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Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity [Kindle Edition]

John W. Loftus
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For about two decades John W. Loftus was a devout evangelical Christian, an ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and an ardent apologist for Christianity. With three degrees-in philosophy, theology, and philosophy of religion-he was adept at using rational argumentation to defend the faith. But over the years, doubts about the credibility of key Christian tenets began to creep into his thinking. By the late 1990s he experienced a full-blown crisis of faith. In this honest appraisal of his journey from believer to atheist, the author carefully explains the experiences and the reasoning process that led him to reject religious belief. The original edition of this book was published in 2006 and reissued in 2008. Since that time, Loftus has received a good deal of critical feedback from Christians and skeptics alike. In this revised and expanded edition, the author addresses criticisms of the original, adds new argumentation and references, and refines his presentation. For every issue he succinctly summarizes the various points of view and provides references for further reading. In conclusion, he describes the implications of life without belief in God, some liberating, some sobering. This frank critique of Christian belief from a former insider will interest freethinkers as well as anyone with doubts about the claims of religion.

Editorial Reviews


"A thoughtful and intellectually challenging work presenting arguments that every honest theist and Christian should face."
-Dr. Norman L. Geisler Christian apologist, author of The Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics

About the Author

John W. Loftus (Angola, IN) earned MA and MDiv degrees in theology and philosophy from Lincoln Christian Seminary under the guidance of Dr. James D. Strauss. He then attended Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he studied under Dr. William Lane Craig and received a ThM degree in philosophy of religion. Before leaving the church, he had ministries in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, and he taught at several Christian colleges. He is also the editor of The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails and The End of Christianity. In addition, he has an online blog at

Product Details

  • File Size: 4225 KB
  • Print Length: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002FL3T8W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,376 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
225 of 259 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unflinching honesty September 18, 2008
Atheists are often accused of not taking Christianity seriously. If we would only read the bible with an open mind, we would be impressed with its wonderful truths, believers often tell us. And it is a fact that many (perhaps most) atheists don't want to bother with biblical or theological studies -- why should they? -- but this is not true of John Loftus. John has taken the claims of Christianity seriously, diving in with both feet (full immersion atheism!), unflinchingly examining the exact sources that believers urge us to ponder. What more do they want? When you read Loftus's penetrating analyses, you have no choice but to discard the truth claims of Christianity. Some might try to argue, nevertheless, that Christianity is useful -- but the most important question that can be asked of any religion is, "Is it TRUE?" Finishing John's book, I am now more convinced than ever that it is not. As a former evangelical preacher myself who can identify with the agony John was forced to endure as he methodically rebuilt his world view, I agree that atheism is not only defensible, it is liberating.
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302 of 354 people found the following review helpful
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I have read hundreds of Christian Apologetics books. I have read all of Lewis, all of Schaeffer, all of Peter Kreeft, all of Dr. Geisler's books, including his encyclopedia A-Z twice, and his Systematic Theology twice, I have read Plantinga, McDowell, Craig, Ravi, Moreland, Holding, Swinburne, N.T Wright, Paul Copan, R.C Sproul, Van Til, Gary Habermas, Lee Strobel, David Noebel, Francis Beckwith, Chuck Colson, Nancy Pearcy, Chesterton, Stuart C. Hacket, Martin, Richard Purtill, Stephen T. Davis, Dembski, Behe, Johnson, Collins, Paul K Moser, and many other Christian Philosophers and theologians . I have also read all the top skeptic authors, so I am pretty familiar with worldview issues, and the arguments and counter-arguments from both sides. I can't imagine why someone would say this book is not worth reading, unless they're either uninformed or have some axe to grind. I would rather take the word of both top Christian Philosophers and Skeptics that endorse this book before I would listen to some disgruntled person reviewing it on Amazon (whom I suspect has not even read the book). There must be something very admirable about a book that can be granted endorsements form both sides!

Here is what Dr. Geisler said (who is considered the DEAN of Christian apologetics, and wrote the Christian Encyclopedia of Apologetics, along with 70 other books): "[John's book] is a thoughtful and intellectually challenging work, presenting arguments that every honest theist and Christian should face."


Dr. Mark D.
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84 of 104 people found the following review helpful
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John W. Loftus has written an important book that should be read by every Christian who cares about truth and reality. This is not the angry rant of some disgruntled former believer with an axe to grind. Loftus is thorough, fair and convincing. As a former Christian minister and apologist who became an atheist, he knows both sides of the belief question very well.

