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The Scientific Spirit #5: Bertrand Russell on Good and Evil

The Scientific Spirit #5: Bertrand Russell on Good and Evil

 “Mysticism maintains that all evil is illusory, and sometimes maintains the same view as regards good, but more often holds that all Reality is good. Both views are to be found in Heraclitus: “Good and ill are one,” he says, but again, “To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right.” — Bertrand Russell from Mysticism and Logic and Other Essays, Good and Evil Thus begins Bertrand Russell’s essay on Good…

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Rules of Various Metals Part 2: Passing the Demon Buck

Rules of Various Metals Part 2: Passing the Demon Buck

Last time I posed a question about what exactly we (believers and non-believers alike) are professing when we claim adherence to the Golden Rule: “do to others as you would have them do to you.” In that context, I’d like to examine the reasonableness of the assumption that because some believers consign non-believers to Hell (whatever they imagine that to be) ALL believers do so. This is an assumption that arises frequently in my dialogues with self-identifying atheists (or anti-theists…

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Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism Part Two

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism Part Two

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism Part 2 of a review by Ian Kluge. Editors Note: In part 1, Ian introduced Alvin Plantinga’s important new book as follows: In his new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism, Alvin Plantinga shows how misunderstandings about science have led to what are in reality pseudo-conflicts. He aims to show that “there is no [serious] conflict between Christian belief and science . . . [and that] there…

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The Pathology of Faith, Part One

The Pathology of Faith, Part One

One of the elements of the current public dialogue between theists and anti-theists that I find the most fascinating (when I’m in my Vulcan persona) and frustrating (when I’m in Klingon mode) is the number of times I have had someone reduce my commitment to the principles of my faith to a pathology and suggest that there is a “religious mindset” that is weak, suggestible, lazy, emotional, irrational, and safety-seeking. It goes without saying, I suppose, that non-believers have none…

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Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism (Part #1)

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism (Part #1)

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion and Naturalism Part 1 of a review by Ian Kluge For almost two decades now, we have witnessed a spirited, at times acrimonious debate between the defenders of science who are generally new atheists and the defenders of religion who are usually, but not always, Christian. While some participants may seek a final knock-out punch for one side or the other, a smaller group strives to find ways of actualizing the Baha’i doctrine…

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Why Religion 2: Religion as Accessory

Why Religion 2: Religion as Accessory

Last time, I gave an overview of a number of secular views of religion that I’ve encountered in my travels. I’d like to poke at these ideas a bit in the hope of maybe increasing understanding among both religious and secularist readers. Those of you who are religious, I’m hoping, might have an aha moment about why your secularist colleagues and friends suppose that giving up your faith is as simple as taking off a pair of unfashionable gloves. Those…

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Why Religion?

Why Religion?

I, and many folks I know who would describe themselves as religious (aka, a person of faith, or spiritual) are puzzled by the reactions to religion by some of our secularist and atheist acquaintances. It’s not that we don’t grok people’s disgust with the things that have been done in the name of religion. We not only get that,  we share their disgust. Indeed, to a person of faith, the fact that Christ’s or Muhammad’s or Buddha’s name as been…

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Science, Religion and Mythology #1: Is There a War Goin’ On?

Science, Religion and Mythology #1: Is There a War Goin’ On?

Stephen recently recommended a book to me that dealt with the myths that have grown up around the relationship between science and religion. Entitled GALILEO GOES TO JAIL:  and Other Myths About Science and Religion (Harvard University Press), the book is a collection of essays edited by Dr. Ronald Numbers and written by a diverse array of authors that included atheists, agnostics and believers from several traditions. Dr. Numbers—who is a professor of the History of Science and Medicine at…

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Questions from an Atheist #6: Does God “Do” Miracles?

Questions from an Atheist #6: Does God “Do” Miracles?

Here is the original wording of question #7 in Maynard’s list: Can god intervene in events whenever and wherever, to violate natural laws and change their course (i.e. perform miracles)? Ian approached answering it this way: Can God intervene in natural processes? Of course—He’s “the Omnipotent”—but He does not need to break natural laws to do so; He may act through them—as the Medievals already described in their concept of “secondary causes.” The idea that miracles necessarily require breaking natural…

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The Validity of Religion and Belief in the Age of Science #14: Are We Spiritual Beings?

The Validity of Religion and Belief in the Age of Science #14: Are We Spiritual Beings?

“Religion … must go hand-in-hand with science.” The Baha’i Writings   July 04, 2011.  Previously, we have shown true science and true religion to be compatible. The rest of the story is us. Are we – as many have claimed – simply glorified animals, our actions and thoughts animated by our evolutionary heritage and our desires?  Or are we constructed to respond to a higher calling, one that urges us towards compassion, honesty, service to humanity, God, and confronting the…

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