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Nexus Book Club

A group for those of us who like reading and books. Fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry... everything goes.

Members: 828
Latest Activity: May 16

Welcome to the Nexus Book Club!

Hello to all our new (and old) members! We'd love to hear from you; please take the time to introduce yourself either on the forum or the wall.

Feel free to discuss the books you're reading at the moment, your favorite authors or works, and so on. I'm sure everyone has a book they think others here might find interesting!

Also, don't forget to check out the page Books by A|N Members Who are Published Authors, located just under the members section on your right.


Books of Interest to Atheists and Skeptics
Breaking The Spell by Daniel Dennett
A Devil's Chaplain, by Richard Dawkins
The End of Faith, by Sam Harris
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
Godless, by Dan Barker
Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris
Why I am not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell

Sites for Bibliotaphs
Audible.com
BookCrossing.com
BookMooch.com
The Internet Archive
LibraryThing.com
LibriVox.org
Project Gutenburg
Shelfari.com

Discussion Forum

The Last Blade of Grass

Started by Robert Brown May 7. 0 Replies

Top 5 Books on Atheism

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 30. 5 Replies

Why do they all have "happy endings"

Started by Cory D Wells. Last reply by sk8eycat Jan 22. 5 Replies

New books on the secular life

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Randall Smith Oct 23, 2014. 1 Reply

POLLY AND THE ONE AND ONLY WORLD

Started by Don. Last reply by Don Sep 13, 2014. 1 Reply

Haruki Murakami

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Michael Mann Sep 7, 2014. 1 Reply

"Cli-fi"

Started by Don. Last reply by Don Aug 31, 2014. 4 Replies

top 10

Started by Jeffrey. Last reply by Nick Bottom Aug 23, 2014. 17 Replies

Atheism books (beyond Hitchens, Dawkins, & Harris)

Started by Dr. Thoss. Last reply by Kelli Evans Nov 24, 2012. 52 Replies

Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" fans?

Started by Jenn Wiffen. Last reply by Joseph P Sep 10, 2012. 1 Reply

Currently Reading: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Started by The Big Blue Frog. Last reply by Cory D Wells Jul 24, 2012. 8 Replies

The Atheist Book Club @GoodReads.com

Started by Donegal. Last reply by Jessica Mar 28, 2012. 8 Replies

Comment Wall

Comment

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Comment by Howard Thomas on January 1, 2011 at 1:27pm

Submission to God's will is paramount in Islam, regardless of whether his will reflects immorality. We can see this in the Sacrifice story, and this is the basis for a major Islamic festival, Eid al-adha (festival of Sacrifice). Muslims celebrate Abraham submitting to god's will, even though this meant Abraham attempted to murder an innocent, which is of course, immoral, or should be viewed as immoral. Abraham should have said to God "no, it's immoral". So we see that particularly within the Islamic religion, acting in a moral way is strictly secondary to submitting to god's will, no matter whether his will reflects immorality. As has been said, how god operates is not asked. This is what is frightening. All the more astonishing to hear Muslims - and people of other Abrahamic faiths - promoting their faiths as a basis for a moral upbringing.

 

I think Islam avoids the question of evil by simply mindlessly not addressing it. Inshallah - The will of Allah, no matter if it means thousands die horribly from an earthquake he could have prevented, is simply paramount, and at that point one is left with nothing else to do apart from to shrug one's shoulders.

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 1:09pm

Omaar,

 

I agree with you totally.  I "question" the existence of God for a number of reasons.  I truly "doubt" the existence of God because of evil.  This same evil makes me absolutely certain there is not a God who is loving, merciful AND omnipotent.

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 12:28pm

Omaar,

 

Thanks!  I'll read that article in a bit.  This conversation reminds me of one of the books I am reading right now, "God's Problem" by Bart Ehrmann.  If you haven't read it, it is a fascinating look at this whole theodicy issue from the perspective of the Bible.  One thing I find most interesting (and sort of already knew it, but not very well) is that you can find exactly what you just described in the Bible.  You can also find about 4 other "good" explanations for where evil and suffering come from.

 

Tony

Comment by Ian Mason on January 1, 2011 at 12:05pm
Isn't this polytheism under another/other name(s)? Or some kind of Buddhist influence via the Silk Road?
Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 10:29am

Omaar,

 

By the way, I stayed at your hotel in Cairo.  Nice place!  And sorry if you or others don't get the reference, I can explain it if necessary.

 

On a serious note however...  I am aware of the 99 attributes of Allah, in fact, when I was in Egypt I got a nice copy of them, in Arabic, for a Muslim friend who I cherish as a fine human being.  That aside, I don't see how the problem of evil is any less for the Muslim than for the Jew or Christian.  And maybe I am missing something and you can enlighten me (which is why I pose the question - not to challenge you, just for clarification).

