Christian “Truth” in Shreds: Epic Takedown 6

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Are you satisfied with an image of Jesus on a potato chip?


For a very long time, Christianity has depended on amateur and professional excuse-makers to keep it going. It makes claims about reality—that there is a good, all-powerful god keeping watch over everything—but even the most devout Christians don’t have to look far to see so much that disconfirms this belief. Hence excuses are needed to keep the faith, to protect Christianity from buckling and crumbling. Believers are desperate for excuses because there is so much emotional investment in believing.

 

The amateurs come up with excuses based on na├»ve concepts learned in Sunday school, e.g., a mother of two young children died suddenly because “god needed her in heaven”—or simply because god works in mysterious ways; the conclusion that god is absent cannot be seriously entertained. Of course, there are those who abandon the faith because they are appalled by such excuses.

The 2022 Debunking Christianity Challenge

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In 2010 I started something I called The Debunking Christianity Challenge. I challenged believers to read one recommended book a month. At that time I only had two published books. You can see the other books I recommended that year HERE
The last year I offered this challenge was in 2017. Now that I have 12 published books my challenge is to read them one at a time, beginning this month through to December. Pick one a month. Think through these 12 books one at a time for 12 months! Read. Reflect. Think. Discuss.

Christianity: Three Strikes and You’re OUT

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There is no recovery from FATAL Strike Three


The church has done such a good job idealizing and promoting Jesus that its rank and file members aren’t even aware of strikes one and two. They don’t study and probe. They rarely ask: where did our beliefs come from

 

Strike One: 

 

In the context of first-century religious beliefs, the genesis of Christianity is hardly a surprise. It was a breakaway Jewish sect that adopted belief in a dying-and-rising savior god. There were several such cults, whose strong appeal was the promise of eternal life through a god who had the power to overcome death; devotees of the cults could share in this benefit. For more on this ancient superstition see Derreck Bennett’s essay “Dying and Rising Gods” in the anthology edited by John Loftus and Robert Price, Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist? and Richard Carrier’s essay “Dying-and-Rising Gods: It’s Pagan, Guys. Get Over It.”  The folks in the pews haven’t caught on. When I once asked a devout woman where her beliefs came from, she responded proudly, “From my grandmother!” There was no curiosity at all about first-century Christian origins.

Jesus of Nazareth Missing in Action

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Different views of Jesus in the New Testament 


Where did the gospels come from? Since these documents overflow with details about Jesus—his coming and goings, sayings, impressive miracles—it has been commonly assumed by the laity that they were written by people who knew Jesus. It has been easier to think this because they are “according to” Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: these names add a personal touch. But when historians—including pious believers—began applying to the gospels the same standards they apply to other documents from the ancient world, the common assumptions about gospel origins didn’t hold up. In fact, it has been a struggle—and oh how Christian scholars have tried—to find a way to demonstrate that the gospels qualify as history. 

 

In the documents themselves no authors claim credit, e.g., “written by Mark,” nor are any of them signed and dated. We don’t have any idea either where they were written, that is, where the authors lived. There has been an awful lot of guesswork and speculation, but it remains just that.

My Interview with Freedom From Religion Foundation

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Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-Presidents of the Freedom of Religion Foundation, interview me about my anthology God and Horrendous Suffering. Plus there's more to hear!
We mark the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection by hearing FFRF attorney Andrew Seidel describe the Christian Nationalism of the rioters. Representative Don Beyer (VA) explains why he is a member of the Congressional Freethought Caucus and we hear Representative Jamie Raskin (MD) stressing the need to talk about fascism. Then we talk with former evangelical minister and Christian apologist, John W. Loftus, about his new anthology God and Horrendous Suffering. LINK.
It's a good one!

Interviews By Edouard Tahmizian and Other News.

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Edouard Tahmizian is an Internet Infidel Board Member and he's in the process of interviewing lots of key players in our debates, including Keith Augustine, David Madison, David Fitzgerald, Michael J. Alter, Richard Carrier, Aron Ra, Dan Barker, Bob Seidensticker, and me too! On January 8th he'll be interviewing Eddie Tabash, who chairs the Board of Directors for the Center for Inquiry, and Darren Slade, CEO and founding President of the Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR). Dr. Slade has just announced GCRR will begin offering certification courses to anyone who has an interest in learning from top international scholars! Tahmizian also wrote an interesting essay titled God is Either the Efficient or Final Cause of Evil. Have a happy new year, Ya'll!

