The Final Twelfth Day of Solstice!

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.

I am extremely happy with the authors of this anthology and their chapters, as I am with all of the previous ones! Together we've made a difference. I could not have done this without them! I am deeply in their debt! If you hear anyone saying, "if you read two or three of Loftus's books then you don't need to read any others", send them here to these twelve posts, Tagged below. Each one of them has a different focus, with different content, and in the case of my anthologies, different authors. There's an encyclopedia in them thar pages!

Table of Contents

Foreword, by Stephen Law

Introduction, by John W. Loftus

Part 1 A Prolegomena to Horrendous Suffering

1. John W. Loftus, In Defense of Hitchens’s Razor

Part 2 Philosophical and Apologetical Problems

2. N.N. Trakakis, Swinburne vs Swinburne

3. William Patterson, A Rawlsian Approach to Theodicy

4. John W. Loftus, The Problem of Animal Suffering

5. Darren Slade, Failed to Death: Misotheism and Childhood Suffering

6. Vitaly Malkin, The Problem of the Jewish Holocaust

7. John W. Loftus, On Making Excuses for God

8. David Kyle Johnson, Refuting Skeptical Theism

Part 3 Theological and Religious Problems

9. Robert Price, Theodicy: The Idiocy

10. John W. Loftus, The Abject Failure of the God of Creation, Revelation, and Redemption

11. David Eller, Pious Pain: Self-Harm as Religious Work and Religious Good

12. Mark Gura, On Falsifying Buddhism, Karma and Rebirth

13. Taner Edis, Doubt and Submission: Why Evil is a Minor Problem for Islam

14. John W. Loftus, The Awful Controlling Damning Lying Calvinist God

15. Gunther Laird, Dissolving the Thomistic Solution to Evil

Part 4 Biblical, Historical and Personal Problems

16. Elicka Peterson Sparks, Christian Nationalism is Criminogenic

17. Dan Barker, Supernatural Evil

18. David Madison, Bible Horror Tales That’ll Chill You To the Bone

19. David Madison, The Bible Fails to Make Sense of Human Suffering

20. William A. Zingrone, The Suffering Caused by Faith

21. Michael Paulkovich, The Ascent and Reign of the Christian Behemoth

22. Dale W. O’Neal, The Making and Unmaking of a Christian Zealot

Book Title: My original suggested title was The Incompatibility of God and Horrendous Suffering. My publisher thought if we drop the first three words it might leave the reader wondering what we conclude, at least on first sight. As a result it would get their attention!

Book Cover: You can see me holding the hardback book above, but there were two others to choose from. The blue cover will probably be used for the paperback. On Facebook Don Button commented:
As a professional graphic designer, and a professor of design, I’m here to call you out for basically offshoring your creative design needs to a website like Fiverr that exploits creative professionals and pits them against mostly unqualified developing world amateurs to generate weak, generic “designs.” Fiverr makes an unethical mockery of the professional design process and sells crap work to unsuspecting clients who don’t understand the value of hiring an actual professional.

But you get what you pay for John - stock images behind poorly set and unimaginative typography. The most “horrendous” part of these three covers is not the title, but how bad the line spacing and kerning in the title actually is. Maybe from now on I’ll crowdsource my secular reading to get it cheap instead of paying for actual professional writers. I mean, you don’t actually need to make a living right John?
Geez-o-Pete! Should we not buy from Wal-mart or Amazon either? Am I and my publisher supposed to save the world all by ourselves? I understand the problem. I'm against the filthy rich getting richer off the backs of the working poor, and outsourcing to foreign countries. But the way to change that isn't by the loss of one product purchased by one "little guy". It's by demanding our government to get involved and do something about it. Still, this was a complete surprise to me. I hope people get informed and help change the policies involved.

Authors & Chapters: It was a pleasant surprise that Darren accepted my book proposal before I had many authors and specific chapters. He did so based on the quality of my earlier books along with several quality chapters. That was nice! He did offer the possibility for a call for papers, but I didn't need it.

Darren Slade: Dr. Slade is my friend and publisher. He was an absolute joy to work with and an expert at what he does. But I just could not convince him to reduce the words in his chapter, and I suggested ways he could do so without a loss in his over-all case. As it stands his chapter is the longest one in the book at about 16k words, or two chapters worth!

