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Though Paul’s letter to Philemon is often used to accuse Paul of supporting (or at least being okay with) slavery, the criticism misses the deeper purpose of this letter. Paul presented a radical Continue Reading…

Atheism: A Reader

Anthony Weber —  February 22, 2014 — 1 Comment

I recently I went to a local bookstore in search of a book that would give me a solid overview of the atheistic worldview. Atheism: A Reader happened to featured prominently. It is handily divided into eight sections that offer a broad range of atheistic objections to Christianity with representations from various eras of history and areas of expertise. I will provide a very brief (and hopefully fair) summary of the sections and essays before offering some comments at the end.

“Some Overviews”

  • Thomas Huxley notes that “The agnostic says, ‘I cannot find good evidence that so and so is true.’”
  • Leslie Stephen basically agrees with the definition, because “there are limits to the sphere of human intelligence.”
  • Emma Goldman writes that since all religions are based in fear and ignorance and developed by people who are not that bright, atheism is a boon to mankind, a “dissolution of the phantoms of the beyond; the light of reason has dispelled the theistic nightmare.”
  • Carl Von Doren agrees that religions give no good reason for anyone to accept any of them.

 “A Refutation of Deism”

  • Percy Shelley claims that “design must be proved before a designer can be inferred.” Since this cannot be shown, positing a Creator is unwarranted.
  • A.J. Ayer rejects the Argument from Design because it could allow for multiple creators, does not require an eternal deity, and needs a creator outside of time, which seems difficult at best.
  • Robert Ingersoll’s refutation of Deism can be summarized in two key questions: Why did God apparently create so many defective things? And why did a good and wise God create so much evil?
  • Bertrand Russell addresses a number of the arguments for God, but he focuses on the link between morality and God. He claims that Christians think they are the only ones who can be moral, then highlights bad Christians throughout history. Continue Reading…

“Your worldview has to have the same shape that reality does.”  – J. Budziszewski

 

As noted in the opening post in this series,  I believe Christianity offers compelling reasons to believe that truth is found most fully and consistently within the framework of a Christian worldview. The second post addressed the need for an objective foundation for morality. The language of morality only makes sense if we are significant moral agents who have an obligation to choose good and avoid evil, so my third post addressed the issue of whether or not we are really free.

The concepts of freedom and moral obligation brings with them the idea of justice. If right and wrong are objectively real, and we are people deserving of praise and culpability based on how our choices align with moral goodness, then part of the morally obligatory good would be to treat people justly. So, what is justice?

Wikipedia defines justice as, “A concept of moral rightness based on ethics, rationality, natural law, religion, equity or fairness, …taking into taking into account the inalienable and inborn rights of all human beings…”  As C.S. Lewis noted,1 certain standard ideas of justice seem to permeate all cultures. It’s the “inalienable and inborn” that creates the controversy.

In spite of standards that permeate cultures, some cultures implement legal codes or approve of social norms that allow for activities that others generally perceive as unjust. Is justice of such a nature that we can genuinely judge the justice of particular situations, or are we simply talking about an concept that seems really good but has no foundation on which to take an objective stand? Is there a criteria that grounds our recognition of  and longing for justice? Continue Reading…

  1. The Abolition of Man []

On Thursday, April 25, 2013, Etcetera held an open discussion entitled Continue Reading…

“Your worldview has to have the same shape that reality does.”  – J. Budziszewski

As noted in the opening post in this series,  I believe Christianity offers compelling reasons to believe that truth is found most Continue Reading…