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Recently Published Articles

How the Early Followers of Jesus Dealt with the Unexpected Death of their Messiah

Robert Shaw

Published: 2019-01-31

In this article, Robert Shaw explores the crucifixion of Jesus and how the Gospel narratives of this event were embellished with allusions to Old Testament passages. In addition, Shaw shows that early Christians developed an interpretation of Jesus' death as part of a premeditated divine plan that was at odds with contemporary Jewish expectations of the Messiah.

Why Would Anyone Believe Justin Barrett's Theistic Arguments?

Michael D. Reynolds

Published: 2018-12-31

Christian psychologist Justin Barrett argues that belief in immaterial minds is similar to and justifies belief in God. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds demonstrates that Barrett's concept of mind is outmoded. Moreover, Barrett does not distinguish between innate beliefs in other people's mental abilities and the cultural concept of mind, which is learned, not innate. The belief that other people think, have emotions, and so forth is supported by evidence, but there is no evidence for the existence of God.

Barrett presumes that "atheism" is difficult to maintain because innate ways of thinking promote belief in spirits. In response, Reynolds provides some of the reasons for nontheism and refutes Barrett's arguments that having moral principles and confidence in one's beliefs pose special problems for nontheists. Reynolds concludes that, to the contrary, living as a nontheist is not difficult and does not require social and cultural segregation to sustain it.

How the Story of Jesus' Birth was Cobbled Together from Jewish Sources

Robert Shaw

Published: 2018-10-31

It's that time of the year when the story of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth begins to pervade the everyday lives of people in the West. In this article, Robert Shaw looks at the origins of the story in first-century Palestine. Neither the earliest Gospel nor the earlier letters from St. Paul to fledgling Christian churches around the Mediterranean make any mention of the circumstances of Jesus' birth, but later embellishments are weaved together with contrived reinterpretations of Old Testament passages to bolster Jesus' messianic credentials.

How to Know Deepak Chopra's God

Michael D. Reynolds

Published: 2018-09-30

Deepak Chopra operates a business that offers "life-changing retreats" and courses instructing clients in meditation and "alternative medicine," especially Indian techniques. In How to Know God he postulates seven responses of the brain to God. From this notion he constructs a detailed theistic scheme. A prominent theme of the book is an attempt to relate his ideas to quantum physics. Readers and reviewers have heaped praise on the work, but it contains numerous errors of fact and logic. In this essay Michael D. Reynolds demonstrates some of the errors in the foundational first chapter of the book.

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