Bnonn Tennant (the B is silent)

Where a recovering ex-atheist skewers things with a sharp two-edged sword

5 reasons to seriously doubt the story the papacy likes to tell about its origins

A cursory description of some of the very widely-accepted historical facts that puts to shame Rome’s story about Peter inaugurating an unbroken succession of bishops in Rome.

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What’s the big deal with killing babies anyway?

I mean, really? God does it all the time!

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Questions for America

Things I want to know after traveling to America.

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Do churches treat homosexuals like lepers?

A response (one might say critique) to Micah Murray’s recent Huffpost article on homosexuals in the church.

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Is Jesus really dog?

In which I respond to Mike Gantt’s strange ideas about whether Mormons and Unitarians worship the same Jesus I do.

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Is Jesus really God?

A simple argument that Jesus can be no one except God.

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Should sermons be entertaining?

Jared Moore says no. I say…not so fast.

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Mefferd & Driscoll: peas in a pod

Janet Mefferd follows in Mark Driscoll’s footsteps by aggressively defending her hypocritical actions.

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Popularity makes Christians crazy

Why did Janet Mefferd publicly shame Mark Driscoll?

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Why do atheists proselytize?

Evangelical atheism seems to be on the rise. Which is odd, when you think about it.

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Independent witness to early Genesis

The orally-transmitted creation legend of the Miao people in China is an extraordinarily accurate parallel to the events recorded in Genesis 1-11.

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What happens to us when we die?

Most Christians are surprisingly confused about this.

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What is blasphemy?

What does it mean to take God’s name in vain…and why does it matter?

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80/20 arguments for God: the Why and Wherefore argument, part 2

Once we have the conclusion that something made physical stuff, there are at least 10 things we can infer about what that “something” must look like…

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80/20 arguments for God: the Why and Wherefore argument, part 1

This first argument is both easy and persuasive because it makes good intuitive sense. It involves finding the most likely answer to why there is something rather than nothing.

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80/20 arguments for God: introduction

In which I introduce a new series on the easiest and most effective arguments for God’s existence.

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Can we do good without being Christians?

The short answer: no. But the real question is why—and why is it that an apparently virtuous action by an unbeliever is sinful, while the same action by a Christian is righteous?

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Stuff.co.nz gives up on journalism to peddle pro-gay propaganda

Why did I abandon my degree in journalism just one year in? Well, mostly because I realized journalism involves doing things like pimping junk science for the sake of supporting a deviant ideology, rather than reporting important truths.

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Why do atheists think prayer studies prove anything?

How could any educated person think that prayer studies have a hope of being scientific, let alone of producing meaningful results?

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Atheist ethicists: not as ethical as you might think

Some thoughts in response to a desire utilitarian’s defense of abortion.

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Why don’t religious people mind their own business?

Why do Christians “stick their noses in” about women getting abortions? Isn’t it nobody’s business but the woman’s?

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Are Christians hypocritical to support the death penalty?

When Christians oppose abortion because it is murder, how can they then legitimately support capital punishment?

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6 very strange reasons to send your child to school

Six exceedingly odd and equally common arguments for sending your child to a public school (instead of homeschooling). Refuted, obviously.

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Is celebrating Thanksgiving irrational?

Are most Americans helping themselves to a double-sized portion of cognitive dissonance along with their Turkey and cranberry sauce?

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A simple proof that Pope Benedict XVI is an illegitimate pope

A 6-step argument showing that the bishop of Rome doesn’t have the credentials required to hold his office.

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A simple proof that the Roman Catholic Church is illegitimate

A 5 (and a bit) step argument showing that the Catholic Church is not a legitimate Christian church because its leadership does not meet certain basic biblical requirements.

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Does God hate the sin but love the sinner?

A response to Stuart’s assertion that God’s wrath and hatred is exclusively reserved for sins, rather than sinners.

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Gandhi: Saint or Sinner?

Was Gandhi the saintly and wise spiritual leader most people take him to be? A recent article from the Wall Street Journal proves that he was, in fact, a sexually depraved, morally bankrupt, politically foolish man: a product, as you might expect, of his religion and his culture.

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NY Times twists on horns of secular free will dilemma

A critical look at a New York Times article that discusses the tension between the idea that all the events in the universe are caused deterministically by physical laws, and our deep-seated intuitive belief that this cannot be so because we have free will.

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The term “catholic” in the Nicene Creed

Four reasons to think that the term “catholic” in the Nicene Creed should not be read as involving communion with the Church of Rome.

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Why won’t Randal Rouser answer some simple questions?

Calling Randal Rauser: why won’t you answer some simple questions?

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What to do when skeptics attack libertarian free will—become a Calvinist

This is a continuation of the discussion started with Stuart McEwing in his article ‘Openness Theology (Part Two)’, exploring the ramifications of libertarian free will, the principle of alternative possibilities; and how an Arminian theology ultimately collapses into either a Reformed or Open theology, depending on how you push it.

