Tonight at 8 PM ET I'll Be Debating Randal Rauser On Biblical Violence

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This should be good! It will certainly be interesting.

12-minute openings
60 minutes of open dialogue
30 minutes of audience Q&A

The Divine and Human Violence In the Bible Creates Violent People

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There's so much divinely caused and commanded violence in the Bible it can be said the fear of an angry punishing God is its most prevalent theme, hands down. It creates angry self-righteous people who follow in the footsteps of an angry self-righteous god. The great agnostic Thomas Paine noted this: “It is from the Bible that man has learned cruelty, rapine, and murder; for the belief of a cruel God makes a cruel man.” This is the point of Elicka Peterson-Sparks's book, The Devil You Know: The Surprising Link between Conservative Christianity and Crime. I wrote the following blurb for her book: 
Why is the United States such a violent nation filled with so much crime? The startling answer proposed by criminologist Peterson Sparks is that it’s due to the tremendous impact of the Bible and Christianity on the culture, institutions, and political life of the United States. She specifically indicts Christian theocratic nationalism for this, with its hateful, xenophobic, war-mongering, gun-toting, misogynistic, child-abusing, gay-bashing, get-tough-on-crime, right-wing nuts. This is the devil in disguise we already know, finally exposed for the evil it is. This book is a masterpiece! It should scare the hell out of you.
Below are several links to biblical texts proving the point, starting with Wrath Of God and Anger Of God, Consequences

Christians Have the BEST Magic!

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And the best holy spirit too

I do sometimes wonder how Christianity gets away with it. But it’s not such a mystery after all. The failure to think it through accounts for the endurance of piety and belief; the failure to look below the surface and simply ask, “Does this make sense?” In the Book of Numbers, chapter 21, when the people of Israel complained too much about their ordeal in the desert, God was so pissed off that he sent poisonous snakes to bite them. Then, on appeal from Moses, God recommended a solution, which turned out to be a magical bronze snake: if people just looked at it, they wouldn’t die of snakebite. “Well, yes,” even some of the devout may say, “that’s just quaint Old Testament folklore.

Where Was God When This Happened? Part 1

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The scandal of divine negligence


Please note carefully this Jesus-script, Matthew 12:36-37: “I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

God is watching carefully. He doesn’t miss a thing. Moreover, prayer works because God can even read our minds. Christians believe in, love, worship, and sing songs to this God who pays such close attention to every human being. 

If God is so attentive—actually, so intrusive—then he cannot evade responsibility for our wellbeing. How can he just watch so many of the really horrible things that happen? Wouldn’t he want to do something? Tim Sledge has called it correctly:

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

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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 Bad Jesus Is On Full View in the Gospels

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So why is there anybody left in church?

To keep up sales and profits, when you have a deeply flawed product, you have to be clever, cunning, shrewd—and determined. You have to work extra hard to disguise the flaws. The resurrection of Jesus comes to mind especially. Robert Conner, here on the Debunking Christianity Blog, 8 September 2017, wrote:

 

“The Evangelical Resurrection Industrial Complex (ERIC) has churned out scores of scholarly tomes, hundreds of erudite disquisitions in professional journals, dissertations and commentaries, as well as debates and conferences beyond numbering, and the tsunami of dishonest verbiage shows know sign of receding.”

"Doubting Thomas" Tells Us All We Need To Know About Christianity

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The lessons of the "doubting Thomas" story are not what you think. It does not offer any objective evidence that Jesus arose from the dead. It only offers us a story about a man named Thomas who asked and received objective evidence that Jesus arose from the dead. That's a huge difference. This story is no more to be considered objective evidence that Jesus arose from the dead than anything else we read in the gospel according to John. Yet, and this is the extremely important point, the story is told as if it's objective evidence Jesus arose from the dead! Let that sink in. 

