Fundamentalist Readings of Genesis is Rooted in Christian Tradition

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Since the cool pope, Francis, made his recent statements about evolution, the internets have been abuzz. Voices like Ken Ham has argued that this is another indication that the pope is undermining Biblical authority. Others have rightly pointed out that this consistent with Catholic teaching.

However, that does not mean current Catholic teaching reflects the consistent reflection of the Church, especially the early Church.
 
To hear certain segments of the Christian population tell it, the history of Christendom features centuries of enlightened allegorical interpretations, and then Pat Robertson was born, confusing everyone about the sophisticated symbolic meaning of Genesis giving rise to New Atheism. If only we would eschew this modern innovation called fundamentalism, we would see that there is no conflict between the theory of evolution and Genesis.

Like much of apologetics, this is a distortion of reality.

The term fundamentalism was undoubtedly coined last century. A series of threats to Christian dominance in the West culminated in the 19th century with not only Darwinian evolution but also Scripture exegetical approaches, namely higher criticism, which made believers nervous.

The Catholic Church reacted to the modernist threat with Papal statements like The Syllabus of Errors. While Protestants produced a series of 90 Essays between 1910 and 1915, which were compiled into a book called The Fundamentals, hence our word fundamentalist.

While the word fundamentalist has becoming synonymous with extremism, The Fundamentals actually features pretty ordinary Protestant apologetics, such as a defense of the deity of Christ. Far from bringing forth new teachings, The Fundamentalist movement simple sought to affirm what had previously been widely accepted Christian doctrine, especially for Protestants.

While previous generous of Christians would not have called themselves fundamentalist—because the word had not been invented—their beliefs could be characterized as such. In fact, the Church Fathers, who in many ways defined doctrines for all branches of Christianity, often had fundamentalist views. Despite the vocal apologetic claims to the contrary, they read the creation accounts of Genesis quite literally. I have catalogued some key statements demonstrating this. 

Concerning the six days of creation, Ephrem the Syrian:

So let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things pertaining to these days were symbolic, nor can one say that they were meaningless names or that other things were symbolized for us by their names. Rather, let us know in just what manner heaven and earth were created in the beginning. They were truly heaven and earth. "Commentary on Genesis" 1.1.13 in The Fathers of the Church 91:74.
       
Genesis says, “And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. God called the dome Sky. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day” (1:6-8)

The reader should note that the dome (sometimes translated as firmament) is solid. Ancient Near Eastern cosmology included a solid sky. Do the fathers offer an allegory for this erroneous description of the heavens? No, they affirm it.
 
Augustine said:

The matter was separated by the interposition of the firmament so that the lower matter is that of bodies and the higher matter that of souls. "On the Literal Interpretation of Genesis" 8.29 in The Fathers of the Church 84:165.
 
Basil “the Great” said:

But as far as concerns the separation of the waters I am obliged to contest the opinion of certain writers in the church who, under the shadow of high and sublime conceptions, have launched out into metaphor and have seen in the waters only a figure to denote spiritual and incorporeal powers. In the higher regions, accordingly, above the firmament, dwell the better; in the lower regions, earth and matter are the dwelling place of the malignant. So, say they, God is praised by the waters that are above the heavens, that is to say, by the good powers, the purity of whose soul makes them worthy to sing the praises of God. And the waters that are under the heavens represent the wicked spirits, who from their natural height have fallen into the abyss of evil. Turbulent, seditious, agitated by the tumultuous waves of passion, they have received the name of sea, because of the instability and the inconstancy of their movements. Let us reject these theories as dreams and old women’s tales. "Hexaemeron" 3.9. in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers 2 8:70-71.

 It is of course doubtful that the purveyors of such ludicrous allegories were in fact women.

