How Should Atheist Critics and Counter-Apologists Be Ranked?

On Facebook Ryan Downie deservedly recommended Johnathan Pearce's book, The Nativity: A Critical Examination. Then this comment by Pallmann appeared. I found his profile picture (with Tim McGrew) on Facebook (see below). Let it be said clearly that Tim McGrew and his wife Lydia McGrew are philosophers who are fundamentalists. What they believe is based on an alleged inerrant Bible. Anyone who is biblically literate should know there is no reason to be a Christian fundamentalist.

Regardless, what Pallmann said is something McGrew would say, which isn't bad. It's kinda nice to be grouped with Sean McDowell, J. Wallace Warner and Pearce. I'll take that! I suppose so does Pearce!

I'm just not a fan of his last words, that my (our) work is "...far from the best." I might have been okay with him saying my work is "...not the best", since I could name better critics than me, people who write for my anthologies, and those who write blurbs for them. What I want to know is if Sean McDowell and J. Wallace Warner are okay with Pallmann saying they are also "...far from the best", since that's the comparison.
Later, when asked who the best critics are, Pallmann mentioned the names Evan Fales, Graham Oppy, John Schellenberg, William Rowe, and Paul Draper. That too sounds like the fundamentalist philosopher McGrew. Notice the recommendations are all philosophers, and they have all done some good philosophical work. Of them I have a few bones to pick though. Evan Fales sent me a different chapter than I had asked him to write for my anthology, The Case against Miracles, which I thought was unpersuasive. Graham Oppy gets David Hume badly wrong. John Schellenberg incorrectly thinks our agnosticism about ultimacies should be total. Plus, I disagree with Paul Draper about the philosophy of religion. I have no criticisms to speak of about the work of ex-Christian philosopher William Rowe, even though he boasted of being the first "friendly atheist", and that his work wasn't comprehensive (okay, maybe a small nit pick, or two). Beyond them I have offered criticisms of other atheist philosophers elsewhere.

Which brings me to the question concerning the best critics of religion. I have good reasons to be suspicious of fundamentalist recommendations of their own critics for these reasons. Christians would have a strong tendency to recommend atheist works that only challenge them to think through a puzzle or two, as opposed to atheist works that threaten their faith. There is a difference. I think atheist intellectuals themselves should recommend our own best critics of religious faith. [It's worth noting that G. Oppy wrote high recommendations of two of my books.] By accepting the recommendations of Christians, readers are sometimes asked to follow a red herring off into the woods, rather than having to face critics who threaten their faith.

Having said this, I need to backtrack. I have Christian recommendations of MOST of my books. But, my books threaten their faith. So when you see a few Christian intellectuals recommend an atheist work that "threatens their faith" you should take notice of it! You can see their recommendations by looking at the book blurbs.

To know who are the best critics we need to first define the word "best" as in the best critics. If I were to define it such a definition might be self-serving, since the best critics would be the ones that have the potential to change the minds of believers by offering a comprehensive body of critically acclaimed work that communicates to college students, Pastors, and educated people in the pew.

One could also throw in the word "specialist". My work isn't focused on any given speciality, although I do draw from intellectuals in various disciplines who are specialists in their field. I am a generalist. I have tried to understand everything Christian.

One could also throw in the word "influential." Unfortunately my work doesn't seem to be that influential, otherwise it would be known far and wide. At this point I don't think it will be that influential, who knows? I do know it has influenced a lot of people, but not as many as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, Jerry Coyne, Aran Ra, Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty and a few really good content creators on YouTube. But my work is informed.


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!