Teachings of Jesus that Christians Dislike and Ignore, Number 1

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They just say NO to their Lord and Savior 



Nothing undermines Christianity more than taking a close look at the teaching attributed to Jesus in the gospels—and, well, taking a close look at Christian history. Even some of the Jesus-script that deserves a high-rating reveals how far short this religion falls in real life. Moreover, there are many sayings of Jesus that would make many laypeople uneasy—they would even find them appalling—if they took the time to think about them carefully. My own list of questionable Jesus sayings comes to 292, which I’ve broken down into four categories: (1) Preaching about the end times; (2) Scary extremism; (3) Bad advice and bad theology; (4) The unreal Jesus of John’s gospel. 

 

This article begins a new series in which we’ll take a close look at some of the Jesus-script that many Christians themselves resist and reject—but would be reluctant to say so out loud.

Dennis R. MacDonald Rejects Jesus Mythicism!

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Facebook LINK.

Dr. Dennis R. MacDonald was interviewed by Edouard Tahmizian, Vice President of Internet Infidels. It's an interesting interview that needs a wide hearing. You can even click below the video for a transcript.

Edouard Tahmizian comments below.

Quote of the Day On Bayes Theorem by josephpalazzo

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josephpalazzo replied in Debunking Christianity: Here's Bayes Theorem:
In the denominator P(B) must refer to actual data, not some possibility. This also goes for all the other variables P(AlB), P(BlA) and P(A). As example, what is the probability of turning head on tossing a fair coin, which is 1/2. That number, 1/2, can be verified by tossing a fair coin 1000 times, 10,000 times and so on. It's not a guess, nor some divine revelation of some desirable event. If there is no verifiable data, Bayes Theorem is totally useless..

On Translating Genesis 1

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[NEW EDIT] The first two verses in Genesis are problematic to translate. Translations are interpretations that are dependent on their immediate context, and  the wider contexts of the Bible as a whole in the surrounding cultures of the day.

The first verses of Genesis 1 are usually translated like this:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the abyss, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

As someone who studied Hebrew and consulted with Dr. Randall Heskett, a scholar of Hebrew, here is my more accurate translation:

"In the beginning the gods made the skies and the land. The land was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the chaos, and the wind of the gods was hovering over the waters."

The word typically translated "God" is "Elohim" which is plural, best translated "gods". 

There is no absolute beginning of time here, since gods are born and die in the ancient polytheistic world. 

There is no creation ex nihilo (out of nothing) since the land already existed in a chaotic state. 

The word "heavens" does not refer to Heaven, the abode of the gods. It's the skies. 

There is no reference to the planet earth, since it wasn't discovered yet. Rather, it's "land", which rises out of the waters on Day 2 of creation. [2 Peter 3:5]. 

The word for "chaos", usually referred to as the "abyss", is a direct reference to the Akkadian chaos god Tiamat. Elohim fought with chaos gods like her and with Rahab (Psalm 89:10, Isaiah 51:9-10, and Job 26:12) to bring an ordered world out of chaos.

Finally, in this context the word describing the "Spirit" of gods means "wind". It's the wind of the gods.

“Oh, You Know, God. Everyone Knows Who God Is”

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Misled by supposed certainties about god  



The title of this article comes from one of my favorite Carl Sagan quotes. He was often asked, when he was giving lectures, if he believed in god: 

 

“I frequently reply by asking what the questioner means by ‘God.’ To my surprise, this response is often considered puzzling or unexpected: ‘Oh, you now, God. Everyone knows who God is.’ Or, ‘Well, kind of a force that is stronger than we are and that exists everywhere in the universe.’ There are a number of such forces. One of them is called gravity, but it is not often identified with God. And not everyone does know what is meant by ‘God.’ The concept covers a wide range of ideas.” (pp. 281-282, Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science

 

In fact, we are surrounded by, indeed assaulted by, god concepts continually, every day—and have been since we were toddlers. Even small towns commonly have a few Christian churches, and big cities have many. We know pretty well the god-ideas these churches promote. Not too far from my apartment there is a Catholic church at a street corner, with a statue of the virgin Mary overlooking the intersection; she usually holds a bouquet of flowers, placed there by devout parishioners. She represents a benevolent god.

