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.
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.
Tonight, Feb 22nd, at 9:30 p.m. CST we will host our next semi-regular “Knights of Contention” online discussion using voice, video, and chat.
The topic: The 5 Challenges Apologetics Can’t Answer.
Due to the wide scope, this conversation can go anywhere. I have summarized the 5 challenges below with links to each of the 3 parts in which I have detailed them.
To learn more about the “Knights of Contention” click here.
Direct link to the discussion: http://connectpro58388802.na5.acrobat.com/knightcon/
5 Challenges, with summaries
What they all have in common: the belief, or acting as though one believes, that Christianity isn’t actually real. It’s just one’s private faith. No correspondence to reality exists, or is expected. ‘Apologetics’ can’t answer them because they have more to do with attitude or obedience than facts and evidence.
PZ Myers to Review my Collection of Short Stories on Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa!
I have just been notified that PZ Myers is going to ‘review’ my short story collection, “Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa Go to Heaven.” ! Apparently he stumbled upon my press release announcing my release of this collection. If you want to check out the collection and follow along for yourself, here’s a …
Atheists have a problem. Ok, they have lots of problems. 🙂 But this one is a big one: how to explain morality. Now, for some reason atheists remained confused on some basic aspects of the issue. It is common to hear from their camp something to the effect, “We do not need God to be …
“Richard Dawkins, Antony Flew, and Mother Teresa Go to Heaven…” What sounds like the beginning of a very bad joke is actually the title of a collection of three poignant short stories by author Anthony Horvath. Each story draws from what is publicly known about these three notable persons and places them in the presence of God. Antony Flew famously disputed the existence of such a being, Richard Dawkins- the only one of the three still living- infamously derides the notion, and Mother Teresa wondered at God’s absence- in these three stories they each get a chance to ask their questions and speak their minds. Read this short story, along with two others, on Kindle.
Excerpt from Richard Dawkins Goes to Heaven
“You know what sounds like ‘hell’ to me?” Richard asked the accompanying angel, a current of sarcasm carrying the question along.
“I know you’ll tell me,” the angel replied serenely.
“Heaven. Heaven sounds like hell.”
In part one of this essay I put forward two great challenges to Christianity that apologetics cannot answer. To illustrate the weight of this matter, consider the fact that not too long ago I wrote an entry called, “Apologetics is the Answer to Everything.” I stand by that post, still. These challenges have more to …
I have been involved in apologetics for more than fifteen years, coming in almost literally the moment after Al Gore invented the Internet. The following represents some conclusions I’ve drawn during this time. To be clear, when I say the ‘Five Greatest Challenges to Christianity’ I do not mean it as, ‘here are five great challenges among others.’ What I mean is, THESE. ARE. THE. FIVE. GREATEST. CHALLENGES. I do not suggest that they are all that new. I do propose, however, that apologetics has no answer to them. Is that a surrender by a Christian apologist? Let’s find out.
When I was in college there was this guy 2 1/2 times larger than me… a philosophy major, as I recall… appropriately named ‘Animal.’ I remember having a debate about pain with him. I argued it was all in our minds- just a brain state- and not real. Animal said, “Come here, and I’ll show you unreal pain.”
While I was of the mindset that there were just “brain states” or just “subjective opinions” or just “one’s political views”, I was a liberal. When my mindset changed, so did my ‘political’ stance. This is a realization that congealed more than ten years after the change had happened. Was it just me? Correlation does not prove causation, and yet I see the same ingredients in the conservatives and liberals I meet. What made my mindset change?
I wouldn’t say it happened over night but there was a singular ‘event’ that proved the catalyst. One should understand that at the time, I was a Christian, an apologist, a Christian religion teacher. But I still entertained many viewpoints we’d call ‘liberal.’ The catalyst arose out of my never ending quest to make sure that when I talk about something, I actually know what I’m talking about. In the general course of that, I read a great many writings of Communists, Nazis, and to a lesser extent, the ‘fascists.’ Here I discovered something frightening: these people were advocating many of the same things I was advocating, and for the same reasons.
PZ Myers continues to descend down the various stages into madness that atheism can lead a person- that is to say, like the religionists he despises, he also believes every lick of what he says he believes. In a recent blog post writing in reaction to an email from a pro-life person, he writes:
“You want to make me back down by trying to inspire revulsion with dead baby pictures? I look at them unflinchingly and see meat. And meat does not frighten me.”
On PZ’s view, we are all meat, whether we are diced and sliced or not. This is what we’re up against. P.S. I’m not talking about ‘science.’
We live in a curious time. Good people who are otherwise sane entertain the notions that Lee and Loughner embraced and acted on. Over against those notions they have some memory of the bloodsport of the 20th century and are keen to avoid it a second go around. What they don’t ask is: “Maybe it isn’t just one particular application of these beliefs that ought to be discredited… maybe the beliefs themselves should be chucked?”
Let us imagine that someone believed that all people with red hair should be killed because they aren’t really people. You talk to him. He’s a perfectly pleasant fellow. Very sane. “So, you aren’t going to actually kill any red haired people or advocate that others do?” you ask him. “Of course not,” he says. That’s a relief, of course. “Why believe it if you won’t carry it out?” you persist. “That would be horrible. I would feel terrible,” he says. “Hmmm,” you might say, “Perhaps the fact that you are deeply uncomfortable with wiping out those with red hair is because even though you say they aren’t people, in fact, you think they are. Why not then dispense with your belief that they aren’t really people?”
Something very much like this is at the root of much thinking among secular humanists. They don’t really believe what they’re saying. If they did, we’d all be in a lot of trouble and they’d probably go a little nuts.