Benjamin Blade Speed Watkins On Faith and Reason

Benjamin Blade Speed Watkins, Host/Producer at Real Atheology - A Philosophy of Religion Podcast, posted something for discussion: "Faith without reason is blind, but reason without faith is impotent. I’m came up with this little gem, or at least I like to thing I did. Who have I unknowingly ripped off? How unoriginal am I actually being? Philosophy friends, ASSEMBLE!"
There is only blind faith, that is, faith without reason. So reason doesn't need faith at all. *Why do I bother* There is reasoning based on faith, but that's equivalent to reasoning based on the conclusions of delusions and wishful thinking. By contrast, reasoning about the nature of nature, its workings, and origins is based on logic and objective evidence.

Liar! Christian Organizations Paid Norma McCorvey (a.k.a. “Roe”) To Speak Out Against Abortion

I have a chapter in my book, "How To Defend the Christian Faith: Advice From An Atheist" titled, "When All Else Fails Lie". [Get my book while you're here!] Well now, here's a big one. Norma McCorvey (a.k.a. “Roe” in Roe v Wade) received about a quarter of a million dollars from Christian organizations to be an outspoken opponent of abortion! Liar liar pants on fire! The Friendly Atheist broke this story!

The Corrosive Effect of Christian Excuses


Not doing God any favors

On 10 May 1941, Rudolph Hess flew alone in a Messerschmitt-110 fighter plane from Germany to Scotland. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, and was “under the delusion that he could arrange a peace settlement,” according to William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich), who offered this assessment: “For a German who had got so far in the jungle warfare within the Third Reich, Rudolf Hess, as all who knew him could testify, was singularly na├»ve.” Hitler was outraged: “…he gave orders to have Hess shot at once if he returned…the Fuehrer hoped the bizarre episode would be forgotten as soon as possible…” The British didn’t take Hess seriously for a moment.

Introducing the 2020 International eConference on Atheism

The Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) is hosting the 2020 International eConference on Atheism, which is open to believers and nonbelievers alike. The purpose of this multidisciplinary virtual conference is to advance the scientific and philosophical understanding of atheism, nonreligion, agnosticism, and counterapologetics today. The eConference will provide an interdisciplinary platform for scholars, educators, and practitioners to present their research into recent innovations, trends, and concerns in contemporary atheism. Moreover, this 3-day event will promote dialogue and understanding among nonbelievers, as well as those who interact with them. And because the conference is held online, scholars and students can attend from the comfort and safety of their own home at lower costs without having to worry about travel and lodging expenses. I am one of the keynote speakers! Plan to join us September 3rd-5th! International eConference on Atheism.

Anselm "Faith Seeking Confirmation"

I think Anselm's dictum "faith seeking understanding" is to be understood in the history of theology and philosophy to be equivalent to "Faith Seeking Confirmation." If that's how it's historically used then that's what it means. Below is an updated edit from chapter 2 of my my book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End.
There is a common theme among St. Anselm's work and the work of other obfuscationist theologians and philosophers that needs to be highlighted. It’s called faith seeking confirmation. We see this in Anselm with regard to his new atonement theory and his ontological argument.
Anselm therefore is exhibit “A” in defense of what atheist philosopher Stephen Law said: “Anything based on faith, no matter how ludicrous, can be made to be consistent with the available evidence, given a little patience and ingenuity.”1 If I could pick one sentence, one aphorism, one proverb that highlights the main reason philosophy of religion (PoR) must end, it’s Law’s. I’ll call it Law’s law of faith.

I Just Asked Dr. Craig An Important Question

I just asked my former professor William Lane Craig the following question on his website:

Hi Dr. Craig. I hope you are well.

With the relatively recent work in establishing the strong tendency of human beings toward cognitive biases such as confirmation bias, (which is the mother of all cognitive biases), along with many others like selection bias, the ostrich effect, omission bias, verbatim effect, and so on, what advice do you offer honest inquirers to overcome these biases when searching for the true religious sect? I haven't seen you address this question before.

What perspective do you suggest for honest inquirers when searching for which religious sect is true, if there is one? Surely you don't endorse one of faith seeking confirmation (i.e. Anselm!), as that is the epitome of a known cognitive bias, which leads inquirers to embrace whatever they were raised to believe.

Giving Too Much Credit to the Holy Spirit


Yes, I know, blasphemy!

We can appreciate the urge of Christians to distance themselves from the Old Testament. The pathological anger of Yahweh doesn’t sit well with folks who rank high for empathy; his brutal laws are especially chilling, e.g. rebellious sons and sabbath breakers are to be stoned to death—and The Book of Numbers, one of five in the sacred Torah, describes the revolting ordeal that women accused of adultery must undergo, supervised by priests under the watchful eye of the Lord (5:11-31).

