Word of Advice to Atheists – Stop Defining Atheism as a Lack of Belief

A common atheistic rhetoric that atheism is just “a lack of belief’ has been the subject of a lot of debate over the past decade.[1] Here I will discuss that rhetoric in theory and in practice. It is my contention that not only is the rhetoric not accurate or helpful, but in practice atheists consistently go far beyond a lack of belief. This assertion, that atheism is a lack of belief, commonly goes hand in hand with the assertion that atheism is thus a default position. The more I’ve been discussing this the more I think that defining atheism as a lack of belief actually weakens the atheistic position. I almost want to go along with it because if we allow that position through it will become easier for theists to simply dismiss atheism as a trivially true statement of subjective psychology than a substantive philosophical option.

Fortunately, integrity cannot allow me to argue against weak positions as if they are the only positions. I think that atheism defined as the belief that God(s) do not or probably do not exist is an much more robust position because it seems the perfect storm of a very minimal burden of proof as a position of negation but also that it does not suffer the potential problem of equitation between different usages. Not to mention it escapes the criticism of being a redefinition for polemical purposes. Much ink is spilled simply over the semantics and etymology of the word “atheism” without actually getting to the real issues at hand.[2]

[Read more...]

The 5th Wave: I Am The Battlefield

“I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless16101128 hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” – Yancey’s favorite quote from The 5th Wave

Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave has received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, the New York Times and Goodreads both listed it as one of the best YA books of 2013, Entertainment Weekly thinks it might be “the next big thing,” and Sony Pictures is currently in the process of bringing this book to the big screen. The much anticipated sequel, The Infinite Sea, is being released today.

The 5th Wave is an ambitious alien invasion story written for both YA and adult audiences, packing not just one but five extinction events into one book. Aliens have been waiting patiently for decades to take over east, infusing their essence into unborn babies and lying dormant until the right time for an invasion. They begin their attack with Four Waves of disasters that obliterate most of humanity. The embedded aliens manifest in their human hosts to infiltrate – and then eradicate – the remnant of humanity in a decisive 5th Wave of human/alien hybrid assassins. These Silencers have brought the sucker punch. Up to this point, humanity had feared the aliens. Now they have to fear themselves. [Read more...]

A Defense of the Minimal Facts: Part 1

I was recently sent an article by Matthew Ferguson of Adversus Apologetica where he attempts to knock down the minimal facts approach. Looking through the article, I was largely unimpressed. For those interested, it can be found here:

The minimal facts approach is used by Gary Habermas and Mike Licona. This strategy take facts that even liberal scholarship acknowledges and argues from there that the best conclusion that can be reached from what we know is that Jesus rose from the dead.

Much of this is done to avoid going to the gospels. As Habermas has said, the gospels were written, by liberal standards, 40-70 years after the facts. The minimal facts approach is also used to avoid “The Bible says it happened, therefore it did,” approach, as Habermas and Licona use facts that are agreed upon by non-Christian scholars in the field.

So what does Ferguson say? [Read more...]

Sufism – Origin and History (Part 2)

2014-08-24-22-53-36-222038528Prophet Mohammed seems to be the first Sufi, communing directly with Allah. The early followers who were with him received revelations from God directly through them and formed the early Sufi school. The Hadith talks about ‘Ihsan’ or worship as one of the aspects of Islam and the Quran also talks about the purpose of God creating humans and Jinns is so that they may worship him.“I created the Jinns and humankind only that they may worship me.” Quran 51:56“He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He again said: Inform me about Ihsan. The Prophet replied; That you worship Allah as if you are seeing him, for though you don’t see him, verily he sees you” – Hadith, Sahi Muslim Book 1:1

Early Sufism started as brotherhoods or tariqas. Over the time as it progressed into the middle ages, it developed a distinct feature of having a ‘Shayk’ or a guru who as a head of a Sufi school taught disciples to live out Islam. Sufism came to be identified with these tariqas and the ‘shayk’ who headed these had distinctive practices which came to define them and give them identity.Sufism is the branch of Islam which could accomodate local Islamic practices and cultural variations and provide people a culturally relevant local variant of Islam. Sufism was also very missional and brought a lot of people in Asia into the fold of Islam. [Read more...]

It’s Evidential

A review of Discovering Intelligent Design: A Journey into the Scientific Evidence
by Gary Kemper, Hallie Kemper, and Casey Luskin

DiscoveringIDCoverGraphic (4)When Hallie Kemper, a homeschool educator and science teacher, set out to locate a curriculum for intelligent design (ID), she couldn’t find one that met her needs. So she and her husband Gary, a former aerospace scientist and ID skeptic who had become a supporter after discovering academic and media misinformation on the subject, wrote one. Then they teamed up with Casey Luskin, cofounder of the Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center, to produce Discovering Intelligent Design: A Journey into the Scientific Evidence (“DID”) to fill the void in the curriculum market.  [Read more...]