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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Questions About GOD: What Are They Good For?

After some considerable thought, I have come to the conclusion that questions like "Does God exist?" and "What is God?" are completely meaningless.

Having deconverted from Christianity in 2008 I got swept up in what is unfortunately called "The Great Debate." Immediately after my deconversion I entered into my anti-theist phase, and this is as I have come to understand a normal reaction of many of leaving an oppressive and controlling ideology. Anger and/or resentment is the natural reaction to realizing one has been manipulated and abused, and the realization only comes, most often, after a painful disillusionment.

At the time I deconverted the mislabel "New Atheism" which was not a new form of atheism but rather a resurgence of secular values, many of them hailing from the Golden Age of Freethought, in America and elsewhere. This resurgence was largely brought on by the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the concerns raised about how much an acquired or adopted religious ideology is capable of compelling one to bad conduct or detrimental beliefs.

This I have found to be the pertinent question that all too often gets pushed aside in the name of religious tollerance. People don't want to ask how much does my beliefs impact my thinking, my behavior, and the way I reason through problems? How do my beliefs, especially my inherited religious beliefs, compel me to think, act, and respond to the information I have? 

Questions such as "Does God Exist" are rather quite useless. As St. Thomas Aquinas once noted:

But because we are not capable of knowing what God is but only what He is not, we cannot contemplate how God is but only how He is not. (Summa Theologiae I, 3, prologue)

This is the ultimate in human knowledge of God: to know that we do not know God. (Quaestiones Disputatae de Potentia Dei, 7, 5, ad 14)

I guess the problem, as I see it, is that everyone who believes says God is like the elephant in the room. We can comprehend parts very dimly, but never can we comprehend the whole. I suppose the analogy is crude, because if Thomas Aquinas is correct, then we can only feel out the negative space and discern a vague form of what God might be like through recognition of what he's not. In other words, we can see what fills the space that isn't God, and rule it out.

That's a much more difficult way to go about detecting God.

In fact, it has led me to strongly feel there is no such thing as God. What inevitably happens is people who want to believe begin to fill in the negative space with their ideal God. 

They try to justify the beliefs they already have because they are the beliefs they desire to have. It has nothing to do with acknowledging the truth, just the desire to have one's beliefs be true. So one begins to rationalize why believing in God is reasonable, they seek out reasons to make their their beliefs feel justified regardless of whether or not those beliefs are ultimately true, and then they seek to defend these same beliefs for many of the reasons they have settled upon after the fact. But the defense of such beliefs is concerned with the questions like "Does God exist?" and "What is God?" and then lists the reasons to defend the validity of asking what I hold to be unimportant questions.

I cannot say with certainty there isn't a God. I just don't think it's a very important question to ask. If there is, fine. If not, also fine by me.

From my study of science and history, psychology and the great works of literature I am led to believe that God is mainly a fancy of human imagination. One that has, over time, grown into an elaborate and very real experience for many people, but an experience that I have decided merely reflects human desires, psychology, culture, and the social ties that bind these together into one communal religious experience.

I guess, in that sense God is a very real aspect of life for me, because people make him real. I think the need to be recognized, be loved, and feel secure in the face of a vast, nihilistic existence is what drives people to the inclination to desire a God in the first place.

I think people who are prone to want to love, or be loved, or who feel the is purpose to life beyond life itself all will be compelled toward that inclination.

People who want answers will also be happy to go in that direction.

But people who want truth, well, they must remain open minded. In fact, I think you'll find our intellectual honesty depends upon it.

God may exist. I don't find the question pertinent, but interesting. I am fascinating by people's social and cultural ties with the concept of God. 

This is why I find the more pressing concern should be with asking how do the beliefs I hold, and the beliefs of others, compel or influence our actions, choices, and capacity to reason? 

Likewise, what biases do we innately have? What does it mean if someone believes differently that us? What if we find there is an ideology which consistently compels bad behavior and instructs its followers to disregard the safety, freedoms, and well-being of others?  

This is the conversation we should be having. Not what it takes to believe something, but how the quality of beliefs we prescribe to influence and guide us. 

