The God of Miracles in the Bible Does Not Exist!

There is no objective evidence for a god who did the miracles as reported in the Bible. Here is a good introduction to my book on it.
Accordingly, we can simply dismiss such claims and a god who reportedly did them, as I argued in a peer reviewed paper published by Internet Infidels.
For needed background information click on my name at Internet Infidels.
I hope this helps in your search for the truth! It should at least be interesting for you. If my readers know of anyone who thinks otherwise, and I mean anyone, please send them here! Cheers!

What Motivates an Atheist to be a Good Person?

Every Monday morning I'm posting submitted essays, excerpts from my books, and some of the best posts of the past. This post today is one of the first ones I made to this blog back in 2006. Enjoy!

Many Christians will claim that atheists simply do not have an ultimate motivation for being good. What motivates an atheist to be a good and kind person? Why should we act morally? J.P. Moreland believes atheists can and in fact do good moral deeds, “But what I’m arguing,” he says, “is, What would be the point? Why should I do these things if they are not satisfying to me or if they are not in my interests? [Does God Exist: The Great Debate (Thomas Nelson, 1990), pp. 118].
C. Stephen Layman argues in a similar fashion. He points out that the main difference between secular and religious moral views are that “the only goods available from a secular perspective are earthly goods,” whereas a religious perspective “recognizes these earthly goods as good, but it insists that there are non-earthly or transcendent goods.” Secular ethics, he says, must pay for the individual here on earth. “By way of contrast with the secular view, it is not difficult to see how morality might pay if there is a God of the Christian type.” [The Shape of the Good: Christian Reflections on the Foundations of Ethics (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1991)].

They’re Picking on Religion, So Onward Christian Soldiers


But a few Standards of Honesty are in order

While I was in the process of writing my 2016 book, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Belief, I set up a Facebook page to promote it. When the book was published, I did weekly paid boosts to help sales. I specified the target markets, e.g.. atheists, secular, humanist. Even so—don’t ask me how—my boosts showed up on Christian Facebook pages. What horrible reactions! None of the enraged Christians showed the least interest in engaging in the issues I raised. It was all hate and hasty conclusions, e.g., you were never a real Christian, you’re a terrible person, you’re going to hell. I eventually gave up on the paid boosts. So I guess the Christians won that round.

Trump is a God—Just Not the One That Christians Believe, by David Eller


Loki, the Norseman Trickster Chaos god
Beginning today, and every Monday morning that follows, I'll be posting submitted essays, excerpts from my books, and some of the best posts of the past. Today is a post by Professor David Eller. He's no stranger to readers of my books. He's one of our best and important scholars on religion. 
So as the author of an excellent book on Donald Trump, I asked him to write something for us all to ponder, especially in light of being a twice impeached one-term multiple indicted president. Dr. Eller sent me this:




Trump’s greatest trick is convincing Christians he is not a trickster.


The slavish and really obscene worship of Donald Trump by his misguided acolytes is incomprehensible from a purely political or personal perspective: Americans do not typically grovel at the feet of politicians or erect golden-calf images of them, and Trump is obviously a more despicable person than most would-be leaders. 


However, as others have commented, Trump’s Svengali hold on his “base” makes more sense from a religious viewpoint: Christians and conservatives, who have been programmed to genuflect to power and who see him as a perfectly-flawed suffering servant display the same unquestioning commitment to him and his untruths as they do to their god and its untruth.

I Plan On Monday Posts

My plan is to post excerpts from my books on Mondays. This will include excerpts from all of the authors too. I must resist the urge to revise most everything I wrote! Okay now, OPEN THREAD!

Is the Death of Christian Belief Coming Soon?


Cheap knockoff superstitions are taking over

This really is a puzzle: why haven’t decent devout believers—by the millions—founded an organization called Christians Against Televangelism? They should be so appalled/enraged that televangelists have turned the faith into a showbusiness money-grab, enabling so many of them to become multi-millionaires. They’ve reimagined Jesus as big business, exploiting magical thinking found in the New Testament: believe in Jesus to get eternal life. This turned out to be a major made-for-TV gimmick. 


But televangelism is actually the crass culmination of the church’s centuries-long embrace of show business. Millions of churches have been built, the theatres—the stages—for performances. Among these are the spectacular cathedrals, with magnificent stained glass, paintings and sculptures. No one has been able to surpass the Catholic church, in terms of costuming, props, and ritual. All this makes it so easy to get away with magical thinking.

Absolutely Amazing!! Watch as a Hawk catches my squirrel friend and I save him from certain death!!

LINK!! [Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.]

Can Christianity Survive—With So Many Problems and Scandals?


