Alex McCullie's Blog (23)

Are we atheists scientific dogmatists?

Robert Winston, renowned British scientist, BBC doco presenter, and occasional Christian apologist, was defending the efficacy of science on BBC interview show, Hardtalk. In a throw-away line he suggested that atheists take the unreasonable position of automatically accepting the factuality of scientific claims without question (attacking Richard Dawkins et al. ?). By implication non-atheists are able to take a more nuanced view of science's strengths and…

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Added by Alex McCullie on March 2, 2010 at 3:14pm — 6 Comments

What would we talk about, if no one had invented god?

A famous old seminary story went along the lines of an old, gentle priest bitterly complaining about atheists to a younger, somewhat shocked priest. "The thing I can't stand about atheists is that they always want to talk about God."

Well for one thing I'd be working in the garden, as my partner wants, instead of typing on this keyboard. Thank god for God!

Alex
Alex's Heresies

Added by Alex McCullie on January 23, 2010 at 4:13pm — 13 Comments

Challenging the new blasphemy laws in Ireland.

There are a number of newspaper reports on an Irish website deliberately posting 25 statements that contravene the new blasphemy laws to protect religions from criticisms - they obviously need it to protect their faith! Here are a few (oh so dangerous)... Alex



1. Jesus Christ, when asked if he was the son of God, in Matthew 26:64: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on January 3, 2010 at 5:18am — 1 Comment

Jews, Crucifixion, and Blame

It's good to visit fantastic worlds of Christian web-sites. A recent one said that blaming the Jews for the death of Jesus was unChristian and with no biblical support. Blaming all Jews, or any people for that matter, for the death of any real or imagined person some 2000 years ago is nonsensical and is usually for dangerous purposes. However the "no biblical support" - you have got to be joking.



So I revisited the Gospel passion narratives as well as one of Paul's letters in… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on December 31, 2009 at 9:13pm — 1 Comment

Richard Dawkins interview Australian ABC television

Andrew Denton, a popular Australian interviewer and comedy writer, spoke to Richard Dawkins as part of Denton's "Elders" series. It was probably one of the worst interviews I've seen for some time. Denton repeatedly tried to take Dawkins where he didn't want to go - talking about his inner feelings.



Dawkins explicitly rejected opportunities to disclose personal feelings and that's his right. Denton asked for word definitions like 'wisdom' as a way of getting Dawkins to talk about… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on December 21, 2009 at 2:30pm — 4 Comments

Another exclusive revelation

I write a blog that is clearly naturalistic even though I enjoying discussing Christianity and Christian history mixed in with philosophy(go figure!). So what do I get? People promoting a new revelation from Jewish and Christian scriptures and any other docs they can weave into the picture. It must be wonderful to divine absolute truth - I just struggle with human limitations in a physical world. Here is the letter I received for your enlightenment or… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on December 20, 2009 at 2:30pm — 3 Comments

Can theists and atheists really have any rational arguments?

Problem of evil debate - William Lane Craig vs Walter Sinnott-Armstrong



While preparing for the Problem of Evil course I'm now running, I found this debate between Craig and Sinnot-Armstrong above. And it seemed like two people arguing, one in English and the other in French.



Sinnot-Armstrong like any atheist argues from the primacy of the physical world. So suffering is extensive… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 18, 2009 at 4:30am — 11 Comments

Talking about non-belief to 6 year-old part 2

Recently I raised the question of should someone challenge a "God is loving" statement by a 6 year old. There was an ambivalent response by atheist nexus members.



Well, here's a sequel to that event. It came up again and this time my partner and the little girl's mother described their non-belief. The little girl was shocked as this contradicted religious instruction at school.



Are they talking about a school god then, she asked?



Ironically the ancient… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 7, 2009 at 5:58pm — No Comments

Evangelists - all noise but little knowledge?

About one year ago I shared an interesting bus trip with a self-declared Christian evangelist, only one hour but very enlightening, a true epiphany (sorry!).



Previously a close friend claimed my criticisms of Christianity were ill-founded through lack of knowledge. I was wrongly seeing all believers as hard-code fundamentalists. So I'd make a real effort to study religion, Christianity, and the Christian bible. I grew up in a secular family.



