The World WILL NOT end on October 7


Camping's followers live on
I have written a  newspaper column on why those who believe the world will end on October 7 do not understand their Bibles. Because of space constraints in the newspaper, I would like  to add a further explanation for why using 1,600 days is arbitrary. One must read the newspaper column first to understand my explanation here.
According to an essay by Chris McCann, a promoter of this end date, he can substitute a measure of time for a meaure of physical dimension in Revelation 14:20 because of what is said in Psalm 39:4-5 (King James Version). Note his reasoning:
“If their blood is flowing out of the winepress for the space of '1,600 furlongs,' we wonder if it is possible that God is indicating that the life of the wicked will go on for a period of time of 1,600 days. Is that possible? Can we understand 'furlongs' to represent ‘days’? So we take that question to the Bible, like we took all the other questions and we search the Bible to see if we can make that kind of spiritual substitution. When God is speaking of a 'space' of furlongs, can we understand it as 'days'? There are actually several verses that provide Biblical justification for making that kind of substitution. For instance, it says in Psalm 39:4-5:
JEHOVAH, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.”
However, making such a "spiritual" analogy between Psalm 39:4-5 and Revelation 14:20 only highlights how poorly and arbitrarily McCann chooses which numbers to use.
First, the biblical author is speaking of HIS days (“my days”), and not those of anything else in Psalm 39:4-5.
Second, McCann fails to tell us why he chose the number of Revelation 14:20 to signify the number of days after May 21, 2011, when there are many other numbers in Revelation that one could choose (e.g., 5 months of torture in Revelation 9:5).
Third, McCann fails to understand the nature of Hebrew poetic parallelism, wherein a line can simply restate or go beyond a previous line. In this case, “nothing before me” seems to be a further description of a “handbreath.”
That is to say, a “handbreath” seems to be a further description for a small or even zero amount (“as nothing before me”).
If so, one can just as well argue that there will be a ZERO amount of days (not 1,600 days) between May 21, 2011 and the end of the world.
One should not let these apocalyptic interpreters forget that it is atheists who have been 100% correct in predicting that those end dates will fail, while it is believers who have been 100% incorrect. In other words, atheists (and other skeptics) have been the best "prophets" when it comes to these end dates.

Christian Chiakulas On "What Must I Believe to Be a Christian?"

I am a Christian, and I don't believe that Jesus was God. I don't believe Mary was a virgin, or that God exists as a "trinity." I certainly do not believe Jesus died for my sins or those of anybody else, and perhaps most shocking, I do not believe Jesus rose from the dead. LINK.
I take everyone at their word when calling themselves Christians. If that's what they call themselves then that's what they are. Who am I to decide between them anyway? That's for Christians themselves to decide, not me. Good luck! Argue among yourselves and come back when there is a consensus. Then I'll debunk it. ;-)

What is So Bad About Christianity?

This site is an interesting one, asking What is so Bad about Christianity? There's a book associated with it titled, Beyond Belief: Two thousand years of bad faith in the Christian Church, written by James McDonald.Looks similar to my anthology, Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails.Read through them both!

590 Reasons Why Christianity is False

This is an interesting site sharing 590 reasons why Christianity is false, maintained by Michael Runyan. The last time I checked it only listed 299 reasons!? Hey, that's a lot of reasons, some much better than others but the sheer number of reasons is er, unimpressive! ;-) When it comes to reason #2 I'm quoted. LINK.

This is F*cking Insane

My heart aches for people in Syria who want peace and prosperity. Who Is Fighting Whom in Syria? Wow! No wonder so many people are fleeing the area. But few countries care to harbor very many of these refugees, some for fear they'll bring a religion of violence with them. This is f*cking insane. Wow!

Ten Reasons Why Women Should Question Christianity

Karen Garst The Faithless Feminist, wrote this essay below:

For a Brief Moment In Time

My book was the # 1 new release in Christian apologetics books for a brief moment in time.

19 Things Other Cultures Practice That You’ll Never Believe

Okay, the headline is not mine. It does get your attention though, and it should. You should see how others practice their religious rituals. Extremely eyeopening!

Brenna Smith of Rant.Inc., wrote this as an introduction:
Before I became a writer, I got my degree in Anthropology, the study of humans, their culture, their biology, their history and their evolution (I suppose I should say “our,” but you get the idea). One of the most important aspects of studying Cultural Anthropology is understanding the concept of cultural relativism, “the principle that an individual human’s beliefs and activities should be understood by others in terms of that individual’s own culture.”

