Nexus Book Club


Nexus Book Club

A group for those of us who like reading and books. Fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry... everything goes.

Members: 819
Latest Activity: Dec 21, 2017

Welcome to the Nexus Book Club!

Hello to all our new (and old) members! We'd love to hear from you; please take the time to introduce yourself either on the forum or the wall.

Feel free to discuss the books you're reading at the moment, your favorite authors or works, and so on. I'm sure everyone has a book they think others here might find interesting!

Also, don't forget to check out the page Books by A|N Members Who are Published Authors, located just under the members section on your right.

Books of Interest to Atheists and Skeptics
Breaking The Spell by Daniel Dennett
A Devil's Chaplain, by Richard Dawkins
The End of Faith, by Sam Harris
The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins
God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens
Godless, by Dan Barker
Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris
Why I am not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell

Sites for Bibliotaphs
The Internet Archive
Project Gutenburg

Discussion Forum

Question about The Dresden Files.

Started by Joseph P Oct 11, 2016. 0 Replies

The Last Blade of Grass

Started by Robert Brown May 7, 2015. 0 Replies

Top 5 Books on Atheism

Started by Steph S.. Last reply by Gerald Payne Apr 30, 2015. 5 Replies

Why do they all have "happy endings"

Started by Cory D Wells. Last reply by sk8eycat Jan 22, 2015. 5 Replies

New books on the secular life

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Randall Smith Oct 23, 2014. 1 Reply


Started by Don. Last reply by Don Sep 13, 2014. 1 Reply

Haruki Murakami

Started by Nick Bottom. Last reply by Michael Mann Sep 7, 2014. 1 Reply


Started by Don. Last reply by Don Aug 31, 2014. 4 Replies

top 10

Started by Jeffrey. Last reply by Nick Bottom Aug 23, 2014. 17 Replies

book recommendations?

Started by Fester75. Last reply by Joseph P Jan 11, 2014. 5 Replies

Robert Jordan "Wheel of Time" fans?

Started by Jenn Wiffen. Last reply by Joseph P Sep 10, 2012. 1 Reply

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Nexus Book Club to add comments!

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 10:21pm



You bring up some good "exceptions" to my point about no pain at all being allowed if I were the guy making the rules.  But if I was omnipotent I'd simply bestow upon you everything you've ever gotten from being bruised in football, minus the pain.  We only have to suffer to grow stronger because that's the way the world works.  If there is an omnipotent God then it would not HAVE to work that way.


But your point is well taken and I can easily accept the small bumps, bruises and sprains (I am a karate guy myself, not football and yeah, I grown much stronger from the pain in the dojo).  But, again as you've pointed out, I can't accept the baby dying from aids, etc.




Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on January 1, 2011 at 9:22pm

Ehrman's Misquoting Jesus is good, too.  I didn't know before reading it that the story of Jesus and the prostitute, in which he says "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone," is a later addition not originally in the book in which it appears.


I once wrote that if I were God's right-hand man, given the sorts of powers God is supposed to have, the first thing I'd do is to make of Earth a paradise.  The second thing I'd do is to turn to God and ask him, "Now, why didn't you do that?"


The matter of pain, suffering, and hardship, even unto the level of a hangnail, is a bit more complicated than just the prevention of all pain.  I remember when I played football, pain was part of the game.  Nothing major--just the "little hurts."  It wouldn't have been quite the same game without it.  The challenge of running a four-minute mile wouldn't be there if our bodies didn't have limited abilities.  And so on.  Moreover, there's hardly any moral praise to be garnered by refraining from shooting a gun at another person if that other person is impervious to bullets.


But I can't for the life of me see why severe, especially chronic, apparently pointless pain, having nothing to do with freely willed human actions and having nothing to do with challenging human beings to greater heights of achievement, should be viewed by the theist as somehow excusable.  The infant who dies of AIDS; the explorer who dies of malaria contracted from a mosquito bite; the victim of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake that hit churches hard--how are these in any way excusable?  The theist simply has to either ignore the events or suspend his own sense of morality, somehow giving God a pass. 

Comment by Joseph P on January 1, 2011 at 6:46pm

Omar, here's a clip off of the Atheist Experience that's a bit on the subject:

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 6:37pm



I concur on all.  I loved Ehrmann's "Jesus Interrupted" and learned a LOT from it!


