September 30, 2013

Evil, therefore no God?

The next post in the Canadian Apologetics Coalition's "Contending for God" series is up.

Today, Colleen Hinkkala argues that God exists because objective morality does. This is the classic "argument from morality":

When we concede to [the] fact that true evil does exist, we are saying that evil is not just an idea, preference or type of event, but rather a real, objective phenomenon that is not based on emotion or choice. Something is evil (for example, pedophilia) whether Bob believes it to be so or not, and should therefore "ought not be." It is at this point that we give up our position when arguing against Gods existence in light of the obvious and present evil in the world, for you cannot have anything objective in a purely relative world.

What do I mean by relative world? If evolutionary theory is correct, morality is left up to each of us, and because we have markedly different thoughts and feelings about right and wrong, morality can change and become relative to the person, situation and context. The problem is, Bob and I do not agree on the rightness or wrongness of pedophilia. So who decides if it is right or wrong? Can it be both right and wrong at the same time? To a logical person, this makes no sense . . . of course something cannot be truly good and evil and the same time, but this is exactly what moral relativism (and consequently atheism) requires.

[Read Evil Exists, Therefore God Doesn't?]

Two more to go!

September 27, 2013

Friday in the wild (Contending for God remix): September 27, 2013

Howdy. This is a sort of "special edition" of Friday in the Wild—with a theme.

I recently became part of the blogging team of Canadian apologetics ministry Faith Beyond Belief. My contribution so far: a discussion of absolutist and incremental approaches to abortion legislation. New material is in the pipe, I promise! And some of it may be slightly reworked and reposted here if it is apropos.

FBB is part of the Canadian Apologetics Coalition of blogs, which is currently in the midst of a series titled "Contending for God." As David Haines puts it in his introduction to the series:

We will be looking at the question of whether or not God exists, and if God does exist, what are the implications for us humans?

Although I'm not taking part in the series personally, I can at least do my own small part to promote the series, by linking to and aggregating them. So, without further ado . . .

September 05, 2013

Science Fiction-Free September X (yes, X)

This September is another milestone: my tenth annual month-long moratorium on reading science fiction. Way back in 2004, I decided that I read way too much SF and needed to read more, well, not-SF—lest I contract some sort of literary scurvy or something. So I set aside September of every year to expand my reading horizons a bit, usually choosing books of a more literary character, often with some sort of theme for the month.

It seems a little strange to declare a moratorium this year on a genre that I actually haven't read much. My main reading "project" since last year has been to read through the books of Stephen King, so I've been feeding my head with horror or fantasy, at least.

My current book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, so book one for September will be to finish it—no small feat since I've been bogged down in it for about two months now and am only about a quarter through. I haven't read any Steinbeck since having to read Cannery Row back in high school. He isn't a hard read, just slow going.

Book number two is another high-school assignment: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. I recently watched Apocalypse Now, and felt inspired to read its source novel again and see if I like it any better at 42 instead of 19.

Book number three has yet to be determined, but it will be a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. I have often cited The Remains of the Day as my favourite novel. It's high time I read something else by the same author.

Finally, if time permits, I'm going to take another huge bite out of Les Miserables, which I have been working on since about 2010.

My success with these September reading programs has been hit and miss. Here's to success: I want to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy before the year is out, so I need as much time as I can get for such a long novel.

Ten years later . . .

Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the first post on the Crusty Curmudgeon. I'm posting less, and probably less interesting, but unlike the vast majority of blogs, arguably, I'm still kicking.

It's hard to say what the primary fuel is for the slowdown in posting frequency. First, I'd chalk it up to a change in employment back in 2006, which reduced the amount of free time I had for blogging, as well as the time for reading, listening, or viewing anything that I might be interested in writing about.

Second, there are a lot of different venues now for venting that weren't around in 2003. I used to "bank" two or three news articles that I wanted to comment on, for a single post. Now, I can just make an off-the-cuff comment on Twitter or Facebook. So it's less that I'm not saying as much, as that I'm spreading it out over multiple services.

Third, I'm just lazy. Why write a 1,200-word blog post when I can just sit back and watch a bad old monster movie?

Nonetheless: I'm still here, the Crusty Curmudgeon is still live, and I'm not going anywhere soon. In fact I've got a few lengthy things to put up before the end of the year. More than anything, I guess I'm surprised that the weblog has survived for this long, essentially unchanged in its format since the early 2000s. Who knows what the Crusty Curmudgeon will be in 2023?