Could My Great Grandfather Tom Loftus Be Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame? He Should Be!

Here is a fantastic, and for me fascinating interview with baseball historian John Pregler, concerning the role my Great Grandfather Tom Loftus played in the early history of Major League Baseball. 
Listen here:
Even if this topic may sound boring to you, there's so much that is utterly fascinating you should listen to it! It aired on "Sport's Forgotten Heroes." Enjoy. I did! He's even being suggested as a future inductee into the Baseball Hall of fame!

Jesus Reboot Fail: Resurrection Doesn’t Work


As we can figure out from the Bible itself

“A man ascending vertically from the Mount of Olives, by whatever means of miraculous propulsion, would pass into orbit.” So observed British scholar A. N. Wilson, gently ridiculing the story of Jesus’ departure into heaven described in Acts 1:9, “…as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.” As reported later in Acts 7:55-56, the about-to-be-martyred St. Stephen “…gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.” So, an orbiting Jesus wasn’t part of these fantasies.

Yet Another Bible Chapter: More Trouble than It’s Worth


Blending superstition and bad theology

“For years my congregations sang the Gloria Patri which ended ‘Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.’ I sang about a ghost. As a grown man.” So said D. B. Ramsey recently on Twitter; he was a Baptist minister for ten years, and his book, Speaking of God: We Don’t Know Sh*t will be published in October. Yes, religion has a way of getting adults to do childish things; images of Casper the Friendly Ghost come to mind.

The Gathering Storm: Will Christianity Be Held Accountable?


Enough is enough

This comment was posted recently on one of my articles:

“In what year did you become not just an atheist but a crusader against Christianity?
In what year did you acknowledge yourself as a homosexual?”

I found these questions about chronology a bit puzzling, but then it struck me that there was another agenda: to identify me as a zealot, and to make sure people know that I am gay. After all, what could be worse than an outspoken gay atheist?

On Trump, Covid-19, Cognitive Bias, and Evangelicals

[Sorry about all the ads. I think I got rid of them. Wait for it.]
As we know by now Donald Trump is a narcissistic sociopath. Not only can we tell by watching and listening to him speak about his rating "numbers, and his lack of empathy for the victims of Covid-19, two people who should know have come out in public saying so. His niece Mary Trump, as we should all know by now. But also Trump's ghostwriter for the book "The Art of the Deal." Tony Schwartz has written a devastating piece on Trump, warning us all about him, titled The Psychopath in Chief. He says,
Understanding what we’re truly up against — the reign of terror that Trump will almost surely wage the moment he believes he can completely prevail — makes the upcoming presidential election a true Armageddon. Vote as if your life depends on it, because it does.
The Atlantic Monthly has put out a few great articles on Trump, Evangelicals, and the Coronavirus. The most important one is a theme of mine about cognitive bias with regard to faith and religion:

My Great Grandfather's Major League Baseball Legacy Has Been Settled!

Finally! 110 years after he died, my great grandfather's efforts in the early years of baseball has been acknowledged and noted! Here is a picture of him I hadn't seen before.
The recent Spring 2020 issue of the Baseball Research Journal has a story written by John T. Pregler titled, "Tom Loftus: The American League's Forgotten Founding Father." He was famous in his day, very much so!
Tom's son was named John. His son's name was Tom, my dad. From Tom to John to Tom to you know who! My older brother's name was Tom. Cool, eh?
To read the article Click Here. To see a photo of the Journal cover and first page of the article see below. Yes. it's exciting!

Sex and the Celibate Priest


Turning religion into an ordeal

I wonder how often Christians rate themselves; that is, do they reflect on how they measure up as followers of Jesus? What standards do they use? How often do they embrace the apostle Paul’s claim, as stated in his letter to the Galatians?

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (5:24)

Suppose They Found PROOF Jesus Existed


What difference would it make?

Most laypeople are probably stumped at the claim that there is no proof that Jesus existed. How can that be? If you get yourself to Israel you can visit the places where Jesus was born and baptized. Catholics know about the relics of Jesus, e.g., fragments of the cross, thorns from the Crown of Thorns—even the foreskin of Jesus is venerated: “At various points in history, a number of churches in Europe have claimed to possess Jesus’s foreskin, sometimes at the same time. Various miraculous powers have been ascribed to it.” (Wikipedia)

Hitler’s American Christian Friends


Can Christianity clean up its act?

