The Last Sermon Atheist John W. Loftus Ever Preached

0 comments
This sermon was delivered on February 15th 1998, at the Fairview Missionary Church in Angola, Indiana, for Laity Sunday. I was not an atheist at the time. I was a liberal in an evangelical church who was about to become an agnostic in just a few months. After reading a passage in Exodus about Moses, I said: "Moses was perhaps the greatest figure in the Old Testament." I used the word "figure" intentionally. At the time I believed Moses was largely a fictionalized character, a "figure" that we could learn important lessons about living, as I did about some of the other characters I mentioned from the Bible. I remember thinking I didn't say anything I didn't believe. But that didn't mean I thought the story about Moses or the others were actually true.

Valerie Tarico On How Religion Can Be As Addictive As Heroin and How It Should Be Treated

0 comments
This is another fine essay by Valerie Tarico. Here's a quote​ with the link:
In the end, the issue of whether religion is addictive for you comes down to similar questions to the ones you might ask yourself about your drug use: Has your religion eaten your life? Does it feel freely chosen or compulsive (and how would you know)? What are the good things about it? And what price are you or others around you paying for the good stuff you get? LINK.

Robert Conner, Christianity’s Critics: The Romans Meet Jesus, Part 3

0 comments
Robert Conner studied Greek, Hebrew, some Aramaic and even Coptic back in the mid-70's at Western Kentucky University. He's written nine books, including Jesus the Sorcerer, The Secret Gospel of Mark and Magic in Christianity, as well as a number of articles and essays. If you want a primer on what the earliest critics of Christianity had to say about this new cult then I'm publishing an essay he wrote in several parts, with approval. This is Part 3. To get up to speed Part 1 can be found here.

Christianity’s Critics:
The Romans Meet Jesus

Extended and Revised, 04/2016

Robert Conner

PART THREE

Christianity is a Jewish heresy.


The Jesus of primitive tradition cares not a whit for Gentiles—“Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go instead to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news: the kingdom of heaven is almost here.”[1] “Jesus traveled through the small, often anonymous towns of Galilee, seemingly avoiding the major cities. Citizens of Sepphoris, Tiberius, the coastal plain and the Decapolis heard none of his sermons. When Jesus did enter the territory of cities in the Decapolis, he remained outside the walls (Mk 5:1; 7:31; 8:27).”[2] “Jesus’ preaching reflects the village”[3]—Jesus’ parables accordingly speak of sowers and fields,[4] shepherds and flocks,[5] and birds and flowers.[6] Before his fateful trip to Jerusalem, it ap-pears Jesus had little to do with any major city.

Donald Trump Is Coming to My Home Town On Sunday May 1st

0 comments
He'll be at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum at 4:00 P.M. Doors open at 12:30 P.M. Yes I'm going. Any questions? ;-) LINK. Several of us are talking about protesting outside. What kinds of signs should we make? I also plan on going inside to see the circus!

Bernie Sanders Is Coming To My Home Town On Monday May 2nd

0 comments
It's official. Bernie Sanders is coming to Fort Wayne! This Monday! May 2nd. At the IPFW Gates Sports Center. Doors open at 11am. He speaks at 2:30 PM. I'm super pumped. If you can make it then come. Take off work if you can. This is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate, and Indiana counts this year so it's doubly exciting! It's called A Future to Believe In GOTV Rally in Fort Wayne, Indiana on 5/2.

How The Earth Was Made: The Grand Canyon

0 comments

Mark Twain: The Character of God As Represented in the Old and New Testaments

0 comments
Mark Twain: The Character of God as Represented in the Old and New Testaments, Dictated June, 19, 1906. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume II, page 128:
Our bible reveals to us the character of our God with minute and remorseless exactitude. The portrait is substantially that of a man -- if one can imagine a man charged and overcharged with evil impulses far beyond the human limit; a personage whom no one would desire to associate with, now that Nero and Caligula are dead.

In the Old Testament His acts expose His vindictive, unjust, ungenerous, pitiless, and thousand-fold severity; punishing innocent children for the misdeeds of their parents; punishing unoffending populations for the misdeeds of their rulers; even descending to wreak bloody vengeance upon harmless calves and lambs and sheep and bullocks, as punishment for inconsequential trespasses committed by their proprietors.

It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere; it makes Nero an angel of light and leading, by contrast.

On the Value of the Philosophy of Religion Compared to Science

0 comments
My next anthology, Christianity in the Light of Science: Critically Examining the World's Largest Religion, is on schedule to be out late in July as announced. I've tried to make each one of my anthologies as good or better than the one before. Many readers will think this is the best one yet.

