Dr. Bill Craig, Frank Walton, and me.

Frank Walton criticized me for basically name-dropping on his site.

I noticed Frank doesn't allow for any comments on his blog, like I have allowed him on mine. I'm not opposed to differing opinions. They help us to think and they make us grow. So I've decided to publish what he said and try to offer a response. I did eliminate one reference to Dr. Craig though, okay? :)

Some thoughts:

I'm not sure what he means when he says Carrier and Barker are trying to make a name off of Christians. Such a claim doesn't really make sense to me. They just want to debunk Christianity, like I do.

The accusation of name-dropping isn't so bad if that's the best charge he can make against me, now is it? And while he misaccuses me of some ad hominem argument, he should focus on the substance of what I put on my blog, even if I'm merely providing links to other arguments.

Take for example Richard Carrier's few paragraphs copied in my previous post, below. Frank, try dealing with that next time, okay?

I'll be updating my blog/links listings from time to time, depending on the content of those blogs. Don't be surprised if I delete yours if that's the best you can do. I want reasonable links and/or blogs, and it may take me a while to find the best ones--ones which don't resort to ridicule and contain a higher level of thinking. I'm looking for suggestions to make this blog a pretty damn good one.

Frank Walton:
What Loftus is saying in effect is this, "I know that Dr. Craig is one of the greatest modern Christian thinkers. I was even a student of his! But guess what, I'm not a Christian anymore. Which goes to show how unconvincing Dr. Craig is!"

Actually, what I'm saying is that the arguments just aren't there, period, no matter who the defender of Christianity happens to be. If it's true of Dr. Craig's arguments, then it should be true of most all other apologists, although, I know I'm just speaking for myself.

By telling you I was his former student I got your attention, didn't I? What's wrong with that? People usually want to know of our credentials. Isn't that something you'd like to know? If you were a former student of his, I'm sure we'd hear about it too.

In a way, I would like to pressure Bill into debating me. I had initially asked him if he would want to co-author a book as a dialogue between a professor and former student, but he declined, saying "that would give me no joy."

I will say this though, it took a major crisis in my life plus nearly six intense years of thinking and soul-searching to break free from the arguments I had once defended. The last two beliefs of mine I rejected were the resurrection of Jesus and then later the belief in God. These two beliefs of mine were so well ingrained within me, especially as the result of Dr. Craig's teaching and writing, that they were the last ones I rejected. For me, his arguments were very tough to break free of, but in the end, I did break free of them. Not because of rebellion against God or him, but just as the result of the logical educated process of thought.

Another thing. I like Bill very much. I recently told him that I have nothing personal against him, and that I was sorry if I am an embarrassment to him. But the arguments just were not there, period. I have to follow what I believe to be the truth. That's all I can do.

And since I don't believe in Christianity, I want to help others break free from it's narrow-minded, superstitious, guilt producing, and pre-scientific thinking.

21 comments:

Don Jr. said...

Personally, I understand the whole "getting your attention" thing, although I think maybe at times you go a little overboard with all the "used to be a student of Craig" references. That aside, while I respect you and because I respect you, seeing the last paragraph of your blog entry here was very disappointing. Calling Christianity bigoted, narrow-minded, and all those other things, is not only (unwarrantedly) degrading towards Christianity, it's just a flat out lie. (It's not a joke or something to be taken lightly in calling a group of people bigots. That's a serious charge, more serious than most people seem to realize. Maybe because, for the most part, racial discrimination is not present any more, people do not realize the seriousness of that claim. Bigots don't just disagree with you. The KKK are bigots. To equate the frame of mind of a Christian with the KKK is not a joke.) Admittingly, some Christians may be all those things you mentioned, but so are individuals from other religions and some atheists as well. But to see you pigeon-whole all Christians like that (by saying that Christianity was all those things thus implying that for someone to be a true Christian he or she had to have all those qualities as well) was very disappointing.

Don Jr. said...

As regards the "what you said was a lie" thing, you would have to maintain that Dr. William Lane Craig, just as one example, either (1) is not really a Christian or (2) is in fact all those things you mentioned. If you're not willing to assert one of the above alternatives then what you said in the last paragraph of your blog entry is a flat out lie (and in that case would be confirmed as such by your own, even if implicit, admission).

Steven Carr said...

Loftus was making a distinction between Christians and Christianity.

It is possible , you know, to love the sinner and hate the sin.

