Showing posts with label Unapologetic. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Unapologetic. Show all posts

I've Written Three Books On How To Honestly Seek the Truth

[First Published August 2022] I've written three books to educate believers on how to honestly seek the truth and defend it: 1) The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion is True. In it I show honest believers how to approach their faith consistently without any double standards or special pleading.

2) How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist. In it I show Christian apologists how to correctly defend their faith, if it can be defended at all. Apologists should read it before writing another sentence in defense of their faith. In it I challenge apologists to stop doing what they're doing if they're honest about defending their Christian faith. The risk is that if they stop it they cannot defend their faith at all. But the risk is worth it if they're serious about knowing and defending the truth.

3) Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. In it I show philosophers of religion and other intellectuals how to properly discuss and debate religious beliefs. What I cannot teach however, is to desire the truth. That comes from within. Taken together these three books are the antidote to the faith virus. The problem is almost none of them desire the truth, comparatively speaking. Here's hoping a few honest believers are reading who desire the truth.

Which Atheist Books Do I Recommend?

Having previously linked to some reasons why philosophical apologetics is not changing very many minds, especially the most sophisticated philosophy that every serious philosophical apologist loves to recommend, because it says that they understand it! Congrats to you!! A lot of it is obtuse and obfuscationist though. As it's practiced today, it isn't that helpful if one wants to change minds. After all, the more sophisticated that philosophy is, the more sophisticated the reader is. At that level it doesn't change the minds of sophisticated readers because they are already entrenched in what they think. It also has a way of being turned around as a pat on the back! Just see how William Lane Craig responds to a very detailed and knowledgeable question about philosophical apologetics at his website, Reasonable Faith. Craig wrote:
I include your question here for the instruction and encouragement of our Reasonable Faith readers. You have masterfully surveyed for us the current philosophical landscape with respect to atheism. You give our readers a good idea of who the principal players are today.

I hope that theists, especially Christian theists, who read your account will come away encouraged by the way Christian philosophers are being taken seriously by their secular colleagues today.

The average man in the street may get the impression from social media that Christians are intellectual losers who are not taken seriously by secular thinkers. Your letter explodes that stereotype. It shows that Christians are ready and able to compete with their secular colleagues on the academic playing field.
To see this you need to read my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. This is the first book I'm recommending, with others to follow below. If nothing else, consider the recommendation of atheist philosopher Nick Trakakis, co-editor with Graham Oppy of several important philosophy of religion books, and the author of his own book on The End of Philosophy of Religion, plus The God Beyond Belief: In Defense of William Rowe's Evidential Argument from Evil. He even wrote a chapter in my book, God and Horrendous Suffering. He said this of my book Unapologetic:
I am in wholehearted agreement with you. I actually find it very sad to see a discipline (the philosophy of religion) I have cherished for many years being debased and distorted by so-called Christian philosophers. Like you, I have now finally and happily found my place in the atheist community. I’m slowly making my way through your "Unapologetic book", it’s quite fascinating, loving the Nietzschean hammer style.

In Defense of Richard Dawkins And On Being Right

John Smith posted this quote on his FB Page by Michael Ruse, atheist philosopher of biology: "Dawkins's book The God Delusion would fail any introductory philosophy or religion course & it makes me ashamed to be an atheist. New atheists do the side of science a grave disservice, a disservice to scholarship." Others followed suit, including philosophers Tom Morris, Trent Doughtery, Ron Morales and Jonathan Blocker. I, on the other hand, have defended the so-called new atheists.

I responded: There is something grossly wrong about these evaluations. It fails to give credit where credit is due. Dawkins has been a defender of unguided evolution which destroys Christian philosophy in one fell swoop! So what if he tried reaching the masses, by-passing the elite philosophers? They are never convinced otherwise by other elite philosophers. Why can't Dawkins speak as a laymen philosopher like others? The one thing he has done is to change the minds of a massive number of people who are now former believers. People can talk about his lack of understanding if they want to, but if you don't think this world is in a better place because he wrote his book, then you fail to understand we are in a global crisis that can best be met with fewer believers in it.

