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What Has Christianity Ever Done for the West?

sistine

As Christmas and the holiday season draw near, it is time to take a pause and think deeply about the benefits that Christianity, particularly Catholicism, has conferred upon Western civilization. As a non-Westerner and non-Christian who has no ax to grind in this issue, I believe I can offer a fairly objective assessment of the impact that Christian ideas (some of which had pagan/Jewish precedents) have had on the evolution of Western civilization and their key role in the West’s spectacular... Read More

What Do You Think of the Moral Argument for God?

Moral Argument

NOTE: We recently kicked off a new series of posts, each introducing a popular argument for or against God, followed by open-ended discussion. The goal is not to offer a thorough defense or refutation of the argument in the original post, but to unpack it together, as a community, in the comment boxes. The first argument we discussed was Alvin Plantinga's modal ontological argument for God, then we looked at the kalam cosmological argument. Today, we'll look at the moral argument for God.     The... Read More

An Agnostic’s Assessment Of New Atheist Attitudes

john-humphrys

Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens—these are the posterboys for what some have called the “New Atheists”. What’s new about the New Atheists? In his book, Gunning For God, Oxford mathematician John Lennox says it’s their tone and emphasis. The tone of today’s New Atheists is one of intensity and aggression. They are not out to merely inform. They are out to convert—to de-vangelize. In the The God Delusion, Dawkins admits: “If this... Read More

Is Religion Evil? Secularism’s Pride and Irrational Prejudice

ReligiousWar

The common wisdom in many circles (most located in certain cities on the East and Left Coasts) is that religion, in general, is a bad thing, and that in the hands of "fundamentalists," the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and ultra-super-radical-Islamic terrorists, it is inevitably evil. Eliminating religion, it is then suggested or even openly argued, is a sure way to rid the world of evil. The term "religion," it should be noted, almost always refers to Christianity (or a form of pseudo-Christianity)... Read More

The Dogmas and Failure of Rational Atheism

SamHarris

I was recently re-reading sections of what I think is one of the best and yet most under-appreciated Catholic books written in recent decades, Faith and Certitude by Father Thomas Dubay. Fr. Dubay's book is, as the title suggests, especially concerned with skepticism and unbelief, and is an excellent examination of the intellectual premises and varied attitudes held by atheists. In a chapter titled, "Clarifying Our Concepts," Fr. Dubay writes: "Everyone is dogmatic. The statement may startle,... 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

Is Religion Responsible for the World’s Violence?

Tamil

A few months ago, a “gun-toting atheist” and self-proclaimed “anti-theist” killed three Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There's some question still about whether the killer was motivated by atheism or some other motivation. What there's no question of is that much of the secular response was predictably tasteless and exploitative. For example, the Daily Beast's Suzi Parker responded with an essay on how hard it is to be Muslim “in the most religious—and Christian—part... Read More

Why Believe?

Sam Harris

"Faith is always at a disadvantage; it is a perpetually defeated thing which survives all of its conquerors," wrote G. K. Chesterton. Faith is the Christian word. Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., in his masterful theology of faith, The Assurance of Things Hoped For, writes, "More than any other religion, Christianity deserves to be called a faith". He points out that in the New Testament the Greek words for "faith" and "belief" occur nearly 500 times, compared to less than 100 for "hope" and... Read More

The Dying of the Brights

DawkinsKrauss

“We have to make this planet as good as we possibly can and try to leave it a better place than we found it.” The crowd, gathered to hear Richard Dawkins debate the Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, responds to the trite apothegm with unsurprising applause. But off-stage, after the cameras are turned off, the proverbial devil of the details rears his ugly head. A weary Dawkins—one almost gets the sense that he’d rather not talk to anybody at all—kneels besides... Read More

Is Sam Harris Right About Drugs?

Sam Harris

Sam Harris's anti-religious book, The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, begins with a premise that he admitted to be false in the endnotes: the idea that most suicide bombings occur because of religion generally, and Islam specifically. In fact, most suicide bombings occur at the hands of the Tamil Tigers, a Marxist ethno-political movement with no ties to any religion. But later in the book, he makes an even more puzzling insinuation, that religion is responsible... Read More

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