I expect discussions between christians and atheists to get edgy at times. We are talking about important matters and the two ‘sides’ are poles apart. But some responses seem extreme, even to people on the same side.
Why do you believe what you do – about religion, politics, ethics or life itself?
Many sceptics about religion are evidentialists, that is, they believe we should proportion our belief according to the evidence. Different disciplines (e.g. law, science, history, journalism and everyday life) require different types of evidence, but the principle seems reasonable.
But what if the sceptics are ignoring their own creed?
The Daily Telegraph in Sydney has been mounting an extensive disinformation campaign on climate change for years now. The tactic is simple, and apparently effective, if not truthful – latch onto any isolated “fact” that seems to show some evidence of a cool world, ignore all the facts, evidence and reports to the contrary, and sneer rather than argue logically. And make sure all your columnists, cartoonists and featured letter writers are ‘on message’.
So now that 2013 is over, what does the data tell us in Australia?
Recently I was following a debate between a christian and a non-believer, and the non-believer said that he (I presume it was “he”) would require “irrefutable evidence” to consider changing his mind about God. It seemed like a rather stringent requirement to me, so I started thinking ….
What things could we reasonably say we have “irrefutable evidence” for?
Not long after christianity began, a critic named Celsus argued that Jesus couldn’t have been divine, for he missed the opportunity to prove his divinity by disappearing from the cross. I find this an unsatisfactory argument, because it assumes that Celsus knew what God’s purpose was. And I find similarly unsatisfactory arguments being used today.
Many of my fellow bloggers, some friends, some more like protagonists, have written up the story of their spiritual journeys, mostly from christian belief or a christian upbringing to disbelief or atheism. I decided it was time I did the same thing. So here it is, a reflection on 69 years of life and more(…)
Sceptics sometimes say they would need more tangible evidence to believe – there’s insufficient evidence in the Bible and in the philosophical arguments for God, they say, so they need something incontrovertible. Yet at the same time, many say that no matter how much evidence there is for an action of God in the world,(…)
A reader, Hugo, and I have been discussing the fine-tuning argument for the existence of God in the comments section of another post. His most recent comment contained a number of interesting points, so I thought there was enough for a new post. So here are Hugo’s comments, shown as blockquotes, with my responses. (I(…)
I’m not sure how seriously I take this story, but it is interesting – attempting to measure something intangible. How certain are writers about what they say about God and ethics? And how open-minded do they think they are? So I hope it’s worth a look.