The main root of religious evil


My thoughts exactly, beautifully written…

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

The problem of religious evil

The New Atheists keep saying that religious atrocities and bad behaviors directly spring out of the supernatural character of their beliefs.

I think they’re deadly wrong, because there are no more logical connections between the general belief “There is a supernatural creator” and evil actions than between the conviction “There is no supernatural world” and the atrocities committed by Russian communists in the past.

No, I think that the main cause of religious wickedness consists of the evil nature of the deities the believers in question are worshiping.

A recent post from liberal pastor David Hayward illustrates this truth very nicely. It concerns fundamentalist Pastor Mark Driscoll who has reached an impressive track record of abuses ever since he began preaching.


"The Gospel of Abuse" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

Many people are calling for forgiveness for Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church so that he and the church can get back to preaching the gospel as effectively…

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addressing accusations that I’m a liar

Originally posted on Defeating the Dragons:

I don’t know how to describe how I’m feeling right now. I’m shaken, and angry. Deeply disappointed, shocked … and horrified.

Someone who is claiming to have been “close” with me when I was at Pensacola Christian College is accusing me of being a liar and of ripping all of my stories off of her from the brief time when we were roommates in college.

Because this person is a part of the post-fundamentalist survivor community, and because she’s claiming to have known me well, I’m going to address her accusations and claims one by one.

True, we’ve “known” each other for years. We met, officially, when we were roommates for a little while when we were both taking extra courses after the semester had ended. Because there were so few people left on campus and my normal circle of friends were all at home, she took me under her…

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I Was Not Supposed to Happen


There is no magic way to raise children.

Originally posted on Homeschoolers Anonymous:

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.27.47 AM

HA note: The following is reprinted with permission from Darcy’s blog Darcy’s Heart-Stirrings. It was originally published on July 13, 2014.

My most popular post ever, the one on courtship and emotional purity, is making the rounds again, as it does every few months. And with it come the loads of ridiculous assumptions, explaining, excuses, and outright dismissal of everything from my character to my experience to my beliefs. This isn’t anything new. It’s been happening since I started telling my story. It happens to all of my friends from Homeschool Land who also tell their stories. It’s woefully predictable.

“She wasn’t really raised Biblically.”

“He isn’t a good example of proper homeschooling.”

She’s bitter.” (Because obviously being bitter means you’re making stuff up. Or something.)

“His parents obviously didn’t do it right.”

“She’s not indicative of all homeschoolers.”

“He obviously courted in a legalistic way…

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I got a text from my sister on Sunday. She and her husband were on their way to say good-bye to his sister. She was quite literally on her deathbed, after a year long battle with cancer. My sister asked us to pray that the dying sister-in-law would sense the loving presence of the Lord in their visit.

Than, it hit. Another sister reminded them to get the poor dying woman to pray the “sinner’s prayer”. Her soul was at stake. This set me off, and a string of messages that either supported or opposed (my position) such an action.

I haven’t written for a time, because I am having some vision problems, but this example is one reason I left Fundamentalism. The “hard sell”. Get someone to pray that sinner’s prayer before they die, because eternity is at stake.

The thing is, my brother-in-law has consistently shared his love of Jesus around his dying sister. She knows the theology. To approach a vulnerable young woman who is dying way too soon with a “close the deal” mentality is, to me, monstrous. I bet this woman already knows how much she is loved by the Father. She knows who Jesus is. She doesn’t need a magical incantation to be certain of her destiny.

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Should an inerrant Bible be the very foundation of Christianity?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Eric Reitan, a progressive Christian philosopher (having written an excellent book on the New Atheism and one defending universal salvation) gave several arguments against the central place of the Bible for our faith.

How Does God Reveal? Five Christian Reasons to Doubt Biblical Inerrancy

The Patheos website is currently hosting a multi-blog conversation about progressive Christianity and Scripture which has generated numerous engaging and thoughtful contributions–such as this one by James McGrath. Because the relationship between progressive Christian faith and the Bible is one of my enduring interests, the sudden flood of interesting essays on the topic has inspired me to take a few minutes to reflect on the issue myself. 

