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...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 3

Jesus talks about "faith" in Matthew Chapter 6 and also in Matthew Chapter 16 (Mat. 6:25-33 and  16:5-12).  In both of these passages, Jesus tells his followers that they have "little faith", and then Jesus puts forward an ARGUMENT or REASONS in order to INCREASE the FAITH of his followers.  But this makes no sense if we interpret these passages using the definition of "faith" proposed by Bertrand Russell: firm belief for which one has no evidence.  And this makes no sense if we interpret the … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith – Part 2

In my previous post on this subject, I argued that the comments of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-33 concerning faith  show that Jesus did NOT think that faith means firmly believing something for which one  has no evidence (Bertrand Russell's def. of "faith") nor that faith means believing in the face of contrary evidence (A.C. Grayling's def. of "faith").  Thus, Russell and Grayling FAILED to capture the meaning of the word "faith" as used by Jesus, at least in the passage quoted from Chapter 6 of Matt … [Read more...]

Terrorist Outrage in Paris

I am angry. Very angry. We know that Islamic fanatics are mad dogs whose very humanity has been consumed by their devotion to a rabid religion. We have seen them massacre whole communities of innocent people for no reason other than religious bigotry. We have seen them kidnap hundreds of girls and young women then sneeringly taunt the loved ones of their victims. We have seen them murder and mutilate other girls for the crime of seeking an education. Today’s murderous attack on the offices of C … [Read more...]

Jesus on Faith

What does the word “faith” mean?  According to my dictionary (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2nd College Edition), the word “faith” has several different meanings:Definition 1:  A confident belief in the truth, value, trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.Definition 2:  Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.Definition 3:  Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance…Definition 4:  Belief and trust in God.Definition 5:  Religious conviction.D … [Read more...]

Paul Copan’s Noseeum Argument Against Ethics Without God

Over the last fifteen or so years, Paul Copan has written a variety of articles, chapters, and books which argue against ethics without God. (To be precise, Copan argues against atheistic or naturalistic metaethics.) As I interpret him, Copan offers several independent arguments against ethics without God. I call one of those arguments "Copan's Noseeum Moral Argument" and that is the argument I want to discuss here.The basic idea of the argument is this. since we see no ontological … [Read more...]


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