Is Atheism Simply a Lack of Belief in GodThere’s a concerted effort by a lot of atheists to redefine “atheist” from the metaphysical claim that God does not exist to a personal claim about one’s psychological state, namely that they lack a belief in God. It’s a strategic move to remove any burden of proof for their position (God does not exist). This redefinition has some interesting implications:

  1. Atheism and theism could both be true at the same time.
  2. Atheism is just an autobiographical assessment and tells us nothing meaningful about whether God exists or not.
  3. Atheism cannot be true or false.
  4. People who have evidence to believe in God are atheists.
  5. Babies and cats also qualify as atheists.

Lacking a belief in God makes one an agnostic, not an atheist. Besides, while most of these atheists lack belief in God, they do not lack beliefs about God. They think he (probably) doesn’t exist, and that belief must be justified.

Finally, something has been done about the Episcopalian Church’s flagrant acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex marriage in defiance of Church of England teaching. The pessimist in me thinks this disciplinary action is not enough, is just delaying the inevitable split of the church, and was probably forced upon the Church of England’s native leaders by its conservative bodies abroad.  I would love to hear the thoughts of anyone living in England or part of the Episcopalian Church.

dogmaticIf you can’t point to at least one verse/fact that runs contrary to your doctrinal position that makes you at least a little bit uncomfortable, or if you can’t cite at least one good argument against your position you might just be a bit too dogmatic and probably haven’t read widely enough. While I think we can be confident in what we believe, very few matters of intellectual dispute are so cut and dry that there aren’t decent arguments for contrary positions. If you are not aware of those other arguments, and if you are not made at least a bit uncomfortable by any of them, this should be a sign that your confidence in your doctrinal position might be a bit premature.

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Cohabit - Not MarriageThe American College of Pediatricians explains why cohabitation is bad for society in just about every way imaginable.  And yet cohabitation continues to rise as the folk wisdom says it will increase one’s chances of marital success.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  The most happiness does not come from receiving the benefits of marriage (sex, playing house) without actual marriage, but from marriage itself.

 

See also: The sociology of cohabitation: “Shacking up” isn’t such a good idea after all

openFor those who doubt that gay men in committed relationships are much more promiscuous than their heterosexual counterparts, read this article at The Daily Beast.

Obviously not every gay couple has an open relationship, but the ideal of monogamy is not present in gay relationships to the same degree it is in heterosexual relationships.

This makes sense. Most men are not naturally monogamous. They would prefer to have more than one sexual partner at a time. The reason most men resist this desire is because the stability of their preferred relationship depends on it (i.e. their favored woman demands it as a prerequisite to continue the relationship) and/or because of their religious beliefs about the sanctity of sex and marriage. Many gay men do not subscribe to traditional moral/religious sexual ethics (which not only proscribe sex outside of marriage, but also proscribe gay sex), and there is no female in the relationship to demand monogamy. In other words, the traditional restraints for monogamy are removed in gay, male relationships. It’s not surprising, then, that gay male relationships (unlike gay female relationships and heterosexual relationships) are often not monogamous, but include outside sexual liaisons.

vote pro-lifeWhenever the subject of abortion and politics comes up, inevitably well-meaning but uninformed people will say pro-life politicians (particularly Republicans) aren’t really doing anything to prevent abortion – that it’s just a position they pay lip-service to in order to court the vote of conservative Christians; therefore, it doesn’t really matter who you vote for.  This simply isn’t true.  Just ask the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute.  In their latest press release they write:

Including the 57 abortion restrictions enacted in 2015, states have adopted 288 abortion restrictions just since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country. To put that number in context, states adopted nearly as many abortion restrictions during the last five years as during the entire previous 15 years. … The 288 new restrictions enacted since 2010 include a broad range of approaches, from banning some abortions to putting restrictions on the providers allowed to perform the procedures to limiting insurance coverage.

Clearly how one votes can make a difference for the unborn. While the current political situation does not allow for politicians to outlaw abortion entirely, they can and do pass legislation to reduce the number of abortions by providing more information to women and making it more difficult to obtain abortions. How you vote can and does translate into saving the lives of innocent children, and saving women a lifetime of guilt for having murdered their own babies.

 

UPDATE: The Guttmacher Institute released a report declaring that more than a quarter of all anti-abortion laws passed since Roe have been passed in the last five years (288 of 1,074).

 

See also: “Pro-life Republican politicians aren’t just paying lip-service to the pro-life cause

OmnipotentSome people claim the existence of God cannot be falsified.  As I have argued elsewhere, this is not true. One way to falsify God’s existence is to show that the concept of God is logically incoherent. This can be done by demonstrating that two or more supposed divine attributes are logically incompatible. For example, it has been argued that omnipotence and omnibenevolence are logically incompatible.

The objection

The argument is set forth along these lines: Omnipotence entails the power to actualize any state of affairs that is logically possible to actualize. There is nothing logically incoherent about an omnipotent being committing evil, so omnipotence must include the power to actualize a world in which the omnipotent being commits evil. As an omnibenevolent being, however, God is incapable of committing evil.  Therefore, God cannot be omnipotent.  While a being can be either omnibenevolent or omnipotent, no being can be both omnibenevolent and omnipotent.  Since the theistic concept of God entails both, the God of theism cannot exist.

Areas of agreement

How might the theist respond to this objection?  Let us start with some points of agreement.  First, we agree that God must be both omnipotent and omnibenevolent.  Theistic philosophers have long held that the concept of God is that of the greatest conceivable being (GCB).  God is a being of which a greater cannot be conceived.  If we can conceive of some being Y who is greater than the being we call God, then being Y is the true God. Since it is greater to be all-powerful than partially powerful, the GCB must possess the property of being all-powerful.  Likewise, since it is greater to be all-good than partially good, the GCB must possess the property of being all-good.

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