I marvel that I was sheltered from Christian extremism, even as I was brought up in the 1940s and 1950s in a conservative Christian home in rural Indiana. My devout mother couldn’t stand Billy Graham, which, it turns out, was a big clue why I wasn’t aware of the hateful Christianity that had been in vogue in the decades before my birth.

Bradley Dalton reviews the book "God or Godless"

LINK.He says of it that it's "Good for getting the conversation started!"

Bradley Dalton Reviews "Christianity is Not Great"

Here's a nice book review on my anthology, "Christianity is Not Great", if you were thinking of getting it.

"A Must Read for ALL Truth Seekers!" by Bradley Dalton, who says, "This is one of my favorite books. It’s the go to book regarding the pragmatism of Christianity."

Regarding my chapter 8 on Christianity and the Savagery of Slavery, the reviewer writes:

"This is my favorite chapter in the book. In it Loftus discusses the topic of slavery in the Bible. I recommend referring Christians to this chapter if they try to say that the slavery in the Bible wasn’t that bad. Loftus goes through the Bible passages and debunks the common apologetics used to defend biblical slavery. He also shows how the Bible was interpreted to justify slavery in the United States."

Biology Defeats Theology


…and it’s not even close

I was born just about fifteen years after Edwin Hubble determined that Andromeda is a galaxy outside the Milky Way; this disproved the argument of some astronomers that our galaxy was the extent of the universe. What a gift this was for our understanding of who and where we are! For the first time humans had insight into the inconceivable vastness of the Cosmos.

Baseball Research Journal: Tom Loftus is the American League’s Forgotten Founding Father.

Here is the link to the long awaited article: Tom Loftus: The American League’s Forgotten Founding Father. This is my Great Grandfather Tom Loftus! I've written about him before. He's finally getting the recognition he deserves. He was widely hailed in his day as important to Major League Baseball, especially his role in helping to start the American League and in navigating through the baseball wars of 1899-1903. I'm so thankful to have lived long enough to see this day! Here are a few snippets:

Calls For Ending the Philosophy of Religion Are Doing Nothing More Than Advocating For the Secularization Of Our Secular Universities

Recently Jerry Coyne wrote about the Philosophy of Religion:
Insofar as "theology" includes courses that presuppose the existence of the divine, take seriously the existence of God or Jesus, or prepare people for the ministry or to promulgate religious beliefs, then those courses not only have no place in a University, but are exercises in delusion. Now I think the higher-class divinity schools, like Chicago's and Harvard's, have very few of those courses, but there are some. They should not be part of a secular university. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems to me that Hitchens's razor is correct: "What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." That applies to any form of theology that takes gods or superstitions as real. Universities should not be in the business of taking seriously those myths that have no evidence behind them. They can, of course, teach myths, but at no point should they imply that there is evidence for their truth. LINK
I've written on this topic several times before, collected here. But I don't think I've articulated my viewpoint in any single post better than I do in this one. I'm not surprised there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what I'm talking about. So here's another attempt--a book may need to be written on it.

My position seems to be the same as Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay when it comes to ending the Philosophy of Religion (PoR) discipline in the secular universities. The classes covered could be taught under the umbrella of the Philosophy discipline itself (with no need for a subdivision of PoR) or in the Comparative Religion departments, and especially science classes. Just think of it this way. We don't have PoR classes on Zoroastrianism, Gnosticism, Mithraism, Norse theology, Haitian Voodoo, Paganism etc., in any secular university that I know about. We don't see this for good reasons. Now think real hard about why, okay? The main purpose of the PoR discipline is to examine the evidence and the arguments for religion. Evidence. Arguments. Its main purpose is not merely to get students to understand religion. Rather, it seeks to assess the claims of religion by looking at the evidence (if there is any) and the arguments (if there are any good ones based on the evidence). By contrast, the main purpose of classes in Comparative Religions departments is to understand religion.

Matthew Enhances the Cult Playbook


His disservice to Christianity

What does devotion to the Ancient Jesus Mystery Cult look like today? As is clear from comments made on this blog a few days ago by one of the cult devotees, it still embraces magical thinking in its refusal to accept death:

The Gateway to Doubting the Gospel Narratives Is The Virgin Birth Myth

There is an often repeated argument that marijuana is the gateway drug leading to dangerous drugs. [I think it's largely false but don't get sidetracked on it.] There is however, a gateway to doubting the whole Bible that I want to highlight here. Lately I've been focusing on the virgin birth claim because this is the gateway to doubting the gospel narratives, just as Genesis 1-11 is the gateway to doubting the Old Testament narratives. It was for me anyway. You can see this double doubting of both Testaments in the list of the five most important books that changed my mind.