Vitaly Malkin: Malkin gave me permission to choose an excerpt from his excellent book, Dangerous Illusions for chapter 6th on The Problem of the Jewish Holocaust. So I did, making a few edits along the way. But when it came to finding the references for his quotes from his bibliography he didn't help at all. I did my best on them, even if it meant quoting from Wikipedia (sorry).

Mark Gura: My friend Mark can speak really well at events! From what I knew before I read the first drafts of his chapter 12, "On Falsifying Buddhism, Karma and Rebirth", he could also write really well! But you wouldn't know it from what I saw. He tried to cram way too much information into one chapter. He went through four different versions until he had it up to 12k words, and asked for more! I know that problem very well. What you'll find in the end result is his content filtered through my edits, as I selected from, re-arranged, and even re-wrote parts of his chapter for clarity, with his consent. It ended up at 7,775 words. I didn't add enough to be a co-author, but the time it took was the same as if I was. Together we made it into a wonderful piece! He has a book in him and I hope he writes it!

Gunther Laird: At the very last minute readers of this blog prodded me to have a chapter on the Thomistic solution to evil, with a critical eye on Catholic apologist Edward Feser's defense of it. Darren's knee-jerk reaction wasn't favorable in allowing it, but he turned right around and did so graciously. Gunther Laird obliged with chapter 15. I'm happy about this, although it was surely the reason why the book came out about a month late.

Elicka Peterson Sparks: Sparks didn't have the time to choose an excerpt out of her book, The Devil You Know: The Surprising Link between Conservative Christianity and Crime, for publication. So I summarized her book in an excerpt of 8,000 words. See if you can do that with a book of her size! There are no footnotes in her chapter 16 because one third of her book is in the footnotes! If I included the footnotes it would greatly enlarge her excerpt. You'll have to buy her book to get them, and I recommend you do. Later she copyedited and approved my excerpt. As an aside, I found her an excellent opening quote from Thomas Paine: “Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man.”

William A. Zingrone: When William first submitted a draft it was a bit lackluster and dispassionate, unbecoming of the flare and passion I saw in his previous writings. When I asked about this he thought this is what GCRR guideines required, when they asked the chapters to be scholarly. I told him he could basically ignore those guidelines if needed, saying he could still write scholarly material with flare and passion, and he did! You can see it in his excellent chapter 20, The Suffering Caused by Faith.

I helped Michael Paulkovich with his fine 21st chapter, by offering him some content at the beginning, with some other suggestions. It's always nice when your authors respect you as an editor enough to accept your suggestions.

Yes, folks, this is what it takes to be a good editor. I put this book together, dealt with the authors, the publisher, wrote the Introduction plus five chapters, and am promoting it. Doing an anthology of freshly written chapters is one of the most time consuming projects someone can do. This is the seventh time I've done it! I've done enough for one person.

Tomorrow celebrate life. Be good, be kind, and be humble. Party on in your own way! Never forget that people are crazy! ;-)

Later, I don't know when, I'll probably write what I've learned about the ins and outs of book publishing, evaluate the publishers I've had, and talk a bit about the book contracts and royalty agreements.

In the meantime I'll be signing off for a while. It may be hard to do, like breaking an ingrained habit. But I need to get on with life. I've spent way too many years on a delusion, first as a born again believer, then as student in colleges, then as a preacher, then as college instructor, then finally as a debunker, entailing fifty years of my life! I've said all I needed to say. It's more than enought to topple believers off their self-assured certaity to the point of leaving their faith. It's time to enjoy life more.

What a ride this has been! I'm very grateful for my readers and for your encouragement over the years. It has been very frustrating at times. But it has also been very rewarding, knowing I made a difference to some degree. I can ony hope my work gets noticed more and more. Help promote it for me, please! I'll be back from time to time, writing here at DC, Facebook, and Twitter, mostly making annoucements about any podcasts, speaking engagements, and debates. But as time goes on those posts will be fewer and farther between. My hope is that I can slowly but eventually fade off into the horizon. ;-) Can I really do this? I don't know, but I sure hope so.


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!