New Year Resolutions for Christians

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Would their faith survive? 

Let me share with you here a few of my fantasies about resolutions for 2022 that Christians could and should make. These have to do with religious practice itself, i.e., holding themselves accountable to some of the standards they themselves—we would have to assume—consider appropriate. These resolutions have to do with becoming better Christians

 

I have four in mind.

Get Those Wise Men Out of the Stable!

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The nativity stories don’t make any sense at all


Tis the day before Christmas, so what better time to take a close look at the nativity stories? If only we could get faithful church-goers to do the same. They could see that the church has been getting away with far too much. A couple of months ago I visited a church in a town near Milan. I found all the usual imagery, including, near the entrance—off to the side in the shadows—the traditional Nativity Scene, which included the Three Wise Men kneeling before the baby Jesus asleep in the manger. 

 

No: this is not what we find in the gospels. I wonder: if you ask Christians coming out of church: “Where do we find the stories of the birth of Jesus?” …how many could tell you? Actually, the birth event itself is mentioned only once, in Luke 2. In Matthew 2, we find a description of what happened some time later. Let’s take a close look at both.

The Final Twelfth Day of Solstice!

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas, and we made it to the last day! I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them leading up to tomorrow the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know.

God and Horrendous Suffering is my last book. It was the last one I procured a contract for, the last one I submitted chapters for, and the last one being shipped to buyers. It's published by the prestigious Global Center for Religious Research, whose President is Dr. Darren Slade. If you click on just one link to find out about the book and/or buy a copy click here to GCRR. It contains the Abstract, my Author Bio, a few key Reviews, and Dr. Slade's excellent 5th chapter, Failed to Death: Misotheism and Childhood Suffering. Most importantly, whether it's a hardcopy, a PDF, or a Kindle eBook, you won't be able to buy them for less anywhere else. [I like this as it takes away some power and money from Jeff Bezos.] Two other important links include an eight page paper by me introducing the problem of horrendous suffering, right here, plus the blurbs it has received so far.

Day Eleven of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

Here is the Amazon link to get this "sure to be a classic" book, right here!

You can see a picture of Dr. Price and me, along with the Contents.

You should read the text of my talk at the Global Center for Religious Research eConference on Jesus Mythicism, which includes my Preface at the end of it.

There were three challenges in this book.

Day Ten of the Twelve Days of Christmas

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

After a two year break from producing another anthology, due mostly to dating and marrying my wife Sheila. I finally decided to do one again. My decision came from debates on Facebook with Richard Carrier and Matthew Ferguson over the use of Bayes' Theorem in assessing miracles, plus the prodding of Richard Miller (who now posts here at DC). Dr. Miller and I were going to co-edit the book together but it just didn't work out. I thank him for prodding me to do it, and I think the book might have been better if it had worked out.

Day Nine of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. [I know, I know, Solstice is today the 21st, the first day of winter. It used to be on the 25th. I just thought of doing this series of 12 posts too late on the 13th of this month. So we're celebrating the Solstice of a historical date in the past for some, er, Christian reason.]
Anyway, I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each of them leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

Firstly, Christianity in the Light of Science was dedicated to Victor Stenger, the fifth horseman, who had written:
Throughout history, arguments for and against the existence of God have been largely confined to philosophy and theology. In the meantime, science has sat on the sidelines and quietly watched this game of words march up and down the field. . . . In my 2003 book, Has Science Found God? I critically examined the claims of scientific evidence for God and found them inadequate. In this present book, I will go much farther and argue that by this moment in time science has advanced sufficiently to be able to make a definitive statement on the existence or nonexistence of a God having the attributes that are traditionally associated with the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God. --From the Preface to God: The Failed Hypothesis.
After disagreeing with my chosen title for Christianity is not Great, highlighted earlier on day six of the twelve days of Solstice, Prometheus Books accepted my book proposal on the condition they would have the final say in naming it. They basically didn't want it named after Stenger's NY Times Bestselling book, such as Christianity: The Failed Hypothesis. After eliminating a few titles it came down to two:

Day Eight of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell something about each of them you probably don't know. [See the Tags Below]

Today let's consider my 2016 book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. Just like my earlier books, The Outsider Test for Faith, and How To Defend the Christian Faith, this book was also forged in the heat of debate here at DC. I don't expect Christian philosophers to agree with it, not until after they abandon their faith. Secular philosophers have also disagreed with it. But as you can see from the Reviews on Amazon, some agree. Actually, I think most secularists would agree if they heard of my proposal, especially if they are scientists and/or scientifically minded philosophers.

