Day Eight of the Twelve Days of Solstice

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.

Table of Contents                              

Foreword by David Eller                           


Chapter 1: My Intellectual Journey

Chapter 2: Anselm and Philosophy of Religion

Chapter 3: Case Studies in Theistic Philosophy of Religion

Chapter 4: Case Studies in Atheistic Philosophy of Religion

Chapter 5: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End

Chapter 6: How to Effectively Deal With Faith-Based Claims

Chapter 7: Answering Objections and Other Practical Concerns

Chapter 8: It is Enough Just to Be Right!

Chapter 9: On Justifying Ridicule, Mockery and Satire


My Interview with Keith Parsons on Philosophy of Religion

Robert Price Vs William Lane Craig 

If there's one book of mine I might consider revising in the distant future, it would be this one. But that would require keeping up on the debates surrounding the value and need for the philosophy of religion, of which, I'm not interested in doing.
Free Inquiry
magazine made philosopher
Dr. Daniel Dennett an honorary chair of a symposium on philosophy, which took place in three consecutive issues of that magazine. My essay, "Why Philosophy of Religion Must End", was accepted for discussion in the Volume 38, No. 1 issue. I began by saying "What I’m about to write is against everything I was taught in college and seminary, where I earned three master’s degrees and then pursued PhD studies for a year and a half in fields related to the philosophy of religion." You can read why I changed my mind, right here. My call to end the philosophy of religion is modeled after Dr. Hector Avalos's call to end biblical studies, which can be read here.

Peter Boghossian's book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, was a game changer for me. I reviewed it here at DC. As I said in my Introduction to God and Horrendous Suffering:
For me, like Peter Boghossian, it all comes down to the question of epistemology—that is, how can we know what we claim to know? When it comes to epistemological questions Boghossian effectively argues that “Faith-based belief processes are unreliable.” After surveying several diverse and wildly improbable paranormal and religious beliefs held by believers around the globe, he said, “We are forced to conclude that a tremendous number of people are delusional. There is no other conclusion one can draw.” He goes on to say, “The most charitable thing we can say about faith is that it’s likely to be false.”

By contrast, reasonable people think exclusively in terms of the probabilities according to the strength of the objective evidence. The problem is faith, blind faith, the only kind of faith that exists on behalf of gods, goddesses, religions, miracles, and other paranormal claims. Believers claim faith is trust, but if so, there’s no reason to trust in faith. There’s no such thing as reasonable faith. To have religious faith is to have a misplaced trust in non-existent deities. Faith is the entrance ticket to the fantasy-land of religion. It keeps people childish in their thinking. Consequently, I’ve argued that a rite of passage into adulthood is to ask young people to examine their indoctrinated faith through the lens of an outsider, a non-believer, by demanding sufficient objective evidence for the first time in their lives.

In his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, Boghossian suggests a solution to this malaise in the Socratic Method, by dialectically asking a series of leading questions to get believers to realize they are pretending to know what they don’t know, just as Socrates did with the Sophist pretenders of his own day. Pretending. That’s Boghossian’s stipulative definition of faith. Neither he nor I expect believers to agree, but just ask yourself what best describes what other believers are doing? Think of ultra-Orthodox Jews, militant Muslims, reincarnation/karma-believing Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, snake handlers, witchdoctors, psychics, and so on. Believers are pretending when they claim to know with 100% certainty that what they believe is true, when they can’t be that certain of anything else. The antidote for this faith virus, as Boghossian calls it, is to give believers an intervention by showing them they don’t know what they’re pretending to know.
This perspective changed my mind about the value of the philosophy of religion, which I now view as a game rather than an attempt to honestly discuss the truth.
Boghossian's target is against faith itself, faith without sufficient evidence, blind faith, which is the only kind of faith that exists. If faith involves trust, there is no reason to trust in faith. I concluded that it's unreasonable to reason about religious doctrines that have no objective evidence for them. Can it be reasonable to believe a religion that requires objective evidence but does not have any objective evidence for it? No! Just consider the gospel claim that a virgin gave birth to the son of a god, and you'll easily see this point. I've written about faith on multiple occasions, especially agreeing with what philosopher George H. Smith and many others said about it.
No wonder William Lane Craig doesn't want to debate me on this specific proposition: "There is sufficient objective evidence for the miracle assertions in the Bible." Is this claim of mine too boring, too uninteresting for agnostics and atheists to focus on? Why are they focusing on anything else? Curious truth-seekers want to know.
What solidified it for me was how some atheist philosophers treated scientists like Richard Dawkins and Jerry Coyne with disdain. It also helped me see the need for, and value of ridicule. Ridicule works. There can be no reasonable doubt about it. 
Dr. Taner Edis, a professor of physics at Truman State University, tells us that within Islam the philosophical problem of suffering hasn’t had much of an impact. In chapter 13 on my book, "God and Horrendous Suffering" he makes the insightful and provocative point that Islamic intellectual history “dampens confidence in the power of arguments from evil.” Echoing the theme of my book, Unapologetic, Edis says, “Nonbelievers rely too much on the problem of evil. They too often hope to win the games set by the philosophy of religion, rather than to play a different game.” His alternative bears highlighting: "Critiques of god that don’t avail themselves of broadly science-based criticisms of supernaturalism risk degenerating into metaphysical gamesmanship (emphasis mine) Atheists who learn from Islam should, perhaps, no longer lean quite so much on the traditional philosophical arguments. They should demote the problem of evil from its central position."
This is the position of Richard Dawkins in "The God Delusion", Jerry Coyne in "Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible", and Victor Stenger in God and the Folly of Faith, for which I wrote a blurb. I'll take scientists over philosophers any day. They may lack some philosophical sophistication but the consensus of scientists on the evidence from the cosmos, evolution, archaeology, neurology and their implications for religion is a slam dunk!
This is the same position scientifically minded philosophers like Julian Baggini accept, as seen in his review of Michael Martin's book, "The Impossibility of God." Philosopher of religion Dr. N.N. Trakakis endorses my book, as does anthropologist David Eller who wrote the Foreword. Scientifically minded philosophers should agree on this. Others need not apply.
John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 12 critically acclaimed books, including The Case against Miracles, God and Horrendous Suffering, and Varieties of Jesus Mythicism. Please support DC by sharing our posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon. Thank you so much!