The whole point of the story is that faith is a virtue not a vice. The lesson is supposed to be: "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." But to make that point the author uses story about a man named Thomas who saw what we did not, and cannot, see. We've never met the risen Jesus in the flesh, nor stuck our fingers in his side. So a story about Thomas cannot be our substitute. If this is supposed to convince readers then the author is asking us to believe based on insufficient evidence. If this actually convinces readers then they believe based on insufficient evidence. 

This is the case even if a man named Thomas actually met the risen Jesus in the flesh, and stuck his fingers in his side! The reason is because we don't know he actually did this, because we were not there to see him do it. The lesson is that faith, blind faith, unevidenced faith, faith in a mere story about a man we never met, by an author we never met, is something praiseworthy. 

By using this little bait and switch of his, the author of John's gospel is conning his readers. The gospels have been conning readers from the very beginning. No mere story about Thomas can be considered objective evidence for the rest of us. Period.

Bible Blunders & Bad Theology, Part 11

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The Lazarus story goes off the rails

Let’s begin with a brief scene from the 1987 film Moonstruck:

 

Elderly woman at airline departure gate: “You have someone on that plane?”

 

Loretta Castorini, standing close by (played by Cher): “Yeah, my fiancé.”

 

Elderly woman: “I put a curse on that plane. My sister is on that plane. I put a curse on that plane that it’s gonna explode, burn on fire and fall into the sea. Fifty years ago, she stole a man from me. Today she tells me that she never loved him, that she took him to be strong on me. Now she’s going back to Sicily. I cursed her that the green Atlantic water should swallow her up!”

 

Loretta: “I don’t believe in curses.”

 

Elderly woman: “Eh, neither do I.”

The Obituary of Dr. Hector Avalos (10/8/1958 - 4/12/2021)

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As mentioned before, Dr. Hector Avalos has died, a Harvard trained biblical scholar, my friend, and team member here at DC. He died after a battle with cancer. Here is his obituary He'll be missed greatly!
This pic of us together was taken in 2011 in South Bend, Indiana, when Hector was in my area giving a series of talks on religious violence. It was during a very short period of time when I had shaved off my goatee.

Dr. Hector Avalos Has Died. He was a one man demolition machine when it came to debunking Christianity!

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My heart just broke at the news that Dr. Hector Avalos just died. I wept at the news. My heartfelt sympathies go out to his wife Cynthia and other loved ones and friends. I loved this man. I loved his scholarship. I loved him for his support of my work. I loved his demeanor and resolve. He was the greatest scholar I've ever personally met and known. He should go down in history as the greatest biblical scholar in our generation. You may disagree but that's my assessment. He made a huge difference. He will be greatly missed.
Here's what I wrote about him in the dedication to my book, How to Defend the Christian Faith, as one of the scholarly friends who greatly influenced my thinking:
I dedicate this book to Hector Avalos who is expertly leading a second wave of atheist biblical scholars following the first wave of new atheists. His writings are multidisciplinary in scope (covering biblical, scientific, ethical and political issues) utilizing a variety of venues (scholarly books, journals, blog posts and newspapers), and cross-cultural in scope (in both English and Spanish). He is a one man demolition machine when it comes to debunking Christianity and its influence in today’s world. 
I first gained Hector's attention when I highly recommended his book The End of Biblical Studies. Then he joined the team of writers here at DC. Here are a few of his early postsHe was relentless in countering ignorance when he was maligned. He responded with scholarship, firmness and as a gentleman. I liked how he would almost always ask his opponent a few hard questions to answer at the end. 
We had a mutual admiration for each other. He came to my defense several times when I was under attack, for which I was thankful. Imagine having a biblical scholar defending you as a verbal pit bull!  
In honor of his legacy I'm asking people buy up his books. See the marquee of his books pictured at the header of this blog. Get his flagship book, The End of Biblical Studies, plus Slavery, Abolition, and the Ethics of Biblical Scholarship, then The Bad Jesus; The Ethics of New Testament Ethics, and also The Reality of Religious Violence.
I have a picture of us together and I'm trying to locate it. For now I'll post the Foreword Hector wrote for my book Christianity is Not Great: Why Faith Fails. I share it to let readers know what he thinks is important. He thinks my work is important. If you value his opinion perhaps you should too. 

