Was the Buddha Enlightened? (part 2)

A previous post (part 1) raised the question of whether or not there is good reason to think that the Buddha was enlightened. In that post, I mainly focused on the doctrine of karmic rebirth, pointing out that at least in early Buddhism, liberation from karmic rebirth is one of the things that the Buddha is said to achieved at the moment of his enlightenment. But if there is no karmic rebirth, then the Buddha was not enlightened — at least not in the sense in which his enlightenment was p … [Read more...]

Cases for God

I'm thinking about which cases for the existence of God to focus in on, for my evaluation of Christianity.  Right now, I'm thinking about examining the cases of four well-known Christian apologists:Norman Geisler William Craig Peter Kreeft Richard SwinburneI just realized that two of these philosophers are Thomists, and two are not Thomists.Geisler is a conservative Evangelical Christian, but his favorite argument for God is a Thomist cosmological argument, and his concept of … [Read more...]

Party Before Country? Which Republican Senators Still Support Trump

In a normal election, you'd think that a video of a Presidential candidate talking about sexual assault would fatal for the candidate's campaign. But this election cycle has been anything but normal. So, with Trump's campaign in crisis, I thought it would be interesting to maintain a roll call of which Republican Senators have said enough is enough and will no longer support Trump. I intend to update this table as new information becomes available.Most of the information in the initial … [Read more...]

What is Christianity? Part 17: Worldviews as “Master Stories”?

James Sire comes from an Evangelical Christian point of view, so for him the miracle stories in the Gospels are crucial to the Christian worldview, especially the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection of Jesus.  Belief in such miracles are indeed part of ancient Christian Creeds that are still used in most Protestant and Catholic worship services and are part of many catechisms, both Protestant and Catholic.In Chapter 5 of Naming the Elephant (hereafter: NTE), Sire points to the Apostles' Creed … [Read more...]

Priests and Celibacy

Here is an interesting article sent to me by a former student. It is written by a psychologist who had a 30-year career counseling priests who had lapsed from their celibacy vows:http://www.vox.com/2016/4/7/11325336/priests-love-therapyI have never understood the celibacy requirement. Was Jesus celibate? We have zero evidence one way or another. It would seem highly unusual for a 30-year old man never to have had sexual relations. Who knows? Paul said, (I Corinthians 7:1) "It is good for … [Read more...]

Debate: The Evidence for Jesus from the Talmud – Wrap-Up Comments

I summarized Joe Hinman's argument from the external evidence of the Talmud this way:1. There are MANY references to Jesus in the Talmud that were censored but that were preserved in some texts. 2. There are A FEW references to Jesus in the Talmud that were not censored. 3. ALL of the references to Jesus in the Talmud speak of Jesus in a way that assumes or implies that Jesus was a flesh‐and‐blood historical figure. 4. IF (1), (2), and (3) are true, THEN the external evidence from the Talm … [Read more...]

The Damnable Thing about Damnation

Do you ever read the reviews on Amazon Books? Many are a waste of time, but some are interesting. I noticed one that reviewed The End of Christianity, Prometheus Books, 2011, ed. John Loftus. The review was written by one “Alex C.” I assume that this is not Alex Comfort, author of The Joy of Sex. Maybe he is a relative of Ray Comfort, the Christian apologist. At any rate, I was interested to see that he had some comments on my essay in that volume, “Hell: Christianity’s most Damnable Doctrine (pp … [Read more...]

Recursive Humor #4: Changing Your Mind

I thought about changing my mind, but then I reconsidered. (Brian Haynes) … [Read more...]