ISIS Violence IS Religious

This is from The Atlantic Monthly:http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants/384980/It is an excellent rebuttal to those who want to claim that there is no specifically religious violence, and that groups, such as ISIS, are violent for political or economic reasons and only use religion as a cover. A key quote from the essay notes that non-religious factors, must, of course, be acknowledged, but also notes the peculiar blindness of commentators who want to … [Read more...]

Jonah Goldberg Defends the Christian Record

Right-wing columnist--and now Christian apologist--Jonah Goldberg says that President Obama's statements about the dark side of Christian history are "horse pucky":http://www.nationalreview.com/article/398030/horse-pucky-obama-jonah-goldbergAccording to Goldberg, the Crusades were defensive wars and the Inquisition was a humanitarian intervention to stop the abuses of secular authorities. He says that the abuses of the medieval Church was due to the fact that it was "medieval" not that i … [Read more...]

Heaven would be Boring as Hell

Here are ten reasons why heaven would be insufferably dull:http://www.alternet.org/10-reasons-christian-heaven-would-actually-be-hellThe upshot seems to be that heaven would be tolerable only if it were a lot more like the present life. In that case, why bother?BTW, I notice that Prof. Jerry L. Walls, a leading evangelical writer on the afterlife, has a new book coming out on heaven, hell, and purgatory. Looking at the TOC on Amazon, several pages seem to be a rebuttal to critical … [Read more...]

Valerie Tarico on the Most Harmful Religious Ideas

We have had an interesting discussion about Karen Armstrong's essay "The Myth of Religious Violence." While it is nice to engage with such erudite essays, it is also nice to find something  that cuts right through the fog and lays everything out. As a short summary of the harm that religion has done, I think it is hard to beat this one. Maybe we could say even more succinctly that monotheism is the worst idea anybody ever ha … [Read more...]

Is Religious Violence a Myth?

Karen Armstrong is a prolific author on topics in comparative religion. She is a former nun and liberal Christian who has a gift for writing that is both scholarly and readable. I admire her book A History of God, a genuine tour-de-force that traces the history of monotheism, showing how the concept of God has evolved from age to age and from culture to culture. Last September, in the wake of the horrific attacks by ISIS she published an essay in The Guardian titled “The Myth of Religious V … [Read more...]

Terrorist Outrage in Paris

I am angry. Very angry. We know that Islamic fanatics are mad dogs whose very humanity has been consumed by their devotion to a rabid religion. We have seen them massacre whole communities of innocent people for no reason other than religious bigotry. We have seen them kidnap hundreds of girls and young women then sneeringly taunt the loved ones of their victims. We have seen them murder and mutilate other girls for the crime of seeking an education. Today’s murderous attack on the offices of C … [Read more...]

Strategies for the Problem of Evil

A recent post on the problem of evil (PoE) drew over 250 comments, a new record, I think. The comments were lively, but went in various directions, making it hard to follow a clear thread of argument after a while. Here I would like maybe to help focus discussion by offering my synopsis of the ways that the PoE is generally approached, and listing what I see as the advantages and disadvantages of each.Theists have generally addressed the PoE in three ways, or perhaps we should say by … [Read more...]

Is Intentionality a Cardinal Problem for Physicalism?

This response is based on the summary by Joel Steinmetz of an article by John Haldane:http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/calhoun/socratic/Steinmetz-Problem_of_Intentionality.pdfIt is not based on the not the original article by Haldane, so my remarks here must be regarded as provisional and informal. Still, I would like to address a few points.Haldane’s argument, as presented here, is somewhat confusing because of the terminology employed. The key terms are “extension,” “intension (wit … [Read more...]


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