Category Archives: theology

God’s Not Dead

philosophy, religion, theology 5 Replies

I decided to witness the car-crash that I’ve been assured that God’s Not Dead is, first-hand, so in order to maintain some semblance of sanity, I posted tweets fairly frequently during the movie. And stopped it a lot to go do something else, lest the overload of ignorance do long-term damage.

It took probably about 2 1/2 hours to watch the whole 2-hour movie. God’s Not Dead is a Christian Movie, which means that the primary purpose is to extol the virtues of ‘being Christian’, and that things like ‘a good script’, ‘an interesting narrative’, or just ‘represents things fairly’ are, at best, a distant second. However, like the vast majority of Christian propaganda, it ends up saying some truly awful things about Christians. Continue reading

A “Personal Relationship” with Jesus

Atheism, culture, philosophy, theology 2 Replies

I’d like to go back to the most excellent example of terrible writing, 7 Things That Prove God Is Real, to focus on the last two points that the author (J. Lee Grady) makes. I want to focus on them as they appear to be pretty common within the arguments for [insert religion here], and they’re not only terrible, but run contrary to how we typically reason about things.

They basically come down to having a “personal relationship” with Jesus (and/or a god), and I’d like to discuss why this, in itself, does not warrant the claim that the god (or Jesus, here and now) is real.

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A Short Overview of Free Will

Atheism, culture, Education, philosophy, religion, theology Leave a reply

Last night, I gave a short presentation on Free Will in order to kick off some discussion between mixed groups of atheists and theists. It went quite well, I feel, and the discussions that I was involved with went pretty well. The notes I used are included below. It’s a really just a rough overview, and I wouldn’t consider it a compelling argument for the compatibilist position in and of itself, but… Well, people have written books on that, and this was only a 15-min presentation, so bear that in mind if you think that I think you should be convinced by this.

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Free Will: Illusion or Real? A Theist and Atheist View

Atheism, personal, philosophy, theology Leave a reply

I will be presenting one half of a discussion on Free Will tomorrow evening (in Vancouver, BC, for non-local readers). I (and the other presenter) will be giving a short 15-min introduction to the topic, and then everyone will be breaking up into smaller discussion groups.

If you’re interested in having positive (I hope) discussions with people of differing viewpoints, this could be worth a look. It’s not free, but it’s pretty low-cost. None of the funds from this go to me (disclaimer: I’ve been promised a beer, so I’m getting something out of it), nor do I know how the payments breakdown if that’s a concern.

 

Could be worth a look. Details (and registration) are through Eventbrite. (And no, I will not be endorsing Harris’s position on this)

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To The Stone: Please Pull Out of Your Nose-Dive

Atheism, philosophy, theology 6 Replies

The Stone is part of The New York Times, an outlet for Philosophy and public discussion of philosophical issues. Generally speaking, I think it’s an excellent idea: philosophy needs more public engagement, and the public needs to engage with more philosophy.

Its most recent article (“Is Atheism Irrational“), however, is pure, unadulterated dross. Under the pretense of being “an interview”, Alvin Plantinga misrepresents the arguments against theism, and engages in nothing more than sophistry and rhetoric. This is, to some degree, par for the course when it comes to Plantinga, who has long backed entirely vapid defenses of theism by engaging in Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD). My criticism here is aimed mainly at Gary Gutting, allegedly a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, and an editor of the Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews. He entirely fails to engage with Plantinga’s questions, fails to point out where Plantinga has clearly dodged the question, and fails to underline where Plantinga has inserted doubt as a substitute for an answer. My remarks here will take the form of criticism of Plantinga’s answers, but they are intended as a rebuke to Gutting: this is critical thinking 101 stuff, something Gutting should have been more than capable of, and (given the position of The Stone as a vehicle for public engagement in philosophy) more than willing to do.

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The Watchmaker Analogy: not an argument

philosophy, religion, theology 27 Replies

The ‘watchmaker analogy‘ has been around for quite some time (about 209ish years by my count), and it was refuted shortly after it’s explication (in fact, Paley was refuted by Hume before Paley was born). Several folk have gone after it, in a variety of ways but the damned thing just keeps showing up. To be fair, it’s not that the argument won’t die, it’s that people ignorant of it’s failure simply won’t stop trotting it out, as if restating it over and over again somehow means that the previous refutations didn’t happen.

Quite recently, Fazale Rana (a member of Reasons to Believe) directed me to his claim that “Kai ABC Proteins Re-invigorate the Watchmaker Argument for God’s Existence” with the invitation to ‘explain how is reasoning is faulty’.

Ask and thou shalt receive.

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Hate the belief, not the believer

philosophy, theology 36 Replies

There’s a post that I come back to on this site again and again. It’s something that I frequently link to when having discussions with believers and non-believers alike whenever they start getting their back up and feel that they are under attack when I’m pressing on their beliefs: we are not our ideas.

However, I’ve not always been comfortable with it in it’s entirety. I mean… ‘Hate the sin, not the sinner’ is clearly crap, but is there a significant difference between that and Crommunist’s ‘hate the belief, not the believer’? (my paraphrasing)

If I were confronted by a believer on this point, the apparent double-standard, could I respond effectively? Continue reading

Why people don’t like to answer theistic questions…

philosophy, religion, theology 9 Replies

To readers who prefer short posts, I’d like to apologise in advance: this is not a short post. Unforunately, the nature of this extended argument is such that there’s no easy way to break it into 2 or 3 posts without killing the flow.

In a discussion I’ve been having recently with one particular believer, some ideas have repeatedly surfaced. This is not, however, the first time I’ve come across these particular notions. I want to take some time to fully address these ideas and the problems that are imbedded in the ideas. First I’ll simply quote the statements as written, as a group, break down the problematic/vague parts, then address them individually.

  1. “Can one expect human logic to understand the supernatural realm as easily as it does the natural realm?”
  2. “Are you saying that you reject the existence of the supernatural because people around you can’t agree on the exact nature of God, or of the Creative miracles?”
  3. “My fear, for those who choose that route, is that due to the acceptance of methodological naturalism as the defining limitation to science (defining only what can be proven from within nature itself), those that limit themselves in this way and trust that nature itself is “all there is”, will never have the chance to find out if the supernatural actually exists.”
  4. “Does methodological naturalism include or exclude God?”

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