Yes, we’re ready to Just Say No to the Old Testament—except for some of its famous stories, I suppose. Christians are proud that Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, for example, sets the tone for much better religion—or so they think. Although if they actually read the Sermon on the Mount carefully, they’d find quite a few lines to cross out; e.g., those who have pension plans—even ministers—need to find a way to finesse, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…”

Here's a good review of my anthology on miracles

LINK. As one might guess I like what the reviewer said about my Chapter 3: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence: "Loftus writes this chapter and does a great job of defending Hume and the title of the chapter. I don’t know how anybody could refute what Loftus argues for after reading it." The reviewer's favorite chapter is Dr. Madison's, saying, "I love how David Madison debunks the idea that the Bible was inspired by God." See other recommendations here.

Christianity: Ten Knockout Punches, Number 10


Paul, apostle and saboteur of sane religion

It’s hardly a secret that reading the Bible is not a favorite pastime even among Christians—especially when there are so many other options, e.g., movies, TV (binge watching is now a thing), sports, hobbies. God’s Holy Word doesn’t stand a chance. When was the last time you heard a Christian say, “I’m going to spend my evening reading the gospel of Mark, all of it, then tomorrow—I can’t wait!—I’ll dive into the book of Ezekiel”?

Whose Abject Failure? William L. Vanderburgh Tweets On Hume and Bayesianism

I reviewed Dr. Vanderburgh's book in defense of David Hume in the Appendix to my anthology, "The Case against Miracles." [Click on his book image to find out more.] Amazingly, Vanderburgh sums up his conclusion in one short Tweet! Tim McGrew, supposedly an "international expert" on miracles (but not my expert!), is in the dark on how to understand David Hume on miracles.

Geez, Just When We Need Evidence Of a Powerful God of Love, They Close Down the Lourdes Shrine!

LINK. If this isn't proof that miracle mongering is a sham then what is? No matter which cognitive bias affects believers at any given time, realities like Covid-19 make it clear there are no miracles today.

Here's a good interview with students who attend Liberty University

"Atheist scholar, author, and former minister John W. Loftus shares his story of de-conversion from religious faith and presents arguments for assuming an outsider perspective toward one's ideology." LINK. There is a long 1 hour 13 minute interview and several shorter discussions.

A Helluva Good Story about Heaven


In which God and Jesus aren’t the heroes

A few years back a devout Catholic woman assured me that there was a sound, practical reason she held so firmly to her faith: she wanted to see her mother again in heaven. It would happen, she was sure, all in good time. But another Catholic woman I knew wasn’t so patient—she wanted to get through to folks in heaven in real time. As her mother lay dying, she whispered messages for mom to deliver to dead relatives on the other side. I wondered if this blatant opportunism would sit well with those in charge of border security.

TED Talk from Cognitive Scientist Philip Fernbach

Watch this TED talk video below, from cognitive scientist Philip Fernbach. We are tribal people. We have a very strong propensity to accept as knowledge what people in our own tribe accepts, which means we all claim to know things that are false.

I am a nonbeliever because of this research. I'm skeptical of people who have all the answers. I am skeptical of apologists who claim to have an impossible grasp of a whole range of disciplines of learning, like quantum mechanics, cosmology, astronomy, evolutionary science, neurology, psychology, cognitive biases, philosophy, theology, philology, Old Testament and New Testament studies, Jesus studies, church history, ethics, politics, and so on, and so on, which they use to argue for their faith. No one has such a wide grasp of it all. But far too many of them act as if they do! So they are inauthentic people, unjustly arrogant people, who are pretending to know that which they cannot know, like the Sophists in the days of Socrates.

This is why doubt is the only reasonable position to take about the objective world, its nature, its workings, and its origins (including which religion is true, if there is one) until such time as there's sufficient objective evidence leading to a confident conclusion.

The highest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is the consensus of scientists working in a field. The lowest degree of confidence in a conclusion about the objective world is one's own subjective feelings. Another conclusion about the objective world that has a very low confidence level is 2nd 3rd 4th-handed down ancient conflicting testimony debated by theologians down through history about extraordinary miraculous claims such as snakes and donkeys that talked, rocks that floated, a bush that didn't burn up, a sun that stood still (and even backed up!), great fish that swallowed a person, a god born of a virgin (based at best on 2nd handed testimony from the mother alone!), resurrecting people, levitating people, a few of which ascended back into heaven where it's claimed God's throne is, along with a 2000 year old prophecy that one of them will come back to a flat earth from which every person on earth will see him.

An Excerpt From My Introduction to "The Case Against Miracles"

A miracle must be an event caused by a supernatural force or being, a god. Such an event could not take place on its own in the natural world without the action of a god. It must be an event which involves the interfering, or suspension, or transgressing, or breaching, or contravening, or violating of natural law. Such an event could not be explainable by science because it would be an event impossible to occur by natural processes alone. A miracle is therefore an extraordinary event of the highest kind.

