I Did It. It Was Me!

What I did here is wrong, and I admitted it. I'm sorry. But keep in mind that it takes a lot to provoke me. Holding and Co., provoked me for three years before I did this. And keep in mind that even a cuddly dog can be provoked to take a bite out of you.

Let me tell you something about me. I have personal problems, okay? Who doesn’t? I’ll not spell them all out here, but sometimes I exhibit personality traits I’m not proud of. That’s who I am. I am a perfectly reasonable man when treated with respect, but I can be seen as unreasonable when I am not. Some days I just don’t care. But how in the hell this personality trait of mine can legitimately lead one to reject my arguments is simply beyond me. It is a non-sequitur. I have never asked to be liked. That is not my goal. Many Christians do not like me. But I don’t care if they don’t. I know I’m a nice guy when treated nicely. Most of us are like that, so I’m normal with regard to that. But many Christians look for personality traits in me that might embarrass me and use that against me to show something about me, whatever that might be at the time.

Listen up. Christians are the first ones to say we are all sinners so I don’t want to hear that crap coming from them anymore. We can no more reject someone’s arguments because we don’t like them, than we can reject math because we don’t like our math teacher.

Anyone who has read Paul Johnson’s book The Intellectuals, knows that some of the brightest minds in recent centuries had personal problems, some of them were serious. Mine are not so serious. I may have an arrogant, stubborn streak, but many people who accomplish something in life have the same traits. While I am pretty much a “nobody” when compared to these “intellectuals,” their personal problems say nothing about their arguments, and they say nothing against the influence they had on society, either.

My rule of thumb is that I treat people respectfully, but if I detect that there is absolutely nothing I could say that would change their minds about me, I blast them, I ridicule them, I taunt them. To me it’s answering a fool according to his folly, “as the Bible say.” Other people have more discipline than that. They wouldn’t even bother with such people as that. For some personality fault of mine I do bother with them, and it causes me to sink to their level.

Then what usually happens is that Christians plaster what I said all over the web to show what a nasty person I am, taken out of context. The truth is I am not half as nasty as other people are on other sites, both Christian and non-Christian, even when I’m responding to such things in kind.

Anyway, I started up this blog about J.P. Holding and I’m being blasted for it here. [Edited. This Blog now belongs to J.P. Holding. See comments at the end to see why]. I responded in kind there for several pages in the space of a few hours. As you can tell I was taunting them all. There were nearly 30 people viewing the thread at one time, and that may be a record. But I have little respect for J.P. Holding and many of his gullible followers at TWEB. So I taunt, I argue, I ridicule, and as you can tell I was also having some honest fun with them. But it didn’t matter what they thought of me because nothing I said would ever change their minds about me. That is the context. When I’m in a situation like that I blast away, since it does not matter what I say, and so I did.

As far as my being dishonest goes, technically I was not dishonest, even if I was deceptive. I am not ethically obligated to tell everything that I know. No one is. Christians like St. Augustine claimed one could deceive others by having a hidden “mental reservation” in the mind. Even if I was dishonest I do not believe I did anything wrong because I hold to a consequentialist ethic. Even if I was dishonest it says nothing about my arguments. Even if I was dishonest it is such a small thing that I would be happy, very happy if that’s all I’ve ever done wrong. Even if I was dishonest it must be compared to JP Holding’s overwhelmingly dishonesty, and what I did pales by comparison. He is a scum bag.

The moral question is how to respond to a dishonest person like Holding, whom I regard as a liar. According to Sissela Bok, "To lie to a liar is to give him what he deserves, to play by his own rules, to restore an equilibrium he himself has upset." (p. 125). She has written a whole chapter about “lying to liars” in her book, Lying, which I highly recommend.

One other thing. I am more revealing about myself than probably any other atheist on the web precisely because I have a healthy self-esteem, and as a former minister I know that everyone has personal problems. If anyone wants to point his finger at me, he is being a hypocrite. People can hide by not revealing anything about themselves, and even hide their true identity, but I know different. We are all human beings. We all have problems. I didn’t even have to write this and put it here at DC, but I did, which is more than I can say about what Holding does when he is truly caught being dishonest, over and over and over again.

90 comments:

Matthew said...

John,

How did the TWebbers come to conclude that it was you who started up the blog?

Matthew

John W. Loftus said...

I had subscribed to "Atom feeds" and it had my name on it.

Anonymous said...

I think your "personal problem" is that you are a congenital liar.

Pathetic. You sound like that idiot who blamed sex addiction for getting fired for surfing for porn.

Credo.

Glenn said...

John, you said "Even if I was dishonest it must be compared to JP Holding’s overwhelmingly dishonesty, and what I did pales by comparison. He is a scum bag."

I've never actually seen any documentation of JPH's shocking lies. What are they, again?

Anonymous said...

So "Doubting" John Loftus got caught red handed perpetrating fraud, and he tries to justify it by claiming that it was just "honest fun"?

Anonymous said...

Thus you are a sinner, but you are not a repentant one. Your mea culpa reminds me of those soft plastic key chain pigs that, when you squeeze, the poop comes out, but when you let it go, the poop goes back in. Perhaps you should reconsider your worldview. It doesn't seem to hold up well against basic squeezing. :)

Trout said...

John, I still love you man.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:21 - please leave John alone - I would not want to surrender to a "god" who was waiting with reproach and hatred when I confess. Unless you yourself have been delivered from feelings of condemnation then you ought to know firsthand that it is suffering.

If we do not have the faith to love or be a faithful influence, then we ought to humble ourselves, not make it a virtue to elevate ourselves over those who are trying to come clean about their shortcomings.

1035

discomfit_this said...

This smells like the 'Discomfiter' to me.

Funny how John has become just like the Christians he despises.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Trout, you too, but you can't have my Bud Light.

Here's what I mean about my personality. I am not disciplined enough to leave obnoxious and dishonest people alone when they bother me. Others are better than I am on this score. Holding can be likened to someone throwing shit in every direction and I am stupid enough to go after him. When I do so I end up wallowing with him in the mire.

According to the scientific poll revealed in the book The Day America Told the Truth, "just about everyone lies--91 percent of us lie regularly. The majority of us find it hard to get through a week without lying. One in five can't make it through a single day--and we're talking about conscious, premeditated lies." (p. 45).

Of course, since the majority of people in America profess Christianity, then I presume this includes a majority of Christians. He who is without sin cast the first stone, ye hypocites. At least I never burned witches and heretics in the name of your God.

The Bible says we are bascially all liars (Romans 3:12-14), so what's the big deal here, even if I did lie, and technically I didn't.

If we are all liars, then what distinguishes between the people we should characterize as "liars" from people who aren't to be so characterized? May I reasonably suggest that people who habitually lie about everything are definitely liars? There are sociopaths who are like this, but Holding is not one of them. However, I do judge Holding to be dishonest to a large enough degree that I think the term "liar" does describe him especially when he's dealing with people he disagrees with. He doesn't fight fairly, and hence he's dishonest most of the time, and therefore best described as a liar. Worse yet, he will not admit it, whereas I admitted I was deceptive. I maintain he did not deserve the whole story. I maintain no one is ethically obligated to tell everything they know, especially to dishonest people like Holding and crew.

What kind of people should we not characterize as a "liar?" May I suggest people like me who rarely, if ever lie, and that makes all the difference between us.

Otherwise the next time you see someone call them a "liar," since we are all liars. ;-)

Anonymous said...

We are all liars, so it is not as much of an issue that you lied as it is that you act like you did nothing wrong. You admitted that you tried to deceive the readers of your blog, but instead of apologizing for it to safe some face, you said it is ok to do because everyone does it. Even people lie from time to time, when I read their posts, I am under the assumption that they care about their credibility enough not to directly lie to me in order to convince me their views are correct. If you think it is ok to deceive people in order to show how much of a liar JP Holding is, which I have yet to see any documentation of, then why should put any merit in what you have to say about him?

John W. Loftus said...

Why is it I seem to deal with some guy named anonymous all of the time? Who is he?

Anyway, if you do not accept reasonable distinctions then show why they are wrong. There are so many distinctions about dishonesty, lying, deception, who deserves the truth and who deserves to be told everything, that we'd have to start first by looking at these terms. There are white lies, helpful lies, lies told to liars, lies told to enemies, lies to protect oneself and friends, lies for the public good, lies to gain needed social research, paternalistic lies, and lies to the sick and dying. There are several ethical systems by which we judge lies by, like the divine command theory, consequentialism, and deontological ethics. I don't have the time to do this now, but you could read Sissela Bok's book on it to get you up to speed.

In any case I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies, and as such I did not need to tell the whole story (and this is where I was deceptive), especially based upon my consequentialist ethics. The whole reason I did so was to expose Holding without being soiled, which I still consider a good teleological goal.


I maintain that I did not technically lie. I further maintain that such a deed, even if wrong, means little by comparison to the number of people who lie all of the time (which I don't do at all), especially when compared to Holding's dishonesty.

Now to charge me with lying you'd have to defend your charge against the things I claim above. And even if you could show I lied I still claim it was not unjustified (per above). I purposely worded what I did to escape the charge of lying, and not even Aygustine and the church for 1000 years would hold me guilty.

I also maintain that this does nothing to take away from my arguments, for anyone who wants to claim it does is arguing fallaciously. It's a non-sequitur.

I further maintain that I did what Holding has not done. I have been open about my shortcomings here. And rather than deny I started the Blog, since the evidence that I did is no longer there, instead, I admitted starting the Blog.

