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When you are honest, you build strength of character that will allow you to be of great service to God and others.

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You will be blessed with peace of mind and self-respect. You will be trusted by the Lord and will be worthy to enter into His holy temples. Dishonesty harms you and harms others as well. If you lie, steal, shoplift, or cheat, you damage your spirit and your relationships with others.

Being honest will enhance your future opportunities and your ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost. No 'case against God', however watertight, means much if it's directed at the wrong target. Yet prominent atheists display an almost aggressive lack of curiosity when it comes to the facts about belief.

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In The God Delusion , Richard Dawkins expertly demolishes what he calls 'the God hypothesis', but devotes only a few sketchy anecdotes to establishing that this God hypothesis is the one that has defined religious belief through history, or defines it around the world today.

AC Grayling insists that atheists are excused the bother of actually reading theology — where they might catch up on debates among believers about what they believe — because atheism "rejects the premise" of theology.

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And when The Atlantic ran a piece last year entitled Study theology, even if you don't believe in God , Jerry Coyne, the atheist blogosphere's Victor Meldrew , called it "the world's worst advice. My modest New Year's wish for , then, is that atheists who care about honest argument — and about maybe actually getting somewhere in these otherwise mind-numbingly circular debates — might consider reading just one book by a theologian, David Bentley Hart's The Experience of God , published recently by Yale University Press.

Not because I think they'll be completely convinced by it. I'm not, and I'm certainly not convinced by Hart's other publicly expressed views, which tend towards the implacably socially conservative. They should read it because Hart marshals powerful historical evidence and philosophical argument to suggest that atheists — if they want to attack the opposition's strongest case — badly need to up their game.

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The God attacked by most modern atheists, Hart argues, is a sort of superhero, a "cosmic craftsman" — the technical term is "demiurge" — whose defining quality is that he's by far the most powerful being in the universe, or perhaps outside the universe though it's never quite clear what that might mean. The superhero God can do anything he likes to the universe, including creating it to begin with. Demolishing this God is pretty straightforward: all you need to do is point to the lack of scientific evidence for his existence, and the fact that we don't need to postulate him in order to explain how the universe works.

Some people really do believe in this version of God: supporters of 'intelligent design' , for example — for whom Hart reserves plenty of scorn — and other contemporary Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, too. But throughout the history of monotheism, Hart insists, a very different version of God has prevailed.

God is what grounds the existence of every contingent thing, making it possible, sustaining it through time, unifying it, giving it actuality. God is the condition of the possibility of anything existing at all. God, in short, isn't one very impressive thing among many things that might or might not exist; "not just some especially resplendent object among all the objects illuminated by the light of being," as Hart puts it. Edwards, ed. Google Scholar.

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Keith W. Cox and A.

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Dyson, eds. See Alec R.

The "Honest to God" debate : some reactions to the book "Honest to God"

Alec R. Donald MacKenzie MacKinnon et al. Some works that evidence this impact include Google Scholar. Malevez, S.