Showing posts from January, 2014

The Impotence of Prayer Demonstrated

I have a good friend who is a Christian. He's a really cool guy and he's currently getting a degree in theology. Recently he posted about a relative whose husband was having some medical issues. The first post went like this: As you can see, my friend is truly a believer. An otherwise half-assed Christian wouldn't go into fasting and prayer if they didn't truly believe in it. His conviction is commendable, and I feel he truly believes that the praying and fasting will help. So convinced is he, in fact, that he is practically certain that God can and will work wonders, and he sounds optimistic. After all, for the believer, anything is possible with God on your side. The sad part is however... Perhaps sadder than the earnest prayers of my friend, his family members, his friends, and his church (who all left dozens of "I'm praying for him" posts) not working is the fact that, even after this immense failure of prayer, their reaction is to

God and Transcendence: A Different Approach to the Problem of DivineHiddeness

I wrote to a good friend of mine who I grew up with, went to school with, and who has subsequently become a Catholic priest with a PhD in theology. He's a great guy. Kind. Brilliant. And he found my question worthy enough to pass on to a fellow theologian. We discussed it, and after a few email exchanges, I still am not clear there is a satisfactory answer to be found. Basically, what the problem amounts to is, in a broad sense, a problem of description vs. attribution. My argument goes like this. 1. God (according to theologians) is transcendent. 2. God (according to theologians) is love. 3. If God is transcendent he is outside of, or beyond, reality. 4. Love, as we understand it, must be a part of reality or we cannot experience it. 5. Therefore if God is transcendent, God cannot be love. Likewise... 1. If the true nature of God (according to theologians) is love 2. Love, as we understand it, must be a part of reality or we cannot experience

Quote of the Day: Baron d'Holbach

"There is a science that has for its object only things incomprehensible. Contrary to all other sciences, it treats only of what cannot fall under our senses. Hobbes calls it the kingdom of darkness. It is a country, where everything is governed by laws, contrary to those which mankind are permitted to know in the world they inhabit. In this marvelous region, light is only darkness; evidence is doubtful or false; impossibilities are credible: reason is a deceitful guide; and good sense becomes madness. This science is called theology , and this theology is a continual insult to the reason of man." --Baron d'Holbach ( Good Sense .)

What is Atheism?

An excellent definition of atheism provided by online persona AdamHazzard. "As an atheist, I believe gods exist. Lots of them. In fact I believe two  classes  of gods exist: narrative and hypothetical. Narrative gods are marvelous beings with unprecedented, extraordinary powers or origins whose acts are described in legends, folk tales, mythologies, and religious narratives around the world. Examples of narrative gods include Zeus, Vishnu, Nyame, Yahweh, Baal, and countless others. Hypothetical gods are the gods of philosophy: they exist as hypotheses or free-floating definitions. They are distinct from narrative gods, though some belief systems may conflate a narrative god with a hypothetical god. Theists agree that gods exist in this sense, but make a further claim: One or more of these gods has an objective existence outside of narrative or hypothesis. I reject that claim as unevidenced: therefore I am an atheist."   --AdamHazzard

Nothing Unusual to Report

I've been busy doing cover design and publishing my books, which is why there has been a lull in blog posts recently. That said, if you're interested, my anthology on blasphemy, Reason Against Blasphemy , is now available in a second edition (paperback) with a gorgeous matte finish cover. It's a lovely book collecting the freethinkers G.W. Foote and Robert G. Ingersoll's writings on the subject of blasphemy, and it's very enlightening. I highly recommend you get a copy (available on Of course, unrelated to religion, I have just finished writing a new novella (222 pages to be exact) entitled The Scarecrow & Lady Kingston Rough Justice . It's only been out a week and already has a 5 star review on! Which is great for me, especially considering I haven't promoted it yet. Also, the deconverstion anthology Beyond an Absence of Faith will be out in the next month or two. I promise updates as it comes along! That's al

Randal Rauser the Unprofessional

So Randal Rauser, a Christian apologist, was complaining because a whole lot of atheists were offering him some heavy criticism. Of course, Randal did what Randal always does in such a situation, he pulled out the "I have credentials" trump card, and made appeals to authority, and threw out ad hominems. A typical conversation with Randal usually goes something like this: I called him on it, and he threatened to block me if I didn't " add to the conversation." I would pull a screencap to show the uncordial response to my comments, but I can no longer access the comments thread because either it has disappeared: Or because I am banned. How did I get banned you might wonder? (Other than the above comment where I pointed out that calling another doctorate a troll is bad form?) I followed up that comment with a comment that I was making an observation about Randal's overall defensiveness, and that I felt he needed to act more like a scholar and

Discussing the Historicity of Jesus with a Christian Agnostic

Steven Jake, the author of the up and coming blog  TheChristian Agnostic , [1]  wrote a rather thorough response to my lengthy comment asking him about the state of the evidence regarding the historical Jesus. I am pleased he took the time to write a thorough response. I only feel that such a thorough response deserves my own more detailed response as my initial comment was merely that—a comment. So without further ado I will address some of Steven Jake’s comments and concerns. Initially Steven Jake (henceforth SJ) posted a quote from New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman claiming that there is an abundance of evidence for a historical Jesus. I merely contested this claim asking for what evidence we have that would be considered historically reliable. As I see it there is none. That doesn’t mean, however, I don’t think there  wasn’t  a historical Jesus, just that we cannot prove if there was or wasn’t and so I remain agnostic as to the historicity of Jesus—not a mythicist