Dan Barker. God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction. New York: Sterling, 2016. At the beginning of chapter 2 of his bestselling book The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins infamously describes God as “jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, […]
I will be debating Dan Barker right before Christmas on the topic “Is the Christian God Worthy of Worship?” Barker’s recent book God: The Most Unpleasant Character in All Fiction will undoubtedly be a big part of the discussion.
“I contend we are both atheists, I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.” —Stephen F Roberts Some years after first penning those words, Roberts provided this modest retrospective: “Yep, that’s me! I am the […]
In this video, I survey five rhetorical categories of comparison that village atheists/new atheists make with belief in God. And I explain why each one of them is little more than an ignorant attempt to poison the well.
One of my favorite examples of atheist indoctrination comes from Sam Harris (Letter to a Christian Nation, (2006), 51). He begins: “Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply an admission of the obvious.” Equating your beliefs with “an admission of the obvious” is indoctrinational in nature […]
A few days ago, P.Z. Myers published his assessment of new atheism: “The train wreck that was the New Atheism.” It’s nothing short of an evisceration, including a scathing takedown of the four horsemen. (Myers saves his choicest criticisms for Sam Harris.) To all that, I say yea and amen. Though I should think Myers […]
“New Atheism May Be Finished, but Its Sad Legacy Lives On“
One might reasonably identify the advent of the so-called New Atheism with the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion and Bobby Henderson’s The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in 2006. Or perhaps Sam Harris, The End of Faith in 2004. One thing is clear: the movement — if one might indeed call it a “movement” — has been […]
The philosopher Wilfrid Sellars famously distinguished between the “manifest image” of the world — i.e. the way the world presents to the average person — and the “scientific image” — i.e. the way the world presents to the scientist. Evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin wonderfully captured the chasm between the manifest and scientific images in an influential […]
Following reports of Richard Dawkins’ minor stoke this past Friday, the Church of England promptly tweeted a call for church goers to pray for Dawkins: According to an article in The Guardian, several of Dawkins’ followers promptly accused the church of “trolling”. (“Trolling” involves making online posts that are intentionally offensive in order to anger […]
Victor Stenger, retired particle physicist and new atheist polemicist, passed away suddenly on August 27th at the age of 79. While I rarely agreed with Dr. Stenger, I enjoyed reading his writings and found them to be engaging and provocative. So how to recognize the man’s passing? When a comedian dies, you honor her by […]
The other day I had just started reading Jonathan Sacks’ recent book The Great Partnership when I came across this fine quote: “Atheism deserves better than the new atheists whose methodology consists of criticizing religion without understanding it, quoting texts without contexts, taking exceptions as the rule, confusing folk belief with reflective theology, abusing, mocking, […]