Book Review: God and Philosophy (1966)

An audit of the case for Christian theism
by Antony Flew

FlewIn the course of my own intellectual, philosophical, and spiritual development, the issue of the Christian god—or God, if you prefer (conceding the initial cap as a means of indicating its monotheistic nature)—has been central. Partly because I was raised to believe in God and then partly because my libertarian political convictions emerged so strongly during my late teens… and they revolved about the writings of Ayn Rand (a quintessential atheist). [You can read Nathaniel Branden’s short column in the May 1962 Objectivist newsletter, which I’ve uploaded here as a jpeg file, which gives perhaps the most concise demolition of the logic behind the concept of God, at least as a ‘first cause.’]

God and Philosophy was one of the key books that I read on the subject of theism vs. atheism in the early 70s. Along with the classic out-of-print tome by Homer W. Smith, Man and His Gods (1952)—and I had heard of George Smith’s The Case Against God a few years later, as well—G&P gave pretty much the whole picture of why the concept of God (AS DEFINED BY THE CONVENTION OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER) is a nonstarter. The parenthetical phrase is extremely important, it’s the definition of terms that is necessary before any fruitful argument or discussion can follow. So the standard definition of God that Flew stipulates is as follows: Continue reading

Book Review: Letter to a Christian Nation (2006)

Addressing the faithful of the US in more familiar terms
by Sam Harris
Alfred A. Knopf, 96 pages

LetterLetter to a Christian Nation follows shortly after The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason, and it should be considered a humanitarian-outreach appendix to that groundbreaking work.

Among fellow naturalistic humanists, I’ve seen a resurgence of “atheist and proud” assertiveness.  I find that refreshing for many of the same reasons Sam Harris uses to suggest that atheism is not a philosophy, rather a moral testimony to one’s loyalty to reality, life, and reason:

“…atheism, is a term that should not even exist.  No one ever needs to identify himself as a ‘non-astrologer’ or a ‘non-alchemist.’  We do not have words for people who doubt that Elvis is still alive or that aliens have traversed the galaxy only to molest ranchers and their cattle.” — pg. 51

Harris states atheists simply want those who assert God to provide some evidence.  Moreover, we’d like some indication the dude is friendly, “given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day.” Continue reading

Movie Review: The Answer Man (2009)

Small movie w/many nice features __ 8/10

The Answer ManKris Lucas: Why can’t I do the things I want to do? There’s so much I know I’m capable of that I never actually do. Why is that?

Arlen Faber: The trick is to realize that you’re always doing what you want to do… always. Nobody’s making you do anything. Once you get that, you see that you’re free and that life is really just a series of choices. Nothing happens to you. You choose. Continue reading

Book Review: What about gods?

Children’s story on letting go of make-believe
by Chris Brockman
Review by Brian Wright

What about Gods?This marvelous little book came from a very special individual out of a milieu in the young libertarian movement in Michigan in the mid-1970s. There was a certain orthodoxy to that milieu; I remember Chris and his wife Julie seemed on the ‘free spirit’ end of the general ‘rational-libertarian’ structure of our sociology at the time.[1] Chris and Julie were always more antiwar and anticorporate than most of us in those days, and had solid secular-humanist credentials. We in the secular Objectivist-libertarian center had read and heard all the excellent intellectual refutations of the concept of God.[2] I, personally, manifested egoic arrogance in my understanding, to the point of minimizing more humane perspectives. Continue reading