Naturalism, Theism, and the Meaning of Life

In the book Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, there is a funny scene in which an artificial intelligence is tasked with figuring out the meaning of life or, as it is called in the book, the Great Question of "Life, the Universe, and Everything." The AI spends 7.5 million years working on the problem, until it finally reveals the answer is "42." The AI says, "I think the problem, to be honest with you, is that you've never actually known what the question is." Like many others, including ph … [Read more...]

What is Christianity? Part 16

In his book Naming the Elephant (hereafter: NTE), the Christian apologist James Sire raises various objections against his previous analysis of the concept of a “worldview” that he had presented in his earlier book The Universe Next Door (hereafter: TUND).I have reviewed three of Sire’s objections to his earlier cognitivist analysis of the concept of a “worldview” and argued that those objections were unsuccessful (see previous posts 10, 11, 12, and 13).In post 15, I argued that Sire's be … [Read more...]

What is Christianity? Part 15

In his book Naming the Elephant (hereafter: NTE), the Christian apologist James Sire raises various objections against his analysis of the concept of a "worldview" that he had presented in his earlier book The Universe Next Door (hereafter: TUND).I have reviewed three of Sire's objections to his earlier cognitivist analysis of the concept of a "worldview" and argued that those objections were unsuccessful (see previous posts 10, 11, 12, and 13).I plan to review more of Sire's objections f … [Read more...]

What is Christianity? Part 11

Shortly after the turn of the century, the Christian apologist James Sire revised his understanding of the concept of a “worldview” and wrote a book advocating this revised understanding: Naming the Elephant (hereafter: NTE).  Some of the the key changes that Sire makes to his conception of a “worldview” are defended in Chapter 5 of NTE:…the discussion so far has proceeded as if a worldview were a set of propositions or beliefs that serve as answers to a systematic set of [basic philosophica … [Read more...]

Another Christian Apologist Tears Down a Straw Man of Atheist Morality

My friend Wintery Knight (WK) has written another blog post on the topic of morality. Like so many other theists (and a few atheists), he manages to completely botch the topic of atheist morality.Who Speaks for Atheists, Anyway?If you want to determine Christian beliefs about something, you can see what the Bible and various representatives of the (Christian) church hierarchy have to say. So if you're a Christian apologist trying to make sense of atheist morality, it follows that you sh … [Read more...]

Atheism and the Meaning of Life, Again

http://www.strangenotions.com/if-atheism-is-true-does-life-still-have-meaning/The above article by Jennifer Fulwiler, who converted from atheism to Catholicism, raises the perennial issue of the meaning of life for atheists. For me, the most engaging part of the piece is the quote from Ross Douthat. Douthat apparently concedes that an atheist’s joys and sorrows can feel as intensely meaningful as they do for the theist. However, he proposes an interesting analogy. In warfare, the motivation f … [Read more...]

Quentin Smith on Bertrand Russell on “Unyielding Despair” and the Meaning of Life

In his essay, "A Free Man's Worship," Bertrand Russell writes: Such, in outline, but even more purposeless, more void of meaning, is the world which Science presents for our belief. Amid such a world, if anywhere, our ideals henceforward must find a home. That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no … [Read more...]

Link: Intended and Unintended Life by Brooke Alan Trisel

I am quoting the abstract of Trisel's paper here, without comment pro or con, for interested readers who may wish to read the paper for themselves. Feel free to debate in the combox. Abstract. Some people feel threatened by the thought that life might have arisen by chance. What is it about “chance” that some people find so threatening? If life originated by chance, this suggests that life was unintended and that it was not inevitable. It is ironic that people care about whether life in general … [Read more...]


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