Day One of the Thirteen Days of Solstice Begins Now!


Christians celebrate Christmas in Mexico not just one day, but twelve days! The 12 days start on December 25th and end with a party on January 5th. Perhaps they adopted the number 12 from the the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? The message of that song is overtly Christian in every way. Is there a secular counterpart? Please say there is. There should be.

How about celebrating 13 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas? I'm done writing and editing books. So in the days to come I'll be highlighting each one of my thirteen books in reverse chronological order, leading up to the 25th of the month. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. 

First up, "Debating Christianity", skillfully put together by my friend
Jonathan Pearce. [I know, I know, Solstice is the 21st, the first day of winter. It used to be on the 25th. So we're celebrating the Solstice of a historical date in the past for some, er, Christian reason.] [See Tag Below]

Pearce contacted me and asked if I would consent to a book of my debate openers. That was a high honor! I hadn't thought of that before. Debate openers give me a chance to condense my arguments into a succinct 15 to 20 or 30 minute talk, I was happy to do so. I sent him my openers and he put it together. Along the way we put a few other things in it, in a Part II, which comprises some original material and other pieces that support my claims, including an argument for atheism from the size of the universe, and a critique of William Lane Craig's inner witness of the Holy Spirit. "In essence, this book is a 'DVD extras' collection of writing that packs a flurry of varied punches against theism."

--CONTENTS
--FOREWORD: THE DEBATE IS OVER, AND HAS BEEN FOR A LONG TIME, by Jonathan Pearce
--PREFACE, by Loftus
--INTRODUCTION: I’M NOT AN ANGRY ATHEIST, by Loftus

PART 1: THE OPENING SALVOS
--MY INAUGURAL SPEECH ON THE STATE OF THE CASE FOR CHRISTIANITY
--THE EXISTENCE OF GOD: LOFTUS VS DAVID WOOD
--DOES THE CHRISTIAN GOD EXIST? LOFTUS VS DINESH D’SOUZA
--IS RELIGIOUS FAITH REASONABLE: LOFTUS VS DR. JIM SPIEGEL
--WHY I AM AN ATHEIST: LOFTUS VS RANDAL RAUSER
--CHRISTIANITY OR ATHEISM?: LOFTUS VS WALLACE MARSHALL
--SUFFERING MAKES GOD’S EXISTENCE IMPLAUSIBLE: LOFTUS VS DAVID WOOD
--EXTRAS: GOD AND HORRENDOUS SUFFERING
--GOD OF GENOCIDE: A DEBATE: LOFTUS VS RANDAL RAUSER
--WAS JESUS BORN OF A VIRGIN?: LOFTUS VS WILLIAM ALBRECHT
--DID JESUS RISE FROM THE DEAD?: LOFTUS VS ABDU MURRAY

PART 2: A DEEPER INCURSION

--THE ARGUMENT FROM THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE
--THE SCALE OF THE UNIVERSE UNDERCUTS THE BELIEF IN A TRIBAL DEITY
--PASCAL’S WAGER REVISITED
--CAN PRAYER CHANGE THE PAST?
--PSYCHIC EPISTEMOLOGY: THE SPECIAL PLEADING OF WILLIAM LANE CRAIG
--AFTERWORD by Dr. David Madison

I was honored that Dr. David Madison wrote the Afterword!

Pearce says of it that,
A book like this is the icing on the cake of everything else that Loftus has written and provides a great starting point to launch into further research on these different topics: the existence of God, Jesus' birth and resurrection, faith, atheism, epistemology, suffering and genocide. Big subjects about which Loftus has written in great depth elsewhere. But this is as good a place to start as anywhere.
You can look "Inside the Book" at Amazon, now in Paperback & Kindle, LINK.

Now for some background to debates.

In Defense of Debates

I understand why some people don't like debates. I really do. Only in an honest dialogue can we get at the truth. In a debate format you'll probably never hear one side admitting the other side has a good point, or retract a statement that was shown to be wrong. No one concedes anything in such a contest because the goal is to win for their side. Just the same, let me offer six reasons in defense of debates.

1) They are entertaining. Debates are contests much like boxing fights, tennis matches, billiard contests, or races of any kind. What is the justification for these contests? Who needs one? We want to see people challenged to do their best at something. We come to root for our side, just like we do with our favorite sports teams. For people who don't like debates it may be nothing more nor less than personal preference. Some people don't like watching baseball or soccer. Still others might not like to watch tennis matches or boxing fights. Some people like one form of entertainment while others like to watch something different.

2) They are challenging. The best analogy to a debate is what we see in a courtroom trial with the contest between lawyers who seek to win their cases against prosecutors. Why would lawyers ever concede a point of a prosecutor, or vice versa? I see no reason why they should. According to court trial philosophy the truth is judged by the jury. The lawyer and prosecutor have rules of ethics they must abide by, but they can skew the evidence all they want beyond those guidelines, and they do (which gives lawyers a bad reputation, unjustified in most cases I think). They do not have to give credence to the other side at all. In fact, they shouldn't. Let the truth be decided by the jury, is the motto. So when I watch a debate I am in the jury, and I'm challenged to decide who won and why I think so.

3) They make us think. Apart from deciding who won and why, each debater forces us to think about the specific arguments they have made. The audience must consider each specific argument and judge it on its own merits. We are forced to consider how to better respond to an argument made by the opposing side, and/or even concede a good argument. I like watching court room programs on TV, whether real or scripted. I like to watch the participants argue. I like weighing each argument made, and catching any gerrymandering that might fudge with the truth in order to win.

