Good News About "Christianity is Not Great"

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I just received good news from my publisher. The print copies of Christianity Is Not Greatare in the house. They are mailing them out to influencers and to the major online outlets! You won't want to miss this book. It will surely be talked about among secular as well as Christian audiences, and beyond. It's about to blast off. 10...9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1...

I Just Wanted You to Know Your Jesus is a Liar!

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This favorite statement of rage was often made by a former Fundamentalist Baptist evangelist to any Christian he met carrying a Bible or witnessing either from door to door or on the streets of Greenville, often leaving them dumbfounded; but first some background information.

Dr. Hector Avalos's New Book Coming Out: "The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics"

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It looks like it'll be another tour de force! Hector doesn't mess around! And he knows his stuff. Looks like there will be no more room for Christian apologists to hide. I love it! LINK.

This is the flyer our publisher made for "Christianity is Not Great"

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Christians Are Leaving Christianity By the Droves Because of the Issue of Homosexuality

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John Shore (who makes sure to tell us he's straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question.He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians, and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog. John reports his two blogs receive about 250,000 views per month. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. And he's alarmed by what he's seeing. Here's the quote:

The Next Time Someone Says I'm Ignorant About Christianity Look Here!

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These are only a few of the apologetics books I have read and/or refer to. I have dozens more as ebooks. I used a few of them in my college classes. I might be wrong but I'm clearly not ignorant. Don't think for a moment there is anything significant you can tell me I have not considered before.

A Plague of Stupidity at Answers in Genesis

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While a number of Christian leaders and radio personalities are gleefully hailing the recent Ebola outbreak as a sign of the “End Times” or perhaps the means by which God will purge the Earth of homosexuals, atheists, and other types which fundamentalist Christians love to hate, Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis sees a different silver lining:  a chance to proclaim their God’s goodness (and the literal truth of Genesis). I’m not kidding.

David Mills Is The First Person I Know To Get "Christianity is Not Great"

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On Facebook he shares a picture and writes:
Portrait of a very happy man! My new John W. Loftus book just arrived Priority Mail. I was privileged to read this book during its pre-publication and offered the following comment as a cover blurb:

"Loftus's latest is a compendium of the world's most iconic freethinkers and science writers at their finest. This may very well be John's most celebrated work--which is saying a great deal indeed." -- David Mills, author of Atheist Universe.

Richard Carrier Talks Up Our Latest Anthology, CNG

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I really appreciate Richard doing this, and for his kind words. LINK. Of three of my own chapters he writes:
Each is an excellent and cite-worthy survey of how Christianity shares a lot of blame for three pervasive social evils that have wracked Western society. If you want a one-stop shop for these kinds of arguments, this is the place to start.

Ebola is Coming! Praise God!

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Airline Traffic From Infected Areas
As a bit of sarcasm that Voltaire would appreciate let's all praise God for the Ebola virus! It's been long overdue.

If the Ebola virus is a punishment sent by God then God's punishments are good, aren't they? We're all sinners so we deserve to die prematurely a horrible death. People deserve what happens to them because Adam and Eve sinned, or because our parents sinned, or because of original sin (whatever that can possibly mean in this context for children). God's goodness and glory are displayed in the sufferings and deaths of its victims along with the grieving surviving family members. In any case, it's disasters like these that God sends to draw people to him, sort of like beating your wife in order to get her to love you, right? God is perfectly good. Glory be to God! He always does that which is perfectly good. So this is not a tragedy, not a disaster, not an "evil". This is all good! Praise God! Evil is nothing but a privation anyway, according to Augustine. It doesn't really exist!

In addition, the Ebola virus can be considered as a perfectly good divine method of population control. Every once-in-a-while God just has to do this because populations get out of hand, and because of this they might upset the so-called perfectly fine tuned ecosystem he created. Never mind for a moment that a more humane way to control population is to control our sex drives, or female ovulation cycles, so that we don't even have a population control problem in the first place. And never mind that there is no reason for a miracle working God to be concerned with a fine tuned ecosystem when he could sustain the world and control population growth by means of several perpetual miracles, such that the coming Ebola virus isn't needed at all in his perfectly good plan. No, God knows what he's doing and his ways are the very best. We cannot even fathom how good God's ways are since he's omniscient and knows best. He has perfectly good reasons why he remains hidden. We know this by faith because we certainly cannot figure it out using the rational powers he created in us, even given his perfectly good revelation in the Bible.

Besides, Jesus told us that when we see such things we should look up into the sky dome of heaven and be thankful, for this is yet another sign that Jesus is coming. Just ignore the pandemics that took place in history, like the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 and the failed apocalyptic predictions that came with it of the end of the world. In fact, let's hope and pray things get worse because we'd rather be in heaven than here on earth. And ignore also the fact that there are many of these people who will burn in hell forever. God's patience cannot last forever. Who cares if they die prematurely I don't. I only care about me. I want to go to be with God soon, today if possible. The people who wind up in hell deserve what they get, even those who die from the Ebola virus. Let them burn. I'm just thankful that in God's graciousness toward me he didn't end the world before I got saved. Isn't God so full of it [grace, that is]? It's simply amazing!