I further maintain that there are people who do not like me and that it does not matter what I say, they will still not like me. To those people I say "fuck off." You do not matter to me anyway. You are hypocritically using this against me even though you know deep inside you didn't care for me in the first place. And you also know it's such a triffle that it's very interesting to look upon the mountain out of this mole hill you are trying unsuccessfully to build. The effort you are making with this just tells me I am making a difference, for you wouldn't bother that much with anyone else.

And even if I'm a flawed human being, who cares? I could be a complete bastard. Maybe I just put on a different face here. So what? Who cares? Deal with my arguments, for in the end, that's what you have to deal with regardless of what you think of me.

Layman said...

I do not need to be anonymous. I blogged on your deception, Worse than a Lie--John Loftus Deceives His Readers and Tars his Co-Bloggers.

"I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies..."

Are all Christians your enemies? Did only Christians, or enemies, read your blog entry? Did you email every non-Christian who read your blog entry to tell them the truth? Did your co-bloggers receive the benefit of the truth or did you deceive them too?

Obviously, people other than your enemies were targeted for your deception. So in reality you seem to suggest that you are justified in deceiving everyone--friend, foe and neutral alike--so long as your goal is to attack your enemies?

Soyeong said...

”I maintain that I did not technically lie”

“I recently noticed another blog that apparently started up in March which is very critical of J.P. Holding, here. I personally do not like Holding, but I'm probably not going to waste my time on him, except to point out what OTHERS are saying about him.”

A lie is “something intended or serving to convey a false impression” and by that definition, yes you did technically lie.

“I further maintain that such a deed, even if wrong, means little by comparison to the number of people who lie all of the time (which I don't do at all), especially when compared to Holding's dishonesty.”

If JP Holding is as big of a liar as you claim, then they should be self-evident and you shouldn’t need to lie in order to point them out. If he lies, that’s his business; I’m just looking at your integrity here.

“Now to charge me with lying you'd have to defend your charge against the things I claim above. And even if you could show I lied I still claim it was not unjustified (per above).”

Done. You are free to feel that you are justified in lying to JP Holding, but good luck trying to convince your readers that you are justified in lying to them.

“I also maintain that this does nothing to take away from my arguments, for anyone who wants to claim it does is arguing fallaciously. It's a non-sequitur.”

Lying means that we are justified in questioning your sources, which in turn, can take away from your arguments. Also, he keep asserting that JP Holding is a liar, but of the two of you, he is the only one who has shown me documentation that you are the liar.

“I further maintain that I did what Holding has not done. I have been open about my shortcomings here. And rather than deny I started the Blog, since the evidence that I did is no longer there, instead, I admitted starting the Blog.”

I’ve seen JP Holding admit that he was wrong when he was wrong. On the other hand, you have admitted your shortcomings, but you have yet to admit that you were wrong.

"And even if I'm a flawed human being, who cares? I could be a complete bastard. Maybe I just put on a different face here. So what? Who cares? Deal with my arguments, for in the end, that's what you have to deal with regardless of what you think of me."

I care because you blog has the potential to deceive many. Unlike the many of bloggers, you think it is ok to lie and deceive your readers in order to get them to believe your views are correct. I personally think that should be in a disclaimer before reading your blog, although I doubt that will happen.

Anonymous said...

So let's see here:

"Everybody lies." Appeal to popularity: logical fallacy #1.

"It doesn't matter if I lie since Chrsitians lie too." Tu quoque: logical fallacy #2.

"Technically I didn't lie since I don't believe lying is wrong." Special pleading: logical fallacy #3.

"Christians can't say I'm wrong since they murdered lots of people in the past." Red herring: logical fallacy #4.

Look at this mess you've made, John. You've become an utter fool. So what if Christians are hypocrites? That just causes you more problems, since you obviously think you're exempt from the rules you foist onto others!

exapologist said...

I want to take a moment to point out that John's most fundamental point is actually correct, viz., that Holding systematically mischaracterizes the views and arguments of his "opponents", and his argumentation is characterized by strings of ad hominems, non-sequiturs and other sorts of fallacious reasoning. This has can be shown by simply looking at the dialogues themselves in which he has engaged. See, for example, the exchange between Holding and Keith Parsons at the link below:

http://dangerousidea.blogspot.com/2007_03_01_archive.html

Now this doesn't mean that Holding is incorrigble, that he should be written off forever. If he decides later on that it would be better to listen to people's arguments and characterize them fairly and sympathetically, then we welcome discussion with him. There are plenty of Christians who are very smart, but who are also civil and honest, and who care about following a line of argument wherever it leads. Victor Reppert is an example. So are christian philosophers like John Hawthorne, Dean Zimmerman, Michael Rea, WIlliam Alston, etc. We are happy to listen to them, since they're reasonable people who recognize the importance of the free, civil, democratic exchange of ideas in the pursuit of truth. There arguments are also forceful, and worthy of consideration in their own right. But Holding, at least for some time and (apparently), is not in that camp. As long as he's not willing to engage in the civil exchange of ideas, there are principled reasons for not engaging him. For one thing, abusive language is contagious and gets everyone angry, leading to the deterioriation of the pursuit of truth and serious discussion. For another, sytematically misconstruing the views of others positively prevents the pursuit of truth, and stifles inquiry.

In short, there's not much point trying to engage in serious inquiry with someone who has the goal of shutting it down -- it's self-defeating. Since Holding does this (again, at least he does so now -- if he turns over a new leaf, then things will be different), the only reasonable thing to do is to ignore him. Instead, we'll happily listen to Christians who have the same basic interest of careful, civil inquiry about fundamental questions and hopefully have fun and make friends along the way).

Sincerely,

EA

Layman said...

EA,

Atheists accusing Holding of bad things is hardly new. One of Debunking Christianity's leading bloggers intentionally deceiving his readers and, perhaps (one hopes), his co-bloggers is new. And Loftus sticking to his guns and claiming the moral right to lie to whoever he wants to so long as it serves his anti-Christian agenda is even bigger news.

And, the fact that at least one of Loftus' co-bloggers apparently have no problem with this and instead seek to pile one Holding is hardly encouraging for the rest of the gang. Indeed, I find it remarkable that you can attack Holding up and down your comment, say that there are "civil and honest" Christians worthy of discussing things with, and say absolutely nothing about the incivility and dishonesty being perpetrated on your own blog.

Why would I bother engaging any of you if I have reason to believe that you agree with Loftus that you can engage in deceit so long as it serves your anti-Christian agendas?

What is the policy of Debunking Christianity when it comes to intentional deceit? When is it permitted?

The rest of us who have exchanged links and posts and comments with this site, in good faith, want to know.

Anonymous said...

Not cool at all. You lied to everyone, and you let your blog readers down. Sigh.

And now you have gone and made Frank Walton look good, jackass.

Next time be honest.

John W. Loftus said...

Let's see Layman, you're a lawyer. Do you have room to talk? Hypocrite.

I did not technically lie.

Show me me I did. That's all I ask.

The only reason you're trying to jump on the bandwagon is because you think I'm important and you want to take me down. Thank you.

Like I said, I could be a bastard, and maybe I am. So what? Big deal? What does that matter?

Duplicitous. That's what you are. Where is the condemnation of Holding? Eh?

Can you as a lawyer make the reasonable distinctions or not?...'cause I think people want to know.

All you have to do is show me I lied. And even if you do, which you cannot, it pales by comparison to others who lie regularly, especially Holding.

Why don't you come here and argue your case? Why do you wait to assail me rather than my arguments? Can't do it, eh? That's what I figured.

Besides, you're an idiot to say what you did, because even if others were listening in, I knew my enemies were. Get the point.

Tell us, oh high and mighty one, all about yourself.

Tell us honestly you don't lie. Come on. We're waiting.

I don't think anyone will believe you, but try. Tell us anyway.

Now let's say you do lie, does that undercut your credibility? Should we never listen to a word you say from now on? I'd like to know.

Layman said...

John,

First, I suggest you get help for your problems.

Second, I said what you did was worse than a lie and accused you of intentional deception, which you have admitted to. I have tried to steer clear of using the term "lie" because I think that is a missing the forest for the trees kind of game.

Third, I do not say you are unworthy of discussing things with because you "lied." I am beginning to think it because you are justifying a policy of intentional deception so long as it serves your ideological purposes. I do not believe that my ideological purposes justify lying. If you just got caught deceiving your readers and then admitted it was wrong, I would let the matter drop. So the issue is not whether you, or I, or Holding, or anyone else, has ever lied. The issue, as I framed it above is:

Is it the policy of Debunking Christianity that intentional deception of its readers is justified if it furthers its contributors' ideological agendas?

Joe E. Holman said...

Layman said...

"Atheists accusing Holding of bad things is hardly new. One of Debunking Christianity's leading bloggers intentionally deceiving his readers and, perhaps (one hopes), his co-bloggers is new. And Loftus sticking to his guns and claiming the moral right to lie to whoever he wants to so long as it serves his anti-Christian agenda is even bigger news."


My reply...

Boy, does this bring back memories!

When I was defecting from the ministry, I sat down to have a chat with a minister friend (then) about my secret doubts. When I told him about them, all he could do was accuse me of being dishonest and having no morals by preaching without faith from the pulpit while doubting (what else was I suppose to do while trying to resolve my doubts in order to hopefully continue preaching???) That didn't matter to him. It was just too fun to kick someone who was supposedly "lower" on the moral totem pole that he.

The message is, Christians LOVE to scream about the supposed moral violations and unethical practices of non-Christians so they can resurrect their age-old moral highground claims, but as soon as we hit hard on their bought-out talkshow hosts, corrupt presidents, brainwashing camp counselors, pedophile priests, and yes, dishonest apologists, they scream outrage and become the world's most vocal tattlers, trying to whitewash their mistakes.

