Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Christianity

Dialogue with an Egoist

I want to try something a little bit different today and present some philosophical ideas in the form of a dialogue. Our characters are:

  • Chris the Christian
  • Steve the Skeptic
  • Annie the Egoist
  • Randy the Reciprocity Utilitarian

The four characters are housemates who have lived together for a short time.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is Britain a Christian Nation?

In the United States, we’re used to hearing republican politicians claim that America is a “Christian nation”. Sarah Palin certainly said so:

 

What we’re not used to hearing is a British Prime Minister saying the same of the United Kingdom.  Current PM David Cameron has done just that.  Is his argument any good? Let’s look at it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fred Phelps: Is It Okay to Express Joy When Other People Die?

Fred Phelps, the leader of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, died the other day at the age of 84. Phelps was near-universally despised. His church taught that when soldiers died in war, it was because god was angry at America for tolerating homosexuality. He believed that the best way to spread this message was to picket the funerals of dead soldiers with “God Hates Fags” signs. It’s not my purpose today to get into why this is repugnant (I assume the reader agrees with me on that), but to instead take Fred Phelps and use him as a case study to investigate the curious moral question of whether or not it’s okay to express the happiness we feel when repugnant people die.

Read the rest of this entry »

Glenn Beck’s Relativist Appeal to the Founders

Today I ran across a bizarre, fascinating tidbit from Glenn Beck in which Beck attempts to use moral relativism to defend the Tea Party view that we need to return to the principles of America’s founders. This is an interesting formulation of the position because it is so very different from what we usually see–here we have a conservative invoking moral relativism–and for that reason, I want to analyze it today.

Read the rest of this entry »