I suppose this is another reason I have been blogging less, aside from my aforementioned book contracts, I think having grown out of my anti-theist phase of moving beyond an absence of faith the things that fascinates me most about religion are the social, psychological, and cultural components. The theology, not so much. Instead, how believing in this or that theology, in this or that belief, influences us and to what ends.

At any rate, I just wanted to put this out there as a kind of aside. I no longer feel the need to criticize religion as much as I once did. Although, that's not to say criticism of bad or fallacious ideologies isn't sometimes necessary. It's just that I think there are better questions to be asking, to be preoccupying our time with, than the so-called "Great Debate." In the future think I will devote more time to investigating and discussing the social, psychological, and cultural components of not only religious belief but belief in general, and how it ultimately influences and guides us.

Until then, I remain yours truly,

The Advocatus Atheist

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Over 500,000 PAGE VIEWS!!!! WHHHAAAAT?! This is NOT the End!!!

It seems that running a blog, which takes time and energy, is rather difficult to do when these isn't anyway to finance the time one spends writing what one likes to write about. This inevitably causes delays in publishing fresh content.

My brothers-in-blog Mike D. and Bud Uzoras at the A-Unicornist and Dead-Logic respectively, have taken indefinite hiatuses from their regular blog publishing schedules. I was going to try and buck the trend by sticking around like a sore thumb, but then something strangely peculiar yet wonderfully amazing happened.

I got signed to a 12 book deal with Permuted Press and their bran spanking new new imprint Winlock Press.

No, no. You read that right. A 12 book deal! I am beside myself, because being picked up by a competitive press with the output and quality, not to mention industry reputation, that Permuted Press has and to be part of a new publishing push to get more Indy authors into the mainstream publishing world just makes me ecstatic beyond belief.

I have to give a special thanks to the lovely Monique Happy who now heads Winlock Press and who made it all happen for me. She is one great lady!

But I hope you know what this means. It means that, although this is NOT the end of The Advocatus Atheist, it does mean that I probably won't publish regularly. I say that fresh off the heels of hitting a milestone of over half a million page views! So I obviously am not throwing in the towel. 

Just don't expect weekly or even monthly updates. But stick around. Enjoy the archives. And if you want to keep track of my other published works, make sure you add my official author page to your favorites list:

I still have the Swedish Fish book coming out in the near future, and I probably will be doing more self published works alongside my contract work, but the contract work takes president over everything, including this blog, because it pays the checks.

Additionally, I have a new son, and babies eat up a lot of energy, time, and money too. So blogging just becomes less and less feasible. It makes me sad, because I love this blog. I love adding my two cents to the public discourse and providing valuable social commentary (I'm sure). But, it doesn't pay the bills. 

Also, my dream of writing full time won't be achieved if I sit around blogging all day. So getting to work on the 12 novels I've been signed to do is what I will be focusing on from here on out.

I just felt that I should let you all know, since you know, it takes some real loyal readers to get to 500,000 freakin page views. So thank you, all!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

8 Questions I'd Ask God: If He Existed

8 Questions I'd Ask God: If He Existed

1. What's with man-nipples? Are they for just in case we got captured by Amazonian warrior women and needed to blend in so that we could make our great escape? I bet that's it. Really, there's no other reason for them.

2. What's the deal with Salmon's reproduction? You make them so they have to swim up stream, leap up freakin' waterfalls, only to lay all their eggs and die. Some kind of sick and twisted joke perhaps? 

3. What's your obsession with beetles, bugs, parasites, viruses, and bacteria? I mean, sure, they're neat and all, but if it's the human soul you are concerned with, what's this obsession with insects and the like? Just a weird hobby, perhaps?

4. Why did it take six to seven days to create the world? If you're all powerful it should have been a cinch, right? Didn't get it right the first time maybe? Had to make a few corrections perhaps?

5. What's with all the ugly people? There are over 7 billion people on the planet and most of them are ugos. I mean, no offense, if that's your thing. I know beauty is only skin deep, in the eye of the beholder and all that, but it seems to me if you were a wise creator then you would have made everyone physically attractive so that ugly people wouldn't be hurt by so much rejection and beautiful people would have no teason to be so vain.