My Article on Horrendous Suffering Was Accepted by a Christian Philosophical Journal

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I submitted a paper to a Christian philosophical journal (to be announced later) on the problem of horrendous suffering. It was accepted. Here was the initial response I received:

Humanity’s Urgent Need to Outgrow Religion

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The scams and deceptions continue




Here’s a headline that caught my attention this week: “Jesus baptism site makeover aims to draw a million Christians in 2030.” (BBC News, 15 January 2023) The article includes this text


“Samir Murad, who chairs the non-profit foundation set up by the Jordanian government to oversee the project, insists the integrity of the area will be maintained. ‘It would be foolish and unwise to try and create a touristic destination that's based on commercialisation and theme park-type issues in a site so holy,’ he says. ‘Let's remember this is the third-holiest site in Christianity. This is the site where Jesus got his calling and so it would be highly inappropriate, if you will, to corrupt it or violate in any way.’”


It will be a “340-acre baptism zone.” They want to attract a million Christian visitors by 2030—but it’s not a theme-park tourist destination? There’s also this line: “Plans for the new development include so-called glamping-style lodging and eateries, serving locally grown organic food.” Glamping? That’s a merger of glamourous and camping. But it would be “foolish” to go for something resembling a theme-park?

"God and Horrendous Suffering" Now $9.99

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Kindle edition of "God and Horrendous Suffering" is now $9.99 at Amazon! LINK

A Pop Quiz for Christians, Number 6

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What devout scholars know vs. what devout churchgoers believe



A long time ago, devout scholars thought they could strengthen the faith by studying every chapter and verse of the gospels. Thus an industry was born: Christian academia. Many, many thousands of books, commentaries, articles, doctoral dissertations have been written. Not a single word of the gospels has missed their careful attention. But the unintended, lamentable result was that certainties about Jesus were damaged and diminished. It turns out that the gospels fail to meet minimal standards to qualify as history. Most of the devout scholars have been able to finesse this problem: they invent theologies to be able to hold on to Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Chapter 13: "Christianity Can be Hazardous to Your Health, by Harriet Hall

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Dr. Skepdoc Harriet Hall died peacefully in her sleep last night. In her honor I present a sample of her work from my anthology Christianity is not Great. If there is any occasion to see the truth of her chapter look no further that how Covid-19 and it's variants have killed, and are still killing, ignorant Christian vaccine deniers. She was one of the greats in our lifetime! If you haven't read that anthology yet, there are a number of really good chapters in it! 

 

Christianity Can be Hazardous to Your Health,  

by Harriet Hall, MD

Religion will always be a controversial subject, but its impact on health is one area that lends itself to objective investigation.

David Wood vs John Loftus Debate: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? (May 2015)

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A friend who goes by the name Ozzy Ozone just posted this debate with commentary. He sped up the video of my talk without telling people that he did so, until well into it. He just wanted to get through it fast. But it makes me look spastic. If you're interested in the normal speed of the debate, here it is:

Who Was Jesus? Lunatic, Liar, Failed Prophet, Cynic, Sage, Celestrial Being...

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Over at The Secular Frontier John MacDonald singled me out for my journey from someone who previously believed Jesus was the Son of God, to thinking he was a failed apocalyptic prophet, to taking an agnostic stance on the question, ending up as a Jesus mythicist. At the international conference on the historical Jesus, put on by GCRR, I had summed up my recent journey, saying:
I have resisted taking a stand on Jesus Mythicism, arguing instead that, “At best Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet.” Halfway position. Not so sanguine now. I have since changed my mind. For a few years I embraced agnosticism. I have now established myself enough to take a stand on this issue. At what point can we say all traces of any real Jesus are gone, and that they’re gone because he never existed as a real person in the first place? We have to work with what we have, not what we hope will be discovered. What we can conclude is that whatever traces of a human being we might find behind the ancient tales of Jesus, at best they are indistinguishable from him not existing at all. Any real Jesus is therefore an unnecessary figure we can do without. That’s good enough when it comes to god and science. It’s good enough here. See: SOURCE.
Many atheists are changing their minds on the historical nature of Jesus, but MacDonald singled me out even though I have never argued for the mythicist viewpoint. I guess he wanted my attention. Okay, hi John! I hope 2023 is a good year for you! That being said, since I've never argued on behalf of my current viewpoint, I'm not going to argue with MacDonald either. Nonetheless, I want to refer everyone to the influence of the authors in my co-edited book with Robert M. Price, Varieties of Jesus Mythicism.

