My Chapter On Slavery Is a "Faith-Destroyer"?

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Someone named Bryan on Twitter said this to me: "Your chapter in your new anthology on slavery is a faith-destroyer. Well done." Music to my ears of course, since, well, I agree. ;-) Go get it, now! Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails.And since you asked, you can study this book in February with me as your instructor. LINK. Anyone can sign up too. It should be very informative. As an extra bonus I'll contact the authors of the chapters with the best questions from students of the class! If you don't plan on taking the class and you know of someone who might be interested, please tell them about it!! Time's a wastin.

Dr. Tarico: 10 Reasons Why the Heavenly World is Actually a Helluva World

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Valerie just keeps zinging them out. A few of her reasons that a heavenly world is instead a helluva world will seem quite astounding for believers I think. But they're all reasonable. Heaven ain't so heavenly even on Christian grounds. Christan, seriously, you want to go there? Immediately go read her essay: 10 Reasons Popular Versions of Christian Heaven Would be Hell.

Contrast what Tarico writes with what Randal Rauser wrote in his book, What on Earth Do We Know about Heaven?. Care to investigate it? A-Unicornist did, and he reviewed Rauser's book right here. He shows that at times Rauser engaged in "pretty standard-issue making shit up." Not so with Tarico. She's examined 10 popular Christian beliefs about heaven and shows why we wouldn't want to be there. I know I wouldn't and I doubt any thoughtful person would too. Many Christians think heaven is like that but wouldn't like being there! This would be belly on the floor laughable, if it wasn't so sad and so dangerous.

Good! Kurt Willems Challenges Christians to Give Up On Hell For One Year

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Kurt Willems, who writes for the Pangea blog at the Progressive Christian Channel for Patheos, challenges Christians to give up believing in hell for one year (however conceived).
What do I mean exactly? I want to invite readers to contemplate giving up hell for a year. For one year of your life, become a practical universalist. Live as though hell doesn’t exist. I dare you. LINK.
Ryan Bell did a year's time without God and became an atheist. Maybe Kurt Willems will do likewise with hell (he's already there with his conditional immortality view)?

I think these types of challenges are what the cool kids do. So if you want to be a cool kid do likewise. This year follow the example of Kurt Willems. He suggests "our relationships with nonChristians would be revolutionized" if Christians did this. Why? Because for most Christians hell dictates "how we relate to others." So, "With less reason for agenda, these friendships would become mutually beneficial." Right that!

Here's my question based on Kurt's challenge. What does hell have to do with anything? Tell me, I implore you. If you gave hell up for a year what, if anything, would change? If something does change then explain why. I'm constantly told that Christians believe and live the Christian life because God loves them, not because they are afraid of hell. When I get a chance to speak I say hell is indeed a major factor, it's just that Christians don't realize it until AFTER they reject their faith. Well Christians, here's your chance to show us. See what you would believe and how you would live if there was no hell. Go ahead. What do you have to lose?

Here's an unintended consequence of Kurt's challenge that he may not have thought about. Never fear though. I'll tell him. If hell doesn't exist Christians should have no fear of attending Freethought and atheist meetings, nor any fear of reading atheist literature. They would have no fear of meeting my three Debunking Christianity Challenges if hell doesn't exist. Why? Because believers who are not in deathly fear of hell can dispassionately examine their faith for the first time in their lives. Go on. Try it this year. I dare you!

"Islamophobia" Accusations: Weapon of Blackmail and Bullying Finally Losing Its Edge?

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Pascal Bruckner(2).jpg
Pascal Bruckner. Credit: Wikipedia
The ambiguous word "Islamophobia", often taken to mean some form of bigotry against Muslim but indeed "flexible" enough to apply to anyone who doesn’t follow every single demand of Islamists to the letter, continues to be used as a tool of political pressure like no other. On the other hand-there are indications that among politicians, at least some are growing a backbone and calling the accusers’ bluff.

A Refutation of David Marshall's Rebuttal of the OTF and Randal Rauser's Recommendation, Part 3

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This should be my final post refuting Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm doing in these posts. If I'm largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written Marshall's book. No educated intellectual should think it's worthy of any kind of a blurb either.

A Refutation of David Marshall's Rebuttal of the OTF and Randal Rauser's Recommendation, Part 2

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I've decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm doing here. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. So let's continue, shall we?

