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The billboards read: “No God? No Problem. Be Good for Goodness’ Sake,” and “Are You Good without God? Millions Are.” The point was clear: Morality in no way depends on belief in God. And why should it? Atheists can be good, too. New atheist Christopher Hitchens regularly challenged his religious opponents to suggest a single act of goodness they could perform that he, the atheist, could not accomplish with equal success.
The images are sadly familiar. Buildings ripped from their foundations. Corpses mingled with debris. Parents and friends grieving for lost loved ones. Flowers and candles and makeshift memorials. New Orleans, Newtown, New York, Littleton. In one sense tragedies like these will never be old news. And when new disasters inevitably arrive, the question on the lips of so many is an age old query: “Where was God?” One Wrong Answer
Judith Jarvis Thompson's Violinist Argument Isn't a Good Defense of Aboriton I remember exactly where I was the first time I heard Judith Jarvis Thompson’s famous “Violinist” argument. I was driving south on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles listening to a radio talk-show. It shook me up so much I almost had to pull over.
Three years ago I sat on a short bench in a small stone church on the outskirts of Oxford. In a tiny graveyard outside was a flat tombstone with the name “Clive Staples Lewis” etched into the granite. The pew my wife and I were sitting in was the same place C.S. Lewis occupied with his brother Warnie every Sunday morning for decades as they worshipped together at Trinity Church.
Lady Gaga’s mega-hit song, “Born this Way,” expressed what many believe: Homosexuality is hardwired in the genes. And if genetic, immutable. And if innate, nonvoluntary. And if not chosen, morally benign. There is therefore (to paraphrase Paul), now no condemnation for homosexuals. To many, that reasoning flows unhindered given Gaga’s starting point. But was she right? Birth of the Born-that-Way Theory
I want to teach you how to assess a basic argument. How can you know if a line of thinking is a good one or not? There’s no magic to this. The tools of thinking are simple ones. Anyone can employ them skillfully with a little practice. If you have the right equipment you can make a lot of progress even if you don’t consider yourself an intellectual whiz-kid.
Pre-marital sex isn't God's design for human sexuality. And it's just not wise. If you want a guaranteed nomination for oddball of the year, announce to your friends or co-workers that you think sex is only for marriage. Most view such archaic notions as eccentric and even bizarre. Virgins are made to feel like nerds. If you haven’t “gotten lucky” by 18, it’s probably because you’re a social reject.
Quantum physics. Ugh. The term itself is enough to make grown men weep and send theologians scurrying. It can also send chills up the spine of the Christian marshalling evidence from science for the existence of God.
If you “just take Christianity on faith” you may be in trouble…
Is Jesus of the Gospels simply recycled ancient myths? There is a reason the ancient historical accounts of the life of Jesus of Nazareth do not start with the phrase, “Once upon a time….” On the face of it, the authors did not appear to be writing fairytales for future generations, but rather detailed accounts of the extraordinary events in the life of a particular Jewish carpenter who actually changed the course of history.