Christianity: An Angel with a Dirty Face?

This is a greatly belated review of Paul Johnson’s A History of Christianity (New York: Athenum, 1977), 556 pp. I have had this book in my possession for nearly forty years, but have only read it through recently. As a representative of what we might call “scholarly popular history,” it is virtually unsurpassed, belonging in the same category as Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror, and Richard Rhodes’ The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Such works are written for the entertainment and instruction of no … [Read more...]

The Logic of the Resurrection – Part 7

It is one thing to make a solid case for the claim "Jesus rose from the dead." (JRD), and another thing entirely to make a solid case for the claim "God raised Jesus from the dead." (GRJ).  Showing that (JRD) is true, would not, by itself, show that (GRJ) is true.  The resurrection could have been produced by natural causes, and if there really are supernatural beings (like God), then there might well be MANY (even millions or billions) of supernatural beings (angels, demons, ghosts, spirits, go … [Read more...]

Yahweh vs. Thor

On my Twitter timeline, I saw the following:“Atheism does not require certainty. But we can be as certain the Christian god does not exist as Christians are that Thor does not exist.”If I were to reword the tweet, albeit in a way that is too long for twitter, I would have offered something like this:"Atheism, when defined as the belief that God does not exist, does not require certainty. Rather, like any other belief, people can hold this belief with varyingdegrees of belief. The … [Read more...]

J.L. Schellenberg on the Philosophy of Religion

While searching on J.L. Schellenberg, I stumbled across the following comment in a combox for a post about calls to end the philosophy of religion as a discipline. I think it's worth quoting in full.Having done philosophy of religion as an atheist for more than twenty years, I find the idea that atheistic belief should lead one to view philosophy of religion as useless or pernicious a bit out of touch with reality. Theistic work in philosophy of religion is, for cultural reasons, getting the … [Read more...]

The Logic of the Resurrection – Part 6

In Part 4 of this series, we saw that Theodore Drange interpreted Christian theologian Charles Hodge to be arguing as follows ("Why Resurrect Jesus?" in The Empty Tomb, p. 56) : (2a) (JRD) is a sufficient condition for (JSG). Therefore: (1a) (JRD) is a necessary condition for (JSG). ============ Abbreviations: (JRD) Jesus rose from the dead. (JSG) Jesus is the divine Son of God. ============  In terms of symbolic logic, the argument is this: (2b) (JRD)    (JSG). Therefore: (1b)  (JSG … [Read more...]

Luke Muelhauser: The Courtier’s Reply, the Not My Theology Reply, and Straw Men

The Courtier’s Reply is useless. It ignores the real target of an argument. The Not My Theology Reply is legitimate, though it may be beyond the scope of the present discussion. If someone’s argument does not apply to your philosophy but it does apply to the philosophy of others, then that argument probably wasn’t intended for you. But you might still want to make the Not My Theology reply just to clear things up for people. The Straw Man Reply is legitimate only if someone misrepresents the vi … [Read more...]

Michael Martin Has Died

mmartin

I just learned the horrible news that renowned philosopher Michael Martin (1932-2015) died unexpectedly yesterday. He will be missed.I hope to write a proper tribute to him at a later time. For now, I want to provide links to his books. (For links to his online essays on The Secular Web, click on his name above.)Atheism: A Philosophical JustificationThe Case Against ChristianityAtheism, Morality, and MeaningThe Cambridge Companion to AtheismThe Impossibility of God (with R … [Read more...]

What is Faith? – Part 9

Here are some key points from the first section (Relation of Faith to Reason) of Geisler's article "Faith and Reason" (Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, p. 239; hereafter: BECA):The contents of faith "are above reason." and so must be revealed to humans by God. Faith "involves will (freedom) and reason doesn't coerce the will". Some theological truths "have been proved demonstratively" and can be based on reason, such as the existence of God.If we take the second point in … [Read more...]


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