An Analogy of the Bible

Meet the Bible:  Not Dead Yet!
The Bible is like a very elderly senile citizen who can’t be historically linked to any known birth records (literary origins); a person who is incoherent and out of touch with reality. 

Yet, with the love of her children (the believers) and her attorneys (the apologists) using creative ingenuity (theology) along with the denial of reality (science), she (the Bible) is lovingly supported by the arms and allowed to apologetically shuffle along.

(This is a revised analogy of the Bible I wrote 14 years ago.)

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Today I want to express the gratitude I experience all year long.

I’m grateful for being alive now in this era, rather than in the barbaric past, or what looks like the coming worldwide religious wars, and/or global disasters in the future. I’m also thankful I have been healthy enough to live longer than most human beings have ever lived, and that I have had more wealth than most people on the planet can dream about, and that I’ve never gone a day without the essentials of life. I’m also grateful for my family and personal friends who, like me, have never known the violence we see in many parts of the world today. I’m also grateful to have broken out of the cave of superstition, and knowing I’m one of the lucky few who see the universe and our world as it is, without pretending there is a mind-reading barbaric deity telling us what to do, such that we have the privilege of figuring it out for ourselves, and doing a much better job of it. Yes, I am thankful that the forces of nature just happened to give me and others these wonderful gifts. I’m thankful I’ll have the privilege of dying, since that is the price I must pay for being alive, and knowing that upon dying I’ll return to the same state I was in before being born, rather than suffering eternally because I could not believe in a deity that lacked sufficient evidence.

It's not just me who is thankful. Yes, the godless can ‘give thanks’ — and here is how we do it

Announcing the Audio Book of "Why I Became an Atheist"

Yep, my first book published by Prometheus Books is now available on Audible as an audio book. Just click here to get it, or here. This audio book could be a great gift for the growing number of people who drive a distance to work and back, or who are bedridden, or prefer listening to it while sipping on some wine in the afternoon or in the evening just before going to sleep. It could also be used in discussion groups. This book is my magnum opus, that is, my most important work. Directly underneath the cover photo is a play button to hear a sample from narrator Buzz Kemper. That's all I've heard so far myself, and he does a wonderful job, better than I would have done if I had read it. It's published by Pitchstone Publishing, which was founded by Kurt Volkan in 2003, and has published a number of books by important atheists like Ronald Lindsay, Dan Barker, Sean Faircloth, Herb Silverman, Daniel Dennett, Hemant Metha, Peter Boghossian, Phil Torres, James Lindsay, Greta Christina, Ryan T. Cragun, Dan Arel, Amanda Knief, Matthew O’Neil, myself and others. To see the list of books so far click here, and then click on a book to read more. It's an honor to be a Pitchstone published author just as I'm honored to be a Prometheus Books author/editor. Enjoy.

Why Atheists Must Assert Jesus Never Existed

In the Afterword to Raphael Lataster’s latest book, Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists, Richard Carrier addresses the Academic Biblical Academy:  With this book, Jesus Did Not Exist:  A Debate Among Atheists, Raphael Lataster has certainly demonstrated at the very least one thing; the entire field of Biblical Studies should be taking this question seriously; yet they have not.  This has to stop.  They need to either build a more defensible case for historicity, one that does not violate logic or rely on non-existent evidence, or they need to officially recognize, at the very least, that historicity agnosticism is a credible response to what little evidence there is.  The Academy needs to stop lying about the evidence or about the argument of peer-review experts who challenge historicity.  They need to address those arguments as actually made, and the evidence as actually presented.  And Lataster has shown that this isn’t what the experts are doing.  So what should they do?”  (Quoted from Jesus Did Not Exist:  A Debate Among Atheists, p. 417)

Quote of the Day, by Dan Parks in Defending the Hebrew View of the Universe With Discussion

Dan Parks:
I’ve found it interesting that it is very similar to that of ancient native Americans, thousands of years before the time of Abraham. It was the old world “science” of that time of the writings of the ancient Hebrews. Now, if Genesis 1:1–2:3 is a protohistorical-polemical-calendrical-liturgical composition of old world scientific non-revelatory conceptions of origins (received by the learned men), infused with revelatory conceptions (received by supernatural modes), then the Bible could reasonably be considered by faith to be trustworthy concerning creation because: (a) the divinely-revealed revelatory conceptions (that God created the cosmos, humans, animals and vegetation) have not been debunked by science, as it is not inconsistent with God to create over a vast amount of time or create humans that evolve from less complex animals (and I’ve built an argument that God is more likely create an OEC world versus a YEC world); and (b) such a view of Scripture (infusion of the human and the divine) is consistent with plenary-verbal inspiration and a qualified inerrancy (2 Tim. 3:16) that takes into account the divine objectives of progressive revelation, divine hiddenness in order to bring about a greater good.