Day Seven of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]
 
The first thing you should know about my book How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, is that I first thought of doing such a thing before any of my 12 books were published. This is what I said back in 2006, the year I began blogging. After almost ten years I revisited the concept with a series of fifteen posts titled, "Do You Want to Be A Christian Apologist? Part 1...15". From them I was able to write Part 2 of this book. [Sorry, I drafted these posts since I owe it to my publisher to send people his way]. That same year I also wrote a series of critical posts on every chapter in God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain, edited by Chad Meister, and James K. Dew. [Again, I drafted these posts since I owe it to my publisher to send people his way].

Day Six of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

The first thing you should know is that the publisher wanted to name this book, Deliver Us From Evil. Since my goal was to produce books named after the Four Horsemen (plus Victor Stenger, who just missed that party with his 2007 NY Times Bestseller,     God: The Failed Hypothesis), I was adamantly opposed to it. So was Richard Carrier, and I think Russell Blackford, who all voiced our objections.
On hindsight, after I failed to edit a book named after Daniel Dennett's book, like Breaking the Christian Spell, I wish we had used that provocative title instead. It sounds sexy doesn't it? Deliver Us From Evil. I like it now, especially after the rise to power of Christian Theocratic/Nationalists with the twice impeached one-term former President Donald Trump, and the January 6th failed coup attempt on American democracy after failing to steal a presidential election.

Blurbs for My Anthology "Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails"

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I'm always very grateful for people willing to read through my books and offer some advanced praise. Here are some blurbs of Christianity Is Not Great:

--------------------

John Loftus knows from the inside what’s wrong with Christianity. Few people are better qualified to explain to those still in its clutches why they’d do well to leave, and he has assembled a fine team of colleagues to assist him in doing so. This book should convert a high proportion of those with the courage to read it.

-- Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion.

Finally my work got the attention of Dawkins! I'm still very grateful! But it was too late to be very significant because of what has come to be known as ElovatorGate.

My publisher asked him to change his blurb by introducing it with the words, "As a Former Minister", which he obliged. Why that was important still escapes me.

A Bible Chapter That Reveals Too Much

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The ongoing damage caused by religion  



Here’s a rant against Jews that should horrify all Christians:


“… set fire to their synagogues or schools…bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them…I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues… I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them…I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb…I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like…I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them and put aside for safekeeping…I commend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow…”

Day Five of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

Today I'll tell you about my co-written book with Dr. Randal Rauser, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions, published in April, 2013.

The first thing to say is that Rauser contacted me to co-write the book without first reading my magnum opus Why I Became an Atheist. I think that's instructive, since he didn't research into how formidable of an opponent I might be. More on that a bit later.

Day Four of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

I had wanted the subtitle to be "How to Know Which Religion Is True If There Is One, since I don't think there is one. But that was rejected by my publisher for some ignorant reason I forget now.

Most of my books were conceived and tested on this blog in debates with believers. This is the case with this book more than any other. Here's the Amazon link to my book. In it I'm arguing for a fair test to help believers examine their own faith honestly, without any special pleading or double standards. I am arguing that every honest seeker should embrace it. This should be seen in the first few pages of the book. While I think the test leads to unbelief, that's a separate debate.

Day Three of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

After my first anthology I started telling authors the due date for their submissions was one month earlier than the actual deadline, to avoid last minute submissions. If I was concerned how the chapter was going I would ask for an outline, or rough draft along the way.

One fact readers should know is that I cannot get just anyone to write for me. I caught up with Susan Jacoby, author of books like The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, at a JREF convention. I asked her for a chapter. She took a look at me and said, "Honey, you can't afford me." Then she turned and walked away. I asked Louise Antony, editor of Philosophers without Gods, who had debated William Lane Craig on morality. She politely declined, telling me she has a different focus: "I am first a feminist and second an atheist", which I respected. Others never responded to my request via email at all. Still others said yes and didn't deliver. Several times in my anthologies there were submitted chapters I had to reject.

With this anthology there were even greater difficulties.

Blurbs For My Anthology "The End of Christianity"

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Here are some blurbs for my anthology The End of Christianity.

