Tag Archives: religious studies

Religious Studies Grad, Artist Team Up To Teach Children about Beliefs

Religious Studies Grad, Artist Team Up To Teach Children about Beliefs

Secular author David G. McAfee and illustrator/writer Chuck Harrison worked together on “The Belief Book” – an interactive children’s book that helps to teach kids (and kids at heart) about critical thinking, the origins of beliefs, and religions.

February 7 – Religious Studies graduate and skeptical author David G. McAfee teamed up with Chuck Harrison, an illustrator and writer, to create The Belief Book, which helps kids of all ages on their journey toward understanding the world’s most important beliefs and how they are formed. Children young and old who embark on this quest will learn many things they may have always been curious about, including where the first ideas of “gods” came from and how the earliest religions were created and spread.

This first-of-its-kind children’s book has mental exercises and puzzles that can help anyone understand what beliefs are and how they affect everyone and everything. More importantly, The Belief Book outlines the difference between good beliefs, which are supported by evidence, and bad beliefs, which are based on emotion or biases.

With interactive activities and vivid illustrations, The Belief Book teaches children how to examine evidence and form their own ideas. They will learn the importance of definitions, of language in general, and of the scientific method. The book strives to show readers how to think about things in a way that will get them to the right beliefs, and not just which facts to memorize.

Readers will look at some of the most important questions ever asked, including “Where do we come from?” and “Who made us?” and “Why can’t I have ice cream for breakfast?” By the time they are done with the book, children will not only understand the answers to many of their biggest questions, but they will also see why their questions – and all questions – are so incredibly important.

 

The Belief Book

The Belief Book

For interviews or questions, contact:

David G. McAfee | PO Box 9661 | Canoga Park, CA 91304 | United States | David@DavidGMcAfee.com

About David G. McAfee: McAfee is a Religious Studies Graduate, journalist, and the author of two other titles: Mom, Dad, I’m an Atheist: The Guide to Coming Out as a Non-believer and Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings. He is also a contributor to American Atheist Magazine and an editor for Ockham Publishing. McAfee attended University of California, Santa Barbara, and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in English and Religious Studies with an emphasis on Christianity and Mediterranean religions. He believes strongly that religious education and history should be taught in public schools, including and especially in the United States of America – where general knowledge about those topics is severely lacking. It is only by understanding how the religious systems work, and not by ignoring them completely, that McAfee says we can help others to make rational decisions about them.

About Chuck Harrison: Harrison is an illustrator and writer who lives with his son called Puff and his cat named Monkey in New York. His caffeine fueled works have been printed by DC Comics, Color Ink Book, The South Wedge Quarterly and in many other fine publications. Everything else you may wish to know about him can be discovered at iLikeChuckHA.com.

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Exposing Christians To Secular Material: Response To William Lane Craig

Exposing Christians To Secular Material: Response To William Lane Craig

By David G. McAfee
 

Christian apologist and philosophical theologian William Lane Craig was contacted this week by a Christian who read my book, Disproving Christianity and other Secular Writings, and was subsequently finding it “hard to believe in God.” Craig’s response: “Quit reading the infidel material.”

The question, posed in this week’s Q&A section of Craig’s site, was published alongside Craig’s answer and entitled, “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” The anonymous questioner stated that he or she “wants to believe in God,” but is having trouble believing after being exposed to Disproving Christianity, Richard Dawkins, and atheist friends.

“Hi, Dr. Craig, I’m currently reading ‘Disproving Christianity’ by David McAfee. I’ve also been listening to Richard Dawkins. I want to believe in God, but I’m having trouble with my faith. I’ve always been a Christian, but since I started talking to my atheist friends, I find it hard to believe in God. When I think about it, it doesn’t make much sense to me to belive in a creator of the universe. It makes even less sense for me to believe in a God who intervines in our lives. Please, I want to believe in God, any suggestions?”

Craig begins by saying that he is “utterly baffled” by how many “ill-equipped” Christians expose themselves to material that is destructive to their faith.

“I remember vividly that when I first became a Christian I was very careful about what I read because I knew that there was material out there which could be destructive to my newfound faith and that I had a lot, lot more to learn before I was ready to deal with it,” Craig wrote. “Do we forget that there is an enemy of our souls who hates us intensely, is bent on our destruction, and will use anything he can to undermine our faith or render us ineffective in God’s hands? Are we so naïve?”

Craig goes on to offer the questioner four “suggestions” to help resolve his or her crisis of faith.

  1. “Make first and foremost a recommitment of your heart to Christ.”
  2. “Quit reading and watching the infidel material you’ve been absorbing.”
  3. “Begin a program of equipping yourself in Christian doctrine and apologetics.”
  4. “Attend some apologetics conferences.”

If Christianity is the transcendent truth and superior to all other faithful and non-faithful worldviews, as Craig believes, then why does it need to be protected from criticism? Why do Christians, in Craig’s view, need to “equip” themselves before being exposed to such material?

My view is the opposite. Where Craig says “believe,” I say investigate. I would never encourage an atheist to avoid the Bible, for example, out of fear that its strong arguments might compel that person to believe. In fact, I frequently encourage the opposite approach: I recommend believers and non-believers alike educate themselves about all of the world’s religions, including a basic understanding of the traditions’ core tenets and Holy Books.

If you study comparative religion, it’s more difficult to be religious because the great faiths are all very similar at the most fundamental level. Each organization has similar cult beginnings and “prophets,” they each began as local and cultural myths before being applied to a global context, and they are almost always spread through a combination of violence and proselytization.

Non-believers don’t have to be fearful of theistic material because there’s simply no evidence for the existence of deities, therefore every argument is automatically philosophical in nature and regards a general “higher power,” and not any specific deity – like Jesus or Allah.

All that said, I’m encouraged by the original questioner. This person decided, against Craig’s advice, to seek out material from someone else’s perspective. They didn’t let the fear of damaging faith keep them from exposing themselves to multiple sides of possibly the longest debate in human history. For any other believers who wish to do the same, please send an e-mail to DisprovingChristianityPDF@gmail.com for a free PDF of my first book, Disproving Christianity.

"Garbage In, Garbage Out"

Q&A on William Lane Craig’s website.

My Childhood and Religion- PART TWO

We are all Born Atheists: I Just Stayed that Way Part TWO

By David G. McAfee 

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This is part TWO of a TWO part series, to see part ONE, click here

A Curiosity Develops

            There is no point in my past in which I would have considered myself “Christian”, or affiliated with any other religion for that matter; but it wasn’t until age thirteen that I actually became interested in studying the various religious traditions in the world and their effects on society at large. I had been living with my father for a couple of years and was growing accustomed to life with him and his family. When my dad was around- he wasn’t a bad father, but he was gone for weeks at a time, constantly; one of these mini-vacations ended with a phone call. After about three weeks of my father being mysteriously absent, we got a phone call from Sacramento County Jail; it was my dad. Continue reading

Why Atheists Need to Understand the Bible- A Response to My Critics

Why Atheists Need to Understand the Bible

By David G. McAfee

Please ‘follow’ me on Twitter for future updates 

           

            Religionists have two primary ways of spreading doctrine: heredity (the passing of religious customs from generation to generation) and formal outward conversion (door-to-door and conversational peddling of religion). Regardless of which religion is being practiced, there are various cited cases of conversion and indoctrination of children- it is clear, however, that the latter is a more effective tactic in the expansion of a belief system. Each religion (at least all successful ones) has a built-in form of reward and punishment system that ensures- to a high probability- that the beliefs and practices are passed successfully from parent to child. Continue reading