Who believes in evolution, and who doesn’t?

October 23rd, 2017

Evolution has probably been the main area of discord between christians and science in the past two centuries. There have always been christians who accepted the science of evolution, but until the last few decades they were probably in the minority.

But a new study suggests that this is changing, and that christians aren’t the only ones who have difficulties with at least some aspects of evolution – some atheists do too.

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Something from nothing?

August 27th, 2017

Nate, who blogs at Finding Truth, and I have been internet friends and opponents for maybe 6 or 7 years. We read each other’s blogs, sometimes comment and occasionally blog in reply to each other.

Recently, in response to a question of mine, Nate blogged on the question of whether the beginning of the universe was a difficulty for atheists to explain (Difficult Questions for Atheists? Part 2: Something from Nothing).

Nate made the following points (I have tried to summarise him fairly):

  1. We don’t know if there was “nothing” before the Big Bang which started our universe off. In fact we don’t even know if a state of nothingness is even possible.
  2. Thus “How did something arise out of nothing?” may not be a meaningful question, and certainly not evidence for a god.
  3. Perhaps the universe, or something else, has always existed, and there is no beginning to explain.
  4. In the end, we simply don’t know, and “ignorance is not the basis for an argument”.

In this post I consider the argument about the origin of the universe (generally known as the Cosmological argument), and Nate’s responses.

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History for Atheists

July 7th, 2017

History can sometimes be a battleground in the atheist-christian “wars”. Old Testament history, the life of Jesus, or the misdeeds of the church or individual christians can all become arguments that sceptics use to provide reasons to not believe.

But not all the arguments are based on good history, and one atheist feels strongly about this.

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“The implications of my atheism were incompatible with almost every value I held dear”

May 28th, 2017

We all know that churches in the first world have lost numbers over the past century, with many people leaving the faith of their parents to become atheists, agnostics, vague theists, believers in other religions, or just indifferent. We may not always be so aware of a number of people making the journey in the opposite direction, from unbelief to faith. Some studies suggest that highly educated people may be more likely to convert.

This is a story of one such convert. It is all the more interesting because her conversion came out of considering one of several significant philosophical difficulties for atheism.

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Three questions about faith, meaning and purpose

May 15th, 2017

Hugh Mackay is probably Australia’s leading social researcher and commentator. His book Beyond Belief (2016) explores spirituality and religious belief in Australia.

It is, I think, as much a vehicle for Mackay to share his own spirituality as it is solid social research, and it contains some interesting insights. In a chapter titled Reasonable Faith he examines the benefits and drawbacks of faith (not just in God, but in people, or in almost anything) and suggests agnosticism often isn’t a bad option.

He then offers three questions to assist us to decide whether and what to believe.

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Liar, lunatic, legend, loser or Lord?

January 27th, 2017

More than half a century ago, christian apologist CS Lewis presented a simple argument for belief in the divinity of Jesus. The argument wasn’t original to him, but it went like this. We cannot think of Jesus as merely a good moral teacher for good moral teachers don’t claim to be the son of God. Either he was a fraud, or he was deranged, or he spoke the truth. And who would want to say he was a liar of deranged? Those fond of alliteration soon labelled the argument “Liar, Lunatic or Lord?”

It was a convincing argument at the time, but is commonly disdained these days. What is the basis for the negativity? And can the argument be resurrected, or not?

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Questions and doubts, so why do I still believe?

January 19th, 2017

Blogging and commenting on other blogs exposes me to many different viewpoints. And it makes me think ….

Some questions I’ve heard before, thought about, and know what I think. Other questions require thought, research and more thought. But all the time I’m considering, reviewing, pondering.

I’ve also “met” many people, each one on the journey of life, but heading in so many different directions. They make me think and ponder too. How can people come to such widely different conclusions about life, truth and God?

Some people grow up in a christian family, or choose to follow Jesus, and continue with that belief right through life. But others walk away from their previous belief for various reasons. So why am I in the former group rather than the latter? After all, it’s not as if I don’t have doubts and questions.

It makes me think ….

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It always pays to check the evidence

December 17th, 2016

This page in brief

The internet is an amazing source of information – we can find out almost anything we want to know with a quick visit to Google. But trust is involved – we have to trust websites to speak honestly about things they actually know.

But what happens when that trust is misplaced? Sometimes webpages lead us astray. We are living in a “post truth” age, people are saying, and wrong ideas can spread virally. And so erroneous and distorted information spreads out and is so often quoted until it can seem like it must be true.

Here is a case in point….

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A trial lawyer on evidence

November 18th, 2016

Internet discussions between believers and non-believers often get into the matter of evidence. Is there any evidence for God?

Trouble is, we cannot always agree on what type and amount of evidence for God is enough to believe. And of course we all have our own viewpoints to defend.

But perhaps looking at evidence a slightly different way will help – at least to bring the two “sides” a little closer to understanding each other.

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I’m beginning to see a pattern here

October 15th, 2016

I seem to have had this feeling of deja vu before! 🙂 Conversations on the internet where the topics were very different, but the discussions seem to go in the same direction.

The other person might be an atheist or they might be a christian, but I seem to end up saying the same things.

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