 Even Origen who can usually be counted on to offer an allegorical interpretation completely divorced from the text finds that the heavens were composed of a very solid dome:

Although God had already previously made heaven, now he makes the firmament. For he made heaven first, about which he says, “Heaven is my throne.” But after that he makes the firmament, that is, the corporeal heaven. For every corporeal object is, without doubt, firm and solid; and it is this that divides the water which is above heaven from the water which is below heaven. "Homilies on Genesis" 1.2. The Fathers of the Church 71:48-49.

In the Genesis account, God creates the sun after plants. This would have been a great time for the fathers to have intervened to tell us not to read the text too literally for even in their day there were “heretics” who quibbled with such a problematic ordering. But alas, the fathers insist on a literal reading.

Basil “the Great” said:

The adornment of the earth is older than the sun, that those who have been misled may cease worshiping the sun as the origin of life. "Hexaemeron" 5.1 in The Fathers of the Church 46:67.

He adds:

Look at the plants of the earth, which preceded in time the light of the sun. The bramble preceded the sun. The blade of grass is older than the moon. Therefore, do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred. Three days have passed. "Hexaemeron" 4.1 in The Father of the Church 42:126

 John Chrysostom said:

He created the sun on the fourth day lest you think it is the cause of the day. "Homilies on Genesis" 6.14 in Fathers of Church 74:85. 
 
Augustine said: 

The Manichaeans ask how it could be that the heavenly bodies, that is, the sun and the moon and the stars, were made on the fourth day. How could the three previous days have passed without the sun? For we now see that a day passes with the rising and setting of the sun, while night comes to us in the sun’s absence when it returns to east from the other side of the world. We answer them that the previous three days could each have been calculated by as great a period of time as that through which the sun passes, from when it rises in the east until it returns again to the east. This would be our answer if we were not held back by the words and evening came and morning came, for we see that this cannot now take place without the movement of the sun. Hence we are left with the interpretation that in that period of time the divisions between the works were called evening because of the completion of the work that was done and morning because of the beginning of the work to come….The day and the night had already been distinguished but not yet in relation to the heavenly bodies. "Two Books on Genesis Against the Manichaeans" 1.14.20-23 in The Fathers of the Church 84:68-70.

If you are thinking, Augustine completely misses the point, you’re right.

The literal reading of the Fathers makes it difficult to reconcile their position with what we know about the slow, progressive evolution life. Ephrem and Basil certainly do not conceive of a slow development of forms. The plants are created instantaneously, fully developed.  

Ephrem the Syrian said:  

Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless like trees years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches. The grass that would be required as food for the animals that were to be created two days later was thus made ready. And the new corn that would be food for Adam and his descendants, who would be thrown out of paradise four days later, was thus prepared. "Commentary on Genesis" 1.22.1-2.9 in The Fathers of the Church 91:90. 
 
Basil “the Great” said:
 
At this saying all the dense woods appeared; all the trees shot up. Likewise all the shrubs were immediately thick with leaf and bushy; and the so-called garland plants all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously on the earth. “Let the earth bring forth.” This brief command was immediately a mighty nature and an elaborate system which brought to perfection more swiftly than our thought the countless properties of plants. "Hexaemeron" 5.6, 10 in The Fathers of the Church 46:74, 82.

Lastly, a key aspect of Darwinian evolution is malleability. Forms have changed and do changed. Nothing was created as it is today. However, the fathers, reading Genesis literally, describe the creation of living things as being made of well-defined and static forms in one moment of creation.  

Ambrose said:  

The rivers were in labor. The lakes produced their quota of life. The sea itself began to bear all manner of reptiles. We are unable to record the multiplicity of the names of all those species which by divine command were brought to life in a moment of time. At the same instant substantial form and the principle of life were brought into existence. The whale, as well as the frog, came into existence at the same time by the same creative power "Hexaemeron" 5.2-3 in The Fathers of the Church 42:160-62.

