My First "Flea"

Richard Dawkins labels any book written against his book as a "flea." I now have one too! Fred DeRuvo's book, The Anti-Supernatural Bias Of Ex-Christians: And Other Important Topics, deals with mine in the 5th-7th chapters. Check out the back cover. Fred sent me a copy and I've read it. There is nothing there that seriously engages my arguments even though he tried to be fair with them. Of my book he says: "It is a fairly well written and certainly a thoughtful and insightful treatise..." (p. 60). He also admits: "John does not seem to be purposefully unfair in his assessment of Christianity, or of the Bible and or of God." (p. 84) Fred has a Masters in Biblical Studies from Tyndale Theological Seminary.

I know of at least one more flea coming.

26 comments:

Tyro said...

I'm pretty sure that the fleas aren't books with passing mentions but books which are intentionally mimicing his book to boost their fame. The fleas are hitching a ride and sucking a little blood. Even their titles are intentional tributes like "The Richard Dawkins Delusion", "The Devil's Delusion", "Challenging Richard Dawkins", "God is No Delusion".

It's cool that you get mentioned but I don't think you have a flea yet :) (The "Debunking Atheists" site may be a flea...)

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Tyro. The title of his book, "The Anti-Supernatual Bias" part, comes from my book. He told me so. I'm considering it a flea because of that and because almost half the book deals with mine.

Yeah, there are several Blogs I consider fleas too, which are dedicated to personally attacking me.

Tyro said...

I stand corrected, thank you.

DenCol said...

Hi John,

I am reading "The Anti-Supernatural Bias Of Ex-Christians: And Other Important Topics" on Amazon using the "search inside" feature. I was able to read all of the references to you by typing in "Loftus" in the search.

I hate what happened to you. Churches and ministries can be extremely judgmental and hypocritical. As I have stated before, church sucks. I personally do not care about any sin that you committed. The sin issue was dealt with at the cross. Whether it is a part of the original text or not, I still agree with "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone".

There are 2 excellent books that deal with this: "Crucified by Christians", and "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People." The latter book is hysterical!!

We so called "Christians" can be major douche bags. For that, I ask for your forgiveness. I am a hypocrit with the rest. We all can talk a big game, but none of us can cast the first stone. I am sorry that so many stones were cast in your direction. That was not right.

Tommy Holland said...

From the back cover:

"If they are non-Christians now, were they authentic Christians before?


I weary of being told I must not have ever been a true Christian. If a lifelong Christian has a "deathbed deconversion," and if that means the person must not have been a "true" lifelong Christian, then by that logic, no one can be called a Christian until after they have died.

Dave said...

Since the book partially mentions you, I personally would consider it a "fl" :) No criticism intended -- I don't even have a "fl" that I know of.

Do you plan a response?

DenCol said...

Hi Tommy,

You bring up a very good point. What exactly is a "true" Christian. Let me put in my 2 cents.

A Christian is not simply a church goer. I was a Catholic for many years, but not a Christian. There are many church goers, bible readers, seminary professors, pastors, bishops, deacons, elders, priests, etc that are not Christians. Churchianity is not Christianity. The Christian RELIGION is not Christianity. In fact a Christian is not a title, label, or a list of what someone does or does not do.

And I do not want to give that "religion vs relationship" definition either, even though that is closer to the mark. REAL Christianity WORKS. Real revelation, real prophecies, real healings, real knowledge and understanding, real insight, real wisdom and discernment, real gifts and real supernatural encounters.

Many Baptists, Lutherans, Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, etc do not have a real experiential and intimate knowledge and relationship with the Lord. They have a head knowledge and some warm fuzzy feelings. That is Churchianity - not Christianity.

DenCol said...

Many people see Christianity as a participation in a list of religious activities: prayer, bible study, worship, witnessing, feeding the poor, missionary work, pastoral type ministries, leadership roles, etc etc etc.

That is all just a bunch of religious activity. Most of it is religious DUTY and PERFORMANCE based on trying to BE a good Christian. It can all be empty religious works done out of legalism and religious works.

