Day Eight of the Thirteen Days of Solstice


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.

Dr. Hector Avalos wrote the Foreword, which recognized the uniqueness of my anthologies, saying:
Over the past few years, John Loftus has demonstrated his ability to recruit the best scholars and scientists to his anthologies, including The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (2010) and The End of Christianity (2011), both published by Prometheus Books.

The present anthology, Christianity is Not Great, is no exception. Scholars representing fields as varied as physics and anthropology are here. Consequently, these anthologies are some of the most substantive collections of rebuttals to theistic, and specifically to Christian theistic arguments, in existence. They signal a new era insofar as atheists are organizing coherent and scholarly responses that are wide-ranging in scope, instead of just focusing on a few traditional issues (e.g., philosophical arguments against theism, or creationism).

Christianity is Not Great swiftly demolishes one of the greatest and more subtle myths promoted by believers. The demolished myth is that Christianity, even if it cannot be proved to be true, has at least been good for the world.
Contents

Foreword by Hector Avalos

Introduction

1) Religious Violence and the Harms of Christianity, by John W. Loftus
 
Part One: How Faith Fails:

2) The Failure of the Church and the Triumph of Reason, by Robert G. Ingersoll

3) The Folly of Faith: The Incompatibility of Science and Christianity, by Victor J. Stenger

4) Faith, Epistemology, and Answering Socrates’ Question by Translation, by Peter Boghossian
 
Part Two: Political/Institutional Harms:

5) Love Your Enemy, Kill Your Enemy: Crusades, Inquisitions, and Centuries of Christian Violence, by David Eller

6) Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live: The Wicked Christian Witch Hunts, by John W. Loftus

7) They Will Make Good Slaves and Christians: Christianity, Colonialism, and the Destruction of Indigenous People, by David Eller

8) The Slave is the Owner’s Property: Christianity and the Savagery of Slavery, by John W. Loftus

9) Christianity and the Rise of American Democracy, by Richard Carrier
 
Part Three: Scientific Harms:

10) The Dark Ages, by Richard Carrier

11) The Christian Abuse of the Sanctity of Life, by Ronald A. Lindsay

12) The Gender Binary & LGBTI People: Religious Myth and Medical Malpractice, by Veronica Drantz

13) Christianity Can Be Hazardous to Your Health, by Harriet Hall

14) Christianity and the Environment, by William R. Patterson

15) Doth God Take Care For Oxen?: Christianity’s Acrimony Against Animals, by John W. Loftus

Part Four: Social & Moral Harms:

16) The Christian Right and the Culture Wars, by Ed Brayton

17) Woman, What Have I To Do With Thee?: Christianity’s War Against Women, by Annie Laurie Gaylor

18) Secular Sexuality: A Direct Challenge to Christianity, by Darrel W. Ray

19) The Crazy-Making in Christianity, by Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico

20) Abusive Pastors and Churches, by Nathan Phelps

Part Five: Morality, Atheism and a Good Life

21) “Tu Quoque, Atheism?” - Our Right to Judge, by Jonathan Pearce

22) Only Humans Can Solve the Problems of the World, by James A. Lindsay

23) Living Without God, by Russell Blackford

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You can read an excerpt from my Introduction, which answers two important questions, 6) Does Christianity cause more harm than good overall?; and 7) What does this book attempt to show? LINK.

You can get this monster of a book inexpensively on Amazon.
There were some time consuming problems with a few of the authors in this anthology, one of which was helping Jonathan Pearce get his chapter to flow from one topic to the next in a consistent manner. To his credit he accepted my suggestions.
I had also asked Valerie Tarico to write a chapter on psychology and Christianity. In turn she graciously asked Marelene Winell to co-write it. They disagreed over some important things requiring me to intervene. Valerie eventually let Marlene take over at some point.
I had one tough decision to make regarding Sikivu Hutchinson's excellent contribution titled, Women of Color Beyond Faith. It seemed exactly want I had asked from her. But there were two problems with it. She submitted it to me at the last moment so there was no time to discuss it with her, and I hate that as an editor. I had to either accept it as it stands, or reject it. The second problem was that as I read it, she had an agenda I didn't ask for. While she exposed Christian racism against women of color, she equally exposed the racism of their secular counter-parts. 
Let me quote from it: "The relative dearth of secular humanist and freethought traditions amongst women of color cannot be separated from the broader context of white supremacy, gender politics, and racial segregation." She highlighted  Susan Jacoby’s Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism as a case in point. She wrote about the struggle women of color have with both "religious and secular belief systems." (Emphasis is mine). She said:
Over the past few years more women of color have stepped up to assume leadership roles in secular, atheist, and humanist organizations. They have done so in a movement that is blithely ignorant of, if not explicitly hostile to, the lived experiences, cultural capital, community context, and social history of people of color in the U.S.
She wrote about a "patriarchal mindset" that "is not exclusive to the religious community but is embedded within the dominant culture as a whole." She goes on to say, "non-believers are not magically exempt from sexism, patriarchy, and white supremacy," and that "black women’s leadership on secular, atheist, and humanist issues is devalued", as seen in the "absence of women of color from freethought movements."
I appreciate her agenda and the struggle of women of color. That's why I asked her to write the chapter in the first place. However, my focus in the book was on Christianity. I cannot disagree with what she said. But two leaders in the secular community were also writing chapters in this book, Ronald Lindsay, then president of the Center for Inquiry, and Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. That by itself, wasn't a huge problem. What was a problem is that she was airing our own dirty laundry, and it looked as if Christians weren't any better or worse than secularists, humanists, and atheists.
I was being forced to reject her chapter, unfortunately. To be sure about this decision, I reached out to Valerie Tarico who agreed that  Hutchinson's focus was not what I wanted and runs counter to the purposes of this anthology (from memory). I was happy that when I approached  Hutchinson about our conflicting goals she graciously bowed out.
Then I didn't think Richard Carrier put that much effort into his chapters (although they are still very good). Nor was I exactly thrilled with Russell Blackford's chapter (for reasons that escape me now). Perhaps they were just insanely busy. William Patterson's chapter could just as well be titled "Christianity and Climate Change", since that was his focus.
One additional problem I had to deal with was Christian apologist David Marshall, who nitpicked at Annie Laurie Gaylor's excellent chapter on women. He challenged me to debate the issue of women. I saw no reason to and said so. We have published several posts on Christianity and feminism on this blog. In fact, this issue is one of the biggest reasons why I debunk Christianity.
Now go read the blurbs for this fantastic book! You should also check out Richard Carrier's comprehensive essay, What’s the Harm? Why Why Religious Belief Is Always Bad.

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John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 13 critically acclaimed books, which are not very popular judging from the meager sales. At this season I'm retired with a fixed income and would appreciate a one-time solstice gift to help me get by. If my work has benefited you at all, it would encourage me to keep doing what I'm doing for as long as I can. My marriage has suffered because my wife often complains I spend way too much time online. But if I could make a little money doing what I do she probably wouldn't complain any more, and you would see me writing more.

Please support my work this season by sharing my posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying my books at Amazon then telling others about them! As an Amazon Associate John earns a small amount of money from purchases made from Amazon. Buying anything through them helps fund my work here, and is greatly appreciated! The ads here don't bring in much money at all. Since most people use an adblocker I'm thinking of doing away with them altogether. I hope this season of the year brings you cheer, peace, good health, and healthy relationships! Thanks for your support!

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