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Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity Paperback – October 30, 2008

3.8 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"With excellent scholarship and thorough detail, Loftus powerfully and systematically dismantles the Christian religion, refuting long held arguments of apologists, laying to waste sacred and traditional beliefs of the faith." --Joe E. Holman, founder of ministerturnsatheist.org, and author of Project Bible Truth: A Minister Turns Atheist and Tells All

About the Author

John W. Loftus (Angola, IN) earned M.A. and M.Div. 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 Th.M. degree in philosophy of religion. Before leaving the church, he had ministries in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, and taught at several Christian colleges. He has an online blog at debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 428 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (August 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591025923
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591025924
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dan Barker on September 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
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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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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25 Comments 306 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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I find many things to admire in this book. First, it attempts to be comprehensive -- something of a "Summa Atheologica" that offers one convenient stop for those questioning a certain brand of Christianity. Second, the author's sincerity and passion do not seem to cloud his honesty: unlike a few other recent books by atheists, this one almost always fairly and thoroughly presents the positions it aims to refute. And the notes and sources have surely pointed me to other books I wish to explore, and for that I am glad I came across this one.

Moreover, I sympathize with the author's claim that Christians, and especially students at Christian colleges (or in church-run apologetics programs), should read a book like this one and confront these kinds of issues and arguments. In particular, I think evangelicals need to seriously ponder what Loftus calls the religious diversity and dependency theses, as well as his "outsider test." I've found that would-be soul savers tend to fall off their script when I suggest to them that if we'd been born in North Africa rather than North America, most likely they'd be telling me about the glory of Allah rather than the mercy of Jesus.

But despite these strengths, I wouldn't recommend that this be the book that Christians read for the sake of that confrontation.

First, it's mistitled. It should be titled, "Why I am No Longer a Conservative Evangelical," or even more pointedly, "Why I Remain No Longer a Conservative Evangelical." Loftus' arguments are almost entirely with that set, which is one of the few that has any investment in the apologetics he aims to refute.
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