So back to the bus trip. Here… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 6, 2009 at 3:28pm — 1 Comment

Is "not necessary" a healthier (and cleverer) response than "disbelief"?

We are all familiar with Pierre-Simon Laplace's famous retort to Napolean on the omission of god from his work on astronomy: "I had no need of that hypothesis."

Is that a more "got-it-together" response than I do not believe or I reject?

Alex
Alex's Heresies - Embracing a Physical Reality

Added by Alex McCullie on November 4, 2009 at 5:06pm — 3 Comments

Public ranting against atheists from a senior Catholic educationist

In case you missed it. Here's great opinion piece from an Australian vice chancellor of a local Catholic university equating new atheists to a plague of blowflies or something from biblical Egypt. Excellent!



Here's link to the article in The Age newspaper: Age - Plague of atheists



And here's my comment:… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 3, 2009 at 9:01pm — 4 Comments

Science & religion - nonoverlapping Magisteria?

Oldie but a goodie...



A 5 year-old daughter went to mom (mum for us Aussies) to ask where we came from. "Well, God made Adam and Eve and they had children all the way down to you darling." Her daughter went away satisfied with mommy's explanation. Couple of days later she wen to dad to ask the same question. "Well, we all came from monkeys and over many years became people just like you and me." His daughter went away a little confused and went back to mommy.



"You said God… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 3, 2009 at 6:30pm — No Comments

Atheism or Agnosticism - which is more rational?

Bertrand Russell said:



"I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 3, 2009 at 4:30am — 9 Comments

Need a slogan to stop special priviledges for churches

Here in Victoria, Australia we have religious groups trying to circumvent our anti-discrimination laws to block the employment of homosexuals and single mothers. There have been some press on the Roman Catholic church's attempt to recruit disaffected Anglicans (read misogynist, homophobic and bigoted) to an new accepting home - the Roman Catholic Church. As one commentator pointed out there would be an uproar if any secular organisation did the same thing.



Any suggestions for… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on November 1, 2009 at 7:29pm — 2 Comments

There are lots of so-called proofs/disproofs of god. But is your disbelief based on reason or at a deeper emotional level?

I was raised in a non-believing family, so god never really made sense to me. Even though the rational arguments either way are intellectually interesting, I'm convinced they have little to do with people believing or disbelieving in god. Or, at least, I can't see that rational arguments alone would convert someone. Is that so?

Alex
Alex's Heresies - Embracing a Physical Reality

Added by Alex McCullie on November 1, 2009 at 5:21am — 9 Comments

A 6 Year old of your best friend says that 'God loves us all', what do you say?

My partner replied that she does not believe and then gave a simplified version of evolution. I was impressed. What would you do?

Alex
Alex's Heresies - Embracing a Physical Reality

Added by Alex McCullie on October 24, 2009 at 10:00pm — 8 Comments

What is the craziest religious doctrine?

The Doctrine of the Trinity probably gets my vote.

Three divine things but only one. They are different beings but the same being. I suppose the history makes sense. How does one believe in the one true god and keep the historical street-cred of Judaism in 1st century Israel and Roman Empire while believing in Jesus as a god? And let's toss the Holy Spirit into the mix.

Alex

Added by Alex McCullie on October 16, 2009 at 3:29pm — 12 Comments

What would convert you to be a true religious believer?

Occasionally Christian friends ask would I still disbelieve, if I met Jesus in the street. Firstly, I clarify the image. It's usually a young, good-looking white Anglo-saxon male (pre-crucifixion, hopefully - that gets me into trouble!), who performs magic tricks. Secondly, I gently suggest a better image may be an itinerant, devout Jew who advocates circumcision, strict food laws, and sabbath keeping and who sprukes the imminent kingdom of God. And, that he'll either be ignored by everyone or… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on October 14, 2009 at 4:25pm — 13 Comments

Would you go to church for/with friends and family?

I've never felt really comfortable with this. But what do you do when friends have baptisms, weddings or funerals at their local church? I've gone but felt slightly uncomfortable even though it's just a building!



Richard Dawkins on BBC Hard Talk interview show said that he was a cultural Christian. He liked singing hymns in church but that doesn't mean he believes (and we know that!). Friends want me to attend this year's Christmas carols at one of the large city… Continue

Added by Alex McCullie on October 12, 2009 at 6:17am — 6 Comments

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