John did not lie, but even if he had, John's alleged misdeeds still wouldn't hold a candle to the closed-minded manipulation done by Christian apologists, like Turkel.

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

OK, I just got through reading the Tweb thread on this. It is stomach-turning to see all those believers, including the mods and admins, kissing his ass to supposedly protect his identity.

Like Jesus, Holding can do wrong. Screw Jesus. Why don't they just worship Turkel? It's been a while since I've seen such brown-bosing...and I see a damn lot of it all the time!

(JH)

Layman said...

Joe,

So that is two co-bloggers who have no problem with Debunking Christianity being used to promote intentional deception, whether properly characterized as a "lie" or not.

I find that very interesting.

The issue is not whether you or Loftus or I have moral failings. Of course we do. The question is what is the policy of Debunking Christianity? Loftus has claimed the right to "lie to liars" and to deceive his enemies.

So is your position that 1) Loftus could have slipped up but that's okay because we all slip up? or 2) Loftus' admitted intentional deception is no problem because he was justified in doing it because he was attacking his enemies?

There are big differences between those two positions. You guys seem to think I am attacking Loftus because I expect moral perfection. That is inaccurate. I expect a blogging policy that discourages rather than justifies intentionally deceiving others.

Does DC have one?

John W. Loftus said...

Layman you're too easy of a target.

Let's exegete this shall we?

"I recently noticed another blog that apparently started up in March which is very critical of J.P. Holding, here. I personally do not like Holding, but I'm probably not going to waste my time on him, except to point out what others are saying about him...."

"I recently noticed (as in seen, observed, read), another blog that apparently (that is, it is apparent) started up in March (which is what it says)...I'm probably (as in the odds are against it, but the odds don't say anything at all about what might happen) not going to waste my time on him (at least, not any more than I already do)."

Now, Mr. Lawyer, where is the lie?

Deception, however, is another story. We all deceive people every waking minute of the day. We appear to be happy people, for instance, even if we aren't.

Do tell us though, if you you have a policy of lying in the court room. We'd all like to know.

John W. Loftus said...

Layman said...If you just got caught deceiving your readers and then admitted it was wrong, I would let the matter drop.

Bullshit! Liar!

Layman said...

John,

I said what you did was worse than a lie. You intentionally deceived your readers in order to promote your ideological agenda. I find that troublesome. You claim justification for your intentional deception. I find that more troublesome. Your co-bloggers are defending you and your justification of engaging in intentional deception. That is yet even more troublesome.

For the record, it is against the CADRE's policy for bloggers to use the blog to intentionally deceive its readers to promote an ideological agenda.

John W. Loftus said...

Answer my previous question, Layman. Is it your policy to deceive and lie in the court room? Yes or no?

Like I said, I project an image of deceit here at DC and so does everyone else who Blogs, you included. We try to appear cool, smart, and happy, but we are not. That's deception. Deception. None of us can do otherwise. So, is it our policy to deceive? Well, no more than it is for any other blogger or person to deceive.

exapologist said...

Hello Layman,

Please calm down.

You can sling mud at my character all day long, if it makes you feel better (although I suspect Jesus that wouldn't approve). But if you ever come to find interest in issues germane to the truth or falsity of the Christian faith, I'll be happy to discuss those with you. In the meantime, have fun with your circumstantial ad hominem fest.

EA

John W. Loftus said...

Layman said...I said what you did was worse than a lie. You intentionally deceived your readers in order to promote your ideological agenda.

As I said, everyone deceives people all of the time, and 91% of us lie regularly about some serious stuff. But I rarely lie. I lie much less than you do. As a lawyer most people would characterize you as a liar, whereas everyone who personally knows me (and I mean everyone) would not say that of me at all.

Now where is your condemnation of Holding? Have you read the Blog yet? Those are not my comments. There are links to the sources, and it's unanimous. Yet you link to Holding. Is it your policy at Cadre Comments to link to deceptive sources, or not? That's what we want to know. Or do you intentionally deceive your readers in order to promote your ideological agenda? Are you a hypocrite? Your choice.

Joe E. Holman said...

Layman, you should try and glean some wisdom here instead of stubbornly arguing. John is right; everyone deceives to some degree. It's life. The issue is only, to what degree does deceit go too far, and that is a wisdom question, and there is never one textbook answer.

Is it your contention that withholding information is always a lie? Please explain this, and then elaborate on the exact point witholding information becomes a lie.

I believe only common sense and situational judgments can answer this question, but you will probably affirm differently.

When you answer, "Nothing," when someone asks you "what are you thinking about?", by your logic this must also be a lie. It sure is, technically, but those of us with common sense sure as hell ain't gonna lose any sleep over it.

And you know, the bible itself authorizes "lie to liars." Lying in wait against an opposing army for an ambush (Josh 8:1-2) was commanded by God for the purpose of deceiving. Playing dead on a battlefield when you're on the losing end is smart deception. Withholding devastating news to a sick person who would do something bad to someone if they learned of a tragedy occuring is smart deception. A prosecutor or a police detective who deceives to get a confession is smart, so long as certain guidelines are in place...but I'm preaching to the choir here, aren't I??

Read I Sam 16:1-7 and tell me God didn't create a sacrifice for the sake of keeping Samuel alive from the wrath of Saul--that's deception! Same thing with Abraham and Sarah (Gen 12:13-19), and Rahab (James 2:25).

You see, thou shortsighted believer, we atheists employ reason in the application of our morals. We don't put ourselves on platforms and blindly execute one plan-in-a-can action for all people, at all places, at all times.

Life is more complex than that, LAWYER, and the fact that I need to tell you that says a lot about your alleged ability to think legally--if, indeed, you are a lawyer at all. Are you deceiving us right now??

(JH)

Lee Randolph said...

wooooweeeee,
shore is a lotta smoke fer such a little fahr!

DagoodS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DagoodS said...

John W. Loftus: In any case I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies

I do not support this in theistic debates.

On the fence said...

John W. Loftus: In any case I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies


John, do you remember back when Paul Manata was Discomfiting you, and others were POSING as you online?

Paul used the exact same quote as you do above....I thought it was BS then, and its BS for you to use it now.

I've lost the little remaining respect I had for you.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has read Paul Johnson’s book The Intellectuals, knows that some of the brightest minds in recent centuries had personal problems, some of them were serious.

This has to be one of the dumbest excuses I've ever read. John, those people weren't flawed because they were great intellectuals, they were flawed because they were human! You might even say that they were great intellectuals despite their flaws.

Sorry, John, but being a lying rat doesn't magically earn you the right to imply that you're ranked among the "brightest minds". With logic like that, I daresay you're actually among the dullest.

John W. Loftus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
exbeliever said...

Because I am on summer break from classes, I have had a little time to check back on the goings-on of DC (for which I was once a contributor). I have to admit that I am a little disappointed by what is now taking place.

I don't fault John for setting up a blog exposing an internet-apologist. [Personally, I don't know that I've ever read anything by Holding; biblical criticism isn't very interesting to me.] Even the deceptive act itself wouldn't seem like that big a deal to me if, after being exposed, John simply said, "Yea, that was kind of silly of me."

What I find disturbing is that any regret John might have for doing this is not being expressed clearly. Any sign of contrition seems to be hidden within justifications for doing the act.

I've corresponded with John many times. I think he is a good, sincere man who passionately expresses his beliefs and is, usually, upfront and honest about his shortcomings. While traveling through his state, John and his wife graciously offered to have my wife and I over for dinner (an offer we, regrettably, could not take them up on because of our schedule). There is no doubt in my mind that even John's most passionate critics would find him to be someone worth spending time with and, given enough time, come to consider him a good friend. He seems to be that kind of person.

What I would like to see, John (not that I think my opinion matters more than others), is an expression of contrition sans an overabundance of justification.

Something in this vein:

Dear DC Readers,

In my zeal to expose the character of JP Holding (a dishonest, mean-spirited, Christian internet-apologist), I set up an anonymous blog devoted to his actions. I advertised this blog here, but I did so in such a way as to give the impression that it was written by someone other than me. I regret having undertaken this deceptive act. I am truly sorry.

Not only has the discovery of this act made me look rather silly and, probably, seriously tarnished my credibility, but it has also managed to shift attention away from the very thing that I wanted to accomplish with this new blog--viz. the exposure of JP Holding. I am saddened that this has resulted, because I believe Holding's actions have warranted even such harsh treatment as I have leveled against him in my newly created blog.

I understand that my desire to expose someone partly for (but not limited to) deception is hypocritical given my recent actions. I hope my readers will note, however, that the negative character of the "exposer" does not invalidate the charges made against the "exposee." Christian readers will remember that Solomon's wisdom is respected despite his multiple marriages and other character defects.

Again, I regret my recent actions, vow to not engage in these kind of tactics again, and ask that my readers' forgiveness.

Sincerely,

John W. Loftus


I rarely have time to read this blog, much less contribute to it, but I felt that since several of my posts are still being linked to and discussed, I had a place to say something.

John, I truly wish you the best.

EB

Layman said...

Ex,

Please calm down.

Perhaps you should tell that to John "Bullshit! Liar!" Loftus, eh?

You can sling mud at my character all day long, if it makes you feel better (although I suspect Jesus that wouldn't approve). But if you ever come to find interest in issues germane to the truth or falsity of the Christian faith, I'll be happy to discuss those with you. In the meantime, have fun with your circumstantial ad hominem fest.

