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January 31, 2013
Many believe Job is the most long-suffering human ever to have lived. If my theory of the Noah's Flood story is correct, that title may actually belong to Ham, Noah's youngest son. I discuss some of the problems with taking the Genesis 8 account literally and argue that confronting young-earth creationism is still an important activity.
January 22, 2013
Added Nonbelief and Hope (2013) by Ryan Stringer to the Can Life Have Meaning without God? page under Morality and Atheism, as well as the Atheistic Outreach page, in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.
Many people hold on to supernatural beliefs because they feel that certain psychological needs could not be met without them—in particular, they feel that they would not be able to have any hope without such beliefs. However, nonbelief need not be the "recipe for despair" that it is often assumed to be; in fact, not only can it leave ample room for hope, but it can help people hope in a realistic, psychologically healthy way when it comes to important things in life. Because nonbelievers can hope for most of the things that people generally hope for, dispelling the myth that nonbelief is a recipe for despair can go a long way toward making nonbelief psychologically acceptable to those who might otherwise resist it.
January 6, 2013
The incredible story of a criminally convicted shyster convincing his parents and friends that he is a living prophet seems to be explained by Smith's well-documented charisma. People liked him as they like con men, trusted him as they trust tricksters, but more than that, and this is a key difference, Smith managed to con himself.