That essentially means put yourself in their shoes. In anthropology, we don’t demonize or criticize other culture’s practices, but instead try to understand why they do what they do within the context of their culture. No matter how strange, weird or plain horrific these cultural practices may seem to us within the context of our culture.

Keeping cultural relativism in mind, here are 19 cultural practices from around the world that you won’t believe exist (within the confines of your culture), along with some context to help you understand why they do what they do. LINK.
I have no doubt these other cultures would be as shocked with our religious rituals as we are with theirs. Ahhhh, but the Christian rituals are correct rituals while theirs are incorrect ones, right? Right? Nothing so destroys the so-called virtue of religious faith but seeing a different group of people who hail the virtue of a different faith. For then their own religious rituals are seen for what they truly are, as cultural, based on nothing more than ancient superstitious beliefs. It takes a brilliant mind to defend one's own religious rituals of life stemming from ancient superstitious people, but then faith makes otherwise brilliant people look, well, dumb, as we all know too well.

My Interview With The Legion of Reason

LINK. The interview with me begins at the 30:15 mark. My friend Nathan Phelps was one of the people doing this interview. The first part is an interview with Chris Matheson who wrote the book The Story of God.

My New Book Is In The House!


My new book is in the house! Now that I have my copies it shouldn't be long until everyone else will get theirs too.

Click this link to get it:

How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist.

Annual Islamic Hajj Pilgrimage Leaves at Least 719 People Dead and 863 Injured: God Is Great!

The Dead Line the Street at Mina
"Saudi Arabia's crown prince has ordered an investigation after a stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage left at least 719 people dead and 863 injured, according to state media."  Story Here

George Will on Torture, Solitary Confinement, and Hell

Most Christians who reject an everlasting punishment in a literal hell, with fire and brimstone, embrace a softer view of hell. Rather than embrace a literal interpretation of most NT passages they choose instead a metaphorical view based on a small minority of them. To do this they gerrymander the biblical texts around in order to find the real canon inside the biblical canon.

The metaphorical view of hell is that sinners are merely banished from God's presence forever. Hell is pictured something like a solitary confinement in a jail cell, where sinners are given what they desire, to be left alone. Since nothing is as harsh as eternally conscious suffering in flames of fire, it's believed the metaphorical view softens the horrific tortures of hell.

While this is true, consider how painful solitary confinement would be for an eternity. George Will, whom I generally detest, wrote about the pain of solitary confinement in "The torture of solitary confinement" for The Washington Post (Feb 2013). He wrote:
Supermax prisons isolate inmates from social contact. Often prisoners are in their cells, sometimes smaller than 8 by 12 feet, 23 hours a day, released only for a shower or exercise in a small fenced-in outdoor space. Isolation changes the way the brain works, often making individuals more impulsive, less able to control themselves. The mental pain of solitary confinement is crippling: Brain studies reveal durable impairments and abnormalities in individuals denied social interaction. Plainly put, prisoners often lose their minds. LINK.
This still depicts tortures beyond what human beings could endure, especially if consciously suffering them forever. So we still have a barbaric God that no one should trust in, much less worship. The punishment would still not fit the crimes committed in this life.

Try again.

My Interview for The Humanist Hour

In this episode of the Humanist Hour we talk about my upcoming book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist.LINK.

Coming Soon: Dr. James Lindsay's Book "Everybody is Wrong About God"

On his blog Lindsay shares the Preface and Contents to this book. In his words:
Everybody Is Wrong About God is, frankly, an ambitious project of mine in which I aim to completely pull the rug out from under theism and theology. With them, therefore, atheism has to go too. My goal, then, is nothing less than turning the first page in a new chapter, one that points us toward a new post-theistic phase in human history--one that leaves God behind, for good (and I mean that both ways).
I wrote a blurb for it:
Lindsay correctly argues in this book that theism (or “God”) is dead, even though most people don’t realize it yet, echoing the words of Nietzsche’s madman. Lindsay surprisingly goes on to argue that if theism is dead then so is atheism. For without theism we shouldn’t be atheists either, just human beings living in a post-theistic secular society where the relevancy of theism for our lives is beneath serious consideration. Lindsay calls us to completely rethink both theism and atheism, and he informs us what this means and how we should proceed into the future. This is a very thought provoking book, sure to be controversial. I love it!

