Telling Better Deconversion Stories

A while ago, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist had a post contrasting atheist deconversion stories with Christian conversion narratives.  He thought atheists need to beef up speaking skills to be able to match the intense emotion of Christian "once was lost" stories. A lot of atheists stop believing in god after a long process of introspection. Maybe they read a book or a friend (or, ironically, a pastor) started them down that path, but there usually isn’t a “born again” moment. When we talk abo … [Read more...]

Epistemology for Time-Travelers

I've been mulling over a weird thought-experiment, and I'd be really interested in your intuitions.  (I'll explain why I've been thinking about it in a subsequent post). Poof! In a burst of special effects, you're confronted by a doppleganger you!"Hi," other!you says, "I'm you from the future."  Future!you knows enough about you that you're convinced it is indeed you, and does something that makes it probably s/he is really from the future (predicts a couple events)."Wow," you say, "my m … [Read more...]

Lewis Trounces Freud

I've already blogged once about reading Freud's Last Session, a two person play that is an extended argument between C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud, but now I've gotten the chance to see it performed.  (And it looks like it's running through May at the New World Stages in NYC, if anyone fancies seeing it.)When I saw it, I tried to keep score in my head of who was winning or who had the upper hand, since I was particularly interesting in how the changing dynamics of the debate were mirrored in … [Read more...]

Three First Causes I Don’t Pray To

This post is part of a series on Aquinas, Aristotle, and Edward Feser's explanation of them both.I said in my first post on Edward Feser's book that I have deep Aristotelian sympathies.  The four causes seem like a coherent way of describing the world, even if I'm not confident they're the territory, not just an approximated map.  But if I'm willing to give a little ground there, how do I avoid believing in a First Mover?That was the question the Dominans asked me, when I was discussing F … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with my Atheism?

I mentioned in a recent post on moral philosophy that, although I understand why Christians think I should switch teams, I'm confused and frustrated by the comments of "Convert already!" I get from my atheist friends.  One of my college friends posted a cogent sum-up of the inconsistency he sees (reformatted slightly from facebook): I don't think anything you're espousing is incompatible with atheism. I do think you may be using metaphysical backsliding as an excuse for not engaging with … [Read more...]

It’s a Fair Cop, Douthat

In a response to a lot of the debate that followed Jennifer Fulwiler's conversion story at Why I'm Catholic, NYT columnist Ross Douthat posed a question to atheists that I find hard to answer.  Jennifer wrote that she abandoned atheism because she thought she was required to be a nihilist in a world without God, and, of the three propositions:God is not real Atheism logically requires nihilism Nihilism sucks so bad it can't be trueShe thought she was most likely to be wrong about … [Read more...]

Turing Test Easter Egg

Contestants in the Ideological Turing Test adopted a lot of different strategies, but I don’t know if anyone else was using mine. My college friends rib me a lot about my Mass attendance and apologetic readings; when I explain a bit of my theology readings, I often get sarcastic “When are you converting already?” So, when I sat down to write my Christian answers, I decided to give them a preview. Instead of imitating others and inventing a persona, I tried to answer quasi-honestly, giving the ans … [Read more...]