The Future of the God Debates


As Theology Evolves, Humanist Philosophers Keep Pace

Dr. John Shook and I discuss a little philosophy, the evolution and future of the god debates, and the meaning of the word faith. Shook is a scholar and professor living in Washington, D.C. He received his PhD in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo in 1994, and joined the staff of the Center for Inquiry in Amherst, N.Y. in 2006. He has authored and edited more than a dozen books and dozens of articles in academic journals, along with essays for Free Inquiry and The Humanist. He published The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists and Believers in 2010. Shook is currently Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Inquiry; the Education Coordinator for the American Humanist Association; a Co-Mentor with the Humanist Institute, and President of the Society of Humanist Philosophers. He is also an editor of three philosophy journals: Contemporary Pragmatism, Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism, and Philo: A Journal of Philosophy.

Written By: Alan Litchfield
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  1. The link to the source requires a signup. So what’s the summary of his view concerning The Future of the God Debates? There is nothing here that hints of any value he has to add to the conversation.

  2. The problem seems to me that “God Debates” do not have a future. There is simply no substance here, seeing as faith always dodges the demand for evidence (because there is none). And theology does not “evolve”, it just becomes more adept at mincing words, watering down concepts, and generally spewing nonsense coated in spacy words. The fact is: there are no new arguments for the existence of gods (or the supernatural in general), it’s either old ones wrapped in fancy new terms (everything “quantum” or “information”) or simply the same tired old tropes. And they have been refuted time and again. So what’s to add?

  3. I’d like to debate a man’s right to get pregnant and carry babies to term. What? There is no debate? Well, I have a very strong opinion and belief that no one should stand in a man’s way if he decides to have a baby. Hopefully, in my lifetime, the “god debate” will wither to this level of absurdity.

  4. In reply to #2 by Hazmat:

    The problem seems to me that “God Debates” do not have a future. There is simply no substance here, seeing as faith always dodges the demand for evidence (because there is none).

    I think the “god (delusion)” debates can be shortened and re-focussed, by looking in the right direction, rather than allowing ourselves to be misdirected towards the remote gapology of the fictitious hidden gods, that the god-delusions would have their puppet hosts direct our investigations towards, in order to divert us away from their actual locations.

    Now, University of Missouri researchers have completed research that indicates spirituality is a complex phenomenon, and multiple areas of the brain are responsible for the many aspects of spiritual experiences. Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

    It looks like it is only a matter of time before the neuroscientists conclusively identify the locations and the activities of the god-delusions using real evidence!

    BigBrain is a freely accessible high-resolution 3D digital atlas of the human brain, released in June 2013 by a team of researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute and the German Forschungszentrum Jülich as part of the European Human Brain Project.[1] The spatial resolution of the BigBrain atlas is 20 µm, much finer than the typical 1 mm resolution of other existing 3D models of the human brain such as the Allen Brain Atlas.

  5. In reply to #4 by Alan4discussion:
    You are certainly right, the debate needs to be refocused, and efforts to do so have been made in recent years. But I think the problem is how to do so. Faithheads are rarely interested or swayed by actual evidence. That is the crux of the problem: by its very definition, faith is belief without evidence (and despite evidence to the contrary). To you and me these studies confirm what we already know: everything is in the brain, the brain is everything. But that’s preaching to the choir. Many people are unable to live with the fact that we are a piece of matter with an expiration date. So the “God Debate” needs to be refocused in a way that strips the emperor of his clothes, and this is a complex task. It involves the “hard” sciences and related fields, psychology, the humanities – lots of information to process. How can people be convinced to engage in this and see the vacuousness of faith?

  6. The longer the debate lasts…..the more thats proof god doesnt exist. Theologists should all shut up and let god speak for himself. If he can’t even do such a simple act….what’s there to debate about? If god wants people to know him….why then does he create beings with the inability to know him……this includes beings who are born mentally unsound. Why does he make swines who are unable to accept pearls. A swine is as a swine does. If god is not born….how then can he exists? The only logical explanation is that if ever he is born….he is born of our imagination. A debate involving an imaginary friend will last as long as that imagination is alive. Since Jesus has a brain….surely he is equally capable of imagining things. Looking at the way mental health is managed in ancient days……there is more to doubt what we hear from these ancient people. Genital mutilation…..and the likes of these ancient superstitions… long must we hold on to these which are stopping us from a better future for humanity.

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