Dr. Jim Beilby: "In the face of evils like the holocaust, silence is appropriate."

On Facebook I shared the following poster:

Afterward I had a brief exchange with a Christian simpleton. He was not impressed to say the least, describing the poster with a "LMAO" or "laugh my ass off." I called him a simpleton, saying he needs to be informed that this is a serious problem for his faith by someone on his side. So along came Dr. James K. Beilby who did just that. Beilby is the author and editor of a growing number of books seen here on Amazon. He's a Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Bethel University (Minnesota). His areas of expertise are systematic and philosophical theology, apologetics, and ethics. He has criticized two of Alvin Plantinga's views in the philosophy of religion: 1) his epistemology, and 2) his Evolutionary Argument Against Evolution, as Ex-Apologist notes.

It's good there are people on both sides of our debates who are consistently willing to honestly set the record straight, people who are not so ideologically driven that they lose sight of the primary goal of being honest seekers of the truth. Here is what Jim wrote:

Professor Keith Parsons On Darwin the Philosopher

Dr. Parsons recently argued that Darwin engaged in philosophical questions. Given the title to his post, the point is that Darwin was also a philosopher. What does Parsons say is the criteria for when someone is engaging in philosophy, as opposed to science? He says this:
In cases ... where the evidence will not settle the dispute, scientists must employ philosophical arguments. And they do. Therefore, the suggestion that science can simply replace philosophy is wrong for the reason that, as [Thomas] Kuhn observed, scientific debates often embed—or are embedded within—philosophical debates. These philosophical differences often cannot be settled by straightforward empirical means, but must be addressed with philosophical argument. Science cannot replace philosophy because philosophy is an essential part of the scientific enterprise. Kuhn was wrong about many things, but on this point he was absolutely right.
I had commented previously on what makes for philosophy right here. And I have no bone to pick with philosophy per se. But this is an interesting question. I think we can agree that mere reasoning is not equivalent to philosophy, so scientific reasoning is not necessarily doing philosophy. We should also agree that we don't need to wait until everyone agrees that a particular dispute has been settled by science, before we can say scientists are no longer doing philosophy when reasoning about the evidence. This was the case in Darwin's day, but the dispute over evolution has been settled in our day. I think the implications about evolution are settled too. What Parsons needs to do is show why anyone should wait until evolution deniers agree that this dispute has been settled, before saying evolutionists are not doing philosophy. So I see no reason to accept that criteria with regard to his specific example.

On Defining Atheism

I was recently sent a book to review, by Franz Kiekeben, called The Truth About God which is a whistlestop tour, I think, through atheism and counter-apologetics to arrive at the conclusion not that God is improbable, but that God is impossible. I will be interested to see where that goes.

Why I mention this is that I am pleased the author started off the book by briefly sketching out the different ways of seeing atheism and stating that there is a modern trend to defining atheism as a lack of belief in God. This is something upon which I have commented in various places before, and something which I feel quite strongly about.

I Met With Christian Philosopher Chad V. Meister Today

Who is he? On Amazon we read: "I am Professor of Philosophy at Bethel College in Indiana, USA. I'm a Christian philosopher and most of my books have to do with God or some subject related to God or Christianity. But I also have a deep appreciation for other faith traditions and for thoughtful skeptics, agnostics, and atheists as well. In fact, some of my books include writings of leading thinkers from the major world religions and from those who deny the reality of God altogether. As I see it, there is tremendous value in the dialogue, and much to learn from those with whom we disagree."

His mother lives about 15 minutes away from me. How cool is that? Just before we met he said he got an email from William Lane Craig about an upcoming book. How cool is that? And we traded books. That too is cool! I made out on that deal since the paperback of The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Religion is $75.

He's working on a six volume work that will include the best authors in their respective fields on the problem of evil. He seemed somewhat interested in editing a Zondervan Five Views book on my Outsider Test for Faith, so we'll see if that pans out.

One thing impressive about Chad is that he's first and foremost a philosopher, an educator. He doesn't appear to have an axe to grind, nor anything to sell. From all I can tell he's interested in the search for truth. I'm also impressed that he wants a copy of my new book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, so I'll be sending him one.We'll probably run ideas past each other in the future. Good time. Good person. Good discussion.

