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Necessary Being and Creation

This is a post from our own Dcleve who, like many others, deserves the ability to post his own OPs here.  That's something I'll take care of shortly, but for now I think his comment deserves its own conversation.  Sorry it took me so long to get to it, D.

I would like to discuss an analysis of a Necessary Being and Creation. I will be summarizing an argument from Paul Davies, a physicist, and Deist, and one of the early advocates of both Fine Tuning and Emergent Organized Complexity. Davis presented this argument in The Mind of God. I have a full review on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/r... The book is from 92, but the argument is as current now as it was then.

The central question Davies addresses is whether the universe can create itself, or requires a creator. He notes that whether the universe had an origin in time or not, its EXISTENCE still needs an explanation -- WHY is it here at all instead of nothing, or something else. With this point, he effectively dismisses t…

Atheists as Christians in Disguise

Over at Everyday Ethics, Jeremy Neill raises the critique of atheism offered by Nietzsche, in which he argues that atheists claim to have rejected "God" but nevertheless subscribe to Christian ethics.  Ostensibly the questions raised have to do with whether or not atheists are hypocritical as a consequence, and whether they are, in the words of Neill, parasites on Christian culture.  In Neill's words:

Now here’s where Nietzsche strikes and criticizes atheists. He says that atheists, who pride themselves on their belief that God does not exist, in fact are hypocrites because they are still drinking the Christian Kool-Aid. Take the value of equality as an example of what Nietzsche is saying. Virtually all atheists in America are going to tell you that they believe in the value of equality. But at bottom, according to Nietzsche, the value of equality is fundamentally a Christian value. It is Christian because it comes out of the Christian teaching that the weak should be pri…

The Morality of God: A Fable ( FtA )

My atheist brothers and sisters will not find this fable particularly challenging, but perhaps rhetorically useful.  Originally posted at the RC, it only got 99 comments.  Strange, I thought at the time, that so few theists were willing to engage it.

One day for no obvious reason god creates little Johnny and Susan. Susan is made bright and kind and eats veggies, of which there is enough for her to last her lifetime. Johnny has claws and fangs and eats meat, of which Susan is the only kind around. God says to little Johnny "be good, and don't eat little Susan, or you shall surely suffer by me!" But little Johnny kills Susan and eats her all up.
God says to little Johnny: "You are a very bad boy, Johnny, for you have disobeyed me. I will therefore cause you incessant pain and hunger, and the longer you do not eat of the other children, the stronger the pain and hunger." So Johnny eats his fill of other children, and he is free of the pain of hunger.

So god says …

Cardinal Pell and the Redemptive Suffering of a Convicted Pedophile in Prison

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Cardinal Pell has illegally distributed a hand-written letter to supporters, the ostensible purpose of which is to criticize the Amazonian Synod's proposed policy of Instrumentum Laboris.  The Synod would, by the adoption of this proposition, offer an Amazonian Church with "an indigenous face".  One key problem for this is, apparently, the lack of suitably unmarried and celebate Amazonian priests.  The solution would be to ordain so-called viri probati, or married men who've proved their value to the Church.  It appears these propositions do not sit well with conservative Catholics.

Much less problematic for them, apparently, is child abuse.  While they deem sexually monogamous married men inadequate to act as representatives of god's perfect goodness, they are more than happy to entertain the theological criticisms of a criminal convicted of forcibly fornicating with children.  It was Pope Benedict who, facing criticism of the Church's refusal to open itself…

News from the Vault: Bladensburg, Revisited or That Old Rugged Cross

I asked not long ago in my conversation about the  appointment of Allison Jones Rushing if her view of "offended observer" standing would be consistently applied: I wonder, however, what the consequences of such a view would have had on cases like Masterpiece Cakeshop v. the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. At a first approximation, it seems to me that Rushing's logic commits her to the view that the Roberts Court is in error. Has anyone seen any commentary or writing by her on this decision? Should I hold my breath in anticipation of logical consistency, and her forceful admonition of that decision? Or will I asphyxiate on hope? The decision in  The American Legion v. American Humanist Association case offers some insight into its use in future cases. The central argument running throughout the majority decision is this: do time and ambiguous motives relieve religious symbols of their religious character? Justice Alito affirms that they do. He argues that the passage of t…

News from the Vault: What the Judicial Appointment of Allison Jones Rushing Means for the First Amendment

Over at the RC, one mod offers an  interesting OP for conversation , and another  trash posts it and half her channels' audience. But the OP is correct in stating that In her writings, she has rejected the separation of church and state while arguing that “village secularists” and other “offended observers” should not be allowed to challenge government actions that violate the Establishment Clause which guarantees the separation of church and state. In fact, Allison Jones Rushing, nee Allison Jones, wrote in a 2005 paper published at Engage, a Federalist Society publication called  NOTHING TO STAND ON: “OFFENDED OBSERVERS” AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS : In Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Court rejected the idea that the Establishment Clause confers to citizens a personal constitutional right to a government that does not establish religion. In this she refers to the  Burger Court decision , written by Justice Rhenquist, that the p…

Trinity Lutheran v. Comer, revisited

So this is a long post, my apologies, but the subject is as dense with meaning as it is fraught with bad intentions. In a thread at another channel about the meaning of the "separation of church and state" I noticed that the Trinity case was mentioned several times, and with a variety of claims about the nature of the decision involved there. What I found might surprise some, theist and atheist alike. To understand the decision, however, one must understand the religious clauses of the First Amendment. As I've discussed this elsewhere I'll try to keep it brief, here: 1) The phrase "wall of separation" originated not in the writings of Thomas Jefferson, but in those of Roger Williams. Williams was persecuted for his Christianity by other Christians, ultimately being forced to flee Salem or be imprisoned. Imprisoned, that is, for what he thought, and as a consequence of what he said. Williams wrote of the need for secularism by distinguishing between the worlds …