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What's New on the Secular Web?

See also: Events & The News Wire

March 30, 2003

This is a belated announcement that there is a debate underway in the Formal Debates & Discussions forum. The debate topic is Theism vs. Atheism. The debaters are Christopher McHugh and Doug Krueger.

McHugh is an independent scholar and Christian apologist. He has several forthcoming articles in Philo. He is also a referee for that journal. McHugh is one of a small number of philosophers worldwide invited by Philo Editor Quentin Smith to publish a paper in a special upcoming "invited authors only" symposium issue. He has engaged in debates with such nontheist philosophers as Graham Oppy, Ted Drange, George H. Smith, and Richard Gale.

Krueger is the author of What Is Atheism? A Short Introduction. His articles have appeared here on The Secular Web and in American Atheist magazine. Krueger has a B.A. and an M.A. in philosophy. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Krueger has participated in numerous formal debates on the existence of god and secular ethics.

March 29, 2003

Added "Religion and Relationship" by Robin Prior to the Agora.

"It seems to me that respect is an essential ingredient in love, and yet I found myself claiming (sincerely) to love someone whose central worldview I considered ridiculous. At last, I felt my position on truth and religion had to be reexamined. This letter was part of my attempt to understand and explain that process."

March 28, 2003

Steve Locks has updated the Ex-Christians page in the Theism: Christianity section of the Modern Library.

March 27, 2003

Added "Review of the Barker-Rajabali Debate" by Richard Carrier to the Modern Library.

Carrier reviews a rare, formal, public debate involving a Muslim, molecular biologist Brother Hassanain Rajabali, a teacher at the Tawheed Institute, a Muslim high school in Queens, New York, and his debate opponent, Dan Barker, a former evangelist, now Public Relations Director of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Subject of the debate: Does God Not Exist?

March 25, 2003

Added "The Not-So-Impossible Faith " by Brian Holtz to the Modern Library.

Holtz dissects Christian apologist Robert Turkel's "The Impossible Faith: Or How Not to Start an Ancient Religion" wherein Turkel attempts to "explain why Christianity succeeded where it should have clearly failed or died out." Holding concludes that Turkel's argument ultimately fails, that the ability of Christianity to overcome the "disadvantages" which Turkel lists is entirely consistent with Jesus being a merely human preacher, faith healer, and apocalyptic prophet whose followers transformed a belief in his spiritual resurrection into the myth of his physical resurrection.

March 22, 2003

Added "The Word of the LORD" by Tony Kuphaldt to the Modern Library.

This is a compilation of biblical quotes which drove Kuphaldt away from belief in the Bible as the "Word of God." Included are examples of biblical racism, wishful thinking, subjugation of women, contradictions, failed prophecies and other biblical problems. In the end, Kuphaldt concludes that "God" was only an imaginary friend.

March 21, 2003

Added Freethinker's Match Maker to the listing of Secular E-Mail Lists.

This is a compilation of biblical quotes which drove Kuphaldt away from belief in the Bible as the "Word of God." Included are examples of biblical racism, wishful thinking, subjugation of women, contradictions, failed prophecies and other biblical problems. In the end, Kuphaldt concludes that "God" was only an imaginary friend.

March 20, 2003

Added "Joseph Kony's spirit War" by Richard Petraitis to the Modern Library.
[Note: This article was previously published in the Agora.]

A glimpse into a fascinating yet horrifying world, a world little-known outside of Africa, a world of religion and violence where "Magic wars" have claimed the lives of thousands, many of them children conscripted into "The Lord's Resistance Army" to fight in "Joseph Kony's Spirit War."

Added "From Simbas to Ninjas: Congo's Magic Warriors" by Richard Petraitis to the Modern Library.

Despite History's long record of defeats for those who embrace magic as martial strategy, young African men still line up as recruits in answer to the witch doctor's siren call for magic wars. Despite the promises of village witch doctors, the gods of war have not been kind to these young fighters. How can these events still be occurring in the Twenty-First Century? The reasons for the magic wars in central Africa may lie in a complex mixture of cultural, societal, and religious forces.

[Editor's note: While present day religionists would likely tend to think of themselves as far removed in their religious beliefs from that of seemingly primitive and superstitious African warriors, the fact is that there are many similarities between the belief systems of these two otherwise disparate groups. "In God we trust" seems to be equally effective--or ineffective--no matter the "god" and no matter the circumstances.]

March 18, 2003

Added "St. Paul: Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Saddam Hussein--Ministers of God" by Daniel G. Jennings to the Agora.