Why Do Many Atheists Hate The New Atheists?

Jerry Coyne wrote a post answering the question of this post. The money quote is here:
I can think of a couple of answers. The first is simple jealousy: some atheists haven't achieved the fame or public profile of people like Hitchens, and so attack their character rather than their arguments. It's also a way to get attention for yourself if you feel unappreciated.

The second is the feeling by the Quiet Atheists that "New Atheists don't represent me," and so they must be called out. But since when have prominent New Atheists ever said they represent all atheists? They are representing their own views, and I doubt that any of them have said that they speak for all nonbelievers. LINK
Earlier I had highlighted jealously as a motive of these haters.

I think Coyne's comments also explain why some small-minded atheists don't like me as well. This is something that has only recently dawned on me, since I have not thought of myself as having much fame or being that important. These misinformed and jealous atheists "perceive" me to have achieved a certain amount of fame they can only dream of having. So they attack. This should encourage me, or something. ;-) [My name is John Loftus and I approve this message!]

Jerry Coyne Announces My New Book!

Well this is quite an honor! In the dedication to my book I mention four scholarly friends I consider to be intellectual giants. These are the scholars who have been the most encouraging to me over the years, and from whom I've learned the most. Care to guess who they might be?

All Scientists Should Be Militant Atheists, by Lawrence Krauss.


Hermeneutical Fun with the Bible, Salvation and Christology

Christian salvation is an eclectic mix of cutting and pasting New Testament verses together to make an ancient dogma sound logical.  Accordingly, without human ingenuity, even Jesus himself cannot explain how one is to obtain salvation.  Ironically, the ramblings of Jesus about the Kingdom in the Coptic Gospel of Thomas are on par with those of the Synoptic Gospels or John.

On the "Right Side of Futurology": Atheism and Human Extinction

Dan Barker, echoing an idea expressed by many atheists, describes theology as “a subject without an object.” Since there's little reason for thinking a God exists – much less the God of the Bible – the entire field is ultimately vacuous, despite the grandiloquent rigamarole of, as Jerry Coyne puts it, Sophisticated Theologians(TM). Theology studies nothing. Its heart and soul is a phenomenon that almost certainly doesn't exist.

Dr. Ben Carson's Bible-Based Taxes

I have written a newspaper column about Dr. Ben Carson's Bible-Based taxation system. Aside from the problems of interpreting the "tithe" in its original context, Carson omits the fact that the Bible also mandates that 10% of what ancient Israel produces be devoted to social welfare causes.

New Book By Phil Torres and Quote of the Day On the Philosophy of Religion

Phil Torres wrote an excellent book, The End: What Science and Religion Tell Us about the Apocalypse. It's coming out on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7th). This is a perfect publication date given the doomsday scenarios Phil writes about.I wrote a blurb for it, as did a very impressive number of others. I said: “This one-of-a-kind-book provides an accessible yet expert education into several global doomsday threats, both secular and religious, both real and possible. Highly enlightening and very highly recommended!”

Phil also commented here at DC on ending the Philosophy of Religion (PoR) sub-discipline. So I'm making it the quote of the day. While he thinks philosophy is important, especially the philosophy of science (and I agree), he says this:
As for philosophy of religion, I think such classes could be replaced by Epistemology 101, which would help establish that faith is a quite unacceptable excuse for accepting propositions about what the world is like and how it ought to be. LINK
Ha! Get it? Epistemology 101. Phil combines insight with ridicule brilliantly and forcefully. Now we can expect pushback from philosophers of religion who have a vested interest in their profession, especially self-taught college students and grads whose only proficiency in the believer/nonbeliever debates is in that field, like Jeff Lowder. But I see no way they can reasonably dispute Torres.

An Older Review of My Book WIBA

LINK. Full text below:

13 Jobs Bible-Believing Kentucky Marriage Clerk Probably Shouldn’t Apply For

I had previously posted this on my Facebook wall but not here. Enjoy.

"Here it Comes" My Book Went to Print Today!

The following clip from "The Wrath of Khan" expresses my thoughts as I ponder the impact of my book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist.