2,000 years of momentum probably can’t save it

Surely the clergy, those most in tune with God, must be the happiest people on the planet: they enjoy a personal relationship with their creator, nurtured through years of prayer and pious study. How can their constant refrain not be, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”? (Psalm 118:24) But this doesn’t seem to be the way things are working out. A few weeks ago I published an article here titled, The Morale of Christian Clergy Is Taking a Big Hit

based partially on a study that many clergy aren’t doing so well. Then I came across this article, United Methodist pastors feel worse and worry more than a decade ago:

“A survey of 1,200 United Methodist clergy found that half have trouble sleeping, a third feel depressed and isolated, half are obese, and three-quarters are worried about money...[they] feel worse and worry more than they did a decade ago.”

I suspect that the vulnerability of Christianity might be a contributing factor—and its weaknesses had not been so openly discussed just a decade ago, although that discussion had been stimulated in 2001 with the publication of Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion. Sam Harris followed in 2004 with The End of Faith, and Christopher Hitchens in 2009 with God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Never before had the Christian faith been critiqued so publicly, so devastatingly—and other secular authors have been encouraged to add their insights. There are now well more than five hundred books—most published since 1999—that explain, in detail, the falsification of theism, Christianity especially. And, of course, the Internet has provided a platform for atheist/secular thinkers to spread the word that belief in god(s) is hard to justify.

Aesop's Fables in the New Testament


It can be interesting to try to work out the sources used by the New Testament authors. Here are some examples from both the author of Matthew and the author of Luke-Acts that ultimately come from Aesop's Fables.

The first is about a fisherman and his flute. Matthew and Luke have matching words and phrases in a Jesus parable with children singing the song of the Aesop's fisherman to their friends.

The Fisherman Piping
A Fisherman who could play the flute went down one day to the sea-shore with his nets and his flute; and, taking his stand on a projecting rock, began to play a tune, thinking that the music would bring the fish jumping out of the sea. He went on playing for some time, but not a fish appeared: so at last he threw down his flute and cast his net into the sea, and made a great haul of fish. When they were landed and he saw them leaping about on the shore, he cried, "You rascals! you wouldn't dance when I piped: but now I've stopped, you can do nothing else!"
This fable is mentioned in Histories of Herodotus, written around 430 BCE.
Matthew 11:16-17 ESV
16 "But to what shall I compare [ομοιωσω] this generation? It is like children [παιδιοις] sitting [καθημενοις] in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates, 17 "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not [ηυλησαμεν υμιν και ουκ ωρχησασθε εθρηνησαμεν και ουκ] mourn.'
Luke 7:31-32 ESV
31 "To what then shall I compare [ομοιωσω] the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children [παιδιοις] sitting [καθημενοις] in the marketplace and calling to one another, "'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not [ηυλησαμεν υμιν και ουκ ωρχησασθε εθρηνησαμεν και ουκ] weep.'

The next example is a parable in the form of a joke where two examples set the expectation and the third reverses the expectation. The third expectation is like the Aesop's Miser who buried his treasure so that it was useless.

“My overdosing on religion was becoming a serious problem”


It’s a problem for the world as well

When Christopher Hitchens died in December 2011, a volcano of Christian hate erupted. Devout folks who’d never heard of him suddenly found out that he’d written a book (2009) titled, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingThey spewed rage and invective on social media, savoring the idea that Hitchens was suffering—and would suffer forever—in the fires of hell. “Love your enemy” (Jesus-script, Matthew 5:44) has probably rarely been so widely ignored. Ironically, their fury probably drove sales of the book—which even now, fourteen years later, has a high Amazon sales ranking. 


It is my suspicion that most of these outraged folks are also unaware of the extensive role religion has played in poisoning the human experience. The gospel of John fueled anti-Semitism, no doubt inspiring Martin Luther’s murderous rage against the Jews, which in turn helped provide the Nazi rationale for the Holocaust. The Crusades were religion-motivated wars. Slavery was easily championed by good Christians who took their Bibles seriously. Our democracy is in jeopardy because obsessive-compulsive believers want to impose their understanding of god on everyone. The evidence of religious poison is on the news every day.

Trying to Make a Horrible Jesus Quote Look Good


But wishful thinking and tortured logic can’t make it happen

The high-profile, very wealthy televangelists—Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen come to mind—make us wonder if they really do believe in Jesus. They have played major roles in turning Jesus into big business. Their lifestyles don’t seem compatible with the ancient preacher portrayed in the gospels. Jesus, so we’re told, championed the poor and condemned the rich, e.g., Mark 10:25 (KJV): “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.Luke 6:20 (NRSVUE): “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:21 (KJV): “Jesus said unto him, ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.’”


So pardon our suspicion that Copeland and Osteen—and many others—are phonies. They’re in it for the money.