 

The bishop also said:

The Word of God permeates every creature in the constitution of the world. Hence, as God had ordained, all kinds of living creatures were quickly produced from the earth. In compliance with a fixed law they all succeed each other from age to age according to their aspect and kind. The lion generates a lion; the tiger, a tiger; the ox, an ox; the swan, a swan; and the eagle, an eagle. What was once enjoined became in nature a habit for all time. Hence the earth has not ceased to offer the homage of its service. The original species of living creatures is reproduced for future ages by successive generations of its kind. "Hexaemeron" 6.3.9.12 in The Father of the Church 42:232

Basil “the Great” said:

The nature of existing objects, set in motion by one command, passes through creation without change, by generation and destruction, preserving the succession of the kinds through resemblance until it reaches the very end. It begets a horse as the successor of a horse, a lion of a lion and an eagle of an eagle. It continues to preserve each of the animals by uninterrupted successions until the consummation of the universe. No length of time causes the specific characteristics of the animals to be corrupted or extinct, but, as if established just recently, nature, ever fresh, moves along with time. "Hexaemeron" 9:2 in The Fathers of Church 46:137.

How very wrong was he? How very off the mark they all were? And How very literally they read Genesis?

There is someone who reads less literally—Origen, but his interpretations should comfort no Christian. His readings are clearly eisegesis with no connection to the text before him. For example concerning the creation of lights, Origen said:

Just as the sun and the moon are said to be the great lights in the firmament of heaven, so also are Christ and the church in us. But since God also placed stars in the firmament, let us see what are also stars in us, that is, in the heaven of our heart. Moses is a star in us, which shines and enlightens us by his acts. And so are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, David, Daniel, and all to whom the Holy Scriptures testify that they pleased God. For just as star differs from star in glory so also each of the saints, according to his own greatness, sheds his light upon us. Homilies on Genesis 1.7. Fathers of the Church 71:55.

 Beautiful spirituality perhaps, but tells us more about Origen's imagination than how to interpret Genesis.
 





Other Reviews of "Christianity is Not Great"

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Other reviews of "Christianity is Not Great" have appeared. Here is one written by Andrew Atkinson: LINK.

Satan Uses Police to Trap One of God's Servants: Welcome to the Buckle on the Bible Belt!

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Upstate Gospel Quartet Member Accused of Soliciting Minor Boy for Sex
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) 
A former baritone singer in a local gospel quartet sits behind bars, accused by Greenville Co. deputies of soliciting sex from who he thought was a 15-year-old boy. 

Joseph Trusty, former member of the Carolina Boys Quartet, is being held in the Greenville Co. Detention Center charged with soliciting a minor. An arrest warrant for Trusty states he was e-mailing a person posing as a 15-year-old male. The report goes on to say Trusty agreed to meet with the supposed 15-year-old and engage in oral sex. 

News Video Here 

Another Great Review of "Christianity is Not Great"

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Link

An Awkward Proposition: Can Atheists Learn Something From Evangelicals?

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Behold, Ken Ham - master of circular reasoning!

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A Simple Question Addressed to Christian Apologists on the Use of Josephus to Prove a Historical Jesus

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Fact 1: Josephus' time distance from the earliest texts we have of Genesis (Those from Qumran dated from 250 - 200 BCE) and the time he wrote his Judean Antiquities (JA) in 94 CE  is about 334 to 294 years.

Fact 2: The story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden with a talking snake (Fact is, Josephus thought all animals could talk, “At that point in time when all the creatures spoke the same language, a serpent, living together with Adam and his wife felt Jealous . . ."  JA 1:41) is totally unique and was ONLY recorded first by Jews in the Torah text of Genesis. Josephus believed Genesis 3 to be fully historical. 

The Evidence of Israel's Polytheistic Origin in the Hebrew Bible

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I'll Be Teaching an Online Class Based On My Book "The Outsider Test for Faith" in November

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This is just a reminder. I'll be teaching an online class based on my book "The Outsider Test for Faith" in November at secularactivism.org. Of it Dr. James Lindsay says:
The Outsider Test for Faithis a silver bullet argument for understanding how to grapple with the religious diversity of our world and how to answer the central question raised by it: How can we know which religion, if any, is true?”
Dr. Richard Carrier says of it:
Though this idea has been voiced before, Loftus is the first to name it, rigorize it, and give it an extensive philosophical defense…The end result is one of the most effective and powerful arguments for atheism there is. It is, in effect, a covering argument that subsumes all other arguments for atheism into a common framework
Sign up today!

