• Agnostic Central: Resources for Seekers

    I’m compiling a list of resources for “seekers” i.e. people who have not taken a position about religious issues but are actively pursuing the truth.

    As far as the biblical god goes, I’d recommend this webpage on failed biblical prophecies. The author, Paul Tobin, presents a longer list in pages 164-5 of The Christian Delusion, a book which I think is the best critique of Christianity to ever be produced. Back to the point: failed prophecies in the bible are a slam-dunk case against it being inspired by God. Best of all, it doesn’t take any kind of extensive research to show that the Bible contains false prophecies. Simply reading the passages in full context and checking an encyclopedia’s entry on Tyre, for example, to see if Ezekiel’s prophecy about it being destroyed will show you that it wasn’t. A trip to the library and an hour or so worth of simple research demonstrates the point in full. Ezekiel predicted that Tyre would be destroyed because of the wickedness Tyre had done to Jerusalem. Ezekiel clearly thought the destruction would be brought about by Nebuchadnezzar, and because this punishment was intended for the people of Tyre at the time who had offended the Hebrews, the only sensible thing one can conclude from Ezekiel 26 is that Ezekiel thought (A) Tyre would be destroyed within the lifetimes of the current residents and (B) would be destroyed specifically by Nebuchadnezzar. Of course, any encyclopedia, such as Encyclopedia Britannica, will show you, that that’s not how history went. Tyre survived the threat of Nebuchadnezzar. What’s that you say? Maybe all the history books and encyclopedias are lying to us to discredit the Bible? Aside from the incredible and almost delusional nature of such a suggestion, the Bible itself shows that this is not and can not be true: Tyre was still standing hundreds of years after Ezekiel made his prophecy, and we know this because Jesus is said to have visited it in Mark 7:24. It is an open and shut case.

    The God that philosophers believe in, who is not necessarily the same as the God of the Bible, is a trickier issue. For a long time I’ve been planning to come out with a book that addresses the issue in great detail. Until then, the best resources to use on that issue are to look at the free debate videos posted on youtube, Luke’s excellent podcast that mainly deals with philosophy of religion, and the big list of resources I discuss on my post “The Arguments for Atheism” especially the website Closer to Truth, which interviews a large number of philosophers coming from theistic and atheistic perspectives, so you can get an even mixture of opinions and see who makes more sense. I’d also say that Jeffrey Jay Lowder gave a really good presentation in his debate with Phil Fernandez. The debate between Richard Carrier and Lenny Esposito is another ‘must-view.’ In fact, if you watch that debate it is likely that most of your concerns about theism will be answered. If I may, I’d recommend just one more debate, and that is God?: A Debate between a Christian and an Atheist (which you can view online here, shhh…).

    Speaking for myself, I think that once you can come to terms with your original faith being false (which for most people in the English-speaking world is Christianity) no other claims about the supernatural seem remotely believable.

    With that said, what are the best books dealing with the philosopher’s god? I think that The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins is among the best. Although Dawkins is criticized for not being ‘sophisticated enough’ and not dealing with current developments in the philosophy of religion, I fail to see this as a valid criticism- this is a book intended for the common man, and it does its job quite well in destroying the reasons most people give for believing in a god. Better yet, I think that there is something to Dawkins’ central argument against the existence of god (see especially this blog post that offers a masterful interpretation and defense of the argument, as well as my own attempt to re-state the argument under ‘The Argument from Design for the Nonexistence of God‘).

    If you aren’t satisfied with that, and want something that really takes philosophy of religion seriously, including all of the new and “sophisticated” defenses of god belief, I’d recommend visiting the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy or Internet Infidels’ page on the arguments for God. The two best scholarly examinations of the arguments for God’s existence are Graham Oppy’s Arguing About Gods and Michael Martin’s Atheism: A Philosophical Justification. Oppy has a very thorough and extremely skeptical take on philosophy of religion. For example, he doubts or rejects arguments against the existence of God that I would say are quite compelling. I’d say that the only things he’s gotten wrong are to the detriment of the atheist’s position, not the theist’s. Martin provides another survey of the arguments for God, and also defends the viewpoint that religious language is meaningless.

    That’s about it. Of course, the debate between theists and nontheists is huge, and so it’s really difficult to ever exhaust all of the arguments or issues that come up, but I’d say the resources here take care of the bulk of the concerns one may have. The only thing I would add is that one might seek to understand evolutionary theory and origin-of-life studies in depth, because I think understanding evolution is the key to understanding atheism. And for that, see my page on Free Evolution Resources.

    Category: Uncategorized

    Article by: Nicholas Covington

    I am an armchair philosopher with interests in Ethics, Epistemology (that's philosophy of knowledge), Philosophy of Religion, Politics and what I call "Optimal Lifestyle Habits."