Tuesday, March 30, 2010

James S. Spiegel: The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief

MP3 Available Here

James S. Spiegel, who teaches courses in philosophy and apologetics at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, will address the theme of his book: "The Making of an Atheist: How Immorality Leads to Unbelief".

As Dr. Spiegel's web site describes his book:

"Sigmund Freud famously dismissed belief in God as a psychological projection caused by wishful thinking. Today many of the 'new atheists'—including Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens—make a similar claim, insisting that believers are delusional. Faith is a kind of cognitive disease, according to them. And they are doing all they can to rid the world of all religious belief and practice.

"Christian apologists, from Dinesh D’Souza to Ravi Zacharias, have been quick to respond to the new atheists, revealing holes in their arguments and showing why theistic belief, and the Christian worldview in particular, is reasonable. In fact, the evidence for God is overwhelming, confirming the Apostle Paul’s point in Romans 1 that the reality of God is 'clearly seen, being understood from what has been made so that men are without excuse' (Rom. 1:20, NIV).

"So if the evidence for God is so plain to see, then why are there atheists? That is the question that prompted The Making of an Atheist. The answer I propose turns the tables on the new atheists, as I show that unbelief is a psychological projection, a cognitive disorder arising from willful resistance to the evidence for God. In short, it is atheists who are the delusional ones.

"Unlike Dawkins and his ilk, I give an account as to how the delusion occurs, showing that atheistic rejection of God is precipitated by immoral indulgences, usually combined with some deep psychological disturbances, such as a broken relationship with one’s father. I also show how atheists suffer from what I call “paradigm-induced blindness,” as their worldview inhibits their ability to recognize the reality of God manifest in creation. These and other factors I discuss are among the various dimensions of sin’s corrupting influence on the mind.

"I’ve been told that The Making of an Atheist is a provocative book, but I didn’t write it to provoke anyone. I simply wanted to tell the truth about this issue. Anyway, since the new atheists are bold enough to trumpet their claim that theists are delusional, it seems appropriate that someone should be willing to propose that the opposite is true. As they say, turnabout is fair play..."

James Spiegel earned a B.S. in Biology at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi (1985). From there he turned his interests to Philosophy, earning two graduate degrees in the field, an M.A. at University of Southern Mississippi (1988) and a Ph.D. at Michigan State University (1993).

After teaching for a year at Moorhead State University in Minnesota, he went to Taylor University where he continues to teach a range of courses in philosophy, including ethics, history of philosophy, aesthetics, epistemology, philosophy of religion, and apologetics.

Over the years, Dr. Spiegel has authored numerous books and articles on issues in ethics, aesthetics, philosophy of religion, and popular culture, including the award-winning
How to Be Good in a World Gone Bad. In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Spiegel speaks at colleges, professional conferences, and churches and is frequently interviewed for radio programs.

Dr. Spiegel is an active member of several professional scholarly societies and serves on the executive board of the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He has refereed for numerous philosophical journals and served as editor of the Berkeley Briefs, the newsletter of the International Berkeley Society.

Co-hosting this broadcast is Pastor Ron Glass of
Wading River Baptist Church in Suffolk County, Long Island, NY, who has done his own thorough research on the writings of contemporary Atheists and Agnostics.

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