 

For example, the first one "The Compassionate" and the second one "the Merciful", yet in the time it has taken me to type this reply at least 32 people, most of them children, have died of starvation (http://www.un.org/partnerships/YStatisticsNutrition.htm).  How is this compassionate or merciful and how is that that a god who is almighty (number 8) allows this to occur?

 

Just some thoughts.

 

VR,

Tony

Comment by Tony Davis on December 31, 2010 at 11:15am

Keith - Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and provide feedback.  I really do see it as a "community effort" - all us reasonable folks against the forces of ignorance.  I have to run some errands now but will definitely take a look at your comments and my article when I get back!

 

I realize I need to go back and proof all my articles better.  I think my ideas are sound but my grammar sucks!  ;-)

Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 4:15am
I thought I got fifteen minutes in which to edit my posts, but apparently I don't.  It really looks as though your previous sentence--"However, it must also exist in reality, because to exist in reality as well as in the mind is greater than to exist in the mind alone"--already says that God, on the OA, must be real.  Since you introduce omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence for the first time in the sentence in question, maybe you really want to say something like "Thus, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being--namely, God--must be real."
Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 4:09am
The more I look at it, the more I dislike "This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real."  First, it isn't the properties that are real, but the being exemplifying them.  (You can use "displaying" or even "possessing," if you don't like "exemplifying.")  So, it isn't the ultimate greatness that is real, but rather the being exemplifying ultimate greatness.  Second, I'm not sure what "ultimate greatness" adds to the property-collection of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence.  Third, although "and so forth" makes sense to *me*, it seems pretty much devoid of meaning in the essay, since you haven't mentioned any other properties God might have or given the reader any idea of what you might mean by any extra deific properties.  Simply "The greatest conceivable being must, therefore, be real." would do the job, wouldn't it?
Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 3:55am

The easiest way for me to provide a copyread version of your essay is by simply rewriting it here:

---------------------------------

Perhaps the most bizarre of all the major apologetic arguments is the ontological argument.  ["Ontological argument" is typically capitalized--both the "o" and the "a"--but need not be.]  It is so bizarre, in fact, [note the addition of two commas] that even many apologists today seem to shy away from it, and it was rejected by none other than Saint Thomas Aquinas.  In simplest terms, this argument states that God must exist if we can conceive of Him as something that is greater than anything else we can imagine.  In this way, it is an a priori argument for God's existence [not merely "for God"; I'd use "for the existence of God," but I'm aware that you're trying to save space] that rests on human reason alone--God's existence is self-evident by virtue of the fact that we can imagine His greatness.  [I don't care whether you capitalize "Him" or "His"--but you capitalized "Him" earlier in this paragraph.  Whichever way you choose, be consistent.  Note that even if you capitalize "God," you are not obliged to capitalize "him" or "his"--"Shakespeare" is a proper name, but you don't capitalize "him" or "his" when talking about Shakespeare.]

 

For our purposes, this argument can be traced to Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109).  [You labeled Thomas Aquinas "Saint" at first mention, so you ought to label Anselm "Saint" at first mention, too.  Since you're trying to save space, I'll leave out the "Saint" in further uses of their names.]  In his Proslogion, [although perhaps not strictly necessary, I really think this reads better with "his" inserted] Anselm proposed that if we conceive of "that than which a greater cannot be thought," [note the insertion of "than" in the description, and note also the added comma] then this maximally great entity exists in our mind.  [I removed the parenthetical "by definition God," since your readers already know you're talking about God and since you're trying to save space.  I do not object to the phrase "this maximally great entity," although I would have written "this greatest conceivable entity."  I note that the theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga uses the term "maximally great" to describe any being which necessarily exemplifies omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection, as well as any other properties one might ascribe to God.]  However, it must also exist in reality, because to exist in reality as well as in the mind [note the inserted "in"] is greater than to exist in the mind alone.  This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real.  [But that's clumsy.  If you want to keep your "ultimate greatness" language, consider instead "This ultimately great being--one exemplifying omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth--must then be real."]  We are conceiving of perfection, [note the deletion of "ultimate"--it seems unnecessary, although not wrong] and it is "more perfect" to be real than to exist only in the imagination.

-------------------

I'll continue this later.

 

 

 

Comment by Joseph P on December 30, 2010 at 12:20pm
  • On capitalising H for 'him' in reference to God, I personally wouldn't do it. I read apologist Peter S. Williams' 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' and he explains well at the beginning why he does not
    capitalise in this manner and why it is unnecessary.

I mostly do it to mock the Christians.  Of course within a comedy context, it's more obvious.

 

@Stephen

When you're talking about the Christian god, by name, it's a proper noun.  You can bitch about the way they've co-opted the generic word as the proper name for their deity, as I do, but it doesn't make it any less correct to capitalize it when using it as his name.

 

Personally, I like to ask which of his names they're referring to, as mentioned in the Bible:  Iam, El, or Yahweh, all of which are separate deities within the Ugarit pantheon.

 

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