Don Jr. said...

Christians hold to Christianity. Are you suggesting that we not refer to KKK members as racists; but rather just say that "KKK-ianity" is racist. And if you'd like to address any specific points in what I said, Steven, and how I went wrong, then I would be glad to hear them.

By the way, loving the sinner doesn't mean that the sinner isn't a sinner; it means the sinner is still a human being worthy of being loved. That's great if John still loves Christians; that, however, doesn't erase the fact that he thinks (or at least stated) that they, among other things, are narrow-minded bigots. And what exactly the point of your bringing the "hate the sin, love the sinner" thing up was, is beyond me.

Steven Carr said...

Didn't Jesus say you should treat some people the way you would treat pagans?

Treating whole groups of people , because they belong to a particular group is the definition of racist.

Frank Walton said...

Loftus: I noticed Frank doesn't allow for any comments on his blog...

Walton: I was going to but due to the overwhelming amount of threats and childish emails I receive from atheists I decided to take off the comment sections for fear of atheists posting inappropriate materials. You talk about "narrow-minded, bigoted, superstitious, guilt producing, pre-scientific, and simplistic thinking" people! That's exactly what I'm getting from atheists and then some!

Loftus: I'm not sure what he means when he says Carrier and Barker are trying to make a name off of Christians. Such a claim doesn't really make sense to me. They just want to debunk Christianity, like I do.

Walton: Oh, please! Don't play innocent Mr. Loftus. The truth is you wouldn't get any more attention had you had Dr. Craig's name all over your blogsite. If you're blog is all about "debunking Christianity" then why have Dr. Craig's name all over it? As you said, "I got your attention, didn't I?" Because that's what you need isn't it? More attention at the expense of Dr. Craig's name.

I really don't think you are as astute on Dr. Craig as you say you are. For instance, I find it amazing that you don't have his most popular book Reasonable Faith. That's like studying St. Augustine without reading Confessions!

Loftus: The accusation of name-dropping isn't so bad if that's the best charge he can make against me, now is it?

Walton: Best charge against you? Honestly, I hardly even had to try when posting this blog. Besides, I think my previous discourse with you was better than this one.

Loftus: And while he misaccuses me of some ad hominem argument, he should focus on the substance of what I put on my blog, even if I'm merely providing links to other arguments.

Walton: LOL, Strawman. I have dealt with the uh "substance" of your blogs before. For instance, your take on Dr. Craig's inner witness of the Holy Spirit. You obviously didn't have a full grasp of the proper basic belief - which has me questioning as to whether you really studied well under Dr. Craig, with all due respect.

Loftus: Take for example Richard Carrier's few paragraphs copied in my previous post, below. Frank, try dealing with that next time, okay?

Walton: LOL, Red Herring and straw man. *SIGH* Mr. Loftus, please, try to be fair and don't delude yourself into these sorts of tactics. I dealt with a blog of yours before and you know that. But now your feigning innocence as to whether I did deal with a blog of yours by bringing up a blog on Carrier. Is this how you dealt with Dr. Craig?

Loftus: I'll be updating my blog/links listings from time to time, depending on the content of those blogs. Don't be surprised if I delete yours if that's the best you can do.

Walton: I'm not so sure why you're being so paranoid. Whether you want to delete my blog or not doesn't matter to me. I'll have my blogpost up anyway on my site.

Loftus: Actually, what I'm saying is that the arguments just aren't there, period, no matter who the defender of Christianity happens to be.

Walton: There you have it, people! It doesn't matter who the defender is yet he decides to put Dr. Craig's name up anyway.

Loftus: By telling you I was his former student I got your attention, didn't I?

Walton: You certainly did!

Loftus: What's wrong with that?

Walton: Nothing, really, it's your blogsite. However, I find it peculiar that your website is committed to debunking Christianity yet you drop Dr. Craig's name like Malcom X dropping Elijah Muhammad's name. All the while (and this is my opinion) you haven't thoroughly studied Dr. Craig. You don't even have his most popular book for crying out loud!

Loftus: People usually want to know of our credentials. Isn't that something you'd like to know? If you were a former student of his, I'm sure we'd hear about it too.

Walton: Not necessarily. I know plenty of people who studied under Dr. Craig but they hardly ever use his name as a part of their credentials.