4) They are educational. We learn from them. They provoke further study on an issue we may not have heard before. Some people won't read books by the opposition, so in a debate an argument can be introduced that people have never considered before. Such an argument may lead us to further study it for weeks, months, or years.

5) Debates give us something to talk about. They bring two sides together who can talk about the debate afterward. We can argue who won or lost and why, but more importantly it gives us a chance to further discuss an argument that both sides have heard. Only people who watched the debate can further discuss what was said in it.

6) From my perspective debates always favor the minority position, and so they are doubt producing. Since atheists are in the minority we always win by participating in them, as I've argued passionately right here. They also introduce us and our work to the other side, and that is a good thing since some believers will get and read what we have written afterward.

So I like watching debates, especially between atheists and believers. I also like the challenge of being a participant in them for the same reasons.

They aren't for everyone, but they are enjoyed by lots of us.

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On Debating William Lane Craig. I have put some pressure on Bill to debate me. He has refused. My proposed debate topics include the truth of Christianity, the resurrection of Jesus, or the existence of God, but I prefer the first one. Why not? So I put up a poll a in 2011 about it. Here are the results:

Do You Want to See a Craig/Loftus Debate?

- Yes, to see a student debate his former professor 132 (35%)

- Yes, in order for John to be introduced to Craig's fan base 49 (12%)

- Yes, I enjoy debates 107 (28%)

- No, I don't care for debates 26 (6%)

- No, I wouldn't want to watch John get trashed because I care for him whereas I don't care about the other atheists who got trashed by Craig 15 (3%)

- No, Craig should not introduce John to his fan base even though he has no qualms about doing this with other atheist debaters 2 (0%)

- No, although John has 3 master's degrees, Ph.D. work, considered by many to be "a leading atheist spokesperson" with some critically acclaimed books, he's not qualified 16 (4%)

- No, John needs more debate experience even though he has had, and arguably won, more debates than most atheists before debating Craig 24 (6%)

- No, my views are not represented by either side in this debate 6 (1%)

Over-all 83% want to see it. I didn't want to include too many options, but I didn't want to leave any important ones out either.

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Jonathan Pearce and others tell us how they would debate WLCraig right here.

Click on Debate Craig for why he refuses to debate me.

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Praise for this debate book:

I have debated Catholic apologist William Albr√ęcht a few times on the problem of suffering, the virgin birth of Jesus, and his resurrection. Unfortunately only one of our debates found its way into this book, the one on the virgin birth. Albr√ęcht is the co-author of the newly released, and critically acclaimed book (by Catholics), The Complete Guide to the Papacy in the Bible.
I read every single one of your books leading up to our multiple debates on various different topics. They are elite level and the Audible editions are must owns. They go beyond the surface level pop atheist arguments that are easily dismissed and require deep exegetical and historical research. Anyone that hasn't read/doesn't own your stuff, are missing out massively.

As a Catholic apologist, I cannot recommend this book enough. The arguments therein are elite level arguments that ANY believer MUST answer if they are to defend their faith against the very best that atheism has to offer. I own this book and give copies out frequently. I also own it on Audible. I should have left a 5 star review a long time ago. I just left a 5 star review now.

[Recently he added: I don’t think my arguments or beliefs would have quite been sharpened as they have been if not for John. His books challenge people to stop using pop level apologetics arguments. He cuts to the chase and brings the real arguments to the table. He is at his strongest when it comes to the problem of evil and suffering. John isn’t a pop level atheist apologist. He’s elite of the elite and if you don’t own copies of all his books, as a believer, you’re losing out on knowing the real issues that divide and separate us. Excellent author and incredible person.]
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Praise for my books as a whole (in case you didn't know it's what I do best!)

David Fitzgerald, author of Nailed, Jesus: Mything in Action, and The Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion series:
Every John W. Loftus book is a must-read; he continues to assemble some of the finest and most insightful minds in contemporary counter-apologetics. Putting biblical miracle claims under the magnifying lens, it weighs the evidence and finds them wanting. The Case against Miracles is a superb resource and a handy field guide for anyone forced to traipse through the treacherous jungles of the miraculous.
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Dr. David Madison, author of Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief:
The previous four Loftus anthologies have left little of Christianity intact. Of course, apologists continue to flail, but the case against miracles—so massively documented in this new 562-page book—wipes out all vestiges of this primitive, magical thinking.
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Tom Flynn, the late Senior Editor of Free Inquiry magazine:
In 2008, John W. Loftus launched what would become a definitive series of anti-apologetic works. The Case against Miracles is the capstone volume of this astonishing output, and it's an impressive achievement. Any thoughtful Christian whose conviction rests on the evidence of miracles who reads this book with an open mind will be hard pressed not to abandon--or at least profoundly rethink--his or her beliefs. Of course, true believers seldom approach works critical of their faiths with an open mind, which is why The Case against Miracles will probably be of greater value to secular students of religion and especially to those drawn to the challenges of anti-apologetics.
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Dr. David Geisler, President Norm Geisler International Ministries, and Adjunct Professor, Southern Evangelical Seminary and Veritas International University.
I’m not sure there is anyone out there right now who articulates atheistic augments as well as John Loftus does, and this book on horrendous suffering is no exception. In it Loftus has done a great job in marshaling a stellar group of scholars in offering one of the best attempts at criticizing the Christian faith in a more comprehensive way with regard to the problem of evil. Believers who hold to a theistic perspective should seriously--and more deeply--study the alternative perspectives and questions that this anthology poses for theism. They should especially be more mindful of these kinds of criticisms when speaking with people who do not believe like we do that the Christian God is so good.
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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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