I do not know you or your character, except to the extent you are defending the policy of Debunking Christianity bloggers intentionally deceiving their readers so long as it furthers their ideological agendas. This is far from an ad hominem, it tells us all we need to know about the character of this blog and its contributors.

For one blatantly obvious example, most of you guys bleat on and on about how you were formerly apologists or ministers who "found the light" and left the faith. I have often read about your supposed personal faith journeys in your arguments "debunking" Christianity. Now that I know that at least three of your contributors--and the silence of the rest is becoming deafening--explicitly endorse a policy of intentional deceiving your readers so long as it serves your ideological agenda, why should I or anyone else believe these stories about your own pasts? Even if I accepted there was some germ of truth to them--which a rationale person might have reason to doubt--how do I know you have not intentionally mislead us about the nature of your faith, the actions of those around you, the reasons you really left the faith, your characterizations of others involved in your past, etc. etc. etc.

You guys are blowing your credibility on the one thing that was supposed to distinguish your blog from all the other participants in the discussion.

Layman said...

John,

You have deteriorated into not-being-worth-responding-to territory, but this is a gem:

Now where is your condemnation of Holding? Have you read the Blog yet? Those are not my comments. There are links to the sources, and it's unanimous.

This is like a mob boss picking a jury made up of his goons who then exonerates him. He could quite easily claim "it was unanimous for acquittal!" Would that convince anyone not working for the boss? Hardly. I could quiet easily come up with a list of unanimous commentators claiming the earth is no more than 30,00 years old, or a unanimous list of scientists denying naturalistic evolution, or a list of bloggers and commentators who think that John Loftus has lost all credibility and is a liar.

Is this really the level of rationality and argument to which Debunking Christianity aspires?

Layman said...

Joe,

I am open to finding wisdom wherever it can be found, but Debunking Christianity is not such a place.

Is it your contention that withholding information is always a lie?

We are not just talking about omission and I have tried to avoid the term "lie". Loftus admits to intentionally deceiving his (and your) readers. He actively crafted his blog entry so as to deceive the readers into thinking it was not written by him. He actively crafted the new blog so as to deceive the readers into thinking it was not written by him. The entire enterprise was designed to convince people that Loftus had nothing to do with it, and also to convince people that it was some sort of neutral blog about Holding when it was just another atheist hit piece referring to other skeptical hitters.

Like I said above, for a blog site that invests so much in convincing people that they were former ministers and apologists--something that does depend on personal integrity rather than abstract argument--you guys sure are burning through credibility fast.

Zoe said...

JP is sitting back loving every moment of this and it feeds right into his motives to discredit you John. It's working. The longer this continues, the more harm done to you and DC.

I'd hate to see the contributors taking on each other personally as a result of this. To lose even one would be a disappointment to me.

As an ex-Christian I have enjoyed reading each and every contribution, including the comment sections. I read here everyday and somtimes check in several times a day to catch the ongoing discourse. There is always a lot of food for thought here.

We all have reasons for doing the things we've done and are doing. We've all been there, done that, not necessarily online but surely somewhere in our lives. We are all human.

I hope DC can get back to posting some incredible posts that I've come to look forward to every day.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Layman, all,
to say that John represents all the contributors is a part to whole fallacy. We are all individuals, we all do our own thing in our own way. It seems to me John got caught in a prank. He's handling his business in his way. To conclude anything more than that doesn't follow.

I guess it is a christian characteristic to come to hasty conclusions. That explains why you accept such weak evidence for a God.

The silence of the rest is simply the silence of the rest, it doesn't mean anything. A reasoned person can figure that out him or herself.

The rhetoric is really getting out of control. Why don't you guys put a feather in your hat, give it a rest and continue challenging us on our viewpoints in the coming articles?

I'd hate to see any bridges get burned. Can't we all just get along?
:-)

Layman said...

Lee,

Actually, my views on Loftus' co-bloggers has developed as I have seen them chime in. In my blog post, I said Loftus' co-bloggers were not responsible for his actions. I then noted here that two have come out defending his actions. I also noted that the silence of the others has become deafening. I said that because Loftus is arguing--apparently joined by two co-bloggers--that it is appropiate to intentionally deceive your readers so long as it serves his ideological agenda.

If one of my co-bloggers said that, I would definitely speak up. Now I see that you do not exactly endores Loftus' contention that Debunking Christianity will intentionally deceive its readers so long as it serves its purpose, but dismiss such an attitude as a "prank." Perhaps I missed it, but I did not see John characterize this as a "prank." Rather, he has called it an appropriate method of battling Debunking Christianity's enemies. That is a very different thing.

So I will put down two co-bloggers as defending the policy of intentional deception and one as not willing to recognize that his co-bloggers are so defending.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi Layman,
I lost you here:
and one as not willing to recognize that his co-bloggers are so defending.
Can you clarify what it is you think I'm doing?

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I had wanted to stay out of this except in personal e-mail, but "Layman"s last comments do put me in a corner, and two people have expressed my feelings so well that I can merely -- playing a lawyer, which I am not -- concur in their opinions. Those are exbeliever and Zoe, both of whose comments are, i believe, right on target.

What you did, John, was a minor thing -- and the idea of using a person's name for a site debunking his ideas wasn't even new. Someone used the name WillisCarto.com for a site attacking the sort of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial that Carto was famous/notorious for.

Implying it was somebody else's site was worse, but the self-justification in your response to criticism is what is turning this into a major black eye for you and us, and handing people like 'Layman' weapons to use against us. You are our leader, our 'lead singer' and we're just the 'back-up band' and none of us have the talents you do. But take a step back, catch your breath, and ask yourself if how you are sounding recently -- in this discussion and elsewhere -- is really the John Loftus that brought us here to work behind you.

Anonymous said...

William Lane Craig never would have done that.

Anonymous said...

exbeliever:

Actually, your proposed "apology" is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from someone with "Doubting" John Loftus' low moral character. Rather than an unequivocal apology, you propose that he use his "apology" as an opportunity to get in as many cheap digs on J.P. Holding as possible. Yeah, that sounds exactly like something John "I'm A Liar And Proud Of It" Loftus would do.

exbeliever said...

Anonymous 12:54,

Actually, your proposed "apology" is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from someone with "Doubting" John Loftus' low moral character. Rather than an unequivocal apology, you propose that he use his "apology" as an opportunity to get in as many cheap digs on J.P. Holding as possible. Yeah, that sounds exactly like something John "I'm A Liar And Proud Of It" Loftus would do.

I disagree. It seems as though you are conflating two different issues: (1) the deception of linking a site as if it was the work of another when it was really John's and (2) criticizing Holding. I am disappointed in (1), but am indifferent to (2). For all I know, the criticisms are justified.

In nothing that I have seen about this issue (and I read the ridicuously long Theology Web thread), have I seen anyone making an issue about criticizing Holding. It seems that this is common fare between the two. The issue, as far as I can tell, is that John was deceptive about his criticisms.

Perhaps, John owes Holding an apology; that is not for me to decide. The apology I described above, however, deals with the issue of deception while explaining and upholding John's criticisms of Holding.

Are you a Christian, by the way? There is something I remember from my pastor days . . .

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
--Colossians 4:6

You wrote, "Yeah, that sounds exactly like something John 'I'm A Liar And Proud Of It' Loftus would do."

Anonymous said...

This is why I love the God of Easter - somewhere in the Bible one of the OT folks said something to the effect of: Anyone who says he isn't a liar IS a liar. Wow!

So why do we lie? Because so many hate the truth and hate the people who speak out about their personal feelings. So we learn to live in shame and cover-ups.

But God made it safe to be honest about our most personal failings - He didn't want us to engage in disputes about each others' being right - that is a burden that destroys our capacity to truly love, engage and enjoy each others' company. When God is right, we acknowledge that He loves both John, Layman, JP Holding, etc. etc. etc. Now that seems offensive to our territorial boundaries, but I happen to see it as the truth - I see each person as having worth, but also suffering apart from knowing how much they are loved.

Sincerely,
1035

exbeliever said...

Sounds good.

Moving on.

Layman said...

As far as my credibility goes, people like Layman never believed that we were truly ex-Christians in the first place, so it will make no difference to him, and the way he’s blowing this credibility issue out of proportion to everything I ever say, he might as well claim my mother is a liar too, even though he continues to skirt his own credibility issue in being a lawyer and linking to Holding. Seems as though the Blog I created impinges upon Layman’s credibility and so he points his finger towards me.

Actually, I do believe that those of you who claim to be ex-Christians are ex-Christians.

Layman said...

Look for instance at what he thinks of every person who criticizes J.P. Holding, when I said the opinion about him in unanimous. Layman said, “This is like a mob boss picking a jury made up of his goons who then exonerates him. He could quite easily claim "it was unanimous for acquittal!" Would that convince anyone not working for the boss? Hardly.”

See, this is what he thinks of us all. Goons, and gangsters. We had no credibility with him and his ilk to begin with, because several of the team members here at DC are represented, including Jason Long who just emailed me what he wrote about Holding.


It was an illustration to make the point that if you alone get to select the jury, you do not get to brag about the fact that the jury was unanimous.

It escapes me that anyone would think I meant to say you are all mafia members. If they did, I will be clear: I do not have any reason to think anyone blogging at Debunking Christianity or referenced at the anti-Holding blog is a criminal.

John W. Loftus said...

