Nick Spencer begins Atheists: The Origin of the Species with a fairy tale. The story he recounts is an abbreviated version of the tale championed in nineteenth-century Europe whereby progress in scientific understanding banishes ignorance and with it the pseudo-knowledge peddled by priests. In other words: progress followed science, and science displaced religion. The trouble […]
In this remarkable column, a Catholic priest from Maryland interviewed 50 young adults whose names are on the roll of his parish about why they don’t go to church. As he notes with commendable honesty, their answers revealed deep alienation from Catholicism; they are not ignorant about the church’s teaching as much as they […]
What is responsible for the rise of atheism in history? According to Nick Spencer the answer lies in politics, not science. And it’s politics, he thinks, that explains why only 2% of American report being atheists, and why those atheists continue to be regarded more negatively than religious believers.
Spencer’s general argument rests on […]
William James wrote things that can still ring true. Consider a quote from the The Varieties of Religious Experience: “This inferiority of the rationalistic level in founding belief is just as manifest when rationalism argues for religion as when it argues against it.” I say “ring true” because James attempts to describe the varieties of […]
What is the best way of defending the Christian religion today? And do we really need yet another apologia in the form of an intellectual argument? Both Alister McGrath and Benno van den Toren are alert to these questions. Mere Apologetics and Christian Apologetics as Cross-Cultural Dialogue make clear that an intellectual defense of the […]
Consider the brief “history” of atheism as outlined in a recent post by a member of an atheist group in Tucson, Arizona. Here history is construed as the presentation of facts across time; to tell the history of atheism quickly all that is required are the names, dates, and arguments of various figures presented […]
One of the most influential visions of Christian apologetics in the history of Western Christianity comes from Augustine’s De doctrina Christiana, where the figure of the apostle Paul encountering Stoic and Epicurean philosophers at Athens (Acts 17) becomes inflected with the oratorical skills of a Ciceronian rhetorician:
the interpreter and teacher of […]
Yes to God? For many believers, this has not been obvious for a long time. No to God? Neither has this been obvious for a long time to unbelievers. Hans Küng, Does God Exist?
Atheism has a long and fascinating history. In ancient Greece, as Diogenes Laertius informs us, men such as Diagoras […]
Religion is sometimes held to be untrue today because there are so many different and often conflicting claims made about it. To even speak of “religion” in such reified and monolithic terms offends contemporary ears. In an address to the 2009 American Academy of Religion conference in Montreal, then president Mark Juergensmeyer pointed […]
It is disappointing to see a Christian fulfill what I would have thought was a tired stereotype: asserting that a rival belief or argument is ultimately based on immorality. Aside from being a conversation-stopper, in today’s world it seems to exude the bunker mentality of a subculture that does not want to sincerely engage with […]
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