6. If 90% of scientists and philosophers don't believe in you and go to hell (what's up with that anyway?) then what does that say about the quality of people you like to hang out with when you segregate 90% of the worlds intellectuals, thinkers, inventors, men of words and science. Afraid of the competition, maybe?

7. Couldn't have made a few other planets closer by for us to travel too? Have to make everything so freakin far that we'd have to rely on the aforementioned brilliant minds to get us there? Is that why you send most of the worlds population to hell? You simply don't want us to spread to the stars and become godlike in our own right? 

8. Why create sin, knowing people will sin, then damn them for it? Why not accept the fact that people sin, learn to forgive and forget, and let bygones be? It seems most of us do just fine without you--namely every culture, every race, every group of humans that haven't believed or have believed in the wrong gods throughout all history--and so you're going to trim down your chosen few to even fewer? To people who can't think, are scientifically ignorant, and who only want to pray to the sky all day? I have my reservations on such a fetish, but to each his own, I suppose.


9. Does it bother you that science can answer all of these questions, from social behavior of humans and animals, to the universe, to the proliferation of insects (including beetles) and, yes, even man nipples but you can't? 

10: I'm not even going to ask you for a sign that you exist, because it's clearly obvious that you don't. 

Sorry, that last one was more of a statement really. But oh, well. The brevity was worth it.


To the believer who rightly informs me that I am merely critiquing the simplistic, iron-aged, conceptualization of a Creator God and not the theologically superior God of all things, that winked the universe into being ex nihilo and that willed evolution via natural selection to be the engine of his wondrous variety of life, I only have this question to ask: What's the use of a God that hides behind the veil of nature, that makes himself undetectable, and in all likelihood irrelevant? It seems that such a God would be a rather useless kind of deity. 

Of course, if your answer is that God wanted a personal relationship with us, please try again. It's obvious that if the majority of the people who ever lived and died didn't believe in your God, well, then he wasn't a very important God and he certainty didn't demonstrate he wanted a relationship with all those (in the billions) who died not believing. 

For that matter, why are there atheists? 

Do you really think all nonbelievers are rebel sinners? Hedonistic, do what they want, rotten to the core people who are simply in defiance of God? If that's what you think, you need to get out more. Make a few friends. And open your eyes to the great and hard working humanists out there who do so much good without believing in God. Ever hear of Doctors Without Borders? 

If you still think my objections are juvenile and ill conceived, just know that I was a devout believer for three long decades. Maybe it's not a rhetorical jab of acerbic criticism I am dolling out, maybe it is the hard to handle conclusion after years of deep and reflective thought on the subject. 

If you still don't think my questions are all that worth bothering about, that's fine. Best not to think about it too much. Speaking from experience, that's one of the best ways to become an atheist. 


Saturday, October 4, 2014

On the Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, and Sam Harris Debate: Some Thoughts

I hunted down a longer clip of the heated debate that occurred on the Bill Maher show between Ben Affleck, Sam Harris, and Maher. If you haven't seen it, watch the longer version here before reading my own thoughts.

After giving it some thought, I think it was a big example of miscommunication on top of talking past one another.

Affleck wasn't wrong about Maher and Harris painting all of Islam with a broad stroke. They are guilty of this virtually every time they open their mouths. But in this case I think Sam Harris made a more than valid point that just went over Ben's head.

Harris' point about the number of Muslim practitioners estimated at around 1.6 billion adherents and the fact that 20% of Islam is practiced by legalistic, fundamentalist Muslims, and a fraction of that percentage being a radical element, means that there are over 200 million Muslims who believe in the literal interpretation of the Koran and Islam's core tenets, which include calling for the death of apostates, gays, and non-believers who will not convert by force.

On a second viewing I finally got what Affleck intended by his "Shifty-Jew" analogy. He was basically claiming that Maher and Harris were guilty of making a genetic fallacy. That because all Muslims are Islamic then they all must be Islamic radicals because all Islamic radical are Muslim.

But I don't actually think that's what Harris had in mind, which is the point they began talking past each other.

