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What's New on the Secular Web?

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November 27, 2006

Added an extensively revised edition of The Case Against Faith: A Critical Look at Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith (4th ed., 2006) by Paul Doland to the Christian Apologetics and Apologists, Christian Worldview, Arguments for the Existence of God: Reviews/Critiques, Faith and Reason, Argument from Miracles, Creationism, and Logical Argument from Evil pages in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

Lee Strobel's The Case for Faith aims to answer the "toughest objections to Christianity" through interviews with well-known Christian apologists. In the introduction, Strobel lists what he calls Christianity's "Big Eight Conundrums"--including many of the questions that I continually asked myself when I was still a Christian. Though Strobel generally does a good job of explaining the objections, the more I contemplated his interviewees' responses, the less satisfying I found those responses to be. This point-by-point critique aims to explain why I found each of these responses to be weak at best or preposterous at worst, and I am consequently forced to conclude that Strobel may have actually produced a case against faith.

November 16, 2006

Updated the Call for Papers with the addition of several book titles for which book reviews are needed.

If you are a writer, or a would-be writer, and you have read, or would like to read, any of these books and then submit your review to be considered for publication on the Secular Web, please use the link, above, to check out the books for which book reviews are requested.

November 2, 2006

Added Zalmoxis to Chapter 19 ("Responses to Critics") of Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (2006) by Richard Carrier.

On an October 27, 2006 segment of The Infidel Guy Internet radio show with Christian apologists Gary Habermas and Mike Licona, the notion that anyone ever believed that Zalmoxis was resurrected was challenged (contrary to Richard Carrier's citation of the Zalmoxis example in Chapter 3 of Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False?). In this new entry on Zalmoxis, Carrier refutes this challenge at length.

November 1, 2006

Current Feature: The Strategies of Christian Fundamentalism (2000) by Joseph Kiefer II

Kiefer posits that the strategies employed by fundamentalist Christians to induce doctrinal belief diminish human potential by evoking fear and guilt, and by promoting powerlessness in adherents. The author illustrates the adverse effects suffered by adherents, he discusses the maladaptive coping strategies developed as a result of these beliefs, and he demonstrates how circular reasoning entraps believers and leaves them ignorant of their helplessness. Finally, he describes how personal vulnerabilities are manipulated by rigid doctrine and strict authority in order to control adherents and propagate the religion.

Book-of-the-Month: Letter to a Christian Nation (2006) by Sam Harris

In response to The End of Faith, Sam Harris received thousands of letters from Christians excoriating him for not believing in God. Letter to A Christian Nation is his reply. Using rational argument, Harris offers a measured refutation of the beliefs that form the core of fundamentalist Christianity. In the course of his argument, he addresses current topics ranging from intelligent design and stem-cell research to the connections between religion and violence, boldly challenging the influence that faith has on public life in our nation.

Special Feature: The Incoherence of Original Sin and Substitutive Sacrifice (2000) by Philip Kuchar

The punishment suffered by Jesus, that of the crucifixion, gave rise to multiple interpretations to explain how and why God allowed His Son to suffer so. The concept of Original Sin became one of the central tenets of the Christian religion to explain God's actions in sacrificing His Son. Jesus is said to have born the sins of the world in an effort to cleanse humanity from sin. The author explores the concept of Original Sin, the idea of sin transferal, while questioning the notion of whether Jesus' fate was indeed a sacrifice as claimed.


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