Day Two 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 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.

One thing that may have hurt was a blurb I received from Dr. Dale C. Allison, Jr., author of Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters:
Forget Dawkins. If you are looking for a truly substantial, well-informed criticism of the Christian religion, this is your book. Defenders of the faith will do believer and unbeliever alike a disservice if they do not rise to the challenge and wrestle with the thought-provoking arguments of Loftus and company.
My publisher strongly advised me to drop the first two words. But I insisted on keeping them because that's what Allison said, and it makes an important contrast between our books. I doubly liked it because it was a high endorsement by the premier defender of the view that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, about which I wrote about in the anthology!

Robert M. Price had said after co-editing The Empty Tomb that he would never do another anthology. It was hard, and disagreements ensued. I learned the hard way that it is indeed hard, especially since egos are involved. But I am tough, and demanding. I know what I want. The reason my anthologies are good is because of this.

Edward Babinski: I wanted substantive chapters of about 8,000 words. Babinski initially sent me his chapter with 8,700 words, which was acceptable, as I allowed up to ten thousand words, and even more, if I thought the topic was important enough to warrant it. But when the copyeditor working on it told Babinski his chapter was really good, it encouraged him to continually add to it, despite my protestations. His chapter was also disorganized so I wanted to help him. Let me say for the first time that I even got David Presutta, the author of The Biblical Cosmos Versus Modern Cosmology: Why the Bible Is Not the Word of God, to help him. Yet Babinski rejected Presutta's suggestions, and mine, and continued to add to it until it ended up being 17,000 words! I didn't think the topic demanded that many words. We argued about it until he appealed to Steven Mitchell, the senior-editor of Prometheous Books. He even threatened to withdraw his chapter. Mitchell said he will allow the extra words to keep the peace, even though Babinski's chapter took me over the word limit alloted for the book. I was done with Babinski afterward. I swore I would never ask him to write anything for me again. It took a long while before we even spoke again, since he didn't respect or value my role as an editor.
You can see the back and forth battle in the number of edits.
Harry McCall: I asked McCall to write a chapter on child sacrifice. When you look at the final table of contents you'll notice only two chapters in part 3, rather than 3. The gap is because I was forced to reject his chapter, even though I really wanted one on child sacrifice. It was not about the topic I had asked him to write on (child sacrifice), not written well, not properly formatted, not well-researched, and was dubbed "sub-standard" by an anonymous peer-reviewer, which I'm now revealing for the first time was Dr. Hector Avalos! McCall's chapter was also sent nearly one month late at the very last minute, to meet my manuscript due date deadline, in which I had no time to edit it before sending it off, even though he had five months to write his chapter.

Then the shit hit the fan so to speak. McCall complained that he did all of his work on his vacation to no avail. He called me a bastard, chimed in on a Christian blog dedicated to trashing me, and said he didn’t want much of anything to do with me anymore. He also sent a message to DC contributors saying:
This email is to state that after two years to posting topics on John’s DC blog, I will not longer be associated with John in a friendly manner. According to statistics I have posted 10% of John’s blog topics. At one time I would have considered John a friend, but his central drive is an ego of which he expects everyone to stoke and, in reality, his DC blog is about this fact under the guise of debunking Christianity.
Those were some tough times for me. But my efforts were worth it, so much so that I wanted to do it again, and again! ;-)

Very few people know (or remember) that Richard Carrier and I developed a website on this book, where you can read about the Authors, plus the Blurbs, Table of Contents, and the Introduction. There are also extra chapters by Richard Carrier on The Will of God and Christianity Was Not Responsible for American Democracy, by Hector Avalos on Darwin and Hitler, and by myself on The Bible and the Treatment of Animals. There are also links which respond to the book Infidel Delusion. Do check it out! Especially check out the blurbs.

Also noteworthy is the failed attempt by Mark K. Hanna to deal honestly with this anthology, in his book lengthy response, Biblical Christianity: Truth or Delusion? While it's worthy of a response I just never got around to it. I only posted once about it. I'm sure that if people read my anthology and his they will see the gaping holes in his. The problem is that Christians only seek to confirm their faith so they will skip a step and just read his response.

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!