Posts Tagged by Dan Barker

What Does Atheism Become?

About five years ago I published a collection of essays that is no longer available for purchase. The collection is titled after the essay below. It is not, as far as I know, something I’ve published elsewhere. I was thinking of it recently and decided it should be dusted off. It seems as relevant today as when I first wrote it.

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That Which Atheism Becomes

Some might say that I just like to argue. The truth is that I believe that ideas have consequences and some consequences are more severe than others. Arguing, or more precisely, debating, these ideas helps everyone on all sides of a position understand a position better. In theory, if you could of got Bin Laden to sit down to have a nice debate you could of aroused for him some of the critical consequences of his beliefs and demanded that before he acted on them he had a much firmer basis. According to many Muslims, such a basis does not exist. I will leave that issue to them to sort out. But Bin Laden does have this going for him: he takes a belief to its rational conclusion. There are many dangerous beliefs out there that people consider harmless simply because they aren’t taken to their rational conclusion.

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The Silence of the Wolves: Atheists Turn Docile in Face of the Facts

Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Dan Barker, Austin Cline. I add this to cap off the general lesson that I would like to draw here, as the four names I have listed here are prominent atheistic spokespersons: atheists are not the vanguards of reason that they would like us to believe they are; they make mistakes just like everyone else, and no one should think that they are above being too proud to admit it when they are. These examples I have given are minor in the grand scheme of things but I submit that they illustrate why no one should ever defer thinking to anyone else, regardless of how smart they insist they are, how many degrees they have, how high their IQ is, or even if they currently represent the consensus position on a topic, be it evolution, global warming, climate change, etc, etc, etc, etc.

The intellectual elite which I have called out in this post answer to a higher standard and I hope that this post will elicit some acknowledgment that their arguments are not always as rock solid as they suggest. I predict quite the opposite, so again: remember in your skepticism to be skeptical too of the skeptics.

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Do atheists own public land?

Kevin Hundt of La Crosse, WI seems to think so:

Atheists do not have “more” say than religious people, we just don’t want government (public-owned) resources to be used to promote religion. Religious people already have tax-free churches; if you want statues and monuments, you can put them there. No one is demanding anyone “hide” their religious belongings – when you all put up those 10 commandments signs in your yards, did anyone complain? No, that’s your property. Put up whatever you want there. But government property is my property, so keep your backward magic superstition off my lawn. [Emphasis in the original newspaper]

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Rebuttal Part 2 of Barker’s Rebuttal of Kingsley’s Answer to Barker’s Easter Challenge

This is the second and hopefully last installment in a rebuttal of Dan Barker. Barker’s Easter Challenge was taken up by Pastor Stephen Kingsley, and Barker issued forth a 70 page answer. Here is my review of Kingsley’s ‘Answer.’ Here is my first reply to Barker’s rebuttal. You are reading my second. Barker has not, to my knowledge, publicly released his rebuttal. If he ever does, I will link to it.

Barker’s response could have easily been slimmed down to 5 to 10 pages, easily. It is filled with inaccuracies, diversions, and tangents. The main objection is not easy to pick out against all of the background, but we can sum it up I think this way:

Pastor Kingsley achieves his harmonization by breaking up Matthew 28:1-8 in a way that is unsustainable given Matthew’s use of time. On this basis we can see that Matthew 28:1-8 “is a discrete, unbreakable element of Matthew’s story.”

There is an obvious flaw in this objection.

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Barker’s Rebuttal to Kingsley’s Easter Answer: A Dud

Barker’s Challenge explicitly says: “…without omitting a single detail…write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension… [it] does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture- it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts. … The important condition to the challenge, however, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted.”

Who among us is surprised to hear that by ‘plausible’ Barker basically means ‘naturalistic explanations’? Even I, I mean, even I, was shocked to hear Barker dismiss the plausibility of Kingsley’s chronology because, well, one must adopt a naturalistic perspective of what counts as ‘plausible’! Unbelievable! Consider this exchange leading into Part 2: [More…]

Dan: Yes. But we’re not there yet. In order for your evidence to be admissible, you have to produce a coherent, noncontradictory, plausible version of it.
Elizabeth: And that is the point of your Easter Challenge. I understand. So the only way for us to proceed is to assume that we are both naturalists, simply looking at the details of the stories themselves, on their own merits.
Dan: Yes. That’s all I was trying to say.

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Review of The Easter Answer (to Barker’s Easter Challenge) by Stephen Kingsley

My first exposure to Dan Barker was his so called ‘Easter Challenge.’ I had already emerged from my own crisis of faith and had already determined some principles for sorting out alleged Biblical contradictions. The more I read Barker’s writings, the less impressed I was. I put the Challenge to good use, though, having my New Testament courses take up the ‘challenge’ for their spring project.

It never crossed my mind to try to actually correspond with Barker. I assumed the whole thing was just some sort of cheap shot. Having read Kingsley’s book I see that was a mistake. He documents how Barker and other hyper-skeptics really thought they had something here and took the alleged silence of Christians as telling.

I am glad, therefore, to see that Pastor Stephen Kingsley has taken up the ‘challenge.’ According to Kingsley, he has contacted Barker with the ‘answer’ but Barker has demurred and hasn’t yet responded.

Has Kingsley done it? Has Kingsley really and definitively reconciled and harmonized the Easter accounts?

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Three Upcoming Book Reviews and one Released

I have three books sent to me due for reading and reviewing. It is going to be a week or possibly longer to get to one or all of them so I wanted to throw up a little blurb to each in the meantime.

Finally, Athanatos Publishing Group (an extension of the ministry of this site) released yesterday a book related to the Holocaust: Hitler, the Holocaust, and the Bible: A Scriptural Analysis of Anti-Semitism, National Socialism, and the Churches. My review of this book is available here.

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