Matthew Flannagan responded to me:

John W. Loftus it sounds like your saying something like this: so what if Dawkins work isn't of a decent intellectual calibre, it works in persuading lay people. Which is basically claiming to be a dishonest propagandists.

I responded back to him:

Matthew Flannagan let's say I've seriously studied the Christian faith at the highest levels for the longest time, and that I conclude it's bunk. Let's also say I've concluded the Christian faith causes significant harm. So I know it's bunk, and I know it causes significant harm. From this perspective what matters is that Dawkins and others are correct, regardless of whether they can adequately argue the case or not. I would prefer, by far, that they argue the case adequately, but it's enough if they don't. I defended this view in chapter 8 of my book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. It's titled, "It is Enough Just to Be Right!"

I have said a few things in defense of Dawkins at Academia. So far I've silenced them all. Here are a few key paragraphs from it:

Two Confusions of My Book "Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End"


“I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” -- Richard Nixon

It's sad that too many people misunderstand my book "Unapologetic." Let me address two of the biggest confusions.

ONE) Some people might conclude I have nothing but distain for the discipline I majored in, the philosophy of religion, even though I have contributed several books based in that discipline.

I do nothing more than what the late biblical scholar Dr. Hector Avalos did in his book calling for The End of Biblical Studies. He called for the end of them AS THEY WERE BEING PRACTICED! The reason I say this is because Avalos and I both know that how our respective disciplines are being practiced won't change anytime soon. So we seek to undermine them, to expose them as the sham they really are, by doing our part to end them.

Avalos wrote:
From my perspective, there are really only 3 alternatives for what is now called biblical studies.

1. Eliminate biblical studies completely from the modern world.
2. Retain biblical studies as is, but admit that it is a religionist enterprise.
3. Retain biblical studies, but redefine its purpose so that it is tasked with eliminating completely the influence of the Bible in the modern world.
Dr. Avalos argued it's unreasonable to think biblical scholars could achieve alternative #1. Like the automobile it's here to stay, so long as there are Christians. Likewise, when it comes to the philosophy of religion. So long as there are Christian philosophers in defense Christian theism, they aren't going away either. Option #2 is already being done in seminaries. They actually consider biblical studies to be an extension of Anselm's dictum, "faith seeking understanding." When it comes to the philosophy of religion, merely acknowledging that it's a religionist faith-based enterprise made subservient to apologists is not good enough. For then we'd be found to enable foolish, delusional thinking, with the dubious goal of having a discussion for discussion's sake when we need to change minds.

Dr. Avalos preferred the option #3.
I prefer the third option. The sole purpose of biblical studies would be to help people move toward a postscriptural society...What I seek is liberation from the very idea that any sacred text should be an authority for modem human existence. Abolishing human reliance on sacred texts is imperative when those sacred texts imperil the existence of human civilization as it is currently configured. The letter can kill. That is why the only mission of biblical studies should be to end biblical studies as we know it. LINK to Excerpt.
When it comes to debunking Christianity I seek to use all the tools available, all of them, including the philosophy of religion. Just take a look at two books I had published AFTER I wrote the book Unapologetic: The Case against Miracles along with God and Horrendous Suffering. They have sections in them that fall squarely in the philosophy of religion area. My goal in them, my focus, is to change minds. I seek to help reason people out of their faith, even though I know it's extremely hard to reason people out of that which they were never reasoned into, who have a tribal motivation to stay within the confines of their cultural indoctrination. I also know such a goal gets tougher and tougher the more educated people become in their delusion.

My focus is on the irrationality of faith itself, and the lack of any relevant objective evidence for any of the miracles in the Bible. My focus is on five powerful reasons not to believe.

The best online excerpt explaining the goal of my book is probably the one Hemant Mehta posted just after its release, right here.