Daniel Mocsny On Facts and Trump's Big Lie

I'd love to find a planet where people agree on facts! As evidence that Earth is not that planet, a recent poll found that 63% of Republican Party members in the USA continue to believe Trump's Big Lie that he won the 2020 election. There's a phenomenon in psychology called denialism, a person's choice to deny reality as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth. There is also disinformation propagated by various individuals and organized groups with the aim of confusing people about the facts. For example, the disinformation campaign funded by fossil fuel companies and conservative think tanks has sown profound confusion about the facts of climate science, much as the Tobacco Institute earlier pioneered the same FLICC model to dupe people into doubting the health hazards of tobacco use. (FLICC: fake experts, logical fallacies, impossible / inconsistent expectations (demanding an impossible standard of proof from the other side while requiring little or no standard from one's own side), cherry picking, conspiracy ideation. I'd like to squeeze in a letter T for tribalism / team loyalty, but that would wreck the acronym.)

Religionists and denialists use similar methods, and are sometimes the same people. I suspect Trump's appeal to America's Christians is due to the preparatory work most of them received via religious indoctrination. They acquired the habit of trusting the verbal pronouncements of their team's authorities without evidence or fact-checking. All Trump had to do was move into the cognitive house already built.

Testing our Tolerance for Tedious God-Talk


Why would a good, wise god put up with it?

The authors of the four New Testament gospels had a simple goal: to promote belief in the Christ they worshipped. Scholar Charles Guignebert, in his 1935 classic work Jesus, wrote: 


“It was not the essence of Jesus that interested the authors of our Gospels, it was the essence of Christ, as their faith pictured him. They are exclusively interested, not in reporting what they know, but in proving what they believe.” 


In other words, they were not historians, but propagandists. In fact, intensive critical study of the gospels has demonstrated that these documents do not qualify as history. Their authors don’t identify their sources, but it’s even worse than that. Matthew and Luke copied major portions of Mark’s gospel without mentioning that’s what they’d done, i.e., they plagiarized—and changed Mark’s text to suit their own agendas.

Daniel Mocsny On Faith and the Ontological Argument

As an example, suppose a street vendor offers to sell me a Rolex watch for $50. A check online shows Rolex watches selling for $12,000 and up (way up). By coincidence, the street vendor's "Rolex" comes with no kind of certification. Instead the street vendor says "Trust me." The vendor provides no other evidence of authenticity. I would have to take the vendor on faith, since I have no evidence that the "Rolex" is real.
A watch whose authenticity I must take on faith is less perfect than a watch whose authenticity carries a bit more heft, such as appraisals by multiple independent experts (who don't stand to benefit from the sale, and who stand to lose if they can be shown to be wrong), along with a certificate of authenticity from a credible organization that has an incentive to be honest (such as being sued for damages if it issues false certificates). In the event of a dispute, I could probably get a court of law to rule on the authenticity of an expensive watch.
While I would never actually buy a Rolex when a $20 digital watch keeps time well enough, this example shows how something I can verify as genuine to a high probability beats something I have to take entirely on faith.
You can see where I'm going with this. A God whose only evidence is the preacher's command to "trust me" is less perfect than any God (or, perhaps, any thing) that doesn't require faith. Especially when the preacher or vendor who says "trust me" stands to gain if I do.
Thus if I imagine a perfect God, in line with the Ontological Argument, I imagine a God who doesn't require me to rely on faith.

Papias and Earliest Gospel Traditions


In the first 2-3 centuries of the Christian religion, we observe astonishing creative diversity. As this essay reveals, this diversity characterized the movement(s) from the beginning, even in the the initial decades of Christian story-telling. When we read Papias (preserved in fragmentary form in Eusebius, EH 3.39), we find a messy description of earliest cultic "gospel" traditions. Circa 100 C.E., he composed a (since lost) five-book work titled Guide to the Master’s Sayings. Assuming his achieved prominence within nascent Christian communities even to undertake such a project and have it survive and quoted for centuries, we may surmise that Papias’s proximal acquaintance with these early story-telling communities began quite a bit prior to his published work, that is, in the late first century. 

The Eccentric, Inflated, Dangerous Theology of John’s Gospel


Read it and weep—and get over it

Here’s a book title that would dumbfound many devout churchgoers: This Tragic Gospel: How John Corrupted the Heart of Christianity. The author, Dr. Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., states that the author of John intended his gospel to replace the earlier gospels (p. 180), and he refers to the “howling conflict between Mark and John…” (p. 13) Burton Mack wrote: “What a somersault, turning the page between Luke’s life of Jesus and the Gospel of John” (p. 175, Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth). Peter Brancazio notes that John’s gospel “will come as an astonishing surprise. Here the reader will encounter a radically different portrait of Jesus, both in terms of his message and his person” (p. 373, The Bible from Cover to Cover: How Modern-Day Scholars Read the Bible).

Magical Thinking Is Christianity’s Biggest Mistake


There are plenty of other mistakes as well

If I were asked to debate a flat-earther, Holocaust denier, or someone who is convinced the moon landings were faked, I would decline the invitation. Nor would I debate an astrologer, the local store-front medium who tells futures using a crystal ball, or anyone who believes in chem-trails. All of these folks have been groomed in one way or another, by various kooks and quacks. 