Hey, don't let me stop you from dropping Dr. Craig's name. If you need the attention go nutts! I don't think you even qualify to dropping Dr. Craig's name anyway; seeing how you don't have one of his most important books nor do you seem to understand the proper basic belief of God frought from Dr. Craig's book.

Anyway, that's just how I feel.

John W. Loftus said...

Don Jr., sorry to have hit a nerve. I'm supposing the word "bigot" connotes something with you that it doesn't with me.

According to Webster's 10th Collegiate Dictionary:

A "bigot" "is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices."

"Narrow-minded" means "lacking in tolerance or breadth of vision."

I do fault Christians with these things, from my perspective. Just think, atheists are going to hell so we can deride them. Atheists don't have a reason to be moral, so let's be suspicious of them and/or avoid them and not hire them. Atheists want their freedom to believe as they wish in America too, but let's ignore their wishes and walk all over them in the public square.

When it comes to Christians being "simplistic" I would have to admit that many Christians are not this way at all. In fact, Christianity itself is quite a complex set of beliefs and doctrines, especially when compared to Deism.

But upon learning I was a former believer most Christians will tell me to read and believe the Bible, come to their church, hear their pastor preach or to pray, as if that's all I need to do to regain my faith. And that, my friend, is very simplistic.

Since the word "bigot" connotes things that may be misleading I will delete that word from my blog.

Since the word "simplistic" does not adequately describe all Christians and Christianity as a whole, I will also delete that word.

John W. Loftus said...

Frank, you will learn that I am polite with people I disagree with (for the most part).

I do not usually have the killer instinct when I'm dealing with people in a discussion in the comments section, but if I had wanted to I could have made a mockery of what you believe about the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and proper basicality. Mostly all you apparently know to say about it is this: "Read Plantinga."

And your suggestion that because Muslims do not have a concept of the Holy Spirit does not mean in the slightest that Allah could not do all of the things that the Holy Spirit purportedly does in Reformed epistemology.

And I still find it humourous that you keep harping on the fact that from reading and possessing Craig's prior popular book, and having concluded that the arguments are unconvincing, that I should also fork over the money to buy his revised book as if I need it to speak to what he believes or that it contains the additional paragraphs that will challenge me to the core.

I actually was thinking about buying the book, but now I don't think I will--just for you!

John W. Loftus said...

Walton:
I was going to (allow comments) but due to the overwhelming amount of threats and childish emails I receive from atheists I decided to take off the comment sections for fear of atheists posting inappropriate materials....

My response:
Well, I'll probably get that too. But if I treat people who disagree with me with a sense of respect, then they will more than likely try to do likewise.

Sometimes you treat your opponents as if they are brain dead. Surely you don't think that way, but if you do, then expect that they will fire back at you.

5:06 PM

Frank Walton said...

Loftus: Frank, you will learn that I am polite with people I disagree with (for the most part).

Walton: I didn't say that you weren't polite. You seem like a nice chap.

Loftus: I do not usually have the killer instinct when I'm dealing with people in a discussion in the comments section, but if I had wanted to I could have made a mockery of what you believe about the inner witness of the Holy Spirit and proper basicality.

Walton: *SHRUGS* Well, thank you for not taking that route.

Loftus: Mostly all you apparently know to say about it is this: "Read Plantinga."

Walton: I've shown that you've misunderstood Craig's view of proper basic beliefs; and even shown how you totally overlooked Dr. Craig's assessment of it. Furthermore, you hardly made a response against Dr. Craig's contention of the immediate experience of God. Thus, I told you to read Plantinga to have a better knowledge of it. Don't you think it would be a good idea to read and study something you're criticizing?

Loftus: And your suggestion that because Muslims do not have a concept of the Holy Spirit does not mean in the slightest that Allah could not do all of the things that the Holy Spirit purportedly does in Reformed epistemology.

Walton: LOL, again, this shows how you totally misunderstand Plantinga. Muslims and Christians have two totally different epistemological methods. At least you can try to understand the distinction. Instead you just flippantly mold them together.

Loftus: And I still find it humourous that you keep harping on the fact that from reading and possessing Craig's prior popular book, and having concluded that the arguments are unconvincing, that I should also fork over the money to buy his revised book as if I need it to speak to what he believes or that it contains the additional paragraphs that will challenge me to the core.

Walton: You know what' more humorous, Mr. Loftus is when someone claims to know somebody's work yet deliberately decides to not study him properly. That's sloppy scholarship if you ask me.

Loftus: I actually was thinking about buying the book, but now I don't think I will--just for you!