Harris was simply concerned with the bad ideologies present in the religion of Islam which statistics show 200 million people take literally. Contrary to what Ben Affleck thought, Harris wasn't making a genetic fallacy. If there is any doubt as to the issue, Jerry Coyne over at his blog Why Evolution is True shares some depressing statistics with regard to current trends and attitudes within Islamic countries.

At the same time, I have to say this debate is just another reason that I have recently come to feel Sam Harris is not a good platform speaker, and in my opinion a little thick-skulled. He simply throws out statistics and broad generalizations and neglects to actually *listen* to his opponent's criticisms.

If Sam would have simply told Ben that he was concerned predominantly with the 200 million fundamentalist Muslims, not a small number mind you, and not the moderate majority of Muslims overall (as it seemed at first) then Ben would have probably backed off sooner. But as it turns out, Harris just sticks to his guns, and keeps forcing the same point home again, only clarifying later when it's already too late, doing nothing to diffuse the earlier confusion regarding his criticism.

Sam's telling Ben that he (Ben) didn't understand his (Sam's) argument on national television was plainly rude. It made me lose a little respect for Harris, whose slip up revealed his passive-aggressive calm demeanor to be little more than an act, pointing to the fact that he is just as worthy of an actor as Ben Affleck is. 

It was clear to me too that Ben didn't quite get the criticism, but pointing it out toward the end of the argument just to get the last word in seemed to me a little crass. You don't understand my argument, so your prior criticism isn't valid, you goddamn idiot Ben!, Sam seemed to be saying.

But Ben Affleck's previous criticism, although missing the side of the barn, is not a bad point and it is one worth making (perhaps at a more appropriate time in a similar debate).

Many Muslims do get painted with too broad a brush, especially by intellectual liberals like Harris and Maher who refuse to back down from their ideological position so adamantly that you'd be forgiven for mistaking them for ideologues instead of genuine critical thinkers.

Ben's comment that we shouldn't bunch Muslim women into the radical, fanatic Jihadist category if they are of the peaceful Muslim majority who just want to go to school and eat sandwiches, was a good point.

At the same time, Harris' point that Islam is the mother-load of bad ideas isn't entirely wrong either. Well, it's a bit poorly stated, but his point that Islam contains a disproportionate number of sinister and pernicious teachings as compared to the good ones is apparent to anyone who has ever read the Koran or listened to the teachings contained in the hadith.

There is indeed a wealth, or mother-load, of bad teachings and ideas for modern Muslims to contend with, but this is mainly due to the fact that the Koran, like the Bible, is a man-made text written in a ignorant and warring age by men who held what we consider today to be archaic and outmoded views.

The fact that many Muslims will undeniably cite the Koran, just as Christians do their Bible, as a guiding moral source goes all the way back to one of Harris' most scathing quotes about the Bible probably being the world's worst sources for morality humanity has ever invented, if we didn't also have the Koran, that is.

As for the debate on the term Islamaphobe, I think this should have been the key focus of this particular discussion.

I agree with Sam that the term Islamaphobe gets bandied about needlessly. Also, to call people genuinely fearful of the threat of violent and extremist elements of Islam "Islamaphobes" is like calling a person with a petrifying fear of spiders an "Aarachnophobe." In other words, the term accurately reflects a very real fear, even if that fear isn't always entirely rational.

The problem is, the term Islamaphobe has become a dirty catch-all word to silence any detractors of Islam who would seek to offer widespread criticism for Islam's more pernicious tenets. So the broad brush strokes are being painted on both sides of the canvas here.

At the same time, this doesn't mean their aren't racist or bigoted attitudes which exist with regard to Muslims and what they believe. There are. And many do fit the negative definition of Islamaphobe, just as many fit the catch-all phrase homophobe, for their intolerant and bigoted views of homosexuals and gay rights.

The key difference, however, I would point out is that there isn't an underlying homosexual ideology that calls for the conversion or death of all non-homosexuals and seeks to impose violence on anyone who disrespect the holy gay pride rainbow. Such a vocal minority, however, does exist within mainstream Islam. So the term Islamaphobe is muddied by the fact that both intolerant bigots and genuinely fearful people exist with regard to the Islamic religion.

