Posts Tagged ‘ Apologetics ’

Yes and no, and then again maybe

Mar 19th, 2012 3:36 pm | By

Some people want to have all the things – religion and science, belief and doubt, props for being thoughtful and admiration for being Deeply Spiritual.

Do you struggle with doubt & questions despite your best intentions? What does it mean about someone if he or she admits to both embracing “belief” and “doubt?” How does science impact your thoughts on this issue?  For this Lent we are asking people to go into potentially dangerous (but also liberating) territory, to ask the hard questions about their faith. After all, doesn’t this season of Lent ask us to identify with the struggles of Jesus, including his expressions of doubt in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross?

So during this Lent

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Will he never arrive?

Feb 26th, 2012 10:40 am | By

Via Ericmore of Julian’s interminable Heathen’s Progress. This one is about tone: not just the tone that “new atheists” use but the allegation that they (we) are tone deaf to religion. Religion is comparable to poetry and pop music. Some people don’t “get” poetry, or pop music, or both. They can’t say anything interesting about either one, because they don’t get them. They’re tone deaf to them. It’s the same with religion.

Right, except that it isn’t. Poetry doesn’t tell everyone what to do. Poetry doesn’t have a billion or more “members” or “believers” or other kinds of belongers. Poetry doesn’t have dogma. Poetry doesn’t have a single “sacred” book that many believers take as god-inspired or … Read the rest

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Spot the agenda

Jan 24th, 2012 10:33 am | By

The letter to the Guardian cited a survey.

“Muslims deserve a better press than they have been given in the past decade.” And according to a recent ComRes poll, one in three people in Britain today believe that the media is responsible for “whipping up a climate of fear of Islam in the UK”.

The letter calls it a ComRes poll, but that’s just a brand name. What it really is is an Ahmadiyya Muslim Association survey, and to be exact, it’s an Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK Islamophobia Survey. It’s not an impartial bit of research, it’s an agenda-driven poll.

The poll was commissioned by one of the UK’s oldest Muslim groups, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, in order

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These crimes happen everywhere in the world

Jan 20th, 2012 10:26 am | By

Speaking of “Islamophobia,” as we were, we can always count on the Guardian for lashings of Islamophilia. David Shariatmadari tells us the University of East Anglia is going to set everyone straight on women, Islam, and the media. I bet you can figure out what’s coming.

Women, Islam and the media are topics often found in close conjunction, and not always in the happiest of circumstances. So in a canny move, the University of East Anglia (UEA), which often gives better-known institutions a run for their money in terms of column inches, has developed a course entitled exactly that.

The 12-week module, which the university claims is the first of its kind in the UK, will cover the

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You did ask

Dec 23rd, 2011 11:32 am | By

I was asked what I think of the quotes from the NO God Blog and Al Stefanelli quoted in Chris Stedman’s most recent Letter to the Atheists. Ok; what I think.

The first one is from a post titled “A Point was missed” on what appears to be a blog on the website of American Atheists. It’s not signed. It’s short. It’s dated April 29, 2010. It seems about as random, as an “example” of anything, as one could get. The bit quoted is very badly and stupidly worded; no disagreement there; but so what? I don’t even know who wrote it. I certainly don’t take it as representative of anything. It’s nearly two years old. What on earth … Read the rest

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Heads we win, tails we win

Dec 13th, 2011 12:49 pm | By

Another vulture licks his filthy chops and suggests that Hitchens may be about to convert to Christianity.

Perhaps Hitchens’s admission that Nietzsche might have been wrong, even about  something small, will lead him to a healthy curiosity about Christianity. Up  until now, Hitchens has had nothing but bile for Christianity and all religion — including the religion of Marxism, which Hitchens, a former leftist, eventually  admitted could not survive “the onslaught of reality.” But Hitchens’s attacks on  religion were always propelled by the kind of fury that one usually finds in  zealots and former believers; it’s always the ex-Catholics (Maureen Dowd, etc.)  who are the hardest on the Church.

Not a bit of it. There are plenty of us … Read the rest

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Religion is about literal doctrines after all

Dec 12th, 2011 10:07 am | By

So after weeks of heavy breathing, Julian’s Heathen’s Progress arrives at what we already knew – that believers actually do believe the tenets of their religion.

