A number of posts and commentaries recently have argued that even conservative Christian apologists have now largely abandoned the old-fashioned literalist view of scripture. I am still not sure. I don’t know how deep or broad their skepticism is. Hence I offer the following Parsons Test of Biblical Literalism. It is, of course, a completely unscientific test that I made up just for fun. Still, I would be very surprised at many scores of much less than 40 from our… Read more

One respondent to my previous post, “The Gospels and Critical History,” in addition to the usual bluster and bombast, manages to offer a few interesting arguments. He had this to say about Hume’s miracle argument from section 1o of An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding:”As for Hume’s beautiful argument; it is demonstrably fallacious. Hume had an excuse because probability calculus hadn’t been fully developed in his day, but we now know that what Hume forgot to factor was the probability that… Read more

The blog Why Evolution is True commented on the Templeton Foundation’s decision to award a $3,030,000 grant to Biola University to setup a “Biola University Center for Christian Thought.”Stereotypes about Christian institutions of higher learning aside, I received my undergraduate degree from a Christian university. I met a lot of bright students and professors there who certainly seemed to think deeply about the “big questions.” If asked, I would have described it, like many other Christian universities, as a “Center for… Read more

I follow with interest some of the debates posted on SO concerning the historical reliability of the Gospel narratives. Christian apologists often accuse skeptics of approaching those narratives with an unwarranted degree of skepticism that assumes the falsehood of those narratives until and unless they meet unreasonable standards of proof not imposed on other ancient testimonies. For instance, they say that skeptics raise no quibbles about the general historicity of the accounts of Thucydides, Suetonius, or Tacitus, but impose a… Read more

The Internet Infidels just published a new essay by Horia George Plugaru in the Secular Web’s Kiosk, “Why the Abundance Theory of Creation Fails.” From the opening paragraph:How can God be both a perfect being and the creator of the universe? Doesn’t the fact that he created the world imply that he had a need or want? Otherwise, why would he bother creating anything at all? But then, if he had a need that implied the existence of the universe… Read more

I am examining the implications of the following supposition:JAW = Jesus was alive and walking around on the first Easter Sunday.This supposition is asserted by most Christian apologists as a key claim in support of the resurrection of Jesus. Another key claim made by Christian apologists concerns the alleged crucifixion of Jesus:JWC = Jesus was crucified on Friday of Passover week, just before the first Easter Sunday.All four Gospels agree that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in Jerusalem on Friday… Read more

I’m pleased to announce that Dr. Tyler Wunder has joined The Secular Outpost! Here is a short bio he provided to me for this announcement:I received my PhD in Philosophy from Boston University; my dissertation was a critique of Alvin Plantinga’s Warrant trilogy. My publications are: “Anti-Naturalism and Proper Function” [Religious Studies 44(2)], “Critical Study of James K. Beilby’s Epistemology as Theology: An Evaluation of Alvin Plantinga’s Religious Epistemology” [Philo 10(2)], and “Critical Study of Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief”… Read more

No. Christmas officially became a secular holiday on June 28, 1870. That’s when President Ulysses S. Grant declared December 25 a legal holiday, along with January 1, July 4, and a day to be determined for Thanksgiving. We were founded as a secular country under a godless Constitution (no mention of God or Jesus), where freedom of conscience is guaranteed for all people. Just so there is no doubt about President Grant’s intent, in his seventh-annual message to Congress on… Read more

Should non-believers celebrate a secular version of Christmas as a sort of winter holiday? According to Tom Flynn, the answer is “no.” If you haven’t heard of Flynn, he is the Executive Director of the Council for Secular Humanism, editor of Free Inquiry, and the author of The Trouble with Christmas. (As Flynn points out, his book makes an excellent holiday gift!)Flynn was touring the U.S. speaking to atheist groups on the topic, “The Trouble with Christmas.” (He calls his tour… Read more

I have previously examined the implications of the supposition that (JAW) is not the case:(JAW) Jesus was alive and walking around unassisted on the first Easter Sunday.Now I’m going to start looking into the implications of the supposition that (JAW) is the case.There are many ways to divide up the logical pie, but I propose to analyze(JAW) into eleven different logical possibilities:Acronyms for key claims related to Jesus’s alleged resurrection:JAW = Jesus was alive and walking around on the first… Read more

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