Post #1

Post #1 August 7, 2012

I’ve been a fan of some of the Patheos blogs for awhile and am delighted to be part of this diverse group!

This blog is a civil but energetic critique of Christianity from an atheist viewpoint, and I write about Christian apologetics, atheism, and the impact of Christianity on society.

I’ve been blogging for over a year at the Cross Examined and Galileo Unchained blogs and will be focusing just on Cross Examined here at Patheos.  I’ll be gradually reposting some of my old material to this new audience.

My journey to atheism was uneventful.  I was raised Presbyterian.  Christianity never did much for me, so I fell away from religious practice in college.  Years later, a long email debate with a young-earth Creationist got me thinking, and I just couldn’t stop.  He changed me from an apatheist (“Who cares whether there’s a god or not?”) into an atheist—probably not what he intended.

I’ve written a book about Christian apologetics, perhaps the first novel to explore the arguments for and against Christianity.  You can find Cross Examined: An Unconventional Spiritual Journey at Amazon.

I look forward to your comments. Any suggestions for new topics—things about Christianity or atheism that bug you or questions you have—would also be much appreciated. Find my contact information on the About page.

Bob Seidensticker

Some believers accuse skeptics
of having nothing left but a dull, cold, scientific world.

I am left with only art, music, literature, theatre,
the magnificence of nature, mathematics, the human spirit,
sex, the cosmos, friendship, history, science, imagination,
dreams, oceans, mountains, love, and the wonder of birth.
That’ll do for me.
— Lynne Kelly

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  • MNb

    “My journey to atheism was uneventful.”
    So was mine. My upbringing was areligious, I have never been baptized. I have visited Sunday School about three times, sung in a RCC church choir (I had to check if my memory was right as there is also a protestant church nearby), learned to pray when I was 11 because I thought it cool. I went through this totally unharmed.
    Three events were important, none of them particularly remarkable. When I was 13 or 14 two teens (about 17) from Youth for Christ visited my class. It was the second half of the 70’s. A girl from my class asked if Pinochet (Chili quite often was big news back then) would go to Heaven if he in the last moments of his life confessed, repented and accepted Jesus as his saviour. The answer was yes and I immediately understood that that meant “screw the victims”. I did realize though as soon as I learned the meaning of the words atheism and agnosticism that this was by no means proof, so I declared myself an agnost.
    That changed when I learned about Quantum Mechanics and how that is probabilistic. Like Einstein I realized that “god doesn’t play dice”; unlike Einstein I chose QM and declared myself an atheist. I clearly remember me thinking this over when I rode my bike back home. It wasn’t anything special; I didn’t deem it necessary to tell anybody. As I already was an unbeliever in an unbelieving environment, where god was a cold topic, it made no change in my life at all. Moreover I had many far more important things to think about: my political views, my search for a suitable (ie godless) ethical system and the question dualism vs. materialism. In the course of the years I learned that almost all my “spiritual” experiences (including Out of Body) had fine material explanations. So while I had to get rid of some superfluous ballast (including homeopathy, for which I had a weak spot for many years) it at best had only indirectly to do with the god-question.
    Some four years ago my son left home for study, so I got more time. Out of curiosity I decided to challenge my atheism, so I began to read some apologetics and theology. Not everything is bad (Karen Armstrong’s analysis of fundamentalism is very good imo) but what I particularly disliked was the method of arguing for a pre-determined conclusion – exactly what Russell dismisses at the end of his chapter on Thomas of Aquino. With the possible exception of Swinburne no single apologist or theologian tried to be neutral, to ruthlessly investigate the consequences of clearly formulated assumptions. I was shocked, but am no longer surprised to find grave mistakes in the two theses written by Dutch apologists I read.
    The nail, as I often has brought forward, was Philipse’s God in the Age of Science. I keep the option open that I have to revise my position as a 7 on the Scale of Dawkins, but I need very, very good new information for this.
    I hope some of the other regulars – Pofarmer, Hector, Greg, Lew and others – will write a short overview as well.
    Finally I miss Kodie (not CodyGirl).

    • Rhaely

      Dig a little deeper…

      • MNb

        Or perhaps Heisenberg was just wrong. That happens to smart people as well.