So what is the headline finding? It is that whatever some might say about religion being more about practice than belief, more praxis than dogma, more about the moral insight of mythos than the factual claims of logos, the vast majority of churchgoing Christians appear to believe orthodox doctrine at pretty much face value. They believe that Jesus is divine, not simply an exceptional human being; that his resurrection was a real, bodily one; that he performed miracles no human being ever could; that he needed to die on the cross so that

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BioLogos snares an MIT physicist

Dec 9th, 2011 9:59 am | By

Via Sigmund at WEIT, an MIT physicist offers part 1 of a series on “scientism.” Yes really, an MIT physicist. I know, I know.

He (Ian Hutchinson) gives the gist in the first para.

One of the most visible conflicts in current culture is between  “scientism” and religion. Because religious knowledge differs from scientific knowledge, scientism claims (or at least assumes) that it must therefore be inferior. However, there are many other important beliefs, secular as well as religious, which are justified and rational, but not scientific, and therefore marginalized by scientism. And if that is so, then scientism is a ghastly intellectual mistake.

Notice that he carefully leaves out the “true” in “justified true beliefs” – the standard … Read the rest

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Scraping the barrel

Oct 24th, 2011 4:14 pm | By

Some fella says Richard Dawkins is bad and stupid and cynical and anti-intellectual because he refuses to debate William Lane Craig.


Well not the bad and stupid part, no, that’s my paraphrase, but it’s not far off; and the rest of it, yes, really.

Richard Dawkins is not alone in his refusal to debate with William Lane Craig. The vice-president of the British Humanist Association (BHA), AC Grayling has also flatly refused to debate Craig, stating that he would rather debate “the existence of fairies and water-nymphs”.

Yes, and? Are they required (morally though not legally) to debate anyone who asks? Are they not allowed to choose?

Given that there isn’t much in the way of serious argumentation

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Higher bullshitting

Oct 13th, 2011 1:02 pm | By

Andrew Sullivan thinks “militant atheists” have an excessively crude epistemology. (Via WEIT)

First he tells us how his works.

As to Coyne’s challenge to present a criterion of what is real in the Bible and what is true, I’d argue that empirical claims -   like, say, a census around the time of Christ’s birth, or the rule of Pontius Pilate in Palestine at the time – can be tested empirically. But the Gospels themselves have factually contradictory Nativity and Crucifixion stories…and so scream that these are ways to express something inexpressible – God’s entrance into human history as a human being.

If you are treating these texts as if they were just published as news stories in the

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Lulu is right

Oct 1st, 2011 9:54 am | By

I read a very fun item yesterday, thanks to a reader who sent me the link. It’s on a site called, with disarming simplicity, Atheism is False. It has a long list of names under the title “Answering Critics”; I look forward to reading each one, because they should be entertaining. ”Answering Critics” is an oddly misleading title, since it implies that each item actually answers critics when in fact, judging by the one I’ve read so far, each item disagrees with people who wrote something that has nothing to do with Atheism is False or its author, David Reuben Stone. The one I’ve read so far is about Me, and my essay in 50 Voices of Disbelief. Read the rest

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If they retain their appearance

Sep 24th, 2011 11:36 am | By

And another thing. This transubstantiation nonsense – another thing about it is that it’s a teaching.

Transubstantiation is the teaching that during the Mass, at the consecration in the Lord’s Supper (Communion), the elements of the Eucharist, bread and wine, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus and that they are no longer bread and wine, but only retain their appearance of bread and wine.

What I wonder is, how do they know the teaching is right? If the bread and wine retain their appearance then who actually knows that they are in fact the actual body and blood of Jesus, and how do those people know it?

I don’t see how there can be any … Read the rest

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Many people of faith are filled with doubts

Sep 24th, 2011 9:57 am | By

An amusing passage in the conversation between Dawkins and Odone in the Guardian:

CO: I’m a Catholic and my husband is an Anglican, and transubstantiation is an issue between us. Do I want my daughter to take up my Catholic beliefs? Yes I do. Do I believe my beliefs are superior in any way to his? Yes I do. But do I want to teach her that mine is the only way? No I don’t. What I want her to feel is that there are some beautiful principles in all religions. In your new book you say scientists cheerfully admit they don’t know, “cheerfully” because not knowing the answer is exciting. What’s so funny is that I feel about

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