What's New on the Secular Web?
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October 22, 2007
Added Applying This Good Principle to All Is Not Extreme (2007) by Mathew Goldstein to the Secular Web Kiosk.
If the establishment clause is good enough for some of us then it is good enough for all us. The presidential candidates and the American public would do well to keep this in mind when they contemplate the meaning and applicability of the establishment clause in the 21st century.
October 16, 2007
Conspiracy theorists learn to compartmentalize their beliefs, to swaddle their worldview in self-perpetuating delusions, to think in terms of loose associations, and to mistake coincidences for revelations, from the example of religious faith. The Christian belief system is evidently motivated by the most colossal conspiracy theory ever to have been imagined and swallowed whole by great masses of gullible humanity.
October 11, 2007
What is "atheism" as a movement? What should it be? While atheism does not necessarily entail any particular social values, there are nevertheless distinct values that outspoken atheists can--and should--rally around!
October 10, 2007
Added The Free Will Defense Refuted and God's Existence Disproved (2007) by Raymond D. Bradley to the Alvin Plantinga page under Christian Apologetics and Apologists and the Logical Arguments from Evil page under Arguments for Atheism in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
In The Miracle of Theism and elsewhere John L. Mackie argued that the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, and wholly good God is logically imcompatible with the existence of evil, as God could have created persons who always freely choose the good. Alvin Plantinga responded with his famous Free Will Defense, in which he claimed that, under certain conditions, it was impossible for God to create a world containing no evil whatsoever. In this refutation, Raymond D. Bradley notes that these conditions--such as actualizing a world containing significantly free creatures or one in which all of God's creatures suffer from "transworld depravity"--were entirely up to God, in that he could have refrained from creating such a world. Since in virtue of his omniscience any such God would have known the consequences of creating the world that he did, he would bear command responsibility for all the evils that resulted from his creation--if he only existed in the first place. In other words, a morally perfect, omnipotent, and omniscient God does not now, and never did, exist.
Added Review of Reasonable Faith (2007) by Chris Hallquist to the William Lane Craig page under Christian Apologetics and Apologists, the Faith and Reason page, the Argument from Miracles page, and Resurrection page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
William Lane Craig's Reasonable Faith is an apologetics textbook ranging over arguments for the existence of God to the alleged evidence for the resurrection of Jesus. It also includes discussions of Craig's views on faith, the meaning of life, miracles, history, and Jesus' view of himself, as well as an original chapter on the reliability of the New Testament by evangelical New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg. In this critique Chris Hallquist argues that at best Reasonable Faith provides thoughtful arguments for the existence of some sort of God, but not the Christian God specifically, and that Craig fails to adequately answer arguments that belief in miracles--including belief in the miracle of Jesus' resurrection--is unwarranted. Moreover, by implication Craig wants his audience to renounce the basic moral notion that no one deserves eternal punishment for picking the wrong religion. In the end, Craig wants us to believe something that all reason is against, though paradoxically every apologetic assumes that we must take reason seriously. This is, ultimately, why Craig's apologetic fails.
October 3, 2007
Updated "Who Would Follow a Man from Galilee?," "Was Resurrection Deemed Impossible?," "Would Groupthinkers Never Switch Groups?," "Did No One Trust Women?," "How Successful Was Christianity?," and "Responses to Critics," Chapters 2, 3, 10, 11, 18, and 19 of Was Christianity Too Improbable to be False? (2006) by Richard Carrier.
Minor additions only. Added: supporting quotes from Arnobius and Xenophon and the example of Socrates to Chapter 2; supporting evidence and scholarship to existing footnotes in Chapter 3; a new final sentence and note relating the supporting remarks of Origen in Chapter 10; an additional scholarly source on women as synagogue leaders in Chapter 11; a handy reference to the Cambridge Ancient History in an existing footnote in Chapter 18; and folded existing endnote into the body of Chapter 19, adding a supporting source, and a mention of Chris Hallquist's recent analysis and Holding's new "book," and added a few new response categories (Christian Research?, The Word Pistis, and Biblical Epistemology).
October 1, 2007
New to Atheism? This month's selection: Which Religion Should I Believe?--Arguments from Confusion.
According to the argument from religious confusion, or problem of religious diversity, if God or some other supernatural being had the ability and desire to ensure that human beings understood the truth about such perennial matters, we would expect that being to reveal those truths widely and unequivocally. However, the existence of far-reaching religious confusion betrays the absence of any such revelation. Consequently, the existence of any such revelatory being--including God--is highly unlikely.
Book-of-the-Month: Everything You Know About God Is Wrong: The Disinformation Guide to Religion (2007) Russ Kick (editor)
In this new mega-anthology from best-selling editor Russ Kick, more than fifty writers, reporters, and researchers--some of them freethinkers or nonbelievers who reveal a decidedly atheistic perspective, including Richard Dawkins, and some of them believers seeking reform, justice, or a better understanding of various negative aspects of different religions--take an unrestrained look at the wild and wooly world of organized religious belief.