If you look at the contributors who wrote the chapters you'll see something interesting. Here are the disciplines represented: 1 psychology, 1 engineer, 1 physicist, 1 theoretical physicist, 1 physics, 2 archaeology, 2 biblical scholar, 1 paranormal detective, 1 biology, 1 geology, 1 astronomy, 1 cognitive science, 2 anthropology, and 1 zoology. There is just one author who has a masters degree in philosophy, Johnathan Pearce, and he is scientifically informed. Seems as though we don't need philosophy of religion to debunk Christianity. Just science along with biblical scholars. Don't think so? Read the blurbs for now! For anyone claiming the authors are actually doing philosophy of religion just because we're reasoning about the evidence, think again. On this issue see my post Professor Keith Parsons On Darwin the Philosopher.

The Philosophical Elitism of Keith Parsons

0 comments
I'm going to try showing Keith Parsons that he stands a lot to gain by listening to me, that I know what I'm talking about, and that he's wrong about the New Atheism. While I probably won't convince him, keep in mind that an argument doesn't need to be convincing for it to be a good one. I'm going to argue his problem is philosophical elitism. I will do so respectably, although it's that same attitude that may keep him from responding. First, here's a quote from Eric MacDonald endorsing Parsons:
The problem is precisely that the New Atheists think it appropriate to dismiss theology and philosophy of religion without understanding the first thing about it. Some New Atheists say, "I know enough about it. I was brought up as a Catholic or an Anglican or ...." But that's not qualification enough. Arguing from this point of view, where you really do not know what your opponent is arguing, because you have made no attempt to find out, is a simple informal fallacy known as special pleading. And the New Atheism is full of it. That's where Keith Parsons is way ahead of the New Atheists. Be an unbeliever by all means. But don't say that you know that there is no God or that theology is all make believe until you have really tried to understand what theologians are saying. And when you have done so, you will, I think, qualify your dismissal. --Eric MacDonald
I think this criticism of the New Atheism fails to understand the very phenomena being criticized. Let's just re-purpose MacDonald's quote: "The problem is precisely that the New Atheists think it appropriate to dismiss Scientology, or Mormonism, or militant Islam, or Hindu theology, or Haitian Catholic voodoo without understanding the first thing about it..." Need I go on? If anyone is special pleading it is MacDonald, for it didn't enter his mind to consider the many other religious faiths out there he easily dismisses without knowing that much about them. So I think reasonable people don't have to know a lot about religious faiths to reject them. We can dismiss these and other faiths precisely because they are faiths. The evidence is not there and even runs contrary to them. The moralities of these faiths also count against them. Do we need to know something about them to dismiss them? Sure, we should know something about them. In fact, to reject one of them we should at least hear about it. But even a rudimentary level of knowledge is enough for that, since faith is the problem. As outsiders we don't need to look into the many varieties of faith to know the results of faith are not likely to be true. We can do this simply by generalizing from the many mutually inconsistent false faiths to the probability that any given particular faith is false, even before getting an in-depth knowledge about it.

My specialties are theology, philosophical theology and especially apologetics. I am an expert on these subjects even though it's very hard to have a good grasp of them all. Now it's one thing for theologically unsophisticated intellectuals like Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens and Stenger to argue against religion. It's quite another thing for a theologically sophisticated intellectual like myself to say the "New Atheists" were within their epistemic rights to denounce religion from their perspectives. And I do. I can admit they lack the sophistication to understand and respond point for point to sophisticated theology. But it doesn't matter. The reason is because all sophisticated theology is based in faith: faith in the Bible (or Koran) as the word of God, and/or faith in the Nicene creed (or other creeds), and/or faith in a church, synagogue or temple. No amount of sophistication changes this. Even an informed ten year old can come to the correct conclusions about faith without any sophistication at all.

Let's take a serious look at what Parsons said:
Do you need a Ph.D. in philosophy to be a legitimate and respectable participant in the theism/atheism debate or the science/religion debate? Of course not. But you do need to know what you are talking about. Those, however accomplished in other fields, who leap into the debate philosophically uninformed inevitably commit freshman mistakes that expose them to the scorn of sophisticated opponents. LINK.

The Philosophy of Religion Must End Because Faith-Based Reasoning Must End

0 comments
Philosophy of religion must end. If the philosophy of religion is using reason to examine the the claims of religion, and if religion is based on faith, then philosophy of religion must end. For faith has no justification nor merit. A reasonable faith does not exist, nor can faith be a guide for reasoning to any objective conclusion.

