Rorschach Inkblot

Interpretations and Implications

Religion, Society · · 16 comments

There is one thing that bugs me about many atheists when they talk about religious issues. Well, perhaps there’s more than one thing, but the one on my mind right now is the casual disregard for “liberal” religious believers. I find this an odd stance. I have often come across statements like, “Yeah, but liberal Christians aren’t really Christians,” or, “How can you call yourself a Christian if you don’t even believe that the Bible is true?” And to repeat myself, these statements are coming from atheists. I’d like to discuss this for a little bit by explaining my own views on the situation and then move into a few words about tactics. This, then, is a post intended primarily for fellow atheists, although as usual, comments from anyone and everyone are welcome.Continue Reading

Gender Roles

Gender Roles in Christianity

A while back, I got a request from my sister that I should write up something on my blog about gender roles in religion. And while I, the good brother that I am, have been trying to do so, such a topic is a difficult one to cover. The difficulty is that religion, with all its diversity, has had numerous effects, both positive and negative, on gender roles. While Hindus, for example, have goddesses that are worshiped, Islam has women living behind black veils. Such a topic would be too broad. So what about Christianity specifically? Even within just this one religion, there have been numerous responses to gender roles over the centuries of the Christian religion. But I will do my best to examine some of the answers that have been given from the first century CE until today, as well as a more general discussion about why gender roles exist and whether they are helpful or harmful to society.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

Scroll

Contesting Christianity: Messianic Prophecies

Religion · · 28 comments

One of the arguments that Christians use to prove that Jesus was who he said he was is that he fulfilled all of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament. As the argument goes, there are hundreds of prophecies that foretell of the Messiah and what he would do, and many of these were even prophecies that Jesus had no control over. He might have been able to control whether he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, but he couldn’t control where he was to be born! Usually the argument then states that the likelihood of one man fulfilling all these prophecies perfectly is extremely unlikely…Continue Reading

Creation

Contesting Christianity: Young Earth/Creationism

Religion, Science · · 25 comments

Creationism was always one of my favourite issues as a Christian. I spent time online debating people who defended evolution, and I enjoyed “poking holes” in their arguments. Of course, despite my zeal for debates and apologetics, I had never actually read any books by evolutionists or spent any time researching what evolutionists said—my information always came from creationist sources. So, I would hear what creationists had to say, and I would hear what creationists said evolutionists had to say, but I never heard what evolutionists themselves had to say (outside of the debates I had). Creationists, of course, aren’t going to bring up arguments that they can’t deal with, so I was clearly missing out on the best arguments for evolution. When I actually spent some time researching the issue, I realized just how much I had missed. So this post will attempt to summarize the arguments for a young earth and for creationism, as well as what I feel to be the best arguments against these views. Obviously I don’t have room to cover everything (this post is long enough as it is!), but there is plenty of information out there for those who are interested in learning more. I will put some links to further reading at the bottom of this article.Continue Reading