They haven’t done/ refuse to do /don’t know how to do the study/research to find out how wrong they are.

I'm Taking a Break. I'll Be Back!

I have some important things to do. So I'll be away for up to a month. You can continue to expect Dr. Madison's excellent Friday postings though!

I ask our readers to do the single most important thing to increase our readership while I'm away. If there are some posts of ours you like, link to them on Twitter, Facebook, and especially Reddit, like r/atheism, r/DebateReligion, or r/DebateAnAtheist.

I now declare this to be an open thread! Enjoy.

Asking for EVIDENCE for God: Why Is that So Hard to Grasp?


Sentiments about Jesus do not qualify

According to the devout, evidence for their god is so obvious, “I feel Jesus in my heart!” “Just open the Bible, it’s right there.” “People all over the world have seen visions of the Virgin Mary.” “Every day I receive guidance from my god in prayer.” “The holy spirit fills me with joy during Sunday worship.” 


Please note these claims are usually made by people who have been groomed from a very young age to accept what they’re been told by preachers and priests. Or maybe they converted to Christianity as adults—which is no surprise, since the marketing of Jesus is a multi-billion-dollar business. There are thousands of churches ready to welcome converts into their grooming communities.

New Book Just Published: Guessing About God, By David Madison


I am pleased to announce that my new book, Guessing About God, as of today, is available on Amazon, Kindle and paperback.  


Paperback: Here is the link.


Kindle: Here is the link.


This book is the product of a very fruitful, rewarding collaboration with Tim Sledge, author of Goodbye Jesus and Four Disturbing Questions with One Simple Answer


Guessing About God is Volume 1 in a reissue of my 2016 book, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief, covering three problems:

Here Is How We Do the Ontological Argument Correctly!

"Overall, I can conceive of a being than which is greater than the being in the Bible." --Jake Johnson on Facebook.

Open Thread On July 4th. Bring the Fireworks!

Not that any thread left to itself doesn't end up discussing anything and everything! ;-)

I'm busy right now so don't send any comments for me to respond to.

Get ready, get set, GO!

On Thanking God for Cruel Randomness, by Rob J. Hyndman

What follows comes from an online book by Rob J. Hyndman, titled Unbelievable. He says of himself: "I was a Christian for nearly 30 years, and was well-known as a writer and Bible teacher within the Christadelphian community. I gave up Christianity when I no longer thought that there was sufficient evidence to support belief in the Bible. This is a personal memoir describing my journey of deconversion....In this book, I reflect on how I was fooled, and why I changed my mind."
On Thanking God for Cruel Randomness

The practice of thanking God for safety and protection, for food and drink, for health and well-being, or for any other “blessings”, might appear to be a commendable habit, but it is actually deeply troubling because of what it implies.

A miraculously intervening God is an unjust capricious God, sparing some and saving others, apparently on a whim.

If God really was selecting people to protect on the basis of some bigger picture, then you would not expect the number of people who are killed in various ways to be subject to the rules of probability. However, I can predict with remarkable accuracy the road toll each year, the number of people who will be struck by lightning, the number of people who will be killed by shark attacks, and so on. Each of these causes of death has a certain rate of occurrence that is quite predictable.

It is not just the number of deaths that is predictable, it is the whole probability distribution of deaths that is predictable. If you know the average number of deaths by car accidents in a city, then it is possible to calculate all the percentiles for that city. For example, you can estimate the numbers of deaths that would be exceeded only once every ten years. When you do this for many cities, you find that the 1-in-10-year extremes are exceeded in approximately 10% of cities each year. This is exactly what you would expect if the world was random, but not what you would expect if anyone was in control.

Car accidents, diseases, and industrial accidents all follow the same probability distribution, known as the “Poisson distribution”. The Poisson probability distribution is based on the assumption that accidents happen randomly. It is simply not possible for tragedies to appear to follow the Poisson probability distribution while actually being controlled by God. Any interventions of God that interfere in the random processes would be detectable. If they are not detectable, then they are random and God is not involved.

If we accept that the world is random, and that bad things happen to everyone by chance, where does that leave God? Either he does not exist, or he has no power, or he does not care. Whichever of those answers you prefer, God does not deserve our thanks. LINK.

What Would Convince Us Christianity is True?

We atheists are asked to imagine what would convince us that Christianity is true. The short answer is this: We need sufficient objective evidence that can transform the negligible amount of human testimony found in the Bible into verified eyewitness testimony. But it does not exist. Given the extraordinary nature of the miracle tales in the Bible, this requirement means the past has to be changed and that can’t be done. Let's explore this.