Dr. Randall Heskett Interviews John Loftus On His Book, "The Case Against Miracles"

Dr. Randall Heskett interviews John Loftus on his book, The Case Against Miracles. Loftus speaks about David Hume's critique on miracles and turns the interview on Heskett about his chapter in the book. The two come to a consensus that apologetics is not a field, nor is it honest, nor fair but damaging to both Christianity and intellectual discourse. Loftus speaks about the dangers of faith and the "deplorables" who are bringing down American Society.

An Ecclesiastical Basket of Deplorables


Prey experts pounce during the pandemic

One Bible text that can stop the God-Is-Good crowd dead in its tracks is Genesis 15:13-14:

Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know this for certain, that your offspring shall be aliens in a land that is not theirs, and shall be slaves there, and they shall be oppressed for four hundred years; but I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions.”

Was this promise of “great possessions” tacked on as an enticement? Back in Abraham’s day there were many tribal gods, so why would he choose a god who promised that his descendants would become slaves and be oppressed for four hundred years? Why wouldn’t that be a deal-breaker—no matter how many possessions? Moreover, how does any sound, respectable theology absorb, adjust to, this concept of God: A deity who allows such suffering, whose plan encompasses inexplicable delay.

Ian Mills: "Don't Read Apologetics!"

This "New Testament Review" podcast is fantastic! Listen in as two Christian PhD candidates at Duke University, Ian Mills and Laura Robinson, discuss Lee Strobel's book, "The Case for Christ." While they treat the general outline of the gospels as historical to some degree, they destroy the argument that the gospels were written by eyewitnesses. At least listen up to the 21:30 minute mark! Then keep listening to the end to hear them rip into apologetics itself! The whole discussion is good!

Ian says Strobel's book isn't just bad. He says, "This book will make you dumber. No matter how much you already will almost certainly know less by the time you finish this book. It is profoundly deceptive..." (25:45).

It's not just Robert M. Price saying it in his book, The Case against the Case for Christ, or me in my anthology The Case against Miracles--the book apologist Tim McGrew should read before he says anything more about miracles!

The podcasters call Strobel's book dishonest and deceptive from the get-go. It's a textbook case of deceptive apologetics. If this is so, why accept apologetics at all? Ian says it plainly, "Don't read apologetics!" That is, not if your primary goal is to understand the gospels.

A Visit to the Creation Museum


[Since we are all stuck at home right now and cannot visit museums, here is an updated version of a post about my visit to Ken Ham's sad excuse for one. I hope this helps fill a void until you can actually go there and see all of its wonders for yourself.]

Ken Ham's “unnatural history” museum in Petersburg, Kentucky is, as you probably know, devoted to a literal interpretation of the Bible. It claims to present evidence that the earth is about 6000 years old, that dinosaurs coexisted with humans, that there was a worldwide flood around 2350 BCE, and so on.

It is a bizarre experience from the moment you walk in.

"The Case against Miracles" Will Be Made Into An Audiobook!

Good news! I've learned that my anthology, The Case against Miracles, published by Hypatia Press, is going to come out as an audio book! I don't know how soon. If the chapters have different readers for effect, and why not, let my chapters be read by Seth Andrews. ;-) It's the book Timothy McGrew needs to consider before saying anything more about miracles.

The Influence of Pandemics on Religion


This is an excellent presentation by Dr. Darren Slade on how pandemics change history, especially the Justinian Pandemic in the 6th century! Fascinating!

So if western Christians believe their version of Christianity is the true one, they also have to thank their god for the Justinian Pandemic! He no longer works in mysterious ways! His methods are being exposed little by little.

Quote of the Day On the Philosophy of Religion, By David Madison

Click here for more quotes from Loftus
Recently on Twitter Dr. David Madison said, "Everybody insists their own god exists and argues accordingly. Theism deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." Then he linked to my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. What's significant about this is that he's a biblical scholar, having earned his PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University School of Theology. He kindly blogs here at DC and is the author of Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: A Minister-Turned Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith, of which I was honored to write a Forward to it.

I've said repeatedly that I might be wrong, but no one can say I'm ignorant. After all, I have nearly the equivalent educational background of Dr. Paul Copan, the former President of the Evangelical Society. David Madison can say the same thing by the tenfold, especially seen in his fantastic book, online writings, podcasts and exhaustive reading list of atheist books in The Cure-For-Christianity Library. In his esteemed judgment, after years of studying it out, the evidence conclusively shows the Bible and any religion or theology or philosophy based on it, "deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." His most succinct case is made in a chapter for my recent anthology, The Case against Miracles.

Announcing A New Important Anthology On Jesus Mythicism Co-Edited by Robert M. Price and John W. Loftus

Dr. Robert M. Price and I have co-edited a new anthology, tentatively titled "Varieties of Jesus Mythicism." It's to be published by Hypatia Press and should be available in a year or so.