All this is just to say there do exist valid reasons to fear certain aspects and interpretations of Islam.

But this discussion didn't happen. Instead, Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, and Sam Harris simply had a ball talking past each other and not taking the adequate amount of time to listen to what the other side was trying to say. It was a perfect display of the religious debate being interrupted by overly domineering personalities that, although well meaning, failed to comprehend the most important part of any debate--understanding the other side's position.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Story of a Teen Who Humped a Jesus Statue in the Face: Or Why Legally Punishing Someone for a Non-Crime IS Criminal

Channel 6 WJAC news in Pennsylvania has reported the follow up to the Pennsylvania teen who was earlier charged with criminal misconduct based on an obscure PA law and threatened with up to 2 years in prison for doing nothing more criminal than posing in front of a Jesus statue.

The poses were sexual in nature, sure, but this lewd act done in jest was quicly forgiven by the party offended. It was only the radical religionist district attorney Bill Higgins that decided to mount a holy crusade against what he perceives as a ideological war of 'us vs. them' and theist vs. atheist.

I have talked to Mr. Higgins personally and I have come to the rational minded conclusion that Mr. Higgins isn't, in fact, in his rational mind. He is quite delusional. 

I am going to analyse the comments he made as reported by WJAC Channel 6 news on the court ruling along with my own personal commentary.

First off, Higgins is not wrong, there is an ideological war being waged, but I'm afraid it's being wage by theocratic bullies like him who wish to impose his religious belief system on others regardless of what the law may state, obvious by his startling and complete disregard for the First Amendment.

Channel 6 WJAC reports as to the final sentence of the teenager:

The boy was admitted into juvenile diversionary program after being charged with desecration of a venerated object stemming. He posted a picture of himself performing lewd acts on a statue of Jesus Christ that was outside the Love in the Name of Christ church in Everett on July 20.

The boy appeared before Judge Thomas Ling and agreed to a consent decree signed by all parties involved, including the boy, his mother and his attorney, Karen Hickey. The boy must not use social media during a six-month probation period as well as perform 350 hours of community service.

Among the other punishments, he must obey a curfew of 10 p.m., no alcohol or other controlled substances monitored by random drug testing and stay in school.

District Attorney Bill Higgins presented the decree to the court.

After accepting the agreement and while settling the number of community service hours, Judge Ling focused on the religious rights of Love in the Name of Christ, noting that the juvenile’s actions infringed upon their rights to practice their faith. Upon successful completion of these terms and conditions, his case will be dismissed and the juvenile will have no criminal record.

This should frighten anyone within their right mind, because it shows that an unconstitutional law put into the hands of overly religious zealots can be used to inflict an unjust tyranny upon the populace. 

Bill Higgins is a theocratic bully, because he is making a scapegoat out of a legal minor to serve a not so subtle religious agenda. Mr. Higgins should really try to pick on somebody his own size. But instead he is contended to shoot fish in a barrel. I think this tells us all we need to know about the character of Bill Higgins.

The problem is, I'm afraid, that Higgins holy crusade reflects the very lack of empathy, compassion, and understanding that most theocratic societies lack. This should come as no surprise, but it is no less disconcerting.

Notice that the teenager has been banned from using social media. On the surface, this appears like a trivial sentencing, no big deal. In fact, it is the punishment most concerned parents would administer to their own rebellious children if they caught them doing something like the teen did in this case. But such a notion would be wrong. Unlike a concerned parent's punishment this punishment is a legally binding sentence as part of the boys parole.

It's not simply an act of stern parenting, it is the legal imposition onto the boy's daily habits and choices as a free citizen. If he even gets caught using social media once in what appears to be an abnormally long period of banishment (a full half-year? Really?) the incident would risk becoming criminal and therefore give the zealot Bill Higgins all the incentive he needed to legally charge the teen with a criminal misconduct thereby placing a black mark on the boys permanent criminal record.

