All Christian Apologetics is Special Pleading

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I wrote a whole chapter in my book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist on special pleading (chapter 7). In it I argue that all apologetics is special pleading. Apologists should read it before writing another sentence in defense of their faith. They fail to see a fundamental point in the utter failure to defend their sect-specific brand of Christianity. They are special pleading. That's all they ever do. I've never seen them do anything different. In that chapter of mine I challenge apologists to stop doing it if they're serious about defending their Christian faith. The risk is that if they stop it they cannot defend their faith at all. But the risk is worth it if they're serious about knowing and defending the truth.

Christians Pretend to Know Things They Don't Know. Do Atheists?

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What exactly are atheists pretending? We know the brains of humans are infected with a host of cognitive biases that force us to believe what we want to believe, so we take them seriously by demanding hard cold evidence before asserting anything about the nature of nature, its workings and origins, or which religion is true, if there is one. We consequently think exclusively in terms of the probabilities about the available evidence. When the evidence is inconclusive we suspend judgment. We are open-minded rather than closed-minded to the consensus of scientists working in their respective fields, especially when it comes to evolution and its implications for religions. We're informed enough to know that adopting the faith of our parents and their cultures is a notoriously unreliable way to know which religion is true, if there is one. We treat religions as reasonable adults should, as outsiders. We know that at best faith-based reasoning, as opposed to scientific-based reasoning, is a notoriously bad way to reason. We're not pretending anything when it comes to judging the supposed evidence for the so-called "divinely revealed" theistic religions inadequate either, no more than a criminal court is pretending when it judges the accused is not guilty.

How is this preaching anything? We reason based on sufficient evidence. One way to know believers don't reason based on sufficient evidence is that they don't demand hard cold evidence, nor do they think exclusively in terms of the probabilities, nor do they suspend judgment when they should, nor are they open-minded, nor are they informed about how utterly unreliable their upbringing is when it comes to religious faiths, nor do they treat their own faith as outsiders, nor do they use scientific-based reasoning when searching for the truth.

Atheists may judge the probabilities differently but that's doing something quite different than singing hymns to the universe and praying to our religious sect-specific conclusions, feeling 100% certain we're right.

“Reality,” a therapist friend once remarked…

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…is what goes on OUTSIDE the patient’s head


The Bible is revelation, so we’re told. The word of God, the mind of God, can be discovered in its pages. Holy men of old—tuned in to God—put pen to paper (well, whatever they used at the time) and created a monumental record of the Almighty’s outreach to humankind.

Really? A long time ago serious thinkers began to suspect that it’s not that simple. Don’t we have to wonder: as the ancient author was scrawling the words onto the scroll, were those words sparked from his own brain, rather than through his brain from a divine source? That is, were those words the product of imagination or hallucination, rather than inspiration? And how in the world can we tell the difference, so many centuries later? I actually posed this question in seminary, of all places. I suggested that we ran the risk of giving mundane stuff divine status—and thus taking it too seriously (and misleading people). I was basically saying, Aren’t we taking a big risk, preaching the Bible as “the Word of God”? One of my seminary pals ridiculed me for not being bold enough to take the “risk of faith.”

Jesus Eclipsed: Part 3

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As I noted in my second post, the real thrust of my book, Jesus Eclipsed: How Searching the Scriptures Got in the Way of Recounting the Facts, can be summed up in this sentence: Many stories about Jesus likely owe their existence not to genuine recollections of actual events handed down (distorted?) by oral tradition (as historical Jesus scholars have typically claimed) but to invented memories of fictitious events worked up from Old Testament texts.

Here I want to show why that happened by examining the belief that prompted this approach to telling the story of Jesus—the belief that Scripture provides a script for the gospel.