A Refutation of David Marshall's Rebuttal of the OTF and Randal Rauser's Recommendation, Part 1

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I've decided to write more than just one post about Dr. David Marshall's “rebuttal” to my book The Outsider Test for Faith (OTF). I will attempt to show why Marshall's book, How Jesus Passes the Outsider Test: The Inside Story,is really bad. In fact, it's so bad I'm using the word "refutation" for what I'm about to do to it. I hardly ever use that word because refutations are usually unachievable in these kinds of debates. If I'm largely successful then it also says something about Dr. Randal Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written Marshall's book. No educated intellectual should think it's worthy of any kind of a blurb either. Rauser blurbed it saying, “Delightful riposte . . . rhetorical wit and the cosmopolitan vision of a true world citizen!” On his blog Rauser additionally recommended it saying, "While I don’t think much of Loftus’s faltering attempt to make an enduring contribution to serious academic discourse, I do think highly of Marshall’s eloquent rebuttal of it." Drs. Miriam Adeney and Ivan Satyavrata also recommend Marshall's book.

Here we go then, little ole me against four, count 'em, four Ph.D.'s. What chance might I have? How dare I even try?

David Marshall's Latest Book, Little Ado About Something

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Coming shortly may be the last two posts of mine for a little while, apart from brief announcements and quotes. I am fully engaged in writing another book, due March 31st. I'm also in the process of editing another anthology, on science and Christianity, with about ten authors on-board so far. At least, that's what I should be doing rather than blogging (we'll see). Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything from us here at DC.

Before turning my full attention to those tasks I need to show why David Marshall's book is anything but "Much Ado About Nothing." Randal Rauser has endorsed it with a blurb. I will attempt to show why Marshall's book is really bad. If successful then it says something about Rauser, that he will say and endorse anything in order to defend his Christian faith. No educated intellectual should think Marshall's book is worthy of a blurb. No educated intellectual worthy the name would have written it.

Now this isn't to say Marshall's book is worthless. It has little ado rather than much ado. For Marshall is a Christian apologist who embraces The Outsider Test for Faith with a few caveats (OTF). I'm minimally thankful for this. But that's it. Stay tuned. The second post will be forthcoming soon.

How to Defend the Christian Faith

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Quote from atheists like Thomas Nagel or Jean Paul Sartre who say things you agree with. Throw them all together and let them make your case for you. Then forget or ignore why these people are atheists in the first place.

A February Class Offering On My Latest Anthology, "Christianity is Not Great"

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A reminder. A class offering based on my latest anthology, "Christianity is Not Great" will be held in February. To read more about this class and sign up then follow this link. (Details to be found there).

That's right, come study my latest book with me, Christianity is Not Great.

Yes, anyone can sign up. It should be very informative as it's such a huge book. As an extra bonus I'll contact the contributors to the chapters with the best questions from students of the class!

If you don't plan on taking the class and you know of someone else who might be interested, then please send them this link. Or better yet, post it to your wall even if you don't plan on taking it. Thanks!!

*Ahem* The Cover of My Next Book

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John Loftus vs David Marshall: "Does Christianity Pass the Outsider Test for Faith?" Part 1

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Justin Brierley hosts the very popular Christian podcast Unbelievable? He's an amicable guy, but he's clearly not as neutral or objective of an interviewer as he portrays himself. Before agreeing to have this discussion with David Marshall, who had written a book on the OTF, I had insisted on equal time. However, it was a bit annoying up until the 28 minute mark to sit and listen to so much drivel without a good chance to respond. So when I was given a chance to speak at length (after the 28 minute mark) I came up with 5 objections to what was being said. Justin subsequently took each one of my objections and had a discussion about them. This is not what he did when Marshall spoke. There were many times in the interview where Marshall said things I wanted to respond to, but wasn't given the same chance. LINK. I can understand that, but it was annoying. Part 2 is next week. It was pre-recorded.

John Loftus Interviewed On the Drew Marshall Show 1/17/15

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New Paperback of "God or Godless" Available on Amazon Cheap

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Do you want the paperback to my co-written book (with Randal Rauser) "God or Godless"? It's available right now for just $1.98. I can't say how long the price will remain this cheap. It's cheaper with postage than a Kindle version. Get it, titled, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions.

College Accreditation Should Be Denied To All Evangelical Institutions That Require Professors To Sign Doctrinal Statements

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Here is an example of why people subscribe to this blog. We consistently produce interesting discussions. Here is another one that I'm introducing today. We have addressed the problem with institutions of higher learning that require their professors to sign doctrinal statements before, especially here, but also here and here. This is a typical doctrinal statement:
We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are verbally and plenarily inspired of God, are inerrant in the original writings, and are the infallible authority in all matters of faith and conduct (II Timothy 3:16).
Evangelical scholars who teach for evangelical and other sectarian colleges must sign similar doctrinal statements every year. Some students are required to sign them in order to graduate, or so I've heard. Why do they need this if the evidence for evangelical and sectarian scholarship is there in the first place? Why are they needed if the goal is the search for truth in a world of religious confusion?

