Religion Archive

May 3, 2013

A Bait and Switch Argument

Writing for the Family Research Council, Rob Schwarzwalder attempts to make a religious liberty argument against Bruce Leiter’s new book, Why Tolerate Religion?. Schwarzwalder quotes Leiter almost correctly, “[N]o one has been able to articulate a credible principled argument for...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:58 PM | Read more on Religion |
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April 25, 2013

Primitive With Modern Conveniences

Last night Shirley and I were watching a lecture on Stravinsky's "The Rite of Sprint" by Robert Greenberg. Greenberg mentioned Debussy's rather sarcastic comment on the Rite, "If you like it, it's primitive music with every modern convenience." Debussy's comment...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 10:43 AM | Read more on Religion |
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January 19, 2013

Are Rabbis In The Plan?

If one follows Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s logic perhaps not. Rabbi Lapin said on the American Family radio show, In the Lord’s language there is no word for retire. I hope you’re not thinking of retirement, but if you are, it’s...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 6:42 PM | Read more on Religion |
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January 15, 2013

Some Of His Best Friends Are Muslims

There was no photo-op or press release from Rep. Walter Jones’ (R-NC) office when a local library in his district was awarded a federal grant to expand its collection. Instead, in an exceedingly rare move, Jones actually criticized the grant...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:08 PM | Read more on Religion |
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January 10, 2013

Will This Make It Twice As Binding?

President Barack Obama is putting a symbolic twist on a time-honored tradition, taking the oath of office for his second term with his hand placed not on a single Bible but on two – one owned by Martin Luther King...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 9:53 PM | Read more on Religion |
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January 2, 2013

For Only ₪200 You Too Can Learn To Be A Prophet

I'm a little late with this. A couple of days ago Yahoo News (and others) reported, For just 200 shekels, about $53, and in only 40 short classes, the Cain and Abel School for Prophets says it will certify anyone...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 12:50 PM | Read more on Religion |
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December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

To all my secular readers in the western tradition, to all my Christian readers, and to anyone else who likes the greeting, I wish you the warmest Merry Christmas. To those who don’t appreciate the greeting, I remind you that...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:05 PM | Read more on Religion |
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November 16, 2012

Crazies Target the Sphinx And The Pyramids

And the Egyptian government must take it seriously. Al Arabiya News reports, Egypt is taking a jihadist’s calls to destroy the Giza Pyramids and Sphinx “seriously,” an Egyptian interior ministry source has said, according to reports. The source, who was...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 12:28 PM | Read more on Religion |
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September 2, 2012

Sun Myung Moon Dead

Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church, died today. I’m never sure what to say when someone like Moon dies. What I do know is that his life and his church will join L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology and...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 12:34 PM | Read more on Religion |
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June 25, 2012

The Effect Of Aliens On Religious Beliefs

MSNBC is running a story that asks the question, “Would finding aliens shatter religious beliefs?” “Experts” don’t think so and neither do I. When belief is faced with any potentially contradicting evidence, it reacts in one of four ways. Morphs...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:02 PM | Read more on Religion |
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June 22, 2012

The Unchanging Bible Argument

I’ve heard some truly abnormal arguments in my day. Heck, I’ve proponed some truly abnormal arguments in my day. But this one may take the cake. Of course, I’ve heard before that religion provides some sort of unchanging foundation for...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 2:17 PM | Read more on Religion |
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May 26, 2012

Quotation Of The 5th Century BCE

For if it were proposed to all nations to choose which seemed best of all customs, each, after examination, would place its own first; so well is each convinced that its own are by far the best. I will give...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 3:21 PM | Read more on Religion |
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April 25, 2012

Why Tolerate Religion? The Book

Back in May of 2006, Brian Leiter posted a draft paper “Why Tolerate Religion?” in which he argued that there is no credible case for tolerating “religion qua religion.” At the time, I reported on it and quoted Mark Twain...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 11:05 AM | Read more on Religion |
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April 9, 2012

Jesus Poll – The Problem

The Blaze wants to know what readers who answer online polls think about the reality of Jesus’ existence. Here's the question and the answer options. Did Jesus Christ really exist? Absolutely, but he wasn't God's son. Yes, and He was...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:48 PM | Read more on Religion |
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March 19, 2012

I’m Having Trouble Doing Two Things At The Same Time

I have a head cold and I’m putting the finishing touches on my SBL Western Region presentation. Just getting those two things done is stretching my capabilities. So don’t expect abnormally interesting blogging here. But if you want to read...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:25 AM | Read more on Religion |
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February 24, 2012

Why The Surprise?

