I think most of my readers know that I'm not religious. However, I am interested in both the history and anthropology of religion. This interest has led me to read a number of books by Bart D. Ehrman, a New Testament scholar. In the last decade or so, Ehrman has exposed the public to a … Continue reading How Jesus became God
Bart Ehrman posted a video on his blog (embedded below) where he discusses the case for the existence of the historical Jesus. Most of his excellent blog's content is pay-walled, so I'm happy to have an opportunity to link to something that isn't. (Incidentally, if you have the means and interest, I highly recommend subscribing. All … Continue reading Was Jesus a conspiracy?
A while back, I read Ara Norenzayan's book, 'Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict'. I'm posting this review somewhat from memory, but I've had a couple of conversations about it lately and I think it might be good to move the discussion here. In the book, Norenzayan asks an interesting question. How did … Continue reading Big Gods: An interesting read
The fear of death is a normal, natural, instinct that we all have. Without it, we’d end up doing all kinds of reckless things that most of us avoid. Some people claim not to fear it, but I suspect that all of us, when we’re honest, retain that fear to one degree or another. After … Continue reading Soothing the fear of death
There are currently a lot of books on the market which deal with the question of God. Most of them are either polemical, apologetic, or philosophically dense. One that often gets overlooked is Carl Sagan's book, The Variety of Scientific Experience. This book is a transcript of Sagan's Gifford lectures in the 80s, edited by Sagan's … Continue reading The Varieties Of Scientific Experience
Recently, there was an NPR story by Marcelo Gleiser on how scientists should respond to people's anxiety about science and God. Jerry Coyne responded in a post asking if faith should ever not be contested (excluding dying grandmothers and such). In his response, Coyne referred to a famous quote by Karl Marx. Religious suffering is, at one … Continue reading Atheists should be tolerant of religion
There are some famous thinkers, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer, among others, who are currently attempting to sell the idea that we should have a "science of morality". They assert that moral propositions reduce to matters of fact about the wellbeing of conscious creatures. Many philosophers, such as Massimo Pigliuci, take umbrage at this, seeing … Continue reading Why science, philosophy, or religion cannot determine morality
Victor Stenger has a post up at Huffington Post on how science disproves God. He goes through many of the attributes of the popular conceptions of God and shows how scientific evidence contradicts them. And he's right, to a degree. But he then concludes with: The hypothesis of God is not confirmed by the evidence. … Continue reading Evaluating God scientifically