Quote of the Day by Dr. Hector Avalos, Chiding Pop Christian Apologists For Pretending To Know Things They Don't Know

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Don Camp has roosted here at DC, viewing himself as an apologist whose primary goal is not to learn from us but rather to dismantle our arguments against his faith. He's posted so often I limited his comments to ten per day. What Camp should tell us is why his god was so incompetent he enlisted apologists like him to set us all straight. Enter Dr. Hector Avalos. Camp had strewn together a lame response to a video Dr. Avalos made, so Hector responded here. Undeterred, Camp thought he could respond further. So Hector chided him in a letter below, which also serves as a warning to other pop Christian apologists and professional apologists as well.

Dr. Peter Boghossian has defined faith as "pretending to know things you don't know." It's a stipulative definition, one that's polemical in nature yet accurate from the perspective of atheists and skeptics. No, we emphatically do not have to use a word such as "faith" in the same way Christians use it, when the concept behind it is the debate itself. Although, if faith is trust, as they say, there is no reason to trust faith. Anyway, just like the sophists in the days of Socrates, who pretended to know things they didn't know, most all apologists for Christianity do likewise (otherwise they wouldn't be apologists). By contrast Boghossian wants us to practice the intellectual virtue of authenticity, whereby we admit we don't know something if we legitimately don't know it. No one can know everything. So apologists who are pretending are not authentic people. The question is why anyone would take seriously the pontifications of an inauthentic person? The lack of authenticity, all by itself, should tell us such a person is indoctrinated, brainwashed and delusional.

Jesus Eclipsed: Part 2

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In my initial post, I shared a bit about who I am and what led me to write Jesus Eclipsed: How Searching the Scriptures Got in the Way of Recounting the Facts. Here, I want to discuss what the book tries to accomplish.

Jesus Eclipsed: Part 1

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For several years, I have posted comments here on Debunking Christianity, most often when the discussion has involved the mythicist/historicist debate. A few weeks ago, I published a book, Jesus Eclipsed: How Searching the Scriptures Got in the Way of Recounting the Facts, which is now available on Amazon. John has kindly invited me to write a series of guest posts discussing some of what I have written. In this initial post, I want to share a bit about who I am and what led me to write the book.

Clan or Thousand? A Response to Dr. Vincent Torley

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Dr. Vincent Torley responded to my post on “The Use and Abuse of the Amarna Letters by Christian Apologists” in the comments section.
Torley’s response is fundamentally flawed and exhibits a lack of training in Hebrew and Semitic philology. He cites sources that he himself is either not evaluating critically or is unable to evaluate because of a lack of knowledge of Semitic and Hebrew linguistics. 
I will focus on this statement to illustrate my point: "In summary: some 600 families, or clans, left Egypt, consistent with the 70 that entered, the length of stay, and the births there."

Gosh, Why Is THAT in the Bible?

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One big chunk of the New Testament can go in the trash


The authority of the papacy took a major hit in the wake of the Protestant Reformation. Those who broke away from Rome, however, failed to free themselves from a tiresome superstition that plagues us to this day. No, there is no such thing as a Holy Man who is privy to God’s thoughts, but Protestants made the mistake of substituting one superstition for another: they transferred their loyalty and devotion to a book. Spurned Catholics derisively referred to the Bible as The Paper Pope.

Dr. Vincent Torley: "The Bible Says So. I Believe it. That Settles it."

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Unbelievably this is his exact attitude toward the Bible! Here is his quote:
Jesus' resurrection is attested in St. Paul and all of the Gospels. The episode which John Loftus wrote about in his OP [regarding the devastating problems with the Zombies story told in Matthew 27:51-54] is related in just one Gospel, in a passage which may not be original, anyway. Hence my skepticism. However, if it were recorded in Luke as well as Matthew, then I would have no trouble in believing it. LINK.
Given the problems I highlighted in my OP, what else can Torley mean but that "the Bible Says So. I Believe it. That Settles it"? So Torley, let's say for the sake of argument this Zombie text was recorded in Luke as well as Matthew. Then answer the problems I mentioned in my OP.

