Playing The Mystery Card (incl. McGrath vs Dawkins) from my book Believing Bullshit

 PLAYING THE MYSTERY CARD   Suppose critics point out that not only do you have little in the way of argument to support your particular belief system, there also seems to be powerful evidence against it. If you want, nevertheless, to convince both yourself and others that your beliefs are not nearly as ridiculous as your critics suggest, what might you do?   Perhaps Play The Mystery Card. As we will see, this sort of strategy is particularly popular when it comes to defending b … [Read more...]

Philosophy and religion in Schools

Religion and philosophy in schools (from Hand and Winstanley, Philosophy in Schools, Continuum 2008))   Is philosophy in schools a good idea? The extent to which early exposure to a little philosophical thinking is of educational benefit is, of course, largely an empirical question. As a philosopher, that sort of empirical study is not my area of expertise. But of course there is also a philosophical dimension to this question. As a philosopher, conceptual clarification and the analysis … [Read more...]

Best of All Possible Persons – Part 2

What do you get if you cross 'the best of all possible worlds' (from Leibniz) with 'the being than which none greater can be conceived' (from Anselm)? You get: the best of all possible persons, which is another way to conceive of God.Here are two proofs of the non-existence of God, based on this way of understanding the concpet of God:DISPROOF OF GOD #11. Person P is the best of all possible persons only if P creates the best of all possible worlds.2. No person ever has or ever … [Read more...]

Slicing Up the Metaphysical Pie

16 types of gods

One basic question in metaphysics is this:How many gods exist?Atheism can be defined as the view that there are 0 gods. Monotheism is the view that there is just 1 god. Polytheism is the view that there are 2 or more gods.Thus all of the various answers to the metaphysical question above are included in these three categories.The term polytheism, however, is a very broad category that includes many different and conflicting answers to the question above.Manichaeism - the … [Read more...]

Best of All Possible Persons

Now this supreme wisdom, united to a goodness that is no less infinite, cannot but have chosen the best... If there were not the best among all possible worlds, God would not have produced any. (Gottfried Leibniz, Theodicy, translated by E.M. Huggard, 1951, p.128)According to Anselm, God is the being than which none greater can be conceived. In other words, God is the best of all possible persons. According to Leibniz, the best of all possible persons would have to create the best of all … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exit? – Part 22

I have argued that the agreement that exists between the seven gospel sources concerning the Minimal Jesus Hypothesis, could be explained on the basis of the common cultural idea of a 'Messiah'. I conceded, however, that the crucifixion of the Messiah was not a part of the expectation of first century Palestinian Jews, but pointed out that the crucifixion of Jesus and surrounding events are described only in Mark and the Gospel of Peter, and not in the other gospel sources that Ehrman points us … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exit? – Index Introduction to the issue: Did Jesus exist? Outline of Did Jesus Exist? By Bart Ehrman. Various skeptical points by Ehrman, especially the insignificance of non-Christian historical sources. Keith Parson’s advice and Bart Ehrman on the Minimal Jesus H … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exit? – Part 21

I have reviewed Q, M, and L passages, looking for crucifixion-related events.The Gospel of Mark includes several crucifixion-related events in Chapters 14 and 15:1. The Plot to Kill Jesus 2. The Anointing at Bethany 3. Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus 4. The Passover with the Disciples 5. The Institution of the Lord's Supper 6. Peter's Denial Foretold 7. Jesus Prays in Gethsemane 8. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus 9. Jesus Before the Council 10. Peter Denies Jesus 11. Jesus Before … [Read more...]