Who Would WANT the Christian God Anyway?

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He makes too many big mistakes

If we could pose this question to folks coming out of their weekly worship services: Do they really want the God they worship? …we would hear enthusiastic affirmations, “Oh, Yes, I want the Lord! Our God is so wonderful.” But I wonder. Have they really thought it through? There are several things about this God that are a turnoff. Many of us would put he/she/it near the bottom of a list of gods to follow. Let’s look at a short list.

What About The Emotional Problem of Evil?

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I don't think there is a legitimate category called the "emotional" problem of evil. By definition, horrendous suffering should induce our utter emotional disgust and revulsion. If it didn't, we might be psychopaths. I see this invented category of evil as an apologist's trick of obfuscationism. That's because an unemotional Star Trek character like Spock does not exist. Trying to take away our natural revulsion to horrendous suffering of the highest order is attempting to divorce us from reality. If a god made us to weep uncontrollably at the sight of mass murder, gang rape, or the millions of people who suffer and die due to wars and pandemics, then I think it's a legitimate natural emotional feeling. That inbuilt humane feeling--allegedly created in us by god--justifies the rejection of any god who would allow horrendous suffering to happen if s/he could disallow it. Furthermore, the only type of "pastoral" counseling that can help people who suffer is to hear a good theodicy, and/or to have their petitionary prayers answered. Discus.

My Easter Epiphany

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In the summer of 2002, having completed my master’s thesis in early Christian and early Jewish apocalyptic literature at Princeton, I had relocated to New Haven, Connecticut. I was thrilled! I had been admitted to Yale for advanced graduate language study in preparation for my coming doctoral research. Then a devout Christian, little did I suspect during my summer German reading course that the basis for my religious faith would soon altogether vanish before my eyes. That autumn, along with studies in Syriac, Aramaic, classical Greek, and Hebrew, I began my coursework in classical (Roman) Latin texts. As a matter of strategy, I set to work at further broadening and secularizing my education beyond the traditional confines of Biblical and Christian Studies. 
You see, prior to Princeton, I had graduated with a Master of Divinity with high honors from Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology, the seminary that employed the famous evangelical apologist Dr. William Lane Craig. At Biola, not only were we not to dance, to smoke, to drink, or to watch ‘R-rated’ movies, we also had an unbearably limiting on-campus library, a heavily curated reading collection that promoted the good and holy path of our evangelical Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Despite this naive and parochial beginning to my academic journey, my honest, near-insatiable appetite for truth rapidly outgrew the faith-restrictive sandbox of biblicist evangelicalism. I was now at Yale, studying under some of the top humanist academicians, taking courses that were no longer under the thumb of theologians, contractually signed “confessions,” or religiously motivated institutions. In my Latin reading course in the Classics Department, we were reading Livy’s Latin Ab Urbe Condita Libri, Book 1, Livy’s recounting of the etiological legends of the earliest founding kings of Rome, a canonical history composed in the latter half of the first century B.C.E. I recall the very day, I had been translating Livy on my own, seated in the garden outside of the Sterling Memorial Library, the second largest academic library in North America. Little did I know that by the end of my reading, I would find myself at once crying tears of loss, fear, joy, and unprecedented mental exhilaration. Allow me to share with you now what I had read, in English translation, and the concomitant profound epiphany that for me irreversibly transformed the meaning of Easter and the postmortem tales of Jesus given in the Bible. In Book 1, 15-16, the great Roman historian passes along what he had previously confessed to be legendary accounts of Romulus, founding king of Rome (...poeticis magis decora fabulis…; preface 6-7), arguably the foremost iconic figure in Roman classical antiquity; Romulus was, within 2-3 centuries, to be eclipsed by the Jesus of Christianity. Completing his life-story of the deeds of Romulus, Livy finally writes:

