The End of Christianity

I'm done writing and editing books, so I'm highlighting each one of them in thirteen separate posts.

This anthology was named after Sam Harris's book The End of Faith like some others of mine. The so-called New Atheists took aim at God. My books took aim at Christianity in specific, because I knew the most about that religious faith.

After my first anthology, The Christian Delusion, I started telling authors the due date for their submissions was one month earlier than the actual deadline, to avoid last minute submissions. If I was concerned how the chapter was going I would ask for an outline, or rough draft along the way.  
Contents to The End of Christianity
I. Why 2000 Years is Enough
1. Christianity Evolving: On the Origin of Christian Species, by Dr. David Eller
2. Christianity's Success Was Not Incredible, by Dr. Richard Carrier
3. Christianity is Wildly Improbable, by John W. Loftus
II. Putting an Ancient Myth to Rest  
4. Why Biblical Studies Must End, by Dr. Hector Avalos
5. Can God Exist if Yahweh Doesn’t?, by Dr. Jaco Geicke
6. God’s Emotions: Why the Biblical God is Hopelessly Human, by Dr. Valerie Tarico
III. Living on Borrowed Time 
7. The Absurdity of the Atonement, by Dr. Ken Pulliam
8. The Salem Witch Trials and the Evidence for the Resurrection, by Dr. Matt McCormick
9. Explaining the Resurrection Without Recourse to Miracle, by Dr. Robert Price
10. Hell: Christianity’s Most Damnable Doctrine, by Dr. Keith Parsons
IV. Science Puts An End to Christianity
11. Is Religion Compatible with Science?, Dr. David Eller
12. Neither Life nor the Universe Appear Intelligently Designed, by Dr. Richard Carrier
13. Life After Death: A Scientist Looks at the Evidence, by Dr. Victor Stenger
14. Moral Facts Naturally Exist (and Science Could Find Them), by Dr. Richard Carrier

As you can see I wrote one long chapter for this anthology. I covered lots of issues, grabbing a bunch of them from a Reality Check of 30 issues. Each one was originally published separately, from May 15, 2010 through to July 14, 2011. Each of them had some fruitful discussion in the comments, if you can find them all.

With this 2nd anthology there were some huge difficulties.
One fact readers should know is that I cannot get just anyone to write for me. I caught up with Susan Jacoby, author of books like The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, at a JREF convention. I asked her for a chapter. She took a look at me and said, "Honey, you can't afford me." Then she turned and walked away.
I asked Louise Antony, editor of Philosophers without Gods, who had debated William Lane Craig on morality. She politely declined, telling me she has a different focus: "I am first a feminist and second an atheist", which I respected.
Others never responded to my request via email at all. Still others said yes, and didn't deliver. Several times in my anthologies there were submitted chapters I had to reject. One unforeseen problem is that as my anthologies became better known some potential authors felt slighted I never asked them for a chapter. All I can say is I did the best I could do. It's probably the single most irritating thing to me, but it was unavoidable. If anything, I did very good and that should be good enough!
C.s. McKinney: This guy claimed he was "a liaison/marketer/promoter/negotiator" for Reasonable Press. As I was working on this book he wanted to get my authors to publish with him. That's right, he wanted to steal my work by convincing my authors to publish my book with him. McKinney appealed to my authors, which I already had asked, and introduced here on my blog introducing it. He sent them this message:
Our hope is that all authors doing compilation works with John Loftus will desire to go through Reasonable Press. Our policy is to ensure that every author contributing to a volume such as "The End of Christianity" is fairly compensated with a royalty. We want to be extras sure you know that you are all taken care of & look forward to working with us in the future. We appreciate your contributions & just want you all to know that.
He told me, "I wrote every single author about this deal to ensure they all know they will be well compensated & taken care of. We intend to meet the highest standards of business practice, get your books in the stores & advertise/market/promote your book better than any other publisher." 
This produced a shit-storm. My authors had questions which I had to respond to, as well as dealing with him. After they rejected his offer he blasted me. I learned he was never a friend.
Richard Carrier: First I'll mention two items I wish we could change. I asked Richard to write up a summary of his book Not the Impossible Faith, in which he dealt out blow after blow to JP Holding. But since I was very annoyed with the ever obnoxious Holding I asked him not to mention his name. Carrier obliged, but on hindsight I wish I hadn't asked, since it would've been a better chapter.
Carrier was just starting to use Bayes' Theorem. For many readers his use of it in his chapter on the design argument was not helpful. I asked him to put the math in the end-notes as far as possible, which he obliged. But it was still a harder chapter to read because of it. Again, my goal is to reach the educated person in the pew.
The biggest shit-storm I ever had to deal with was the dispute between Carrier and some of the authors over the issue of morality. David Eller, being the anthropologist that he is, had previously written on morality in The Christian Delusion (2010). He argued morality is culturally relative. In October of that same year Sam Harris wrote his book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values. He argued there is a basis for moral facts, and that science can help find them.
Carrier sparked quite a debate among the authors in The End of Christianity. I had made the mistake of connecting all my authors via one email. I thought it would be easy to communicate with them all at the same time. That was a bad choice. I never did that again. Carrier had defended Harris in the last chapter of The End of Christianity. David Eller, Taner Edis and John Shook disagreed with it. The authors went back and forth on this debate via email, sometimes getting quite heated. John Shook dropped out of the book because of it. So did Taner Edis. You can still see his name in the description of the book on Amazon! Thankfully David Eller stayed. 
I tried to stay neutral on this debate at the time. However, I agreed to a large extent with Carrier and Harris if we grant just one thing, that by far, most human beings have empathy toward others. I think it can be shown that most people feel the pain of their mothers, fathers, partners, spouses, children, kin, friends, and people within their communities. The fact that sociopaths and psychopaths lack empathy should not undercut any discussion of morality since it's recognized they are deviants. 
Since most people by far are empathetic, the knowledge that science provides helps us to be good to others, and to alleviate their pain. For emphatic people will help others if they feel their pain and they know how to alleviate it. Science does that. To the degree we have empathy, to that same degree science helps us to be good to others. It teaches us of the pain of others and how to be good to them. Otherwise, the knowledge that science provides puts empathetic people in the very uncomfortable position of knowing how to help others, yet not helping them. Science has also connected us on a global scale making it more and more impossible to view people as "The Other".
I subsequently discussed the issue of morality in a chapter for the revised edition of Why I Became an Atheist in 2012.
Keith Parsons: He wrote a chapter on hell for me. Later, as I called for the end of philosophy of religion, I used him and his chapter as an example of what I was talking about right here

Okay now, go read the blurbs for this book.


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!