The Christian Delusion is the first book I give to anyone who wants to understand why I am no longer a Christian. Loftus and company have returned with The End of Christianity, which will now be the second book I give to anyone who wants to read a substantive case against Christian faith.” —Luke Meuhlhauser, owner of the popular blog Common Sense Atheism, which named Loftus’s book Why I Became an Atheist as the Best Atheism Book of the Decade (2000-2009).

Day Two of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

I envisioned my first anthology The Christian Delusion to be an extension of my first book, Why I Became an Atheist. I thought it would be great to get experts to write on topics I addressed in my book, which I considered essential background reading. All the themes in it expand on issues raised in my book. I personally think The Christian Delusion delivers a powerful blow to conservative Christianity, especially when combined with its predecessor.

Dawkins: I decided to name the book The Christian Delusion after Dawkins' extremely popular bestseller The God Delusion. If his focus was on God, mine was to be focused on the Christian God. I also thought it might get his attention. It didn't. In fact, none of the bestselling atheist writers--the so-called New Atheists--publicly acknowledged my books.

Day One of the Twelve Days of Solstice Begin Now!

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Christians celebrate Christmas in Mexico not just one day, but twelve days! The 12 days start on December 25th and end with a party on January 5th. Perhaps they adopted the number 12 from the the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? The message of that song is overtly Christian in every way. Is there a secular counterpart? Please say there is. There should be.

How about celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas?
I'm done writing and editing books. So I'll be highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. Your place or mine? I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below] 

When I first started teaching philosophy classes in 1985 for the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois, I lost about half my class because the students could not understand me. Yep, that's right. Being in a Ph.D. program at Marquette University, after earning three masters degrees, I didn't know how to bring the information down to college students
. I thought my teaching career was over before it began. Luckily the chair of the philosophy department told me this happens more often than not for first time philosophy instructors. Over time I became an expert teacher, bringing highly complex ideas down to first year students. 
I eventually learned how to communicate to the average educated person in the pew! My goal is to keep it as simple as possible without being simplistic. The problem with this goal is that there are some elitist readers who think I'm ignorant, for if I was smarter and better educated it would reflect in my vocabulary. Smart, highly educated people, it's assumed, use the nomenclature requisite with their educational achievements. 

"God and Horrendous Suffering" by John W. Loftus

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The evidential problem of horrendous suffering is one of the most powerful refutations of the theistic god as can be found: If there’s a theistic omni-everything god, who is omnibenelovent (or perfectly good), omniscient (or all-knowing), and omnipotent (or all-powerful), the issue of why there is horrendous suffering in the world requires an explanation. The reason is that a perfectly good god would want to eliminate it, an all-knowing god would know how to eliminate it, and an all-powerful god would be able to eliminate it. So the extent of horrendous suffering means that either god does not care enough to eliminate it, or god is not smart enough to to eliminate it, or god is not powerful enough to eliminate it. The stubborn fact of horrendous suffering means something is wrong with god’s goodness, his knowledge, or his ability.

A Nightmare for Christians: The Origins of Their Faith

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Not quite the greatest story ever told


There are topics that aren’t mentioned from the pulpit or in Sunday School. One example: how can—how should—faith claims be tested? How is valid knowledge acquiredEpistemology is not a word commonly used by the laity, but the concept is crucial. “Take it on faith”—take our word for it, is stressed by clergy, based on centuries of tradition. But that is avoidance of epistemology, i.e., arriving at sound methodology to find out what is actually true. Folks are trained not to be curious or skeptical.

This is Very Nice to See!

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2nd Annual International Atheist eConference On Suffering Is This Weekend!

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There are a lot of excellent speakers on this important subject of suffering. I'll be speaking for this virtual eConference, as will a few authors in my anthology "God and Horrendous Suffering", including Darren Slade, David Kyle Johnson, Taner Edis, Mark Gura, David Eller, and Dale O'Neal. I'll be introducing and discussing the problem of horrendous suffering from my book. Come for a discounted price of only $10. Just use the code #Atheism at checkout! LINK.

Margaret Downey Will Be Adding All 12 of My Books to the Tree of Knowledge!

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The Tree of Knowledge
Unbelievable! This year Margaret Downey will be adding all twelve of my books to the Tree of Knowledge, co-hosted with Phil Zuckerman! Come join the live Zoom meeting this Sunday, December 5th, at 2:45 PM EST, which starts out with a concert for 25 minutes. This year's performer is (award winning) Gary Stockdale. Afterward she will hang this year's books on the tree and then interview the authors. This is exciting! You can watch last year's event right here.