So let's thank God and do nothing to prohibit the Ebola virus from spreading because it's God's will. And let's look to the sky for Jesus and help raise money for doomsday ministries that tell the world of the coming Ebola virus upon the sinners, heathen, atheists, homosexuals, criminals and child molesters for whom this disaster is surely being sent as a punishment. We'll be raptured out of this mess soon, and even if not, God's grace is sufficient for us. We know where we'll go when the time comes.

Be thankful and praise God in all things!

The Table of Contents to "Christianity is Not Great"

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Here's the Table of Contents to Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails, to be available in just one week!

The Coming Muslim Wars And What Might Hopefully Be The Result

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Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said of Muslim countries in the Middle East: "I think we're looking at kind of a 30-year war," arguing that the withdrawal from Iraq created a vacuum that allowed ISIS to rise. The reference to a 30 year war may be intentional. Three months earlier Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, compared the coming Muslim wars to the European 30 Years War (1618–1648 AD). He briefly described the European war in the 17th century as "a religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith...fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence," where "civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish." As we know, the loss of life "was devastating." Such a description, he went on to say, "could be a description of today’s Middle East."LINK.

Douglas Murray, writing for The Spectator even earlier in January, also wrote about this parallel:
There are those who think that the region as a whole may be starting to go through something similar to what Europe went through in the early 17th century during the Thirty Years’ War, when Protestant and Catholic states battled it out. This is a conflict which is not only bigger than al-Qa’eda and similar groups, but far bigger than any of us. It is one which will re-align not only the Middle East, but the religion of Islam.
For a primer on the European 30 Years War click here. There are some major differences of course, like the use of modern weaponry and the outside influence of the USA in the Muslim wars, but one similarity is striking. Both European Christians in the 17th century and today's Middle East Muslims were/are extremely intolerant of religious differences to the point of killing each other because of them.

There is hope, if we can survive being draw into a world war, or a nuclear war.
One of the most significant consequences of the Thirty Years War is that it was, essentially, the religious war to end all wars. After this point, religious differences were no longer of primary importance. LINK

Sam Harris: "Islam is the Mother Lode of Bad Ideas"

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What is the Evidence for Evolution?

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On "Moderate" Muslims

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Anti-ground zero mosque protest
Ever since the Islamic atrocity of 9/11 (some would argue even before that), it has become fashionable to run after "moderate" Muslims, to court them, to highly value their views, to appease them to the point of losing freedoms won through centuries of bloodshed and activism. And yet at some point we must ask ourselves, have we been chasing a mirage all along? Fareed Zakaria explains:
Over the past decade, the United States helped organize Iraq’s “moderates” — the Shiite-dominated government — giving them tens of billions of dollars in aid and supplying and training their army. But, it turned out, the moderates weren’t that moderate. As they became authoritarian and sectarian, Sunni opposition movements grew and jihadi opposition groups such as ISIS gained tacit or active support. This has been a familiar pattern throughout the region.
For decades, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has been to support “moderates.” The problem is that there are actually very few of them.

See What Happens When Testing Faith From An Outsider's Perspective?

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Practice the Virtue of Authenticity

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Peter Boghossian says we need to practice the virtue of authenticity. To be authentic people means we should never pretend to know something we don't know. If someone asks us a question and we don't know the answer, we shouldn't pretend that we do. As an atheist like myself, we think most Christians lack this virtue, because people cannot be authentic who say they are 100% confident in their faith.

Research Question On Christian Apologetics

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How would one go about finding the actual percentages of Christian thinkers who accepted different apologetical systems of thought? What percentage of them accept Presuppositionalism, Evidentialism, Classical Natural Theology, Reformed Epistemology, Fideism, or Cumulative Apologetics? Is there a poll somewhere? Should we count the number of essays, books, and schools of thought out there along with the number of students who graduated from those schools? Are there denominations largely associated with them? I'm beginning to research and write something about these schools of thought, their numbers, how they defend the faith, and what we can make of this diversity. If anyone wants to buy one or more of the first few "highest priority" books off amazon for me as I research and begin to write on this topic, I'd appreciate it. [Do a "Sort by" search for the highest priority to the lowest for these ten books].

Inquisitive Minds Starts Discussion of Dr. Avalos' Fighting Words

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Inquisitive Minds, which is produced by Dr. André Gagné, Brice C. Jones and fellow scholars of religion in Montreal, Canada, has begun a series of podcasts on my book, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence (2005).

The topic is as timely as ever, given recent events in the Middle East and elsewhere. As usual, the thoughtful and expert hosts generate great discussions. Please check out their podcasts on other subjects, as well.

It is very encouraging to see more secularist biblical scholars and scholars of religion entering into public discussions of important social issues and world events.