As a philosopher of religion, the way I approach this topic is in terms of a philosophical question: What theory of revelation fits best with the Christian view of God? Put another way, if there is…

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Can all religions be true?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Chuck Queen, a good progressive Christian writer, posted a very thought-provoking text on religious pluralism.

Keeping Jesus, Letting Go of Christian Exceptionalism

The degree to which Christianity will contribute to a more equitable and just world will depend largely, I believe, upon the degree to which Christians can let go of their exclusive claims on God and deepen their actual commitment to the way of Jesus.

This letting go will not come easy for many steeped in traditional forms of Christianity. Christian exceptionalism is deeply entrenched within the general Christian culture—and often feeds upon American exceptionalism, which our political leaders use to justify all sorts of intrusive and unjust polices and actions, such as drone strikes in other countries.

The wave of controversy sparked by a Coca-Cola ad which ran during the Super Bowl is a good example of how embedded in our culture American exceptionalism is. The ad featured…

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I experienced this after miscarriages.

Originally posted on Knitting Soul:


“We lost the baby.”

I heard those words coming out of my mouth, and they left a bitter taste. Of course we didn’t lose him. He was right there, still inside of me. There was no heartbeat, but he wasn’t lost. He was dead. Speaking in niceties felt like I was being unfair to this little person who never had the chance to be nursed or rocked or sung a lullaby. He deserved better than euphemisms.

But to say the words, “My baby died”? That was unthinkable. Babies aren’t supposed to die. They coo, they poop, they laugh. They grow up and say “no” too often and “I love you” not quite often enough. They infuriate and invigorate. They surprise you with insights about the world and about you. They are beautiful, terrifying people who make you lose your mind in the best and worst ways.

So I felt stuck in…

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Yesterday was one of the most difficult Fathers Day that I’ve ever had.  No, nobody died, you can relax.  But it was a day where, if anything could go wrong, it did.  The long and the short of it was that I was over three hours late, my dad was in bed, and my mom was in a sour mood.  But my dad was glad I came, and that is all that mattered.

If you are still able, hug your dads today.

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Today is the trek to see my dad on this Father’s Day 2014.  He is 86, and each year we face the prospect that ‘this year’ will be the final one.  That is very true today.

My dad has had heart disease since his early 50s.  In spite of changing his diet, walking five miles a day, and maintaining a healthy weight, he has had a few heart attacks and CABG surgery.  He also has congestive heart failure and insulin dependent Type II diabetes.  You could safely say his health isn’t really all that great.  His most recent heart attack was a day or so before Thanksgiving last year.

My dad fell in March and broke his hip.  While in the hospital recovering from the surgery, he developed bed sores on his heels.  They would not heal.  My dad had a total of nine hours of surgery on both legs to open up circulation to assist in the wound healing process. Dad was in the hospital for eleven weeks.

My dad has been a bit cranky since he got back, and, understandably so.  He is still in pain from (now) healing wounds, and he was pretty severely decompensated while mostly in bed for nearly three months.  My mom suffers from really bad dementia.  It will be an interesting day.

Still, my dad was a good provider and  now it is my privilege to let him know that, in spite of significant differences between us, I love him dearly.

I hope everyone has a great day today with your dads.  If yours is no longer with you, I will send up a prayer for his soul.



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Does the progress of science vindicate naturalism?

Originally posted on lotharlorraine:

Deutsche Version:  Weisen die Fortschritte der Naturwissenschaft auf die Wahrheit des Naturalismus hin?


In the Secular Outpost at Patheos, the insightful atheist and naturalist philosopher Jeffery Jay Lowder wrote an interesting post criticizing theistic explanations.

One sentence at the end of the text caught my attention:

“At this point, the naturalist can hardly be blamed for comparing the track record of naturalistic explanations to that of theistic explanations and sticking with naturalistic explanations.”
The problem with that comparison is that it is very similar to a kind of black-and-white thinking.

He opposes naturalism (A) against everything incompatible with naturalism (B) and states that if on average science is much more consistent with A than with B, then A must be true.

But this is a fallacious dichotomy. Let us consider different theoretical supernatural models, whose existence as ideas is independent of the first time they came up in a…

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