Doesn't It Take Just as Much Faith to Be an Atheist?

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[The following is an excerpt from my small book, Atheism: Q & A, the Kindle version of which is, for promotional purposes, free December 4 through December 8. The book consists of short entries (like this one) that answer common criticisms of atheism. The paperback isn't free, but it is inexpensive — and might make a nice Winter Solstice gift for anyone who holds misconceptions about your views.]


The complaint that it takes just as much faith to be an atheist is a strange one. After all, it seems to imply that there’s something wrong with believing on faith — even though in every other context faith is regarded by believers as a virtue. Maybe all that is meant, however, is that everyone is in the same boat, ultimately basing their views on something other than reason and evidence, and that the atheist therefore has no right to single out the religious for criticism.

But is this really true? Does atheism rest on no firmer foundation than religion?

Greg Koukl's "Tactics" Strategy is to Obfuscate the Truth By Substituting Fallacies for Sound Reasoning

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This meme is floating around apologetics sites with a huge number of likes and positive comments. It is the brain child of Greg Koukl, who is training Christians in the tactics of debate.

The point of this meme is that we believe the religion (or nonreligion) of the relatives who raised us. Koukl is stating the obvious as if this is significant. He ends by rhetorically asking atheists "Now what?" as if it takes away our thunder. Koukl's answer to atheists is to use the fallacy of tu quoque, known as the “you too” fallacy, which is claiming an argument is flawed by pointing out that the one making it is not being consistent with the claims of the argument. The reason why this is a fallacy is that the one who argues in this way, as does Koukl, is skirting the argument by not dealing with it honestly. For example, if someone argues "Your Mom is a bad cook", it does nothing to show your Mom is a good cook by retorting, "Your Mom is a bad cook too." Yet that's exactly what Koukl does.

This is the kind of tactical advice Greg Koukl offers. We've seen it before [click on the Tag below]. Koukl explains what he's doing with these kinds of meme's in the introduction to his book Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions:

My Ten Books

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With the recent release of my anthology, "The Case against Miracles", I've noticed a small spike in sales of my other books. So if you want more of them here are all TEN, listed in order of publication date.

There Aren’t Any Winners in the Miracle Contest

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The on-going erosion of Christianity

“When was the last time you offered your condolences to a neighbor whose son is demon-possessed? Demons are just not encountered in everyday life, contrary to what one would expect if the New Testament worldview still held good.” So says Robert M. Price in his new book, Jesus Christ Superstition (p. 123).

Hold that thought: “…if the New Testament worldview still held good.” We know that many Christians have moved on, and not reading the Bible has probably helped with that. In the fifth chapter of Mark’s gospel, Jesus transferred demons from a man into a herd of pigs. How many Christians would admit that this story doesn’t reflect how they view the world, much less enhance their faith? But demons transporting into pigs reflects the New Testament worldview. Again, Robert Price:

"Crying Won't Help you, Praying Won't Do You No Good"

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Here is a discussion I had with a guy who continues to pray for me despite the fact that I have committed the unpardonable sin of blasphemy the Holy Spirit. I inform him that his faith will eventually die and I show it might take the extinction of life as we know it, but it will die.

You Can Now Look Inside the Book On Amazon At "The Case against Miracles"

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From what I saw you can read the first 93 pages before you decide. LINK

"The Case against Miracles" Will Be Released This Friday, 11/22/19

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This new anthology just may be the crowning work of my publishing career. It should be interesting to watch apologists deal with it. Here are links to the paperback edition, and the Kindle edition, which at this time is ranked #1 in the Agnosticism category.

Now I want to do a bit of pleading. I'm asking our readers here at DC to do one small favor. Please buy this book. Now! Help us out. Consider it a donation, the one time you can easily do it, plus get something in return. A high number of initial copies sold will help throw it on top of online lists, so others will take notice. Also, please share this news on your websites and forums. Then write reviews of it as soon as you can. I personally have put a great amount of time on it. Make it worth it. Below are a select few blurbs:

St. Peter Flunks Anger Management

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His private versus public persona

How bad does the Bible have to get before you toss it? “That’s quite enough of that!” The Bible has been so well sold that laypeople usually are unprepared to be that brazen. But theologians and laity alike—were they to be honest about it—would admit that they embrace or disown Bible texts based on their own moral sensibilities. Yes, indeed, they do judge the Bible.

My Interview With Freethought Radio About "The Case Against Miracles"

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Here's the LINK to my Freethought Radio interview with hosts Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor. I talk about my new book being released tomorrow, The Case Against Miracles.

Amazon Rankings of "The Case against Miracles" (CaM)

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Currently it's ranked 1st in Atheism Kindle New Releases and 3rd in Atheism Kindle Best Sellers over-all! Be the first kid on your block to get it! ;-) It'll be released this Friday I'm told.