In addition to those authors there's the influence of Richard Carrier. In the first place he convincingly shows the book of Acts is fiction. In the New Testament that book is supposed to connect readers of Paul and the gospels to the 1st century historical church, and it fails, miserably. His talk in 2015 was significant for me. Carrier also wrote a significant recent essay, How We Can Know 1 Clement Was Actually Written in the 60s AD, which leads readers to question what we know about early church history itself, apart from the book of Acts. That essay puts all traditional timelines up for questioning and debate. So readers can understand my current view, especially if you read Bart Willruth's 2 Part essay, Reassessing Paul's Timeline. If Willruth's essay was available before we published our Jesus Mythicism anthology, I would've included it. Willruth says:
Robert Price, in his book "The Amazing Colossal Apostle" suggests that Paul's letters date from the late first century CE to the second century CE. While we differ on where to assign a re-dating of Paul, we both recognize that there is no reason to hold to traditional dating. In his post, "How do we know the Apostle Paul Wrote His Epistles in the 50's AD", Richard Carrier acknowledges that "I don’t consider this matter as settled as mainstream scholars do. Paul’s Epistles do fit remarkably well in the 50s B.C."
Willruth argues "we have enough reason to point to Paul's probable timeline of letters in the 40's -30's BCE." Then says, "If this chronology is correct, Paul would never have heard of Jesus of Nazareth and couldn’t have been writing to Christians as we would recognize them." He concludes:

The Colossal Embarrassment of Mark 16

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A Bible chapter that damages Christian credibility 



The case can be made that most Christians don’t take all that seriously the god described in their Bible. This god knows amazing things about every human:

 

“…even the hairs of your head are all counted.” (Jesus-script, Matthew 10:30)

 

It is aware of everything that every person says: 

 

“I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter.”  (Jesus-script, Matthew 12:36)

 

And it knows everything we think: 

 

“…on the day when, according to my gospel, God through Christ Jesus judges the secret thoughts of all.” (the apostle Paul, Romans 2:16)

 

This attentive, intrusive god is also massively impressive on a cosmic scale: “Oh Lord, my God when I, in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed…” (from the hymn, How Great Thou Art)

Upcoming Debate: "Does God Exist?"

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Earlier in April I announced I'm done writing and editing books. I'm not done writing, blogging, speaking, debating, or doing interviews though. Far from it! I have been invited to debate in person whether God exists. How would you go about such a broad topic?

Good News for the New Year!

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I am pleased to announce that my 2021 book, Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught, and Other Reasons to Question His Words… 


is now available in Spanish translation


The Kindle version will be priced at $.99 through January 3rd: LINK


The paperbound version costs $10.95. LINK


Please help spread the word about this Spanish translation!


I want to thank especially: 


David Cáceres González in Chile for doing the translation. A few months before beginning work on the project, he interviewed me about the book—and added Spanish subtitles. 


Tim Sledge, my publisher/editor at Insighting Growth Publications. Tim does a superb job critiquing and reviewing the manuscripts he’s preparing for publication. Tim’s own books include:


Goodbye Jesus: An Evangelical Preacher’s Journey Beyond Faith


Four Disturbing Questions with One Simple Answer: Breaking the Spell of Christian Belief


How to Live a Meaningful Life: Focusing on Things That Matter.


Cheers and Happy New Year,   David Madison  



David Madison was a pastor in the Methodist Church for nine years, and has a PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University. He is the author of two books, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: a Minister-Turned-Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith (2016; 2018 Foreword by John Loftus) and Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught: And Other Reasons to Question His Words (2021). His YouTube channel is here. He has written for the Debunking Christianity Blog since 2016.

