Does it matter how people reject religion?

By and large, I'd prefer it if more people did not hold supernatural beliefs—or at least, if they did not hold politically potent supernatural beliefs. (While I'm at it, I'd also like world peace, for my knees to suddenly not show the effects of my age on the basketball court, and so on and so forth.)I'm not sure it matters much how such nonbelief would come about. Given my general cynicism about the human race, I don't expect that any widespread nonbelief would be due to careful, reflective r … [Read more...]

Free speech for Muslims?

I often complain about how conservative Muslims' overdeveloped sensitivity to religious insult erects barriers to the freedom of speech, and particularly speech criticizing anything Islamic. That's a serious problem for nonbelievers and anyone who cares about freedom of expression.But here in the US, where we so love to posture about how we're so much freer than those benighted Muslim countries, our paranoia about terrorism has created an environment where American Muslims cannot feel free to … [Read more...]

Turkish pianist under investigation for atheism

Fazıl Say, a Turkish pianist of international renown, apparently has a twitter habit and a tendency to say what he thinks. And since in a couple of tweets he has expressed atheism and engaged in some light mockery of Islam, he is now under investigation by the office of the Public Prosecutor, under suspicion of violating a Turkish law against insulting religion.Once again, reason to be thankful I don't live in a Muslim country. … [Read more...]

Argument Against the Resurrection of Jesus – Part 20

Before I continue to examine the historical reliability of Chapter 19 of the Fourth Gospel, let's take a step back and consider some historical evidence from outside the Gospels on the question of whether Jesus was stabbed in the chest with a spear while on the cross:In addition the Gospel of John reports that one of the guards pierced Jesus to confirm that he was already dead (see John 19:34-37), a practice likewise mentioned by Quintillian, a Roman historian in the first century.(Michael … [Read more...]

Religious reason for secularism

Here's a religious rationale for some degree of secularism, as expressed by famous creationist Harun Yahya:“Muslim writer and intellectual, Harun Yahya, believes that “secularism is the safeguard of Islam.” Instead, he says, of the hypocrisy of women with very little religion, dressed in long black robes, or men in white robes and long beards, we must distinguish Muslims by the integrity of their lives and the goodness of their characters. Secularism, he believes, allows those with no religion to … [Read more...]

Did Jesus Exist?

Bart Ehrman has published yet another book on Jesus: Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.Ehrman is a New Testament scholar who has published many books on Jesus and the New Testament that are aimed at a general audience.  He started out as a fundamentalist, attending Moody Bible Institute, but then moved on to Evangelical Christianity and graduated from Wheaton College in 1978. He received his PhD and M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. After … [Read more...]

Pressure on secularism

I don't know if secularism was ever as much a consensus position as we sometimes think. But I do think it's weaker today. Consider some recent examples of conservative religious pushback against even rather mild secularist political positions.First, the United States. Take a look, if you can, at "In Defense of Religious Freedom A Statement by Evangelicals and Catholics Together." There's an awful lot of theological blather in it about justifying "religious freedom," which tries to make it … [Read more...]

Messianic Prophecy – Update

On my own blog, I have begun examining eight alleged Messianic prophecies, presented by Peter Stoner in his book Science Speaks. I have reached a conclusion about the first of the prophecies and will share that here. For supporting arguments and details, you can read the posts at my blog. to Peter Stoner, Micah 5:2 should be interpreted as making a specific prediction:(1) The correct interpretation of Micah 5:2 is that it predicts that 'The Messiah … [Read more...]