Religion is indeed based on faith in supernatural forces and/or entities. Faith is indeed an unreliable way to gain objective knowledge about the world. And faith-based reasoning cannot justify any claim concerning matters of fact like the nature of nature and its workings. So philosophy of religion is reasoning about that which is unreasonable. It takes the utterly unwarranted conclusions of faith seriously. To reason about religion requires granting more than a philosopher worthy of the name should do, since the very first principle of religion is faith. There are some things philosophers should not take seriously and still remain as intellectuals. A faith-based claim is one of them. There are other ways to deal with those types of claims. The proper discipline to determine if a claim is faith-based or not is to be found in the sciences.

Robert M. Price On the Historicity of Jesus

0 comments

A Contested Democratic Convention Is Now a Near Statistical Certainty, and Here's Why Bernie Sanders Will Win It

0 comments

The Philosophy of Religion Must End Because Religions Self-Destruct

0 comments
There isn't a tenet of any religion that isn't opposed with cogent arguments by adherents of different religions. Even within any given religion there are sects that oppose some important tenets of their mother religion. See here, and here for examples.

This Should Cause Honest Theists To Doubt Their Certainties

0 comments

Anyone Still Propping Up That Old-Time Religion With An Old-Time Atheism Is On the Wrong Side of History

0 comments

Robert Conner, Christianity’s Critics: The Romans Meet Jesus, Part 2

0 comments
Robert Conner studied Greek, Hebrew, some Aramaic and even Coptic back in the mid-70's at Western Kentucky University. He's written nine books, including Jesus the Sorcerer, The Secret Gospel of Mark and Magic in Christianity, as well as a number of articles and essays. If you want a primer on what the earliest critics of Christianity had to say about this new cult then I'm publishing an essay he wrote in several parts, with approval. This is Part 2. To get up to speed Part 1 can be found here.

Papalinton Weighs In On Sophisticated Atheologian Keith Parsons

0 comments
Another one of DC's commenters has spoken! Papalinton wrote:
sir_russ, I have just reread your OP, and again. I like it a lot, erudite, insightful. I had written this observation elsewhere but it equally fits yours. Your OP is a candid critique into what I coin the anachronistic class of 'philosopher-kings' in contemporary society, those self-described and self-identified doyens of philosophical discourse. They are indeed legends in their own minds.

Parsons, sadly, seems to have lost sight that the battle of ideas is not so much about the finer construct of the argument but the substance of the argument, whether the claims are verifiable or not. In his misplaced loyalty Parsons aids and abets the Fesers and Plantingas of the world who want you to believe, as someone I read elsewhere had written, that their [Feser's classical Catholic and Plantinga's Protestant Theistic Personalist] God impregnated his own mother to give birth to his own son who is himself, as if it were historical fact, meriting intellectual consideration as a truth.

The problem is, today's operant philosophy tracks a more rigorous and evidentiary-based line of reasoning with its supervening metaphysics ever more deeply grounded, both epistemologically and intellectually, into its underpinning physics. Pontification has been replaced with verification. And the 'philosopher kings' don't like it one bit, even prepared [as Parson's has done to Dawkins, Loftus et al] to eat their own kind [atheists] who might be perceived, wrongly or otherwise, to have crossed into their 'intellectual' territory.

Philosophy of Religion is an exercise in rhetoric to its core; insubstantial, imaginative, with an unhinged metaphysics grounded in the supernatural, a wholly untestable and inconsequential line of reasoning that bears little resemblance to reality of the natural world. Parson's knows that. In his defence of Feser, Plantiga etc., why is he defending the indefensible?

Parsons would do well to take stock.
Parsons is on record as saying these kinds of posts are personal attacks and he won't respond to them. If he thinks these are attacks then what does he think of Edward Feser's personal attacks against people whom he disagrees?

Dr. Vincent Torley Doesn't Think Much Of Randal Rauser's Kind of Sophisticated Theology

0 comments
Vincent Torley: Hi John, if you really believe that sophisticated theology no longer deserves to be taken seriously, then you should be able to take on its ablest exponents in a debate and wipe the floor with them. Are you confident that if you were to publicly debate someone like Ed Feser before a live audience and an impartial panel of adjudicators, you would win?

JWL: Hi Vincent, why the emphasis on debates? I doubt I could effectively debate a Scientologist or a Mormon, or a Muslim. So? That just means someone is better at debating sophisticated theology. That does not say anything else.

