Amazon Review of my Hell Essay

Someone named James D. Zimmerman has reviewed the volume The End of Christianity, edited by John Loftus (Prometheus; 2011) on Amazon. I found this paragraph especially interesting:So, “many Christian denominations have long since dispensed with hell?” I wonder which ones these are. Catholics? The Greek Orthodox? Southern Baptists? Here is what the Greek Orthodox Catechism says awaits people following the final judgment:The condition of each individual will no more be changed, but those, who have … [Read more...]

Help Wanted: What is the Primary Source for This Quotation of Bertrand Russell?

From time to time I run across the familiar story about Bertrand Russell being asked how he would justify his nonbelief if he were suddenly in the presence of God. According to the story, Russell replied, "I'd say, 'Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence!"The earliest source I have been able to find for this quotation is:Wesley Salmon, "Religion and Science: A New Look at Hume's Dialogues." Philosophical Studies 33 (1978): 143-76 at 176, n. 20.Does anyone know if Salmon's article is … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 3

David Marshall has posted a critique of my first post in this series about the resurrection of Jesus.Here is the first in the series of my posts on the resurrection: is Marshall's critique of that post: are several points of criticism raised by Marshall (about 11 that I see). I have replied to two of Marshall's … [Read more...]

Louise Antony on Obedience to God

Obedience to such a God [i.e., the vengeful, despotic God depicted in the pages of the Hebrew Bible] would not be morally virtuous; it would be, at best, prudent. One does not owe allegiance to another being simply because that being is stronger. And it does not matter if the being in question is responsible for your very existence. No one thinks that an abused child is morally obliged to obey an abusive parent, simply because the parent gave the child life. Parents do not own their children, … [Read more...]

A Thanksgiving Gift from Emily

Dear Bleaders,"Faith" is a fine inventionWhen Gentlemen can see--But Microscopes are prudentin an Emergency.A favorite of mine from Emily Dickinson, offered here as a little digestif to your worldly feasts. Happy Thanksgiving. (Reread the poem slowly as if Lauren Becall were saying it into your ear very dramatically with an almost full honey stop on every verb and use all four syllables for E-mer-gen-cy. Anyway, that's just a serving suggestion, you can shoot it howsomever you like.)We're … [Read more...]

Argument Against The Resurrection of Jesus – Part 2

In this post I respond to a question raised by Michael Gantt about my previous post on the resurrection of Jesus.Factual/historical points made by Michael Gantt (blogforthelordjesus):1. The writers of the New not make concurrent claims about His having been God incarnate.2. If you go back to the witnesses of the resurrection, you will see that the issue of Jesus being God incarnate was not part of their argument. 3. ...contemporaries of Jesus - both the witnesses of His … [Read more...]

Paul Draper, the Fallacy of Understated Evidence, Theism, and Naturalism

Paul Draper has usefully identified a fallacy of inductive reasoning he calls the "fallacy of understated evidence." According to Draper, in the context of arguments for theism and against naturalism, proponents of a theistic argument are guilty of this fallacy if they "successfully identify some general fact F about a topic X that is antecedently more likely on theism than on naturalism, but ignore other more specific facts about X, facts that, given F, are more likely on naturalism than on … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus

I will continue to be focused on Richard Swinburne's case for God for another year, at least, but my favorite topic is the resurrection of Jesus, so I cannot resist writing a post on the resurrection, at least every now and again.My position on the resurrection claim is that it should be analyzed into two main claims:1. Jesus died on the cross on Friday of Passover week (and remained dead for at least six hours).2. Jesus was alive and walking around on the Sunday following Friday of Passover … [Read more...]