Advertising Secularism in the Bible Belt
Zack Hunt put up a few billboards today in his hometown of Nashville, right smack down in the buckle of the Bible Belt. Can't see these causing any problems, lol. ... Read Article
Conservative Twitter Has Discovered Photoshop
Here are a few of the beauties that are making the rounds today And my favorite: Only president Trump can catch them all (via Nick Adams) ... Read Article
Ongoing Call For Submissions: Secular Web Kids
Hi everyone. If you have any activities for kids K-Middle School on secularism please send them my way ( ) They can be as short or long as you like. Here is one I posted myself today: Draw Your Own Adventure Darth Harley Pattern Book (K-Gr 1): Help Darth Harley Find God. Page One: Help Darth Harley Find God. Page Two: Harley is looking for God. Page Three: “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Four. Harley looks under the table. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Five. Harley looks in the closet. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Six. Harley looks under the bed. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Seven. Harley looks in the fridge. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Eight. Harley looks in the basement. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Nine. Harley looks in the garage. “Where are you God?” asks Harley. Page Ten. “God is good at Hide and Seek” says Harley. “I can’t find him anywhere.” ... Read Article
Making News In The World Of Biblical Studies This Week: The Bart Ehrman / Richard Carrier exchange part 26663xxxxx
So, for anyone who is interested in beating a dead horse, Bart Ehrman recently gave an interview where he doubled down on his critique of the Christ Myth Theory. Carrier responded here. If your interested in this topic, I encourage you to explore such thinkers as Ehrman, McGrath, and Dennis MacDonald who argue for historicity (that Jesus existed), and thinkers like Carrier, Price, and Brodie who argue that he didn't. But you need to keep your skeptic's hat on. To take one example, Carrier says: Ehrman does throw some shade around minute 4:20 with his usual false claim that mythicism isn’t seriously debated by experts, despite the fact that two peer-reviewed monographs and forty bona fide experts, and to date zero peer-reviewed monographs establishing historicity in response, refutes his disingenuous rhetoric on that point. Clearly it is debated, and indeed remains an open debate in the field. He just wants to ignore it. If we set aside Carrier hur ... Read Article
The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 3/3)
My friend and teacher Dr. David Goicoechea with his book on Jesus and Nietzsche that I talk about in these 3 blog posts. I've been thinking about Jesus and philosophy with Nietzsche's Jesus with this 3 part miniseries of posts: The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 1/3) The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 2/3) Today I will complete this series with some final thoughts on Nietzsche's Jesus and Q. Nietzsche said that which does not kill me makes me stronger, and so that affirmation in the face of tragedy reverses the tragic.  Think of people who have come out stronger after a long illness or a bad breakup.  Goicoechea comments that the great heights are born out of the deepest valleys.  The whole point of Nietzsche’s poetic, philosophic vision is to love to will the eternal return of even the sorrowful with joy. Nietzsche sees Christianity as a pessimistic misinterpretation of Jesus…The pessimist sees that the best of times can be ... Read Article
The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 2/3)
In my blog post series on Philosophy and Religion, my most recent post was on Nietzsche's Jesus and the central concept of transfiguring agape/love as a middle term between the finite man and infinite God: The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 1/3) Today, I am going to try to place this radical philosophy of love of Jesus by looking at my recently deceased dear friend Dr. David Goicoechea's appropriation of and response to Dr. Burton Mack's hypothesis about the three stages of the lost Q source and the historical Jesus, replacing Mack's model of Jesus as a cynic sage with Jesus as a revolutionary thinker and liver of agape/love. The Q hypothesis is generally accepted by scholars, with a few notable critics, mainly Dr. Mark Goodacre. I've tried to quote David liberally to maybe give you a sense of what he was like as I knew him as one of the great postmodern philosophers. His wife Dr. Johanna Tito was my first year philosophy teacher and later taught me Husserl. My first en ... Read Article
The Jesus of the Philosophers (Nietzsche’s Jesus Part 1/3)
In my new series of posts on Philosophy and Religion I talked in the last 2 posts about the God of the Philosophers and the Via Negativa: The God Of The Philosophers And The Via Negativa (2/2) The God Of The Philosophers And The Via Negativa Today I am going to start looking at the Jesus of the Philosophers, in this case the Jesus of Nietzsche.  Let's recall Ehrman writes: It is easy to see Luke’s own distinctive view by considering what he has to say in the book of Acts, where the apostles give a number of speeches in order to convert others to the faith.  What is striking is that in none of these instances (look, e.g., in chapters 3, 4, 13), do the apostles indicate that Jesus’ death brings atonement for sins.  It is not that Jesus’ death is unimportant.  It’s extremely important for Luke.  But not as an atonement.  Instead, Jesus death is what makes people realize their guilt before God (since he died even though he was innocent).  Once people recognize their guilt, they turn ... Read Article
(2/2) The God Of The Philosophers And The Via Negativa
In this short series of 2 posts I’ve been thinking about the God of the philosophers in the continental tradition, and one thing the continental tradition is interested in, regarding truth, is not just correctness and certainty of judgments, but also how ideas are un-covered.  I'd like to think about how theology in the western continental tradition isn't really what we think theology is at all. Normal thinking discloses its object while avoiding contradiction: eg revealing the essence of justice in a sentence or two.  This is what Finite Thinking does, and Finite Consciousness (intentio) is consciousness of something (intentum): Intentionality.  More specifically, the Finite-ness or Finitude of consciousness consists in that it involves limited awareness, unlike God's Infinite consciousness, as I explained last time.  This is a little clearer in German:  Heidegger clarified this by pointing out the conscious-unconscious distinction is not the most basic, because we have focused ... Read Article
Survival Researcher or Christian Apologist? Could You Tell the Difference? (Part 3 of 3)