An Angel with a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card


Pushing Christian theology into fantasy land

Not too long ago I read the claim by a Christian apologist that Luke was a first-rate historian. Such confidence is no doubt based on the first four verses of that gospel:

“Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the truth concerning the things about which you have been instructed.”

I'm Skyping into the Apologetics class of Dr. Gary Habermas

This Wednesday I'll be Skyping into a class of PhD students majoring in Apologetics under Dr. Gary Habermas. I'll be interacting with the students who were assigned to read my new anthology, "The Case against Miracles." These are the future apologists! It's a good opportunity! What points would you make if you were me?

A Final Sermon in a Time of Pandemic


What does disease tell us about God?

I gave up on Christianity because it claims too much and explains too little. We know so little about the Cosmos we’re floating in—our home is one solar system among trillions—yet theologians brag and posture about God, as if they had some way of knowing: they claim too much. And when they brag about how good the Christian God is, they can’t tell us—in any even remotely convincing way—why there is colossal human and animal suffering: they explain too little. Even as I served two parishes in the Methodist Church, and plodded along on my PhD program in Biblical Studies, these deficiencies kept haunting me. Finally, I walked away.

I Unequivocally Without Qualification Condemn Systematic Institutional Racism!

My wife and I protested peacefully in Fort Wayne, Indiana, over the murder of George Floyd. I unequivocally without qualification condemn systematic institutional racism! That being said, I neither condone nor condemn the violence of a few people who protested across the country. There's a lot of anger from decades and decades of systematic institutional racism that have not been adequately solved. The black community and those who seek justice are fed up. If you were born black you would feel this injustice. You might conclude property owners and society itself are to blame. We are all complicit to some degree as this situation continues to exist. Peaceful protests don't work, you might conclude. So you too might consider burning it all down. No worries here since it's all covered by insurance anyway. I understand this sentiment. You should too. While I understand the need for law and order. I also understand the outrage, and I'm on the side of the outrage right now. We might simply ask ourselves what level of priority is systematic institutional racism on the agenda. From my perspective it hasn't been high on my list of priorities, I'm so sorry to say. To be silent is to be complicit.

Discuss. I know good people disagree. WATCH THESE TWO EXCELLENT VIDEOS FIRST!!

Is There Evidence That There Are No Gods?


I was recently involved in an online discussion in which a reason I hadn't previously seen was offered for preferring negative to positive atheism. (By negative atheism, I mean the mere lack of belief in any gods, and by positive atheism, the belief that there are no gods. And the fact that one usually needs to explain this is one reason I prefer the traditional terminology.)

There are better and worse reasons for being only a negative atheist. But the one that was argued by my opponent in the discussion was pretty weak — and if it is accepted by others who call themselves atheists, they really should be aware of that.

Briefly, my opponent's argument was that one should only believe when there is evidence; that there is no evidence that there are no gods; and therefore that to positively disbelieve in such beings is completely unjustified.

On the Hunt for Jesus in the Old Testament


The manufactured prophecy miracle

Religious folks have a vested interest in managing expectations about miracles. Taking them at their word, that God is powerful and good—and has our wellbeing in mind—secularists can suggest miracles that should have happened. A year before the Sandy Hook School massacre, Richard Carrier wrote this:

Benjamin Blade Speed Watkins On Faith and Reason

Benjamin Blade Speed Watkins, Host/Producer at Real Atheology - A Philosophy of Religion Podcast, posted something for discussion: "Faith without reason is blind, but reason without faith is impotent. I’m came up with this little gem, or at least I like to thing I did. Who have I unknowingly ripped off? How unoriginal am I actually being? Philosophy friends, ASSEMBLE!" [For my response see below. For a more robust defense see this on Facebook].
There is only blind faith, that is, faith without reason. So reason doesn't need faith at all. *Why do I bother* There is reasoning based on faith, but that's equivalent to reasoning based on the conclusions of delusions and wishful thinking. By contrast, reasoning about the nature of nature, its workings, and origins is based on logic and objective evidence.

Liar! Christian Organizations Paid Norma McCorvey (a.k.a. “Roe”) To Speak Out Against Abortion

I have a chapter in my book, "How To Defend the Christian Faith: Advice From An Atheist" titled, "When All Else Fails Lie". [Get my book while you're here!] Well now, here's a big one. Norma McCorvey (a.k.a. “Roe” in Roe v Wade) received about a quarter of a million dollars from Christian organizations to be an outspoken opponent of abortion! Liar liar pants on fire! The Friendly Atheist broke this story!

