Browsed by
Month: November 2009

Dallas Willard on Christianity, Magic, and the Supernatural

Dallas Willard on Christianity, Magic, and the Supernatural

Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, asks this question in his excellent book Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship With God: How does a life in which one speaks the creative word of God differ from a life of voodoo, magic, and superstition? Here is part of his answer (the section begins on page 137): The word magic in this context refers to … the attempt to influence the actual course of events, as distinct…

Read More Read More

Will the Public Lose Its (Science) Religion?

Will the Public Lose Its (Science) Religion?

More than two years ago I wrote “Servants of a Twisted God,” including the following: Recently in the influential journal Science, Matthew C. Nisbet and Chris Mooney bemoaned scientists’ difficulties with influencing public policy. They recommended that scientists back off from their technical language, and recast their communications in “frames”—alternative ways of viewing information—such as “public accountability,” “public morality,” and “economic development.” They proposed that “scientists should strategically avoid emphasizing the technical details of science when trying to defend it.”…

Read More Read More

“An Invisible Magical Friend Who Grants Wishes”

“An Invisible Magical Friend Who Grants Wishes”

My debate with Luke Muehlhauser at Discussion Grounds has taken a detour to the question of whether Christianity is the belief in an “invisible magical friend who grants wishes.” Luke affirmed that in comments here, here, here, here, here, and here. I responded in my Letter 15 yesterday, and we have each added another letter since. I don’t know if we’ll be able to come to agreement even on this basic point, but if that’s the position he thinks we’re…

Read More Read More

The Basis for Moral Realism

The Basis for Moral Realism

Jordan has been saying things on the Manhattan Declaration thread like, Atheism does not entail moral relativism, and theism does not entail moral realism. I’m an atheist, and a moral realist. … I (imperfectly) perceive morality with my moral sense. What is the basis of your “alleged moral objectivity”? I imagine it will be long-winded and incoherent. Or maybe you’ll save us both some time with a good old-fashioned, “Goddidit!” Everyone on that discussion agrees on one thing: that there…

Read More Read More

The Manhattan Declaration

The Manhattan Declaration

I am pleased to have had my signature on the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience when it was released today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. I urge you to sign it too. It is a 4,700 word statement calling for justice and ethics in government and society, especially with respect to the right to life, the sanctity of marriage, and freedom of religion and conscience. The core declaration reads thus: We, as Orthodox, Catholic, and…

Read More Read More

The curious economic effects of religion – The Boston Globe

The curious economic effects of religion – The Boston Globe

Fascinatin’! What makes economies grow? It’s a question that has occupied thinkers for centuries. Most of us would tick off things like education levels, openness to trade, natural resources, and political systems. Here’s one you might not have considered: hell. A pair of Harvard researchers recently examined 40 years of data from dozens of countries, trying to sort out the economic impact of religious beliefs or practices. They found that religion has a measurable effect on developing economies – and…

Read More Read More

Real Time Web Analytics