Continued from part two... 11. Guilt by Association Ad Hominem In his BICS essay Nahm repeatedly characterizes criticisms of reincarnation research found among both skeptics and proponents of psychical research as the objections of (no doubt inherently untrustworthy) skeptics (which, therefore, evidently discredit themselves). For example, there's no question that Paul Edwards' 1996 Reincarnation: A Critical Examination took an unproductively mocking tone in several places, in addition to "assembl[ing] practically all relevant criticism of CORT [cases of the reincarnation type] offered up until 1996.... originally advanced by parapsychologists and concern[ing] Stevenson's writings up until the early 1970s" (Nahm, p. 38; emphasis mine). Later, Nahm points out that "Edwards makes it clear on the first page of his Introduction that it is his goal to show that the claimed evidence for reincarnation is 'worthless'" (p. 38). "Still," we're informed, "Edwards has several followers. Among them are Michael Murr ... Read Article
The God Of The Philosophers And The Via Negativa
Generally speaking, we distinguish the God of the philosophers from the particular Gods, say Hindu vs Christian, in that philosophers are interested in God or Gods insofar as they are knowable or can be demonstrated.  In this way God is usually understood in terms of abstract concept like omniscience and omnipresence rather that as having a particular descriptive trait or mood tendency.  Let’s consider the God of the Philosophers. (1)  The Finite and Infinite Mind When philosophers characterize God in the western tradition they generally distinguish between the Finite mind of a human with the Infinite mind of God.  Infinite doesn’t mean Indefinite, in the sense that God has a human like mind like we do but knows ridiculously more than we do.  Rather, human experience fails to reach Godlike experience, which is not only a difference of degree, but also a difference of kind.  So for example, an omnipresent God would have its attention on the six people currently eating a ... Read Article
Christian Origins Web Project
Inquiry Question: What if the original meaning of the cross was not a penal substitution once and for all blood magic sin debt payment, but rather a supreme act of moral influence where a mirror was held up to the world so they could see their depravity and so be a catalyst leading to repentance before the imminent final judgment? To see my answer/project, click on my favorite T-Shirt below! "Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils - no, nor the human race, as I believe - and then only will this our State have a possibility of life and behold the light of day." Plato, “The Republic” ... Read Article
Survival Researcher or Christian Apologist? Could You Tell the Difference? (Part 2 of 3)
Continued from last time... 6. It's Depressing, Therefore It's False In my opening critique I quoted Dean Radin and co. stating: "Materialism tells us that there is no purpose to anything. When we die, we are forever extinguished, and our atoms are recycled into other purposeless creatures. Eventually, all the suns will burn out, the universe will grow cold, and by a random fluke, the whole meaningless cycle might begin again" (p. 33). What relevance does this true statement have to whether or not survival researchers are able to provide strong evidence for the existence of an afterlife? Does this appeal to emotion sound familiar? Like psychical researchers leaning on the same trope, in his opening statement in the Lowder-Fernandes debate above, Christian apologist Phil Fernandes seems to confuse the depressing with the meaningless. Of course, anyone who has lived long enough will recognize that life contains both uplifting and depressing aspects—c'est l ... Read Article
Psychologizing Jesus
If I may so express it, I was steeped in Dora. I was not merely over head and ears in love with her, but I was saturated through and through. Enough love might have been wrung out of me, metaphorically speaking, to drown anybody in; and yet there would have remained enough within me, and all over me, to pervade my entire existence... I was sensible of a mist of love and beauty about Dora, but of nothing else. He stood up sometimes, and asked me what I thought of the prospect. I said it was delightful, and I dare say it was; but it was all Dora to me. The sun shone Dora, and the birds sang Dora. The south wind blew Dora, and the wild flowers in the hedges were all Doras, to a bud. (Dickens, David Copperfield, Blissful, 33) One general rule of thumb of inquiry is that we don’t want arguments that depend on imputing emotional states on people,  because we have no real access to those.  As I said, this is a general rule, although the ancients viewed things differently.  One important bac ... Read Article
My Theory Of Christian Origins: Richard Carrier Reader Response
I can understand why Carrier is so upset.  He is a very smart fellow arguing a position that is, as a rule, argued most vehemently by people who are not, in fact, nearly as smart.  His view is not one that has a foothold – not even a toe hold – not even a toenail hold – not even… well, you get the picture – among respected academics who have devoted their lives to teaching the New Testament and early Christianity in accredited colleges, research universities, divinity schools, and seminaries throughout North America and Europe. (Bart Ehrman) One of the perennially interesting issues in New Testament studies is What Happens When You Review Richard Carrier. So, I've received a reader response about my approach to interpreting Christian Origins by Richard Carrier, who is a historian specializing in the intellectual history of Greece and Rome who holds the "minority" position that Jesus never existed but was originally believed to be a mythical entity who was never on earth but was cr ... Read Article
Christian Origins: Afterword
The origins of Christianity are inseparably linked to the Jewishness of Jesus and his relationship to the Jews of his time. Unless the picture is framed in this way, Christian origins are opaque. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine rightly points out Jesus was a lifelong observant Jew who didn't want to abolish the law, but make it more strict. She gives Jesus' example of how you are guilty of adultery merely for lusting in your heart. The law thus increased one's guilt to a greater degree than if someone was just acting badly without knowing the prohibition. The conspicuous theme across the gospels is the guilt of the Jews in the death of Jesus. The Jewish high council conspired against him, the crowd turned on him, and his disciples abandoned him. The idea was that God's mandates prevented the Jewish leadership from killing Jesus (as the gospel of John points out), but the Jews tricked Pilate into doing it. This was a deliberate transgressing of God's law. Paul's entire argument only makes sense in this conte ... Read Article