Walton: Oh, stop it! You're really hurting my feelings! So much for being polite. LOL, honestly, Loftus, if that's what you want to do, that's fine with me. You are proof of someone who deliberately overlooks, ignores, or shuns more information and evidence when it's readily available to you.

Frank Walton said...

Loftus: Well, I'll probably get that too. But if I treat people who disagree with me with a sense of respect, then they will more than likely try to do likewise.

Walton: I tried that too. But I only had atheists come back at me with more vitriolic and cartoon-like attitudes.

Loftus: Sometimes you treat your opponents as if they are brain dead. Surely you don't think that way, but if you do, then expect that they will fire back at you.

Walton: Speaking from experience, I'd get it from them anyway. Look, since, I had my website and blogsite up I had atheist Reginald Finley unscrupulously harass me by having my home address and phone number published publicly. Had an atheist pretend he was me while spreading pornographic materials, lies, and God knows what else on public guestbooks and forums. Atheists can be some of the most foul-minded and sickening low-lifes. The humour I use is clean satire ("brain dead" and "dumb blonde" etc.). The "humour" they use is literally pornographic and life-threatening.

Don Jr. said...

John, you say,

Just think, atheists are going to hell so we can deride them. Atheists don't have a reason to be moral, so let's be suspicious of them and/or avoid them and not hire them. Atheists want their freedom to believe as they wish in America too, but let's ignore their wishes and walk all over them in the public square.

And this is the way you thought when you were a Christian? And this is the way you think all Christians—all true Christians—think? If not, then it is blatantly incorrect and disingenuous to say that Christianity demands it.

You go on to add:

But upon learning I was a former believer most Christians will tell me to read and believe the Bible, come to their church, hear their pastor preach or to pray, as if that's all I need to do to regain my faith. And that, my friend, is very simplistic.

And I acknowledged that some Christians are narrow-minded and bigoted; but how does it follow that Christianity itself is as such? If you're going to use that logic then every religion, worldview, and mindset in existence (including atheism) would probably be bigoted, since some of those that ascribe to it might happen, by chance, to be bigots (or narrow-minded or superstitious persons).

What I have said here goes for every single characteristic—narrow-mindedness, etc.—that you attribute to Christianity. Thinking that because so and so is such and such a person and so and so holds to a particular view that, therefore, said particular view requires members of type such and such is just poor (one might even say simplistic) reasoning.

John W. Loftus said...

Don Jr.

When I speak of Christianity, I refer to evangelical or fundamentalist Christianity. Maybe I should make that clear somewhere. And while you are right that there are exceptions to every generalization, even fundamentalist Christianity, what I wrote is still true as a generalization from my perspective, and I could defend it.

But the bottom line is that I do not believe Christianity is true. And any belief that is acted upon that is not true will cause varying degrees of harm.

------------
Frank, sorry to hear of that.

Steven Carr said...

Walton 'You know what' more humorous, Mr. Loftus is when someone claims to know somebody's work yet deliberately decides to not study him properly. That's sloppy scholarship if you ask me.'

Loftus has spent more time in the company of Craig than either of us....

Albert said...

JWL said "And since I don't believe in Christianity, I want to help others break free from it's narrow-minded, superstitious, guilt producing, and pre-scientific thinking."

You know JWL there's more to Christianity than what you experienced. Unfortunately you've gone from dogmatic Christianity to dogmatic atheism. Life is much more complex than that.

Albert said...

JWLm here's a different flavour of Christianity for you
www.tcpc.org

John W. Loftus said...

Albert, thanks but no thanks. If the historical version won't do, then why bother maintaining it. That would be like maintaining the horse & buggy after the invention of automobiles.

Albert said...

So what you're saying JWL is that if evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity is not true then all talk of God and religion is bunk. That's close minded. But it makes it easy for you to write a blog like this not having to entertain other options. In fact if you look on the web the vast majority of "discussion" is centered around a simplistic literal intrpretation of religious texts. You know it's a big world out there JWL, you ought to do yourself a favour and have a look around some time instead of always hanging out with the Lowder/Carrier/Barker gang.

Albert said...

Or in the name of honesty you could change the name of your blog to "Debunking Evangelical/Fundamentalist Christianity".

John W. Loftus said...

Albert, that's a very good thought. I'm considering it, or I could just spell out the kind of Christianity I'm debunking in the header.

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