In The God Delusion (pages 50-1 in my 2006 copy), Richard Dawkins defines a spectrum of beliefs concerning the existence of God. He illustrates his spectrum with 7 categories. Category 1 is “Strong theist” (it’s not belief, it’s knowledge) while...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 12:39 PM | Read more on Religion |
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December 26, 2011

Condemning Religious Intolerance Without Restricting Free Speech.

There is good news in the recent UN resolution on religious intolerance. For the first time in more than a decade, the U.N. General Assembly on Monday [that’s last Monday] condemned religious intolerance without urging states to outlaw “defamation of...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 2:17 PM | Read more on Religion |
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November 16, 2011

Religion, Science, and Deduction

It is sometimes hard to know whether a learned person while blogging is using a term conversationally or technically. I’m having this problem as I read one of James McGrath's recent posts at Exploring Our Matrix. For context I reproduce...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 10:37 AM | Read more on Religion |
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October 21, 2011

Not Dead Yet

Well, with only a few hours to go here on the west coast of the US it appears that the world did not end today. There seems to be a rather unbroken continuity in events from yesterday to today. Now...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:04 PM | Read more on Religion |
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October 14, 2011

October 21 Is Coming

Not so long ago Harold Camping was sure the world will end on October 21. No doubt due to a combination of illness and embarrassment about Jesus not returning on May 21, he isn’t saying now. One of his followers,...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:05 PM | Read more on Religion |
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September 29, 2011

Iran, The Death Penalty, And Belief

The conviction and possible execution of a Christian pastor in Iran is but the latest example of faith feeding on faith. Such barbaric actions should not only be roundly condemned they should be stopped. The best idea, if universally adopted,...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 4:34 PM | Read more on Religion |
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July 14, 2011

John Hobbins’ Favorite Dead Protestant Atheist

John Hobbins has an interesting post on Christopher Hitchens and the King James Bible. John says that Hitchens is his favorite living “Protestant” atheist. His favorite all time Protestant atheist is Nietzsche. It’s not clear who his favorite none Protestant...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:03 PM | Read more on Religion |
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July 6, 2011

The Virgin Mary From The Sky

I’ve more or less lost interest in supposed images of Jesus or Mary or anyone else, but I just couldn’t let this one pass. As Ed Brayton at Dispatches from the Culture Wars says, “Read this article and remind yourself...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 12:37 PM | Read more on Religion |
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June 22, 2011

I Got 100%

And on this Christian Science Monitor quiz of knowledge about religion that should be a solid C....

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Posted by Duane Smith at 1:21 PM | Read more on Religion |
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May 21, 2011

This Story Raises More Questions Than It Answers

Can you redo a prayer? A prayer at Friday’s session of the Minnesota House given by anti-gay preacher Bradlee Dean erupted a firestorm of criticism among DFL legislators and some in the GOP. Dean, whose fiery brand of anti-LGBT preaching...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 9:21 AM | Read more on Religion |
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Anyone Missing?

It’s now after 6:00 PM in much of Europe and places east. Are there an unusually number of people unaccounted for? I didn’t think so. Harold Camping needs to go back to his calculations and see who he can con...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:57 AM | Read more on Religion |
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May 16, 2011

The End Is Coming

If it weren’t for reports that Jesus will return on May 21 and that some god will destroy the world on October 21, blog traffic here would be normal. But traffic is abnormally high for this time of year. Something...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 11:22 AM | Read more on Religion |
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April 21, 2011

The Bible On Net Neutrality

According to David Burton, But we talk about it today because it is a principle of free market. That’s a Biblical principle, that’s a historical principle, we have all these quotes from Ben Franklin, and Jefferson and Washington and others...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 7:21 AM | Read more on Religion |
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April 11, 2011

Did They Actually Believe This?

I’ve always wondered the extent to which religious beliefs are, well, believed. Mark Twain famously observed in his Notebook of 1879, “Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes, and wishes he was certain.”...

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Posted by Duane Smith at 8:40 PM | Read more on Religion |
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March 3, 2011

A Proper Ruling For A Despicable Organization

I think the Supreme Court was correct in ruling in favor of the loathsome Westboro Baptist Church. We can’t demand freedom of speech only for those whose opinions and behavior we like. Fred W. Phelps and the members his family...

