Day Twelve of the Thirteen Days of Solistice


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.

I envisioned my first anthology The Christian Delusion to be an extension of my first book, Why I Became an Atheist. I thought it would be great to get experts to write on topics I addressed in my book. All the themes in it expand on issues raised in my very first book. I personally think The Christian Delusion delivers a powerful blow to conservative Christianity, especially when combined with its predecessor.

Dawkins: I named the book The Christian Delusion after Dawkins' popular bestseller The God Delusion. His focus was on God. Mine was focused on the Christian God. I had hoped it might get his attention. It didn't. In fact, none of the so-called New Atheists--publicly acknowledged my books.

One thing that may have hurt were two blurbs I received. Dr. Dale C. Allison, Jr., author of Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and Its Interpreters, said:
Forget Dawkins. If you are looking for a truly substantial, well-informed criticism of the Christian religion, this is your book. Defenders of the faith will do believer and unbeliever alike a disservice if they do not rise to the challenge and wrestle with the thought-provoking arguments of Loftus and company.
My publisher strongly advised me to drop the first two words. But I insisted on keeping them because that's what Allison said, and it makes an important contrast between our books. I doubly liked it because it was a high endorsement by the premier defender of the view that Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, about which I wrote about in the anthology!
Then you can imagine my surprise when the late Michael Martin sent me his glowing blurb. Initially I had wanted this anthology to be named "The Case against Christianity." Dr. Martin was adamant we didn't give it that name, since he had authored a book by that title. He wouldn't give me a blurb unless I guaranteed we wouldn't do so, and I agreed. Then it came. I was stunned.

I was also very happy that Dan Barker wrote the Foreword to it!

Later I wrote a post on How to Deal with the Christian Delusion book. Enjoy.

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Contents
Foreword by Dan Barker
Introduction

Part One: How to Think about and Test One’s Faith
Chapter 1: The Cultures of Christianities, by Dr. David Eller
Chapter 2: Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science, by Dr. Valerie Tarico
Chapter 3: The Malleability of the Human Mind, by Dr. Jason Long
Chapter 4: The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited, by John W. Loftus

Part Two: Why the Bible Is Not God’s Word
Chapter 5: The Cosmology of the Bible, by Edward T. Babinski
Chapter 6: The Bible and Modern Scholarship, by Paul Tobin
Chapter 7: What We’ve Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate, by John W. Loftus

Part Three: Why the Christian God Is Not Perfectly Good
Chapter 8: Yahweh Is a Moral Monster, by Dr. Hector Avalos
Chapter 9: The Darwinian Problem of Evil, by John W. Loftus

Part Four: Why Jesus Is Not the Risen Son of God
Chapter 10: Jesus: Myth and Method, by Dr. Robert M. Price
Chapter 11: Why the Resurrection Is Unbelievable, by Dr. Richard Carrier
Chapter 12: At Best Jesus Was a Failed Apocalyptic Doomsday Prophet, by John W. Loftus

Part Five: Why Modern Society Does Not Depend on Christian Faith
Chapter 13: Does Christianity Provide the Basis for Morality? by Dr. David Eller
Chapter 14: Was Atheism the Reason Hitler Killed So Many People? by Dr. Hector Avalos
Chapter 15: Was Christianity Responsible for Modern Science? by Dr. Richard Carrier

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Robert M. Price had said after co-editing The Empty Tomb that he would never do another anthology. It was hard, and disagreements ensued. I learned the hard way that it is indeed hard, especially since egos are involved. But I am tough, and demanding. I know what I want. The reason my anthologies are good is because of this.

Edward Babinski: I wanted substantive chapters of about 8,000 words. Babinski initially sent me his chapter on The Cosmology of the Bible with 8,700 words in it, which was acceptable, as I allowed up to ten thousand words, and even more, if I thought the topic was important enough to warrant it. It was a great chapter. But when the copyeditor working on it told Babinski his chapter was really good, it encouraged him to continually add to it, despite my protestations. His chapter was also disorganized so I wanted to help him. Let me say for the first time that I even got David Presutta, the author of The Biblical Cosmos Versus Modern Cosmology: Why the Bible Is Not the Word of God, to help him. Yet Babinski rejected Presutta's suggestions, and mine, and continued to add to it until it ended up being 17,000 words! I didn't think the topic demanded that many words. We argued about it until he appealed to Steven Mitchell, the senior-editor of Prometheous Books. He even threatened to withdraw his chapter. Mitchell said he will allow the extra words to keep the peace, even though Babinski's chapter took me over the word limit alloted for the book. I was done with Babinski afterward. I swore I would never ask him to write anything for me again. It took a long while before we even spoke again, since he didn't respect or value my role as an editor.
You can see the back and forth battle in the number of edits.
Harry McCall: I asked McCall to write a chapter on child sacrifice. When you look at the final table of contents you'll notice only two chapters in part 3, rather than 3. The gap is because I was forced to reject his chapter, even though I really wanted one on child sacrifice. It was not about the topic I had asked him to write on (child sacrifice), not written well, not properly formatted, not well-researched, and was dubbed "sub-standard" by an anonymous peer-reviewer, which I'm now revealing for the first time was Dr. Hector Avalos! McCall's chapter was also sent nearly one month late at the very last minute, to meet my manuscript due date deadline, in which I had no time to edit it before sending it off, even though he had five months to write his chapter.

Then the shit hit the fan so to speak. McCall complained that he did all of his work on his vacation to no avail. He called me a bastard, chimed in on a Christian blog dedicated to trashing me, and said he didn’t want much of anything to do with me anymore. He also sent a message to DC contributors saying:
This email is to state that after two years to posting topics on John’s DC blog, I will not longer be associated with John in a friendly manner. According to statistics I have posted 10% of John’s blog topics. At one time I would have considered John a friend, but his central drive is an ego of which he expects everyone to stoke and, in reality, his DC blog is about this fact under the guise of debunking Christianity.
Those were some tough times for me. But my efforts were worth it, so much so that I wanted to do it again, and again! ;-)

Very few people know (or remember) that Richard Carrier and I developed a website on this book, where you can read about the Authors, plus the Blurbs, Table of Contents, and the Introduction. There are also extra chapters by Richard Carrier on The Will of God and Christianity Was Not Responsible for American Democracy, by Hector Avalos on Darwin and Hitler, and by myself on The Bible and the Treatment of Animals. There are also links which respond to the book Infidel Delusion. Do check it out! Especially check out the blurbs.

Also noteworthy is the failed attempt by Mark K. Hanna to deal honestly with this anthology, in his book lengthy response, Biblical Christianity: Truth or Delusion? While it's worthy of a response I just never got around to it. I only posted once about it. I'm sure that if people read my anthology and his they will see the gaping holes in his. The problem is that Christians only seek to confirm their faith so they will skip a step and just read his response.
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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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