New #1 Book In Atheism: "Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient World"

Battling the Gods: Atheism in the Ancient Worldwas written by Tim Whitmarsh, Professor of Greek Culture at the University of Cambridge. I like the blurbs, especially this one:
If you have ever wondered about premature skeptics who questioned beliefs held sacrosanct in their own time--such as religion or slavery in the ancient world--this is the book for you. In plain English, classics scholar Tim Whitmarsh explores the minds of those who doubted the existence of gods more than 2500 years ago and got into trouble because of their doubts. It is a pure delight to be introduced to people who questioned the supernatural long before modern science provided physical evidence to support the greatest insights of human reason. —Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism.
I taught introduction to philosophy classes and was always curious how some people in the ancient world could question the existence of god, or gods, without the scientific evidence we have in today's world, or the scientific method itself! This book is now on my wish list.

I Present to You the Universe as Conceived by Ancient Hebrews


So Christian, tell us again why you believe anything else that was said in the Bible about creation, rather than trust modern science? LINK.

Salon: "Sanders explained his democratic socialism in a speech last week that should be a wakeup call for America"

"The two political parties, who for decades have been neoliberal parties serving the interests of the capitalist class first and foremost, seem to be moving further apart. Since the ISIS attacks on Paris, some Republicans have started to sound increasingly like their fascist forbearers, while also talking about the importance of freedom. But the only candidate who offers the real freedom that so many great Americans have advocated in the past, it seems, is Bernie Sanders." LINK.

Catalog Description of "Christianity in the Light of Science: Critically Examining the World's Largest Religion"

My anthology Christianity in the Light of Science,will be about 380 pages and released in July of next year. I recently received the catalog description:

Why Isn't the Universe a Necessary Being?

This is in response to Plantinga's type of ontological argument. I ran into one today on Facebook. If I grant that a necessary being is possible then God cannot not exist and the Christian theist wins the day, it seems. So here's a challenge. I guess I like issuing them. ;-)

Show me why the universe is not a necessary being. I'm not sure you can rule that out as quickly as you think. Philosophical arguments are okay. Only the hard evidence matters. The universe is nothing like anyone would expect prior to Darwin, Einstein or quantum mechanics. So why would we think a philosophical argument prior to the available evidence should hold any weight at all?

"The Christian Apologetics Industry Has Met Its Match" a Review by David Madison

This is the title to Madison's kind review of my latest book, which can be read here. It just might be my best book yet. He cites the work of Richard Carrier and yours truly. I could add a dozen other scholars to his list. Added to the six other books I've had published (with the eighth one due out in July) hear him saying, "For any Christians who ARE up to the task of due diligence, this ‘Loftus library’ is mandatory homework." That's my goal, to create a library of books that totally undermine the credibility of Christianity in all of its forms. Enjoy.

Ex-Muslim Sarah Haider Brilliantly Dismantles Every Argument of the Liberal Left


Quote of the Day On Science, By Carl Sagan

The reason science works so well is partly that built-in error-correcting machinery. There are no forbidden questions in science, no matters too sensitive or delicate to be probed, no sacred truths. That openness to new ideas, combined with the most rigorous, skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, sifts the wheat from the chaff. It makes no difference how smart, august, or beloved you are. You must prove your case in the face of determined, expert criticism. Diversity and debate are valued. Opinions are encouraged to contend — substantively and in depth....Science is part and parcel humility. Scientists do not seek to impose their needs and wants on Nature, but instead humbly interrogate Nature and take seriously what they find. We are aware that revered scientists have been wrong. We understand human imperfection. We insist on independent and — to the extent possible — quantitative verification of proposed tenets of belief. We are constantly prodding, challenging, seeking contradictions or small, persistent residual errors, proposing alternative explanations, encouraging heresy. We give our highest rewards to those who convincingly disprove established beliefs. LINK.

Being an Expert Can Make You More Closed-Minded, Now What?