VT: OK, then. What about a written debate - say, a book where you and some philosopher like Feser can argue it out? My point is that if there isn't some kind of ideal argumentative format in which you can present your case, take on all comers and win, then why should I (or anyone else) believe you're right?

JWL: Vincent, I already co-wrote such a book.

VT: You did indeed, John. The problem was that your opponent, Randal Rauser, is a trained theologian and Christian apologist, but not a philosopher - and it showed. As one reviewer of your book politely put it: "Rauser is perhaps not the best (or at least, not the more forceful) advocate for the Christian position that could have been featured." I also watched some of the online debate between you and Rauser on God's existence, via the link you presented. The opening statements were vigorously argued, but there were no 10-minute rebuttals on both sides, so there was no good follow-up. Instead, a third guy, a self-styled anti-apologist, interposed himself between you both, which upset the flow of the debate. It was a lost opportunity. I wish there had been a more lively free-for-all at the end. Anyway, you really need to debate a proper Christian philosopher - and not a wimpy theist who thinks belief in God is "properly basic," but someone who's prepared to defend classical theism (and Christianity) on rational grounds. LINK.
I guess one person's sophisticated theologian is another's "wimpy theist", eh? I wonder what Randal Rauser thinks of Edward Feser's sophisticated theology? Sophisticated atheologian Keith Parsons would agree with Torley that Edward Feser is someone to be taken seriously. Does Rauser? Curious minds want to know.

The Philosophy of Religion Must End Because Jesus Studies Have Ended Jesus

0 comments
I've been told some people aren't taking me seriously. My bet is that they will when I'm done.

The philosophy of religion must end because Jesus Studies have ended Jesus. That's not the only reason but it's a good one nonetheless. Robert Conner:
Jesuitical (ˌjeZHo͞oˈitikəl) adjective, (1) of or concerning the Jesuits (2) dissembling or equivocating, in the manner associated with Jesuits.

Ancient immanentist philosophies such as panpsychism that might have sacralized the world and its life were largely extinguished by the advent of Christianity. A partial corrective is Hector Avalos' The End of Biblical Studies. Like professor Avalos, I have long advocated that we stop taking "Jesus Studies" nonsense seriously:
That Jesus Studies is rife with flawed scholarship, special pleading, fideism, rank speculation, manufactured relevance, careerism, homophobia and the misogyny that homophobia implies, sectarian allegiances, personal agendas, fraud and simple incompetence should come as no surprise to anyone conversant with the field. Indeed, whether Jesus Studies is even an academic discipline as usually understood is debatable, and that Jesus Studies has precious little to do with history is certain. [From Conner's essay Faking Jesus].

What is Sophisticated Theology/Philosophy?

0 comments
Sophisticated theology/philosophy is argumentation used by delusional people to defend the indefensible. It is pure sophistry, empty rhetoric without substance, fallacious reasoning, ungrounded assertions lacking sufficient evidence. Sophisticated theology/philosophy is a kind of red-herring argumentation used as a smoke screen to hide the fact that faith lacks sufficient evidence. Follow its trail and you will be led down the rabbit hole of definitions used to obfuscate the lack of evidence. Sophisticated theology/philosophy confuses people who don't share that sophistication. At its most fundamental level sophisticated theology/philosophy is nothing more than special pleading.

Quote of the Day by Zeta, On Sophisticated Philosophy of Religion in Defense of Christianity

0 comments
Jerry Coyne, Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay, and Richard Dawkins have all weighed in against sophisticated theology. Now it's my turn. As a former sophisticated theologian, watch out! ;-)

I can no longer take sophisticated theology/philosophy used in defense of the Christian delusion seriously. Atheists who want to deal with sophisticated theology/philosophy correctly must seek to end its grip over our institutions of higher learning. They must seek to end its influence in our world. Gamesmanship will not do. Puzzle-solving will not do. Dealing with questions that are interesting for the sake of an interesting discussion will not do. Seeking affirmation from Christian pseudo-intellectuals will not do. A delusion is a delusion is a delusion. Two thousand years of Christianity are enough, as someone once said. I'll give plenty of reasons why atheists should reject sophisticated theology/philosophy in defense of Christianity in my next book, Unapologetic (along with how to treat it as it deserves).

Now for Zeta's quote:

Bernie's Debate Stopper!