 

The Cure-for-Christianity Library©, now with more than 500 titles, is here. A brief video explanation of the Library is here

 



Please support us at DC by commenting on and by sharing our posts, or subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon.

All Is Calm, All Is Bright: Not According to Jesus

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The coming of his kingdom will be horrific



“Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.” The sentiment-saturated Christmas season is gradually receding, with its images of baby Jesus in the manger and Handel’s magnificent music: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” 

 

This text is from Isaiah 9:6, which the New Testament itself never applies to Jesus. This an example of inventing a Jesus that measures up to your ideal. During the runup to Christmas, I saw memes on social media that reflect this concept: “Instead of putting Christ back into Christmas, try putting Christ back into Christians.” Along with this we hear that Jesus was about love, compassion, helping the poor, caring for refugees: Jesus the good guy, Jesus the best guy.

On Self-Promotion

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          This ad was placed as an insert in a local paper.

For about 15 years I owned a carpet cleaning business. My father installed and cleaned carpet so it was natural I did the same when I was no longer a minister. I bought a small established company for $35k, called Brock's Carpet Cleaning Inc. I got the money from a divorce settlement. I had to compete with other established businesses. The way to do that is to promote your business. So I did, with flyers, radio commercials with celebrities praising our company--like a former Mayor--and in coupon books. Notice the section "Don't Just Take our Word For It!" If you have a product to promote then you must promote it, and testimonials help.

I followed the same model when it came to books, since I was an unknown, having no recognition from the four horseman, or WLCraig. My book publishers spent next to nothing on promotion. Prometheus Books just sent out complimentary copies to people, as did others. Darren at GCRR held conferences on my books which helped!

I shared what others were saying about my books just as I shared what people had said about my carpet cleaning. BTW: I prided myself on being The Spot Geek, saying that "If I can't get a spot out then no one can." I educated customers by saying there is a difference between a spot and a stain. A stain is a chemical reaction that changes the color of the fibers. No one can get that out, although there are a few kits and techniques to colorize them back to the original color.

Anyway, people told me not to promote my books, that doing so is unprofessional. I promote them, yes, but you'll never (or almost never) find me saying my books are the shit, which they are! ;-) I let others do the talking for me. When they say so, I in turn say so. So say I!

On Book Publishing and Royalties

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On Book Publishing
Craig is on the left. Strauss is on the right.
 
I didn’t get an agent for any of my books. I contacted the publishers directly myself. If you do a search for agents, finding one may help get your book picked up by a mainstream publisher. Just write an outline, 1-2 chapters, and a query letter to get them interested in selling your work. My big problem is that I never sought a mainstream publisher. I didn't figure it would be worth the wait to get a rejection letter in the end of the process, due to the polemical adversarial tone in most of my books.

I self-published my first book with Trafford Books in 2004. It was titled, From Minister to Honest Doubter: Why I Changed My Mind. I had to do most all the work in formatting it. In it I had a photo of my two professors, James Strauss, who taught at Lincoln Christian Seminary, and Bill Craig, who taught at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS). Strauss attended my graduation from TEDS in 1985, where I earned my third master's degree, a ThM. Half of my hours were taken under them both at these two schools. They were my advisors and mentors.

Now as unbelievable as this is, I didn't know at the time, when I self-published this book in 2004, how influential Bill Craig had become since I left TEDS in 1985. I thought it was worth mentioning, but nothing more than that. But when Edward Babinski saw it in print he told everyone about it. People think I'm trying to hitch a ride on the coattails of Craig's acclaim, but I assure you I'm not. My work stands on its own. But people want to know. They want to know if Craig had a wayward former student, and if so, what does that student know that Craig doesn't know? So I mention it. It's mention-worthy, that's all.

Here's the Scoop On the Virgin Birth of a Boy God

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See what YOU think! First read Part 1 then read Part 2. For the best book-length analysis of the virgin birth see Robert Miller, Born Divine: The Birth of Jesus and Other Sons of God. Miller wrote the chapter on Jesus fulfilling prophecy for my anthology, The Case against Miracles. See also Jonathan Pearce's book The Nativity: A Critical Examination.

