November 16, 2018

I have long enjoyed posting and commenting on Secular Outpost. I also frequently leave acerbic comments on Friendly Atheist. I think that both sites are hosted by Patheos. I may have to stop however. While I am trying to comment–and I do try to put thought into my comments–advertisements are rapidly flipping just below and beside the space where I am trying to write. While trying to think of a philosophical point, ads are doing their best to distract me…. Read more

November 15, 2018

========================= II. There are good reasons to be SKEPTICAL about religion and religious beliefs. A. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness and Virtue, contrary to common belief. B. Significant Disagreements exist Between Different Religions. C. Religious Beliefs are Typically Based on Cultural Bias and Social Conditioning. ========================   Religious Beliefs Are Associated with Geographical Locations The religion of a person can often be accurately predicted based on where they were raised.  For example, if someone was born and raised… Read more

November 14, 2018

========================= II. There are good reasons to be SKEPTICAL about religion and religious beliefs. A. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness and Virtue, contrary to common belief. B. Significant Disagreements exist Between Different Religions. ======================== Significant Disagreements exist Between Different Religions According to Christianity, Jesus was God incarnate, fully God and fully human.  But according to Judaism and Islam, Jesus was, at most, a prophet, a human being who was devout and who had a close relationship with God. … Read more

November 14, 2018

Some people believe (or claim to believe) that if God does not exist, then there are no objective moral truths (e.g., truths about what we are morally obligated to do or refrain from doing). This claim is false as the following argument shows: (1) Torturing a child causes the child to experience severe suffering. (2) Torturing a child violates the child’s consent (that is, it is not possible for the child to rationally consent to being tortured). (3) That torturing… Read more

November 12, 2018

In his classic essay “The Ethics of Belief,” mathematical and philosophical wunderkind W.K. Clifford (1845-1879) famously made rationality a branch of ethics. A belief is rational when we have discharged all of our epistemic duties in forming that belief and are thereby within our epistemic rights in holding it. Your epistemic duty is to carefully examine beliefs to retain only those that pass strict standards of belief-worthiness. It is always and everywhere wrong, Clifford tells us, to hold to a… Read more

November 2, 2018

I have been away from Secular Outpost for about six months due to a very heavy teaching schedule and publishing commitments. However, recent events compel me to come back and say some things. The morning of 10/31/18 on NPR’s 1A program with Joshua Johnson they were discussing the question of whether overheated rhetoric can lead to violent attacks, as with the recent pipe bomb mailings and the massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This last incident was… Read more

October 24, 2018

========================= II. There are good reasons to be SKEPTICAL about religion and religious beliefs. A. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness and Virtue. 1. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness. 2. Religion is NOT the key to Virtue. ======================== An Obvious Failure of Religion to Promote Virtue Many Catholic priests have sexually abused many children for many decades (and probably for many centuries): ====================== Priest sex abuse: New report lists 212 Catholic priests in Oakland, San Jose, San… Read more

September 24, 2018

On Saturday (9/22) I was privileged to join Matthew Flannagan for a dialogue about the Euthyphro dilemma. Cameron Bertuzzi of Capturing Christianity hosted the dialogue and livestreamed it from the Capturing Christianity YouTube channel. I did my best to explain why I think that there are some compelling Euthyphro-inspired objections to divine command theory, and Matthew offered powerful and thoughtful responses to these objections. In my humble opinion the conversation was thorough, thoughtful, and friendly. It is one of the… Read more

September 20, 2018

========================= II. There are good reasons to be SKEPTICAL about religion and religious beliefs. A. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness and Virtue. 1. Religion is NOT the key to Happiness. 2. Religion is NOT the key to Virtue. ======================== MORE CAVEATS & QUALIFICATIONS ABOUT THE CORRELATION BETWEEN RELIGION & HAPPINESS 5. When a study does find a positive correlation between religion and happiness, it is usually a weak correlation. Various reviews of empirical studies on the relationship between… Read more

September 15, 2018

DOES RELIGION HAVE A POSITIVE CORRELATION WITH HAPPINESS? There are many empirical studies that appear to show that religion has a positive correlation with happiness.  However, there are a number of important caveats and qualifications that need to be taken into consideration here: Viewed in geographic terms, religion has a NEGATIVE correlation with happiness. Whether religion correlates with happiness depends on how one measures happiness. Whether religion correlates with happiness depends on how one measures religion/religiousness. In several countries religion… Read more

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