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October 31, 2022

Added Review of Eternal Life: A New Vision (2022) by Taylor Carr to the Conceptual Arguments section of the Life after Death/Immortality page in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

The fear of death has been a major struggle for human beings all throughout history, and we have found a variety of ways to cope with this uncomfortable fact. Our world religions are man-made institutions designed to give comfort from this fear in the form of purpose, meaning, and life that transcend death. Embracing these realizations, John Shelby Spong’s Eternal Life: A New Vision argues for the necessity of abandoning traditional theistic religion for the adoption of a more humanist, life-centered perspective. Nevertheless, Spong’s labels for numerous concepts are often pointless and sometimes even confused. If the divine is fully experiencing the human, why call it the divine in the first place? What stands to be gained from calling the totality of human experience, and the sense of transcendent unity, God? Carr sees this as merely an attempt to ease the transition out of a system which is already in the process of collapsing.

New in the Kiosk: Psychic Epistemology: The Special Pleading of William Lane Craig (2022) by John W. Loftus

In this paper John Loftus aims to expose the special pleading inherent in William Lane Craig’s psychic (or spirit-guided) epistemology. After questioning the need for apologetics and warning about the monumental challenges to it, Loftus urges Christian apologists to become honest life-long seekers of the truth, to get a good education in a good field of study, to accept nothing less than sufficient objective evidence, and especially to determine how to know which religion to defend. He then goes on to sharply contrast these recommendations with the modus operandi of today’s Christian apologists.

Recommended reading: The Jesus Cult: 2000 Years of the Last Days (2022) by Robert Connor

Christian apologists work hard to defend the resurrection of Jesus, despite the woefully poor descriptions of the supposed event in the New Testament. But there has been considerable pushback from secular writers and religious scholars who can live with a metaphorical understanding of the resurrection. The task of trying to cut through all of this clutter has been made easy by Robert Conner’s The Jesus Cult: 2000 Years of the Last Days. Conner incisively demonstrates that a crucial element in early Christian belief—the arrival of Jesus on the clouds any day now—is just plain wrong. He also pulls together the New Testament texts that show just how incoherent the resurrection stories are: no wonder the apologists have to work so hard. In his engaging conversational writing style, Conner also shows the ongoing damage—into our own times—that the Jesus cult causes. This book is a must-read, especially for Christians who may be curious enough about their faith to do at least a little due diligence.

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