I argue toward what anthropology professor Dr. David Eller advocates in his next book to be published, Liberatheism. It's the third book in a trilogy that includes Natural Atheism (2004) and Atheism Advanced (2007) [See my review of this book!] Eller explains this third book in his Preface:
Natural Atheism was an explanation, examination, and defense of atheism on the premise that humans are born without any religious ideas or beliefs and hence “natural” atheists. Atheism Advanced Further Thoughts of a Freethinker, as the name suggests, pushed atheism in new directions, especially beyond argument about the Christian god, for instance, emphasizing that there are many other theisms and many other gods than Christianity and its god, and noting how arguing about god(s) in a Christian context still has us “speaking Christian.” This current book pushes further still, envisioning a future when we no longer fight about god(s) because we are free of god(s)....

The first step in this process, in theism-dominated societies, is atheism—saying no to god(s). The eighth chapter describes the profound damage that religion has done to philosophy, the oldest form of rational inquiry. It condemns the academic field of philosophy of religion as little more than an adjunct to Christian theology and apologetics. An ultimate betrayal of the commission to analyze and critique our pet ideas and concepts, as well as a colossal waste of brainpower and resources, philosophy of religion is encouraged to liberate itself from its role as a defender of Christianity to become a genuine philosophical approach to the question of religion. The tenth chapter provides some practical advice on how to change people’s minds from theism to atheism, taking advantage of the best knowledge and practices in psychology, education, marketing, and behavioral economics. The chapter invites us to think in terms of “attitude change” and away from conventional confrontational tactics like argument and debate.

The next step is liberatheism—getting free of god(s). The final step is not talking about god(s) at all. The goal is to accelerate toward the day when we no longer argue about god(s) but live free from god(s), when god(s) are simply not worth talking about anymore.
TWO) Some people might conclude I advocate ridicule to the exclusion of reasoned arguments, and that this would be counter-productive toward my goals of reaching believing Christians. I have documented the effectiveness of ridicule in several blog posts. But the evidence of my writing on this blog and in my books should dispel this confusion easily, since in them I exclusively reason with believers. I advocate telling our debate opponents the truth even though it may offend them, but only if it's based on good sound arguments, something philosopher Dr. Stephen Law has argued in an essay I agree with completely. He offers five morals that should guide debates between atheists and believers. I don't advocate ridiculing people to their faces, and I almost never do so. But as a general rule ridicule is good and effective. Comedians do it all the time. It can even be considered venting, and in that case why should we not do it in public? If people don't want to come to the show they don't have to do so.


John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 12 critically acclaimed books, including The Case against Miracles, God and Horrendous Suffering, and Varieties of Jesus Mythicism. Please support DC by sharing our posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon. Thank you so much!

Do A Vast Majority of Naturalists Hold To Naturalism Dogmatically and Unreflectively?

On a forum called "The Student Room" the question above was posed four years ago, reflecting on the musings of several "mainstream" scholars. It received no comments. Perhaps it's time.

Thomas Nagel caused quite a stir with his book attacking different types of naturalism and highlighted the significant problems that materialism in particular face. Nagel is an atheist. He is also, albeit a hazy one, a naturalist (though he is skeptical of materialism) he is not the first prominent naturalist to highlight the unreflective acceptance many have of materialism. 
Here are other examples:

The Five Most Powerful Reasons Not To Believe


I'm being approached on Facebook by Dr. David Geisler in his attempt to change my mind. He's an Evangelical scholar/leader and the son of the late Norman Geisler. His focus is on philosophical arguments to the existence of his god, especially the ones of his father. Those kind of arguments bore me to death, especially since Christian apologists Alvin Plantinga, Richard Swinburne and John Feinberg don't place much stock in them. Over on Twitter there are a cadre of atheists who love to debate these philosophical arguments with Christians back and forth, to what effect I don't know. So I asked them in a Tweet: "Let me know when you're having a discussion about the value of debates with fundamentalist Christian philosophers over beliefs that have no objective evidence." I'm still waiting for that discussion. My take is they don't want to deal with the arguments in my book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End

