Why I Love Being Wrong

One of the most common phrases I hear about research scientists is that they love to be wrong. Why? Because when they are wrong, it means there’s a good chance they have discovered something new. This new data, which does not fit the current paradigms, can lead them to a breakthrough discovery. So being wrong can quite literally lead to fame and fortune.

By contrast, of course, the common perception seems to be that Christians absolutely hate to be wrong. Rather, Christians (especially conservative, evangelical, or fundamentalist ones) appear to have a high need for certainty that they are right.

Think about it: don’t these words all seem to go together?

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The Atheistic Leap of Faith

In the course of having thousands of conversations about the ultimate issues of life, I’ve encountered many skeptics who, out of a deep respect for their religious friends, are reluctant to explain their objections to faith. These skeptics have noticed that, for their friends, the practice of religion is fundamental to filling their lives with meaning, purpose, joy, and service to others. Out of a gracious and loving spirit they decide, “Hey, if that works for you, that’s great. I don’t want to mess with something that’s so beautiful to you.” Also to their credit, when sincerely invited to be open and direct about their perspective, these skeptics have been excellent conversation partners, and we’ve had rigorous, intriguing conversations about our respective beliefs.

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Why Are Christians So Crazy?

Depending on where you grow up or currently live, it is possible that all or nearly all the Christians that you know strike you as crazy. For instance, they might:

  • Be opposed to science
  • Be hypocritical
  • Make racist or sexist comments
  • Treat people with different beliefs in a mean-spirited way
  • Know less about the Bible than you do
  • Take dreams, numerology, angels, demons, or “signs” way too seriously
  • Loudly share abrasive political opinions
  • Love comforting lies and wishful thinking
  • etc., etc., etc.

If the Christians you know act like this, it is probably enough to drive you a bit crazy too! There are at least three reasons for this:

  1. Crazy is bad.
  2. Expectations are high.
  3. We’re fed up.

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Joel Marks and the Meaning of Life

Is human life absurd, meaningless, and empty? Or do our lives have purpose and significance?

One way to find an answer to these big questions is to ask another question: if we never existed or ceased to exist, would it matter? For instance, if there was one less piece of dust in a lifeless galaxy five billion light years away, this would hardly affect anyone. The dust’s existence – or nonexistence – just doesn’t matter very much.

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Sam Harris and 9/11

In a post reflecting on the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Dr. Sam Harris speaks about religious practice in sharply negative terms. For instance:

  • Parents teaching religious doctrine to their children is “nothing less than the emotional and intellectual abuse of a child,” is oppressive, and represents “terrifying ignorance and fanaticism.”
  • Religion itself is “the delusions of our ignorant ancestors.”

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Atheism, Humans and Robots

The standard disclaimer: I am not speaking about or attacking atheists. Instead, my goal is to rationally work through the logical implications of the atheistic worldview. (Please notice how I define atheism).

My conclusion is that, if atheism is true, then we need to re-imagine how we understand human beings.

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Atheism and the Denial of Love

As I have argued earlier, atheism leads to determinism. (Please notice how I define atheism). The most important reason that atheism leads to determinism is that atheism requires that everything be subject to naturalistic, scientific explanation. From an atheistic perspective, there can be no thing, event, or action which cannot be given a total explanation by reference to physical objects and natural laws. As Charles Darwin put it: “Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.” Humans and human actions are part of nature; therefore, we and our choices are the result of fixed laws.

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Atheism and the Denial of Freedom

Many (but not all) atheists argue for and accept that “free will” in an illusion. Why? Because this conclusion follows logically from the basic principles of atheism. I want to clarify why all atheists should deny the existence of free will or, by contrast, why all who believe that they have free will should reject atheism.

In other words, I will argue that if atheism is true, then humans do not have free will. But by contrast, if humans do have free will, then atheism is false. (Please notice how I define atheism).

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Atheism and Selfishness

Let’s look at the relationship between atheism and selfishness. Let’s be clear: I am not discussing atheists and accusing them of selfishness. Many of my secular friends are generous, kind, hospitable, friendly folks. I don’t think, in general, that they view the world strictly through the prism of evolutionary logic. But what I do want to make clear is how atheism, if followed strictly, is an inevitably selfish worldview. (Please notice how I define atheism).

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Atheism, Evil and Despair

Have you ever felt wretched, just sick to your stomach, over how you’ve hurt someone else? I want to talk about how atheism deals with these experiences. (Please notice how I define atheism).

At a time in my life when I should have known better, I put myself in this position.

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