Dr. Josh Rasmussen Offers To Trade Books With Me

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I have initiated these types of requests. I also receive these types of requests. Some I accept. Others I don't. It depends mainly on whether I want the offered book.

I was honored by the request of Dr. Josh Rasmussen to exchange a copy of his book, How Reason Can Lead to God: A Philosopher's Bridge to Faith, for a copy of my book, The Case against Miracles. But I declined the offer. I really have no interest in his book. Here is how that pleasant exchange took place:

Was David Hume's Argument "Of Miracles" Original? The Role Of Ridicule.

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Previously I have justified compiling an anthology on miracles right here. Some would say there's nothing let to say after David Hume's chapter "Of Miracles". If so, we might as well just throw up our hands and complain that the ancients have stolen all of our ideas since new arguments are hard to come by too. ;-) There hasn't been a book length treatment of miracles like this written by atheists in forever, so it's long overdue. It's also a major defense of David Hume.

In my dedication to the book The Case against Miracles I wrote: "This volume is dedicated to the legacy of David Hume, considered to be the greatest English-speaking philosopher who ever lived." Then readers will find this quote from Hume:
I flatter myself, that I have discovered an argument...which, if just, will, with the wise and learned, be an everlasting check to all kinds of superstitious delusion, and consequently, will be useful as long as the world endures. – “Of Miracles” by David Hume (1711-1776).
No one likes an arrogant person. What if Hume didn't say this? What if he played nice with believers? What if he had toned down his rhetoric? What we know is that no one likes to be taunted, belittled, or called ignorant, or delusional. Yet this is what Hume did here. Doing so brings people out to debate, and debate Hume they did, and still do. It's as if what Hume said had a self-fulfilling effect.

John Earman has viciously criticized Hume in his essay, "Hume's Abject Failure, The Argument Against Miracles". One of his claims is that "Hume's famous essay on miracles is set in the context of the larger debate that was taking place in the eighteenth century about the nature of miracles and the ability of eyewitness testimony to establish the credibility of such events. Hume's argument against miracles is largely unoriginal..." He says, "'Of Miracles' is often treated as if it were a genuinely original piece of philosophy. But although it does contain some original insights and is cast in Hume's characteristically forceful prose, it is in fact a largely derivative work." [Chapter 1, Section 7].

Thank you! Pre-Orders for "The Case against Miracles" Are Doing Well

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Readers mostly like Kindle ebooks but you can still choose between the formats right here. See the screenshots below!

Millions of Muslims, Hindus and Sikh's Celebrate Their Gurus, Prophets and Gods!

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Hey Christians, why don't you?--See below for photos.

Christianity: Ten Knockout Punches, Number 2

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Just how do you find out about God?
National Geographic magazine, adhering to the highest scientific standards, four years ago published a map of worldwide Virgin Mary sightings, covering 500 years of reported visions. Not surprisingly, I suppose, Mary has favored traditionally Catholic countries—especially Italy and France—but shunned Muslim countries; it would seem she’s not very missionary minded. No doubt Catholics were over-the-moon contemplating this map. But were those outside the Catholic camp, including non-Catholic Christian theists, as thrilled—or convinced?

Dr. Matthew Flannagan Opposes Known Facts Requiring the OTF

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Ladies and gentlemen, I humbly submit to you more in the case study of Dr. Matt Flannagan's view of the The Outsider Test for Faith. Here's an example of what cognitive biases do to someone's brain when rejecting the requirement for sufficient objective evidence. He's digging his heels in deeper and deeper into the muddy waters of his faith bias. [See Tag for earlier entries].

This exchange took place on Facebook. I had posted pictures of the Christian apologetics books I own and Flannagan commented.

Flannagan: I am pretty confident that during my education: through secular public school, a public university known for leftist leanings and activism and a secular philosophy department. I studied, read and listened to more atheists and secularists than the average atheist has to Christians. I certainly have read more atheists philosophers than any atheists I know has read Christians.

I had to pounce!

Loftus: You had me up until the bold claim of your last sentence. I think you may know of one such atheist. Even if what you claim is true, it only shows that cognitive biases run wild within your brain. I know this from your review of the outsider test for faith.

The goal of the OTF is to help indoctrinated people to require sufficient objective evidence for their own faith, just as they require it for the faiths they reject. You failed to properly object to the OTF because your brain wouldn't allow you to understand it. LINK.

Recent Trends in Christian Apologetics, Part 1

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As the author of a book that offered good advice to Christian apologists, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, I should keep up with how they're doing. Given that Evangelicals concede they are losing in the marketplace of ideas, and that they partially blame this on the rise of the internet, no wonder apologetics is in demand. Everyone is doing it, or so it appears. This is a sign, all by itself, that Christianity of the evangelical kind is dying. For apologetics is necessitated by the need, and the need is dire.

So what's recently been happening in the apologetics publishing world? Let's look at some books.