Sorry, I had deleted my previous apology to correct some things in it, and while I was doing so ex-believer and Layman had already commented. Here it is again:

Listen up everyone. I did not have to hide the fact that I started the JP Blog. Why I did is because I didn’t want to be seen as sinking down to the character of others whom I don’t like, and in that sense I knew it was wrong. I have never participated in such a low brow attack. I wanted to appear above that kind of thing. I saw the other negative sites about Holding and thought to myself, “I’m glad they’re there but I’ll just stick to the arguments.” Producing sites like these are not in the interests of a good discussion of the ideas, which is all I have ever wanted. I was above that, or so I thought.

Since members here at DC, including DagoodS, may be interested to know, almost every week Holding writes something like this, this, or this.

I think what did it for me was the discussion I tried to have here starting in post number 54.

My personality problem is that I cannot seem to ignore obnoxious people like Holding, and it has gotten me into trouble. He grates on me. But after week upon week of him belittling and berating us, and of me responding rarely, but still too many times, I was done playing around with the likes of him. You may not understand it. I don’t expect you to. It’s who I am. I have flaws. It is very difficult to think about this objectively while I am involved in it. But as I try, I realize what I did was stupid as well as deceptive. I apologize. I’m sorry I got caught up in it.

I realize that those who are attacking my credibility will not be satisfied until I grovel at their feet and spill my guts on every little detail. That will just prove to me they have never been interested in merely an apology. Some have said that if I did apologize then it would be done and over with, but we’ll see if they meant what they said. I have my doubts. As far as my credibility goes, people like Layman never believed that we were truly ex-Christians in the first place, so this will make no difference to him. Besides, the way he’s blowing this credibility issue out of proportion to everything I or people here at DC ever say, he might as well claim my mother is a liar too. He does this even though he continues to skirt his own credibility issue in being a lawyer and linking to Holding. Seems as though the Blog I created impinges upon Layman’s credibility and so rather than deal with that he points his finger towards me, and by extension us.

Look for instance at what he thinks of every person who criticizes J.P. Holding when I said the opinion about Holding is unanimous. Layman said, “This is like a mob boss picking a jury made up of his goons who then exonerates him. He could quite easily claim "it was unanimous for acquittal!" Would that convince anyone not working for the boss? Hardly.”

See, this is what he thinks of us all. Goons, and gangsters. We had no credibility with him and his ilk to begin with, because several of the team members here at DC are represented on that Blog, including Jason Long, who just emailed me what he wrote about Holding, which is now there too. I meant it’s unanimous with all of Holding’s opponents, and I think Layman ought to look more closely at what Holding does before linking to him.

So, I cannot satisfy Layman, or Holding and crew. It is impossible. Their charges are insincere. They are only using this incident to raise their ugly heads and say what they have always thought about me and us. Sure, I gave them the ammunition, for which I’m sorry, but they never needed it in the first place.

Now I’m hoping to move on. Check out my recent posts.

Jim Jordan said...

**but the self-justification in your response to criticism is what is turning this into a major black eye for you and us**

Prup is exactly correct. I once blogged about how atheists were incompetent and I wouldn't hire them in my business. The next day I had a flurry of nasty comments from atheists on my site. My instinct was to respond in kind, but then I read what I had posted. It was quite stupid and clearly false (a late-night grouchy post). [My manager at the time was an atheist and you could trust him with anything.]
Long story short, I apologized to my new atheist friends and edited my post. That was the end of that conversation.

Everyone makes mistakes, its letting go of them and learning from them that makes all the difference. Using excuses like "life is complex/ all people deceive" to hold on to your own mistakes can do nothing but cast a shadow on anything you say in the future.
In any event, John, I still forgive you for being deceiptful, sort of. :)

Anonymous said...

The best comment in this whole thread is Lee Randolph's. He writes:

"to say that John represents all the contributors is a part to whole fallacy. We are all individuals, we all do our own thing in our own way. It seems to me John got caught in a prank. He's handling his business in his way. To conclude anything more than that doesn't follow."

The very next thing he says is:

"I guess it is a christian characteristic to come to hasty conclusions. That explains why you accept such weak evidence for a God."

Er, um, errrrr....Because you think Layman generalized hastily, you then hastily go ahead and generalize this into a "christian characteristic"?

Hmmmph....

Anonymous said...

exbeliever:

The apology I described above, however, deals with the issue of deception while explaining and upholding John's criticisms of Holding.

No, it doesn't deal with the deception, it tries to justify it by coyly pointing the finger at Holding. An apology should be just that, an apology, not a thinly disguised attack on another person. You want to know what John should say if he truly regretted his actions?

"As many of you are now no doubt aware, I consciously and deliberately tried to deceive my readers by directing them to a blog I had written that was critical of JP Holding while giving the impression that I was not the author. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior, and I recognize that my reputation has been deservedly tarnished; and not just my reputation but the reputation of this blog and indirectly that of my fellow bloggers. So I offer now my humble and unequivocal apology to all my readers and fellow bloggers. I hope you guys can forgive me."

That's what John should write!

Anonymous said...

exbeliever:

(I missed this earlier)

Are you a Christian, by the way? There is something I remember from my pastor days . . .

"Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person."
--Colossians 4:6

You wrote, "Yeah, that sounds exactly like something John 'I'm A Liar And Proud Of It' Loftus would do."


Yes, I am a Christian, and yes, that's a good verse, but there's nothing there that would prevent me from denouncing a liar who has shown no remorse for and is even proud of his actions. Do you think I'm wrong to do so? Even Jesus was not above calling the pharisees some very uncharitable but deserved names (perhaps being a former pastor you're familiar with "brood of vipers" and "whitewashed tombs").

Lee Randolph said...

ok anon 253pm,
you got me,
let me look at your evidence for god, I apoligize for being so hasty.

I look forward to your evidence.
thanks in advance.

exbeliever said...

Anonymous 3:30,

Do you think I'm wrong to do so [i.e. "denounc[e] a liar who has shown no remorse for and is even proud of his actions"]?

I'm not sure. Is your statement one of grace? Is it the only way you can respond to this? If it is permissible/lawful (i.e. because Jesus did it), is it also profitable (1 Corinthians 6:12)? If it is not profitable, should you do it?

These are questions for you to answer.

It seems to me that your tone is unnecessarily harsh for one in whom a Spirit is said to live that produces "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." I sense mockery and delight at someone's downfall.

Both of these attitudes, however, are present in your holy book. At one point, I read, "'As surely as I live,' declares the Sovereign LORD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11). I can see compassion in this. At another point, I see, "The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity" (Psalm 5:5) and "He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at [his enemies who gather against him]" (Psalm 2:4).

I guess it is up to you which of God's characters you feel justified in adopting. One would hope for the former.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

John,

How can you claim that you didn't lie and then use the fact that 91% of people lie as a defense?

You say you have flaws that's true of everyone. You lied we all lie from time to time. But maybe lying is not your greatest flaw. Your inability to write a simple contrite and unqualified apology is your greatest flaw.

Sometimes in debates we stop seeking truth and instead we get caught up in a kind of battle where those with opposing views are seen as enemies. Are you a seeker of truth or are you fighting against mortal enemies?

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Not that it means anything, but here are my thoughts. The whole deception thing is not a big deal at all. John is right; people deceive each other all the time. It's a part of life. A lot of critics have tried to make this into a much bigger deal than it is. He linked to a different blog and implied that it was written by someone else. That's all it was. It's not nearly as big of an issue as many people have tried to make it. And by the way, I cannot blame you at all for creating that blog. I am not a biblical scholar or Greek scholar; I don't know enough to know if he makes good arguments. But it doesn't take long to figure out that Holding is a classless jerk. His arguments seem to be based more around making fun of his opponents than seriously debating them.

However, some of John's responses have really made him look bad. Especially this one: "In any case I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies"

Now, I don't think that means John always is dishonest with enemies. But it does give critics plenty of ammunition. It is a bad quote because it is not even about being deceptive about arguments, it's about being deceptive in the blog link situation. . . but people will be able to claim that he is just being deceptive in his "debunking Christianity" arguments now.

I think John's responses have hurt him here more than anything. He's made himself to look like a victim in this, and he has really lashed out at some people (especially Layman and DagoodS) without good reason to. He has sometimes been in denial, and other times tried to point a finger at others while 50 people have theirs pointed at him. These have also hurt his image. I do not know John at all personally, but this whole exchange just seems totally atypical for him (from everything that I have read on this site). I wish John would have taken the high road in this, instead of trying to retaliate, because he ended up digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole (IMO).

I just hope this little thing didn't evolve into a gigantic firestorm that will damage the reputations of Loftus and Debunking Christianity.

John W. Loftus said...

Jumpingfromconclusions.

Yes I said, "In any case I feel justified in being deceptive because I was dealing with enemies."

Well it depends on the kind of enemy and the type of deception involved. Sissela Bok discusses the type of enemies when lying is justified. I only consider a few Christians my enemies. Only four of them (and no one who has commented here is one of them). These Christians purposely and repeatedly distort, twist, mischaracterize, berate, malign, and otherwise are dishonest with what I write. Almost all others I enjoy dialoguing with so I can learn from them and they from me.

And since the deception itself was "not a big deal," according to you, the only question is whether Holding is the kind of enemy that such deception can be justified.

I realize now, however, that it was wrong, and I apologized for misleading my readers. It won't happen again. I'll try harder not to get so personally involved with such people. It brings out the worst in me.

I still am looking for Christians to denounce Holding. I'm still waiting for him to apologize for being dishonest. I'm still waiting for Christians to ask him to apologize for his deceit. Until I do I'm seeing a double standard when it comes to your golden child Holding, who can do no wrong.