Keith Parsons On The Amalekites and Options for Apologists

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Even though I have master's degrees in the Philosophy of Religion (PoR), I have argued this discipline doesn't deserve a place in secular universities. I've said why in that link (in reverse chronological order). Let me stress a major criticism of the discipline. It usually doesn't deal in concrete biblical examples, and when it does, it takes for granted what no reasonable person should. I prefer to deal in terms of concrete biblical examples by far, so I cannot grant for the sake of argument most of the things philosophers of religion do. PoR departments are dominated by Christians in America, and most of them are evangelical leaning professors. Most of the published work in this discipline is likewise written by Christians. It's the last bastion for evangelicals who cannot defend what they believe because of the evidence coming from evolution, neurology, archaeology, comparative religion analysis, and biblical criticism. Being a philosopher of religion specializing in the analysis of ancient religions and a biblical scholar to boot, Dr. Jaco Gericke has said, "The trouble with William Lane Craig and and Alvin Plantinga is that their philosophy of religion conveniently ignores the problems posed for their views by the history of Israelite religion. They might as well try to prove Zeus exists. People sometimes forget 'God' used to be Yahweh and it is possible to prove from textual evidence that 'there ain't no such animal.'" Evangelical PoR is simply a Fundamentalism on Stilts. In fact, all Christian PoR is special pleading by degrees. It is pseudo-philosophy just as much as creationism is pseudo-science.

Get Carolyn Hyppolite's Book, "Still Small Voices: The Testimony of a Born-Again Atheist"

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Carolyn Hyppolite has written what I consider a masterful first person account of her struggles with the Christian faith explaining why she came to reject it. In this intelligent book she highlights the intellectual hypocrisy of Christians, how their faith denigrates women, how it fails to deal honestly with religious diversity, the absence of God in the world, the problem of suffering, and more. Ultimately she highlights the irrationality of faith itself. She is not alone by any stretch. Her numbers are growing every day. She’s just sharing what so many of us have concluded on our behalf. Highly recommended! It deserves a wide readership.On Amazon she tells us:

The Friendly Atheist, Hemant Mehta, Writes About "Christianity is Not Great"

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If you click on the link you can read an excerpt of what I wrote: "Is Christianity beneficial or harmful to society?" LINK.

"Christianity is Not Great" Blasts Off With a Glowing Review By David Mills

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Today Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Failsis available online! And it blasts off with a humbling and glowing review by David Mills, author of the bestselling book Atheist Universe: The Thinking Person's Answer to Christian Fundamentalism.

Reverned Phillip Brown" Defends the Bible

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Since you had a problem with the phase conclusive evidence, lets narrow the debate down to:

Be it resolved: There is no historical evidence for any of the Hebrew Bible’s (Old Testament’s) Israelite personalities named in the New Testament.
(This would include among others, the Patriarchs, Moses, the Prophets, King David and King Solomon; all believed to have existed by Jesus.)  

The Very First Review of "Christianity is Not Great" by Aaron Adair

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Aaron Adair is an Assistant Professor in the Physics Department at Merrimack College, and author of the book The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View. He is the first to review the book Christianity is Not Great.You can see what he says right here.

Quote of the Day, By John Shelby Spong

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Episcopalian John Shelby Spong on hell and conservative Christianity. He is a humanist first and a religionist second. He's wrong, but less wrong than most other Christians. In this ABC interview he correctly says: "The church doesn't like for people to grow up because you can't control grown ups."

