Archive for January 2011

Money

Income and Inequality

I’m a data nerd. I accept that. I love taking a look at numbers and seeing what they tell me. But like any good data analysis, it’s best to have a purpose for doing it. So today I’d like to discuss a bit of analysis that I did regarding income and inequality, a topic which I think has some clear importance for people around the world.Continue Reading

Sign with line through Christian cross

Contesting Christianity: Wrapping Up

Religion · · 19 comments

Well, we have come to the end of my ten-part series. What a journey it’s been! I hope that it has been informative and has made you think about which arguments can or should be used to defend Christianity, and which should be left aside. But to wrap up this series, I’d like to share a few more thoughts about how to think about beliefs in general.Continue Reading

Falling Dominoes

Contesting Christianity: Consequentialist Arguments

The last set of arguments I wish to discuss is comprised of what are known as “consequentialist arguments.” In other words, these are arguments that, instead of dealing with the truth of Christianity, instead talk about what the consequences would be if Christianity were false. This is an enormously popular strategy, and anyone who has discussed with a Christian the reasons why he or she believes is likely to have at one point heard the statement, “But if Christianity isn’t true, then ______.”Continue Reading

The Empyrean, by Gustave Doré

Contesting Christianity: Personal Experience

The next argument I would like to deal with concerns personal experiences. While this argument is widely used by Christians and believers of other religions, it is difficult to pin down and make explicit. It is odd that something which seems to be one of the primary factors for religious belief is so notoriously hard to put into words. Often it comes down to, “I just know God exists.” But I find that a deeply unsatisfying answer when there is nothing to back up that knowledge—other than perhaps a vague feeling. Nevertheless, considering the impact it evidently has on believers around the world, I think it is important to deal with it. As I have already written about prayer and miracles, those topics will not be covered here. Instead, I would like to talk about three things: visions and other strange occurrences, the “changed life” phenomenon, and personal feelings.Continue Reading