In my view, it is pointless to debate the morality of anything with an atheist until he is willing to admit that moral assessments imply the existence of the immaterial and transcendental realities that must exist if those assessments reflect anything more than one’s favorite flavor of ice cream.
I’m setting June as a month of fundraising efforts for ACM. I hope that all my readers will take some time to head on over to the campaign letter and check out how they can get a free, signed copy of my new book, “For No Reason At All: A Romance.” Here’s the link to …
That’s really what you have going on here… you know, the old “A rose by any other name is still a rose” thing… a boy is still a boy by any other name, and likewise a girl… but you have some people who think that by throwing off definitions you can obliterate, change, or deny the underlying reality. Are there sometimes when definitions can be unhelpful? Sure, I can buy that. But there are limits to that observation. This is secularism: taking an observation into account but jettisoning the limits or notion of limits.
Will be on the radio tonight at 5:30 p.m. CST discussing the topic of ‘hell’ and how to discuss it with nonChristians, and even if it should be discussed at all. Listen online: http://www.kfuoam.org/ Includes a shout out to my atheist friends who were disturbed by my short story, Richard Dawkins Goes to Heaven.
Reminder, ACM’s annual online apologetics conference is coming up in just about 10 days! Register today to receive the 50% discount on the registration fee. Since I’ve last posted, we’ve added Brian Godawa to the presentation list. Brian is a screenwriter and Hollywood director who is also a Christian. His movie “To End All Wars” …
if one applies a higher standard of inquiry against claims that they might deem extraordinary, then claims they find to be ordinary will ordinarily be accepted- without demonstration at all. Here again we see skepticism turned on its head: the skeptic is not skeptical about the things he is prepared already to believe. It is only the things he deems unlikely that he is skeptical about- God alone knows how the skeptic determined something was ‘unlikely.’
It is a fact of human nature, I think, to quickly accept things that one is already prepared to accept. If I am told tomorrow that some Democrat in high office has failed to pay his taxes- again- I will pretty much accept it as a fact because I have become accustomed to Democrats doing such things (eg here, here, here, and here). We should expect nothing less from the people who believe that we should all pay higher taxes; by ‘we all’ it is known they mean us all. I am prepared to believe it as a pretty ordinary claim in the realm of things and therefore will demand very little evidence to support it. So you see, I am not exempting myself from this human tendency.
This ministry hosts a regular online round table discussing matters of substance and controversy. Christians and NonChristians are invited but it is not necessarily an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ debate. Past topics have included matters of controversy only amongst Christians and due to the flexibility of the discussion, topics can change on a dime. The next …
Over the last three hundred years unbounded skepticism has been applied to religion and Christianity especially. Atheist philosopher David Hume was one of the prominent voices calling for stringent criteria in evaluating miracle claims, and the like. Not everyone thought very highly of this criteria. One such person was the Reverend Richard Whately, who skewers Hume’s reasoning by showing how if it were applied consistently, one could not be reasonably certain that Napoleon existed- a public figure that was said to be alive and roaming Europe even as he spoke!
This playful little book is not a treatise by any means, but it provides a glimpse into the conversations of the 1800s and challenges the ‘enlightened’ skeptics to decide: If they won’t apply their principles thoroughly and consistently, but choose only to apply them to certain claims (and how did they choose which ones?), are those principles worth their salt?
I think it goes to my larger point. Story moves. Yes, Story can move more than evidence. And yet even if that is the case, nowhere do I suggest that I think that is good! Indeed, this whole event illustrates just how unfortunate it can be when evidence is divorced from Story. Oh yes, there is a Story here. There is a Narrative. This Narrative is one that Myers and his many fans are drenched in, so much so none of them actually need evidence to know that me and my stories are [fill in your favorite pejoratives here]. The Narrative fills in the gap. It is the skeptical storyline: Christians, dumb. Christians, blind faith. Skeptics, geniuses. Skeptics, reason and evidence. Nothing more needs to be said because everyone is already agreed on how the story ends, anyway. The ‘evidence’ ends up being just a ‘literary’ flourish that adds little to the accepted Narrative.
This Narrative appears to be driving Dave’s response, though to his credit, he is exceptionally mild and measured compared to many of the other responses I observed.
So, Mr. Myer’s review of my short story is in. Enjoy.
As this is probably the last time for awhile that PZ is going to grace my blog with his presence, I’d like to make a request of him. He is best buds with Dawkins, after all. I’ve been hoping Dawkins would at some point own up to a piece of academic sloppiness on his part, but haven’t cared enough about it to put it in front of his eyes personally. PZ and he are bosom buddies, though, both of whom no doubt are “lovers of truth and reason” and care about academic integrity. Dawkins would no doubt like to be on record admitting he overstepped and set the record straight. He’s a reasonable chap, after all.
I detail the matter here.
Third in a series of reader’s guides for my short story collection, “Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa Go to Heaven.” This one is for the Richard Dawkins story primarily, but may be applicable to the others. For more details, see previous posts. How Not to Read Imaginative Literature What follows is an extreme …
For background on why I believe that this reader’s guide might be helpful, please see the posts immediately prior to this one. This guide pertains specifically to the story “Antony Flew Goes to Heaven” but the principles it discusses will likely be useful for the other stories, and interpreting literature in general. Reader’s Guide to …
The brilliant PZ Myers has ‘reviewed’ the second story in my short story collection, “Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa go to Heaven.”
As before, I have no interest in responding in any detail, although I might say some things when he is done. I will say: “PZ, what makes you think Antony awakes in a garden?”
After reading the last review and the comments it spawned it became apparent that a little extra help on my part is needed. There seems to be difficulty understanding the texts in question. Therefore, a reader’s guide for each story has been composed.
Following the recent ‘review‘ of this short story of mine it was evidence that this reader’s comprehension guide could be of use. Now, it ought to go without saying- but clearly has to be said, anyway- that it will be of no use to anyone who hasn’t actually read the story for themselves or doesn’t …