First Response to my Hell Article

Well, things happen fast in our hyper-connected world and there is already a review of my chapter “Hell: Christianity’s Most Damnable Doctrine” in John Loftus’ new anthology, The End of Christianity. Someone called “jayman 777” (I’ll call him “Jayman”) reviews it at this site: my essay I argue that the traditional doctrine of an eternal, punitive hell is morally indefensible. Could a just God cre … [Read more...]

Fine-Tuning Argument: Having and Eating the Cake

Richard Swinburne adopted the Fine Tuning Argument as the heart of his 'Teleological Argument from Spatial Order' (The Existence of God, 2nd ed., p.167-190). The key premise of this argument mentions tuning: "...the universe...[is] tuned--that is, such as to allow and indeed make significantly probable the existence of human bodies." (EOG, p.188)Here is another statement of the key claim:"...the laws and boundary conditions of the universe...[are] such as to make probable the evolution of human … [Read more...]

Creeping theocracy

Here in my home state of South Carolina, a common expression when things look particularly gloomy is, “Thank God for Mississippi.” Even atheists have been known to utter this cliché. But after hearing about the August 6 public prayer event designed by Texas Governor Rick Perry, some of us in South Carolina are now saying, “Thank God for Texas.”Jim Demint, my South Carolina U.S. Senator and a Tea Party favorite, just published a book that describes why he came close to quitting after one term. How … [Read more...]

The Attack on Higher Education

This post is a bit off topic, but I think people interested in higher education (which include many followers of SO) need to know that higher education is presently under strident, well-funded, ideological attack here in Texas. Be warned. If it succeeds here this campaign will be coming soon to a neighborhood near you:Presently there are some who claim to value education, but think that public higher education needs drastic reform. These individuals think that the taxpayers would be getting a … [Read more...]

Natural miracles?

Say you run into a conservative Christian church that advertises that next Sunday, the minister is going to call on the power of Jesus and resurrect a dead member of the congregation.You stop by, thinking the attempt might be amusing. As you walk into the service, it looks more crazy than fun. They really have brought up a stinking corpse to the altar; one that should have been buried a week ago. As you start thinking about all the health code violations, the event begins. The minister kicks up … [Read more...]

Books on Islam

I occasionally get asked for recommendations about books to read on Islam, particularly if lately I've been grumbling about superficial descriptions of the religion.Usually I pull out some intro-to-Islam undergraduate textbooks. There are many good examples. But I wonder if they are really not to the point. After all, especially for skeptics, there may be little useful in learning about ritual details, the history of the Sunni-Shia split, Muslim legal doctrines, specifically Islamic theological … [Read more...]

Texas Day of Prayer and Fasting. Yee Haa!!!

If you are an atheist in Texas, you can never be bored. There is always something interesting going on. Our Governor, Rick Perry, has declared that August 6 will be a day of "prayer and fasting" with a big prayer meeting at the Houston Reliant Center. Now, from what I see on TV, several days of fasting might be good for some of the governor's "bigger" supporters. The prayer stuff though is a bit more dubious. The prayer meeting will be paid for by something called the American Family … [Read more...]

On the “Think Atheist” radio show

An interview with me is appearing today on the "Think Atheist" radio show. They tell me that "The show will air at 5PM Pacific/8PM Eastern but then be available to stream from our archive immediately after it concludes." … [Read more...]