Archives for 2010

Good Without God

I read Greg Epstein's Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe over the weekend.It's a decent enough book. Epstein isn't interested in criticizing religion or supernatural claims; he's concerned in describing how the godless might live as decent people and fellow citizens. Indeed, as the Humanist chaplain at Harvard, he represents an explicitly religious sort of "Humanism," where his point of view is a kind of ultraliberal limit of Reform Judaism or Unitarian Universalist … [Read more...]

A Not-So-Good Friday

Sorry, but I cannot let this Good Friday pass by without making a comment on my favorite topic: the resurrection of Jesus.I am uniquely qualified to write about Good Friday, because, unlike most human beings, I have been crucified. Actually, technically, I crucified myself. That probably sounds horrific, or at least a bit kinky, but it is true, and, obviously, I lived to tell the tale.In case you are not aware, nobody knows how crucifixion causes death. There are competing theories about this, … [Read more...]

A question of authority

I like this cartoon, from the creationist organization Answers in Genesis. It expresses a conservative religious concern about the source and authority of morality very well.If there is no external, transcendent, supernatural, absolute, objective, (insert any other hardening adjectives you like) source of rules, then people are just making the rules up. And if so, what stops someone from adopting self-serving, community-exploiting "rules"?It's a good question. Nonbelievers have to spill a lot of … [Read more...]

In praise of theology

In the spirit of fair play and all that, I should make a list of what I like about the enterprise of theology.It's less harmful than economics, If I think of anything else I'll add it to the list. Right now I'm drawing a blank. … [Read more...]

Those immoral atheists

A Christian philosopher, James S. Spiegel, has a new book out, The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief. It's getting some press in Christian circles. I don't imagine it'll get much attention elsewhere; its thesis seems transparently ridiculous. Atheism, apparently, is a manifestation of moral rebellion, the psychology of having a weak father, and immorality-induced blindness to overwhelming evidence for the reality of God and the truth of the Bible. In other words, the book … [Read more...]

The Purposes of God

Whether a theist says “God created all living things” or “God created the universe” or “God raised Jesus from the dead” the point is to give a personal explanation for some facts (or alleged facts) as opposed to a physical or scientific explanation. When giving a personal explanation for some fact, information about motivations or purposes is obviously relevant evidence.If we know that just one person committed the murder of a rich man, and if we know that it was either the butler or the maid wh … [Read more...]

Son of even more on multicultural dystopias

Time to wrap up.Russell Blackford has his third response to me up. Looking at that, and going back to look at how all this started, I have to make some concessions.I overcooked my interpretation of the Bouma-Blackford dispute, pressing it into use for my own agenda. I didn't, and still don't, know exactly what Bouma was getting at, and I didn't give too much thought to the wider context of why Blackford responded as he did. I still maintain that someone who considers secular criticism of … [Read more...]

Even more on multicultural dystopias

Some things that are, again, too long for the comments.SlaverySome commenters think they have a knockdown argument by bringing up possible atrocities under a multicultural order. Slavery seems to be a popular example. I think this is a very weak response. Let me explain why.In the US, opponents of gay marriage and other homosexual rights often argue that if homosexuality is granted legal status, this opens the door to all sorts of behaviors traditionally thought of as sexual perversions. … [Read more...]