We may have to stop asking “Is the Pope Catholic?”

One of the most popular rhetorical questions may not be that rhetorical after all, at least in the eyes of some Catholic theologians who are accusing pope Francis of possible heresy against Catholic doctrine in his 2016 document titled The Joy of Love, where he opened the door to letting civilly remarried Catholics receive Communion even if their earlier marriage had not been annulled by the church. In the absence of such an annulment declaring their first marriage invalid, these people are assumed to be committing adultery and hence not worthy of receiving communion.
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Revisiting the question of proving god’s existence

Edward Feser has responded to my critique of the press release about his new book that I used as the basis for pouring cold water on the idea of trying to prove the existence of gods by arguments alone. Not surprisingly, he does not like what I said and says that if I had only read his book, I would see that my criticisms were either invalid or had been addressed by him. Probably as a result of Feser’s post, a couple of new commenters have come here to defend Feser (see comment #23 and later) and some of them have also taken me to task for not having read his book
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Are atheists over-compensating for being thought immoral?

A new study finds that atheists behave more fairly toward Christians than Christians behave toward atheists. While this may be welcomed by atheists as signifying that they are less troubled by meaningless divisions, the study authors suggest that this may be due to atheists trying to overcome public perceptions that they have inferior moral qualities.

The economic game was a modified version of the Dictator Game, in which one person (the dictator) is asked to share a monetary reward with another person who can only passively accept what is offered.

A pilot study with 205 participants revealed that people believed atheists would treat Christians unfairly. But three experiments, which included nearly 1,200 U.S. residents, found almost the opposite was true.
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The phony morality of white Christian evangelicals

One of Donald Trump’s most potent messages in the last election was his vision, given in almost apocalyptic language, about how important the election was for the soul of America, as expressed on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network.

Trump put the choice starkly for the channel’s conservative Christian viewers: “If we don’t win this election, you’ll never see another Republican and you’ll have a whole different church structure.” Asked to elaborate, Trump continued, “I think this will be the last election that the Republicans have a chance of winning because you’re going to have people flowing across the border, you’re going to have illegal immigrants coming in and they’re going to be legalized and they’re going to be able to vote, and once that all happens you can forget it.”

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Visit the creationist Ark without leaving home

Two atheists Seth Andrews and Matt Dillahunty visited Ken Ham’s theme park the Ark Encounter in Kentucky and provide a guided tour of the place so that you don’t have to shell out 40 bucks (plus $10 for parking) for the privilege. I never had any intention of going there (even though it is relatively close by, less than a five-hour drive) so was glad to see this video and realize how little I was missing.

Here we go again, trying to prove god’s existence

One of the paradoxical signs that god does not exist is how religious apologists keep trying to prove that s/he does exist. After all, no one tries to prove that the Earth exists or that the Sun exists. Surely the existence of gods should be at least as manifest. As I wrote before, attempts to prove god’s existence may actually weaken belief. But we periodically encounter people who claim that they have a killer argument in support of god’s existence and an exuberant press release touts a new book by Edward Feser that once again claims to do so.
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What makes a person do something like this?

The Trump presidency has seen a rise in bigotry as white nationalists and neo-Nazis come out into the open to ‘take back their country’ from those whom they see as not authentic Americans, by which they mean white people and not the indigenous ones that the whites systematically sought to exterminate. Hence news reports such as this one back in February about Andrew King, a resident of Schenectady, NY, have become all too common.
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Believers might be better served by NOT trying to prove god’s existence

Although he was born into a god-fearing family and had a typical Christian upbringing, the philosopher David Hume began to have doubts about god as early as in his teenage years, and throughout his adult life was very much a skeptic. I will later provide a review of the book The Infidel and the Professor by Dennis C. Rasmussen that is an intellectual biography of the friendship between David Hume and Adam Smith, but I wanted to pass along this passage that I just read that made me laugh out loud.
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