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Titles Only From Here On

March 1, 2011

Quotation Of The Day

February 22, 2011

480€ For Denigration Of “Religious Teachings”

February 16, 2011

God’s Gift – A Dynamically Stable Creation????

January 31, 2011

Preacher Worries Mightily Over Kosher Halal Food

December 15, 2010

Science Fiction As Religion

December 5, 2010

The World Won’t End On October 21, 2011

November 27, 2010

Another Attempt At 19th Century Synchronism

November 17, 2010

The Heresy Of Not Believing: Life In Prison Or Death?

November 9, 2010

Religious Muck Run Amok

September 12, 2010

I Assume This Is Not A Joke

September 11, 2010

On Burning Bibles

September 9, 2010

Others Plan To Read the Qur’an Too

September 8, 2010

Quotation Of A Week Ago

September 7, 2010

Let’s Have A Read The Qur'an Day

August 23, 2010

Wanting To Believe

August 4, 2010

John the Baptist Will Be Good For Tourism

July 23, 2010

Immoral Questions

July 10, 2010

When Religious Convections and Image Collide

July 1, 2010

People Bought A Device That Supposedly Turned Tap Water Into Holy Water

June 27, 2010

A Sure Sign Of Lack Of Evidence

June 8, 2010

An Improving Quiz

May 20, 2010

Draw Mohammed Day

April 27, 2010

Noah’s Ark, One More Time

March 22, 2010

On The Idea of Divine Anger

March 17, 2010

Unbelievers In The Pulpit

February 10, 2010

Moral Intuitions And The Origin of Religion

February 9, 2010

Quotation of the Day Before Yesterday

January 20, 2010

Why Isn’t This Polytheism?

January 12, 2010

Daniel Dennett on "The Evolution of Confusion."

January 3, 2010

I'm Not Quite Sure What To Call Harold Camping

December 31, 2009

On The Fight Of The Century Decade Year Month Week

December 29, 2009

Will It Ever End?

December 9, 2009

Amanda Marcotte On Stephen Prothero

November 8, 2009

The Faith of Children

November 7, 2009

On Tennis and Reason

November 2, 2009

Incomplete Reporting or Complete Nonsense

October 29, 2009

Following Twain's Divine Law

October 22, 2009

Freedom of Speech, Blasphemy and the Privileging of Religion

October 18, 2009

The Rapture: A Saga That Will Never End

October 17, 2009

On Teaching Theologians To Dance And Other Irritating Things

September 30, 2009

Happy Blasphemy Day

September 27, 2009

Are How and Why Questions In Different Domains?

August 9, 2009

Goat Sacrifice and Forced Circumcision

July 16, 2009

On Not Thinking About Gods

July 3, 2009

Evangelism As A Reality Show

June 28, 2009

A Slippery Soul

June 20, 2009

Fredrick Sontag Dies At 84

June 15, 2009

But Don't Buy Anything On Shabbat

June 14, 2009

Tweeting Religion 101

April 25, 2009

Religion and Cognitive Science

April 16, 2009

Biblical Scholars and Personal Religion: A New Blog; A New Project

March 20, 2009

Follow the Leader

March 8, 2009

Among The Lesser Reasons I Am Not A Theist

December 17, 2008

Why?

December 14, 2008

Ghosts and UFOs and Witches, Oh My!

December 7, 2008

From Religious Tract to Musical Classic

October 21, 2008

The Unmentionable and the Unnamed

October 13, 2008

Just Try To Parody This

October 5, 2008

The Theology of Cats

September 18, 2008

Why Was This On The News?

September 15, 2008

Creationism and Intelligent Design

September 10, 2008

It's A Legend, So Pass It On To The Kids

July 31, 2008

Seeking the Virgin? Don't Look at the Sun

July 24, 2008

Faith and Science: No Meaningful Common Epistemology

July 16, 2008

Is There a Divine Curse on Our House?

June 24, 2008

The Problem With Those Unaffiliated

June 20, 2008

With Just One Exception He Taught Values

May 29, 2008

Theodicy Happens

May 18, 2008

Extra Baggage and the Enjoyment of the Trip

May 16, 2008

Hazon Gabriel, Rephaim and an Ugaritic Text

May 13, 2008

Einstein's 1954 Letter to Gutkind

April 24, 2008

Sectarian Science and Mecca Mean Time

April 20, 2008

The Truly Expelled

April 17, 2008

Why Bother Answering Silly Questions?

April 16, 2008

On A Very Strange Question