Showing posts with label 13 Days of Solstice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 13 Days of Solstice. Show all posts

Margaret Downey's Tree of Knowledge 2021

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Margaret Downey is an important person among secularists, humanists and atheists.
Downey has had a prolific career in secular activism. She is the founder of the Freethought Society, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. She is a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Downey also serves as an advisor for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum and the Openly Secular campaign.
Year after year I watched as she decorated her yearly "Tree of Knowledge" with books she thought were important, as I was publishing mine. Then she finally decorated her 2021 tree with all 12 of mine. Finally! How many books of mine can you spot?

Day Thirteen of the Thirteen Days of Solstice!

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We've just celebrated the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas! That took some time! I'm done writing and editing books, so I highlighted each one of them in reverse chronological order, which ends today with my first published book, Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity. It's my magnum opus! If you don't have it you're missing out on what I consider to be my most important work. Pictured is the 2nd edition published in 2012. The 1st edition was published in 2008. Very rare is an atheist book that gets a second edition!

I'm described as a "Former Preacher" in the title. I'm not just a preacher though. I'm a philosopher with several advanced degrees and plenty of classroom time as an instructor of philosophy, ethics, critical thinking, western literature, apologetics, hermeneutics, and a few Bible classes. I taught for the Trine University, Kellogg Community College, Lincoln Christian College, and Great Lakes Christian College. So the words "Former Preacher" don't fully describe me, even though I was in the ministry for about 15 years, mostly while I was also teaching. I had wanted my publisher to call me a "Former Apologist" but they thought few people understood what that means.

I started teaching philosophy and ethics classes in 1985, first for the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois. In my first class I lost about half my students. As I think back, it was probably due, in part, because I was a flaming evangelical. A larger factor was because the students could not understand me. Yep, that's right. Being in a Ph.D. program at Marquette University, after earning three masters degrees, I didn't know how to bring the information down to college students. So I thought my teaching career was over before it began. Luckily the chair of the philosophy department told me this happens more often than not for first time philosophy instructors. *Whew*

Over time I became an expert teacher, bringing highly complex ideas down to first year students. I eventually learned how to communicate to the average educated person in the pew. My goal was, and is now, to keep it as simple as possible without being simplistic. The problem with this goal is that there are some elitist readers who think I'm ignorant, for if I was smarter and better educated it would reflect in my vocabulary. Smart, highly educated people, it's assumed, use the nomenclature requisite with their educational achievements.

You can see this same "dumbing down", as the elitists call it, reflected in my writings. While I could use technical philosophical language, and quote from the original Hebrew and Greek languages in the Bible, I found that so long as I was accurate I didn’t need to impress people by writing for the scholars.

This is reflected in a few blurbs for my books.

Day Twelve of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

I envisioned my first anthology The Christian Delusion to be an extension of my first book, Why I Became an Atheist. I thought it would be great to get experts to write on topics I addressed in my book. All the themes in it expand on issues raised in my very first book. I personally think The Christian Delusion delivers a powerful blow to conservative Christianity, especially when combined with its predecessor.

Dawkins: I named the book The Christian Delusion after Dawkins' popular bestseller The God Delusion. His focus was on God. Mine was focused on the Christian God. I had hoped it might get his attention. It didn't. In fact, none of the so-called New Atheists--publicly acknowledged my books.

Day Eleven of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below]. Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

This anthology was named after Sam Harris's book The End of Faith like some others of mine. The so-called New Atheists took aim at God. My books took aim at Christianity in specific, because I knew the most about that religious faith.

After my first anthology, The Christian Delusion, I started telling authors the due date for their submissions was one month earlier than the actual deadline, to avoid last minute submissions. If I was concerned how the chapter was going I would ask for an outline, or rough draft along the way.

Day Ten of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

I had wanted the subtitle to be "How to Know Which Religion Is True If There Is One, since I don't think there is one. But that was rejected by my publisher for some ignorant reason I forget now.

Most of my books were conceived and tested on this blog in debates with believers. This is the case with this book more than any other. Here's the Amazon link to my book. In it I'm arguing for a fair test to help believers examine their own faith honestly, without any special pleading or double standards. I am arguing that every honest seeker should embrace it. This should be seen in the first few pages of my book. While I think the test leads to unbelief, that's a separate debate.

Day Nine of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.
[See Tag Below]


Today I'll tell you about my co-written book with Dr. Randal Rauser, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions, published in April, 2013.

The first thing to say is that Rauser contacted me to co-write the book without first reading my magnum opus Why I Became an Atheist. That's instructive, since he didn't research into how formidable of an opponent I might be.