As my readers know, I'm interested in the following kinds of studies. The findings of this recent one "illustrate what's known as the "earned dogmatism" effect -- the tendency to think in a more closed-minded, or dogmatic, way when we consider ourselves to be an expert."
What are you an expert in? Whether it's politics, chemistry or playing an instrument, a new study finds there's one major downside to having in-depth knowledge of a certain subject.

Research from Loyola University of Chicago suggests that being an expert can make you more closed-minded -- and therefore less creative -- in your thinking. The study found that people who perceive themselves to be experts tend to be less open to new ideas and alternative viewpoints. LINK.
The article tells experts how to overcome their "earned dogmatism": "The findings suggest that the best way to be an expert is to work towards achieving mastery while reminding ourselves of how much we still don't know." That's great advice for us all. However, the evangelical minded expert has an answer book, the canonized writings of ancient superstitious men found in the uninterpreted Bible. Their Bible contains the source of all truth. Study it to find out how to raise kids, counsel prisoners, or learn about the origins of the universe, where humankind came from, why we're here, where we go when we die, and so forth. In other words, the antithesis of science.

Given these things, and the fact that most Christian experts were raised with their religion in the first place, Christian experts can be blind to the corrective nature of sufficient objective evidence. Sufficient objective evidence is the corrective to anything false we were taught as children. But because Christian experts have a Bible, they allow for argument substitution, where an argument substitutes for evidence. They do this because they are "less open to new ideas and alternative viewpoints."

But look what can be done with argument substitution. Stephen Law warned us about it when he wrote, “Anything based on faith, no matter how ludicrous, can be made to be consistent with the available evidence, given a little patience and ingenuity.” (Believing Bullshit, p. 75). Since this is the case we shouldn't accept any substitute for sufficient objective evidence when it comes to claims of virgin births, or resurrections from the dead, nor when it comes to questions about matters of fact like the nature of nature, and its workings. These findings show that Christians and their experts should do what agnostics, free-thinkers and atheists are already doing when we think exclusively in terms of the probabilities based on the evidence. Am I right or am I right? ;-) Whenever asked what makes for an open-minded person I respond that it's the person who is open to the results of science.

New Book by Raphael Lataster and Richard Carrier: "Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists"

Back in April of 2012 I wrote a post titled, Did Jesus Exist? An All Out War Is Going On. It's not over but there is less rancor between atheists. The war was at it's worst just after the publication of Bart Ehrman's 2013 book, which was titled, Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth.With the publication of Richard Carrier's 2014 book, On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt, the intensity has subsided.There were other scholars involved of course, and the war might grow in intensity again if/when Robert Price and Bart Ehrman debate the issue. [I haven't heard for sure if they will]. The reason the war subsided is probably because all the available evidence and arguments have been put forth and discussed. My position is that at the very best, Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, as I argued in chapter 12 for The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails.Beyond this best case scenario, my claim is that The Jesus in the Gospels Never Existed! and that should be good enough for my purposes, letting bona fide historians tackle the question of his actual existence.

Now a new book by Raphael Lataster and Richard Carrier has come out, Jesus Did Not Exist: A Debate Among Atheists.It's a whopping 420 pages long. The book seems to be a summation and exposition of the debate so far. You can look at its description on Amazon and see inside the book for more. It purports to be written for a lay audience. One thing noteworthy is that Raphael Lataster is agnostic on the question of the existence of Jesus (just like Hector Avalos), whereas Carrier thinks it's a 67% probability Jesus did not exist.

Now There is a Zombie Nativity!

Hey, there's a kick-starter for a Zombie Nativity. What will they think of next? Follow the link to see more, buy a set, and/or donate. LINK.

The Second Democratic Primary Debate

Here is the recent Democratic primary debate if you missed it. I'll confess all candidates did very well. But we need a political revolution and Bernie is the man!

{Edit: The debate is no longer available].

Adam Gopnik on Darwin’s Brilliant Strategy for Preempting Criticism

I've previously recommended Brainpickings before, where Maria Popova sums up books containing good lessons for the rest of us. Here's one lesson she wrote about, highlighting Darwin's mark of genius, as told in a book by Adam Gopnik. What is it? The habit of "sympathetic summary," what we now call the "principle of charity." Gopnik tells us the heart of Darwin's brilliance "illuminates the secret to all successful critical argument":
A counterargument to your own should first be summarized in its strongest form, with holes caulked as they appear, and minor inconsistencies or infelicities of phrasing looked past. Then, and only then, should a critique begin. This is charitable by name, selfishly constructive in intent: only by putting the best case forward can the refutation be definitive. The idea is to leave the least possible escape space for the “but you didn’t understand…” move. Wiggle room is reduced to a minimum.

