Showing posts with label GoG Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label GoG Reviews. Show all posts

Dr. Randal Rauser Asks Me for a Debate Rematch: "God of Genocide? A Debate on Biblical Violence"


I was happy to be asked to debate him and have agreed! It should be fun and informative and challenging.
Previously we had debated the existence of God at his home church in Edmonton, Canada, on June 5, 2013. On May 4th we're going to debate again, this time at Modern Day Debate which has a Religion and Atheism Debates channel with 45.6K subscribers! Our debate proposition is this: "The Bible, with its divinely commanded violence, wasn't inspired by a perfect God."
I'm sure his material can be found in his just recently released book from "2 Cup Press", Jesus Loves Caananites, you know, the people Yahweh told the Israelites to slaughter back before his day. 

When asked, Randal told me to prep by re-reading our co-written book God or Godless. Okay, I will. I would love it if my readers would do so as well. It's a really good book! [Blurbs below]. 
Even though our relationship had deteriorated to the point that he blocked me from his Twitter feed and prohibited me from commenting on his blog (which in all honesty was my fault due to an utter frustation with his obtuseness), I asked Randal late in January to consider writing a blurb for my very last book on the incompatibility of God and horrendous suffering, to be released near Halloween. He agreed and I sent him the book files for review. He read them then shocked me with this blurb:
As a Christian apologist, I can say that there is no intellectual objection to Christianity more daunting than the problem of horrendous suffering. In this important new book, John Loftus has gathered a diverse collection of voices that seek to build a comprehensive, multi-pronged critique of Christianity based on this most difficult problem. No Christian apologist can afford to ignore it. -- Dr. Randal Rauser, Professor of Historical Theology, Taylor Seminary.
I'm supposing he has some answers to my anthology, we'll see. Got any advice?

The Book "God or Godless" is Going Out of Print. Who's To Blame?

A good debate book should have two opponents who are more or less equally matched. Or, almost certainly more to the point, the issues debated should be ones that can be reasonably debated. Baker Books, a major Christian publisher, contracted for our co-written book in hopes it would foster good discussion, and/or help promote Christianity. Rauser didn't keep up his end of this bargain, in my opinion. But he couldn't, because no matter how smart or educated he is, he was defending the indefensible. I admire his passion and evangelistic zeal, but what he tried to do cannot reasonably be done.

This book is going out of print. I don't think Rauser understands how disappointed I am about this. I put a lot of effort into it. He's offering some excuses as to why our book didn't sell well. But he offered no evidence. He concludes he was not to blame. So I wrote on Ten Lessons From Randal Rauser On How Not to Lose Gracefully.

I have a different view. Had the truth been on Rauser's side, had he beat me--had he trounced me--the book would've sold better, much better. There are other factors to be sure. Popular authors get more readers regardless of the content. So let's be honest, neither of us are all that popular with the Christian audience this book was aimed at. Furthermore, quality arguments are not always perceived as such by readers, if they're couched in simple language. I almost always try to keep it as simple as I can without being simplistic. In this book we both used simple language. So the book was perceived as lacking in depth, given some of the Amazon reviews.

UPDATE: Great News! It looks like it's not gone out of print after all.

A Recent Review of My Co-Written Book "God of Godless"

This Christian review quotes Randal Rauser and I throughout his review, ending by saying:
Rauser is perhaps not the best (or at least, not the more forceful) advocate for the Christian position that could have been featured; nevertheless, this is a creative, cordial, well-presented exchange of viewpoints, that will be of great interest to anyone (on either “side”) interested in such debates. --Steven H. Prop, LINK

"God or Godless" Named Among the Top Ten Religion Books of 2013

The Dubious Disciple, a self-described "agnostic Christian" (there's such a thing?), named my co-authored book with Randal Rauser as one of the top ten religion books in 2013. Here is his list which isn't a bad one at all for a believer. If you click on the book cover it will take you to his review of it. Someone likes it! Wooooo Hooooo! ;-)

Russell Blackford Comments On the Book, "God or Godless"

Russell Blackford is a philosopher with numerous books to his name. On Facebook he said this:
I'm currently reading God or Godless?by John W. Loftus and Randal Rauser. From my perspective, the former is intellectually demolishing the latter. You may think I'm biased, but it's not that simple. I suspect that I would (to my dismay) have had the same response even in my Christian days. Loftus is very good in this debate, but even that is not the problem for Rauser. So much Christian apologetics may be internally consistent... but still looks bizarre and implausible the moment you try to look at it from the outside. There's not much Rauser can do about this.
Biblical scholar Robert Price said the same thing. Dustin Lawson, Josh McDowell's infidel disciple, agreed wholeheartedly.

This is all gratifying to me personally. For anyone who has not seen it, co-author Randal Rauser and I debated each other in Edmonton, Canada, on June 5, 2013. Enjoy it below:

Am I a Poor Philosopher?

Randal Rauser seems to think so in agreement with a recent Christian review of our co-written book, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. (Not entirely sure).Rauser is also taken to task and he responds, right here. But given one of the charges against him, is he also a poor philosopher? You see, Rauser is accused of begging the question. In fact, he's even accused of not knowing what that means. I for one think Rauser does know what that means, but I'd have to agree with the reviewer that he does beg the question. Actually, to be more precise, he is special pleading his case. Don't all Christian apologists do that?