It is a marriage without sex and without orgasm. It is dead and empty religious sewage. No wonder that people walk away from this nonsence.

Marc said...

The no true Scotsman fallacy lives on....

DenCol said...

Let's compare typical "Christianity" with a wierd religious couples marriage. This marriage offers no intimacy, no sex, no orgasm, no freedom, and no fun, and no excitement. The wife's face is always veiled and she never gets naked. You must sleep in separate bedrooms. To her, sex in all forms is a sin. In fact, anything fun is a sin.

You can talk to her, but she will not talk to you. Instead, she gives you book to read with stories about her and what you can and cannot do - her rule book. It says she loves you, but she will never tell you that herself. You have to take the book's word for it.

You have to serve her all your life and expect nothing in return until you die. And you are not allowed to doubt her love or ask any questions, because that would be disrespectful and show a lack of faithfulness.

WAITER! Check please!

John W. Loftus said...

Dave, no I don't plan on responding. There's nothing I need to respond to in my opinion. He just doesn't seriously engage my arguments. I'd be very surprised if an intelligent Christian could read both of our books and think he has. I was very surprised at his lack of understanding. Christian apologists must do a whole lot better than that.

DenCol said...

John said: "He just doesn't seriously engage my arguments."

I know the feeling.

jbudrdanl said...

Congrats, John! A celebration is called for. Flea party in Ft. Wayne. I'll buy the first round.

John W. Loftus said...

Thanks Dan! See ya then. I look forward to it.

Jim Turner said...

Regarding the book's cover, anyone notice the words "Ex-Christian" look like the font was designed by Satan?

Can font choice be considered poisoning the well?

And can someone explain to me why an "anti-supernatural bias" is a bad thing? I see apologists use this a lot. Ironically, it can greatly assist those struggling with doubt in seeing how desperate they are. What's next? Anti-Magic bias? Anti-UFO bias? Anti-Invisible-Gnome bias?

- Jim T.

DenCol said...

Hi Jim,

You asked: "And can someone explain to me why an "anti-supernatural bias" is a bad thing?"

I can, but I have been banned again because I am a douche bag.

Gabe said...

DenCol said,

"You asked: "And can someone explain to me why an "anti-supernatural bias" is a bad thing?"

I can, but I have been banned again because I am a douche bag."

DenCol,

Your assessment of douchebaggeryness is correct. Just joking with you! To be honest, from your recent posts, your Christian theology seems FAR less controversial than a typical "fundamentatlist." Definitely not the type whom I got into a heated debate with outside of a Subway restuarant the other day!

rmwilliamsjr said...

i did not know what a flea was when i read your entry this morning. i did a bit of googling and added it to the wikdictionary at http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/dawkins_fleas
however it is only temporary until management can see it meets inclusion criteria.
thank you for your blog entry which got me interested in this discussion.

ismellarat said...

DenCol, if you're going along with the idea that everyone who deconverts was never a Christian in the first place (you didn't challenge it when it was brought up), I don't think you can support it without raising the bar for "true Christian" so incredibly high, that there almost isn't such a thing.

Then you'd be stuck having to say that either you don't have to necessarily be a Christian to go to Heaven, or that 0.001% are going there.

And I bet that most who deconvert would answer "yes" to: "when you were a Christian, would you have died for your faith?"

THEN, you would also be stuck having to believe that people who do so now might be still be going to Hell. Who knows, maybe some of the martyred saints are now with Satan, where they belong, following that logic.

I wanted to link to someone who'd posted several months of heartwrenching, pleading prayers he'd written down before becoming an atheist in the end, but I can't find it now. Has anyone else seen that?

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle. People would probably call me a deist who doesn't want to throw away the parts of Christianity he still likes.

ismellarat said...

DenCol, you went to some lengths to define a "true" Christian.

Is this "trueness" the dividing line between saved and unsaved, or do you not have to be a true Christian to avoid Hell?

You might be falling into a trap, here. Careful!

DenCol said...

Hi ismellarat,

No one is going to Hell. Jesus Christ already paid the full price for everyone's sins.