Darwin’s special virtue in this enterprise is that he had to summarize, sympathetically, views contrary to his own that did not yet exist except in his own imagination. His special shrewdness lay in making as large an emotional meal of the objections in advance as could be made; he preempted his critics by introjecting their criticisms. He saw what people might say, turned it into what they ought to say, and then answered. LINK.
Over the years as I have engaged Christian intellectuals, I have found that even the best of them cannot do this when critiquing atheism. I have even recommended Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk's book, 50 Great Myths About Atheism, that would help them. But none of them have ever replied, "Yes, I got that book, thanks John, and I intend to read and digest it." I know they haven't got the book, since they keep on saying the same damn ignorant things.

Sean Carroll On Six Arguments Used by Science Denialists

Christians must deny or denigrate science at some point to believe, but that doesn't bother them a bit. It's because they feel free to deny or denigrate the science that shows them wrong. How do they do it? Sean Carroll described six arguments used by science denialists that are right on the money!

The six arguments used by science denialists aim to:
1) Cast doubt on science.
2) Question the motives and integrity of scientists.
3) Magnify disagreements between scientists, especially to cite gadflies as authorities.
4) Exaggerate the potential harm coming from science.
5) Appeal to the need and value of personal freedom.
6) Object that accepting science repudiates some key point of philosophy.

Carroll argued the last one is very important. Evidence only matters to people who haven't dug in on that last point.

An Open Letter to Kenneth

Kenneth is a Christian who comments here. After reading his stuff I'd like to challenge him with an open letter. It may seem harsh, but he's been here a while and he can handle it:

You Can Now See Inside My New Book

You can now see inside my new book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist.I think this is helpful for potential buyers. When I click on this feature I see the blurbs, Dedication, Contents, Foreword, Introduction and the first few pages of chapter one.

An Incredible Test Derived From Phil Torres That Can Tell Beyond a Shadow Doubt Whether Believers are Honest People

Phil Torres kindly reviewed my new book, How to Defend the Christian Faith, which in my opinion deserves your up-vote. I want you to read again his most substantive complaint about my new book. His complaint is that "it was written 15 years too late!" That's right! He complains my book wasn't available much earlier in his life, when it could have helped him leave his faith. Let me quote him in full and then show we can derive a test to determine whether believers are honest people about their faith. I'll say it this way: Upon reading his challenge and the test derived from it, you can know beyond a shadow of doubt whether you're an honest person about your faith. Now I must come up with a catchy title for this test. Hmmmm, Rumspringa is a rite of passage for the Amish youth, which literally means "to run around." I like Rum, and I like the spring season, along with the letter "a". So I hereby declare this test to be named, the "Coming of Age Test for Faith" or CATF. [Don't ask me how that follows! ;-)]

A Good Review of My New Book, "How to Defend the Christian Faith"

Another review! This time by the "Book Shark." When I post links to reviews, if you think any of them are helpful to potential readers, ones that explain why readers should buy them, then click on the "Yes" button. I did. So far as it comes to explaining the contents along with the positives and negatives, this review may be the best one yet. LINK.

A New Kind of Ontological Argument

At least I haven't seen something like this before.

What to Understand about the "Infamous Loftus Ego" and How to Deal With That Rascal ;-)

I think the most often repeated complaint against me is that I'm thin-skinned, that I don't respond to criticism very well. Whew! That's a relief. At least I'm not being accused of jaywalking too! Jaywalking? Ahhh yes, I think I have done that on occasion. The undeniable fact is that we all have personality flaws. What's yours? No, really, WHAT'S YOURS? Biblical advice might be useful here: "How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?" And this: "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone." It would seem as though my critics want me to be more like them. But if I were more like them then I would have their faults rather then mine, since we all have faults. Sorry, I like my faults better than theirs, thank you very much! Despite mine I'm a really good person. Still, let me tell you how to deal with that so-called "infamous Loftus ego." ;-)

Lance Laven's Brilliantly Stated Deconversion Testimony

Lance Laven is a former minister and Clergy Project member. Using a limited number of words he rationally describes his deconversion. What I like best is that he's being honest in his conception of God. This conception led him to subsequently question the amount of people who would end up in hell, which in turn led him away from his faith. Christians who believe that the Ontological Argument leads to God's existence are in dishonest delusional denial. They should conceive of God in the same way Laven did if they are honest. Instead, they sneak in their own theology when conceiving their God, a theology they could never entertain independently of all sense perceptions, or before experiencing this particular world, or a priori. The God they conceive is a different God than what they are rationally entitled to conceive, if they used the ontological argument correctly. Enough from me. His words are eminently simple and brilliant. Simple is good!