Dr. Jaco Gericke: "Christian philosophy of religion as nonsense on stilts"

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In a previous post I responded to Thomas Nagel and Quentin Smith's claims that materialism isn't justified (Nagel), and/or A Vast Majority of Naturalists Hold To Naturalism Unreflectively (Smith). In it I mentioned Dr. Jaco Gericke's critique of Christian  philosophy of religion. I regard Gericke as having a singularly unique understanding of the relationship of biblical scholarship to the philosophy of religion, as he holds doctorates in both (see tag below). 
Of course, I'm honored Geicke recommended my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End, saying, “As an introduction to the ever-growing frustration with so-called Christian philosophy among many secular ex-Christian authors, Unapologetic is invaluable reading material for any reader interested in the wide variety of polemical issues it deals with.” My book is an extension of the same kind of arguments Dr. Hector Avalos used regarding Biblical studies in his masterful book, The End of Biblical Studies. Avalos also highly recommended my book Unapologetic.
I was similarly honored that both Gericke and Avalos wrote chapters in my aptly titled anthology, The End of Christianity. I've already posted an excerpt of Dr. Avalos' book, here. Since Dr. Gericke has recently posted his chapter online at academia.edu, below is that same chapter as published in The End of Christianity. Enjoy.

Bible Blunders & Bad Theology, Part 10

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Letting Satan have his way

Since this is Good Friday, we should pay homage to Matthew’s effort to merge Halloween with Easter. He reported that when Jesus died on the cross, many people came alive in their tombs, then on Easter morning walked around Jerusalem. (Matthew 27:52-53) Even many Christians dismiss this as a tall tale, but this is awkward: how can they argue that the resurrection of Jesus isn’t a tall tale as well?

 

Now, on with today’s topic.

 

How much time and energy have Christian apologists devoted to figuring out why God allows so much suffering? In fact, apologetics is quite an industry; there is so much incoherence in Christian theology that has to be dealt with, but especially suffering. I once found a stunning bit of information in a July 1993 article by Peter Steinfels in the religion section of the New York Times. He reported the amazing achievement of scholar Barry Whitney:

On Finding Jesus

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I'm here today to announce my conversion to Christianity. For several years now, I've been blogging at Debunking Christianity, and before that at my own site, arguing against what up until recently I saw as irrational beliefs. But last night, God spoke to me, and I am now saved. Praise the Lord!

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

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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:

GCRR Announces the 2021 International eConference on Religious Trauma!

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The Global Center for Religious Research (GCRR) is hosting the 2021 International eConference on Religious Trauma on May 29-30th. This virtual econference will bring together specialists, psychiatrists, and researchers from all over the world to discuss the causes of religious trauma, as well as its manifestations and treatment options for those afflicted with the sometimes adverse effects associated with religion. 
The purpose of this multidisciplinary virtual conference is to advance the clinical and psychological understanding of religious trauma. This two-day conference will provide an interdisciplinary platform for scholars, educators, and practitioners to present their research to international audiences from all different backgrounds.
Religious trauma results from an event, series of events, relationships, or circumstances within or connected to religious beliefs, practices, or structures that is experienced by an individual as overwhelming or disruptive and has lasting adverse effects on a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.
We're Service-Driven, Not Profit-Driven​.​ We Don't Have a Hidden Agenda. GCRR is the Global Leader in Religious Trauma Research. ​We Attract an International Audience. ​All Presentations are Recorded and Distributed for Free. Some conferences actually charge people an extra fee to receive the event video recordings. With GCRR, the $15 ticket price includes receiving the video recording of all presentations so you can watch any talk that you missed (or rewatch any talk all over again).​ Finally, All Event Proceeds Go toward Funding GCRR's Religious Trauma Research Project.

