Who Gets to Use Lewis’s Excuse?

Now that college is over, and I'm wrapping up my guest stint at Daylight Atheism, I finally have time to get back to reading and blogging about books (or more precisely, books about atheism and philosophy, since if I were blogging through all the YA fantasy I've been reading, this would be a very different blog).  I've just finished C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain, but I'm not that interested in discussing the main thesis of the book since, as I've said before, I don't think theodicy is a … [Read more...]

Challenge Accepted: God’s Obligations

Brandon Watson, a philosophy professor who blogs at Siris, has taken a crack at one of the questions that came up when I asked for questions for Christian pastors.  P. Coyle asked Christians to explain whether they though God had moral obligation and why (and this question has become a major thread in our discussions of God's mandated genocides in the Old Testament).Watson has given a rundown of the most common explanations, explained why he finds some to be incoherent/unsatisfactory, and … [Read more...]

Play it Again: God’s Genocides

This is a new feature for the site, where I'm going to try to pull a specific conversation/controversy out of the comments of a previous post and put it back in front of everyone.  I always find it a little harder to follow these involved disputes when they get argued piecemeal in the comments, interspersed amid whatever other arguments are taking place. And just a reminder: if you're trying to make a lengthy defense of your position in the comments, maybe you should ask about guest … [Read more...]

The Euthyphro Strikes Back

This week, The King and I blog (which is doing a guided reading through the whole King James Bible in a year) finished the Pentateuch. I've been keeping up with the readings, and I'm often struck by the strong contrasts between the passages in the Hebrew Bible and the Gospels and epistles I hear weekly at Sunday Masses.In the Gospels, Jesus speaks in parables, using specific examples to teach higher, more abstract lessons.  Most of the parables end using more general and universal language, w … [Read more...]

Case Study in my Ethics/Metaphysics

Yesterday, I posted an adaptation of a speech I gave at Yale and promised to use it as a lens on why some Christian metaphysics is a good match for my ethics.  Here goes.  Questions welcome.The first, and most obvious problem in the essay and in my views is that I have a pretty bad grounding for my virtue ethics.  It's hard to explain why exactly it is important that people not desire to harm others rather than we just prevent them from harming others through law or other barriers or c … [Read more...]

Follow Up on Sam Harris

Just as a quick follow-up to my post on The Moral Landscape, I wanted to share an excerpt from  Ned Reskinoff's blog (but go ahead and click through for the whole post): ...it seems tangentially related to the ongoing debate I’ve been having in the comments of a couple posts over whether or not moral principles can be derived through pure empirical observation. Both the political “non-ideological pragmatist” and Sam Harris the moral naturalist make the same category error: they take their own hi … [Read more...]

Taking a Wrong Turn in the Moral Landscape

 I really, really wanted to like Sam Harris’s The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. A large proportion of my philosophical disagreements with my boyfriend and with Christians generally center on the question of whether a belief in absolute morality is compatible with atheism, so I had my fingers crossed that this book would be useful to me as a rebuttal.Alas.The problems start with Harris’s definition of science: Some people [define] “science” in exceedi … [Read more...]