Don’t get me wrong. Getting a PhD in the physical sciences is a significant achievement. It requires both significant native intelligence as well as a serious work ethic. I admire anyone who has accomplished this feat. I have even more admiration for those who follow up by making a serious contribution to advancing knowledge in their field of expertise. They deserve our respect, regardless of whatever religious views they may or may not hold.
However, when scientists of obvious talent and achievement imagine that they are thus qualified to pontificate on areas outside their specific domain, then the red flags go up. My BS detector goes on yellow alert, waiting for what comes next. Why? Because when an accomplished scientist wanders into the fields of philosophy and theology, in which he or she has no formal training, then the result is frequently a disaster. At times it is downright comical, except that it is also just too sad. Continue reading
Deconversion stories from Evangelical Christianity are a staple of New Atheist propaganda. Many of these stories are moving and reveal a painful personal history. They can have significant influence on leading people away from the faith, especially when they involve the story of a family member of someone prominent in Christian ministry. One such story is told here. One can easily sympathize with the pain and struggle clearly shown.
I cannot comment on the young woman’s family life, since I have no personal knowledge of it. This post should not be construed as a comment or judgment about her or her family. I have no reason to doubt that her struggles with faith are and were sincere. However, I can say this. In 30 years of doing and teaching apologetics I have almost never seen anyone who converts or deconverts because of purely intellectual motives. Most of the time people change worldviews when for personal and emotional reasons, their old view is no longer seen to be working for them. While intellectual issues play a part, usually they are far outweighed by emotional factors. The particular question she raises that derailed her faith, concerning the question of morality and sin in the Bible, can be reasonably answered from a strictly intellectual standpoint. But I doubt that this is, or was, the main issue. I suspect there is more to this story than what she is telling us. But, regardless it raises some issues that Christian apologists ought to consider. Continue reading
I have long been suspicious of conspiracy theories. I have usually been skeptical of alarmist statements, meant to stir up emotional reactions. That is one of the reasons that I have tried to give the benefit of the doubt as to the good intentions of those whom I would view as political opponents. Hence I have for some time held out hope that defenders of same sex marriage would show that they are truly tolerant and publicly state their support for the civil rights of those who cannot, because of deeply and sincerely held religious and moral beliefs, agree with or participate in activities that support their lifestyle. That hope has now been dashed, after viewing a program called Gay USA on the Freespeech Network today.
I watched as James Esseks, head of the ACLU effort to legalize same sex marriage, indicated in an interview that he did not approve of any legal exemption for religious believers in the law as regarding issues of sexual orientation. Continue reading