Layman, would you please comment on Holding's dishonesty, or do you just not see it?

John W. Loftus said...

I mean, really now Layman, take a good look at what all of Holding's opponents have said about him here. What do you say for yourself in linking to him? What do you think of Holding? Do you think you should demand he apologize before you link to him? If not, why not? That's all I'm asking at this point.

JumpingFromConclusions said...

Just to clarify my point about your deception not being a big deal at all (it didn't come off exactly as I meant it). . .

I don't mean deception is never a big deal at all. But this is a small deception about a minor thing. So John made it appear that there was one more person critical of Holding. . . no biggie.

Dishonesty can be a huge issue that has major implications. In this case, however, it is not. Loftus did not even make one false statement in the originally disputed post-- it just slightly misled a few people in a small issue. That is what I was referring to about deception not being a big deal.

Lory Jean-Baptiste said...

John,

I only consider a few Christians my enemies.

Why are they your enemies? Did they rob you? Beat you? Kick your dog?

Why not just apologize and be done with it?

Ahh...it's that sin the Bible often warns us about...that thing that comes before the fall.

exapologist said...

I've taken a peek at some of the discussion of this thread in between classes, but now that I have a minute, I'd like to reply to one comment, or rather, part of one comment, by Layman:

Layman: I do not know you or your character, except to the extent you are defending the policy of Debunking Christianity bloggers intentionally deceiving their readers so long as it furthers their ideological agendas. This is far from an ad hominem, it tells us all we need to know about the character of this blog and its contributors.

Me: I'm not sure where you're getting that I'm defending a policiy of intentionally deceiving the readers of this blog. I haven't spoken to that issue at all, partly because I haven't yet had the time to read the discussion and determine the context of it, partly because I give John the benefit of the doubt, and partly because I think Jesus (or the author of the relevant gospel passage) was actually right when he said that such issues should be dealt with personally and privately before they're disussed in public.

My original comment was an attempt (alas, apparently a futile one) to prevent the original, correct point (about Holding) from being drowned out. I think it's pretty uncharitable of you to infer my defense of a *point* with a defense of some of the *actions* of the person who made it. You're making large and sweeping claims that impugn the character of those at the other end of them. Perhaps it would be better to just take a moment to catch your breath and be more careful in the things you're saying?

EA

live-n-grace said...

Loftus: "I know I'm a nice guy when treated nicely."

Ahhh, so if you're not treated nicely then you're not nice. That's where the difference between you and christianity begins.

Jamie said...

Overall, I have to say I'm disappointed if John misled anyone. As an atheist-leaning-agnostic, though, am I still allowed to forgive him for it? Or can only believers forgive?

John W. Loftus said...

Layman, attention, Layman.

Where are you now?

Anonymous said...

Lee Randolph provides us with another blooper. He writes:

"ok anon 253pm,
you got me, let me look at your evidence for god, I apoligize for being so hasty.I look forward to your evidence.
thanks in advance."

Lee apologizes to me for being hasty. Well, I wasn't asking for an apology as I don't think you really wronged me in any way, or anyone else. I think you just showed some fairly poor reasoning in committing a species of the same fallacy you tried to slap on someone else immediately prior. Apologizing to yourself or your fans would almost be more appropriate.

Now, in unnecessarily apologizing for hastiness, Lee goes on to very hastily assume I am a theist, and even one who apparently thinks there is evidence for the existence of God! He's so sure of it he thanks me in advance!

Lee, firstly, even if I were a theist, I'm not sure:

1. I'd necessarily be a theist on the basis of any alleged proof of a deity.

2. I'd pick an amateurish "freethinker" blog like this to discuss one of the most controversial philosophical subjects of all time.

3. I'd choose to enter into such a debate with someone whose statements have thus far had enough incoherence so as to constitute their own internal arguments!

Lee, have your buddies untighten the bolts in your neck, relax your arms from their stiff extended zombie-like posture, and stop marching towards me like a Fundystein with rocks for brains. Your comments thus far have all of the sophistication of the average chatroom fundy atheist. "Hey! Who in here is Christian?!!! Show me god!!! PROVE IT!!!".

Have you honestly not evolved past this kind of behavior. It seems that at least exapologist has picked up a book in his lifetime. Maybe, the next time he does that, he needs to beat you with it?

On the whole Loftus issue, I'll sum it up for everyone - the dude is creepy - in an old weak slimy sorta way, like Smeagol.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anonymous,
I really shouldn't do this because it is so far outside the topic of this thread, but what the heck. This is my last post on this subject.

My principles for my conclusion is that there is no reliable evidence for god and I have experience as a christian for some 15 years so I am qualified to say what christian characteristics are like.

If you are not a theist then that doesn't absolve you from showing that I am wrong by providing the evidence for god.

I stick to my claim until someone can show me I'm wrong.

personal attacks won't do it.

As for being an average fundy chatroom atheist, they have a point. They have the biggest point. And you are avoiding it.

and about this Lee, firstly, even if I were a theist, I'm not sure: blah, blah blah,
make up your mind, or get out of here, you behaviour is trollish. oh yea, and commit to a name.

so now I close my participation until you show me that I am wrong in my claim by providing the evidence for god.

I expect that you'll be hammering me some more and never coughing up the evidence so I guess I'll see you trolling around in another article.

Anonymous said...

exbeliever:

It seems to me that your tone is unnecessarily harsh...

Harsh? Yes. Unnecessarily? I don't think so.

I sense mockery and delight at someone's downfall.

Downfall? That's a bit of an exaggeration, don't you think? This "downfall" is pretty mild, really. It's not like John's going to lose everything he holds dear and find himself on the street with no home and no one to turn to.

Instead, we just have a relatively high-profile and arrogant champion of atheism stupidly losing his credibility simply because he's too stubborn to own up to a lie. If that doesn't deserve mockery then what does?

At one point, I read, "'As surely as I live,' declares the Sovereign LORD, 'I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, O house of Israel?'" (Ezekiel 33:11).

As far as I'm aware, John Loftus is alive and well, so I'm not sure how that verse applies here.

Soyeong said...

I don’t really see the difference between intentional deception and lying, so I’m not sure why you admitted to being intentionally deceptive but repeatedly insisted that you weren’t technically lying. I looked up “lie” in a thesaurus and it listed deceit and deception as synonyms. The dictionary defines lie as something intended or serving to convey a false impression. So while linking to the other blog, you didn’t technically say anything false, it was still intended to deceive, so it was technically a lie. At the very least, it was far from being truthful, which flies in the face of someone describing themselves as being honest.

I don’t really follow you or JP Holding that closely, but I’m glad to see that you realized what you did was wrong and apologized to your readers. For the record, I think JP Holding’s style does not add to his arguments or to his Christian witness and I have posted as much about him. However, as you have pointed out, it is not a matter of liking or disliking the person making the argument, but of stripping away the logical fallacies (ad hominems in particular) and examining what arguments remain. I’ve seen both solid arguments and logical fallacies from both of you, so I don’t want to see any comments about none being left.

Now that you have apologized, I was going quote that you had back at the TWeb thread. However, after thinking about it, I decided it would be better if you posted there since I think you owe us an apology and it would be beneficial to your as well. I’m not looking for groveling or anything. A simple sincere apology should be all that is needed to bring closure to this situation. The Christians there should be willing to forgive you, and by doing that, they are giving up their right to ever hound you about this lie again.

I wish you and your readers the best and I hope that you have not unduly damaged your reputation in there eyes.

John W. Loftus said...

Soyeong, thanks for your reasonable response. I always appreciate discussing things with reasonable sounding people. As far as the difference between deception and lying goes, by not revealing your true identity you are being deceptive, but that's justifiable because you are not under any moral obligation to reveal yourself. Any time you don't tell everything you know, you are deceiving people to some degree, but no one is under any moral obligation to do so, except in certain contexts when the circumstances warrant it, like wehn before a judge.

Dictionary definitions describe how most people use words. But they do not define words as they ought to be defined, nor do they define them the way specific groups of people do, nor do they define them the way specialists like philosophers, theologians and scientists define them. The word "church" for instance, is probably defined as a building, but Christians think it describes "Christians." Scientists have different technical definitions about the word "matter," precisely because people are ignorant about what matter is, and so forth. Philosopher Sissela Bok wrote a detailed book on distinguishing between words like deception, dishonesty, and lying. I highly recommend it to everyone. I mean, if these words mean the same thing, then you lied by not revealing your identity, but surely we don't want to say that, do we?

As far as apologizing on every site on the web goes, no. I am under no obligation to do so since the deception took place here.

Besides, it's better that I don't visit TWEB anymore. I get too angry and frustrated when I do. It brings out the worst in me.

John W. Loftus said...

Soyeong, one last thing. Where is the condemnation about Holding's overwhelming dishonesty, not just one time, but multiple times? Where are the calls for him to apologize to his readers?

exbeliever said...

Anonymous 12:39am 6/1,

Me: It seems to me that your tone is unnecessarily harsh...

You: Harsh? Yes. Unnecessarily? I don't think so.

I don't think you mean this. I think you mean that your words were "justifiable," not "necessary." If you believe your words were necessary, I would be interested in your explanation.

Your original comment: exbeliever:

Actually, your proposed "apology" is exactly the kind of thing I would expect from someone with "Doubting" John Loftus' low moral character. Rather than an unequivocal apology, you propose that he use his "apology" as an opportunity to get in as many cheap digs on J.P. Holding as possible. Yeah, that sounds exactly like something John "I'm A Liar And Proud Of It" Loftus would do.


