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September 30, 2023

Added Secular Ecstasy: Mystical States without the Supernatural (2023) by Sam Woolfe to the Psychology of Religion page and Religious Experience page under Arguments for the Existence of a God in the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

During a mystical experience, one’s awareness of the external world is greatly reduced and the focus is centered on the interior and spiritual awareness of an ostensibly divine presence, interpreted as God in the monotheistic traditions. Such experiences can be felt by many to be confirmation of a supernatural reality. Yet it is worth emphasizing that not everyone will eschew a naturalistic view of the world following such experiences. In this article Sam Woolfe explores the idea of “secular ecstasy,” an ecstatic experience of the “divine” without a belief in a mind-independent divinity—a meeting with a God who ceases to exist when the experience is finished. Woolfe argues that this marrying of a secular or atheistic worldview with mystical states is in no way contradictory, and that by respecting and integrating these aspects of secular ecstasy, an individual can deepen the sense of well-being felt in everyday life.

New in the Kiosk: Will No One Answer the Call? Update to the Open Letter to Bradley J. Lingo, Dean of the Regent University School of Law (2023) by Robert G. Miller

A month prior, retired lawyer Robert G. Miller challenged the Dean of the Regent University School of Law, or any legal apologist willing to take his place, to participate in a genuine adversarial debate with him emulating typical legal procedures, to be facilitated by Internet Infidels online. Since legal apologists regularly claim to be able to demonstrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead using legal argumentation, Miller’s aim was to put this assertion to the test. Sadly, however, despite efforts to reach out to various legal professionals directly, to date no legal apologist has agreed to Miller’s challenge. In this update, Miller informs readers of the next steps that he is mulling over in light of legal apologists’ failure to show up.

Recommended reading: Judaizing Jesus: How New Testament Scholars Created the Ecumenical Golem (2021) by Robert M. Price

The consensus view of biblical scholars that we must automatically adopt Second Temple Judaism as the paradigm in which to interpret or reconstruct the historical Jesus is often presented as self-evident, unquestionable, and beyond dispute. However, the promotion of the Jewish Jesus raises serious questions about whether this consensus is the product of theological and ecumenical agendas. In Judaizing Jesus, biblical scholar Robert M. Price challenges this trend and offers a menu of alternative ways of seeing Jesus: sacred king, cynic philosopher, Gnostic redeemer, and even the Buddha! Price ultimately proposes a new theory of Christian origins to explain how and why the first Christians themselves Judaized Jesus.