The Use and Abuse of the Amarna Letters by Christian Apologists: A Response to Don Camp

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Pharaoh Akhenaten, founder of Amarna
Don Camp, a blogger who often comments on DC, has written a critique of a video lecture, “How Archaeology Killed Biblical History,” that I presented in Minnetonka, Minnesota for the Minnesota Atheists on October 21, 2007. 

Camp objects principally to some of my statements about the lack of historical and archaeological evidence for the Exodus. Camp appeals to the famous Amarna letters, which date from the middle to late 1300s BCE, to refute some of the claims I make in the video lecture.
Camp purports to present a researched post with footnotes. In particular, Camp appeals to this website to document his claims about the Amarna letters.
For the sake of clarity and brevity, I will address the main points of Camp’s blog post with two principal questions:
I. Does archaeology support the large numbers of people mentioned in Exodus 12:37, which claims that 600,000 men on foot were part of the Exodus? (Approximately at 17:06 in my video lecture).
II. Does the Amarna correspondence, dated to the mid-late 1300s BCE, support the historical claims of the Bible concerning the conquest of Hazor and Shechem by the Israelites?       
I will explain why Camp not only misunderstands the Amarna correspondence, but also why he lacks a proper understanding of both the Bible and archaeology when he makes his case. On a broader level, this essay explains why we cannot use the Amarna correspondence to confirm the Exodus or Conquest narratives.

"Can Bacteria Help Us Understand Religion?" by Psychologist Valerie Tarico

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"Some ideas, like some microbes, are more contagious and parasitic than others. Can a better understanding of how ideas proliferate help humanity reduce the harms of religion while keeping the benefits?" Tarico writes:
As viral self-replicators, ideas have a life of their own. Human beings have a cognitive immune system that seeks to identify and eradicate false ideas because misinformation tends to cause us trouble. Some false ideas evade our bullshit detectors and so get passed socially from person to person. In this context, when religious notions take root in human minds and get passed on despite containing maladaptive falsehoods that do us harm, they may be considered socially transmitted pathologies or, to use my earlier term, socio-pathologies.

The term pathology implies illness and disability—but not all forms of religion seem to cause harm.

This appears to be the case irrespective of their truth value. All of the world’s great religions fail the “outsider test of faith,” meaning they fail to meet any normal bar for credibility when scrutinized by an outsider applying the same rigorous standard of evidence to each. In their traditional forms, all contain rational and moral contradictions or factual inaccuracies that insiders can justify only with Olympic feats of mental and moral gymnastics. Many rely on sacred texts that reflect the precise combination of knowledge and ignorance that characterized the culture in which they were written. All make claims for which there is no proof and none possible. LINK.

Matthew 27:51-54 and the Credibility of the Resurrection of Jesus

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Couched in a chapter in Matthew where Jesus is tried before Pilate, Judas hangs himself, Barabbas is spared death, and Jesus is crucified between two thieves, died and buried, we find these sobering words:

Sobering? You bet. Christians don't read their own Bibles. They play lip service to it. One thing for sure is that preachers don't preach from sobering texts like these. They prefer instead to be drunk with delusion. It's better you see. The emotional high is worth it!

None of these claims are corroborated by any texts of that period, or by the astronomers. Nor are they corroborated by any other NT writer. In fact, since the writer of Luke's gospel left this out of his account, and since he investigated it all carefully (1:1-4), even he didn't think they happened!

This is the stuff of non-historical myths. But imagine for a second if the saints were raised up from the dead at the death of Jesus, who subsequently walked around Jerusalem three days later. How would they be identified? How could Moses or Elijah or Isaiah be recognized by the townsfolk? Did they do miracles? Did they predict some events to take place? Did they call down fire from the sky? We just don't know. But let's say there were neon signs or halos above their heads, okay? Then surely the crowds would flock around them asking for advice on everything from ethical duties to politics or what to expect in the future. Now are we to believe this really happened and no one wrote any of their sayings down? Are we to expect no one in the canonical NT would quote from them when writing their gospels or epistles, that as far as the rest of the NT goes, they never said anything quote-worthy? Doesn't that stretch the bounds of credibility too far, even for believers!?

