What's New Archive ● 2008 ● May
What's New on the Secular Web?
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May 19, 2008
Updated a few statements about ancient science to be more precise in light of Dr. Carrier's doctoral research, but with no substantial effect on arguments.
May 14, 2008
Atheism Explained explores the claims made both for and against the existence of God. On the pro side: that the wonders of the world can only be explained by an intelligent creator; that the universe had to start somewhere; telepathy, out-of-body experiences, and other paranormal phenomena demonstrate the existence of a spirit world; and that those who experience God directly provide evidence as real as any physical finding. After disputing these arguments through calm, careful criticism, Steele presents the reasons why God cannot exist. Steele's rational, easy-to-understand prose helps readers form their own conclusions about this eternally thorny topic.
May 9, 2008
In his 2006 "Solution to the Jehu Problem," Leonard Jayawardena published a "solution" to the inconsistency in 2 Kings 10:30, which praised Jehu for having massacred the royal family of Israel at Jezreel, and Hosea 1:4, which pronounced a judgment of condemnation on the house of Jehu for "the blood of Jezreel." In 2004 Jayawardena was singing the praises of an entirely different "solution" to this discrepancy. This was the beginning of a debate between Jayawardena and myself on the Jehu "solution," in which Jayawardena was then hawking that he had figured out why there was no discrepancy in the views of Hosea and the author of 2 Kings on Jehu's massacre at Jezreel. His 2006 position is very different from his former one, but no less flawed than his original position.
May 8, 2008
"Historical theology has hitherto endeavoured to interpret tradition in the sense of its historical Jesus, and has lost its way in a labyrinth of difficulties, contradictions, and insoluble problems. We raise the question whether the documents may not be better and more simply interpreted in the opposite sense, and whether there is any need at all to interpret the tradition historically. On which side the truth is found cannot be determined by the starting point of the inquiry, but only by showing which interpretation best squares with the facts and which can be most easily established." - Arthur Drews
May 7, 2008
First published in 1910, The Christ Myth drew violent criticism from theologians, the press, and the public. Drawing on the late-eighteenth-century French philosophies and the more contemporary studies of Sir James Frazer and other cultural anthropologists, Eminent German philosopher Arthur Drews (1865-1935) argues that no basis exists for seeking a historical figure behind the Christ myth. Through a comparative study of ancient religions, Drews argues that Christianity is a syncretism of various pagan and Jewish beliefs, and that a strong pre-Christian cult of Jesus as son of God and messiah existed.
May 1, 2008
New in the Kiosk: Charles Darwin and the Evolution of the Human Mind (2008) by Dr. Khalid Sohail
"As time passes we become more and more aware of the contributions of Charles Darwin, not only in the world of biology but also in the disciplines of psychology and sociology. Darwin's book The Descent of Man is a goldmine of understanding, not only about the similarities and differences between animal and human minds but also about the different stages of the evolution of the human mind." - Khalid Sohail
The open, secular society is in retreat. From Washington to Rome to Tehran, religion is a public matter as never before, and secular values--personal autonomy, toleration, separation of religion and state, and freedom of conscience--are attacked on all sides and defended by few. The godly claim a monopoly on the language of morality in public debate, while secular liberals stand accused of standing for nothing. Secular liberals have undone themselves. For generations, too many have insisted that questions of conscience--religion, ethics, and values--are "private matters" that have no place in public debate. Dacey calls for a bold rethinking of the nature of conscience and its role in public life.