You are now suggesting that this was a "necessary" tone to take. it seems to me, however, that you could have responded like this:

exbeliever:

It sounds to me as if your proposed "apology" is not very fitting. It still seems to demean Holding so much so that the sincerity of the apology is questionable. If John gave this kind of apology, it would not make me think any more highly of his character because it would sound insincere and seem as merely a vehicle for further insulting Holding.


Had you responded this way, I still would have suggested that you are conflating two different issues, but I would not have suggested the tone of your reply was inappropriate for someone who is "indwelt" by the Holy Spirit who is producing the fruits of the Spirit within you. Your tone would not have been an issue at all.

But you, now, seem to be suggesting that your tone was "necessary," meaning that the response I just described would not be possible. I don't understand how this could be.

But you responded the way you did, and I questioned it. I quoted a passage from your holy book that said that your speech should always be with grace.

How did you respond? You could have said, "You know what, that is correct. This whole thing has angered me and I went overboard. I believe that what John has done is disgraceful, but I should not have used that tone."

Instead, however, you defended yourself. Your response was essentially, "Yea, Paul did say that my speech should always be graceful, but Jesus called people names too."

I responded by saying, "Okay, let's assume, then, that you have the right to use the tone you did. Let's say that your tone is permissible/lawful. I, then, borrowed again from the apostle Paul and asked that even if your tone is lawful, does that make it profitable. That you were justified may be the case, but was your tone necessary?

You defended yourself again saying that your tone was, in fact, "necessary" (or more exactly, that you believe your tone was not unnecessary). I challenged that above.

It seems to me that, like John, you have had numerous opportunities to simply admit a trivial fault (i.e. in your case, an unnecessarily harsh tone), yet, like John before his apology, you have done nothing but try to justify your response.

-----
An unrelated point . . .

I quoted Ezekiel 33:11 which quotes God as saying that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

You responded:

As far as I'm aware, John Loftus is alive and well, so I'm not sure how that verse applies here.

I explained in the context of my comment what point I was making with the use of the passage. I said that the passage demonstrates an attitude in God that expresses compassion for enemies. That death was involved is irrelevant to that point. Do you disagree that a lesson from this verse is that God shows compassion to his enemies?

That is the attitude I suggested it would be better for Christians to adopt.
-----

You: Instead, we just have a relatively high-profile and arrogant champion of atheism stupidly losing his credibility simply because he's too stubborn to own up to a lie. If that doesn't deserve mockery then what does?

A tempting response to your question is, "A Christian who claims to be indwelt by the very Spirit of God producing in her/him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, who, when challenged because of her/his tone decides rather to defend the tone than simply admit an error and move on."

As much as I have enjoyed this brief foray back into the blogging world, I'm afraid other things demand my attention. I leave the last word to Anonymous. Peace.

I'm JP Holding. At least I admit it. said...

http://johnwloftus.blogspot.com

So, DJ....wanna trade? :D

Darren said...

exbeliever:

(Anonymous here, but I'm logged in to my Google account)

I don't think you mean this. I think you mean that your words were "justifiable," not "necessary."

Yes, "justifiable" would probably be a better word. Such is the imprecision inherent in casual conversation.

Instead, however, you defended yourself. Your response was essentially, "Yea, Paul did say that my speech should always be graceful, but Jesus called people names too."

It's not an either/or thing. Sometimes giving people a second chance by shaming them into correcting their behavior is grace!

Yes, my words are harsh, but I've not condemned John. If he were to sincerely and unequivocally apologize for his deliberate deception then I'd be among the first to accept his apology and extend a hand of friendship. But the more he tries to justify his lies like a 5-year old who thinks he can talk his way out of getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar, the more I'm going to laugh at him because it really is laughably pathetic.

It seems to me that, like John, you have had numerous opportunities to simply admit a trivial fault (i.e. in your case, an unnecessarily harsh tone), yet, like John before his apology, you have done nothing but try to justify your response.

You're assuming that responding harshly to John and John's lying are both wrong. That is incorrect. I do not feel I have anything to apologize for.

I explained in the context of my comment what point I was making with the use of the passage.

I know what point you wanted to make, but it does no good for you to throw the Bible in my face when it doesn't support what you're trying to say.

I said that the passage demonstrates an attitude in God that expresses compassion for enemies. That death was involved is irrelevant to that point.

That God takes no delight in the death of his enemies is exactly the point of the passage! To call it "irrelevant" is to say that the passage doesn't say what it plainly says, which is ridiculous.

Do you disagree that a lesson from this verse is that God shows compassion to his enemies?

No, the lesson is that God takes no delight in the death of his enemies.

But, yes, God does have compassion on his enemies as stated elsewhere in the Bible, but compassion doesn't mean excusing someone who knowingly and deliberately does wrong and then claims that it was actually right. On the contrary, the Bible clearly states that "He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at [his enemies who gather against him]."

"Compassion" does not mean turning a blind eye to sin.

Anonymous said...

In Godly fellowship, there ought not be one-way apologies - "forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me." If someone apologizes for lying, somewhere, sometime, someone needs to apologize for giving the liar the impression that the truth is dangerous (one lie begats another).

Anon 1035

John W. Loftus said...

JP, I understand you're upset. Just before seeing your new blog, over at my blogI offered you a chance to say some things that would cause me to delete that blog. I'm not unreasonable. I don't care about you being abusive toward people you disagree with, either. Have you been dishonest? If not, say so. If yes, apologize.

I am planning on deleting many of the comments about you being obnoxious, since that does not speak to the issue of your arguments. Give me time on that, but I promise most of those kind of comments will be gone (probably before the day is over).

And I am determined to reduce the charges of dishonesty to those things that I actually think are dishonest, and not other people repeating one source over and over.

I'm JP Holding. At least I admit it. said...

Me? Upset? You know better than that. :D

To answer your question: NO. I have not been dishonest. I may have been incompetent if any of those alleged errors prove out (which they don't) but I don't fabricate. And Matthew never proves that I do as opposed to being incompetent.

I will accept nothing less than full surrender of that blog address from you. You can delete it, and I will delete mine. Or, we can trade. You can have the one I made today and put whatever you want on it. I don't care. :D If you choose to trade then send me email with the password and any other info I need to get in. Then I'll change all that and then send you the info you need to get into the one I made. That's the deal I offer and no other. Take it or leave it.

Bear in mind that Google will probably frown on your use of MY name for that purpose if I choose to report you.

That's my last comment here. I have work to do.

exbeliever said...

Darren,

I'm sorry that I am going to, partially, go back on my word about not commenting again ("partially," because I will not continue the main strain of our conversation, but simply speak to a secondary issue).

It seems to me that there is another case of imprecision when you criticize my use of Ezekiel 33. Note a rather significant difference between our use of articles.

I said, "a lesson from this verse is . . ." [i.e. I used the indefinite article indicating that there are multiple lessons one can glean from the passage.]

You responded, "No, the lesson is . . ." [i.e. you used the definite article indicating that there is only one lesson to glean from this passage.]

My use of secondary lessons from Scripture is not controversial. This is the basis of most sermons based on historical texts. A pastor makes application from a passage to make a more general point for all to follow. I don't know of any pastor who objects to using implicit lessons from scripture as long as they are truly found there. This was a lesson I was taught as a student at my fundamentalist alma mater, The Master's College, and as a student (and graduate) of both Fuller Theological Seminary and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary.

You may argue that what I am saying is not even an implicit teaching of the text (I disagree, but you could argue that), but that I have applied an implicit teaching is not condemned in mainstream Christian thought.

Additionally, even you have agreed to one of my generalizations of the text. Specifically, the text refers to the wicked of the "house of Israel." Both of us have (rightly, in my opinion) made the general point that this can speak of any of "God's enemies" (or, more specifically) the wicked in general. This is not explicit in the text, however.

If we can agree, then, that texts of scripture (especially, but not limited to historical texts) can provide multiple lessons, then it is not "ridiculous" to suggest that "death" is irrelevant to one or more of those implicit teachings. Specifically, in the text, God shows that he is not pleased by the death of the wicked of the house of Israel. Generally, we can say that God shows compassion [we derive the language of "compassion" from the fact that God is not pleased by these deaths] to his enemies [we derive the language of "enemies" generally from the idea that the "wicked of Israel" are enemies of God and that, similarly, the wicked of the world are also enemies].

You, further, demonstrate a willingness to abstract implicit principles when you approvingly use my quotation of Psalm 5:5. Specifically, the laughing and mocking are for a specific set of wicked people who gathered against God--John is neither part of that original group, nor has he "gathered against God." You accepted my generalization there, when it approves of your harsh tone, but reject that same kind of generalization when it seems to caution against it.

Anyway, for some reason, this bothered me more than your insistence that you have nothing to apologize for in the use of your tone. I guess there is still enough pride in my work as a student of the Bible that causes me to bristle when I am told that I have erred in that area.

I have to say, though, that one of the things I would count as proof for the existence of the Christian God would be a supernatural manifestation of the "fruits of the Spirit" in believers. If I saw a phenomenal capacity in Christians to be loving, joyful, gentle, kind, self-controlled, etc. that would cause me to wonder if there wasn't something to that faith after all.

Instead, however, I have described ways that you could have worded your objections in a gentler and kinder tone without "turning a blind eye to sin," or "excusing someone who knowingly and deliberately does wrong and then claims that it was actually right." You, however, have decided to stick with your harsh tone ("harsh," of course, is an antonym for "gentle"--i.e. one of the fruits of the Spirit) when you have admitted that, while it may be justified, is not necessary.