What about the rest of their lives? Wouldn't some of them have become missionaries for Jesus and/or establish churches? Wouldn't others become leaders in the existing churches? Wouldn't the letters they wrote be put into the NT? Some would surely have children. But none of their children did anything noteworthy. There are no tombs with their remains in them either, as far as we know. Epitaphs like, "Here lies the prophet who wrote 2nd Isaiah, who was raised to life at the resurrection of Jesus, who died again in the year of our Lord 60 AD."

No way to identify them. No miracles at their hands. No quote-worthy sayings from them. No writings. No missionaries from the lot of them. No church leaders among them. No noteworthy children. No existing tombs. No telling epitaphs.

Why, it's almost as if they never existed at all! Yet, in Matthew's gospel it's written matter-of-factly, next to other matter-of-factly described stories. "It's inspired you know, because well, it's in the Bible, which is inspired. You godless heathens just refuse to believe! Repent and do things my way from now on, er, my god's way!" :-)

To believers of a more liberal bent, who cannot believe Matthew's gospel on this either, what say ye about the credibility hit Matthew's gospel as a whole takes? How is it possible to believe Matthew 27 as a whole, when it contains such obvious fiction? Why wouldn't you want everything corroborated outside the texts of the Bible at that point?

The Evidence That Jesus Existed is Weaker Than You Might Think

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LINK. Read a summary co-written by Valerie Tarico along with David Fitzgerald, author of Jesus: Mything in Action.

Seeing Through the Christian Faith Is Hardly New

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Many Voices of Reason Are on Record


Christianity has two thousand years of momentum. It has prestige, the weight of tradition, people well placed in power, a far-flung empire of churches and cathedrals—and millions of paid propagandists, e.g., ministers, priests, nuns, evangelists, missionaries and doorbell ringers. A colossal—though fractured—bureaucracy supports all this.

Quote of the Day by Dale Allison On the the Resurrection of Jesus

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I quoted this before in my book, Why I Became an Atheist. Matthew Ferguson just reminded me of it.

Dr. Dale Allison in his book (Resurrecting Jesus, pp. 337-339) wrote:
Most of the past – surely far more than 99 percent, if we could quantify it – is irretrievably lost; it cannot be recovered. This should instill some modesty in us. Consider the weeks following the crucifixion. We have only minuscule fragments of what actually transpired. What, for instance, do we really know about the resurrection experience of James? First Corinthians 15:7 says that he saw the risen Jesus. And that is it. What Jesus looked like, what he said, if anything, where the encounter took place, when precisely it happened, how James responded, what state of mind he was in, how the experience began, how it ended [Edit by JWL: whether he ever recanted] – all of this had failed to enter the record. Almost every question that we might ask goes unanswered … Yet they are the sorts of questions historians often ask of old texts. The fact that we cannot begin to answer them shows how emaciated historically – as opposed to theologically – the Gospel narratives really are. Even if we naively think them to be historically accurate down to the minutest detail, we are still left with precious little. The accounts of the resurrection, like the past in general, come to us as phantoms. Most of the reality is gone … Even if history served us much better than it does, it would still not take us to promised land of theological certainty.

The New Testament Peddles an Ancient Gimmick

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An old tradition of selling a product you don’t have

I grew up on the northern Indiana prairie in the 1950s, in a small town where there might as well have been a wall between the Catholics and Protestants; people got along, of course, but we were so aware of the deep divisions in belief. One woman refused to attend her nephew’s wedding in the Catholic Church because she had no intention of “setting foot in that heathen temple.” I thrived in the Methodist subdivision on the Protestant side.

