Jonah Goldberg Defends the Christian Record

Right-wing columnist--and now Christian apologist--Jonah Goldberg says that President Obama's statements about the dark side of Christian history are "horse pucky":http://www.nationalreview.com/article/398030/horse-pucky-obama-jonah-goldbergAccording to Goldberg, the Crusades were defensive wars and the Inquisition was a humanitarian intervention to stop the abuses of secular authorities. He says that the abuses of the medieval Church was due to the fact that it was "medieval" not that i … [Read more...]

Heaven would be Boring as Hell

Here are ten reasons why heaven would be insufferably dull:http://www.alternet.org/10-reasons-christian-heaven-would-actually-be-hellThe upshot seems to be that heaven would be tolerable only if it were a lot more like the present life. In that case, why bother?BTW, I notice that Prof. Jerry L. Walls, a leading evangelical writer on the afterlife, has a new book coming out on heaven, hell, and purgatory. Looking at the TOC on Amazon, several pages seem to be a rebuttal to critical … [Read more...]

“A Leap of Faith”

In a comment on my most recent post about Jesus' use of the word "faith", Stig Martinsen points to the phrase "a leap of faith" as evidence that Christians sometimes speak of "faith" in a way that implies belief that goes beyond reason or evidence.  I don't plan to reply to his point here, but I think this phrase has an interesting history that is worth reading and thinking about.According to the Wikipedia article on "Leap of Faith", this phrase is generally associated with the philosopher … [Read more...]

Valerie Tarico on the Most Harmful Religious Ideas

We have had an interesting discussion about Karen Armstrong's essay "The Myth of Religious Violence." While it is nice to engage with such erudite essays, it is also nice to find something  that cuts right through the fog and lays everything out. As a short summary of the harm that religion has done, I think it is hard to beat this one. Maybe we could say even more succinctly that monotheism is the worst idea anybody ever ha … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 5

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH: ============== I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29: Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed. =============== I have t … [Read more...]

The Boy Who Did Not Come Back From Heaven

One reason for being a skeptic is that people lie...often.  Children lie, teenagers lie, college students and young adults lie,  older adults lie, and seniors lie.Here is a story that reinforces the need for skepticism.===================Tyndale House, a major Christian publisher, has announced that it will stop selling “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven,” by Alex Malarkey and his father, Kevin Malarkey.The best-selling book, first published in 2010, purports to describe what Alex … [Read more...]

Is Religious Violence a Myth?

Karen Armstrong is a prolific author on topics in comparative religion. She is a former nun and liberal Christian who has a gift for writing that is both scholarly and readable. I admire her book A History of God, a genuine tour-de-force that traces the history of monotheism, showing how the concept of God has evolved from age to age and from culture to culture. Last September, in the wake of the horrific attacks by ISIS she published an essay in The Guardian titled “The Myth of Religious V … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 4

Stig Martinsen made a plausible objection to my argument for the idea that Jesus viewed giving EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTS as compatible with promoting FAITH:============I have seen the story of doubting Thomas in John 20 interpreted as an example of Jesus endorsing faith as opposed to belief grounded in evidence. I.e. 20:29:Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.Though other i … [Read more...]


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