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Recently Published Articles

Proposing Weak Naturalism

Hugh Harris

Published: 2019-06-29

As far as we know, the natural world is all there is. If there are realms that we cannot know, then there is no use in speculating upon them. Weak naturalism limits itself to what we know. Just as a weak atheist simply disbelieves in God given the lack of evidence, weak naturalism disavows the supernatural for the same reason.

In only asserting the existence of the natural world, the burden of proof is transferred to the "supernaturalist." Proposing weak naturalism does not require positive evidence showing why it's probable that nothing transcends nature. Rather, it appeals to the lack of evidence for anything supernatural, period. It's not scientism to expect knowledge-claims to be verifiable or testable. The scientific method has become the accepted method for ascertaining which empirical claims are true or not for a reason.

The Invention of Hell

Robert Shaw

Published: 2019-04-24

Christianity has brought many people to believe that those who behave badly face permanent torture in the afterlife. In this article, Robert Shaw argues that the historical Jesus envisaged a rather different fate for such individuals, and that the very idea of Hell as pictured by many Christians today was in fact an invention of the later Church.

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.

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