I Wonder [A Hughman #1]

New blog I recently found, OftenBetterThanFine, started by a friend on the far side of the world. Smart chap, I’m here to tell you. He has located an interesting/engaging set of YouTube lectures that I’m just starting into. I enjoy mind expanding discussions like this one; they make a good inoculation against the dwarfish, provincial worldview celebrated on days like Easter. Though I will add that I have no idea where this is headed. 🙂

oftenbetterthanfine

I’ve just listened to the first YouTube video from A Hughman, and it was a refreshing and enjoyable way to spend some time on my lunch-break (even if I couldn’t really see the screen properly in the sun).

I’m looking forward to his other episodes.

I was already beginning to think that ‘wonder’ is one of the most powerful things you can experience, and a noble end in itself, but this video meditates on the issues beautifully.

 

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Reblog: From Fundamentalism to Freedom

Feeling strong kinship with the author, and also being impressed by the balanced, compact, and expressive prose, I found this article worth reblogging.

http://new.exchristian.net/2014/05/from-fundamentalism-to-freedom.html

Geographically Embarrassed

Well, when you put it that way, yes. There are a few spots that need to be included, probably with an odd “splat” shape that has fingers here and there. But the point is well taken.

CIRCLE

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Reblog: “My Journey to Atheism” ~ Nathan Pratt

Reblog:

Nathan Pratt pens an impactful autobiography in this post, which provided me with a number of strong resonance points as I read it. His path away from Christianity came from a different angle, but the struggle to understand and the responses from others in his life are eerily familiar. A recommended read. I wept.

unpacked thoughts

Something I’d like to get out of the way immediately is that this post is going to be very honest. It’s a brief history of my religious upbringing, my crisis of faith and the final pushes to search for truth. Nothing I’ll say in this post is said out of anger or malice. It’s an honest portrayal of the extreme difficulty of leaving something you’d held to be truth for almost 30 years. I imagine that some of the topics and points will offend, but please read to the end.

One of the more frustrating things to come out of leaving religion is that so many theists think I haven’t thought this out. That I’m just going through a phase. I’d be willing to wager that I’ve gone much farther in my pursuit of truth than about any believer out there. I’ve put a staggering amount of time into this journey…

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Pew Research and Thoughts on End Times Expectations

To reprise of my prior observations about Harold Camping’s decease and legacy, Pew Research conducted a poll earlier this year that proves relevant. This was originally brought to my attention by John Zande; thanks John.

PF_13_03_22_JesusReturn-02Today a staggering 41% of US citizens (130,000,000 adults) believe that their Middle Eastern god will commence its mass extinction of all creatures in their lifetime. It’s a ghastly figure but it is a number reflected in the multi-billion dollar Christian apocalypse industry that has in just the last twenty years produced 29 End Times films (with such grand titles as “Tribulation” and “Judgement”), 60 documentaries (like “Racing to the End Times”), and some 1,120+ grotesquely warped End Times books, of which the Left Behind series has alone sold over 40 million copies.

~ JZ

For my own commentary, I will simply observe that I have been in two kinds of Christian groups… [Read more…]

20 Christian Academics Speaking About God (YouTube by J. Pararajasingham)

After the past year’s study, I was astonished to learn what leading Christian thinkers actually believed about the Bible, about explanations of evil, and about cosmic/human origins. It was distressing because I believe many of these views are largely unknown to the common man in the pews. I realized just how lost our intellectual vanguard actually was, and how defeated our claims stood on the battlefield of evidence.

The following YouTube video is a compilation of 20 top Christian academics talking about God, the cosmos, the problem of evil, and other topics. Each interview excerpt is long enough not to be taken out of context, and the assemblage is very interesting. Many of these scholars were recommended to me during the past year, and they are A-listers within the Christian scholarly community. I have read their longer works and watched their lectures and debates on YouTube (N.T. Wright, Alvin Plantinga, William Dembski, John Walton, Alister McGrath, etc.). This video captures the project of textual rehabilitation and doctrinal rehabilitation that I have seen at the bottom of the bookpile, and it does so in about 25 minutes.

It illustrates what I previously wrote in the Moral Pivot:

It was our own scholars, and no one else’s, who taught me to despair.

A must watch. Kudos and thanks to J Pararajasingham. Be sure to check out his other videos on YouTube.