We have chapters by David Fitzgerald ("Why Mythicism Matters"), Earl Doherty, Neil Godfrey, Stephan Huller, Bill Darlison, Joseph Atwill, Derreck Bennett, R.G. Price, Tim Widowfield, Michael Lockwood, PC Emery, Barbara Walker, Danila Oder, plus our own contributions. We also have three chapters disputing historicist biblical scholars Bart D. Ehrman, James McGrath, and the late Maurice Casey. We included a long chapter on the history of Jesus mythicism too. It should be the standard book of theories that might best explain how the Jesus cult began!

Christianity: Ten Knockout Punches, Number 9


What Jesus would do isn’t good enough

Here’s a surprising headline from 2014: “Evangelicals Have Higher-than-average Divorce Rates.” This is the opening paragraph of the article: “Despite their strong pro-family values, evangelical Christians have higher than average divorce rates—in fact, being more likely to be divorced than Americans who claim no religion, according to findings as cited by researchers from Baylor University.”

Wait a minute. Isn’t this the crowd that always wants to know What Would Jesus Do? These are the words of Jesus in Mark 10:

Magic, Miracles and Madness

Here's an interview done with myself, Robert M. Price, and Robert Conner, authors in my new anthology The Case against Miracles. My part begins at about the 15 minute mark. You can skip to their joint interview where they discuss their chapters at the 1 hour 12 minute mark, which includes a spirited debate on the alleged insanity of the apostle Paul.

Is Timothy McGrew An Expert When it Comes to Miracles?

Christian apologist Tom Gilson said: "Timothy McGrew is an international expert on epistemology and miracles. If Loftus has come up with a better defense than Tim has already encountered, that would be a miracle all its own."

John Loftus: If Timothy McGrew is considered an international expert on miracles and concluded a virgin named Mary gave birth to the second person of the Trinity, then he's not really an expert. He's certainly not a historian using the standards of the historical method, which is the kind of expert we should turn to for miracle claims in the past, not philosophers. Let's see him respond to this link to show that he's an expert. Can he respond or not? If not, then what atheist Michael Levine says is dead on.

Despite the condescending attitude of Jonathan McLatchie and the McGrews, I think they stand to learn from me. If you know anything about me you know I'm well-read. So I'm telling you there are plenty of critical things said in my book on miracles that I don't think they have considered before. See one of them below.

Perhaps Now Is The Time To Read My New Anthology!

If you're reading more books due to spending more time at home, perhaps now is the time to read my latest anthology, The Case against Miracles. It 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. Some recommendations of it are below:

A Critical Examination of a Panel Discussion On The Resurrection

Christian apologists Tom Gilson, Jonathan McLatchie, Timothy McGrew and Lydia McGrew participated in panel discussing the resurrection of Jesus recently, and invited questions beforehand. So I obliged with two questions:
1. Would you comment on this quote: "The minimal facts approach is not a fair approach the data, to say the least. By virtue of any disagreements it’s not fair for their side to take off the table any “facts” the other side objects to. That is special pleading, pure and simple, in favor of Christian scholarship. So what is offered are “minimal facts, not all the facts”. What is needed is a sound argument for why apologists can arbitrarily exclude certain things from the discussion. Only if both sides agree to this can apologists Habermas and Licona go ahead and make their case. But skeptics atheists and agnostics don't.
Before the panel discussion Jonathan McLatchie responded:
John W. Loftus I find your objection to the minimal facts approach quite bizarre. The whole point of the approach is that it is tying one's arm deliberately behind one's back and limiting themselves to data that is granted by the skeptics -- i.e. starting from common ground assumptions. How is that "special pleading in favor of Christian scholarship"?
I replied:
Jonathan McLatchie WL Craig and others have said it frees the apologist from first having to defend the authority of the Bible. But defending the authority of the Bible is the major task of theirs. So it allows them to escape from the major task of theirs, which is special pleading.
My reply was not mentioned in the discussion. You can watch the video below.

Let's Let Go of the Shroud (Of Turin)

Let's Let Go of the Shroud (Of Turin) 

God’s Spotty Performance on Miracles


Not quite a “tidal wave” of wonders

Christianity is stuck with its miracles—they’re an integral part of scripture—and Christian apologists are stuck with their obligation to defend them. Of course serious Christian thinkers—by which I mean those tuned in to how the real world works—have made the adjustment: miracle tales are part of folklore across a very diverse religious spectrum. So, no, Jesus didn’t walk on water, still the storm, or feed the five thousand. Given the era in which the New Testament was written, these are special effects that increase the wow-factor—“Just look at what gods can do!” Supposedly, of course, there is residual “spiritual value” in the miracle stories, so preachers can make the most of them.