The Corrosive Effect of Christian Excuses


Not doing God any favors

On 10 May 1941, Rudolph Hess flew alone in a Messerschmitt-110 fighter plane from Germany to Scotland. He was one of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, and was “under the delusion that he could arrange a peace settlement,” according to William L. Shirer (The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich), who offered this assessment: “For a German who had got so far in the jungle warfare within the Third Reich, Rudolf Hess, as all who knew him could testify, was singularly na├»ve.” Hitler was outraged: “…he gave orders to have Hess shot at once if he returned…the Fuehrer hoped the bizarre episode would be forgotten as soon as possible…” The British didn’t take Hess seriously for a moment.

Introducing the 2020 International eConference on Atheism

The Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) is hosting the 2020 International eConference on Atheism, which is open to believers and nonbelievers alike. The purpose of this multidisciplinary virtual conference is to advance the scientific and philosophical understanding of atheism, nonreligion, agnosticism, and counterapologetics today. The eConference will provide an interdisciplinary platform for scholars, educators, and practitioners to present their research into recent innovations, trends, and concerns in contemporary atheism. Moreover, this 3-day event will promote dialogue and understanding among nonbelievers, as well as those who interact with them. And because the conference is held online, scholars and students can attend from the comfort and safety of their own home at lower costs without having to worry about travel and lodging expenses. I am one of the keynote speakers! Plan to join us September 3rd-5th! International eConference on Atheism.

Anselm "Faith Seeking Confirmation"

I think Anselm's dictum "faith seeking understanding" is to be understood in the history of theology and philosophy to be equivalent to "Faith Seeking Confirmation." If that's how it's historically used then that's what it means. Below is an updated edit from chapter 2 of my my book, Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End.
There is a common theme among St. Anselm's work and the work of other obfuscationist theologians and philosophers that needs to be highlighted. It’s called faith seeking confirmation. We see this in Anselm with regard to his new atonement theory and his ontological argument.
Anselm therefore is exhibit “A” in defense of what atheist philosopher Stephen Law said: “Anything based on faith, no matter how ludicrous, can be made to be consistent with the available evidence, given a little patience and ingenuity.”1 If I could pick one sentence, one aphorism, one proverb that highlights the main reason philosophy of religion (PoR) must end, it’s Law’s. I’ll call it Law’s law of faith.

I Just Asked Dr. Craig An Important Question

I just asked my former professor William Lane Craig the following question on his website:

Hi Dr. Craig. I hope you are well.

With the relatively recent work in establishing the strong tendency of human beings toward cognitive biases such as confirmation bias, (which is the mother of all cognitive biases), along with many others like selection bias, the ostrich effect, omission bias, verbatim effect, and so on, what advice do you offer honest inquirers to overcome these biases when searching for the true religious sect? I haven't seen you address this question before.

What perspective do you suggest for honest inquirers when searching for which religious sect is true, if there is one? Surely you don't endorse one of faith seeking confirmation (i.e. Anselm!), as that is the epitome of a known cognitive bias, which leads inquirers to embrace whatever they were raised to believe.

Giving Too Much Credit to the Holy Spirit


Yes, I know, blasphemy!

We can appreciate the urge of Christians to distance themselves from the Old Testament. The pathological anger of Yahweh doesn’t sit well with folks who rank high for empathy; his brutal laws are especially chilling, e.g. rebellious sons and sabbath breakers are to be stoned to death—and The Book of Numbers, one of five in the sacred Torah, describes the revolting ordeal that women accused of adultery must undergo, supervised by priests under the watchful eye of the Lord (5:11-31).

Yes, we’re ready to Just Say No to the Old Testament—except for some of its famous stories, I suppose. Christians are proud that Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, for example, sets the tone for much better religion—or so they think. Although if they actually read the Sermon on the Mount carefully, they’d find quite a few lines to cross out; e.g., those who have pension plans—even ministers—need to find a way to finesse, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…”

Here's a good review of my anthology on miracles by Bradley Dalton

LINK. As one might guess I like what the reviewer said about my Chapter 3: Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence: "Loftus writes this chapter and does a great job of defending Hume and the title of the chapter. I don’t know how anybody could refute what Loftus argues for after reading it." The reviewer's favorite chapter is Dr. Madison's, saying, "I love how David Madison debunks the idea that the Bible was inspired by God." See other recommendations here.