My Former Professor Daniel Maguire Bites the Bullet, Acknowledges No God

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Maguire argues in his book, Christianity without God: Moving beyond the Dogmas and Retrieving the Epic Moral Narrative, "that Christianity does not require its supernatural aspects." He thinks the ethical narrative of the Bible is what matters. ;-) And it looks like he caught up to the 1960's, which was the heyday of the death of God theology, or secularized Christianity. I found it quite a surprise that both of our books are ranked about the same among other atheist books. He should read mine if he thinks there is something to the ethics in the Bible. ;-) At least he's less wrong than most other Christians!

Frank Zindler, Eating Eggs, Blueberry Pie, Rhubarb, and Childhood Religious Indocrtrination

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I spent the weekend filming a few interviews with Frank Zindler, who has been the president of the American Atheists organization, and who earned the title of atheist spokesman of the year a number of times. He has debated a number of Christians including besting William Lane Craig in a debate, and now is the editor in chief of American Atheist Press. It was great to get his perspective on a number of things. I view him as a renaissance man who knows a lot about a lot of things. I call him "Mr. Atheist."

While we were talking he told a story of how, as a child, he cracked open an egg and found that a baby chick was developing in it, and he was shocked and very upset. Well, his mother wanted to show him that was an extremely rare thing so she picked out another egg and cracked it open, only to find the same results. For a long time he would not eat eggs at all. Now, at the age of 75, he only eats hard-boiled, scrambled, and deviled eggs.

I had a similar experience when I was a child. One time I got a fork full of blueberry pie and out came a bug. Yep, a bug. On another occasion I found a patch of rhubarb and gorged on it until I was so sick I vomited. I wouldn't eat blueberry pie nor anything rhubarb for years afterward. I still have an aversion against eating them, although I do on occasion. I suppose many of us have similar stories.

What I want my readers to consider is that religious indoctrination can do the same thing to us, especially when it comes to the notion of hell. Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico have written an excellent chapter for Christianity is Not Great on this subject. I consider it must reading. On her blog Marlene wrote about it saying:
The most difficult thing to overcome, by far, is overcoming the intense indoctrination of early years. As an adult, for example, the fear of hell can pop up and cause panic attacks even if a person rationally rejects the doctrine. LINK.
If children can fear eating eggs, blueberry pie and rhubarb, then how much more intense is the fear of doubting one's own religious indoctrination. It takes a special kind of person, someone who really wants to know the truth and will follow the evidence wherever it leads.

Quote of the Day, by Dr. James East

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He's beginning to write a series of posts on the resurrection of Jesus. He writes:
The burden of proof is on the apologist. The apologist should not demand a skeptic prove some specific “non-resurrection” hypothesis. Rather, the apologist needs to show that the “resurrection” hypothesis is more probable than the “anything but the resurrection” hypothesis. In my opinion, no apologist has ever succeeded in doing this, and this series will outline my reasons for coming to this conclusion. LINK.

Yuriy Stasyuk, On Why He Changed His Mind About Religion

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Yuriy Stasyuk, who describes himself as a "Husband, amateur theologian/philosopher, and the guy with more questions than answers," has written a really good 5-part series on why he changed his mind about religion. He asks
Do you ever question what you believe and why you believe it? I grant you that this is a hard thing to do, in fact it’s so hard that most people on this planet live their whole lives without questioning their dogmatic assertions. Billions of people have died holding very strong beliefs that they never questioned. This includes: Greeks who believed in a mythological plethora of gods, the Persians who held to an ancient form of monotheistic Zoroastrianism, the many Near East cultures who worshiped multiple gods such as Baal, Dagon, and Marduk, and the Egyptians who believed their Pharaohs were gods, among many other fictitious deities. As well as the Romans who, like the Greeks, held strong beliefs in a whole pantheon of many gods and many forms of Eastern religion from Buddhism and Confucianism all the way down to Shintoism. Even in our own lifetime, there are billions who believe in all manner of various things. In your lifetime millions of Chinese will have died thinking that their indigenous faiths were the true faith. Millions of Indians will die, fully expecting that they will continue in a vast cycle of reincarnation. Likewise, millions of Muslims will die, fully confident that the Quran holds the recorded words of Allah, rather than mere human scribbles.
He says:
This series will chronicle some of the experiences that led me to admit I was wrong on one thing or another, and therefore I had to wrestle with the cognitive dissonance and disillusionment, and forge an updated understanding of the universe. I will be honest, some of these shifts were the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I didn’t want to do admit I was wrong, but I was honest enough to know I had to. It was very difficult, because each time I encountered evidence which forced me to evolve my views, I lost friends, respect, belonging, affirmation, and affection. I didn’t make any of these paradigm shifts because I wanted to, I did it because I wanted truth with integrity, no matter the cost. LINK

