An Open Letter to All Bibliobloggers

In light of the developments of the last week or more let me recap what has happened. See what you think. I’ll try to keep this brief as possible and I’ll number my points for easy reference, not that I have to, okay?

1) I asked to be included as a Biblioblogger just because I was curious how I would rank with my Blog. I asked the proprietor one time and was included. I did not whine or browbeat my way in. I was accepted as a Biblioblogger most graciously. I did not have any ulterior motive to cause any trouble either. I considered it an honor to be on the list.

2) The amount of concern among Biblioblogger’s about the ensuing developments and my role in them is probably directly proportional to how high a particular Blogger ranked on that list. The higher the ranking then the more someone was concerned, while the lower the ranking the less one was concerned, that is, unless that person had something against either Jim West or me. Jim West didn’t like that the list was shut down so much he decided to post his own list with him on top again. And then Jim West crowed about it with a video of a song that says “Don’t you wish you were me?,” or something to that effect.

3) I know at the time I probably did not have anything to do with shutting down the Biblioblogger ranking list. I had claimed that Christians just couldn’t take it that a Blog named “Debunking Christianity” bested most of them and that the list was shut down because of me. I know the list contained many different types of believers and non-believers, scholars and probably non-scholars; a diverse group. But I also knew that the conservatives who cared the most would be the most upset with my claim, and they were. I was stirring up the pot, having fun, a provacative type of humor, the kind Jim West regularly does if you read any of his boasts. As far as I know the list maker just got tired of Jim West crowing about being ranked #1 month after month, who knows. ;-)

4) But the real reason I went on the attack was because Jim West literally pissed me off. Edit: I use the word "literally" in a figurative sense here ;-). First he censored several comments of mine where I simply disagreed with him. I argued respectfully. It’s just that he censored them because I disagreed. He has the right to do what he wants to, as one person said, but then I have a right to respond as I see fit, agreed?

5) Then Jim West joked about me with a picture of a person who was a homeless cross dresser by saying I was spotted here (or something like that). I had joked in return by commenting on that post: “That was me!” But then knowing he had my attention he wrote a post where he claimed that atheists were not worth talking to because we were all looney insane, all of us! And that did it for me. I blasted him for it right here. People who are not minorities do not know what it’s like as an atheist being attacked like that. It would be the same thing if he had attacked all women as brain dead.

6) One person named Loren argued he was just, well, caught up in “the heat of the fiery rhetoric used by prophets, [and] apostles.” But Jim West was exegeting a passage in the Bible there (Ps. 14:1) and agreeing with John Calvin. So he must either now reject that exegesis or he was treating Holy Scripture cavalierly. I would think someone who believes the Bible would not treat God’s word that way, if the exegete didn't mean what he said, don’t you?

7) Then the fire came; first by Joel Watts claiming I was not a true Biblioblogger. Of course, this only was proving that maybe I had hit a nerve and that they really didn’t want me on the list after all, or at least, the conservatives who cared. It was even claimed I was stupid if I thought I had singled handedly shut the list down. And even more personal attacks none of which were true.

8) And then the counter-attacks began rolling in, especially by Dr. Hector Avalos and Suzanne McCarthy. These attacks did not originate with me. Aside from the ones I listed above they included that Jim West is:

A. deceptive about his credentials;
B. makes fun of suicides
C. is homophobic.

Hardly someone who could be called "a good doctor" or "a respectable person," as was claimed.

9) Then Jim West shut his blog down. Only today he cited the fact that he was just bored, and once again lashing out at his detractors without answering them. He wrote:
i didnt quit because i felt bad about making fun of people. people without a sense of humor are of no concern to me at all. nor are their much vaunted ‘feelings’.

nor did i quit because of loftus or avalos or heard or cook or any of the others. i think my regular readers will know that im not afraid of nor cowed by doofy people. they think themselves far too important if they imagine for one deranged, deluded, mindless second that or their stupid ideas have any influence on any decision i make.

indeed, it’s flattering to know that hector the failed faith healer and loftus the failed pastor sit around all day thinking about me. apparently they’re obsessed. i just hope they dont show up at the house cooking a rabbit in a pot. i wouldnt be surprised, mind you. i just hope they don’t. cuz that would be even creepier than their sitting around thinking about me.
Notice he said he didn't care that he offended people! And notice that since I was using provocative humor when I claimed I had shut the Biblioblogger list down he never got my joke, just like the many people he offended didn't get his jokes either. But he offended real people whereas I was joking about the rankings on a list.

But Jim West did say it’s over, that he’s quit Blogging, so this episode is over. I have no personal ill feelings toward delusional people like Jim. I expect it. I get personally attacked all of the time. I just must stand up to ignorance like his. I for one am glad he’s gone and I’m glad I helped convince him he was, well, boring. Good riddance Jim. Keep your word this time and quit for good as the Good Book say: “let your yea be yea and your nay be nay.”

10) Lastly for the record my Blog is a respectful place to debate the issues that separate us. That’s why this blog is so popular among both skeptics and Christians. Jim West’s was not. I can attest to this with personal experience about Jim. I am respectful toward people who are respectful of me though. Keep that in mind. Jim West was not. And the last time I looked my blog banner up on top tells you who my target audience is. If you are not one of them and yet want to claim I’m not debunking true or real Christianity, then start up a blog and invite all Christians to debate who or what is a true Christian. Come to a consensus on what that is and come back here when you do then I’ll debunk that. Until then keep in mind who my target audience is. It's not liberals or radicals or liberation or process theologies. For the record I have more in common with these other Christian theologians then they do with evangelicals.


Madeleine said...

"my Blog is a respectful place to debate the issues that separate us."

Madeleine Flannagan is Happy to be Treated as Women Were in the Bible!