Being a "true" Christian is not a high bar. In fact, the bar is much lower. No, the fact is, there isn't any bar whatsoever! You do not need to go to church, read the Bible, witness, or DO anything. A true Christian is simply anyone who is baptized in the Holy Spirit and has been REALLY born again.

When Jesus said "You (plural) MUST BE born again" in John 3, that is in the passive voice. That is something that GOD DOES - not us. Some will be born again in this life, and the rest will be born again in the next life. Everyone will eventually be born again and restored to the Father through Christ. We are saved by GRACE and not by works so that no one will boast. So everyone will be saved in the end.

Salvation is from sin - not from Hell. There is not one single verse about being saved from Hell. Hell is a myth.

ismellarat said...

Nice, DenCol, I like that and hope your minority opinion turns out to be true. If only every religionist were to believe that, there'd be nothing to kill or get killed for and we'd have one big, happy planet, with everyone having pleasant philosophical/theological debates.

That Hell stuff, it seems to me, is what puts such a ridiculous edge on it all.

See what I posted here, especially on William Hull and Adolph Eichmann:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=21219785&postID=107086339522002728

Murdering six million was worse than denying Jesus once, the Reverend publicly said. So the Jews are gonna burn.

So many ridiculous, murderous things could have been avoided, had it not been for that kind of belief. Who in their right mind would have administered or gone through those bestial medieval tortures, had the spectre of something infinitely worse not been presented as the alternative?

What I'd *like* to say to anyone on their deathbed is something like, "you'll be held accountable for anything you may have done in your life, but you can look forward to everything being made whole again."

But I can't prove that.

And there's also the matter of all those Old Testament massacres of women and children, which, if true, and if they're also of God, would tend to point away from the idea of his being as good as we wish him to be.

What do universalists think of those? Is Jesus on the hook (since he's one and the same, even though he came at a later time) for having slashed pregnant women, or is much of the OT seen as myth?

DenCol said...

Hi ismellarat,

To be honest with you, I rarely read the OT. So I cannot give you a good answer. Some say God was in a bad mood back then. :-) The Israelites were a strange bunch with their Levitical priesthood, animal sacrifices, Temple rituals, laws and commandments. I am not sure what all that was about. Wierd stuff to say the least.

So I stick to reading the NT. That is enough for me to wade through without getting bogged down in the obsurity of the OT. Sorry I could not be of more help.

ismellarat said...

Well, at some point you'll have to deal with the OT.

Christians claim it's from God, it contains stuff Christians find repulsive, when cornered, and the people here have read it, and aren't stupid.

If some parts of it aren't really true, I'd like to know how this is determined. And it'd seem we have the wrong canon, then, I'd think.

DenCol said...

I am not sure about the "canon". Men decided what writings were in the canon. I do not agree with that all the books in the current Bible are suppose to be there, or that the Bible is inerrant.

Yes, I will have to deal with the OT. I am not avoiding it, I just have not gone there yet because it is such a can of worms. I have been studying NT textual criticism, so my next venture might be the OT. Until then, please forgive my profound ignorance on the subject. I am embarrased by my lack ot understanding of the OT.

But I need to be able to answer your question at some point. So maybe now is a good time for me to start reading about OT textual criticism and find out the truth.

Gandolf said...

John W. Loftus said.."Yeah, there are several Blogs I consider fleas too, which are dedicated to personally attacking me."

Ankle nippers and pebble tossers.Bloody pesky little Chihuahua dogs tugging at yer boot strings trying their best ta unsettle ya.With about as much actual bite in their bark, as a Cheshire pussy cat.

With their group exclamations of "did ya hear John Loftus has admitted some actual imperfections in his book,oooooh thats terrible ooooooh im telling!!"

Same geeks who probably hung around school yards playing marbles,while looking out for anybody they could go tell the teacher on

Mere Nuisances! but still they are still around,so some use has ta be found for them.

They are still great for a laugh! John thats their calling,and just try to remember nobody really worth worrying about that much is ever going to be very likely to ever go taking their feeble little personal attacks very seriously.