Consider the Christian belief in the virgin-birthed deity. Just ask for the objective evidence. There is no objective evidence to corroborate the Virgin Mary’s story. We hear nothing about her wearing a misogynistic chastity belt to prove her virginity. No one checked for an intact hymen before she gave birth, either. After Jesus was born, Maury Povich wasn’t there with a DNA test to verify Joseph was not the baby daddy. We don’t even have first-hand testimonial evidence for it since the story is related to us by others, not by Mary or Joseph. At best, all we have is second-hand testimony by one person, Mary, as reported in two later anonymous gospels, or two people if we include Joseph, who was incredulously convinced Mary was a virgin because of a dream--yes, a dream (see Matthew 1:19-24).[1] We never get to independently cross-examine Mary and Joseph, or the people who knew them, which we would need to do since they may have a very good reason for lying (pregnancy out of wedlock, anyone?).

The Morale of Christian Clergy Is Taking a Big Hit


No surprise, given the mess their religion is in


1.     Christians can’t agree on who is right, what god wants


When Christians are off to church on a Sunday morning, they might have to drive past a few churches of other denominations. Apparently it never crosses their minds to stop at one of these—after all, “We’re all Christians, aren’t we?” But that’s exactly the problem: Christians have never been able to agree on what Christianity is. They’ve been fighting about this for centuries; the Catholic/Protestant divide is especially pronounced. We can be sure Catholics won’t stop at Protestant churches, and Protestants—with contempt and ridicule for the Vatican—wouldn’t think of stopping at a Catholic church.

Catholic Apologist William Albrecht Says I've Strengthened His Faith!

Is this an honor or disgrace? What is going on in his head? What is the message he's telling others? On his Facebook wall Albrecht wrote:
An atheist that has made me a better theist is John W. Loftus. For atheistic books, it’s hard to top John. John is fierce, brutal, and ruthless in his critique of Christianity. This is what we need. We need our faith battered and hammered. If it can survive this battery and hammering and shine through, then you have further conviction for being a devout believer. It is my firm conviction that a seasoned Protestant debater would be devoured alive by John.

People have asked me if I intend to continue debating John. The answer is a strong and firm: YES. I will continue to demolish my friend in debate after debate until the day he is sat down in Mass as a believer. That would make it all worth it in the end. LINK

Further Discussions with Apologist David Geisler

David Geisler: So John why did you say to me that it could be that God does exist?

Me: Because nonsense might turn out to be right even though it's nonsense.

John, I’m really disappointed. Your answers to me are so much nonsense.

Me: Sorry. You don't know what I know. What I know can be found in my books.

John, yes I read a few. You say something can come from nothing. That’s so irrational and stupid.

Me: What I don't say is that a fully existing triune God has forever existed with three eternal persons, which are inexplicable individually and corporately.

John, it’s illogical to conclude that quantum fields are the cause of everything, and say they do not have intentionality nor morality nor intelligence. Something or someone had to create us because we couldn’t just come from nothing! Now, if something can not come from nothing then the only conclusion you or anyone can come to is that something must’ve necessarily always existed. What’s illogical about this conclusion?

Me: My position is we don't know yet. That's a good enough answer at this point. When we don't know, we shouldn't prematurely jump to any conclusions.

Me: But we can, however, eliminate some answers, complex ones per Ockham's Razor. As I have said, your complex sectarian God-answer is one of the least acceptable answers because of the complex nature of a trinity--with the deified human side of Jesus joined forever at the hip to the 2nd person of the trinity. Your god looks exactly like the invention of ancient superstitious people, who required his people do barbaric deeds like child sacrifice, reigned like an ancient uncaring despot who showed no concern for his subjects as we see in the book of Job, who doesn't show any awareness of any medicinal knowledge prior to us discovering vaccines, pain killers, or antibiotics.

Me: You presuppose your concept of god with everything you write. That is illogical!

Me: Just stop your evangelizing. You are uniformed, illogical, and delusional, no different from other religionists like the Mormons.

The Bible Can Be a Believer’s Worst Nightmare


And it’s a go-to book for sustaining ignorance and intolerance 

In my article here last week, I discussed six Bible texts that qualify as dealbreakers: upon analyzing these carefully, believers would be justified in saying, “Enough already,” and head for the exit. The cumulative impact of these six—and many more—should put traditional belief in the gutter. The feel-good Bible verses preached from the pulpit fall far short of cancelling the far too many terribly bad Bible texts. 


The worst nightmare becomes even more obvious when we step back and take a look at the big picture. There is no way the Bible meets the high standards that we would expect in a book written/dictated by a wise, perfect god. For a close look at this problem, check out Valerie Tarico’s article published in January 2018: Why Is the Bible So Badly Written?

On Revising My Book, Cancel Culture, and De-Platforming Authors


The good news is that we are revising my anthology God & Horrendous Suffering!! I'm excited about that, big time. This is a second edition from the earlier hardback published in 2021. So what is different? It’s being put out in paperback so it is less expensive. It has a horrendous looking contorted tree on the cover. I’ve rearranged the chapters into a better outline. A new chapter has been added by David Madison on World War I. Every author was given the chance to revise their chapters, and their revisions make this book better. I revised everything I wrote for this edition. It has also been thoroughly proofread, so hopefully we’ve rid ourselves of typographical and grammatical errors.