1) Apologists are making apologetics more accessible to readers.

We've seen the advent of apologetics study Bibles. The first one to be published was The Apologetics Study Bible: Understand Why You Believe, by Holman Bible Publishers, 2007. Sean McDowell put out one for younger people three years later, Apologetics Study Bible for Students, Holman Bible Publishers, 2010.

Apologetics Books I Own. Now Show Me Yours!

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Here's a shot of my current apologetics books. I have others as ebooks, and given away or sold still others. I've read through most of them, and read significant portions of others. I might be wrong but you can't say I'm ignorant. I showed you mine now show me yours. If you're a believer send shots of all the atheist works you've read.


Who Cares About Certainty? We Have Virtual Certainty!

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It isn't certain, but it's virtually certain that probability is all that matters when it comes to understanding the nature of the universe. It it isn't certain, but it's virtually certain that sufficient objective evidence is all that matters when it comes to understanding the nature of the universe. It it isn't certain, but it's virtually certain that evidence-based reasoning is all that matters when it comes to understanding the nature of the universe. Since evidence-based reasoning is science based reasoning, it's likewise true to say that it isn't certain, but it's virtually certain that science-based reasoning is all that matters when it comes to understanding the nature of the universe. If anyone can provide a better method for understanding the nature of the universe then what is it? Faith has no method at all.

Christian Apologists Reject Truth By Rejecting Both Relativism (the problem) and Objective Evidence (the solution)

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Christian apologists must denigrate science to believe. That is a fact. It should warn everyone to avoid it, or any other religious faith. Not long ago David Marshall objected to my quoting this from a CSI episode: "People lie. The only thing we can count on is the evidence." Why would he do that unless he's denigrating science? apologist Mark Mittelberg also has a dim view of science.

On Facebook I made the comment: "Every claim about the nature of nature, or how it works--or worked--needs sufficient objective evidence commensurate with the type of claim being made."

Christian apologist Matthew Flannagan responded: "That claim of course leads to an infinite regress, so it's hard to understand why you take it seriously."

I replied: "Matthew Flannagan my first thought is if you are right then all claims lead to an infinite regress. For if sufficient objective evidence isn't the foundation of knowledge nothing else works. So if all claims lead to an infinite regress Pragmatism is the view that sufficient objective evidence works to get at the truth better than any other foundation."

I had a debate/discussion with apologist Travis Dickinson where he made the claim that relativism is self-refuting. I responded that relativists think in exclusively terms of the probabilities, so what they say cannot be self-refuting. Dickenson should just remember how he starts his philosophy classes. Instructors dislodge the idea of certainty out of their students by asking them to justify why they aren't dreaming, or in a Matrix, or brains in a vat. Any college student knows certainty is an impossible goal, so whether they state it or not these former students, who go on to become philosophers and intellectuals in the universities, are always talking in terms of probabilities. So relativism cannot be self-refuting. They are saying it's highly likely objective truth is beyond our means of knowing it, or knowing it completely, or knowing it unless there is objective evidence for it. Their statements cannot be self-refuting since they're not universalized statements. In a world where our brains haven't evolved to seek after objective truth, but rather to survive, Pragmatism (which acknowledges this about the human brain) is the only way forward. Pragmatism embraces objective evidence as a way to get at the truth precisely because our brains skewer the data in favor of preferred comfortable tribal social beliefs.

What best explains the fact that non-Christian theists don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus?

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The best explanation for the fact that all non-Christian theists reject the resurrection miracle of Jesus--numbering over two billion--who a believe in a god who exists and does miracles, is a that the odds for believing in the resurrection are not increased by believing in a god who exists and does miracles.

Quote of the Day, by Richard Feynman, Should be Used in Choosing a Religion Too

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For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid— not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they’ve been eliminated. Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can—if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong—to explain it. . . . In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.

What Is It with Christians and Sex?

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The guilt-and-shame game

“She advocates dirty books,” was the accusation of Eulalie Mackechnie Shinn in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man. Her barb was aimed at Marian the Librarian, and she spoke conventional Christian wisdom: sex = dirt. Tom Lehrer captured more truth—even for many Christians—in his classic song Smut, “Dirty books are fun…I enjoy having my prurient interests aroused.” But proper Christian orthodoxy pulls us back to Mrs. Shinn’s verdict. As we find it expressed in the Bible, for example.

On Faith

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Faith as an attitude toward truth is always blind faith. It adds nothing to the quest for truth except the dangerous feeling of certainty. It is always irrelevant, superfluous and unnecessary. It impedes the quest for truth. Any questions?

Things We Wish Jesus Hadn’t Said

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A Series of Flash Podcasts, Episodes 13 - 25
The mystery deepens. People love their Jesus, they may even claim that they belong to Him, and one measure of moral superiority is Jesus Behavior: What Would Jesus Do? But there must be widespread failure to read the gospels, or the texts are read under the close supervision of apologists (preachers and priests) who explain away—well, they try—the nasty and often grim message in many of the sayings attributed to Jesus.