I Just Wanted You to Know Your Jesus is a Liar!

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This favorite statement of rage was often made by a former Fundamentalist Baptist evangelist to any Christian he met carrying a Bible or witnessing either from door to door or on the streets of Greenville, often leaving them dumbfounded; but first some background information.

Dr. Hector Avalos's New Book Coming Out: "The Bad Jesus: The Ethics of New Testament Ethics"

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It looks like it'll be another tour de force! Hector doesn't mess around! And he knows his stuff. Looks like there will be no more room for Christian apologists to hide. I love it! LINK.

This is the flyer our publisher made for "Christianity is Not Great"

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Christians Are Leaving Christianity By the Droves Because of the Issue of Homosexuality

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John Shore (who makes sure to tell us he's straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question.He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians, and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog. John reports his two blogs receive about 250,000 views per month. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. And he's alarmed by what he's seeing. Here's the quote:

The Next Time Someone Says I'm Ignorant About Christianity Look Here!

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These are only a few of the apologetics books I have read and/or refer to. I have dozens more as ebooks. I used a few of them in my college classes. I might be wrong but I'm clearly not ignorant. Don't think for a moment there is anything significant you can tell me I have not considered before.

A Plague of Stupidity at Answers in Genesis

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While a number of Christian leaders and radio personalities are gleefully hailing the recent Ebola outbreak as a sign of the “End Times” or perhaps the means by which God will purge the Earth of homosexuals, atheists, and other types which fundamentalist Christians love to hate, Ken Ham's Answers in Genesis sees a different silver lining:  a chance to proclaim their God’s goodness (and the literal truth of Genesis). I’m not kidding.

David Mills Is The First Person I Know To Get "Christianity is Not Great"

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On Facebook he shares a picture and writes:
Portrait of a very happy man! My new John W. Loftus book just arrived Priority Mail. I was privileged to read this book during its pre-publication and offered the following comment as a cover blurb:

"Loftus's latest is a compendium of the world's most iconic freethinkers and science writers at their finest. This may very well be John's most celebrated work--which is saying a great deal indeed." -- David Mills, author of Atheist Universe.

Richard Carrier Talks Up Our Latest Anthology, CNG

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I really appreciate Richard doing this, and for his kind words. LINK. Of three of my own chapters he writes:
Each is an excellent and cite-worthy survey of how Christianity shares a lot of blame for three pervasive social evils that have wracked Western society. If you want a one-stop shop for these kinds of arguments, this is the place to start.

Ebola is Coming! Praise God!

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Airline Traffic From Infected Areas
As a bit of sarcasm that Voltaire would appreciate let's all praise God for the Ebola virus! It's been long overdue.

If the Ebola virus is a punishment sent by God then God's punishments are good, aren't they? We're all sinners so we deserve to die prematurely a horrible death. People deserve what happens to them because Adam and Eve sinned, or because our parents sinned, or because of original sin (whatever that can possibly mean in this context for children). God's goodness and glory are displayed in the sufferings and deaths of its victims along with the grieving surviving family members. In any case, it's disasters like these that God sends to draw people to him, sort of like beating your wife in order to get her to love you, right? God is perfectly good. Glory be to God! He always does that which is perfectly good. So this is not a tragedy, not a disaster, not an "evil". This is all good! Praise God! Evil is nothing but a privation anyway, according to Augustine. It doesn't really exist!

