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I was an Atheist Until I Read “The Lord of the Rings”

lotr

I grew up in a loving, comfortable atheist household of professional scientists. My dad was a lapsed Catholic, and my mom was a lapsed Lutheran. From the time that I could think rationally on the subject, I did not believe in God. God was an imaginary being for which there was no proof. At best, God was a fantasy for half-witted people to compensate their ignorance and make themselves feel better about their own mortality. At worst, God was a perverse delusion responsible for most of the... Read More

Why Your Life Does Not Belong to You

Harvard

It was revealed this week that, for the first time in its history, Harvard University, which had been founded for religious purposes and named for a minister of the Gospel, has admitted a freshman class in which atheists and agnostics outnumber professed Christians and Jews. Also this week, the House and the Senate of California passed a provision that allows for physician assisted suicide in the Golden State. As I write these words, the governor of California is deliberating whether to... Read More

Abortion, Souls, and the Atheist Conundrum

Fetus

In a recent post here, I asked, “Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?” I was prompted by two things: on the one hand, a series of articles defending the idea that we can be moral without God; and on the other, articles like this one, suggesting that opposition to abortion can only be “because God.” Those two positions don't work together. As I explained in the post, The pro-life argument is simple: (1) human beings are alive from the moment of fertilization, and (2)... Read More

Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?

Unborn

The New Republic’s latest contribution to the abortion debate is remarkable, in that, despite getting virtually everything it says factually wrong, it still raises an interesting problem for pro-choicers and atheists. Here’s the Twitter teaser to the piece that started it all: How the anti-choice platform is fighting to stay alive: http://t.co/m8kuGANs2Q pic.twitter.com/fxTeRyj444 — The New Republic (@tnr) April 17, 2015 According to the author of this piece, New Republic senior... Read More

Atheism and the Problem of Beauty

Beauty

A lot has been said about the “problem of pain.” Why, if God is both loving and all-powerful, is there still suffering in the world? The question is a challenge for Christians, as for all theists.Christians have some sense of why a loving God would permit suffering. It's easy enough to see that love is a good (the highest good, even), and that love requires free will. And it's just a small step from there to see how that free will could be used in some dastardly ways. Likewise, it's... Read More

Atheism and the Personal Pronoun

Iron Man

The overwhelming majority of atheists today are also materialists. Ousting God implies an evacuation of all things “spiritual,” leaving behind only blind, brute, bits of matter. Whichever one arrives at first—whether materialism or atheism—is really inconsequential; one usually follows the other. Concerning galaxies and stars, materialism seems unthreatening. After all, these are material, natural phenomena that we can understand, explain, and model according to material causes;... Read More

Important Features of the Metaphysical Proof for God

Wondering

NOTE: Today we wrap up our six-part series by Karlo Broussard on a metaphysical proof for God's existence. You can reach reach of the prior posts below: Part 1 - Why Must There Be at Least One Unconditioned Reality? Part 2 - The Absolute Simplicity of Unconditioned Reality Part 3 - The Absolute Uniqueness of Unconditioned Reality Part 4 - The Key Divine Attributes of the Absolutely Unique and Simple Unconditioned Reality Part 5 - Key Attributes: Perfection and the Three Omnis Part... Read More

Debunking One of the Worst Arguments Against Atheism

Head in Hands

There are a lot of good arguments against atheism (like the argument from contingency). There are also some good ones which unfortunately have been used incorrectly so many times that they have been misidentified as bad ones (like Pascal’s Wager). Even more unfortunately, there are also some genuinely bad ones (like the argument from the banana), and some of these are quite popular. One of the worst is all the more dangerous because it sounds enough like a good argument that... Read More

Revisiting the Argument from Desire

Desire2

One of the classical demonstrations of God’s existence is the so-called argument from desire. It can be stated in a very succinct manner as follows. Every innate or natural desire corresponds to some objective state of affairs that fulfills it. Now we all have an innate or natural desire for ultimate fulfillment, ultimate joy, which nothing in this world can possibly satisfy. Therefore there must exist objectively a supernatural condition that grounds perfect fulfillment and happiness,... Read More

Demons, Playing Cards, and Telescopes

Exoricst

In 1949, Jerome S. Bruner and Leo Postman asked a group of 28 students at Harvard and Radcliffe to perform a simple task: identify playing cards. There were just two catches. First, these cards were shown very quickly: for 10 milliseconds at first, but increasing up to 1000 milliseconds if they struggled to identify the card. Second, the researchers were using a deck of four ordinary playing cards and six “trick cards” in which the card's color and suit were incongruous (red spades,... Read More

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