Dr. Robert M. Price will again have his excellent chapter in it from the first edition, "Theodicy: The Idiocy." GCRR President Dr. Darren Slade and I thought about this choice and decided to go with it, against the methods of cancel culture. Here's my explanation:

I'm a progressive democrat and I vehemently disagree with Price’s conservative socio/political/economical views. I suspect the other authors in this book disagree too, especially with Price's support of ex-President Trump, a malignant narcissist. Even Bill Barr thinks this of Trump, a former Attorney General who served under him. Barr said it best on Face the Nation (June 18, 2023). "Trump is a consummate narcissist” who “constantly engages in reckless conduct” and will “always put his own interests and gratify his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests. There’s no question about it.”

Be assured, Price’s conservative views do not surface in any of the chapters he has written for any of my anthologies, including this one. Price is one of our experts in theology and biblical studies. On these subjects his knowledge is worthwhile and important, despite his ignorance on other important issues. What Price doesn't yet realize, if he ever will, is that by debunking Christianity like he does, he also undermines the conservative agenda! It removes the theological support for anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, sexism, capital punishment, racist bigotry, and the radical individualism of unbridled capitalism.

A good analogy at this point is to look at the origins of modern science. Christians argue that Christianity is true because most scientists were Christians at the time of the scientific revolution. Of course, one might as well count heads and declare Christianity is true because it's currently the world's leading religion with the most people who believe it, a known fallacy. But if we take a serious look at the data, the truth is that no matter what the origins of modern science were, the methods of science undermine the Christian faith at every crucial juncture. See my book, Christianity in the Light of Science for more. That's what Price is unwittingly doing with Christianity, and I don't mind all that much helping him do so.

I am a staunch supporter of Bernie Sanders and his progressive socio-political policies. However, I have mixed feelings about cancel culture. To be sure, cultures move on. Values change. Each successive culture decides what it will value. So every bit of progress in today's world will, of necessity, involve a clash between generations, genders, race, ethnicity, the rich vs the poor, and so on. As a culture, we are in the midst of an intense period where we’re deciding what those values will be. I support the issues that cancel culture espouses, most emphatically. There are some ideas we shouldn’t provide an audience for, or debate, for it helps to legitimize them.

That being said, I abhor violence toward others who disagree, especially bloodied noses, broken bones, bloodshed, and murder. When the conflict of ideas pushes the United States to the brink of a civil war it’s time to back off. Experts now say that the indicators show we're on the verge of a civil war, which will be a much different war, but a war just the same. I can’t say how much we should back off, nor how, or on which issues. But when our culture clash approaches violence, we need someone on our side to slow us all down by debating the issues, even the abhorrent ones. That's already being done by Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and others. I think we should be tolerant of people on our side who are willing to debate these issues, even as we show support for those who use force in support of the issues through protests, civil disobedience, non-bodily harmful actions like the removal, desecration and toppling of some statues, and/or renaming of cities. Again, Price’s conservative views do not surface in any of the chapters in my anthologies. This is the line of demarcation for me as an editor. I think it should also be the one point many of us can agree on.

Way back in 2011 I had written about some historically bad secular/atheist intellectuals, who had changed the world. Intellectuals like Marx, Tolstoy, Sartre and Chomsky. I wrote about this before the Elevator Gate Scandal, the Me Too Movement, Black Lives Matter, and the Rise of Christian Fascism to power. I had mentioned some contemporary secular/atheist intellectuals who have now shown themselves to be bad people in varying degrees. I had said at the time:
The reality is that I see no significant relationship between one's personal life and the ideas he argues for much at all. The arguments should stand on their own merit. If we dismiss a person's argument because his personal life is a mess then we should dismiss a great many people's arguments for the same reason.
I know people will disagree, so let's hear it in the comments. Is a disagreement on this issue, the one where Price's chapter is included despite vehemently disagreeing with his socio-politics, an issue in which he also should be cancelled as an author?

On Making Sense of the Rapture

The only way to make sense of the Rapture is to believe in a Flat earth and a heavenly palace of abodes in the sky above.

A Tale of Two Magicians


In Acts 8:9-13, the Apostle Philip encounters The Amazing Simon in Samaria. Simon enthralled the people but Philip baptized Simon, Simon followed Philip, and was amazed by the signs and miracles he saw.

In Acts 13:4-12, Barnabas and Paul, aka Saul, traveled to Cyprus and met proconsul Sergius Paulus who had a Jewish magician friend named Bar-Jesus, aka Elymas, who opposed Barnabas and Paul. Paul temporarily blinded Elymas.

In Acts 24, Paul is brought to trial before Felix the governor. After speaking with Paul, Felix decided to wait a few days until Lysias came. Lysias was the Roman tribune who took Paul into custody.

When Paul was brought back, Felix had his Jewish wife, Drusilla, with him.

