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Showing posts from March, 2016

Randal Rauser's "Is the Atheist My Neighbor?" — a review

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I remember several years ago when I was debating a Christian acquaintance of mine on Facebook — who, incidentally, has since deconverted — and he inquired about the real reason for my atheism. We'd been exchanging ideas about epistemology, extra-Biblical evidence, and evolution, but he asked me if I'd had a bad experience in the church, or if there was some "sin" I was determined to act out. He was having a hard time accepting that I'd deconverted only after tremendous reflection on my beliefs — a process that stretched out over nearly ten years; that my atheism was, and is, a sincerely-held intellectual position and not an emotional rebellion against a divine creator that deep down I still knew existed.

My acquaintance's view is not an anomaly; it's a common refrain directed at us non-believers. In my personal experience, it most commonly takes the form of, "If you don't believe in God, why do you talk about Him all the time?" This was sati…

Quick update on "Is the Atheist My Neighbor?"

A couple of weeks ago I said I'd write a review for Randal Rauser's latest book, Is the Atheist My Neighbor?. I've got a post drafted; it may be into the weekend before it's done, but I'm just going to give a quick impression.

Randal's writing in Is the Atheist My Neighbor? is erudite, humorous, and provocative. He's uncompromising in his criticism of attitudes toward atheists — and atheism itself — in Western Christian culture. The culprit, he argues, is widespread belief in the Rebellion Thesis — the notion that atheists secretly know that God exists, but harbor a deep-seated resentment toward Him and/or seek to engage in hedonistic or otherwise immoral behavior without acknowledging their culpability to God's divine commandments. Any pretenses of an intellectually grounded rejection of God is just a cover — the evidence for God is, after all, overwhelming and without rational dispute.

We atheists have known this to be nonsense from the first time we …

Why I'm for Bernie — and why I can't abide the GOP

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I lean left on most political issues, and I'm a registered democrat. But I consider myself a moderate, and I would seriously consider a moderate republican candidate who wanted sensible spending limitations, fair taxation, and a balanced budget while letting people's private lives stay private.

That candidate does not exist. There may not be any such politician in the current republican party at all.

Republicans are, right now, concerned with two things: first, the demonization of minorities. Trump has convinced his voters that keeping the Mexicans and the Muslims out of the country will solve our economic problems, a demagoguery that has been not-so-subtly voiced by Fox News over the years. The poor, similarly, are vilified by the right as lazy do-nothings who just want government hand outs, draining economic prosperity from middle-class Americans.

Secondly, republicans are concerned with a regulation of the private lives of citizens. This includes persistent attacks on women…

Why won't atheists review Randal Rauser's book?

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Randal Rauser wrote a book last year called Is the Atheist My Neighbor?, and he hasn't been particularly pleased with the reaction. Well... the reaction from atheists, anyway. It's not that atheists are bashing the book; it's really just that atheists seem pretty indifferent to it — so much so that despite sending out review copies to several atheist bloggers, not one of them has produced a review.

Randal himself seems a bit frustrated with the state of the book. He's not divulging sales numbers (why would he?), but he seems to be implying that it's not done particularly well, despite being well-received by a handful of academics. He noted in a post last year that there are two potential audiences: Christians and atheists. He describes that as "limited", but I dunno... that seems kind of broad, actually. But I think he nailed it (religious pun!) when he said,
My primary target was Christians. But how many Christians want to read a book that charges the Ch…

So you may have noticed things are a bit different around here...

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This may seem a strange thing to do given how little I've been blogging, but I decided to move my blogging back here to Blogger, instead of SquareSpace. I just finished transporting all the posts I want to keep from my other blog. I never really stopped blogging when I quasi-retired here; essentially, I was just tired of recycling the same topics and debates with the same people. The blog no longer represented who I was or served the purpose I needed.

I started a new blog that I called Mind of Mike D. It was meant to just be a hodgepodge of whatever the fuck I wanted to write about. What I found though is that blogs don't really work well that way. Blogs need to be at least somewhat topical. I mean sure, I can branch out a bit, but gaining traction with a regular audience requires being topically consistent. Besides, I started The A-Unicornist precisely because I thought it cast a wide enough net to capture many of my interests in a cohesive way. And sure enough, because I'…