The Real Problem with Miracles

Here is a simple representation using Bayes’ Theorem of how a miracle claim would be assessed, where m is the claim that a miracle has occurred, e is the evidence for the claim, and k is background knowledge: p(e/m & k) × p(m/k) p(m/e & k) = -------------------------------- p(e/k) So, the credibility of a miracle claim given certain evidence and background comes down to three factors:(1) p(e/m & k), the likelihood that we would ha … [Read more...]

Hell and Retribution

The comments on my last post contained a lively exchange about hell. Here is a quote from my piece "Heaven and Hell" in Debating Christian Theism, edited by Moreland, Meister, and Sweis (Oxford: 2013), pp. 539-540. Here I am responding to The Catholic Encyclopedia's defense of the traditional doctrine of an eternal punitive hell.The Catholic Encyclopedia: "Nor can it be said: the wicked will be punished, but not by any positive infliction: for either death will be the end of their existence, … [Read more...]

Fan Mail from a True Christian

This morning I found the following message in my inbox:Hi,I have just been looking at some of the videos of you v William Land Craig and I have to say for sheer stupidity you take some beating!Satan loves people like [you] though he hates you on a personal basis.Rose WhiteTo which I sent the following reply: Ms. White,Thank you for your loving exhibition of Christian charity. Even though I am an atheist, I am truly humbled by your display of kindness and … [Read more...]

What Explains God’s Moral Grounding Power? Part II

In an earlier article, I wrote about a question for divine command metaethics, a question that I called the Moral Grounding Question.Moral Grounding Question (MGQ): In virtue of what do God’s commands ground moral obligations? (or, in virtue of what does God have MG-power?)In that previous post, I explained the moral grounding question and showed that it is a question that defenders of the Divine Command Theory (DCT) need to answer. I also argued that one possible answer to MGQ, namely t … [Read more...]

Eternal Accountability

Vic Reppert recently posted this on his Dangerous Idea site under the title “Eternal Accountability”:“I don't think atheists appreciate the force of the doctrine of eternal accountability in restraining evil. Unless there is eternal accountability, either of the Hindu karma-birth-rebirth kind, or accountability before a monotheistic God, if we get away with it on earth, we get away with it period.”Response: I don’t think that theists appreciate the lack of force of the doctrine of eternal … [Read more...]

Question for Theists: Why Is It Important to Begin Governmental Meetings with Prayer?

As I was thinking about this question, I thought to myself, "Anyone who wants to pray can always go down the street to a church, synagogue, or mosque. They can also pray silently. If I were a theist, that is what I would do. What's the problem? Why do they feel it important to use the machinery of government to do this?" In the spirit of charity, I decided there must be another reason I've overlooked.So the purpose of this post is to invite theistic readers to provide their answer to that … [Read more...]

The Evolution of God

From The Onion. Very Funny.,35755/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview%3ANA%3AInFocus … [Read more...]

Upcoming Resurrection Debate in the Houston Area

Here is a preview of an upcoming debate on the resurrection to be held at a Houston-area church. I have never heard of either of these debaters. From today's Houston Chronicle. couple of observations:(1) Any skeptical debater is going to have to give a convincing account that explains why the Disciples, who were clearly a dejected, demoralized, and frightened … [Read more...]