Needless to say, the conditions set--done so rather arbitrarily I might add (a full half-year? What's the logic behind that?) could lead to sentencing the teen to a stricter sentence if he fails to adhere to all the conditions of the sentence. 

First off, this is not okay. 

Second of all, banning a kid from social media is like banning a kid from video games and hanging out with his friends. Does Bill Higgins seriously think that is a realistic or even worthy punishment? If so, Bill Higgins has more to worry about than just his total lack of empathy.

Thirdly, does it not bother people that the judge seems equally brainwashed here? How does what the boy did infringe upon the religious group Love in the Name of Christ's right to practice their faith? 

What the boy did was symbolic of something else, and there didn't seem to be any malicious intent directed at the Name of Christ organization, which is why they dropped all charges.

Yet this teenager is facing strict punishment and legally binding parole?

Do we need any more proof that America is a theocracy? How can this even come to pass?

Well, it requires a legal understanding of very specific laws. If it wasn't for Bill Higgins legal knowledge, or the fact that he practices law in Pennsylvania, this case wouldn't even be a case.

You see, most states do not have such laws because they recognize them as unconstitutional if not completely outmoded. Additionally, even if such laws exist on the books, they tend to be ignored because they are recognized as either unconstitutional or completely outmoded.

Unless you happen to live in Pennsylvania, that is, which has too many old blowhards in top authority positions who also happen to be right wing fanatics who care more about witch hunts than they do protecting the legal rights of the citizenry. How is punishing this boy protecting the legal rights of Christians? It's almost as if Bill Higgins and Justice North (please don't pardon this intentional slip) believe that Christians being offended is a crime worth legally punishing.

If so, then they clearly have their work cut out for them, because offending people's feelings is only criminal in the most backwards of countries where theocracy reigns supreme. I find it rather telling that Bill Higgins doesn't beat around the bush to which version of America he fantasizes about living in--and to which he will go through extreme measures to ensure becomes the great land of intolerance and hypersensitivity which much of the Islamic nations have become and in which their people must constantly endure the fear of statewide retaliation to their mere thoughts and opinions, because in a theocracy, every little offense matters.  

This is cause for concern.

In the article Bill Higgins is reported as saying:

"I know that there are many groups that say this case is about religious rights, and quite frankly, they are right. But it is the religious rights of the Christian organization that owns the statue and has placed it for display on their private property that have been implicated. They have every right to practice their faith unmolested. In American, we all enjoy the right to freedom of expression and the freedom to practice our religious beliefs without interference, but that right ends where those same rights of another begin."
Bill Higgins is guilty of not only favoritism, by his own admission no less, but the fact that he views this as a holy crusade and has admitted as much--just so you know I wasn't being hyperbolic in my choice of words. 

Second of all, the teenager did not molest any Christians who were practicing their faith. He molested an inanimate object when no Christians were around. That is a key difference which shouldn't go overlooked.

Further, this so-called molestation (I say so-called because the statue never complained any--and it does look like that particular Jesus was begging for it) only was discovered online after the fact. So the only people who could feel molested were those who confused seeing something mildly offensive as obscene and then condemning it as pornography and then going about finding some obscure anti-pornography law to punish the teen after the fact.

All this is troubling, to say the least.  

Perhaps more obscene, however, is the amount of time, energy and money Bill Higgins has devoted to specifically wasting the time, energy and money of others. The channel 6 WJAC article goes on to report Higgins as having said:

“As I have previously noted, Facebook and street corners are not the proper place to resolve constitutional issues, and while there has been a whole lot of name calling, character assassination and threats of retaliation, there has been no effort by any of these advocacy groups to actually challenge the constitutionality of the statute in question through the legal process.” 

A couple of things.

Since this is an obscure state law then only those who reside in Pennsylvania have any legal authority to challenge the law, unless of course, for some reason, the case were taken to the Supreme Court in which case the Supreme Court would decide the constitutionality of the law, not the people of Pennsylvania. 

