Got Hate?

The second in a series reviewing Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray (Farrar Straus Giroux, New York, 2018.) If, said I, it is sweet to refuse to do good, it must be heavenly to do evil.   “The Dark Divinity of Nature” The writings of Dontien Alphones Francois, Marquis de Sade, from whose name we are indebted to as the origin of English words such as sadism, sadistic, and sado-masochism are filled with “descriptions of orgies….which feature highly ritualized fantasies of […]

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A Trump-ed Up Case Against Immigration

Far-right English conservative, Douglas Murray, released a highly controversial book in 2017 called The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, identity, Islam (Bloomsbury Continuum, London). The book was written amid the European refugee crisis that caused a political turmoil in the aging continent—a crisis that highlighted the rise of contemporary right-wing populism. Murray describes himself as a Christian atheist (a non-doctrinal atheist with “Christian” values), a neoconservative, and an openly gay activist. Murray has accused the European Union establishment for promoting […]

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The Hard Truths of Scientism

—Traditionally these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Philosophy has not kept up with modern developments in science, particularly physics. Scientists have become the bearers of the torch of discovery in our quest for knowledge.     The Grand Design  Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.   —Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.   Carl Sagan   —Physical facts fix all the facts.   Alex Rosenberg   One making the claim that […]

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BOOK REVIEW– The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World

Readers interested in the early history of Christianity will enjoy historian Bart Ehrman’s latest book and bestseller, The Triumph of Christianity: How a Forbidden Religion Swept the World. The book focuses mainly on what happened, and why things happened the way the did, during the 4th century. In 301 CE, Christians were a small but visible minority within the Roman Empire, subject to persecution by decree of emperor Diocletian. By 399 Christianity was the official religion of the empire, and […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity

Readers interested in the early development of the Christian religion will enjoy Paul and Jesus: How the Apostle Transformed Christianity, by biblical scholar James D. Tabor. The book focuses on the first 30 to 40 years of the Christian movement, a period that is poorly documented and poorly understood.   Much of Tabor’s assessment falls well within the mainstream of scholarly opinion. Jesus of Nazareth was a real, historical person, although the romanticization of his life story makes it difficult […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts

The literature, both scholarly and fanciful, on the European witchcraze is voluminous and of uneven quality. It was a pleasure, then, to find a work of scholarly quality that stands out for its unusual perspective. Historian Anne Llewellyn Barstow has studied the phenomenon from a much need feminist perspective in Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts. There is far less here, than in many other studies of the same phenomenon, about religion and beliefs about witchcraft, and […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?

    In Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From?, archaeologist William Dever grapples with the disconnect between biblical texts and the material remains of the ancient cultures of Canaan. Dever’s perspective is scholarly, based on a knowledge both of the contents of Hebrew scripture — what Christians call the Old Testament — and of what digging in the dirt can still turn up from biblical times. Dever’s book focuses mainly on the origins of the […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Atheism for Dummies

Dale McGowan’s latest book, Atheism for Dummies, is an excellent introduction to a complex topic. While some short introductions to atheism focus almost exclusively on positive atheism (the active assertion that there is no God), Atheism for Dummies describes varieties of unbelief such as agnosticism, religious humanism, and secular humanism. It places unbelief in historical contexts both ancient and modern, dispels many of the popular myths about atheists, and points the interested reader toward additional resources. The aim of the book […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them

The Barna Group is a Christian organization that does sociological research for churches and other Christian institutions. One of their recent publications is Churchless: Understanding Today’s Unchurched and How to Connect with Them. If you’re interested in how Christians see those who’ve left the faith and why, Churchless could be a fascinating read. Christian organizations are painfully aware of America’s increasing religious diversity and secularism. Through reports like Churchless they get a better understanding of the large and growing percentage […]

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BOOK REVIEW: Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation

In Leaps of Faith: Science, Miracles, and the Search for Supernatural Consolation, psychology professor Nicholas Humphrey accomplishes a brief but thorough debunking of psychics, mediums, spoon-benders, and a whole host of supposedly paranormal phenomena. This is not a detailed examination of attempts to test and measure such phenomena, but a broad and philosophical view, pointing out the ridiculousness of the whole psychic show. Humphrey writes, “I think the search for the paranormal is all a big mistake. Sad to say, […]

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