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January 26, 2007
Lee Strobel has published a new interview with atheist apostate Antony Flew. There are perplexing questions as to when this interview was taped. Moreover, the interview is not very enlightening. It is analyzed here, as the January 2007 update to Carrier's original article.
January 25, 2007
Added From Fundamentalist to Freethinker: It All Began with Santa (2007) by Raymond D. Bradley to the Testimonials page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
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.
January 23, 2007
"The same glorious past that lends us our cultural pride has bestowed upon us some of the darkest curses of mankind. Our inheritance has been flawed and imperfect. The evil of the caste system continues to irk us even into the twenty-first century. Likewise the ugly chapters of violent evangelism and inquisition serve as fodder to the perverted mind. Nationalism often simmers up to fascist ideology and religious bigotry when it derives inspiration from such flawed perception of history. Routinely, extremist groups and religious bigots twist history to spread their divisive philosophy."
January 13, 2007
Daniel C. Dennett has provided a valuable insight into the operation of the conscious mind in his book, Consciousness Explained. This work demolishes the fallacy of the Cartesian Theater and replaces it with a scientifically verifiable Multiple Drafts model. Dennett disqualifies the mystery of qualia but conspicuously neglects the much greater mystery of sentience. Most interestingly, he not only acknowledges sentience in his later book, Kinds of Minds, but also admits to both its great moral implications and lack of present explanation. This discussion is not intended as a book review but rather as a critique of Dennett's claim that anything fitting his Multiple Drafts model is conscious in the fullest sense.
January 9, 2007
Topics appropriate for the modern library include, but are not limited to:
- Philosophical, scientific, and historical arguments concerning the truth of religious claims.
- The philosophical or existential implications of a naturalistic worldview (e.g., for our view of humanity's place in the universe, human nature, whether or not we have free will, the foundations of ethics, the meaning of life, coming to terms with death, and so on.)
- Psychological analyses of religious belief, particularly why people adopt strong views in the absence of evidence one way or the other, or even in the presence of strong contrary evidence.
- Frank discussions of the social utility or harmfulness of particular religious doctrines (regardless of their truth), or of taking claims on faith in general (i.e., affirming positions whatever the evidence).
- Scientific and historical documentation of the characteristics of nonbelievers as a whole (e.g., whether or how nonbelievers behave differently than believers), or of the public perception of nonbelievers (e.g., discrimination).
- Frank discussions of the desirability of some or any intermingling between religious institutions and governmental bodies.
January 2, 2007
Added Learning Bible Today: From Creation to the Conquest of Canaan (2006) [PDF] by Michael Prival to the Ages 13 and Up section of the Books page in the Parent's Corner.
This book is intended to present major Biblical stories in a readable and accurate manner, to discuss the stories from a scientific point of view, and to give parents and teachers the information they need to explain and discuss them with children. Aimed at grades six and up, this work is informational for adults as well and includes both stories and detailed discussion topics.
January 1, 2007
Answers to prayer should be the norm for Christians. Didn't Jesus say "Ask and it shall be given you" (Mt.7:7)? Based on Jesus's words answers to prayer should be automatic. Yet many Christians experience extreme difficulties. If the solution were prayer then Christians would have resolved these problems long ago.
Eighteen of the world's leading scholars present original essays on various aspects of atheism: its history (both ancient and modern), and its defense and implications. The topic is examined in terms of its implications for a wide range of disciplines including philosophy, religion, feminism, postmodernism, sociology, and psychology. In its defense, both classical and contemporary theistic arguments are criticized, and the argument from evil as well as the impossibility arguments, along with a nonreligious basis for morality, are defended. These essays give a broad understanding of atheism and a lucid introduction to this controversial topic.
Quick and simple answers to common questions about atheism, including: "What is an Atheist?" "Why don't you believe in God?" "Don't you want to go to heaven?" "Haven't Christian values done much good in the world?"--and many more.