John W. Loftus said...

Madeline, thanks for the link. I hope informed people read through it. Any woman who wants to be treated as women were in Biblical days is unenlightened and ignorant in the exact same way that Jim West is unenlightened and ignorant by agreeing with the Bible when it comes to atheists.

Come on now, both of you come out of that cave you're living in.

There are some things I have little or no respect for, that's true.


Suzanne McCarthy said...


You link back to a previous post, but the link to the original post of yours is no longer available.

I have to ask which women in the Bible you are happy to be treated as?

John W. Loftus said...

Suzanne, it looks like I linked to her front page at the time which has changed. Yes, maybe Madeline can find it and come back here with it.

Madeleine said...

You can use our John Loftus tag as the entanglement of blog posts surrounding this issue spanned more than one but I'll make it simple too:

We wrote this:
Sunday Study: Slavery, John Locke and the Bible

John wrote:
Madeleine Flannagan is Happy to be Treated as Women Were in the Bible!

So we wrote:
John Loftus on Madeleine Flannagan and Women and Other Red Herrings

Sunday Study: Does the Bible Teach that a Rape Victim has to Marry her Rapist?

Suzanne McCarthy said...


I enjoyed your posts. What was the law for unbetrothed girls who were raped?

Steven Carr said...

Rapists were punished by being forced to marry the girls they had raped.

Madeleine thinks this is a wonderful law, and fully deserves to be called inspired scripture, God-breathed and useful for instruction.

Steven Carr said...

Here is the passage so Madeleine can start her campaign to deny what the Bible says.

It is about a woman being killed because of sex.

Deuteronomy 22
If a man happens to meet in a town a virgin pledged to be married and he sleeps (shakab) with her, you shall take both of them to the gate of that town and stone them to death—the girl because she was in a town and did not scream for help, and the man because he violated another man's wife. You must purge the evil from among you.

Madeleine will explain that there is no mention of 'rape' in that passage.

To quote Madeleine on Deuteronomy 22
'Had the author intended to refer to rape then he would have used the word chazak.....'

But the word used in that passage is 'shakab', as used in Exodus 22:16.

Madeleine explains what 'shakab' means, as follows ' Exodus 22:15(sic) , which states “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.'

So there is no mention of 'rape' in that passage.

The word used is 'shakab' which Madeleine has convincingly proved does not mean 'rape' - it means 'seduce'.

So the woman is killed, although she was not raped.

Madeleine has proved to her own satisfaction that 'shakab' does not mean 'rape' - it means 'seduce'

I quote Madeleine once more on the meaning of 'shakab' - 'What is important, however, is that we are left in no doubt that in Exodus 22:15 (sic) the case deals, not with rape, but with what was traditionally called seduction.'

How clearly Madeleine explains the Bible!

We are 'left in no doubt' that Exodus 22:16 and Deuteronomy 22:23 that the case deals, not with rape, but what was traditionally called 'seduction' (shakab)

So the woman is killed....

Madeleine will shortly be along to deny that 'shakab' means 'seduction'.....

Suzanne McCarthy said...

I read Madeleine's articles for myself. Thanks.

I undersstand that a man or woman who commit adultery are to be stoned. If I were to commit adultery I would not want to be stoned.

I understand that a woman who is taken outside the town, is not to be killed. But the man is killed. It would depend in this case whether the man was a chosen partner. I would not want a man I was in love with killed.

I understand that a girl seduced in town had to marry her seducer. Forced marriages were quite normal among my friends when I was a teenager. Some were happy some were not.

I do not understand why there is no law refering to what happens if a girl is raped. This is what I don't understand.

I would not want to be treated like most women in the Bible.

Manifesting Mini Me (MMM) said...

Look at the bigger picture here about this Biblioblogger issue - so much focus devoted towards gathering 'numbers' for readers for those who are writing about the life of a man who only allowed Himself 12 disciples 2,000 years ago.

I think a smaller following is the way to go.....

Loren Rosson III said...

One person named Loren argued he was just, well, caught up in “the heat of the fiery rhetoric used by prophets, [and] apostles.”

Ah well, I suggested this along with another possibility, and I suppose it boils down to how charitable one is feeling in the moment. One never really knows with Jim.

J. L. Watts said...

Here, John, is someone who wants to welcome you with open arms

John W. Loftus said...

Funny sonny. Thanks, I think. My first impressions of him are interesting. ;-)

Les said...

John, in part 10 of your post "An open letter to all bibliographers" explaining the process of you joining the list, and then the list being shut down, and then all the Jim West stuff... In part 10 you told them to get together and decide what a good christian is and then come back, "and then I'll debunk that"... Hubris John, hubris. Don't say that again...

It may be true (you being able to debunk it) but if you truly have an open mind, you'll refrain from saying such things until you've had time to at least THINK about their new claims...

I'm with you on the cockiness though. Knowing what I now know of religion in general, and christianity in particular, I highly doubt they'd come back with something sans logical fallacies but let's keep a modicum of modesty and intellectual honesty. ;-)

John W. Loftus said...

Well, one thing has been shown true here. I don't censor any respectful disagreements, unlike what Jim West did.

Although, perhaps Jim and I are both a bit arrogant, Les.

MKR said...

I think that your squabble with the biblioclowns was dragging down the quality of your blog. Be done with them.

John W. Loftus said...

I appreciate what you wrote MKR. But I have gotten their attention, now haven't I?


Rob R said...

Lastly for the record my Blog is a respectful place to debate the issues that separate us.

I would agree that it is... usually.

Rob R said...

In all sincerity, as far as blogs go, the discussion here is real and more often reasonable than not in terms of actually discussing things and not wallowing in scorn and personal attacks.