So I've put together the five most powerful reasons not to believe, and they're not philosophical arguments per se, but evidential ones. Keep in mind it's brief for effect:

Quote of the Day On the Philosophy of Religion, By David Madison

Click here for more quotes from Loftus
Recently on Twitter Dr. David Madison said, "Everybody insists their own god exists and argues accordingly. Theism deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." Then he linked to my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End. What's significant about this is that he's a biblical scholar, having earned his PhD in Biblical Studies from Boston University School of Theology. He kindly blogs here at DC and is the author of Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: A Minister-Turned Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith, of which I was honored to write a Forward to it.

I've said repeatedly that I might be wrong, but no one can say I'm ignorant. After all, I have nearly the equivalent educational background of Dr. Paul Copan, the former President of the Evangelical Society. David Madison can say the same thing by the tenfold, especially seen in his fantastic book, online writings, podcasts and exhaustive reading list of atheist books in The Cure-For-Christianity Library. In his esteemed judgment, after years of studying it out, the evidence conclusively shows the Bible and any religion or theology or philosophy based on it, "deserves the same respect as astrology, alchemy, and belief in a flat earth." His most succinct case is made in a chapter for my recent anthology, The Case against Miracles.

Excerpt From "Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End"

I've decided to provide excerpts from my works for consideration. Here's one from Unapologetic, "Chapter 4: Case Studies in Atheistic Philosophy of Religion."

In Defense of the New Atheists

My specialties are theology, philosophical theology and especially apologetics. I am an expert on these subjects even though it’s very hard to have a good grasp of them all. Now it’s one thing for theologically unsophisticated intellectuals like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Stenger to argue against religion. It’s quite another thing for a theologically sophisticated intellectual like myself to defend them by saying they are within their epistemic rights to denounce religion from their perspectives. And I do. I can admit they lack the sophistication to understand and respond point for point to sophisticated theology. But it doesn’t matter. The reason is because all sophisticated theology is based in faith: faith in the Bible--or Koran or Bhagavad Gita--as the word of God, and/or faith in the Nicene creed (or other creeds), and/or faith in a church, synagogue or temple. No amount of sophistication changes this.

On Reviews of My Book Unapologetic

According to this review my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End is an "mandatory/essential read for people interested in the issues it addresses! I've copied it below for your convenience. There's more to my book than merely calling for atheist philosophers to end their own discipline. It's also a manual for teaching readers how to effectively deal with religion and other faith-based paranormal claims.

I expected some bad book reviews since my target is the philosophy of religion. What I didn't expect are utterly unfair reviews by people who should know better, who are destroying their own credibility in writing them. So far they nitpick at it rather than deal with its focus--one reviewer doesn't even tell readers what I'm doing in it, basically leaving them clueless. In any case, these two posts of mine effectively answer the bad reviews I've seen so far: 1) On The Value of Philosophy and Definitional Apologetics; 2) Isn't it inconsistent to criticize the legitimacy of Philosophy of Religion?

My Next Book "Unapologetic" For People Like Paul K. Moser Who Have Lost Touch With Reality

There is only so much a person can take when dealing with people who have lost touch with reality. Must we always maintain a patient attitude when we already know their arguments? Must we always respond in a dispassionate manner to people who are persuaded against reason to believe something delusional? We know this about them based on everything else we know (i.e., our background knowledge). I for one, see nothing wrong with dispassionately discussing the beliefs of philosophers who do little more than build intellectual castles in the sky without any solid grounding to them. I do this all of the time. But sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get too fed up with the pretend game of faith with its ever receding theology.

I don't intend to write this new book with the jaded attitude I have today, so this is probably just for today. I'll not apologize for arguing it's time for the philosophy of religion to end though. It's time to put the hammer down hard on pseudo-intellectuals.