St. Paul was perhaps one of the greatest enemies the cause of freedom ever had. He told Christians that they had a moral duty to bow down to tyrants and to accept tyranny as the natural order ordained by God.

March 17, 2003

Added "George W. Bush: Militant Theocrat" by Gary Sloan to the Agora.

In viewing himself as an instrument of divine will and America as God's country, Bush is a throwback to the Puritan theocracies. When militant nationalism is bolstered by religious fervor, the world has reason to be leery.

March 14, 2003

Added links (off site) to two new articles by Christian apologist Donn Day, rebuttals to Secular Web articles by authors -randau and Jeffery Jay Lowder:
1) "Christophobia," a response to "Growing Need For The Spread Of Secular Reason," and
2) "A Response..." to "In Defense of the Original, Secular Pledge of Allegiance"

March 12, 2003

Added "Evil Spawn of Belief" by Gym Would to the Agora.

Belief, by its nature and definition, seeks to control the mind, its meanings and perceptions. When a person truly believes anything, that person then establishes the preference to become a mind-controlled automaton--much more dangerous than any zombie from Hollywood--with the potential to cause remorseless suffering because of, or for the cause of, that Belief.

March 10, 2003

Added "Which Comes First?" by Michael Drake to the Agora.

The ban on cloning passed by the House of Representatives poses a chicken and egg problem of a different sort.

March 8, 2003

Updated the author index page of Richard Packham to include links to "How Not to Critique Legal Apologetics," Boyd Perhson's rebuttal to Packham's "Critique of John Warwick Montgomery's 'Arguments for the Legal Evidence for Christianity'" (Off Site), and "Response to Pehrson" (Off Site), Packham's response to Pehrson's critique.

Added UUquotes to the listing of Secular E-Mail Lists.

The purpose of UUquotes is to stimulate freethought by sending out three quotes each week, usually on Monday mornings (EST.) The idea is to make a positive connection and to offer a little inspiration to those who want to expand their horizons. Note: Your e-mail address will not be provided to any company or group; you will not be sent any junk mail; your privacy will be respected. To subscribe, send an e-mail to uuquotes with the word "subscribe" in the body of the message.

March 6, 2003

Added "Why I Am No Longer a Christian" by Kendall Hobbs to the ex-Christians section of the Modern Library.

Ruminations on a spiritual journey out of and into the material world, a journey which explores in depth such questions as: Can life have meaning without God? Can there be abundance, fulfillment, a deeply satisfying joy, in the mundaneness of everyday life. And what about morality? Can morality exist apart from God?

March 4, 2003

Added "Reply to Glenn Miller on the Burial of Jesus" by Richard Carrier to the Modern Library.

This is a brief reply to Glen Miller's rebuttal (October 2002 edition) of Carrier's essay "Jewish Law, the Burial of Jesus, and the Third Day" (May 2002 edition), which Miller entitles "Good Question: Was the burial of Jesus a temporary one, because of time constraints?"

March 2, 2003

Added "Can Secular Philosophy Give Us Objective Morality? " by Taner Edis to the Modern Library.

This is a review of Michael Martin's Atheism, Morality, and Meaning (Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 2002). "Michael Martin is an eminent atheist philosopher, and he gives us a hard-hitting critique of those theistic arguments which claim that all is futile in the realms of morality and meaning if there is no God. However, although Martin does well in exposing some common mistakes of theistic moral arguments, he is less convincing when he argues for objective morality in a godless world."

March 1, 2003

Feature Article for March: "St. Patrick's Day for Heathens" by William Hopper.

Never mind that he wasn't named Patrick and wasn't Irish, even the most ardent heathen has to hold some modicum of respect for St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. After all, the guy's responsible for more annual beer sales than the Budweiser frogs and Paul Hogan combined.

Book-of-the-Month for March: A Shortcut Through Time: The Path to a Quantum Computer by George Johnson.

In this, the first book to prepare general readers for the next big--perhaps the biggest--breakthrough in the short history of the cyberworld: the development of the quantum computer, the award-winning New York Times science writer George Johnson first takes us back to the original idea of a computer (almost simple enough to be made of Tinkertoys) and then leads us through increasing levels of complexity to the soul of this remarkable new machine. He shows us how, in laboratories around the world, the revolution has already begun.

Video-of-the-Month for March: Contact.

Starring Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey, Contact will "astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these day--each is an expression of the heroine's lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. . . . Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable--Contact is all of these things and more."

See "What's New? " for past months and years.