 

 

Bringing the argument home to the apologists

As an engineer, I have considered that illustrations would be of great benefit in clarifying the various issues surrounding the Bible and adverse evidence. This illustration was absolutely spot on per my own observations from the past year’s study.

One of my critiques of Plantinga‘s “Where the Conflict Really Lies” was that he made a project of defending a streamlined and generic theism, only to leap to a conclusion that Christianity was therefore more reasonable than non-belief. This illustration depicts precisely the downfall of the entire book. And such conflations abound everywhere.

As I have posted elsewhere, theism or deism may possibly be true, but that does not save Christianity. The Bible’s credibility collapses on the great weight of disconfirming evidences and the many textual ascription crises.

deconversion

The good news is that today’s apologists find their own core belief indefensible. This is leading to an attempt to draw the debate away from the many core logical absurdities found in the “gospel”, and to a focus on arguments absent from what has lead most of them to their faith. These are just a decoy. Any proposal of a spherical cube of gold can be immediately dismissed due to the impossibility of a spherical cube, evidence of gold not withstanding. In like manner, any proposal of the logically impossible Christian god can be dismissed based on the impossibility of that god, in spite of proffered evidence of “changed lives” or “fine tuning” or perceived weaknesses in evolutionary theory or the need for “objective purpose”. Whatever gods may exist, the logically impossible god of the Bible is disqualified as a candidate due to his logical incoherence. Let’s avoid the intentional…

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Quotes from Rabbis & Scholars on the Exodus, Abraham

(updated 9/12/2013) The quotes below serve as auxiliary material to that already cited on my Israel’s Origins page, and I recently found them collected in a new-to-me blog. The original author cites these quotations with additional discussion, and I suggest checking it out (Thanks John Zande). The original post can be found here: Well, this is a little embarrassing, isn’t it? Meanwhile, the meaty collection of quotations:

“Defending a rabbi in the 21st century for saying the Exodus story isn’t factual is like defending him for saying the Earth isn’t flat. It’s neither new nor shocking to most of us that the Earth is round or that the Torah isn’t a history book dictated to Moses by God on Mount Sinai.”

~ Rabbi Steven Leder of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.

“The rejection of the Bible as literally true is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis.”

~ Rabbi David Wolpe of the Conservative Sinai Temple

[Read more…]

Contending with Bart Ehrman

This brief review of Dan Wallace’s critique of Ehrman does well at highlighting the rhetorical climate that surrounds the topic of biblical criticism. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the goal of much writing on the subject seems to be one of terminating further inquiry by the reader and rendering as dismissible the issues raised by scholars like Ehrman, Finkelstein, etc.

Friendly Humanist

This post reviews an essay in the book Contending with Christianity’s Critics, the latest installment in the Ultimate Philosophy Challenge that I undertook some time ago. This time I’m looking at Daniel Wallace’s essay “How Badly Did the Early Scribes Corrupt the New Testament?”.

I was looking forward to Daniel Wallace’s essay, because it is the first to directly address a professional skeptic whose work I’ve seen*. Wallace speaks to Bart Ehrman’s arguments for scriptural corruption – that is, the position that the texts of the Bible as we have them are not the same as those penned by the original first-century authors. He doesn’t address Jesus Interrupted (the book that opened this Challenge), but Ehrman’s earlier book, Misquoting Jesus (MJ from here on). So I had some more Ehrman to read. I didn’t mind – he’s a clear and engaging writer, and it was nice to have…

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Cargill on The Ehrman Project

CargillCargill on The Ehrman Project

Quite apart from Cargill’s post, which I only just found, I concur with his assessment of The Ehrman Project website. I had previously come to my own identical conclusions after digging and scratching.

cas d'intérêt

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Class Warfare Blog

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Secular Wings

My freedom from spiritual abuse happened when I walked away from the abusers. My healing and recovery from the complex trauma of spiritual abusers, spiritually abusive faith and toxic religion happened while I was still a Christian and continues to this day. My deconversion came later after many many years of studying the Bible, Christian apologetics, cults and spiritual abuse. When I realized that the Bible is not the inerrant Word of God, the only honest thing I could do was to stop calling myself a Christian. What I write here, may be very different from what I’ve written in the past. It might also be repeats of the past themes. ~ Zoe

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