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: 813
Latest Activity: Jun 20

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


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Comment by Tony Davis on January 1, 2011 at 10:29am



By the way, I stayed at your hotel in Cairo.  Nice place!  And sorry if you or others don't get the reference, I can explain it if necessary.


On a serious note however...  I am aware of the 99 attributes of Allah, in fact, when I was in Egypt I got a nice copy of them, in Arabic, for a Muslim friend who I cherish as a fine human being.  That aside, I don't see how the problem of evil is any less for the Muslim than for the Jew or Christian.  And maybe I am missing something and you can enlighten me (which is why I pose the question - not to challenge you, just for clarification).


For example, the first one "The Compassionate" and the second one "the Merciful", yet in the time it has taken me to type this reply at least 32 people, most of them children, have died of starvation (  How is this compassionate or merciful and how is that that a god who is almighty (number 8) allows this to occur?


Just some thoughts.




Comment by Tony Davis on December 31, 2010 at 11:15am

Keith - Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article and provide feedback.  I really do see it as a "community effort" - all us reasonable folks against the forces of ignorance.  I have to run some errands now but will definitely take a look at your comments and my article when I get back!


I realize I need to go back and proof all my articles better.  I think my ideas are sound but my grammar sucks!  ;-)

Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 4:15am
I thought I got fifteen minutes in which to edit my posts, but apparently I don't.  It really looks as though your previous sentence--"However, it must also exist in reality, because to exist in reality as well as in the mind is greater than to exist in the mind alone"--already says that God, on the OA, must be real.  Since you introduce omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence for the first time in the sentence in question, maybe you really want to say something like "Thus, an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent being--namely, God--must be real."
Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 4:09am
The more I look at it, the more I dislike "This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real."  First, it isn't the properties that are real, but the being exemplifying them.  (You can use "displaying" or even "possessing," if you don't like "exemplifying.")  So, it isn't the ultimate greatness that is real, but rather the being exemplifying ultimate greatness.  Second, I'm not sure what "ultimate greatness" adds to the property-collection of omnipotence, omniscience, and omnibenevolence.  Third, although "and so forth" makes sense to *me*, it seems pretty much devoid of meaning in the essay, since you haven't mentioned any other properties God might have or given the reader any idea of what you might mean by any extra deific properties.  Simply "The greatest conceivable being must, therefore, be real." would do the job, wouldn't it?
Comment by Keith Brian Johnson on December 31, 2010 at 3:55am

The easiest way for me to provide a copyread version of your essay is by simply rewriting it here:


Perhaps the most bizarre of all the major apologetic arguments is the ontological argument.  ["Ontological argument" is typically capitalized--both the "o" and the "a"--but need not be.]  It is so bizarre, in fact, [note the addition of two commas] that even many apologists today seem to shy away from it, and it was rejected by none other than Saint Thomas Aquinas.  In simplest terms, this argument states that God must exist if we can conceive of Him as something that is greater than anything else we can imagine.  In this way, it is an a priori argument for God's existence [not merely "for God"; I'd use "for the existence of God," but I'm aware that you're trying to save space] that rests on human reason alone--God's existence is self-evident by virtue of the fact that we can imagine His greatness.  [I don't care whether you capitalize "Him" or "His"--but you capitalized "Him" earlier in this paragraph.  Whichever way you choose, be consistent.  Note that even if you capitalize "God," you are not obliged to capitalize "him" or "his"--"Shakespeare" is a proper name, but you don't capitalize "him" or "his" when talking about Shakespeare.]


For our purposes, this argument can be traced to Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109).  [You labeled Thomas Aquinas "Saint" at first mention, so you ought to label Anselm "Saint" at first mention, too.  Since you're trying to save space, I'll leave out the "Saint" in further uses of their names.]  In his Proslogion, [although perhaps not strictly necessary, I really think this reads better with "his" inserted] Anselm proposed that if we conceive of "that than which a greater cannot be thought," [note the insertion of "than" in the description, and note also the added comma] then this maximally great entity exists in our mind.  [I removed the parenthetical "by definition God," since your readers already know you're talking about God and since you're trying to save space.  I do not object to the phrase "this maximally great entity," although I would have written "this greatest conceivable entity."  I note that the theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga uses the term "maximally great" to describe any being which necessarily exemplifies omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection, as well as any other properties one might ascribe to God.]  However, it must also exist in reality, because to exist in reality as well as in the mind [note the inserted "in"] is greater than to exist in the mind alone.  This ultimate greatness of omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth must then be real.  [But that's clumsy.  If you want to keep your "ultimate greatness" language, consider instead "This ultimately great being--one exemplifying omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and so forth--must then be real."]  We are conceiving of perfection, [note the deletion of "ultimate"--it seems unnecessary, although not wrong] and it is "more perfect" to be real than to exist only in the imagination.


I'll continue this later.




Comment by Joseph P on December 30, 2010 at 12:20pm
  • On capitalising H for 'him' in reference to God, I personally wouldn't do it. I read apologist Peter S. Williams' 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' and he explains well at the beginning why he does not
    capitalise in this manner and why it is unnecessary.

I mostly do it to mock the Christians.  Of course within a comedy context, it's more obvious.



When you're talking about the Christian god, by name, it's a proper noun.  You can bitch about the way they've co-opted the generic word as the proper name for their deity, as I do, but it doesn't make it any less correct to capitalize it when using it as his name.


Personally, I like to ask which of his names they're referring to, as mentioned in the Bible:  Iam, El, or Yahweh, all of which are separate deities within the Ugarit pantheon.

Comment by Tony Davis on December 30, 2010 at 7:26am

Joseph - Again, MANY thanks!


Johnny and Joseph - Yeah, on the capitalization of "him" and even of "god", I generally capitalize "God" if talking specifically about Yahweh and not if just talking about any other deity.  Seems pretty standard and even though I don't really like it and agree that any all-powerful celestial dictator would have more self-confidence than to give a rat's ass, I do it just to placate the theistic readers.  I figure that if I am trying to persuade them I won't piss them off grammatically if I can help it when my argument's against their deity will do that enough anyway.  On the "Him" vs "him", yeah, I go back and forth a LOT.  Normally I tend to go with the "H" when making a point and trying to sound "biblical" and deferential.  But points well taken and I should just take one and stick with it.


Again, I really appreciate all the help!!

Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 4:36am
that and the fact that he doesn't exist anyway. No secular writer need capitalise his pronouns. You don't do it for any other entity / concept.
Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 4:31am
the point Williams makes is that God is no more he than she, and these analogical phrases are so very linguistically human. I think the capitalisation is borne out of that, for him. For others, people just want to respect him more by capitalising. My opinion is that the most perfect being in conception wouldn't really give a monkey's if you capitlaise his pronouns or not. It seems crazy to me.
Comment by Johnny P on December 30, 2010 at 2:30am

Really good point about printing it and reading it. The best, easiest proofread I did was on the proof copy of my book. It is amazing how much more things stick out when they are on the printed page.


On capitalising H for 'him' in reference to God, I personally wouldn't do it. I read apologist Peter S. Williams' 'A Sceptic's Guide to Atheism' and he explains well at the beginning why he does not capitalise in this manner and why it is unnecessary.


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