I'm pretty sure this review of my book The Case against Miracles got their attention:
In 2008, John W. Loftus launched what would become a definitive series of anti-apologetic works. The Case against Miracles is the capstone volume of this astonishing output, and it's an impressive achievement. Any thoughtful Christian whose conviction rests on the evidence of miracles who reads this book with an open mind will be hard pressed not to abandon--or at least profoundly rethink--his or her beliefs. Of course, true believers seldom approach works critical of their faiths with an open mind, which is why The Case against Miracles will probably be of greater value to secular students of religion and especially to those drawn to the challenges of anti-apologetics. --Tom Flynn, Senior Editor of Free Inquiry magazine.

A Tale that Doesn’t Withstand Critical Scrutiny

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It’s no longer out-of-bounds to wonder if Jesus existed



In his book, Outgrowing Religion, John Compere wrote: “The myth of Paul Bunyan makes a good story, as does the story of Jesus. But neither tale withstands critical scrutiny or gives us a clue about the meaning of life. For that, we have brains.” It can be noted, by the way, that legions of New Testament scholars have applied plenty of brainpower to analysis of the four gospels—and they know very well that these stories do not withstand critical scrutiny. Of course, to defend the faith at all costs, evangelical scholars hold out against this conclusion. But Jesus studies have been in turmoil for decades because scholars have not succeeded in identifying which parts of the gospels actually qualify as history. No agreed-upon methodology for that has been discovered.

About the Contributors to the Book, "Varieties of Jesus Mythicism"

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Hypatia Press is currently sending out defective books, ones that did not include a section describing the authors. They have been informed of their mistake and are correcting it. So here is that missing section below:

Our "Varieties of Jesus" anthology is in the house!

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I received my copies today! Get yours now!

"God and Horrendous Suffering" is Now Available on Amazon!

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My anthology "God and Horrendous Suffering" is now available on Amazon as a Kindle book! It's also available as a hardcover book but it's less expensive if bought from the Global Center for Religous Research, its publisher . Please help me get the word out!

"The most pressing challenge to belief in God today is undoubtedly the problem of pain. One only needs to read the provocative array of essays in this volume of leading atheists and other non-theists to see why this is such an ongoing problem for those of us who believe that God is real. Whatever one’s beliefs or worldview, and whether one agrees or disagrees, I commend all seekers of truth to read and reflect on this significant work that John Loftus has so skillfully edited. -- Dr. Chad Meister, Professor of Philosophy at Bethel University and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil.

“On the Improbability of God”

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Dangerous thoughts of a young seminarian


Only a few items survive in the dusty archives! That is, the paper trail from my eleven years of graduate work is meagre. Boston University School of Theology was my academic home, 1964-1975. There is, of course, my 250-page doctoral dissertation (typed on my manual typewriter), but I saved few of my other papers. One that I cherish the most is a 17-page essay titled, The Secrecy Motif in Mark’s Gospel, which received an “A”—and a glowing comment from the professor: “This represents a lot of careful work and thought, and I have learned much from it. An excellent paper.” What a nice boost for 24-year old me!

What is Bad Theology?

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Is there such a thing as good theology?


“You shine with radiant light, in this circle of earthly existence. You shine so finely, it surpasses understanding. God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.”                                                                                                                          St. Hildegard of Birgen, 1098-1179

 

“If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better you to enter life maimed or lame than to have two hands or feet and be thrown into the eternal fire.”

                                                                                Jesus, Matthew 18:8

 

 “Religion is all bunk.”    Thomas Edison

 

The New York Times, 17 September 1994, in its Religious Notes column by David Gonzales, reported on the preparations for a college debate that would soon take place between a Hunter College team, and one from England touring the U.S. at the time. The topic: Is the world better off with religion?

 

I couldn’t resist saving the clipping, because I’m always on the lookout for examples of bad theology innocently stated. Mr. Gonzales introduced his readers to one of the debaters, 28-year old Daniel Mallon Durante, who was preparing to make the case that the world is better with religion. But the young Durante had been a “self-styled rebel, who went from school to pool hall and on to jobs as locksmith, plumber and printer before enrolling in college.” He had returned to his Brooklyn parish to find God, under the tutelage of Father James Zona. The rebel had been tamed: “Talking and praying with him, Father Zona helped him develop a deep and personal faith…”

"Varieties of Jesus Mythicism" Now Available in Paperback!