Science and Morality: Michael Shermer TAM 2013

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Russell Blackford - We have the extraordinary evidence! TAM 2013

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Hector Avalos On The “True Religion” Trap

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Concerning President Barack Obama's speech delivered on Sept. 10 concerning ISIL Hector wrote a wonderful essay for the Iowa Ames Tribune, saying among other things that
President Obama will either have to admit that his own Bible does not represent a “religion,” or he will have to surrender the belief that no religion condones the killing of the innocent. LINK.

Islam's Impossible Struggle with the Obscure Concept of Cause and Effect

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Repeat: "IS is unIslamic". Failing that, you're an Islamophobe!
Repeat: "Islamic State is unIslamic". Failing that, you're an Islamophobe!
 With the Islamic atrocities committed by IS reaching fever pitch, the "Defend the Indefensible" industry is working hard to keep up. On the other hand, while such shameless "blame anything but Islam" characters such as Karen Armstrong and  Reza Aslan are given regular spots on the leftist media have their say, the few in the Muslim world who have the guts to call a spade a spade have Western audiences that possibly can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But let's not give up hope; at least do the little we can to have their voices heard. And they have a very important message for us: stop kidding yourself. If you tell yourself you are against terrorism, and yet stand for everything a terrorist does, you are not smarter than a four year old.

Bart Campolo, Deconverted Son of Christian Apologist Tony Campolo, Tells Us About Secular Relational Outreach

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Tony Campolo has been teaching, speaking and writing about apologetical issues for as long as I've been interested in them. At times he has been controversial. One of his apologetics books is A Reasonable Faith.So I was interested in knowing that his son Bart no longer believes. He now speaks to student groups helping them understand how to reach believers through community building. Bart and his father had previously co-wrote the book, Things We Wish We Had Said: Reflections of a Father and His Grown Son.Below you can watch Bart's talk with some highlighted quotes and a brief commentary.

Street Epistemology Breakdown: SE Tutorial 1

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Hat Tip: Peter Boghossian

Peter Enns On "3 Ways Jesus Read the Bible That Evangelicals Are Told Not to Do"

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The three ways Jesus read the Bible that Evangelicals are told not to do are these:
1. Jesus didn't stick to what "the Bible says," but read it with a creative flare that had little if any connection to what the biblical writer actually meant to say. 2. Jesus felt he could "pick and choose" what parts of the Old Testament were valid and which weren't. 3. Jesus read his Bible as a Jew, not an evangelical (or even a Christian).
Other evangelicals would do well to listen to Enns. He's getting some things right. The Jesus that we find in the Gospels is doing exactly what Enns says. The significant problem unaddressed by Enns is what he says at the end of this essay in the Huffington Post:

General Jack Keane on 9/11 and Radical Islam

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Be sure to listen to General Jack Keane beginning at 1:09:13:

It's Not Just Christianity or Islam! Elana Maryles Sztokman On the War Against Women in Israel.

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We're familiar with the misogyny of the religion of Islam. The misogyny of Christianity is highlighted by Annie Laurie Gaylor in my book, Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails,with a chapter titled: "Woman, What Have I To Do With Thee?: Christianity’s War Against Women."

Elana Maryles Sztokman stands against the misogyny in Israel:
Last week I traveled to the United States for the publication of my book, The War on Women in Israel: A Story of Religious Radicalism and the Women Fighting for Freedom.It was a whirlwind week -- I traveled to events and book signings across five cities in four states in 10 days.

The plane took off 20 minutes late because an ultra-Orthodox man was negotiating with passengers so as not to have to sit next to a woman -- me -- on the 11-hour flight. I asked myself if this was karma or poetic justice. After all, I had just spoken to hundreds of people about exactly these issues, and the way women are made to feel like second class citizens as a result.

If there is one thing that I would like to change in the world, it is this: I would like women to respect themselves enough to say no to all this. I want women to allow themselves to feel the impact of the silencing. I want women to be honest with themselves and to look at their lives and the places where they are powerless or oppressed, and to acknowledge that. Better yet, I want women to say no, I will not be silent or servile. I will not continue to absorb the insult as if this is all OK. I want women to say that they deserve better. I want women to believe that they deserve better. LINK.
The three monotheistic religions show a hated of women. Why would any woman ever embrace the religion of their oppressors? It's akin to the Stockholm Syndrome. I call on all women everywhere to denounce these religions (as they have the freedom and security to do so).

Three things you probably don't know about Islam.

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A Riposte to William Lane Craig

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Counter Apologist has produced an awesome series detailing issues with William Lane Craig's Kalam Cosmological Argument, which is a pet obsession of mine. This must have succeeded enough, since it warranted a response from Craig himself. Here is Counter's response to Craig.

Quote of the Day, by Jean Rostand

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Abandoning My Faith: A Personal Journey

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I want to both thank and credit Ed Babinski for posting this new You Tube video on his Facebook page.

Quote of the Day, by Paul K. Moser

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Of the two passages below, philosopher and apologist Paul K. Moser says on Facebook: "the person who tries to embrace both becomes a walking volitional contradiction, i.e., a train wreck."
Our choice, Jesus or the Psalmist:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven." (Jesus, Matt. 5:43-45)

"Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. (Psalm 139:21-22)