Tag Archive | Baby

Atheism could do without the naturalistic fallacy

Baby

An atheist yesterday?

I hear a lot of atheists laying into religion (well, duh), making the claim that atheism is the natural default we’re born with, and religion only exists because people are indoctrinated to believe it. I like that idea, and it rings true on several levels. We find it so easy to bring children up believing religious doctrines that are wild guesses at best. And we teach them these things as fact, not only introducing fables but loading them with emotional significance to ensure that they aren’t easily challenged and dismissed.

Unfortunately, this belief in “default atheism” is simplistic at best. Babies and small children don’t have any kind of comprehensive answer to major life questions, but I think the early tendency to see one’s parents as perfect, infallible paragons can fit into the most basic definition of theism without too much squeezing and breathing in. And even adults with no interest in religion can still be led down a theistic line of thought by a certain stirring at the wonders of nature, for example. Read More…

Making sense of my crazy life

StressI’ve been neglecting this blog way more than I’d like recently, due to the repeated intrusion of real life. Lots of things are going on both at home and at work, with the two of them locked in a battle for supremacy and grinding my inspiration and energy into the dirt.

This week was fairly typical of what I’m trying to deal with at the moment – a sapping day-long meeting with a lot of people who are probably going to end up deciding on my future employment; a struggle to do a week’s work in three days while additional tasks are thrown my way because I made the tactical error of being competent; and finally, a sudden request for an early morning radio interview relating to the thing that’s occupying most of my home life, ahead of another potentially career-defining day. Read More…

A Critic Writes: The vital significance of Third Sheep in the Nativity

NativityWe consider that we know what makes a nativity, but do we really? Despite the apparent simplicity of the concept, it’s obvious to clever people like me that this story is a multi-layered intertextual phenomenon. There are layers upon layers, layers within layers, and layers next to layers but at a slight angle. There is nothing simple about it.

Every element of the story is vital to making it the enduring phenomenon it is. Some of these have a direct, functional role – Jesus needs parents, who in turn need transport and somewhere to stay, and no birth would be complete without people popping in uninvited and giving you impractical gifts you didn’t ask for. But other roles are far more significant and symbolic. Read More…

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