Guess My Library Will Grow

Here's a link with some book suggestions addressing the tensions between Christianity and atheism from antiquity on. It also links to more articles on the same subject. I need more time.


On Choosing Belief

Here is a subject I'd like to discuss, but first I'll invite some ideas so I can better frame the discussion.
  1. Christians often tell me that I can choose to believe in God and/or Jesus, as though this choice is as simple as guessing which checkout line will get me out of the grocery store more quickly. I'm still mystified, though, as to how a belief can be chosen. Can someone explain this process to me?
  2. To arrive at a belief that God exists (in the way(s) in which He is understood to exist by at least a majority of Christians, if such a thing is possible), it seems to me one must have faith in a number of things that are not God: faith that the stories of the New Testament aren't fictions, that they were preserved in accurate form in the decades between the events and their recordings, that the Council of Nicea and the Council of Trent (as well as the earlier Church Fathers such as Irenaeus) accepted the true versions and rejected the false ones, that the various schisms through the Church's history were survived by the correct side, that the texts are translated in the proper contexts and that they are understood as intended. These things are not divine--how does one justify faith in all of these things just to get to the possibility of God?
  3. Why is God's ego so fragile He needs my approval, and why would He create so many souls out of nothing just so He could eternally torment some of them based on this qualification? (I realize this one involves specific beliefs about more than just God, but I thought I'd toss it out there).
  4. Anything you'd like to add to the pile?

I don't mean to pick on Christians, but they are the ones who insist most often that I need to believe a certain way.


Mission Statement

Since my first blog is devoted mostly to my less-serious side, daily life, and updates for family and friends, I've kept most of my deeper observations away from there. Most people who know me have gotten tired of my questioning things that normal people accept, decline, ignore, or can't care less about. So while I spend as much time as possible reading about and pondering the big picture, the complex ideas, the controversial points of view, I rarely discuss them. That's unfortunate, because I find philosophy, religion, and all of their associated concepts critically important and deeply compelling.

So this is where I'll exercise those thoughts.

My intention is to be dispassionate and impartial. Although I'm an atheist and an agnostic it's not my intention to be "anti" anything. Sometimes my tendencies toward taking the Devil's Advocate position and for the quick riposte derail serious consideration of ideas. I'll try to keep those impulses under wraps here.