Showing posts with label God or Godless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God or Godless. 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.

Ten Lessons From Randal Rauser On How Not to Lose Gracefully

Dr. Randal Rauser and I co-wrote the debate book, God or Godless?, according to which, on most accounts he lost. So he's reviewing his own book on his blog. That's not bad in itself, so long as its educational. One should learn from failed attempts, yes. But he's whining, mischaracterizing and special pleading his case. Typical Christian apologist.

Take for instance his review of chapter five. In that chapter he wanted to debate whether science is a substitute for religion. *Cough* Commenting after the fact on his blog he adds:

"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:

John W. Loftus vs Randal Rauser Debate the Existence of God

This debate took place in Dr. Rauser's home church in Edmonton, Canada, on June 5, 2013. Enjoy.

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?:

The Canadian Debate Tour with Randal Rauser Was Very Successful

After having met Randal Rauser and laughed together I now consider him a friend. We've had some harsh words in the past but there is nothing like actually meeting people to realize that they are people. I think this was a good lesson and one I wish others could recognize, whether it's atheists debating other atheists, Christians debating other Christians, atheists and Christians debating each other, or anyone else who debates online. Randal wrote the book, You're Not As Crazy As I Think: Dialogue in a World of Loud Voices and Hardened Opinions, which I positively reviewed on Amazon. His book should serve a reminder that just because we disagree, the other side isn't crazy. Atheists, for instance, need to make a distinction that although faith is irrational, people like Randal are not irrational. It's a tough distinction to make and maintain, but we should try as best as we can, even though it can be very difficult.

This is just one of a few reasons I think the God or Godless debate tour, graciously sponsored by Taylor Seminary in Edmonton, Canada, was very successful. Let me comment then on my trip.

Why I Am An Atheist, My Statement vs Dr. Rauser

This week I have been in Canada debating/discussing atheism vs Christianity with Dr. Randal Rauser. He and I co-wrote the book God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions.Here is my 20 minute statement on "Why I Am An Atheist." It took me over forty years to write it since it's based on all that I've learned in that time. See what you think. I'll be traveling home tomorrow.

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:

Dr. Randal Rauser Interviews Little Ole' Me About Our Book "God or Godless?"

Randal wrote to me saying, "I'd like to do an interview with you on the book as a way to get the word out with some off-the-wall questions (the wackier, the better). Assuming you're up for it, here's the first question." So I tried to oblige him and answered it, then off we went to the races:

Dr. Randal Rauser's Ideologue Barometer Test

I like new tests for faith, and I have written about three of them before. Randal introduces a new one as far as I can tell, the Ideologue Barometer Test, and guess what? After taking the test I am one. No, not a barometer silly, an ideologue. So?

Randal has graciously invited me up to his Seminary in May of 2013 to Edmonton, Canada, in order to help promote the release of our co-written book God or Godless. I'm pretty excited about this too. So, being the creative person that he is (after all, he creatively defends the indefensible), he suggested we do something new and different rather than the normal "he said she said" type of debate. What he suggested is this:
each of us talk on the top three biggest problems that we face with our worldview. I’d explain the top three conceptual or evidential problems with being a Christian and John would talk about the top three problems with being an atheist.
He's mentioned this to several people and the response has been "overwhelmingly positive" he reports. But he's not happy that I objected to it. So now he's taking his case to the streets, er, the blog world. He said we'd try to work things out. I didn't know this is how he wants to do it. Okay, I guess.

I'm Co-Writing a Book With Dr. Randal Rauser

Nine months ago at Randal's initiation we finished a book proposal tentatively titled: God or Godless: One Atheist, One Christian, and Twenty Irreverent, Interesting, and Somewhat Informative Debates. In it we each propose ten topics for debate. This has been a slow process but we finally got a contract from Baker Book House, a major Christian publisher.