The Persistence of Christian Crazy

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“…it’s a problem for the rest of us…”


“Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” So said John the Baptist when he spotted Jesus heading toward him, according to the opening chapter of John’s gospel (v. 29). This gospel was written well after the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E. The Temple had been a great slaughterhouse, doing big business in the ritual killing of animals to atone for sins. John’s theology represents an adjustment, an upgrade from animal to human sacrifice: Jesus is the one and only Lamb whose death is needed to cancel sin. This is ancient superstition, a dramatic example of magical thinking, promoted even today by a vast church bureaucracy.

Dr. David Madison, Debunker Par Excellence!

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I'm a big fan of former Methodist minister and biblical scholar Dr. David Madison, who no longer believes. He understands how best to debunk Christianity. It has to do a great deal with the Bible. Since the Bible makes atheists out of readers--doing so will shock you to the bone--then how much more does reading what Madison says about the Bible. He honors us at DC by writing weekly essays on Friday, plus so much more, as he's also an administrator.  He honored me by asking for a Foreword to his book three years ago, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief (2nd ed. 2018). With his permission, here it is:

The Paradoxes of Denying Infinity

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It is common for theists — especially those familiar with the Kalam Cosmological Argument and William Lane Craig's defense of it — to deny the existence of actual infinities. And since the question of infinity recently came up in one of the comment threads here, I thought I'd re-publish an old blog post on this, with minor modifications.

It consists of two parts — the main blog post, plus (for those who want to delve a bit deeper into the issue) an addendum on the solution to Zeno's paradox:

Although it may be surprising, no claim I've made has been criticized more by the religious than the claim that there are actual infinities. Every time I so much as mention infinity, someone goes out of their way to "inform" me of the errors of my ways. And yet there appear to be clear cases of infinity all around us. For example, every time you move, you go through an infinite number of subintervals: You first go half of the way, then 3/4 of the way, followed by 7/8, 15/16, and so on, covering what is obviously an infinite series. Nevertheless, you are able to complete the motion.

Three Pillars of My Atheism

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“We have in this century discovered our universe”

My focus in this article will not be suffering—colossal human and animal suffering—that is built into creation, and renders the concept of a caring, competent god incoherent and meaningless. There are three other realities that make Christian theology highly suspect, and contributed mightily to my rejection of the faith; that’s my focus here, but please be assured that the scale of suffering alone blasts Christianity out of the water. Nobody has said it better than Stephen Fry, when he was asked in an interview what he—an outspoken atheist—would say to God if the latter confronted him at the Pearly Gates:

 

“I’d say, bone cancer in children…what’s that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It's not right. It's utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain? That's what I would say.”

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

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This is my day! I am probably 1/4th Irish. On this day I celebrate the memory of my Great Grandfather Tom Loftus, who was a co-founder of the American Baseball League with Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey. See here!

In Defense of the New Atheists: An Excerpt From My Book "Unapologetic"

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    It's time for atheist philosophers of religion to end their own sub-discipline under Philosophy proper. I explain in detail what I mean in my book Unapologetic: Why Philosophy of Religion Must End (2016). Below is an excerpt from it where I defend the new atheists Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Stenger from the philosophical elites. A few months ago I defended Hitchens' Razor. You can see the same dismissive attitude in both of these essays. I have no personal axe to grind. It's a principled disagreement. You can comment but before I'll respond you should first read my book.

