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Joe Heschmeyer

About

Until May 2012, Joe Heschmeyer was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in litigation. These days, he is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas, and can use all the prayers he can get. Follow Joe through his blog, Shameless Popery or contact him at joseph.heschmeyer@gmail.com.

   
 

Getting Morality Wrong

Back in April, Gail Dines, a sociologist at Wheelock College in Boston, wrote a Washington Post piece arguing that pornography is a public health threat, regardless of its (im)morality: The thing is, no matter what you think of pornography (whether it’s harmful or harmless fantasy), the science is there. After 40 years of peer-reviewed research, scholars can say with confidence that porn is an industrial product that shapes how we think about gender, sexuality, relationships, intimacy, sexual... Read More

4 Errors About the Burden of Proof for God

I used to be a lawyer before entering seminary to prepare for the Catholic priesthood. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that I’m fascinated by questions about the “burden of proof” in religious questions. For example, does the burden of proof fall on the believer or the atheist? What sort of evidence is permissible to meet this burden of proof? Do “extraordinary” claims require extraordinary evidence? Should they meet an extraordinary burden of proof, above the burden required for... Read More

Trial by Fire: Modernity’s Response to Miracles

Perhaps no single image captures the popular conception of the “Dark Ages” than the idea of trials by ordeal. These infamous trials are the reason we refer to a difficult situation as an “ordeal,” or perhaps a “trial by fire.” One of the most famous depictions of a trial by ordeal is in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. A woman is accused of witchcraft, and rather than gathering evidence or taking any but the most cursory of testimony, an elaborate test is designed to “objectively”... Read More

How Richard Dawkins Helps Prove Biblical Inspiration

American Atheists responded to the Pennsylvania state legislature’s designation of 2012 as “Year of the Bible” with mocking billboards, and a press release insisting that “the House of Representatives should not be celebrating a barbaric and Bronze Age book.” It’s a common argument against the Bible, that it can’t be trusted because it’s a book from the Bronze Age. Over on Twitter, Richard Dawkins extended this argument to attack both the Bible and the Qu’ran. Bible and Quran... Read More

Can We Actually Know Anything About God?

Can we actually know anything about God? This is one of the most fundamental questions, and many people, particularly agnostics, will say “no.” The argument tends to go something like this: God, if there is a God, is so far removed from human experience and knowledge that there’s nothing that we can say about Him (or Her or It). Another variation: the only way to verify our knowledge about God would be to die and find out if Heaven and Hell exist; for those of us still alive, we can’t... Read More

3 Easy Steps to Show that Absolute Truth Exists

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Filed under Belief

Gorgias the Nihilist, an ancient Greek philosopher, was said to have argued the following four points: Nothing exists; Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it; and Even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can’t be communicated to others. Even if it can be communicated, it cannot be understood. Of course, if you can understand his argument, he’s wrong. So too, many modern thinkers hold to positions that, fall apart into self-refutation when critically examined. Today,... Read More

Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?

A lot of people online are sharing flow charts that are supposed to show the ridiculousness of opposition to gay marriage. For example (click here to expand): There are several variations of this theme, almost all of which say the same three things: (1) Leviticus forbids homosexuality, but it also bans a bunch of other stuff, and nobody [a.k.a., no Gentile] actually lives by all those rules; (2) Paul seems to forbid homosexuality, but actually means something like temple prostitution; and (3)... Read More

Abortion, Souls, and the Atheist Conundrum

In a recent post here, I asked, “Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?” I was prompted by two things: on the one hand, a series of articles defending the idea that we can be moral without God; and on the other, articles like this one, suggesting that opposition to abortion can only be “because God.” Those two positions don't work together. As I explained in the post, The pro-life argument is simple: (1) human beings are alive from the moment of fertilization, and (2) it is morally... Read More

Do You Need God to Know That Abortion is Wrong?

The New Republic’s latest contribution to the abortion debate is remarkable, in that, despite getting virtually everything it says factually wrong, it still raises an interesting problem for pro-choicers and atheists. Here’s the Twitter teaser to the piece that started it all: How the anti-choice platform is fighting to stay alive: http://t.co/m8kuGANs2Q pic.twitter.com/fxTeRyj444 — The New Republic (@tnr) April 17, 2015 According to the author of this piece, New Republic senior editor Jamil... Read More

Is Religion Responsible for the World’s Violence?

A few months ago, a “gun-toting atheist” and self-proclaimed “anti-theist” killed three Muslims in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. There's some question still about whether the killer was motivated by atheism or some other motivation. What there's no question of is that much of the secular response was predictably tasteless and exploitative. For example, the Daily Beast's Suzi Parker responded with an essay on how hard it is to be Muslim “in the most religious—and Christian—part... Read More

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