I'll Be Speaking at the Mid-West Regional Meeting of The Evangelical Philosophical Society

That's right! The EPS meets in conjunction with the ETS where I'll be presenting and defending my Outsider Test for Faith in the midst of these Christian scholars. They meet at Ashand Theological Seminary on March 20-21st (next weekend!), and I'll be speaking Friday at 11:40 AM. I'd love to meet readers of this blog. I'll be the first atheist invited to speak at such a meeting, so as you'd guess, I'm both excited and a bit nervous.

19 comments:

Anthony said...

John, nothing on the site or on the schedule indicates that you are speaking from an atheist perspective so it will be interesting to the see reactions by those attending. I'm a little over 3 hours from Ashland so I may be able to come for your presentation.

John W. Loftus said...

Indeed Anthony. But through word of mouth they'll know who I am. Yes, by all means come out. I may need you!

kiwiatheist said...

Hey John, It's a long way from New Zealand, but I'll be thinking of you and wishing you well. Do let us know how it goes and, if possible, post a video. Good luck :-)

Ima said...

John,

This is big; congrats!

And Anthony, John _is_ listed on the schedule:

"EPS II: Outsider Test for Faith John W. Loftus (Kellogg Community)"

Paddy Jive said...

Congrats Mr.Loftus. I hope you give us a full report of the event!

John W. Loftus said...

Just to be clear here, they know I'm an atheist. They've known it from the beginning. Dr. Robert Kurka and I are old school friends. Bob is the secretary-treasurer of the Midwest Regional EPS. He and Dr. William R. Baker will be presenting papers the same day as I do. Baker is the editor of the Stone-Campbell Journal, who asked Dr. James F. Sennett to review my book. [Sennett BTW, emailed me and told me he saw no straw-man arguments in my book, and if you know anything about the nature of our debates that's one of the most frequent charges leveled at the opposition. So Sennett actually gave me one of the highest compliments one can give the opposition!]

I've receive a email or two warning me they may use this as an opportunity to "humiliate me" or treat me like I'm "some jackass."

Thanks for your warnings, but since I know some of them personally I doubt this. They just want to consider the outsider test and develop a response to it. Yes, they will ask me some tough questions. I expect that. But they would not invite me on the program if they thought my argument was not to be taken seriously. If they did that, the EPS members would rise up afterward and demand an explanation for why the committee accepted my submission in the first place.

In other words, the EPS probably considers my argument a serious challenge to their faith and has taken notice of it.

Peter V said...

Look forward to hearing all about it all the way over here in Australia John. Sounds like it wont be quite Daniel in the Lion's Den, but there is always a level of anxiety associated with re-entry to the place of forsaken allegiances. Best Wishes

Martin said...

G'day John,

Just happened upon your site today.

From the little I've read, you strike me as a genuine truth seeker.

A great example for all of us.

If we could all be as civil and rational it would be a much better world.

It warms my heart to read of your contribution at the EPS/ETS meeting.



Martin (Christian) from Australia

BigMikeW said...

So I just came on to your blog today randomly and haven't quite had the time to read everything,or figure out where to post my own coments, but I was wondering why you are intent on "Debunking Christianity" and causing others to lose faith. As a Christian I will admit to my own doubt and many times wishes that what I believed in was not true. I will also admit that many of us are often cruel and ungodly often, just as many atheists are often cruel. In the end I think that is the saddest fact about Christianity today that for the most part we are no different from anyone else and if we are then it is usually because we are worse than any atheist because of our arrogance, and unfounded self righteousness, I want to make one thing clear I don't really feel the need to debate you right now, but I would like to understand your position. Maybe you can point me in the right direction on blog. Thanks.

John W. Loftus said...

BigMike, if you are a serious person then I suggest reading my book. If all you want is sound bites then look at the links in the "Navigation" section of our sidebar.

Too bad most Christians are not serious when they ask what you just asked.

Thanks for stopping by.

Cheers.

Kenn said...

Too far for me.

Post a video, please.

Seems to me there should be an atheists speakers bureau.

Jason Long said...

I'm only two hours away, but unfortunately stuck on 12 hour night shifts the day before and after. I second the call for a video.

Darren said...

I suspect their primary reason for looking at the so-called "outsiders test" is because as evangelicals, they have a desire to make Christianity more relevant to non-Christians, and what better way to do that than to approach it from the viewpoint of an "outsider". Anybody who's taken a good look at this "test" knows that it poses no serious challenge to the truth of Christianity since it's little more than a shell game intended to sow seeds of doubt into the minds of those insecure in their beliefs (and to that end, it could be used to undermine any world view, including atheism), and I have little doubt that this society of evangelical philosophers it well aware of that fact.

Anthony said...

Darren,

You remind me of how dispensationalists deal with arguments against their view. Instead of objectively dealing with the arguments they nit pick and dismiss the evidence against their position. Creationists do the same thing. Just look around here on DC at how District Harvey handles the evidence against creationism. You are doing the same thing. It is obvious to me and others that you have not seriously thought through these issues, instead you offer a mere reaction and dismissal without any substance of a critique.

John W. Loftus said...

If people are wondering why so many seem to be banned from DC it's because the Tweb sewer forum out of which they came from has now flushed out into the Blog world. Darren (Mountain Man) is one of them and he's banned for previous comments as well as the simplistic and ignorant comment above. Does he really imagine that this is why they invited me to speak? Such idiocy baffles me. Let's see. Loftus's Outsider Test presents no serious challenge, it's a shell game, it undercuts his own worldview, it should be esy to answer, in fact it's already been answered, but let's have him speak to us about it anyway. Do people like Darren think the committee who invites speakers don't have peers they must answer to?

Listen up. This is a reasonable discussion we're having. We don't think name calling and juvenile tactics is conducive to an adult discussion of the ideas that separate us. That's precisely why people visit here and I'll be damned if Holding and company will cause this Blog to degenerate into what someone can find on his forum. Kids, go play elsewhere. You have no substance at all. You only call people names.

Darren said...

Why so defensive, John? I'm being polite and honest in my assessment. The "outsider test" is good food for thought as to why people might reject Christianity -- or for that matter any other world view -- but as an actual objection to the truth of Christianity it's a non-starter. Why? Because Christianity is grounded on the historical evidence of the resurrection, so how "outsiders" might feel about it is irrelevant (I imagine if I made the same observation about, say, evolution then you'd not find my comments the least bit objectionable). As such, I can't imagine this group of evangelical philosophers is interested in your argument because they believe that it challenges the truth of Christianity.

I think the "outsider test" is a wonderful tool if employed as a thought experiment or as a means of broadening one's perspective, but as an actual argument against Christianity, it's ineffective. It's a bit like Pascal's Wager in that respect, in that it's not supposed to prove anything, it's just supposed to be food for thought.

(Now pay attention, John: I just compared one of your arguments to Pascal's Wager. That's a rather nice compliment, don't you think?)

John W. Loftus said...

Darren, if you will reason like you just did I will no longer ban you. See, I can be reasonable. I still disagree with you but you are getting smarter. No more ad hominems though.

John W. Loftus said...

BTW, I'll probably post my paper here after the meeting, then you can tell me yourself whether it's ineffective as an argument against Christianity.

Breckmin said...

Praise God!!!

No better group of believers to pray for you and beseech our Holy Creator for your eternal soul...

You know, John, you are not going into the lions den...you are going into the "open arms family" who will all glorify God if you ever come home to Him.

This too is based on Logic. The Logic of Love.