On Ending the Philosophy of Religion *Again* and *Again*

Let's do it this way. Consider the following five science related books (I could multiply them if needed). Now grant that what we find in them presents the required objective evidence to say religious faith is false and/or foolish. Okay? Grant it. Say it: "Religious faith is false and/or foolish." Good. Then there would be no reason for teaching philosophy of religion classes. None. Doing so would be unnecessary since science has already shown philosophical arguments for religious faiths to be false and/or foolish. Rather than teaching philosophy of religion classes, we should instead teach science related classes. For someone who says we cannot do science without also doing philosophy of some kind, that's not necessarily true.

My name is John W. Loftus. Thank you, thank you very much! ;-)

More In Defense of Ridicule *Sigh*

There seems to be a great amount of (willful?) misunderstanding about my defense of ridicule. It's as if people don't even try to understand. The fact that we laugh at ridiculous beliefs is not going away, nor is the social pressure to conform to one's peers. Several important people agree with me and/or have used ridicule successfully. Without needing to write a whole book on the nuances and uses of ridicule, or on what constitutes good ridicule (which might end up being in the eye of the beholder), let's look at three concrete examples below. I like concrete examples. They work when I don't want to waste time chasing the rabbit of endless qualifications down the rabbit hole.

Chris Matheson's new book is a comedy about God from the biblical texts themselves, titled: The Story of God: A Biblical Comedy about Love (and Hate). I provided a sample of his book right here. It holds up for ridicule the God of the Bible. I wrote a blurb for it. It's laugh out loud funny. Read it and tell me what Chris did wrong, and/or about its effectiveness. My claim is that it's funny because with keen insight Chris accurately teaches us what's supposedly going on behind the scenes.

Since reading is a chore to some people, let's try two posters I think are funny. They're funny to me regardless of whether or not I share them. They're funny to almost all atheists. These kinds of things are what we laugh about at conferences. They are accurate and insightful.

It’s Over, Dad': Son of Long-time Christian College President Exposes Father’s Affair”

“No one was quite sure why North Greenville University’s long-time president, Dr. Jimmy Epting, hastily announced his resignation from the school he had run for 23 years – but his son may have just filled in a few of the missing pieces.

In a video released to several social media sites including YouTube, Epting’s son, Paul, films himself confronting his dad about his alleged affair and may have even caught him in the act. It’s not a great look for the esteemed former president of a college that has built everything on conservative family values and Christian morality.”  Story and Video Here   

What Is the Point of Me Saying Christians are Deluded?

Here's a recent exchange:

David Bolen: Calling people deluded doesn't help them change their minds, and often prevents it.

John W. Loftus: Oh, okay then, indoctrinated minds, brainwashed minds. You see, deluded minds do not know they are deluded. Putting them in the same category of other people whom they are convinced are deluded, tells them what someone like me thinks of their faith. And no one can say I'm ignorant.

David Bolin: I agree, deluded minds do not know they are deluded. That is why calling them that just offends people and makes it more likely that they will not change their minds, even when they are actually deluded. That also applies to calling people indoctrinated and brainwashed.

John W. Loftus: I have earned the right to tell it like it is. That's my point. I put the full weight of my education and works into it. All they need to do at that point is learn who I am. It's not an ad hominem because I'm an expert, an intellectual on these matters. Now keep in mind I only do this on a mass basis, never in person.

David Bolen: I doubt you've convinced many people, with that method. Also, for all the people you have convinced, you probably made a lot more people more stubborn than ever. If you were more polite you could help a lot more people.

John W. Loftus: No. The people you're thinking about cannot be changed. Read this and then click on the tag 'Ridicule' below it. LINK.

Another Anthology Accepted for Publication With Prometheus Books

Yep that's right and thank you, thank you very much! This will probably be my last anthology. In fact, after publishing eight books in eight years it'll probably be my last book. How many times should I kick a dead horse, right? Christianity, especially the evangelical kind, was already dead in the water before I began writing. Christians just don't know it yet. Eventually they will. I'm glad to have sped up this process by administering doses of reality to deluded minds. This new anthology is along the lines of the others I've produced, named after a NY Times bestselling atheist author. This one is based on the late Victor Stenger's book, God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist.He even submitted a chapter for it in hopes I would do an anthology on his book. It is his last known essay. It's tentatively being called, "Christianity: the Failed Hypothesis." Table of contents and list of authors can be seen below. It should be out one year from now.