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Is the Catholic Church a Force for Good?

Western civilization is greatly indebted to the Catholic Church. Modern historical studies—such as Dr. Thomas E. Woods' How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization—have demonstrated with force and clarity that it is the Catholic Church who has been the primary driving force behind the development and progress of the civilized world. The Church has provided innumerable 'goods' for the benefit of humanity. Nonetheless, modern critics assert that no amount of good could outweigh... Read More

Dark Ages and Secularist Rages: A Response to Professor A.C. Grayling

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Filed under Culture, History

A few years ago, Professor A.C. Grayling, professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, wrote a column titled "The persistence of the faithful" in The Guardian. Grayling's column was ostensibly concerned with the apparent decision of the British government passing the "Equality Act," which would make it law that adoption agencies, including those run by the Catholic Church, would have to allow homosexual couples to use their adoption services. But Grayling's... Read More

The Historical Argument for God

The argument from history is both stronger and weaker than the other arguments for the existence of God. It is stronger because its data (its evidence) are some facts of history, things that have happened on this planet, rather than principles or ideas. People are more convinced by facts than by principles. But it is weaker because the historical data amount only to strong clues, not to deductive proofs. The argument from history is the strongest psychologically with most people, but it... Read More

Orwellian Analytics: Christians, Atheists, and Bad Statistics

A recent Live Science press release, titled “Believers Leave Punishment to Powerful God,” opened with the memorable words: "Believing in an involved, morally active God makes people less likely to punish others for rule-breaking, new research finds." Which is equivalent to saying that non-believers are less forgiving, less compassionate, less merciful, and—oh, let’s just say it: they are worse people. Don’t get mad at me. This is research! But then maybe this summary is too... Read More

Richard Dawkins and the God of the Old Testament

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully." So says Richard Dawkins. Obviously, he doesn't want readers to think he's on the fence about God as presented in the Old Testament—or at... Read More

Why History isn’t Scientific (And Why it Can Still Tell Us About the Past)

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Filed under History

In April last year, Grundy, the author of the Deity Shmeity blog, wrote a post titled "History Isn't My Area". He commented on the release of Bart Ehrman's critique of Mythicism, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.  Unlike the majority of actual historians, many prominent atheists find Jesus Mythicism convincing and many of them are unhappy with the generally sceptical and highly renowned Ehrman for criticizing this idea.  Grundy, for his part, stated... Read More

The Myth of Religious Violence

One of the enduring myths of the secular state is that religion is so dangerous, so volatile, so likely to burst into conflagrations of violence, that the only protection we have from societal destruction is the erection of a wall that separates religion from the state. We've all heard the story, and in fact, having also heard endless tales of horror about the great religious wars—especially the French Wars of Religion and the Thirty Years War—we might be strongly inclined to believe... Read More

Is God Pro-Life or Pro-Death?

This is the second in a series of posts on the “dark passages” of the Bible. These are texts which understandably raise the eyebrows of both nonbelievers and believers who encounter them and say, “How can that be in the Bible if it is God’s own word?” In my previous post I took up the problem of violent Old Testament passages in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s claim that violence is contrary to God’s nature. My book Dark Passages of the Bible likewise deals with this and various... Read More

Violence is Contrary to God’s Nature: Common Ground for Catholics and Atheists

Today I’d like to consider an issue on which many atheists and Catholics may—perhaps to their surprise—find a point of common ground. “Violence is incompatible with the nature of God.” This line is not from an atheist but rather from Pope Benedict XVI. The context in which he penned it was his famous (in some circles infamous) Regensburg Address from 2006. In this particular case, he was endeavoring to foster a dialogue with Islam over a theology which “might even lead to... Read More

The Crusades: Urban Legends and Truth

Although many college students today are ignorant concerning the Holocaust from only a generation ago, many seem to think they know enough about the Crusades to use them as an argument for the evil of religion. Like the tired refrain that religion is “anti-science” even though only one example is usually offered (and it is mistaken), the Crusades are often “the” example listed for the equally wearisome complaint that religion causes more wars than any other factor (a laughable... Read More

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