0 comments
Here is Bernie Sander's closing at last night's debate. The crowd chanted his name afterward! That's amazing for a debate where initially the crowd was largely in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Sir_Russ Takes Down Sophisticated Atheologian Keith Parsons

0 comments
An atheologian is a non-theologian, an atheist opposed to theology. That's a good description of Parsons on his good days. A hypocrite might be better one, according to sir_russ in his letter to him below. Over at the Secular Outpost I'm being judged by my commenters, and also by who I have banned. As an example of one of my commenters let me introduce you to sir_russ, someone I personally know. As to my banning people, every online blog writer devoted to topics like atheism or theism bans people. I guarantee you I have never banned anyone merely because they disagreed with me, ever. In a few rare cases over the past decade I've banned a disagreeable person when the ignorance was just too great to tolerate and when that person would not give it a rest. After banning people they never say they were banned for good reasons, either. So that just about covers everything except the substance of our recent disagreement. Here's sir_russ:

Robert Conner, Christianity’s Critics: The Romans Meet Jesus, Part 1

0 comments
Robert Conner studied Greek, Hebrew, some Aramaic and even Coptic back in the mid-70's at Western Kentucky University. He's written nine books, including Jesus the Sorcerer, and the latest on The Secret Gospel of Mark, as well as a number of articles and essays. If you want a primer on what the earliest critics of Christianity had to say about this new cult then I'm publishing an essay he wrote in several parts, with approval. This is Part 1.

The Korean Edition of "God or Godless" Now Available

0 comments
This is the Korean edition of my co-written book "God or Godless." It's pretty cool!! There isn't an English word anywhere to be found in it.

The Differences Between Science and Religion

0 comments

I'm Working On My Last Book Now

0 comments

This is probably going to be my last book. I'm sure it'll be my most controversial one. Who dares to call for the end of the philosophy of religion, anyway? Me. Believing philosophers will rip it to shreds. Atheist philosophers like Keith Parsons, Graham Oppy, J.L. Schellenberg and others will do likewise. Wannabes and students in philosophy of religion programs from both sides will join in the slug-fest.

I have two months to finish it. I won't be doing much here while I do. The book description is to be found on Amazon. It's scheduled for a November publication with Pitchstone Publishing. Cultural anthropologist David Eller has agreed to write the Foreword.

This book will make it ten highly acclaimed published books in ten years. I think I've earned the right to be done after that. Looks like I'll go out with a big bang.

The Money Quote On Sophisticated Theology

0 comments
The whole reason sophisticated Christian argumentation exists in the first place is because it takes sophistication to make the Christian faith palatable. The more the sophistication then the more the obfuscation, since their faith can only be defended by confusing people who don't share that sophistication. Defenses of Christianity are nothing but special pleading hiding underneath several layers of obfuscation with a sophistication to make it appear otherwise. It's nothing less than special pleading all the way down, and it doesn't take sophistication to see this or to call it out. Even a child can recognize what it is.

The Arrogance and Ignorance of Keith Parsons

0 comments
Given that I have respected Keith Parsons as a man and a philosopher it is with great displeasure I write this post. But I assure you I am serious. I consider him both arrogant and ignorant. First, I consider Keith Parsons arrogant to think only sophisticated atheist philosophers can adequately respond to sophisticated Christian philosophers, such that any non-philosopher who tries is ignorant and shouldn't respond at all. At least Christians like William Lane Craig argue that philosophically unsophisticated Christians can continue believing in the face of philosophically sophisticated atheist arguments. Craig says they can continue believing due to the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Why Do Many Atheists Hate The New Atheists?

0 comments
[First Published September 14, 2015]
Jerry Coyne wrote a post answering this question: Why do many atheists hate the new atheists? The money quote is here:
I can think of a couple of answers. The first is simple jealousy: some atheists haven't achieved the fame or public profile of people like Hitchens, and so attack their character rather than their arguments. It's also a way to get attention for yourself if you feel unappreciated.

The second is the feeling by the Quiet Atheists that "New Atheists don't represent me," and so they must be called out. But since when have prominent New Atheists ever said they represent all atheists? They are representing their own views, and I doubt that any of them have said that they speak for all nonbelievers. LINK
Earlier I had highlighted jealously as a motive of these haters.

I think Coyne's comments also explain why some small-minded atheists don't like me as well. This is something that has only recently dawned on me, since I have not thought of myself as having much fame or being that important. These misinformed and jealous atheists "perceive" me to have achieved a certain amount of fame they can only dream of having. So they attack. This should encourage me, or something. ;-) [My name is John Loftus and I approve this message!]