Phil Torres Wrote a Brief Review Of My New Book, "How To Defend the Christian Faith"

On Facebook Phil Torres posted a link to a review he wrote for my book on Amazon. He introduced it with these words: "I found it to be a genuinely fascinating read, and I would strongly recommend it to both atheists and Christians alike. Loftus' approach is idiosyncratic but innovative, and the book is full of yummy little insights." LINK.

Dr. Abby Hafer's New Book Is Almost Out!

I was honored to be asked to write a blurb for this brilliant book of hers, titled The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not. I wrote a longer blurb but settled on this one: "Hafer’s ingenious strategy for dealing with creationists/Intelligent Design proponents has them by the balls!" You'll know why I said that if you read her book. Get it now and you'll have it very soon! She has also agreed to write a chapter for my next book, so look for that next July. From the book description:
Why do men's testicles hang outside the body? Why does our appendix sometimes explode and kill us? And who does the Designer like better, anyway--us or squid? These and other questions are addressed in The Not-So-Intelligent Designer: Why Evolution Explains the Human Body and Intelligent Design Does Not.

Dr. Abby Hafer argues that the human body has many faulty design features that would never have been the choice of an intelligent creator.

She also points out that there are other animals that got better body parts, which makes the Designer look a bit strange; discusses the history and politics of Intelligent Design and creationism; reveals animals that shouldn't exist according to Intelligent Design; and disposes of the idea of irreducible complexity.

Her points are illustrated with pictures, wit, and erudition.

What if Christians Went On Strike?

Thanks to EricD for making this.


Written three years ago this piece by Dr. Law provides for a good amount of discussion. Enjoy.

Censorship at Amazon!

Amazon is censoring my comments. People know that I argue my case but don't say anything that would require censorship on Amazon. I know the rules so I don't violate them. But Amazon is deleting my comments for reasons I can only guess. I suspect it's because I'm an atheist author. If you're as concerned as I am click here. Read on to the end of page two where I demand an explanation, and like that comment. Or, you can jump to it and like it. Anyone concerned about free speech should look into this.

Trump's Thanksgiving Plate


My latest column is about how Native Americans might see Donald Trump’s demand to deport all illegal immigrants. My essay also addresses the myth, most recently voiced by presidential candidate Bobby Jindal, that religious freedom made this country great.

Edited: Responding to the "Great Silence" On Amazon

The "Great Silence" edited his Amazon review. Now it begins with something false:
Edited to add : if you ever consider writing a review of one of Loftus' books, even a reasonable one like below, first read what Loftus and his cronies will regard as fair comment on such review. See the insecure smear "article" on Loftus' blog in response to this review. So, before you comment on anything Loftus writes, know that not all these paragons of rationality allow criticism or fair comment. I really have no idea why his publisher would allow him to conduct himself like this.
You know what? This is one thing that really grates on me. He is anonymous. Get it, anonymous. We don't know how old he is, where he lives, or if he's really a "he". I am a real person. This is my name. You can find out about me if you want to. But look at him, defending his honor and his name by smearing mine. This post below is the only thing I wrote about his review. It's still unchanged. How in the hell can I smear someone if he doesn't have a name? So tell you what, my faithful cronies, one and all, far and wide, vote his review down.. ;-) It's not true. It's the "Great Silence(r)" who wants to silence me from commenting on his review. It was that way from the start. I'm dogged by so many stupid people that sometimes it just makes me ill.
In an attempt to censor me from commenting on Amazon reviews, the "Great Silence" (an anonymous confessing Catholic) showed up. He(?) says it's unprofessional for me to comment on Amazon reviews of my books. Nice try but I'm not biting. Some people actually like discussing a book with the author, and I oblige them sometimes. It offers a chance to learn more by doing so, good or bad. It produces one or two more rounds of counter-argument and counter-counter-argument, which can better help people in their search for the truth. He prefers the professionalism of other authors who don't respond to reviews on Amazon. However, they could be seen in a different light than one of praiseworthy professionalism. They just might view themselves as too good to lower themselves to the rank-in-file commenters on Amazon. Who knows?