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Year: 2009

An Odious Law: Uganda and Homosexuality

An Odious Law: Uganda and Homosexuality

John Mark Reynolds: Uganda may pass a law that could lead to the death penalty for homosexual behavior. The proposed law is odious…. No good can come of this bill and great harm will be done if it is passed. Some fringe Evangelical support may be behind the bill and so American Evangelicals have some obligation to comment and urge rejection of this hateful, useless, and dangerous piece of legislation by all Christians…. the bill is bad for numerous reasons….

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Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration

Why I Signed The Manhattan Declaration

Maybe it’s the Yorktown effect. I live just a few miles from the battlefield where America won its independence from Britain, and my commute to work actually takes me through that battlefield. Just a few blocks from there is the home of a patriot named Thomas Nelson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who “gave most of his fortune to purchase supplies for the Patriots and died in debt, but as an American citizen” (waymarking.com). He was one of…

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Where Can the Small Things Take You?

Where Can the Small Things Take You?

Where can the small things take you? Responding to my last point on the distinction between magic and supernaturalism, doctor(logic) offered this: When you make a voodoo doll, don’t you have to follow a recipe and include one of the victim’s hairs or possessions? That would mean that there’s a very specific relationship between the actions of the voodoo practitioner and the pain or death of the victim. There are laws that control the magic. Voodoo is predictable. Scientifically falsifiable,…

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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…

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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.”…

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“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…

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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…

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