Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Atheism

How to be a Good Person Without God

In many western societies, religion seems to be losing influence, particularly among young people. Many religious people argue that this threatens society’s moral frameworks. Without God, on what basis do we distinguish the good from the bad? Secularists often scoff at this question, resenting the implication that only the religious can be moral. And yet, many secularists are also moral subjectivists, who claim not to believe in any absolute sense of right and wrong, arguing that morality is culturally relative or a matter of individual taste. This does seem to imply that as religion weakens, the intellectual foundation of many of our substantive moral beliefs is being eroded, and that to the extent that secularists remain good people, it is often due to socialization and intellectual inertia rather than some truly substantive alternative. But it doesn’t have to be this way–there are excellent secular moral theories that do offer compelling objective alternatives to religious morality.

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Bill Maher and Ben Affleck are Both Wrong about Islam

In recent days, there’s been much discussion of an episode of Real Time with Bill Maher in which Maher (the host) and noted atheist Sam Harris got into a lively discussion with actor Ben Affleck over whether or not Islam is fundamentally less compatible with liberal values than Christianity, Judaism, or other religions. While I see many people taking sides, I found none of the arguments made particularly persuasive. I was instead struck by how thoroughly all three men seemed to miss the point.

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A Critique of David Bentley Hart

I ran across an odd argument from David Bentley Hart being articulated by Damon Linker, a fellow whose views I have been critical of before. The charge is that atheists and secularists have misunderstood what god is and have consequently attacked a straw man representation of religious views. The argument is dredges up a slew of old fallacies, and is an excellent case study in what not to do.

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Damon Linker and “Honest Atheism”

I ran across an interesting piece by a fellow named Damon Linker. Linker attacks a form of atheism which he considers dishonest–the belief that the absence of god in the universe is a desirable or preferable metaphysical state. He argues that honest atheists accept that their metaphysical position is necessarily a bleak and unpleasant one, and claims that all atheism that does not accept the position’s inherent sadness is not especially useful. Linker identifies several atheists whom he considers honest, including Nietzsche, Camus, Woody Allen, and a variety of others. Today I wish to respond to his argument.

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Bill Nye the Anti-Creationism Guy

A few days ago, before it went viral, I happened upon this video from Bill Nye (of Bill Nye the Science Guy) commenting on creationism:


The video certainly struck me as interesting, but not particularly controversial. Big Think, the YouTube channel that put out the video, frequently posts intellectually engaging videos that encourage viewers to reassess their ideas or consider new ones, and videos like this one are what I’ve come to expect from them as a subscriber. However, a few days later I discovered that it had attained over a million views, and as I check today the count is over three million. I’d like to discuss Nye’s comments and why they seem to have struck a nerve, for good or for bad, with so many people.

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