A Christian Responds to Harris on the Evils of “Moderates”

I recently had an interesting discussion here at SO on Sam Harris’s views on “moderate” believers. One commentator took me to task for saying that Harris holds that “moderates” are “just as bad” as extremists. I think he may have had a point that this was unfair, but Harris clearly does make some fairly serious charges. So, I wrote to a couple of friends, men of the cloth, to ask how they responded. One has graciously replied at length. I am giving below my letter of inquiry and his response. … [Read more...]

Prof. Pruss on Hell and Free Choice

Prof. Alexander Pruss considers the traditional doctrine of hell and its alternatives:http://alexanderpruss.blogspot.com/2016/04/eternal-nagging-endless-second-chances.htmlThe three salient proposals, then, are these (2 and 3 are quotes from Prof. Pruss’s post):(1) The traditional doctrine: At death there can be no further changes in one’s eternal destiny.(2) Imposition: God imposes moral transformation on those who do not freely opt to love him.(3) Endless Second Chances: God … [Read more...]

Nasty as you want to be: Bash Erdogan

Lately here at SO I have issued a number of calls for civility in discussions, eliciting some very uncivil responses from some quarters. Generally, though, the comments have been encouragingly positive and make me think that the rude and the crude, as always, make us overlook the good people. Yep, civility, restraint, and respect. All great.Wouldn't it be nice, though, if there were someone, an obnoxious, egotistical, irrational bully, say, whom you could bash and rip in perfectly good … [Read more...]

How to Respond to Personal Attacks

Don't. Unless the attack also involves a larger issue that needs to be discussed, don't bother. The reason that I do not generally respond to personal attacks is that anybody who would believe it would be someone for whom I have no respect and for whose opinion (about me or anything else) I could not possibly care less about. Actually, to indulge in personal attacks is to admit weakness. For instance, I have seen people write foaming diatribes against William Lane Craig when, in a face-to-face en … [Read more...]

Doing it Right the “Old” Way

Do you need a Ph.D. in philosophy to be a legitimate and respectable participant in the theism/atheism debate or the science/religion debate? Of course not. But you do need to know what you are talking about. Those, however accomplished in other fields, who leap into the debate philosophically uninformed inevitably commit freshman mistakes that expose them to the scorn of sophisticated opponents. Just being a scientist, for instance, does not mean that you will make respectable arguments. … [Read more...]

In Defense of “Old” Atheism

John Loftus says that I have gotten old and so I favor an old, outmoded atheism and I should get with the new, hip, aggressive, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners atheism:http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2016/04/keith-parsons-is-just-old-that-explains.htmlLoftus' Debunking Christianity site has an ad for foods that fight dementia. I guess that was meant for me! Actually, I am 63. Is Loftus that much younger? I guess he would say that he is younger in sprit and not bogged down in … [Read more...]

The “Religious Freedom” Scam

Okay, here is what I have decided to do: I will convert my home in Houston-area suburbia into a temple to Zeus. In the Houston area, developers are unburdened by zoning rules, so there should be no problem along those lines. Still, I can anticipate that some of my stodgier neighbors and the nosy types of the HOA will have some complaints. Proper worship of Zeus will require regular sacrifices of live animals. This will necessitate quite a bit of livestock in my yard, with a lot of mooing and b … [Read more...]

Really Religious Violence

A splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban targeted a crowd of Christian children celebrating Easter:http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/27/asia/pakistan-lahore-deadly-blast/In the comments section of my last post on religious violence we had a lively discussion about the causes of religious violence and to what extent they were genuinely religiously motivated. Such attacks as this one (which, alas, are not rare) plainly show the religious motivation of the hatred. The perpetrators promise more s … [Read more...]


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