Margaret Downey's Tree of Knowledge 2021

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Margaret Downey is an important person among secularists, humanists and atheists.
Downey has had a prolific career in secular activism. She is the founder of the Freethought Society, and the Thomas Paine Memorial Committee. She is a past board member of the American Humanist Association, and the Thomas Paine National Historical Association. She is a current board member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Downey also serves as an advisor for the Robert Green Ingersoll Birthplace Museum and the Openly Secular campaign.
Year after year I watched as she decorated her yearly "Tree of Knowledge" with books she thought were important, as I was publishing mine. Then she finally decorated her 2021 tree with all 12 of mine. Finally! How many books of mine can you spot?

Merry Mythmas To One And All!

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Here are a few pics for you! 
Here I am in front of historic lights in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Day Thirteen of the Thirteen Days of Solstice!

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We've just celebrated the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas! That took some time! I'm done writing and editing books, so I highlighted each one of them in reverse chronological order, which ends today with my first published book, Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity. It's my magnum opus! If you don't have it you're missing out on what I consider to be my most important work. Pictured is the 2nd edition published in 2012. The 1st edition was published in 2008. Very rare is an atheist book that gets a second edition!

I'm described as a "Former Preacher" in the title. I'm not just a preacher though. I'm a philosopher with several advanced degrees and plenty of classroom time as an instructor of philosophy, ethics, critical thinking, western literature, apologetics, hermeneutics, and a few Bible classes. I taught for the Trine University, Kellogg Community College, Lincoln Christian College, and Great Lakes Christian College. So the words "Former Preacher" don't fully describe me, even though I was in the ministry for about 15 years, mostly while I was also teaching. I had wanted my publisher to call me a "Former Apologist" but they thought few people understood what that means.

I started teaching philosophy and ethics classes in 1985, first for the College of Lake County, in Grayslake, Illinois. In my first class I lost about half my students. As I think back, it was probably due, in part, because I was a flaming evangelical. A larger factor was 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. So 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. *Whew*

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 was, and is now, 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.

You can see this same "dumbing down", as the elitists call it, reflected in my writings. While I could use technical philosophical language, and quote from the original Hebrew and Greek languages in the Bible, I found that so long as I was accurate I didn’t need to impress people by writing for the scholars.

This is reflected in a few blurbs for my books.

The Bible Fails as “God’s Truth”—and That’s a Big Relief

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The few good bits are swamped by the many bad bits



When the movie, The Ten Commandments, was released in 1956 I was a 14-year-old devout Christian living in a small town in northern Indiana. I saw the film in our town’s only cinema, and was especially awestruck by the slender fiery finger of God descending from the sky to blast onto the stone tablets those famous ten commandments. Yes, that must have been exactly how it happened. I suspect that movie played a role in securing a firm place for this famous law code in American consciousness.

Day Twelve of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

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. All the themes in it expand on issues raised in my very first book. I personally think The Christian Delusion delivers a powerful blow to conservative Christianity, especially when combined with its predecessor.

Dawkins: I named the book The Christian Delusion after Dawkins' popular bestseller The God Delusion. His focus was on God. Mine was focused on the Christian God. I had hoped it might get his attention. It didn't. In fact, none of the so-called New Atheists--publicly acknowledged my books.

Day Eleven of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below]. Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

This anthology was named after Sam Harris's book The End of Faith like some others of mine. The so-called New Atheists took aim at God. My books took aim at Christianity in specific, because I knew the most about that religious faith.

After my first anthology, The Christian Delusion, 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.

Day Ten of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

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 my book. While I think the test leads to unbelief, that's a separate debate.

Day Nine of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.
[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. That's instructive, since he didn't research into how formidable of an opponent I might be.

Day Eight of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

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.