Perhaps, I am wrong to expect exceptional behavior by those who are filled with the Spirit of the God of the universe. If I was right to look for that, however, I did not see it in you throughout this conversation. I've seen nothing in your tone and defense of it that I count as exemplary behavior.

John W. Loftus said...

JP, you have a lot about me already on your website, which I believe mischaracterizes who I am and what I said, so this Blog you started about me would probably contain nothing new.

But while I was away from my office I had already decided to offer you exactly what you have offered me. The contents of my Blog will be deleted. If you want your Blog you may have it. I believe I still have your email address, unless it changed.

I just got to thinking that this is below me. I was wrong to start that Blog about you. There are links about you that people can find for themselves if they want to do so. I am no longer going to participate in this. This pissing match is a waste of our time. The verbal violence must not continue to escalate. It must stop.

I would like that Blog just to keep others from it.

Would you like yours? You would enjoy it, I think.

I'm JP Holding. At least I admit it. said...

Very good, DJ. I am emptying the counter-blog now.

My email is stil the same. Contact me for terms of exchange. A problem did occur to me in that I suspect you're using, as I do, a Google password that also opens the door to DC, which I would never ask you to hand me on a silver platter. (I'm also on a Google group where the same password is used.) So what we may have to do is delete our blogs and just start over on both sides. I'll check the tech details out over the next hour. Write me after that.

John W. Loftus said...

For anyone interested we have just switched blogs. J.P. Holding is in control of the blog with his name on it, and I am in control of the blog with my name on it.

Now we can move on.

Anonymous said...

Done. Overwith. Move on.

Anonymous said...

What we are witnessing is the irrationalism of atheism.

Darren said...

exbeliever:

Some final comments from me...

My use of secondary lessons from Scripture is not controversial. This is the basis of most sermons based on historical texts. A pastor makes application from a passage to make a more general point for all to follow.

Well, it should certainly be controversial when the proposed lesson can't be reasonably extrapolated from the passage. The Ezekiel passage isn't about offering compassion but rather specifically cautioning believers against rejoicing when an unbeliever has died and is sitting in judgment before God. Since this is not the case here, the passage is being misapplied.

More to the point, I'm really not sure how you can get from "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked" to "It is wrong to mock John Loftus for blatantly lying and then trashing his credibility by refusing to repent." The Bible is full of examples of mocking unbelievers who persist in their beliefs when they really should know better. Was Elijah wrong to mock the prophets of Baal when their god didn't answer their prayers? Was Jesus wrong to mock the pharisees for their ignorance of the Law? Was the Apostle Paul wrong to mock the false teachers who tried to stir up dissension in the church? I'm inclined to say no.

You, further, demonstrate a willingness to abstract implicit principles when you approvingly use my quotation of Psalm 5:5. Specifically, the laughing and mocking are for a specific set of wicked people who gathered against God--John is neither part of that original group, nor has he "gathered against God."

It is his express purpose to "debunk Christianity". If that's not "[gathering] against God" then I really don't know what is.

You accepted my generalization there, when it approves of your harsh tone, but reject that same kind of generalization when it seems to caution against it.

Well, hopefully I've made my reasons clear.

Instead, however, I have described ways that you could have worded your objections in a gentler and kinder tone without "turning a blind eye to sin," or "excusing someone who knowingly and deliberately does wrong and then claims that it was actually right." You, however, have decided to stick with your harsh tone ("harsh," of course, is an antonym for "gentle"--i.e. one of the fruits of the Spirit) when you have admitted that, while it may be justified, is not necessary.

I wasn't interested in being "gentle". My intent was to shame John Loftus into hopefully repenting (which means more than simply saying, "I'm sorry"; rather, it's a resolution to change one's behavior), and failing that, to help sink his credibility as far as possible so that folks would be less inclined to take him seriously in the future.

Perhaps, I am wrong to expect exceptional behavior by those who are filled with the Spirit of the God of the universe. If I was right to look for that, however, I did not see it in you throughout this conversation. I've seen nothing in your tone and defense of it that I count as exemplary behavior.

Oh, spare me the guilt trip. My intent is to uphold the truth and bring opponents of Christianity down low. I have no interest in trying to wow you with "exemplary behavior" which in your case seems to mean the kind of mamby-pamby limp-wristed Christianity that gets chewed up and spit out in the real world.

Soyeong said...

Hello John Loftus,

“Soyeong, thanks for your reasonable response. I always appreciate discussing things with reasonable sounding people. As far as the difference between deception and lying goes, by not revealing your true identity you are being deceptive, but that's justifiable because you are not under any moral obligation to reveal yourself. Any time you don't tell everything you know, you are deceiving people to some degree, but no one is under any moral obligation to do so, except in certain contexts when the circumstances warrant it, like wehn before a judge.”

I would agree that we are not generally morally obligated to tell all that we know, so I do not see that as being deceptive. However, if you are trying to give the impression that were telling all me all that you knew when you were purposefully holding some back, then that would be deceptive. If, for instance, I were trying to give you the impression that Soyeong is my true identity when it really isn’t, then that would be deceptive as well. But since I am just using it as a name in order to help you tell me apart from Anonymous, then no deception is involved.

”Dictionary definitions describe how most people use words. But they do not define words as they ought to be defined, nor do they define them the way specific groups of people do, nor do they define them the way specialists like philosophers, theologians and scientists define them. The word "church" for instance, is probably defined as a building, but Christians think it describes "Christians." Scientists have different technical definitions about the word "matter," precisely because people are ignorant about what matter is, and so forth. Philosopher Sissela Bok wrote a detailed book on distinguishing between words like deception, dishonesty, and lying. I highly recommend it to everyone. I mean, if these words mean the same thing, then you lied by not revealing your identity, but surely we don't want to say that, do we?”

So are you saying that most people would view what you said as lying, but you read a book and adopted a definition that more narrowly defines lying in such a way that it exempts you from technically lying? That sounds an awful like special pleading to me, especially since you didn’t say what you considered to be technically a lie. Would lying be asserting something you knew to be false, such as denying that you reviewed your own book?

“As far as apologizing on every site on the web goes, no. I am under no obligation to do so since the deception took place here.”

I’m do not think you owe TWeb an apology for the deception that took place here - just for the lies that took place there. You lied both about what you had been told about the privacy policy there and in particular to Teal, when you called her an idiot and denied posting your review, which was later recovered, of your own book. Editing that to post the reviews of others and giving yourself five stars wasn’t exactly the most honest thing either.


”Besides, it's better that I don't visit TWEB anymore. I get too angry and frustrated when I do. It brings out the worst in me.”

I understand that it is difficult to come clean, but I think it is what someone who makes claims about being honest should do in order to remain consistent.

“Soyeong, one last thing. Where is the condemnation about Holding's overwhelming dishonesty, not just one time, but multiple times? Where are the calls for him to apologize to his readers?”

I’ve seen a couple of links to long drawn out posts that either give one side of the story or dissolved into he said/she said matches. I really do not have much of a desire to read through everything you two have said about each other to try to determine who lied where. As JP Holding pointed out, if he was wrong about something that he thought was the truth, that points more to him being incompetent than a liar. I have not yet seen anything that pointed to a concise, undeniable, and purposeful deception by him, as he pointed out that you did here. However, if JP Holding has lied, whether I know about it or not, then I think he should sincerely apologize for it without blaming others for what happened.

John W. Loftus said...

Soyeong, as far as I know you are JP Holding. I don't think so, but I don't know. Do you understand now?

In what follows I am merely having a separate discussion about what it means to lie.

So are you saying that most people would view what you said as lying, but you read a book and adopted a definition that more narrowly defines lying in such a way that it exempts you from technically lying?

No. I'm saying people have never looked seriously into what is meant by the terms involved. Shouldn't Christians do this since lying is a sin? Some people think lying is merely making a false statement. I deny that because then we're all liars all of the time. The word "lying" must refer to something else. Try offering a specific definition of it and you'll have a better understanding of what I mean.

Would lying be asserting something you knew to be false, such as denying that you reviewed your own book?

There's more to lying than that, since there are specific contexts where doing so is not a lie, like when we play some games like "Slap Jack." And there are many other cases where even if it is a lie, it is still the morally acceptable thing to do. But generally speaking in such a case if my attempt was also to deceive when the truth was called for, yes it would be a lie, if I did. But where's the lie? And where's the deception? Do you consider yourself to be deceptive in claiming that reviewing a book is posting what others said about it, as you do? Is such deception wrong? I see no reason why it's considered reviewing my own book when I post what others say about it, link to what I included, and even honestly explained why I rated it. No wonder you haven't a clue about the differences between lying and being deceptive.

You lied both about what you had been told about the privacy policy there..

Now this is just silly to me. There is a disagreement about that and so you jump to the conclusion I lied, rather than admit there is a disagreement about that. If I'm mistaken about that policy, or if I remembered it differently, then that's not a lie.

I maintain I did not technically lie. But even if you think I did, what conclusions can you reasonably draw from it? That I can be characterized as a liar? This does not follow. Christians do not trust what I have to say anyway, you included. As I said, everyone who personally knows me (and I mean everyone) will say I do not lie (even by your own slipshod definition of "deception," if I can even understand what you mean by it).

I detect this is a deeper subject than you are equipped to handle. That's why I suggest you read Bok's book.

On the one hand you're talking about my deception, and on the other hand you're talking about what it means to lie and to deceive, and these are two separate topics. I don't have the time to teach you about the latter, and I'm done talking about the former. So while I appreciate your comments, there isn't anything left to say.

Thank you.

I'm closing this discussion. I think everything has already been said.

I'm moving on.