"Blame the Victim" A Review of "The Most Hated Woman in America"

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BLAME THE VICTIM

 A Review of The Most Hated Woman in America, a Netflix film directed by Tommy O’Haver and written by Tommy O’Haver and Irene Turner (24 March, 2017). By Frank R. Zindler, former president of American Atheists and managing editor of American Atheist Press.


I looked in vain for the label “based on a true story.” After an excruciatingly painful hour and 46 minutes of watching the film, I checked the Web-site for the film and discovered the claim that it was “A true story of the much debated rise and demise of a woman, named Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who was known as the head atheist activist of America. She founded the organization, American Atheist,…” A true story? Not THE true story? One of many possible true stories? Just when did she found an organization named “American Atheist” [singular]? Her first organization was named “Other Americans,” then “Society of Separationists,” and much later, when I was already on the board of directors, did her organization’s name legally become “American Atheists, Inc.” [plural]. As William J. Murray, Jr., has noted in the media, no significant research went into the writing of this film.
As one who lived through the anxiety, worry, fear, attempts to discover what had happened to Madalyn Murray O’Hair, Jon Garth Murray, and Robin Murray-O’Hair—and then the grief and sorrow when the case was solved five years later—I am hard pressed to determine how to deal with the cloud of misrepresentation, fiction, conflation of actual events and persons, distortions, anachronisms and subtext animus that will surely be defended as “artistic license.” In fact, that would be a hopeless task.  Let me try to set the record straight as to the most crucial parts of the story.

Dr. Vincent Torley Argues there’s about a 60-65% chance that Jesus rose from the dead

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Vince has dogged my steps for a few years in the best possible way. Unlike David Marshall, who comes to taunt us with brief unsubstantiated comments from time to time, Torley tries to be as fair as possible with what I write and responds with some serious thought and writing. This time he's criticizing my arguments regarding the resurrection of Jesus. There are a few things Torley expresses and argues for that are creative and new. His case for the resurrection does not depend on a burial by Joseph of Arimathea or the empty tomb on Sunday (although he believes these myths). He distinguishes between a Type A an B skepticism and deals with them separately, saying,
I propose to distinguish between two kinds of skepticism: Type A and Type B. Type A skepticism casts doubt on people’s claims to have had an extraordinary experience, while Type B skepticism questions whether a miraculous explanation of this extraordinary experience is the best one. In the case of the Resurrection, Type A skepticism seeks to undermine one or more of the key facts...whereas Type B skepticism doesn’t question the key facts, but looks for a non-miraculous explanation of those key facts.
He's also laudably trying to think in terms of the probabilities.

Readers can read his essay. I'm just going to quote from his conclusion and begin responding there.

"Why I Am Not a Christian" Essays Found On The Secular Web

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Why I Am Not a Christian" essays following in the footsteps of Bertrand Russell, written by Richard Carrier, John W. Loftus, Graham Oppy, Keith Parsons, and Kenneth W, Daniels. LINK.

Madalyn Murray O'Hair on Civility

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[First Published on 2/16/2013]
I'll tell you what you did with Atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities, or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were a woman, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hung them, burnt them alive. And you have the nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you?

What Would Convince Atheists To Become Christians?; The Definitive Answers!

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I've kept track of some atheist answers as to what would convince us to believe. Christians say we refuse to believe due to our unwillingness to repent from immoral behaviors. I suppose ISIS could say the same damned thing while chopping off a head. Now don't get me wrong, I think we can legitimately reject religions based on how they treat living things, especially disenfranchised minorities under their control, like slaves, women, children, gays/lesbians, the poor, the aged and animals to mention a few. That's the main point of my anthology that everyone should read, which also explains why atheists spend so much time and effort debunking religion. Still, in order to answer Christians who claim we only reject their god because we are in rebelling against his/her moral demands, several of us have said what would convince us to believe.