Day Seven of Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each of them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month.[See Tag Below] Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

You should know that this book, How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist, is one I thought about doing before any of my books were published. You can read what I said back in 2006, the year I began blogging. Almost ten years later I did a series of fifteen posts titled, "Do You Want to Be A Christian Apologist? Part 1...15". From them I wrote Part 2 of this book. That same year I did a series of posts on every chapter in God and Evil: The Case for God in a World Filled with Pain,edited by Chad Meister. They became the basis of Part 3 of this book. [Sorry, all deleted now].

Day Six of the Thirteen Days of Solistice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting them in reverse chronological order until the 25th of the month.

Stick with me to the end of this series when I write about my experiences in book publishing, the need for self-promotion and how to do it right (if it can be done right), plus what royalties authors can expect.

Today let's consider my 2016 book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. Just like my books The Outsider Test for Faith, and How To Defend the Christian Faith, this one was also forged in the heat of debate here at DC. I don't expect Christian philosophers to agree with it until after they abandon their faith. Secular philosophers have disagreed with it. But noteworthy ones agree. Actually, I think most all scientifically minded atheist philosophers should agree.

Harry Potter Changed Water Into Wine—No, Wait—

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Miracles or magic: What’s the difference?



One crucial, fundamental rule for responsible Bible study—pursued by adults who can set aside “what the church says”—is this: be curious, be very curious. Another fundamental rule follows as well: be skeptical, be very skeptical. This requires looking below the surface, which should include exploring the writings of biblical scholars: every chapter and verse of the Bible has been studied closely, and the results published.

Day Five of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month.
[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 my earlier book, Christianity is not Great, 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 Four of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting them in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. This time The Case against Miracles. [See Tag Below]

After a two year break from producing another anthology (2017-18), 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 Three of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. This time it's Varieties of Jesus Mythicism: Did He Even Exist. [See Tag Below]

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

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 a few challenges in this book. 
Zuckerman: Phil Zuckerman asked me why I chose to co-edit a book with Robert M. Price, a known supporter of Donald Trump. Well actually, Bob choose me to co-write it. After editing an anthology on The Empty Tomb more than a decade ago, he didn't want to do that again. So Bob asked me. He already had most of the authors. What I did was to acquire two additional authors and get it published. He already knew this is the kind of thing I do well from previous anthologies.

Day Two of the Thirteen Days of Solstice

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We're celebrating the 13 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 in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. [See Tag Below]

God and Horrendous Suffering is the last book I wrote/edited. 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 fantastic blurbs it has received so far.

Day One of the Thirteen Days of Solstice Begins 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 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas? I'm done writing and editing books. So in the days to come I'll be highlighting each one of my thirteen books in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. 

First up, "Debating Christianity", skillfully put together by my friend
Jonathan Pearce. [I know, I know, Solstice is the 21st, the first day of winter. It used to be on the 25th. So we're celebrating the Solstice of a historical date in the past for some, er, Christian reason.] [See Tag Below]

Required Homework for Christians

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Trying to get them to read, study, ponder the Bible



One of the old hymns I recall from my Methodist upbringing is Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, which includes these words: “What a blessedness, what a peace is mine, leaning on the everlasting arms. Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms…” Safe and secure. This security inside the Christian shelter can happen when doubts are denied, when troublesome thoughts are dismissed: “Our priests and preachers must have it right. We believed them when we were toddlers, so why be suspicious now? We’ll keep the faith.” Take it on faith.

The Dangers of Christian Theology

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“The violent ideology of Christian nationalism”



If you’re as old as I am—born in 1942—you may remember Dinah Shore singing the famous car commercial on television in the 1950s. The song includes these lyrics

 

“See the USA in your Chevrolet, America is asking you to call, drive your Chevrolet through the USA, America’s the greatest land of all…” 

 

We had no doubt that America was the greatest land, a sentiment that fueled our patriotism at the time. But we didn’t really think about it. As kids we also played “cowboys and Indians”—however, it never dawned on us that it was through massive genocide of native Americans that European descendants took possession of what is now the USA. Nor did we give much thought to the role that slavery played in the unfolding of American history. Slavery impacted how the US constitution was written; it provoked a bloody civil war, and left an ugly legacy of racism, which still poisons our society.