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Our 408 page paperback book, "Varieties of Jesus Mythicism", is now available for order on Amazon, and other online stores! Order it and spread the good news about Jesus at this holiday season!
 
 

 

You Can Order My Anthology "God and Horrendous Suffering" Now!

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You can order my anthology on god & horrendous suffering now! It's not available on any other site that I know other than from the publisher! Click on the link, then on the Preview, to get the pdf. There you'll read the Abstract,  Advanced Endorsements, Table of Contents, Foreword by Dr, Stephen Law, the 5th chapter on Childhood Torture by Dr. Darren Slade, and About the Contributors. It's coming out as a hardback book. Get it! 

The Bad Theology of Favorite Bible Verses

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Which we’ve been trained not to notice


“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see…” These words were written by Anglican clergyman John Newton in 1772. About the same time these words were also written: “There is balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole; there's power enough in heaven, to cure a sin-sick soul.” To be saved and cured: one of the most common claims about religion is that it brings comfort. Atheists are sometimes accused of insensitivity: why are we trying to destroy this source of comfort? People count on their religion to get them through the day, but they’ve been prompted in this hope by bad theology: The church has pushed the idea that, in our natural state, we are wretched and sin-sick.

"Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist?" Now Available for Pre-Order!

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The pre-order for the e-book, "Varieties of Jesus Mythicism" co-edited with Robert M. Price, is up on Amazon! LINK
 
In a week the paperback will be on Amazon and everywhere else. 
 
For information on the book see this LINK.
 
This time next week will be the release date, just in time for Black Friday, the start for most xmas shopping etc. 
 
When available I'll send out the print edition link.

My Diplomas, MA Thesis & Ordination

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I hadn't shared these pics before. I've already shared my transcripts. People wonder why I've gained the respect of many people both believers and non-believers. I attribute it to my education under Drs. James D. Strauss and William Lane Craig both of whom I majored under, along with my passion for truth.

The Fallibility of First Principles

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The Fallibility of First Principles, by Gunther Laird (gunther.laird@gmail.com)

The late Norman Geisler was one of the most popular proponents of Evangelical Christianity, wedding Calvinistic argumentation with technical concepts drawn from the Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas.[1] His son David Geisler continues his work, and recently contacted John W. Loftus with a syllogism for God’s existence Norman had made in the Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. David asked my editor if he had “any atheistic friends that would be willing to critique this more comprehensive argument for God’s existence and explain what’s wrong with it,” and I was one such friend, so John contacted me. 

What follows is a brief critique of the entry “First Principles” in the Encyclopedia, which David copied verbatim in his email to John. The entry is quite substantive, as Norman Geisler provided very detailed descriptions of a variety of first principles, such as the Principle of Noncontradiction, the Principle of Causality, and the Principle of Contingency, and explains why they cannot be coherently denied under any circumstances.

What to Do When You Disagree with Jesus?

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Priests and preachers sweep so much under the rug


We are so used to easy access to the Bible it’s easy to forget that for most of Christian history the laity did not have the Bible. That became possible in the wake of the invention of the printing press in 1450, and the move in the following century to translate the Bible into the languages spoken by the laity. So for well over a thousand years the church got people to believe what it wanted them to believe about Jesus. It sold an idealized Jesus based primarily on Paul’s hallucinations of a resurrected Jesus who ruled in heavenly realms. During this long dark age of Bible ignorance, the laity learned the story of their lord through great works of art, stunning stained-glass renderings, and the word spoken from pulpits.

Win Corduan & Bart Ehrman Agree, Objective Evidence is Problematic

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Christian philosopher of religion Dr. Win Corduan shows why I focus on concrete examples like a virgin birthed son of a god, and have such a low view of the philosophy of religion by philosophers who want to rationally discuss the probabilities of these kinds of ancient myths. He wrote a brief summary essay answering the question, What is the difference between objective and subjective claims? He argues there's a point at which subjective and objective claims are the same: "Clearly, the fact that I am making a subjective claim about feeling pain is an objective claim. And that matter can be tested pretty easily; just ask me. But whether I actually have the feelings that I’m telling you about, only I can know."

This isn't the real issue though, even if he's right. For the real issue concerns concrete claims like a virgin birthed son of a god. Those kinds of claims require objective evidence for them, since they're extraordinary claims of the highest order concerning events that are impossible to occur on their own within the natural world, based on everything we know about how the world works. So it doesn't matter if there's a point at which objective and subjective claims converge, even though I doubt that they do. Sure, I would see no reason to doubt Win's claim of pain since it's not an extraordinary one. But I cannot objectively feel his pain either. So I would have no way to conclusively test whether he's lying, without some objective evidence coming from a heart monitor or brain scan.