The insights and detailed information contained in this book make for enlightening reading. There is much for everyone, from believers who are courageous enough to think more deeply about their faith to nonbelievers who want to better understand the arguments Christians make in defense of their religion. I highly recommend this book.

--Guy P. Harrison, author of

Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know About Our Biological Diversity


50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A detailed refutation of Christian apologetics January 4, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've just finished reading three books on a common theme: losing one's (Christian) religion and becoming an atheist. All three are excellent, but each approaches the topic from a very different perspective. I thought I might review them all together, and post the combined review on each book at Amazon. I don't know if this is consistent with the Amazon review policy, but never mind.

The first book is Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan Barker. I was slightly put off by the subtitle: "How an evangelical preacher became one of America's leading atheists." After all, one of the key points about atheism - and one that we have to keep reminding theists about - is that atheism is not an organized body of belief, it's no more a religion than "bald" is a hair colour. So how can anyone be a "leading atheist"? Who's being led? However if one substitutes "prominent" or "influential" for "leading", we can let that pass. And Barker is certainly influential: he's co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, which is one of the most active groups working to uphold the Constitutional prohibition on church-state entanglement, and seeking to counteract the negative image of atheism in this country.

The second book that I considered was William Lobdell's Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace. Lobdell is an award-winning journalist who covered religion for the Los Angeles Times. After writing about many aspects of religion for many years, he finally decided to write about his own journey.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The master
Whether writing or speaking, Loftus commands your attention and keeps you engaged. This is a terrific read and will inspire and educate.
Published 4 months ago by rob0bOy
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book!
As a minister's daughter that has left the faith, I could very much identify with John Loftus' story. Read more
Published 5 months ago by A.Wylde
3.0 out of 5 stars A good survey
I teach classes at a Lutheran Christian university that especially struggle with the "why's" of believing and not believing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by John D. Reek
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly devoid of faith
Firstly in all fairness, I have been blessed with a near-death experience when I was young. I didn't understand it, or know Who was talking to me before I was returned to life. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Joe
1.0 out of 5 stars Fodder for the bargain bin
I purchased this book after reading some of the reviews written here. Clearly reviews are written on the basis of agreement, not on scholarly treatment of the subject. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Tim Burke
Loftus explains in the Introduction to this 2008 book, "This book... is specifically written to devout Christians by a former Christian minister and apologist for their faith who... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Steven H. Propp
4.0 out of 5 stars Very clear and useful guide to the arguments against God's existence
This is an extremely useful book for anyone with an interest in the study of religion or theology. Loftus, who is trained as an Evangelical preacher and scholar, elegantly explains... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Maybe
1.0 out of 5 stars I Tried To Read This Book, I Really Did . . .
Got through about forty pages spending way too much time scribbling in the margins (offered to buy my brother a new copy ;`). Read more
Published on August 20, 2012 by Tamara Forsee Bacon
5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting account.
This is a very good book. A former Reverend, John Loftus presents his story fairly and calmly - it is not a rant against Christians or Christianity, but a thoughtful telling of how... Read more
Published on August 13, 2012 by Rennyrij
5.0 out of 5 stars A short review
When I decided to no longer attend the christian church and not to believe in God.
I was looking for a book that would help me gain information about becoming an Atheist,... Read more
Published on May 12, 2012 by Orlando
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More About the Author

John W. Loftus is the "Debunking Christianity" Blog founder and author of "Why I Became An Atheist." Be sure to get the most recent 2012 edition, which replaces "Why I Rejected Christianity," a self-published book. He is the author of "The Outsider Test for Faith," and the editor of two books, "The Christian Delusion," and "The End of Christianity." John also co-wrote a debate book with Dr. Randal Rauser, "God or Godless." His self-published book, "Why I became an Atheist: Personal Reflections and Additional Arguments," contains chapters not to be found in his books or Blog.

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Topic From this Discussion
I'm really looking forward to this book!
Don't knock it until you read it but from the tone of your post I doubt you will. I pre-ordered the book on July 3, 2007. I, like David Mills, cannot wait to read my copy as well. When I read quotes like "there is unlikely to be anything in it that has not been said before, and better"... Read More
Dec 17, 2007 by C. K. G. |  See all 16 posts
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