As far as I am concerned as little suffering as a hang nail is too much for the presence of an all-might and yet all-loving God to exist.  If I could I would spare my own children even a stubbed toe, but I am not all-powerful so I can't prevent it.  God, if he were real, COULD but doesn't.


I'll check out your book!  Is it on Kindle?  Of course, when (well.. IF) I finish mine I'll ask the same of you.


The whole free will issue fascinates me and was a key facet of my very first ever actual "debate" with a Christian.  But a lot of people don't seem to like the analogy I use.  I thought it was brilliant at the time but since nobody else seems to I guess I was kidding myself.  ;-p




Comment by Johnny P on January 1, 2011 at 3:43pm



god's problem by ehrman is a great book, as is his jesus interrupted. i've got a lot of time for him. the problem of evil is definitely the best evidential argument against god, but theists always come back with the logical problem of evil answer. in other words, it is always still logical that there COULD be a reason (for the greater good) why all the evil exists. it then follows to the theist that they could be the last person left on earth with all of humanity having been tortured for 50 years, with your family being tortured in front of your eyes, and you being excrutiatingly tortured. the theist has to still maintain that it is still logically coherent that there is an all-loving god, and that we don't know the full facts as to why this might be happening. 


it then follows that it is incumbent upon a person to reason where the arbitrary line between logically acceptable evil, and gratuitous evil exists. i maintain that the amount of suffering in the world is already at the gratuitous mark, whereas the theist necessarily argues that we're still in the logical acceptance zone (and perhaps always will be).


the other problem is all loving. what does it mean? what is love? can you be all loving? no. so can you be maximally loving, since being all loving to humans is not being all loving to tuna or butterflies. i find all loving to be incoherent.


ps, please buy my book on whether or not we have free will (just a pleading reminder!!)

Comment by Howard Thomas on January 1, 2011 at 2:07pm

Interesting audio clip.

"We don't ask God why he does things, The koran says that he (god) is not answerable to what he does, but everyone else will be. That's it, it's as simple as that."


There's a grotesque beauty in that simplicity isn't there? God is conveniently above justice, because god determines what justice is. If god determines that children be abused - he allows it, wills it - then that is his justice - and therefore our justice - and his slaves are not in a position to question. "That's it, it's as simple as that."


There is no need to be embarrassed about the way your God behaves, or question his immorality. Everything he allows, no matter how awful or painful or immoral, is his will - inshallah - and that's the highest good. All you can do is shrug your shoulders and be eternally thankful that you are god's slave and be grateful for your chance at spending blissful eternity with him. What's not comforting - once you abandon the expectation that your heavenly guardian will at least act justly and morally from a humanist perspective - about that?

Comment by Howard Thomas on January 1, 2011 at 1:27pm

Submission to God's will is paramount in Islam, regardless of whether his will reflects immorality. We can see this in the Sacrifice story, and this is the basis for a major Islamic festival, Eid al-adha (festival of Sacrifice). Muslims celebrate Abraham submitting to god's will, even though this meant Abraham attempted to murder an innocent, which is of course, immoral, or should be viewed as immoral. Abraham should have said to God "no, it's immoral". So we see that particularly within the Islamic religion, acting in a moral way is strictly secondary to submitting to god's will, no matter whether his will reflects immorality. As has been said, how god operates is not asked. This is what is frightening. All the more astonishing to hear Muslims - and people of other Abrahamic faiths - promoting their faiths as a basis for a moral upbringing.


I think Islam avoids the question of evil by simply mindlessly not addressing it. Inshallah - The will of Allah, no matter if it means thousands die horribly from an earthquake he could have prevented, is simply paramount, and at that point one is left with nothing else to do apart from to shrug one's shoulders.

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 1:09pm



I agree with you totally.  I "question" the existence of God for a number of reasons.  I truly "doubt" the existence of God because of evil.  This same evil makes me absolutely certain there is not a God who is loving, merciful AND omnipotent.

Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 12:28pm



Thanks!  I'll read that article in a bit.  This conversation reminds me of one of the books I am reading right now, "God's Problem" by Bart Ehrmann.  If you haven't read it, it is a fascinating look at this whole theodicy issue from the perspective of the Bible.  One thing I find most interesting (and sort of already knew it, but not very well) is that you can find exactly what you just described in the Bible.  You can also find about 4 other "good" explanations for where evil and suffering come from.



Comment by Ian Mason on January 1, 2011 at 12:05pm
Isn't this polytheism under another/other name(s)? Or some kind of Buddhist influence via the Silk Road?

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