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“No one is righteous”…metaphorically speaking

A polemic against the argument that, in light of the apparently contradicting evidence of our moral intuitions, total depravity should be interpreted metaphorically.

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Determinism and the authorship of sin in Calvinism and Arminianism

Arminians object to determinism because it makes God the “author of evil”—but does their own system avoid it? In this post, I argue that although they disagree with Calvinists about the nature of God’s sovereignty, their own theology commits them to an equally deterministic view.

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On dogmatism

A response to Damian Peterson on the merits of being dogmatic.

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The parable of the wedding feast

An exposition of Matthew 22:1–14: the parable of the wedding feast. This exposition focuses especially on the interpretation of the man with no wedding garment, who is bound and thrown out into the darkness, as a response to a request for such by a Roman Catholic correspondent.

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Occam’s Razor

A discussion of how Occam’s Razor is sometimes used as a basis for objecting to Christianity, highlighting some serious philosophical problems with this approach.

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Is intelligent design science? A response to Ken Perrott

A continuation of my previous commentary on the question of whether intelligent design is a scientific inference. Here, I respond to some objections by kiwi atheist Ken Perrott, pointing out the hypocrisy of secular scientists in labeling the anti-ID thesis as scientific, while denying the same standing for ID itself.

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Is intelligent design scientific?

The question of whether intelligent design is a scientific or philosophical inference is a contentious and oft-debated one. Using a recent discussion on Ken Perrott’s blog as a kick-off point, I offer a brief commentary on this issue, giving reasons for why it is arbitrary to dismiss ID as unscientific.

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The Protestant’s Wager

Roman Catholicism fails to provide a principled advantage in understanding doctrine, over and against Protestantism. We can use a serious parody of Pascal’s Wager to show this: on a Catholic’s own terms, and all other things being equal, it is safer to be a Protestant.

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Understanding God’s desires

A response to my friend Jim regarding the sincerity of Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem in Matthew 23:37. This follows on from my previous argument from divine purpose, in which I rebutted the view that God intends to save all people but is prevented by human free will. Here, I address the dual question of whether my view leads necessarily to confusion or doubt about God’s word, and further interact with Jim’s proposed counter-solution of human autonomy.

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An atheistic greater good argument

A brief interaction with an atheistic argument that the existence of evil, under Christianity’s own presuppositions, disproves the existence of God by contradicting his desire for the greatest good. This argument was forwarded by Stan (and also John Loftus) on Debunking Christianity.

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A simple argument against God’s universal salvific intent

A basic argument, with commentary, in favor of the Calvinist view of election, and against the view that God purposes to save all people without exception.

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Catholic and Reformed views of God and Scripture: a correspondence

A response to an email from a Roman Catholic correspondent, critiquing his presentation of the doctrine of Scripture and the purposes of God.

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God and goodness: a new question from Victor Reppert

Continuing the discussion of God and goodness, Victor extends a request to Calvinists for clarification: “in virtue of what is the “God” of Scripture, as understood by Calvinists, thought of as good”? As always, I invite you to read the full article; but let me summarize:

If we reject the view that things are good simply because God has the power to say that they are, then in virtue of what do we say that they are good? To appeal to Scripture is to beg the question, because God wrote Scripture; so if he is in fact an omniscient fiend, then his saying that he is good is no guarantee that he is. If we reject the notion that God is good merely on the basis of his own fiat; and that we can know it based only on our own moral intuitions; then how can we know it? Since Victor has posed this question as a request rather than a refutation, let me respond in kind.

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God and goodness: a second reply to Victor Reppert

Victor has posted a further response in our ongoing discussion regarding the nature of good as presented in the Bible, and how it compares to our moral intuitions. I invite you to read it in full; it is not very long. I will quote only pertinent segments here. The gist is that (I) Scripture only indirectly addresses the question in which we are interested (is predestination good?); (II) it is only authoritative once we already believe in an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God, so a preexisting conception of goodness is logically necessary to belief in the Christian God; and (III) it is unclear the extent to which we can get precise meaning out of Scripture via historical-grammatical analysis.

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God and goodness: a reply to Victor Reppert

A couple of weeks ago, Victor Reppert posted an argument against compatibilism, and invited a general critique. This argument looks as follows (I’m paraphrasing since Victor’s original formulation had some typos):

1. If compatibilism is true, then God could have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
2. If God is omnipotent and perfectly good, then, were it possible, he would have created the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
3. But God did not create the world in such a way that everyone freely does what is right.
4. Therefore, compatiblism is false.

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Does God desire the salvation of all?

This article is the culmination of some discussion with hyper-Calvinist Ron Di Giacomo on the nature of God’s intentions towards the reprobate. In it, I argue that there is a sense in which God desires all people without exception to be saved, even though he has determined that he will only save his elect.

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Apologetics and evangelism

In this post, I interact with some thoughtful criticisms of apologetics forwarded by my friend Darryl Burling. I argue that they are well-intentioned but misplaced, and that apologetics is indeed vital to successfully fulfilling the great commission.

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