The most comprehensive list of answers I've found is by Daniel Bastian, who offered 20 examples in his essay, What Would Convince You?
The purpose here is to offer 20 examples that would move a jury, namely me, beyond reasonable doubt. In so doing, we will look at a number of expectations that could be considered consistent with the claim that God exists and then see how those expectations correspond to the world we actually observe. As noted above, most of the following will interface with the generic God of theism and in the process make direct contact with Christianity in particular. My personal view is that a wider appreciation of reality reveals a universe that does not appear the way we would expect if theism were true, leaving non-belief as a supremely rational position to hold.
I've already weighed in on this question myself, along with Greta Christina and Adam Lee. Our contributions to this question can be read here.

The Video From My Co-Hosting the Atheist Experience TV Show

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If you watch just a portion this video then consider staying through to the end of the first caller from Iran, who's very courageous in what he's doing.

Dr. John Dickson To Me: "You are the 'Donald Trump' of pop-atheism"

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Dr. John Dickson (@johnpauldickson) is the Director, Centre for Public Christianity; Minister, St Andrew's Roseville; Honorary Fellow, Ancient History, Macquarie University. Yesterday he said that I'm the Donald Trump of pop-atheism. *Ouch* I mean *ouch*!! Now I'm not one to highlight such an utterly ignorant slam on me, but I think it's instructive of the lengths some Christian apologists will go to try to discredit me. The question for my readers is what I said or did deserving of his slam, except that I'm truly a gadfly in the Socratic sense of someone who laid to waste his claims to certainty. Doing what I did to shock deluded people into reality will not be regarded kindly by them. So they will lash out. You'll notice I was polite but forceful. The question is why he lashed out at me. Barring any reasonable explanation, he did so because he could not answer me.

Now there are many atheists who consider having a friendly discussion with scholars like Dickson as a badge of honor. It makes them feel important when someone like Dickson speaks to them. That places all of the power in the apologist's lap. So these atheists can be like lap dogs, trying to gain their approval. The apologists therefore are in the position of determining for the rest of us who are the important atheists. So an additional question is why we should bow to them and their delusions in order to feel worthy? Consider apologists for Scientology or Mormonism. Why is it considered a badge of honor when they take notice of us and then say it was pleasant having a conversation, when they're bat shit crazy like Christians? They are all deluded. They are all massively wrong. In fact, the evangelicals I deal with like Dickson, are to be likened to the Trumps because they support Trump in America.

These completed discussions took place on Twitter separated by dotted lines.

One Miracle—Among Many—that God Didn’t Do

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There’s a long list of ‘coulda-shoulda’ divine interventions


Based on prayer activity alone, we can assume that Christians believe God meddles regularly in human affairs—otherwise, why would they pray so much? Even on Facebook, devout folks muster prayer marathons to bring God’s attention to those who might have fallen off the divine radar.

I'll Be the Co-Host of The Atheist Experience TV Show This Sunday!

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I've been invited to co-host The Atheist Experience TV Show, live from Austin, Texas. It's the most watched atheist TV show as far as I know, with tens of thousands of views per episode. So I'm excited and grateful to be on it. You might find it announced on their blog, or their main site. You may see where Don Baker is to co-host it. But it's to be me instead. We're going to discuss my book How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist at my request. Then we'll take calls.

If there's just one book of mine I want everyone interested in the believer/non-believer debates to read, it's that one. It isn't a huge book, it's written in fairly easy prose, and it exposes Christian apologetics for the sham that it is. I think it's the best introduction to my body of work. I also think readers who like it will become interested in reading the rest of my books. Please spread the word. If you care, share.

Madalyn Murray O’Hair took on the Supreme Court to get prayer out of schools, started a culture war, and was violently murdered for it. A new Netflix film finally tells her story.

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Robert Conner: "Was the Savior Just Nuts?"

