Showing posts from December, 2010

Solving the Problem of Theodicy: Evil God Theory

Theodicy -- the vindication of divine providence in view of the existence of evil. Christians posit a Good God created everything, the universe, the world, and the birds and the bees, etc. But we distinctly live in a world with evil in it. There is injustice, great suffering, pain both physical and mental. The Problem of Evil is the whole reason that the theological consideration of theodicy becomes such a conundrum for Christians--because not only do they have to answer for the evil in the world, but they must also explain why a Good God would allow for it. Theologians do this in various ways, most frequently invoking free will as an excuse to bring about original sin and through sin the perishing of the world along with all the evils which come along with it. Yet this line of reasoning fails to account for the suffering of animals or that suffering which is caused by natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, mine shaft collapses, so on and so forth. Another common object

The Bible Geek Exegete!

One of my favorite theologians and biblical historians Bob Price does a wonderful podcast about NT Criticism. Price answers questions and emails about all things related to the Bible. It's very insightful, it packed full of information, and capture's Price's unique and quirky sense of humor as he addresses your concerns. Some of the best exegesis you'll find online by a professional scholar, so please, be sure to check it out! This weeks overview: Does Margaret Barker reject the JEDP theory? Does Minimalism undermine it? Did OT people believe in an afterlife? How about other Canaanites? Did NT era Jews keep genealogical records? Does the Bible really teach eternal punishment? Counter-cultural self-congratulations of self-styled radical Christians and why they vilify America. How could the ancient rabbis have canonized a scripture filled with various viewpoints and philosophies? Rabbi Tovia Singer's claim that only the LXX Pentateuch was translated by Jews,

A not so Christmassy X'Mas!

Here's the breakdown of my Christmas in Japan. It's more or less the same secular, non-Christian, holiday I've been celebrating for the last five years. It starts with a light show in Shobara, where the illuminations dazzles our weary eyes with twinkle lights. The frigid air nips at our cheeks and we retreat to a 400 year old Japanese styled tavern where we sit in a warm kotatsu (obviously a recent renovation from 400 years ago) although the actual pit fire rages on by the entrance. We eat a lovely zenzai (mochi rice dumplings in red sweet bean soup) which is a traditional winter food in Japan (i.e., think of hot chocolate). Christmas day we head to Amakusa (famous for the Christian revolt lead by Shiro Amakusa in 1638). There's your Christian part in my Christmas. While in Amakusa we stop off for lunch at a new seafood restaurant. It was about $15 dollars for an amazing Japanese style platter. Then we head to the boat, which has been sitting in the bay with a ru

Onus unto Proof

Religious people never cease to amaze me when it comes to their ability to reverse the burden of proof. But they must be careful not to make this mistake for a couple of reasons. First, it’s bad form when you’re involved in a dialectic which relies on formal logic to suddenly disregard the rules of logic in your favor simply to shift the burden of proof off you (even as you’re supposed to be defending your claim). Secondly, it’s a form of denial. “Oh yeah, well you can’t not prove that fairies at the bottom of my garden don’t not exist!” When faced with stubborn believers who think the onus is on the atheist to prove that [G]od *doesn’t exist, I think they’ve missed the point of the argument they are trying to make (which makes them look like they don’t actually know what they are talking about—which does not reflect well in their favor). You can’t make a positive claim (a claim which affirms something) then turn around and expect someone else to prove a negative (a claim which ha

Over 20,000 Page Views in One Year!!!

Happy Holidays everybody! As we are packing up to head home for winter vacation I just checked my page stats and found I had over 20,000 page views! That means I got an additional 10,000 page views in just a couple of months! Thanks for all your support and have a Merry X'Mas and Happy New Year!

The Implications of Ignosticism

The Implications of Ignosticism Often times I get asked what I think the best argument against God is, you know, other than the fact of not having any evidence. If you ask me, it boils down to a semiotics issue. The concept of God is so ill conceived that it only leads us to a form of theological non-cognitivism (e.g., ignosticism ).   Ignosticism is the position that all current definitions and conceptualizations of god are so multifarious, so habitually obscure, or so incomprehensible as to be impenetrable to human understanding as so no real knowledge can be had with regard to god’s true nature. Basically, since most god concepts frequently contradict or negate other rival definitions no one definition can be held as exclusively right. For example, although both Christians and Muslims believe in the God of Abraham, the Christian God having begot a son, which Christians believe is Jesus Christ, yet according to Muslims Allah does not beget sons. This contradiction clearly makes th

Two Times the Reading Pleasure (Book Update!)

As it happens I received some extremely helpful feedback from a couple of my manuscript readers. Each one offered the same advice, and so I knew it wasn't simply a coincidence. In each case the advice was basically this, "It seems as though you have two books in one. You might want to try separating the religious history from the atheist discussion and try making one or the other--or both--into independent books." After thinking it through I decided to do it, and after some cutting and pasting an entire new book emerged out of the larger bulk manuscript. This also streamlined my main themes in the I am Atheos book making it much more on point while giving the religious oriented piece a life of its own. Meanwhile, the second book has become my 'Why I am Not a Christian' explication. Thus I have chosen to simply title it Deconversion: Why I am Not a Christian. Here's the tentative cover for it.

The New Atheists: What Are They Good For?

The New Atheists What Are They Good For? “We are settlers in a cosmic wilderness. The world was not put here for us, and not all of it will ever prove amenable to us or to our scales of meaning. But we must carve out a moral space where our culture and civilization can live. We are part of Chaos, and we begin, little by little, to impose our own order and meaning upon it. There is no already-determined meaning somewhere else, in the mind of some God viewed as a kind of heavenly Bureau of Weights and Standards. Where else could meaning be but in the eye of the beholder? And that is in you. That is in me.” –Robert M. Price M any religious thinkers perceive disagreement as a denunciation of their beliefs. A brief survey of the backlash of Christians, and religious folk in general, to the New Atheist authors such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, Dan Dennett, and Victor Stenger reveals an overreaction disproportionate to the alleged offense of religious intoleranc