Now let's play Bingo with Acts and Antiquities of the Jews.

Antiquities of the Jews 20.7.2 [excerpt] (20.142-144a)
While Felix was procurator of Judea, he saw this Drusilla, and fell in love with her; for she did indeed exceed all other women in beauty; and he sent to her a person whose name was Simon one of his friends; a Jew he was, and by birth a Cypriot, and one who pretended to be a magician, and endeavored to persuade her to forsake her present husband, and marry him; and promised, that if she would not refuse him, he would make her a happy woman.

Acts 8:9 (NRSV)
9 Now a certain man named Simon had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great.

Acts 13:4, 6-8 (NRSV)
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they met a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But the magician Elymas (for that is the translation of his name) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

Acts 24:24 (NRSV)
24 Some days later when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him speak concerning faith in Christ Jesus.

A Pop-Quiz for Christians, Number 8


Dealbreakers in the Bible  

Based on my own experience—I was pastor of churches for nine years, and have authored two books critical of Christianity—I’m pretty sure of this: devout folks don’t want to think too much about issues that can undermine their faith. Which means that reading the Bible is almost a No-No. Because there is so much in scripture that should prompt educated people to say, “Well, that can’t be right.” There are so many deal-breaker texts, just in the gospels. So in this Pop-Quiz for Christians I want to focus on some of these really embarrassing texts. How can the faithful read, study, reflect seriously on these patches of scripture—and not head for the exit?

My Response to Dr. David Geisler: "If your god exists at all, he literally only wants fools to believe. Wear that as a badge if you want to, but keep this foolishness to yourself."

I have had a running discussion with apologist Dr. David Geisler for about two years now (just a guess). Initially he reached out to me and said he won't quit me, that he will keep reaching out to me for as long as it takes.

We've met and have an otherwise good relationship. He is a really great guy, friendly, with a good family, good reputation, and all. But like all such discussions I get impatient and tired with delusional and obtuse people who respond with illusion and sophistry. I had sent him this link, which he responded to in part, by saying:
John you say in that article “Since there’s no good reason to believe the virgin birth myth, there’s no good reason to believe the resurrection myth, either, since the claim of Jesus’ resurrection is told in those same Gospels. If the one is to be dismissed, so should the other.[13]” John, if someone has already demonstrated good evidence for the existence of a theistic God, then you cannot rule out the truth of a virgin birth off hand. Certainly, if God can do the big miracle, He can do the little miracles. I noticed that when you attack the historical evidence for the resurrection , you do it indirectly not directly…saying if we can’t believe the miracle of the virgin birth, then we can’t believe the resurrection. But then you only accept the proof of a virgin birth that could be shown in the laboratory! Is that realistic? Can we not know some things to be true even if it’s not proven in the laboratory? I think your standard to determine truth as only those things that can be proven scientifically is too one sided! How do you prove the philosophy of scientism? Furthermore, if miracles are possible, a virgin birth is possible.
I responded as follows:

Take the Selective Attention Test

It's a good test! See how YOU do.

Reflections On Dr. Randal Rauser's Resigning from Taylor Seminary

I don't know any details of Dr. Rauser's resignation. Was he pushed out? I don't know. But I'm sure he'll still be around, doing his thing.

Sometime in 2011 I was approached by Rauser to co-write a book that was titled, God or Godless?: One Atheist. One Christian. Twenty Controversial Questions. I had twin goals in co-writing it. The first one was to force Christians to think about what they would believe if the Bible itself was undermined as a source of divine truth. My claim is that they probably won't believe at all. I'm trying to drive a wedge between the Bible and the brain of the believer. The second goal is to show in a cumulative fashion that Randal's God, having the three main attributes most Christians believe in today--omnibenevolence, omniscience, and omnipotence--does not exist. Here is an excerpt from my concluding thoughts. Later, Rauser brought me up to Canada to promote our book with a debate. Here is a LINK about our book, the reviews it received, our debate, and more.

Rauser is a knowledgeable passionate apologist, one of the very best as apologists go, if being one is something to be admired. He seeks to effectively communicate the best that apologists have to offer to non-believers. He is also willing to change his mind in defense of his faith. This would be admirable, except that I have said he will say anything to defend his faith. I stand by that. He claims to have an inner witness of a Spirit guide that proves his faith is true, so he can change his mind and still claim his spirit guide is guiding him. I've critiqued such a view as nonsense.

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 frustration with his obtuseness!!), I asked Randal to consider writing a blurb for my very last book on the incompatibility of God and horrendous suffering. It was released at the end of 2021. He read it 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.
Rauser also asked me to debate him on the topic, God of Genocide: A Debate on Biblical Violence, of which I only have my opening statement, which I find is pretty good. I wish him well, and hope that sometime in the future his spirit guide (which is in his head, and there alone) will tell him he's defending nonsense.

