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Raymond D. Bradley

Raymond Bradley (1930-2022) was an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy from Simon Fraser University and former Professor of Philosophy, University of Auckland, who retired to New Zealand after 31 years teaching in Canada. He debated many representatives of the Campus Crusade for Christ, including William Lane Craig, and published freethought articles in Rationalist and Humanist, The Open Society, and on the Secular Web, among other places.

For more, see the author's offsite biography.

Published on the Secular Web

Modern Library

Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

In this essay, Raymond D. Bradley shows that a loving God would be incapable of sending people to Hell by considering what follows logically from accepting the alternative. He argues that free will defenses of the sort offered by Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig are logically fallacious, philosophically erroneous, and unbiblical. Bradley concludes that the problem of Hell puts biblical Christian theists in an inescapable logical bind.

God is Not the Source of Morality

In this overview of why we should accept that God is not the source of morality, Raymond D. Bradley first outlines four kinds of crimes that God willingly admits to causing, committing, condoning, or commanding, if the holy scriptures are to be believed: crimes against humanity, war crimes, licensing moral mayhem and murder, and crimes of torture. Since any one of these would contravene morality, a being responsible for them could hardly be said to be a source of morality. There is an explicit contradiction between God's moral perfection and his scriptural crimes since, as Bradley says, "a morally perfect being would not do anything that is morally wrong." So which core belief are traditional theists willing to give up to avoid this contradiction?

Science, Morality, and the Death of God

In this greatly expanded version of his contribution to The Antipodean Philosopher, Raymond D. Bradley uses H. L. Mencken's classic "Memorial Service" as a jumping off point to explain why he is an atheist, and not an "agnostic," about the existence of any members of the category "gods." Since which gods happen to predominate in the society into which one was born depends upon accidents of birth, how can anyone justifiably have confidence that any of the gods on Mencken's list actually exist? Turning to our own Western monotheistic tradition, Bradley goes on critique the intellectual and moral defense that believers have mounted for the biblical God of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with particular emphasis on "intelligent design" and "fine-tuning" arguments and how the pastorate feign ignorance about what their own biblical scholarship has uncovered about the all-too-human origins of their "revealed" sacred texts.

The Free Will Defense Refuted and God’s Existence Disproved

In The Miracle of Theism and elsewhere John L. Mackie argued that the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good God is logically incompatible with the existence of evil, as God could have created persons who always freely choose the good. Alvin Plantinga responded with his famous Free Will Defense, in which he claimed that, under certain conditions, it was impossible for God to create a world containing no evil whatsoever. In this refutation, Raymond D. Bradley notes that these conditions--such as actualizing a world containing significantly free creatures or one in which all of God's creatures suffer from "transworld depravity"--were entirely up to God, in that he could have refrained from creating such a world. Since in virtue of his omniscience any such God would have known the consequences of creating the world that he did, he would bear command responsibility for all the evils that resulted from his creation--if he only existed in the first place. In other words, a morally perfect, omnipotent, and omniscient God does not now, and never did, exist.

The Rivalry Between Religions

In this highly original and challenging essay, Raymond Bradley develops an argument that all religions are probably false inspired by David Hume's famous discussion of the 'contrary miracles' of rival religions. According to Bradley's argument from contrariety, any one of the vast numbers of religions ever conceived (or to be conceived) makes factual claims contradicted by the claims of all of the other religions. Moreover, the claims of any particular religion are generally as well-attested as the claims of all of the others. Consequently, given the "weight" of the "evidence" of all of the other religions, the probability that the claims of any one religion are true is exceedingly low. From this it follows that all religions are probably false.

From Fundamentalist to Freethinker: It All Began with Santa

In this autobiographical account of his journey from Baptist fundamentalist to freethinker, Raymond D. Bradley outlines his reality-driven philosophical predisposition and the difficulties it generated for his acceptance of traditional Christian doctrines throughout his childhood. These difficulties with specific doctrines--several of which Bradley discusses in detail--matured into a brief stint with deism before finally culminating in full-blown, outspoken atheism.
Kiosk Article

The Meaning of Life: Reflections on God, Immortality, and Free Will

Does reality include a supernatural realm, inhabited by God and, perhaps, other spiritual beings? Or is the familiar natural world all there is to it? If there is a supernatural world, how do we relate to it? Are we composite creatures with souls as well as bodies? Is it possible that our souls live on after our bodies are no more? Or is physical death the end? What is the nature of the free will that we commonly suppose ourselves to enjoy during our sojourn here on earth? Do we in fact have free will? Or are our lives little more than pointless scribbles on the fabric of the universe, as devoid of real significance as scratches on a piece of glaciated rock?
Kiosk Book

God’s Gravediggers: Why No Deity Exists


Description Raymond Bradley is probably the most important atheist you’ve never heard of. 16 years before the release of Richard Dawkin’s The Selfish Gene, Professor Bradley was completing his Ph.D. regarding the theological problem of free will, setting off a long, esteemed and distinguished career. As a veteran professor of philosophy back in 1994–long before […]