The Real Reason God Is a Perfect Being

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The God most theists believe in isn't merely a powerful non-physical being who created the universe; he is an omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, perfectly good and perfectly free being. And apparently male. Theologians might claim that he is also immutable, timeless, perfectly simple, impassible (that is, not affected by anything), and several other things besides. But what reasons could anyone possibly have for believing in such a God?

The standard arguments for God's existence — even assuming that they worked — do not support the above claims. For example, design arguments at best conclude that some intelligent being is responsible for the characteristics found in the universe (or for some of these characteristics). They don't say that this being is all-powerful or all-good; they don't even show that this being created the universe out of nothing (she might only have rearranged previously existing matter), or that this being still exists. Nor do they show that monotheism is more likely than polytheism. Cosmological arguments fare even worse: at best, they show that there is some ultimate cause that is itself uncaused, or that necessarily exists. But by themselves, these arguments do not support the idea that this ultimate cause is an intelligent being, much less that it is a perfectly just and benevolent heavenly father, or one who has any of the other properties claimed by theists.

Dr. Michael Shermer Nails it!! God Does NOT Exist

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If you haven't watched this before please do. If you have watched it you probably need a refresher.



Shermer wrote the Foreword to my anthology The Case against Miracles. I wrote the chapter on the resurrection of Jesus in it, of which Shermer says: "Loftus devotes a chapter to the resurrection and it is the best analysis I’ve ever read." The rest of the book is just as good! It's coming. Get ready. Set...

This should be interesting in the coming months. I'll be featured with Shermer and James Randi in a Christian documentary on medical miracles. That film is coming out sometime between now and April (so I'm told). We represent the loyal opposition to William Lane Craig, Paul Copan and JP Moreland in it. Let's hope the final edits do us justice.

Testimonial Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus is Hearsay Evidence and Wouldn't Be Allowed in a Court of Law

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<--- Apologist Michael Licona says this...and yet the emphasis Paul gives to an empty tomb is zero (see I Cor. 15). Why is it apologists like Licona--who were NOT there--stress something that the first teller of the story--who WAS there--does not? Licona cannot produce one eyewitnesses. No one saw Jesus arise out of the tomb. All he has is hearsay testimony from one ancient author (Paul), and one gospel writer (Mark), who's story was copied and expanded upon by others (Luke & Matthew) who differed about the details of a wildly impossible extraordinary claim that a dead person walked out of the grave. Licona should take seriously that dead people do not get up out of their graves three days after dying. One would need extraordinary claims like this to be backed up by a sufficient amount of unassailable objective evidence and/or a sufficient amount of quality unassailable objective evidence. But Licona has no objective evidence at all. None. Again, he just has some hearsay reports of a minimal level of ancient testimonial evidence as filtered through a few highly passionate believers who sought to convince others of their cultist beliefs. So there is no one we can cross-examine under oath, which means this second-third handed testimony wouldn't be allowed in a court of law. Where the battle rages is how to best minimize our biases in weighing religious faiths, which Michael Licona admits. The only solution is to seek sufficient objective evidence for what we conclude here, or withhold belief. Again, all he has is hearsay testimonial evidence in the form of ancient writings from people who were not eyewitnesses themselves, which is not objective evidence. Such testimonial evidence would not be allowed in a court of law precisely because we cannot cross-examine it for consistency and truth.

"Cincinnati Christian University will shut down at the end of this year"

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So announced Dr. Jack Cottrell, the premier fundamentalist theologian of the college. He goes on to say, "Actually, the school that started there on Price Hill in 1924 already died just a few years ago; this will be the official closing of the school that took its place." Another fundamentalist school is taking it over. This is a sign of the times. Here is another fundamentalist college biting the dust for holding to outdated and debunked views! Which one is next? Their fundamentalist theology is no longer acceptable to the youth of today as other conservatives admit. Surely THAT is a major reason for the death of the school. Some of them are taking it as good news because they fail to understand the significance of it all. Christian colleges that buck the trends are fighting an unwinnable war against liberalism. Then the new liberals become the conservatives for the next generation as amnesia sets in. It makes sense to change, lest they die, but when it comes to faith who cares about making sense, right? So they will die off one by one.

You Too Could Be Worshipping Cows!

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Holy Cow! You too could be worshipping cows! This fact should be very significant to believers who are sure they were born into the one and only correct religious faith who also believe everyone else is wrong in significant ways. It should stun them. It should force them to investigate their own culturally indoctrinated faith like they would investigate buying a new car or house, by looking for negative reviews as well as positive ones. I wrote the consumer digest report manual on how to do this RIGHT HERE. More photos.