Furthermore, since this entire incident was found out about via Facebook it is hypocritical in the extreme to say that Facebook is not the place to resolve constitutional issues when you, in fact, are doing just that. Bill Higgins proves that he not only thinks people are dumber than he is, he also reveals himself to be the worst kind of hypocrite. But Higgins isn't done wowing us with his crass disregard for others quite yet. He goes on to inform:

“He is a 14-year-old boy with the potential to have a bright future. I am confident that if he applies himself, he can put this matter behind him and become a productive citizen.”

Apparently Mr. Higgins has appointed himself supreme dictator of what constitutes a productive citizen.

Never mind the fact that the teen may very well already be a worthy and productive citizen. It's just that, well, he did that one thing that one time that somebody didn't like.

And for that, a sea of endless troubles.

As a concerned citizen of the United States, if I were to offer Mr. Higgins any advice, it would be to get a life and stop wasting everyone else's time. We might also hope that he'd grow a conscience while he was at it. Although short of a genuine miracle, that doesn't seem very likely. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Bibliography Update! The Swedish Fish: Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbits Foot: Answering Christian Apologetics

It's crunch time as I near the end of my second wave of editing before the book goes out for eyes to see, then more editing. After ten months of research, I feel it has progressed quite well, and so I share with you and updated bibliography to the book. Since I have six more chapters to edit, the bibliography may expand a little more depending on whether or not I need to cite any more sources, but this is a good look at what the final Bibliography will look like. 

You may also notice that I don't cite any websites (unless they are an online journal). I chose to keep all my online references contained to in-text bibliographical material, so the links are contained in the footnotes rather than collected at the end. 

I know many books these days tend to have a special bibliographies dedicate to just the web-sources, but seeing as that is about half my citations it would run at least as long as the full bibliography, which would be too long, so I've opted to keep them in the footnotes only. 

You may see the final bibliography in the published version of the book once it is released. With that said, enjoy the extended bibliography! 

The Swedish Fish: Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbits Foot: Answering Christian Apologetics


Avalos, Hector. The End of Biblical Studies. New York, NY: Prometheus Books, 2007.

Ayer, A. J. Language, Truth, and Logic. New York: Dover Publications, 1952.

Barrett, Jeffrey A. PSA 2000: Proceedings of the 2000 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Chicago, IL: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002.

Bennett, Bo. Logically Fallacious: The Ultimate Collection of over 300 Logical Fallacies. Sudbury:, 2012.

Benson, Herbert Et Al. "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Patients: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Uncertainty and Certainty of Receiving Intercessory Prayer." American Heart Journal 151, no. 4 (May 5, 2005): 934-42. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2005.05.028.

Bering, Jesse. The Belief Instinct. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.

Blake, William. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: In Full Color. New York: Dover Publications, 1994.

Boghossian, Paul Artin. Fear of Knowledge: Against Relativism and Constructivism. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2006.

Bonanno, Anthony.Archaeology and Fertility Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean: Papers... First International Conference on Archaeology of the Ancient Mediterranean, the University of Malta, Sept. 1985. Amsterdam: B. R. Gruner, 1986

Bowie, Fiona. The Anthropology of Religion: An Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2006.

Boyer, Pascal. Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. New York: Basic Books, 2001.

Byrne, Rhonda. The Secret. New York: Atria Books, 2006.

Carrier, Richard. Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn’t Need a Miracle to Succeed. United States?:, 2009.

Carroll, Sean. From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. New York: Dutton, 2010.

Clifford, William Kingdon, William James, and A. J. Burger. The Ethics of Belief: Essays by William Kingdon Clifford, William James, A. J. Burger. Scotts Valley, CA: CreateSpace, 2008.

Cooper-White, Macrina. "People Who Believe In Hell Tend To Be Less Happy, New Survey Shows." The Huffington Post. February 25, 2014. Accessed March 19, 2014.

Corriveau, Kathleen H., Eva E. Chen, and Paul L. Harris. “Judgments About Fact and by Children from Religious and Nonreligious Backgrounds.” Cognitive science 38, no. 5 (July 3, 2014):  doi: 10.1111/cogs.12138.

Cox, Brian, and J. R. Forshaw. The Quantum Universe: (and Why Anything That Can Happen, Does). Boston: Da Capo Press, 2012.

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Advocatus Athesit

Advocatus Athesit