Dustin Lawson's Review of the Book "God or Godless"

Dustin as you already know, is a friend of mine who is Josh McDowell's Infidel Disciple. Via email he said this:
I finished God or Godless?I have a hard time believing that I used to be like this Randal guy, so often avoiding answering his critics tough questions even though he thinks he is answering them. It was like he was in the ring getting beaten up but he didn't realize it. It is hard to believe I used to be like him, but I know I was.

Some Humiliating Reviews of the Book "God or Godless"

The book "God or Godless" isn't doing too well right now, even after the free promotion on July 1st and subsequent reduction of price through the month of July. The paperback on Amazon is ranked almost 600,00th, whereas the Kindle version is ranked 150,000th. In Canada it's doing better but not that well. I think it's because of the reviews. For the life of me I cannot understand why potential buyers place more weight on reviews by no-names over the blurbs written by credentialed scholars, but they do. Here are two humiliating reviews of the book on Amazon:

Countering The Accusation That There is Nothing New in My Books

One of the most common claims about my books, coming mostly from Christians but also from a few atheists, neither of whom have any credentials or body of work to their names, is the accusation that there is nothing new in them. I think the reason they say this is because it makes them sound intelligent. For it's very very difficult to come up with a new argument in this late stage of human understanding. Anyone can say this with little fear of being wrong (except when it comes to new scientific findings). Any ignoramus can say such a thing too. It makes them sound superior without actually doing the hard work themselves, of in-depth researching for the best arguments in the available literature and then trying to make a good case themselves. Confound the ancients, they've stolen all of our ideas! So here's my attempt at disabusing them of this claim, something I recently wrote in response to an atheist who said it about the book God or Godless?:

Another Review of the Book "God or Godless"

If anyone claims I am only sharing the reviews that favor me they have not been paying attention. Here's one posted on Amazon titled, Rauser's attempt to defend Christianity is an embarrassment to believers.

Dr. Robert Price Reviews Our Book "God or Godless"

In the most recent June/July issue of Free Inquiry magazine, Robert Price congratulates Baker Books for publishing our book, saying, "It represents a departure from the traditional evangelical Christian resistance to let readers, hearers, and students encounter alternative viewpoints except through the filter of apologetical distortions by 'our side.'" He suggests the change is perhaps because "the internet has made everything instantly accessible...and virtually unavoidable." This is welcomed no matter what the reason. He goes on to "heartily" recommend the book "as the basis for small group dialogues," but along the way also says some good things and bad things about it.

“God or Godless” is Reviewed by Jr. Forasteros

Here are some salient excerpts:
We don’t have many examples of civil, truth-seeking dialog with the Other, especially in the realm of religion. Until now. We can do better than this. A lot better.

Randal Rauser is a Christian who teaches history and theology. John W. Loftus is a former-evangelical minister-turned Atheist apologist. These two men are friends and colleagues who deeply, passionately disagree about fundamental truths. And yet they’ve co-authored a brief, fun, profound book that can and hopefully will serve as the basis for bridges between Atheist and Evangelical communities. In other words, each chapter is short, sweet and packed with rhetorical goodness. Both Randal and John are experts in their field, so their arguments are tight, clear and very accessible (though a few of the later chapters sent me scrambling to Wikipedia to look up one term or another).

God or Godless?gives us a clear model for moving forward in honest, truth-seeking relationships across the religious divide.

What makes the book really good is the quality of the questions both John and Randal bring to the table. Sometimes Randal is the clear winner; other times it’s John. Always, both men have clear, well-thought-out positions and treat each other with kindness and respect (excepting the occasional fun snark).

I’m currently rereading the book with a group of 20-somethings. Some of us are Christian, some are atheist or agnostic. But reading and discussing God or Godless together is helping us to build transformative friendships founded on mutual love and admiration. Plus, it’s a lot of fun. LINK.

Another Review About "God or Godless?" (Co-written with Dr. Randal Rauser)

One reviewer on Amazon said:
I don't know who initiated this book. If it was John, he chose a lightweight opponent, if it was Randal, he took on a fighter two leagues above. 'Winning' is not actually the aim of such discourse, but here, Randal is knocked k.o. in every round. John gives amazingly rich arguments in short space with facts and quotes while Randal is telling silly stories on the intellectual level of an 8 year old. Link.
Check the other reviews out for yourselves: God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions.

The Book "God or Godless?" Is Now Available

Says Amazon, it's in stock and shipping. Dr. Randal Rauser and I first started writing it in November of 2010. We waited a year before getting a contract, and landed one with a major Christian publisher, Baker Books. Then the pre-publication process was quite long. Well, it's finally going to land in your laps this coming week. Now our readers can finally get it and decide for themselves. Just follow the link: God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions.Blurbs can be seen below:

Four Blurbs Recommending the Book "God or Godless?"

Here are the four blurbs for the book by Michael Licona, Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier and David Marshall:

God or Godless on Sale at Amazon

In case you're interested in getting the book God or Godless that I co-wrote with Randal Rauser, it's on sale at Amazon for just $8.47 (as of today). If you pre-order it the price will never be higher. If it sells for less at any time before publication you'll get it for the lowest price. Here are four blurbs for it by Michael Licona, Hector Avalos, Richard Carrier and David Marshall: