturalistic picture ends up doing the best job and holds the best promise for further progress, you say that the gods are most likely not real.There is another sense in which the problem is … [Read more...]

Recent Posts on the Trilemma

For those interested in the Trilemma, I have made two recent posts criticizing Josh McDowell's trilemma argument on my blog: focus of the recent posts is on the key assumption that Jesus claimed to be God. … [Read more...]

Peaking secularity

I've run into a paper by Eric Kaufmann, "Shall the Religious Inherit the Earth?: Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century," that gives an interesting twist to the debate about secularization.Social scientists have been butting heads for quite some time about secularization, counter-trends of religious revival, and so forth. Kaufmann thinks there's a new element that affects the picture. Many religious movements today emphasize a pro-natalist morality, and outreproduce more secular … [Read more...]

Atheists have no basis for morality

"Atheists have no basis for morality"—this has to be one of the most common charges laid against nonbelievers.There is a sense in which the accusation is correct. It just happens to be incomplete. No one has any basis for morality, at least not in the otherworldly sense of "basis" that informs many conversations about the topic.Note that theists put their emphasis on a basis for morality. If they have any level of sophistication, they do not argue that nonbelievers are bad people. Instead, … [Read more...]