In addition, the Ebola virus can be considered as a perfectly good divine method of population control. Every once-in-a-while God just has to do this because populations get out of hand, and because of this they might upset the so-called perfectly fine tuned ecosystem he created. Never mind for a moment that a more humane way to control population is to control our sex drives, or female ovulation cycles, so that we don't even have a population control problem in the first place. And never mind that there is no reason for a miracle working God to be concerned with a fine tuned ecosystem when he could sustain the world and control population growth by means of several perpetual miracles, such that the coming Ebola virus isn't needed at all in his perfectly good plan. No, God knows what he's doing and his ways are the very best. We cannot even fathom how good God's ways are since he's omniscient and knows best. He has perfectly good reasons why he remains hidden. We know this by faith because we certainly cannot figure it out using the rational powers he created in us, even given his perfectly good revelation in the Bible.

Besides, Jesus told us that when we see such things we should look up into the sky dome of heaven and be thankful, for this is yet another sign that Jesus is coming. Just ignore the pandemics that took place in history, like the Spanish Influenza outbreak of 1918 and the failed apocalyptic predictions that came with it of the end of the world. In fact, let's hope and pray things get worse because we'd rather be in heaven than here on earth. And ignore also the fact that there are many of these people who will burn in hell forever. God's patience cannot last forever. Who cares if they die prematurely I don't. I only care about me. I want to go to be with God soon, today if possible. The people who wind up in hell deserve what they get, even those who die from the Ebola virus. Let them burn. I'm just thankful that in God's graciousness toward me he didn't end the world before I got saved. Isn't God so full of it [grace, that is]? It's simply amazing!

So let's thank God and do nothing to prohibit the Ebola virus from spreading because it's God's will. And let's look to the sky for Jesus and help raise money for doomsday ministries that tell the world of the coming Ebola virus upon the sinners, heathen, atheists, homosexuals, criminals and child molesters for whom this disaster is surely being sent as a punishment. We'll be raptured out of this mess soon, and even if not, God's grace is sufficient for us. We know where we'll go when the time comes.

Be thankful and praise God in all things!

The Table of Contents to "Christianity is Not Great"

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Here's the Table of Contents to Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails, to be available in just one week!

The Coming Muslim Wars And What Might Hopefully Be The Result

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Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said of Muslim countries in the Middle East: "I think we're looking at kind of a 30-year war," arguing that the withdrawal from Iraq created a vacuum that allowed ISIS to rise. The reference to a 30 year war may be intentional. Three months earlier Richard N. Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, compared the coming Muslim wars to the European 30 Years War (1618–1648 AD). He briefly described the European war in the 17th century as "a religious struggle between competing traditions of the faith...fueled by neighboring rulers seeking to defend their interests and increase their influence," where "civil wars and proxy wars become impossible to distinguish." As we know, the loss of life "was devastating." Such a description, he went on to say, "could be a description of today’s Middle East."LINK.

Douglas Murray, writing for The Spectator even earlier in January, also wrote about this parallel:
There are those who think that the region as a whole may be starting to go through something similar to what Europe went through in the early 17th century during the Thirty Years’ War, when Protestant and Catholic states battled it out. This is a conflict which is not only bigger than al-Qa’eda and similar groups, but far bigger than any of us. It is one which will re-align not only the Middle East, but the religion of Islam.
For a primer on the European 30 Years War click here. There are some major differences of course, like the use of modern weaponry and the outside influence of the USA in the Muslim wars, but one similarity is striking. Both European Christians in the 17th century and today's Middle East Muslims were/are extremely intolerant of religious differences to the point of killing each other because of them.

There is hope, if we can survive being draw into a world war, or a nuclear war.
One of the most significant consequences of the Thirty Years War is that it was, essentially, the religious war to end all wars. After this point, religious differences were no longer of primary importance. LINK

Sam Harris: "Islam is the Mother Lode of Bad Ideas"

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What is the Evidence for Evolution?

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