The empty promise of eternal life

One of the perpetual challenges I get from Christians about my new non-belief in the supernatural is the impact this has on life's present meaning, especially absent any universal, external, "objective" value anchored or the eternal nature of the Christian promise.I have thrilled in the past few days to read Philip Kitcher's new book, Life After Faith: The Case for Secular Humanism (Yale 2015). It's few pages and unassuming title belie a challenging and sometimes technical read. Still, it is … [Read more...]

The End of Atheism: a review of Everybody is Wrong About God

In January of 2014, after a long, 19-year career as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor, three theological degrees, and the slow liberalization of my belief system, I began a personal exploration of atheism that I called, Year Without God. I set out to understand the world without my “god glasses” on. In short, I wondered, how does a naturalistic worldview hold up to scrutiny?Very quickly I grew weary of the God question. In a March 10, 2014 post entitled, “Deconstructing (a)theism,” I wrote, … [Read more...]

The Guardian: Ben Carson and his Seventh-day Adventist faith

Earlier this week the Opinion editor at The Guardian emailed me to ask for my thoughts about Ben Carson and what relationships his Seventh-day Adventist faith might have to do with his run for the U.S. Presidency. My article was published online this morning. -:-With Ben Carson’s surge in the Republican race for the White House, the world is suddenly fascinated by Seventh-day Adventists.A small, American-born sect of Christianity that arose in New England in the early 1800s, my former ch … [Read more...]

How gods are born and borne in human culture and cognition

One of the most fruitful ongoing conversations I've had over the past two years has been with LeRon Shults. We recently met up in Newport Beach where he was attending the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.LeRon is Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Agder, Norway, the author of Theology After the Birth of God: Atheist Conceptions in Cognition and Culture, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for the Bio-Cultural Study of … [Read more...]

The United States becomes steadily more secular

In a follow up report released today, Pew Research Center reveals that the United States is becoming steadily less religious and more secular. Though Pew describes this report as generally revealing "a great deal of stability in the U.S. religious landscape," there are also clear downward trends in religious affiliation and clear upward trends in secularization. The religious remain as religious as they ever were, which should be unsurprising. In the face of greater secularization it stands to … [Read more...]

An Open Letter to the President of Pacific Union College

Dear Dr. Heather Knight,I was disappointed to learn this morning that I was dis-invited from the lecture I was to deliver to the Pacific Union College Psychology and Social Work students this Thursday for their Colloquium (PSYC/SOWK 394). As much as I would like to have heard this decision from you directly, it was nice to speak with Dr. Nancy Lecourt. As you may know, she was my English professor when I was a student at PUC in 1989. In those days I was extremely conservative and even … [Read more...]