The Faith

I just went through Charles Colson and Harold Fickett's The Faith: What Christians Believe, Why They Believe It, and Why It Matters.It's mostly basic conservative Christian doctrine and apologetics, laced with Colson's personal stories to show that Jesus saves etc. etc. Nothing complicated or remarkable as far as that goes. There were a couple of noteworthy aspects of the book, however.First, it's very ecumenical in the context of conservative Christianity. The political convergence of … [Read more...]

Dawkins’ Definition of “God” – Part 3

Dilemma for DawkinsProof of the existence of Zeus would either verify the claim that "God exists" or it would not. It is not immediately obvious which side of this dilemma Dawkins would choose. If he granted that proof of the existence of Zeus would verify the claim that "God exists", then he would have to toss out his definition of "God" (as being too narrow). On the other hand, if he denied that proof of the existence of Zeus would verify the claim that "God exists", then his conclusion that … [Read more...]

Lobbying

I've spent today lobbying Congress. Strange experience.I was part of a group of scientists and economists involved with The Union of Concerned Scientists, delivering U.S. Scientists and Economists' Call for Swift and Deep Cuts in Greenhouse Gas Emissions to the offices of Senators and Representatives, and meeting with their staff.I don't know how much good it will do; the present bill (Lieberman-Warner) being debated in the Senate will almost certainly not pass with the required supermajority. … [Read more...]

A Guide to Christian Cliches and Phrases

Former evangelical Christian and Bible college attendee Daniel Florien has put together a list of common Christian clichés, along with translations of the real meaning behind them, along with "acceptable" and "unacceptable" responses to each.(Via Pharyngula.) … [Read more...]

Totality Beliefs and the Religious Imagination

Thew Secular Web has just put up my review of Totality Beliefs and the Religious Imagination by Anthony Campbell.Short version: it's a good book, read it if you get a chance. … [Read more...]

The Happy Heretic is back

The Happy Heretic, Judith Hayes's web site, is back online after an absence of two years. Every month she puts up an essay criticizing some aspect of popular religion in the United States.I like following The Happy Heretic. I'm used to the sort of nonbelief that is common in academic circles, and I'll never get an insider's feel for Bible Belt religiosity. I tend to think that supernatural belief is the normal state of humans. I emphasize how commonsensical religion is, in contrast to … [Read more...]

Purtill “Defining Miracles” – Part 2

In a previous post (5/10/08), I began to examine a definition of "miracle" put forward by Richard Purtill in his essay "Defining Miracles" (Defense of Miracles, IVP, 1997):A miracle is an event (1) brought about by the power of God that is (2) a temporary (3) exception (4) to the ordinary course of nature (5) for the purpose of showing that God has acted in history. (p. 72)I objected to condition (5) because it assumes an unappealing view of God. The Bible often portrays God as being … [Read more...]

16% of US biology teachers are creationists

According to a paper in PLoS Biology by Michael B. Berkman, Julianna Sandell Pacheco, and Eric Plutzer, 16% of US secondary school biology teachers are creationists.Well, 16% is a high number. Or maybe it's low, given that more like 48% are creationists among the general public. … [Read more...]