What's New on the Secular Web?
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May 30, 2007
Added Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (2007) by Michel Onfray to the Secular Web Bookstore.
This hugely controversial work demonstrates convincingly how the world's three major monotheistic religions--Christianity, Judaism, and Islam--have attempted to suppress knowledge, science, pleasure, and desire, condemning nonbelievers often to death. Tightly argued, this is a work that is sure to stir debate on the role of religion in American society--and politics.
May 29, 2007
Based on a fictional conversation between Mrs. Green and her students in a parent-approved setting, Mrs. Green presents a humanistic point of view to her curious students who, faced with serious injuries suffered by a popular classmate, want to pray in class for her recovery. Complete with discussion questions, suggestions for activities, and a bibliography, this innovative approach to presenting humanism to young adults will be welcome by parents and teachers looking to expose their children or students to a secular philosophic perspective, this is a fine book for teachers and/or any nontheist trying to answer children's questions about nonbelief.
May 27, 2007
In this intimate, funny, and sincere memoir, Lalli chronicles her experiences while confronting the broader issues of faith, tolerance, and respect in the confusing religious landscape of America. Nothing is an appealing, sensitively written story that offers hope, humor, and reason to millions of similar Americans who feel alienated in an ever more religiously polarized nation.
May 22, 2007
"Unfortunately, the title of the book is inappropriate. The title implies that god exists and contends that he is not great. Greatness of an object can only be considered and discussed when the object actually exists. Although God Is Not Great contains an abundance of valuable information pertinent to the author's main thesis, unfortunately it is commingled with other irrelevant verbiage." - Mohammad Gill
May 18, 2007
Added Revelation's Place in the Christian Bible (2007) by Keith Gilmour to the Christian Worldview, Biblical Criticism and Prophecy pages under the Theism: Christianity category of the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Christianity has elevated John's Revelation into a "sacred text" by including it in the New Testament canon. This has afforded divine legitimation to the cruelties contained within it, frequently cultivating a callous indifference towards (and often an outright enthusiasm for) the sufferings of "out-group" members everywhere whilst lumbering us with a tyrannical warrior god--a powerful "record keeper" desirous of unceasing worship.
May 17, 2007
Added Answering Michael Coren's "Answering Christianity Haters" (2007) by Philip Kuchar to the Secular Web Kiosk.
Michael Coren recently wrote an Easter column for the Toronto Sun entitled "Answering Christianity Haters." In the column he gives short responses to some typical criticisms of Christianity. Kuchar goes through Coren's criticisms and responses to show that the issues aren't nearly so pat as Coren wants his readers to think.
May 14, 2007
Sam Harris didn't write his book The End of Faith with the sense of purpose as did Richard Dawkins who, when he wrote his book The God Delusion, proclaimed, "If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down." No such claim is made by Harris about The End of Faith, yet The End of Faith might well change many readers into skeptics of religion. - Mohammad Gill
May 9, 2007
If Richard Dawkins is right, then everything he concludes in The God Delusion is suspect. If 'memes' are ferociously replicating 'selfish-genes' in the social pool, tantamount to a computer virus, then disbelief in God may also be the result of aberrant memeplexes. - Bradley Hill
May 5, 2007
Added Review of Science and Religion: Are They Compatible (ed. Paul Kurtz) (2007) by Mohammad Akram Gil to the Secular Web Kiosk.
"Science and Religion: Are They Compatible covers a vast terrain, including almost every field of human epistemology. All in all, it is valuable both for its own sake and as a useful reference covering the incompatibility between science and religion."
May 2, 2007
Added Atheism: Twilight or Dawn? (2007) by Keith Parsons to the Christian Apologetics and Apologists page under Alister McGrath, the About Atheism page, and the Science and Religion page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
According to Alister McGrath, the early 21st century marks the decline of atheism. In this critique of McGrath's arguments, Keith Parsons considers whether the intellectual clout, stature, or influence of atheism has in fact declined in recent years, concluding that McGrath does not even begin to address the real intellectual case for atheism. That disbelief in God is just as much a matter of faith as belief in God can only be a stale platitude from McGrath given his failure to even superficially survey the best arguments for atheism. McGrath does address, however, four charges made by Richard Dawkins against religion, including the charge that evolution makes God unnecessary as an explanation and that religion is a source of much of the misery in the world. Parsons concludes that once one appropriately qualifies or refines Dawkins' accusations, McGrath's critique fails to adequately address the underlying problems for religion that inspire them. Moreover, to the extent that the influence of inherently controversial and divisive religions on people's lives grows, a corresponding dawn of the popularity of atheism is inevitable.
May 1, 2007
Walker explores the distinguishing characteristics of two common perspectives within the atheist community: that resulting from being born and bred with religion and later suffering a crisis of faith, and that resulting from those who are raised as freethinkers from the onset. Walker believes that there is common ground on which to build a culture out of atheism, which--with luck and commitment--might come to rival religion: as deep, as humane, and as inspiring as any religion is today.
In the tradition of Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not a Christian and Sam Harris's recent bestseller, The End of Faith, Christopher Hitchens makes the ultimate case against religion. With a close and erudite reading of the major religious texts, he documents the ways in which religion is a man-made wish, a cause of dangerous sexual repression, and a distortion of our origins in the cosmos. With eloquent clarity, Hitchens frames the argument for a more secular life based on science and reason, in which hell is replaced by the Hubble Telescope's awesome view of the universe, and Moses and the burning bush give way to the beauty and symmetry of the double helix.
From the Library: Positive Atheism and the Meaninglessness of Theism (1999) by Michael Martin
In Part I of his book Atheism: A Philosophical Justification, Martin argued that sentences about the existence of God are factually meaningless, hence, they are neither true nor false. However, in Part II of his book he maintained that if sentences about God are not factually meaningless, then "God exists" is false. Readers--both theists and atheists--were puzzled. Indeed, some critics maintained that he had contradicted himself and that the basic argument of his book was incoherent. Here, Martin argues that there is no inconsistency between his thesis that religious language is meaningless and his defense of positive atheism.