Monday, September 26, 2016

Turns out we didn't need church after all

I wanted to do a quick post as an update on my possible attendance at a Unitarian Universalist church.

To do a quick summary, my wife & I wanted to ensure our daughter had more interaction with other children, especially in leisure time. My wife also did somewhat miss the church community, especially since she was also a stay-at-home parent for about 2 years at the time.

This led me to investigate attending a Unitarian Universalist church.  There was one practically around the corner from our house, but my only hang up was related to what exactly they'd be teaching our daughter. 

So I sent an email to the church's contact address and laid out what we believed (atheists, but humanists) and what my concerns were (what was taught about supernatural beings in their kids classes).

To my surprise I got...absolutely no response.

My guess is that they don't really have someone checking the contact email account at the church, which is really odd given what I know about how even small churches operate. I used to be a very active volunteer when I was a believer, even when most of the volunteers were quite old, we had something setup where the email would go to someone who would respond.

Life went on, and then I only recently remembered how odd it was to have never heard back from the church.  This caused some reflection in me, and I realized we as a family have nearly zero desire to go to the church anymore and I wanted to elucidate why.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cheering for Jeff Lowder

Tomorrow, renowned Internet Infidel Jeffrey Jay Lowder will be debating Christian Apologist Frank Turek at Washburn University on September 21, 2016.

Unfortunately the debate will not be live streamed, but it will be recorded and should be posted online afterwards.  Suffice it to say if you can attend this one live, go do so.

Why am I posting about this? Because it's hard to overstate the amount of respect I have for Jeff Lowder. When it comes to doing counter apologetics on the internet, Jeff is one of the OG's. In 1995 he co-founded and was President of Internet Infidels, one of the most accessible and comprehensive resources of serious atheist thought in philosophy of religion online. When I was deconverting, was invaluable.

This isn't just a case of someone being the first to do something, Jeff currently blogs over at The Secular Outpost and I consider him to be one of the best people making atheist content on the internet.

He is extremely precise in his work and in his charitable representation of the views of his opponents. He's also extremely well versed in apologetic arguments and counter points.  He's literally got at least 20 years of studying this topic, and if you search Internet Infidels or his posts on The Secular Outpost you'll see he has an educated position on all of the common arguments.

Basically, Jeff knows his shit.

He's squaring off against Frank Turek, a very successful apologist. Frank isn't a Alvin Plantinga or a Richard Swinburne, that is he's not a professional philosopher. He's someone who takes philosophical arguments and presents them in accessible ways. This is not to insult Frank Turek at all, or to say that he doesn't understand his material - he does.  He's a clearly a professional communicator, and from what I've seen of his debates he's a pretty damn good one at that.  If I was an Evangelical Christian, I'd be glad to have someone as effective as Frank Turek communicating my views.

Jeff isn't a professional philosopher either, but I think Jeff knows the material so well that he will be able to point out the problems with Frank's arguments in ways Frank probably hasn't had much experience with.  This will serve to deflate the aura of certainty that Franks apologetic style comes off as selling to evangelicals, and that's a service we should applaud as atheists.

This will definitely be one to watch if you care about precision in the philosophy underlying the theism vs atheism debate.  I eagerly look forward to the video or audio being released online, it should be quite the debate.

Go Jeff Go!