Evangelical backward thinking colleges seek legitimization. Gaining accreditation is one way to do that. So accreditation should be denied these colleges. Do it now! Apply this retroactively to sectarian colleges who already have accreditation. Colleges like Biola University. No, I am not kidding. The principle to be used in denying them accreditation is that signing doctrinal statements disqualifies a higher institution of learning worthy of the name from accreditation.

When It Comes to Christianity, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

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Both are "Slain in the Spirit"
One Point Where Both Atheists and Believers are in Honest Agreement

12 Really Bad Religious Ideas That Have Made the World Worse, By Valerie Tarico

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Michael Shermer's New Book Is Now Available, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom

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Consider ordering Shermer's book today, The Moral Arc: How Science and Reason Lead Humanity toward Truth, Justice, and Freedom. It looks like a good one!

The Second Wave of New Atheism is Here

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Here's a note I received from Professor Dan Lambert. Is it possible that Peter Boghossian and I are representative of the next wave of atheism after the Four Horsemen? He thinks so. Woooo Hooooo!
Hi John. I'm headed to a conference in Phoenix this week called Christianity21. I'll be presenting on you & Peter Boghossian and the growing tide of antitheism as evidenced by the growing sales of your books and the interest in Street Epistemology. Hopefully you'll both see a slight uptick in book sales and web traffic Friday & Saturday.

The crux of my presentation is that the America Church is in the midst of a second Copernican Revolution and that the increasingly aggressive proselytizing by antitheists such as you and Pete represents the next wave of atheism after the Four Horsemen. The juxtaposition of these events will usher in a new, stripped down Christianity that will return to majoring on the major themes of orthodoxy while allowing, an even encouraging, more liberty in the non-essentials as was true in the early days of the Church. I want to continue to push church leaders to read as many of your books and those you recommend as possible.
Dr. Hector Avalos tells me that in his forthcoming book, The Bad Jesus, he speaks of a Second Wave of New Atheism, which he defines as atheist advocates "who have more formal training in philosophy, biblical studies and theology." I would like to have some kind of fuller list as to who might be representative of this Second Wave. I know Dr. Avalos would be in it for sure.

Are Apologists Posing As Archaeologists Destroying Ancient Finds In Search of Biblical Texts?

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A team of archaeologists at Acadia Divinity College in Wolfville, Nova Scotia are dismantling ancient mummy masks to access the papyrus texts. They're looking for biblical texts and in the process destroying archaeological finds like this mummy mask to the left. There are fears of improper research done by Christian apologists. They're treating biblical texts with a higher degree of value than other ancient texts. LINK. This practice should stop. Let's implement Hector Avalos's call for the end of biblical studies now, seen in his book The End of Biblical Studies.

'I Lied', Says Boy Who Claimed to Have Gone to Heaven

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Gullible Christians lapped up this bat shit crazy stuff, making liars rich. Why, I outta start a church or something!! ;-)
Sat 17 Jan 2015, By Antony Bushfield

A popular book about a Christian boy describing his time in heaven after he fell into a coma has been pulled from the shelves. Alex Malarkey has admitted he made up the story inside The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven for attention. He had claimed to have went to heaven and even met Jesus Christ whilst in a coma after a car crash in 2004. But he has now said it was a lie and he made up the story in the 2010 book. In a blog post he said:

"I did not die. I did not go to heaven. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough."

The publisher, Tyndale House, has said it will stop selling the book but has not made any further comment. LINK.

42% of UK Christian Men Admit "Porn Addiction"

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The stats:
30% Church leaders who access porn on the Internet more than once a month
42% Christian men who say they have a 'porn addiction'
90% Christians who believe the Church does not adequately support porn users
75% Christian men who view pornography on a monthly or less regular basis
10% Christian men who say they have paid for sex LINK

Treat Believers As if They Are Six Years Old

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Are you frustrated that most believers stare back at you with that blank caught-in-the-headlights look as you ask them to think about their faith? Is it maddening to you? Are you scratching your hair out and looking balder by the day? Then here's a solution for you. It's not for everyone. Atheists who are not so frustrated and encouraged that they're making a difference should keep on doing what they're doing. But others might consider taking the following advice. Treat believers as if they are six years old. Al Blazo, a friend of mine, suggested doing something brilliant with this in an email. It's also hilarious:

How Secular Family Values Stack Up, by Phil Zuckerman

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Very well, says Zuckerman. But we already knew that!
The number of American children raised without religion has grown significantly since the 1950s, when fewer than 4% of Americans reported growing up in a nonreligious household, according to several recent national studies. That figure entered the double digits when a 2012 study showed that 11% of people born after 1970 said they had been raised in secular homes. This may help explain why 23% of adults in the U.S. claim to have no religion, and more than 30% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 say the same.