Day Eight of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

The first thing you should know is that the publisher wanted to name this book, Deliver Us From Evil. Since my goal was to produce books named after the Four Horsemen (plus Victor Stenger, who just missed that party with his 2007 NY Times Bestseller, God: The Failed Hypothesis), I was adamantly opposed to it. So was Richard Carrier, and I think Russell Blackford, who all voiced our objections.
On hindsight, after I failed to edit a book named after Daniel Dennett's book, like Breaking the Christian Spell, I wish we had used that provocative title instead. It sounds sexy doesn't it? Deliver Us From Evil. I like it now, especially after the rise to power of Christian Theocratic/Nationalists with the twice impeached one-term former President Donald Trump, and the January 6th failed coup attempt on American democracy after failing to steal a presidential election.

Day Seven of Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month.[See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

You should know that this book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, is one I thought about doing before any of my books were published. You can read what I said back in 2006, the year I began blogging. Almost ten years later I did a series of fifteen posts titled, "Do You Want to Be A Christian Apologist? Part 1...15". From them I wrote Part 2 of this book. That same year I did a series of posts on every chapter in God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain,edited by Chad Meister. They became the basis of Part 3 of this book. [Sorry, all deleted now].

Day Six of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting them in reverse chronological order until the 25th of the month.

Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

Today let's consider my 2016 book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. Just like my books The Outsider Test for Faith, and How To Defend the Christian Faith, this one was also forged in the heat of debate here at DC. I don't expect Christian philosophers to agree with it until after they abandon their faith. Secular philosophers have disagreed with it. But noteworthy ones agree. Actually, I think most all scientifically minded atheist philosophers should agree.

Day Five of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month.
[See Tag Below]


Firstly, Christianity in the Light of Science was dedicated to Victor Stenger, the fifth horseman, who had written:
Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science has sat on the sidelines and quietly watched this game of words march up and down the field. . . . In my 2003 book, Has Science Found God? I critically examined the claims of scientific evidence for God and found them inadequate. In this present book, I will go much farther and argue that by this moment in time science has advanced sufficiently to be able to make a definitive statement on the existence or nonexistence of a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. --From the Preface to God: The Failed Hypothesis.
After disagreeing with my chosen title for my earlier book, Christianity is not Great, Prometheus Books accepted my book proposal on the condition they would have the final say in naming it. They basically didn't want it named after Stenger's NY Times Bestselling book, such as Christianity: The Failed Hypothesis. After eliminating a few titles it came down to two:


Day Four of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. This time The Case against Miracles. [See Tag Below]

After a two year break from producing another anthology (2017-18), due mostly to dating and marrying my wife Sheila. I finally decided to do one again. My decision came from debates on Facebook with Richard Carrier and Matthew Ferguson over the use of Bayes' Theorem in assessing miracles, plus the prodding of Richard Miller (who now posts here at DC). Dr. Miller and I were going to co-edit the book together but it just didn't work out. I thank him for prodding me to do it, and I think the book might have been better if it had worked out.

Day Three of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. This time it's Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist. [See Tag Below]

Here is the Amazon link to get this "sure to be a classic" book, right here!

You should read the text of my talk at the Global Center for Religious Research eConference on Jesus Mythicism, which includes my Preface at the end of it. 
There were a few challenges in this book. 
Zuckerman: Phil Zuckerman asked me why I chose to co-edit a book with Robert M. Price, a known supporter of Donald Trump. Well actually, Bob choose me to co-write it. After editing an anthology on The Empty Tomb more than a decade ago, he didn't want to do that again. So Bob asked me. He already had most of the authors. What I did was to acquire two additional authors and get it published. He already knew this is the kind of thing I do well from previous anthologies.

Day Two of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below]

God and Horrendous Suffering is the last book I wrote/edited. It was the last one I procured a contract for, the last one I submitted chapters for, and the last one being shipped to buyers. It's published by the prestigious Global Center for Religious Research, whose President is Dr. Darren Slade. If you click on just one link to find out about the book and/or buy a copy click here to GCRR. It contains the Abstract, my Author Bio, a few key Reviews, and Dr. Slade's excellent 5th chapter, Failed to Death: Misotheism and Childhood Suffering. Most importantly, whether it's a hardcopy, a PDF, or a Kindle eBook, you won't be able to buy them for less anywhere else. [I like this as it takes away some power and money from Jeff Bezos.] Two other important links include an eight page paper by me introducing the problem of horrendous suffering, right here, plus the fantastic blurbs it has received so far.

Day One of the Thirteen Days of Solstice Begins Now!

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Christians celebrate Christmas in Mexico not just one day, but twelve days! The 12 days start on December 25th and end with a party on January 5th. Perhaps they adopted the number 12 from the the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? The message of that song is overtly Christian in every way. Is there a secular counterpart? Please say there is. There should be.

How about celebrating 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas? I'm done writing and editing books. So in the days to come I'll be highlighting each one of my thirteen books in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. 

First up, "Debating Christianity", skillfully put together by my friend
Jonathan Pearce. [I know, I know, Solstice is the 21st, the first day of winter. It used to be on the 25th. So we're celebrating the Solstice of a historical date in the past for some, er, Christian reason.] [See Tag Below]