“Their only hope of being rescued from the hell Hitler has made of Europe”


The ongoing scandal of god’s negligence

It’s not a stretch to say that the Bible is one of Christian theology’s biggest burdens. It portrays a god that theologians have worked so hard to modify and refine; the very rough edges have to be knocked off. Among many other negatives, the Christian god is a terror-and-guilt specialist, because nothing you say or think escapes his notice. This is Jesus-script in 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.” The apostle Paul also had an opinion on god getting even: “…on the day when, according to my gospel, God through Christ Jesus judges the secret thoughts of all” (Romans 2:16)—after all, how else would prayer work if god doesn’t know your secret thoughts? Hence devout Christians are confident that their god closely monitors every human being—all eight billion of us.

Seeking to Confirm One's Faith is the Worst Method for Determining Which Religion is True, if There is One.

A Muslim named Bishr Nayal is commenting here at DC, which I welcome. He quoted Quran 30:58 which reads, "In the Qur'an We have explained things to people in myriad ways. But no matter what Sign you bring to them, those who are resolved upon denying the Truth will say: 'You are given to falsehood." But this quote can be used to say other believers in different sects within Islam are wrong too. Nayal, you are seeking to confirm your faith. Almost anyone can do that. Given the prolific number of religions and sects on the planet, you know that they do it. Yet you're doing the same thing! This is the worst method for determining which religion is true, if there is one.

I've written a book for you. It's called, "The Outsider Test for Faith." Read it. If you choose not to do so, then at this point you are not interested in knowing if your religious faith is true. It can be found here on Amazon. Go ahead. What have you got to lose? It's about methodology.

One thing is sure, whether your read my book or not, seeking to confirm one's faith is emphatically NOT the way to know if your religion is true. It's a known cognitive bias. Agreed? If not, why not? See this explained with regard to St. Anselm. Okay, now read the introduction to my book, to whet your appetite.

Suspicious Interpolations, by Greg G.


Bible scholars often have suspicions of interpolations but do not go as far as taking them out of the Bible unless they have old, reliable manuscripts that omit the passage. Here are some passages that were in the King James Version but have been removed, or in the case of popular passages, they are noted as missing in the most reliable old Bibles.

Greg Boyd, Prolific Apologist for God, Is Making Sh*t Up! There is No Doubt About It! Proof It's All Invented From the Beginning Until Now.

Boyd is leading evangelicals to fundamentally rethink their faith. This comes as the conclusion of his failed efforts to defend his original evangelical faith as an apologist. He lays out what he now believes in an introductory post, which starts out sounding victorious, even as it announces the defeat of the old evangelical Christian faith he now rejects.
We live at an exciting juncture of history. The traditional triumphant understanding of the church, known as “Christendom,” is crumbling. Out of its rubble is rising a grass-roots global movement of people who are captivated by the vision of a Jesus-looking God raising up a Jesus-looking people to transform the world in a Jesus-kind of way. And as this new kingdom wine is bursting the old wineskins of Christendom, believers and skeptics alike are being forced to rethink everything they thought they knew about the Christian faith and life. LINK.
In a way, I hope he succeeds. If he suceeds more evangelicals will be brought closer to the truth, closer to those us who don't believe at all. I've written about this phenomena before. See my posts Honest Evangelical Scholarship is a Ruse. There is No Such Thing!; and also The New Evangelical Orthodoxy, Relativism, and the Amnesia of It All.

Come to the GCRR Virtual Academic eConference on ReligiousTrauma!

Are you suffering from religious trauma? I did, and still do (see below). Visit this virtual academic eConference live on Zoom, hosted by the Global Center for Religious Research, on June 10-11th. It will bring together clinicians, researchers, and survivors from all over the world to discuss the latest research on religious trauma.

Here's a 15% off coupon code. Go to THIS LINK, buy a ticket to the eConference, and use the promo code LOFTUS at checkout. Thanks to the work of Darren Slade for this event and the code!

Teaching of Jesus that Christians Dislike and Ignore, Number 5


They just say NO to their Lord and Savior

A few years ago, a devout Catholic woman was kind enough to read an early version of a chapter that ended up in my 2016 book, Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief. Her willingness differed from the response I got from other churchgoers—those who refused because they were Christians; they were afraid that their faith might be damaged (i.e., I don’t want to think about it). In the chapter she read I discussed Jesus-script about his coming on the clouds to bring god’s kingdom. I was surprised—but not surprised—by her reaction: “I didn’t know Jesus is supposed to come back.” How could she not know this? —because it’s right there in Jesus-script: this would be the finale of his story, his eventual triumph, initiating the kingdom. I was not surprised, however, because I have yet to meet a Catholic who has been encouraged to read the Bible. As I’ve often pointed out, the gospels are a minefield, and the clergy want to avoid having to defend them. This minefield includes 292 not-so-great Jesus quotes—well, that’s my tally, and the list can be found on the website for my book, Ten Things Christians Wish Jesus Hadn’t Taught.