So how does the raising of upstanding, moral children work without prayers at mealtimes and morality lessons at Sunday school? Quite well, it seems...

My own ongoing research among secular Americans — as well as that of a handful of other social scientists who have only recently turned their gaze on secular culture — confirms that nonreligious family life is replete with its own sustaining moral values and enriching ethical precepts. Chief among those: rational problem solving, personal autonomy, independence of thought, avoidance of corporal punishment, a spirit of “questioning everything” and, far above all, empathy.

For secular people, morality is predicated on one simple principle: empathetic reciprocity, widely known as the Golden Rule. Treating other people as you would like to be treated. It is an ancient, universal ethical imperative. And it requires no supernatural beliefs. LINK.

The Moderates Who Aren't: A Mirage We Can't Help Chasing

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I have been of opinion quite some time that when it comes to Islam, there are no “moderates”; only reformists. If you are not a proponent of radical reforms in Islam and you call yourself a moderate, you may as well simply call yourself a hypocrite. Because orthodox Islam is in such sharp contrast with modern values of modernism and basic human rights, that trying to present it as tolerant and peaceful, which essentially negates the need for reform, is nothing but deceitful. This certainly doesn’t make the average Muslim on the street (who likely cares more about paying rent than defending doctrine) violent; but it does show why Muslim public figures trying to claim violence is not about Islam untrustworthy and opportunistic.

I'll Be On the Drew Marshall Show at 2:40 PM EST Today, Jan 17

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LINK.

Some New Arguments Against Religion

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There is no shortage of arguments against religion. Some are practical in nature, others are philosophical. Some aim to discredit theism in general, others target specific propositions of Christianity, Islam, and so on. These arguments come from a huge variety of fields, including textual criticism, historical criticism, archaeology, anthropology, evolutionary biology, cosmology, sociology, logic, the philosophy of mind, and epistemology. Many are by themselves sufficient to render religious belief unreasonable, but together they constitute an overwhelming case against faith-based beliefs in “truths” privately revealed by supernatural agents to human prophets.

While working on a forthcoming book, a few arguments occurred to me that I either couldn’t find in the literature, or don’t think are represented the way they should be, given their strength. Two of these arguments are, as far as I can tell, new. I’d be very interested to know what readers think.

So, here goes:

WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?

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One of the major reasons Christianity should be rejected is in its daily reality and application.  Believers are instructed in the New Testament (especially by Jesus himself in the Gospels), that Christians should offer the attacking person the other side of their face (Matt. 5: 39 = Luke 6: 29) and if a believer is sued for their shirt, he or she should give them their coat too (Matt. 4: 40 = Luke 6: 29); but these points follow as closing statements to Jesus’ master ethical sermon on Christian practicality commonly known as The Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 4: 24 – 5: 2 = Mark 3: 7 – 13 = Luke 6: 17 – 20a).  In short, Christians are to have Jesus Christ as their example.
Before you watch this real life video, I would ask believers to apply the totality of Jesus’ Gospel teachings in handling this person’s misunderstanding this past Christmas Day at a MacDonalds.  If your response would be to “Call the police!” then I must ask where in either the Gospels or Paul’s letters can you support this (secular) action? Now watch this real life video and ask yourself WWJD?

Praise God in All Things, Right?

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(Ephesians 5:20; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; James 5:13)

Alan Colmes of Fox Radio Interviewed John Loftus [Nov. 3rd 2014]

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In February I'll Be Offering Another Class On My Latest Book "Christianity Is Not Great"

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That's right, come study my latest book with me, Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails.To read more about this class and sign up follow this link. Yes, anyone can sign up. It should be very informative for the students as it's such a huge book. As an extra bonus I'll contact the contributors to the chapters with the best questions from students of the class!

The Definition Refutation: Christians, You Don't Get To Define The Word "Faith" For Us

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Victor Reppert, David Marshall and Randal Rauser have repeatedly said atheists must abide by their definitions of the word "Faith"--then they have all defined that word differently. *cough* Not so. Not at all. Not even close. Here is the definition refutation of such tomfoolery:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: This Is Embedded In Islam!

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