The College/Seminary/University Transcripts of John W. Loftus

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I recently realized I hadn't shared my transcripts before. If you wonder what I know that makes my critique of Christianity quite powerful it's because I know the beast very well, having been taught a lot of things by the best of the lot. See what you think the next time someone calls me a "pop atheist", like Matthew Flannagan did recently, whom I regard as one of the most disingenuous Christian apologists out there (and there are plenty of them).     
---1977 B.R.E from Great Lakes Bible/Christian College [GLCC]/ Major: New Testament. Minor: Christian Ministries.
---1982 M.A. and M.Div from Lincoln Christian Seminary/University [LCS]. Major: Theology/Philosophy. Half of my hours were taken under James D. Strauss [JDS]
---1985 Th.M. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School [TEDS]. Major: Philosophy of Religion. Half of my hours were taken under William Lane Craig. [WLC] I've written a great deal about him and recommended the book Unreasonable Faith as a good response. 
---1986-1988 Ph.D studies at Marquette University [MU]. Double Major: Theology & Ethics. 

A Flare-up of Atheism in 1849

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“No preachers at my funeral, please”


Not long after the dawn of this new century, a New Atheism was born—at least it’s been called that. The best selling books by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Daniel Dennett stunned the Christian world: so much eloquent, outspoken criticism of theism. Perhaps the adjective “new” was meant to suggest that it was a fad, but these famous books spurred many other authors. By my count, well over four hundred books have now appeared since 2000, explaining in detail the falsification of theism, Christianity especially. These include, by the way, the five anthologies published by John Loftus—with two more in the works. In 2011, The Clergy Project was established, which is a support group for clergy who have become atheists. If there is no such thing as “new” atheism, there is a new level of energy and determination.

Andrew Loke on the Resurrection: A Skeptic's Review, by Eric Bess

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Andrew T. E. Loke 2020, Investigating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: A New Transdisciplinary Approach [New York: Routledge]
Despite the great fanfare for this book I observed in some quarters, this book didn't live up to its hype.
Loke's original contribution in this book is to condense all naturalistic alternatives to Jesus's supernatural resurrection to a few categories, then attempt to rebut them as viable explanations of our historical data, leaving the resurrection as the only alternative available. However, if his arguments against naturalistic explanations were poor, or if he couldn't cover all arguments one might offer for a given alternative (for example, by only refuting bad arguments) this would defeat the stated purpose of the book.
As it stands, I believe that's exactly the case. There's much I could say about this volume in terms of many individual arguments it makes that I perceive to be seriously wrong. But for the purpose of this review I'll focus on the following list of five criticisms: 1) Loke's book is extremely repetitive. 2) Loke is uncritically biased in ways that are patently obvious. 3) Loke misrepresents opposing scholarship. 4) Loke relies superficially on a book on rumor psychology when he should have looked more into the psychology of religion. 5) Loke thinks persecution solves almost any deficiency in his argumentation that results from his lack of evidence.
I will now elaborate on each of these points.

The Prophecies of Q, by Adrienne LaFrance

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A new religion is born of dangerous American conspiracies. The Atlantic magazine is doing a superior take down of it HERE. To learn about its origins, predictions, and conjectures on who Q is read this recent LINK.

Required Reading, Julia Galef's Book "The Scout Mindset"

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Julia Galef is the host of the popular Rationally Speaking podcast. She has an excellent book coming out titled, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don't. From what I can tell based upon her TED Talk below, her book could help believers look at their own religion as nonbelievers, outsiders. It's the best way to approach what we believe in a wide array of areas, dispassionately seeking the truth as best as possible. Required reading!

All Things Are Possible . . . in Books, Films, and Campfire Tales

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    Those who have lived long enough will recall the Cecil B. DeMille 1956 cinematic classic The Ten Commandments, starring Anne Baxter, Yul Brynner, and Charlton Heston, the blockbuster Hollywood portrayal of Moses (played by Heston) as he leads the classical Hebrew people out of slavery in Egypt and through Sinai to the “promised land” of Canaan. As a child, I literally shook with excitement during the climactic scene where Moses raises his divine staff over the Red Sea, only to observe the spectacle of Yahweh parting those millions upon millions of gallons of water so that His chosen people may pass, escaping the encroachment of Pharaoh’s armies. The god of Moses surely had unmatched might . . .  on the silver screen, that is!