The Amalekites and Options for Apologists

I have been having a very interesting discussion with a Christian correspondent who calls himself “Veritas.” Discussions of this sort all too often generate far more heat than light, so let me first note that in our interactions the contributions by Veritas have been consistently intelligent, courteous, and candid. The focus of our conversation has been a particular scriptural passage, I Samuel 15: 1-3. For convenience, let me quote these verses:“Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoi … [Read more...]

Biblical Genocide and Village Atheists

This post springs from an interesting discussion I had with Scott Scheule in the comments section of an earlier post. The issues there are important enough to deserve a deeper look.Quoting the Bible against believers is one of the hoariest weapons in the freethinker’s war chest. It has been done many times, never more cogently or eloquently than in Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason. Robert Ingersoll’s Some Mistakes of Moses is another fine instance of the genre. The tactic cites cruelties, hor … [Read more...]

Embarrassed by Some Atheists

I don't feel like naming names, but recent behavior by some prominent atheists (plural) has me feeling somewhat embarrassed to be associated with them. … [Read more...]

Getting back to the “Fundamentals” in Texas Education

http://www.salon.com/2014/09/19/creationism_is_just_the_start_how_right_wing_christians_are_warping_americas_schools_partner/ Texas is great. Sure, the weather is hot, and you might have to dodge some tornadoes, and you had better like Tex-Mex and chicken fried steak (actually, I do). But it is never boring. The fundamentalists keep it interesting. The State Board of Indoctrination, er, Education, which is dominated by fundamentalists, wants to make sure that Texas students are fed … [Read more...]

The Historian’s Job and Christian Apologetics

I am currently writing a work of history. My co-author and I are investigating the nuclear tests conducted in the Marshall Islands by the U.S. from 1946 to 1958. During that period, the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests (including some duds) on or near Bikini and Eniwetok atolls in the Marshall Islands. These tests produced a total combined yield of 108 megatons, the equivalent of one Hiroshima bomb (.015 MT) exploded daily for over nineteen years. Needless to say, unleashing this amount … [Read more...]

Religion and Violence

I hope that Victor Reppert will not feel that I am baiting him. In a recent post I said some mean things about C.S. Lewis, which with Victor is generally like humming “Hail to the Victors Valiant” around an Ohio State fan. Here I begin with a paragraph he recently wrote for his Dangerous Idea blog:“The ‘religion leads to violence’ idea is based on a profound confusion. ANYTHING can lead to violence. But the idea that non-religious people have "nothing to kill or die for" while religious peopl … [Read more...]

Victor Stenger Died

LINKStenger was an early supporter of the Internet Infidels; we occasionally exchanged emails. Trained as a physicist, Stenger was also interested in the philosophy of religion. Many of his writings were at the intersection of physics (or, more broadly, science) and religion.As I reflect upon my numerous interactions with him about responding to theistic arguments, it seems like we more often disagreed than we agreed. I, for one, was very critical of his debates with William Lane Craig. … [Read more...]

Towards a Rational Paganism

Recent discussions here at SO have focused on the future of philosophy of religion (if any), and some have queried where the field might go if, to some extent, it moves away from its traditional theistic/Christian emphases. I have maintained that certain discussions have pretty much played out. By now we know the arguments for and against the existence of God, and all of their recent refinements and reiterations. These have been copiously discussed and their statements and rebuttals rehearsed … [Read more...]


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