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Here's a teaser quote from his recent essay:
In Book Six of his Wars of the Jews, Josephus briefly relates the story of a certain Jesus son of Ananias, a rustic from the hinterlands, who began incessantly proclaiming a series of woes upon Jerusalem several years before the Romans attacked. Regarded by the Jewish leaders as demon possessed, this Jesus was hauled before the Roman governor Albinus and flogged to the bone with whips. Albinus eventually pronounced the wretched man insane and released him. During the siege of Jerusalem, while still preaching judgment on the city, a stone from a Roman catapult struck the unlucky Jesus, killing him instantly but confirming his predictions.

Jesus son of Ananias bears a striking similarity to Jesus of Nazareth, another rustic from the hinterlands—“No prophet comes from Galilee!” (John 7:52)—who likewise pronounced a series of woes on Jerusalem: “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” (Mark 13:2) Jesus was considered insane by his family and also regarded by the Jewish leaders as demon-possessed.
What say ye? It's possible, that I know. Why not?

Robert studied Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic at Western Kentucky University in 70’s, then decided to do something worthwhile with his life and changed majors. He has authored four books on ancient Christianity, one novel, and too many essays.

Does God Exist? Michael Nugent Debates William Lane Craig

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Michael Nugent sent me this link, thanking me for helping him prepare for the debate. I couldn't really detect how my advice helped him, but then that's the way it's supposed to work, lest someone merely use my words. Nugent did well. In watching debates we not only learn about the issues being debated but also how to better debate someone. This particular debate is very instructive in learning how to better debate (the thing I'm most interested in at this point). I have heard Craig's opener stay the same in most of his debates, and this one was no exception. It's polished, well-spoken, and adequately covers the important territory as Craig sees it. Nugent went second. To anyone who thinks the person who goes second in a debate is at a disadvantage I don't think that's true, not in Craig's case anyway. In Craig's case we already know what he'll focus on. Nugent should probably have briefly debunked the five points in Craig's opener because of that.

People claim Craig Gish Gallops through a ton of arguments so his opponents cannot possibly respond to them all. But I strongly disagree. Craig offered five arguments. His opponents have enough time to offer rebuttals to them. The real Gish Galloper in this particular debate is Nugent, which isn't anything bad in my opinion if the goal is to win a debate. I don't think any other opponent has done this in a debate with Craig (well, maybe Eddie Tabash, or Frank Zindler). So I was a bit excited to see how Craig would respond to Nugent's opener. To my dismay Craig responded to each one of Nugent's arguments, even if I think he may have lost his listeners from time to time in doing so. But because Craig did this, later in the debate he could say Nugent failed to make any of his arguments stick. When Nugent didn't defend one of these arguments, then in a subsequent rebuttal Craig would say Nugent's defense of it dropped off. This, folks, is how we deal with a Gish Galloper. I stand continually amazed at Craig's debating and rhetorical skills. The only way someone can be this good is by starting off young and constantly debating throughout life. Craig started debating on a High School debate team and has been debating all of his life. He's the best defender of that which cannot be reasonably defended I've seen.

One final note. Being the top ranked Christian debater Craig can decide who he debates, just like a champion boxer can choose who to fight. He won't debate me. There are others who won't debate me, like Michael Licona, who did debate Matt Dillahunty. Since I beat up on Randal Rauser in our co-written book God or Godless, Rauser decided to stop dealing with me and stick to philosophical argumentation with Justin Schieber in debates and their co-written book, An Atheist and a Christian Walk into a Bar: Talking about God, the Universe, and Everything. [Justin, as it stands, is a community college student]. So it occurs to me that in some, and maybe many cases, Christians decide who they'll deal with. That is to say, they are in charge. There's nothing new about this. But I don't see any of them chomping at the bit to debate David Eller, for instance, who would tear them a new one (if you know what I mean). As Sargent Schultz in Hogan's Heroes would say, "very interesting."

Theology Written Under the Influence of OCD

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When you don’t bother to have your work checked…