Archive for the ‘Religion’ Category

The Flat Tire and the Gospels


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

Dan Barker, former fundamentalist child preacher and now co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has a simple challenge for Bible believers: “Tell me what happened on the original Easter Sunday. Just a simple chronology. Who went where and did what and said what and saw what? And in what order? Be sure to include everything mentioned in any of the gospels.”

Nobody can meet this challenge, because the gospels are horribly contradictory. (Don’t take my word for it, read them yourself: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also Acts 1:3-12 and Paul’s tiny version of the story in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.)

What should we conclude from this? That 1 apostle got it right and the rest differed in a few of the minor details? No. This is the most important story in all of Christianity, and if the gospels were divinely inspired — as true believers invariably assert they were — then their ultimate author was God, who’s supposed to be omniscient, so the 4 stories should be entirely consistent.

If that were the truth. …

tippling the-flat-tire-and-the-gospels

Sermon on the Mount


Presuppositionalism and the Christian Triune God


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

Presuppositionalism is a funny old thing. It is defined by Wikipedia as follows:

Presuppositionalism is a school of Christian apologetics that believes the Christian faith is the only basis for rational thought. It presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation and attempts to expose flaws in other worldviews. It claims that apart from presuppositions, one could not make sense of any human experience, and there can be no set of neutral assumptions from which to reason with a non-Christian. Presuppositionalists claim that a Christian cannot consistently declare their belief in the necessary existence of the God of the Bible and simultaneously argue on the basis of a different set of assumptions that God may not exist and Biblical revelation may not be true. Two schools of presuppositionalism exist, based on the different teachings of Cornelius Van Til and Gordon Haddon Clark. Presuppositionalism contrasts with classical apologetics and evidential apologetics.

Presuppositionalists compare their presupposition against other ultimate standards such as reasonempirical experience, and subjective feeling, claiming presupposition in this context is:

a belief that takes precedence over another and therefore serves as a criterion for another. An ultimate presupposition is a belief over which no other takes precedence. For a Christian, the content of Scripture must serve as his ultimate presupposition… This doctrine is merely the outworking of the lordship of God in the area of human thought. It merely applies the doctrine of scriptural infallibility to the realm of knowing.

Critics of presuppositional apologetics claim that it is logically invalid because it begs the question of the truth of Christianity and the non-truth of other worldviews.

The problem is, when claiming there is something like a properly basic belief in this triune version of God, one can also apply that same logic to any other version of God. Or even non-God. …

tippling 2018/05/20 presuppositionalism

Szymon Czechowicz: Holy Trinity

Myth Education: Gilgamesh


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

In honour of the fantastic book on mythology by David Fletcher, we are running a few excerpt articles featuring some of the gods contained within the anthology.

Here is something on Gilgamesh, the famous Mesopotamian god. …

tippling gilgamesh

David Fletcher: Myth Education: A Guide to Gods, Goddesses, and Other Supernatural Beings



(Jesus and Mo) – Jesus:

I‘m glad that relationship and sex education is compulsory in schools now.” …

jesusandmo traps

Jesus and Mo: Traps

Hardened Hearts


(AAI) – Adam Harrison:

Paul wrote in his epistle to the Ephesians in chapter 4 verse 18 “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.”

I was recently accused of having a “hard heart” toward God. To clarify before I go on, I have no anger or hate toward something I don’t believe exists. This would be like saying I’m mad at Luke Skywalker and therefore refuse to admit he’s a real person. This indictment against my character also postulates that I have chosen to alienate myself from feeling God in my life. What my accusers are saying is that I am not working hard enough to feel God’s love or presence or influence in my life. If I were to work harder and “humble” myself to God (in their words) then he’d reveal himself to me, but only after I’ve decided to seek him humbly. We’ve hit on a key flaw in not just Christian thinking, but theist thinking generally: one must work constantly to feel the presence and be “worthy” of God in their lives. Their divine creator, their heavenly father designed a world full of perfection, but somehow forgot to make loving him and the ability to be guided by him innate and unconditional. These are apparently skills that must be learned and refined constantly. …

atheistalliance hardened-hearts

Kim-Il-Sung statue

A Non-Christian Europe


(Patheos::ATP) – Jonathan MS Pearce:

The Guardian recently reported on some interesting research that supports the idea that Europe is, in many senses and places, post-Christian. …

tippling 2018/05/08 non-christian-europe
Non-Christian Europe

Great Moments in Evangelical Hypocrisy


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

One of the amusing things to observe is how so many leading lights in the evangelical Christian movement have abandoned all pretense of upholding moral standards in their efforts to defend their support of Donald Trump. That support was always highly hypocritical even at the best of times, excusing vicious assaults on the poor and the LGBT community and other marginalized groups as long as the politician opposed abortion and spouted pieties about their god and family values. But now even that fig leaf is gone and they have been revealed to be absolutely shameless in their abandonment of even the rhetoric of morality. …

singham 2018/05/07 hypocrisy

Jim Morin: Hypocrites

I Am a Q-U-E-S-T-I-O-N-E-R


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Guest Contributor:

I was committed to finding a dogma-free summer camp experience for my son. In looking for alternatives, I came across Camp Quest and, with my wife’s approval, signed him up.

As the date for camp approached, close relatives got wind of the name of the camp and looked it up. What they read as the mission statement on the website — “Camp Quest provides an educational adventure shaped by fun, friends, and freethought, featuring science, natural wonder and humanist values” – they translated as “atheist camp.” As the father who signed his son up for this “atheist camp,” I was now outed. …

godlessindixie 2018/05/02 questioner

Camp Quest

If Christianity Were True …


(Patheos::Godless in Dixie) – Neil Carter:

Defenders of the Christian faith spend a considerable amount of time trying to prove that something happened thousands of years ago. But that really shouldn’t be necessary because, if the claims of Christianity were true, the present day evidence for it should be all over the place. …

godlessindixie 2018/04/27 what-if

Sermon on the Mount

Hell Under Siege


(FTB) – Mano Singham:

Hell has been getting bad press in recent times. How can a place of eternal damnation where people are supposed to be tortured forever possibly get worse press, you ask? The answer is that people are finding it hard to believe in it and have started thinking that it does not exist at all. If you are trying to frighten someone, the worst thing that can happen to you is for people to stop believing you exist, as happens with little children and monsters. When a mainstream publication like Time has on its cover the question What if there’s no hell?, you know you have a problem. And it gets worse. Recently even pope Francis has said that atheists can go to heaven. True, he seemed to suggest that one had to be good also but the fact that one did not have to accept Jesus to get into heaven was a major step away from orthodoxy. There was even a disputed interview where he seemed to suggest that there was no hell.

Joanne Pierce discusses how the concept of hell evolved, influenced by Jewish, Christian, and Greek traditions, and getting worse with time. …

singham 2018/04/23 hell-under-siege

Come Sunday, 2018 film