The real reason Win is addressing such a question is because there's no objective evidence for any of the miracle assertions in the Bible. Sorry if that's the case Win, but that's the case. Sorry if it ends your philosophical discussion Win, but it ends it. It could have turned out differently if there was a god who had the foresight to provide objective evidence for biblical miracles, Win. But your god didn't do that.

How Do You Get to Live Forever with Jesus in the Sky?

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The apostle Paul’s fully delusional scheme



I occasionally see this meme on Facebook, with attribution to Mark Twain:  “Religion was invented when the first con man met the first fool.” But this is probably wrong on three counts: (1) I have never been able to verify it as a Twain quote; (2) the first priests—those who stood out from the rest of their clans as possessing connections to the gods—probably were not con artists; (3) and the people who believed them sensed that the connection was genuine. Of course the time would come when con men took over—these days televangelists come to mind especially.

"God and Horrendous Suffering" Available November 15th!

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LINK. Be the first to get this hardcover anthology.

The Atlantic: "The Evangelical Church is Breaking Up!"

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If this continues they will lose their political influence in America! I welcome this even as I hate what Trump has done to our country. LINK. Thanks to Robert Conner.

Robert Conner's Interview with Mythvision!

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This is excellent! Please check it out!

 

Does God Care as Much About the Bible as Christians Do?

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Or was it incompetent divine oversight?



When did God stop caring about the Bible? No, it’s not a silly questionMany   Christians are so sure that God guided the thoughts—and the pens—of the Bible authors, especially those who wrote the gospels and epistles: they got God’s truth right. But what an embarrassment: we don’t have what they wrote. All of the original manuscripts of the New Testament books were lost. The earliest scrap of a gospel—a few verses of John 18—dates early-to-mid second century. There are scholars who devote their careers to comparing ancient manuscripts, trying to figure out the wording of the original texts. The sloppy, haphazard coping process—by hand—went on for centuries. The scribes made thousands of errors. God couldn’t be bothered to protect and preserve the original documents? That wasn’t within his power? Fundamentalist theologians insist that the original manuscripts were without error: God’s perfect word. Even for them there’s just no denying that so many mistakes were made in the copying process. But their claim that the originals were perfect cannot be sustained.

My Very Last Book is About to Drop! It's Over. It's Done. It is Finished!

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Looks like it's a race to see which book of mine will be my very last one!

GCRR is set to release "God and Horrendous Suffering" early in November.

Hypatia Press says they're releasing "Varieties of Jesus Mythicism" early in December.

They can both lay claim to the title of last book, if this plays itself out. That's because "God and Horrendous Suffering" was the very last book I submitted for publication, no matter which one is released last!

I actually like that the mythicist book is to come out near Xmas, since people looking for books at that time might be drawn to its cover of an empty manger!

I also like it since the question of Jesus mythicism was one I avoided in order not to offend Christian believers in my early years. So it's good if it comes out last.

In my books I've said all I need to say on every important topic related to Christianity. That's all I can do. It should be enough for one person, even though the debate will continue. I must now live life to its fullest, love, laugh, sing, and dance.

Why Did A Good God Create Gunpowder & Allow Us to Discover It?

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Justin Brierley, producer of the Unbelievable? program, just solved the problem of evil. Not really, but he tries unsuccessfully to make a point about it and free will: 
My comments to Justin Brierley:
Justin, anyone can turn a bullet into something good, and anyone can imagine on hindsight that some kind of suffering turns out for good. But an omniscient god is apparently incapable of imagining a world without suffering of the horrendous kind, when even a child can do so. What about a god who never allows humankind to discover gunpowder? What was so important to god that we needed it at all?
Additionally: 
Yes, gunpowder has been extremely helpful to modernized society. But was the bloodshed and mayhem worth it when all god wants is for us to believe in him? Think of the murders, the bombs, and the wars, especially the noncombatants like children. The carnage is massive!
If for some indefensible notion god wanted us to discover gunpower, he could have made it discoverable to people who would only use it constructively in building roads, bridges, buildings and the like. He could also keep it away from evil people intent on evil purposes. 
A perfectly loving god would do this. Does an omniscient all-powerful god not know how to do it?