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Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity (Revised & Expanded) Paperback – March 27, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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 http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books; Revised edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616145773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616145774
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased the previous edition of John W. Loftus' book "Why I Became an Atheist" about a year and a half ago. I found it to make a much stronger, cumulative case against theism - and evangelical Christianity in particular - than any of the so called New Atheist books. As others have rightly noted, Loftus is generally very fair in his presentation of the arguments for and against Christianity. For example, as Loftus notes in his book, he presents the strongest argument available on any given topic made by Christian apologists, so it's hard to claim he's merely knocking down straw men. There was only one problem, to me at least, with the previous edition: in some instances, the editing could have been better, and the writing could have been more clear.

The reason I mention this about the last edition of WIBA is to say the new edition has been dramatically improved. And that's saying something, considering how good the last edition was. The editing in this book is better, and the writing is in general more clear and precise, which makes John's arguments easy to follow. As with the previous edition, Loftus is generally very fair in his critique of Christianity. His arguments throughout the book that have received criticism have been updated, and his responses to critiques are, as to be expected of Loftus, thorough. In my opinion, this is the best single volume critique of Christianity at the popular level (although it could be said this book is somewhat above the popular level). In fact, I would recommend this to anyone, Christian or skeptic, as the best single book making a case against Christianity period.

I had some doubts about purchasing this book because I owned the previous edition and didn't know if it would be worth the money. I can now say it was definitely worth it. This is now my go to source concerning the arguments for and against Christianity.
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Format: Paperback
John's massively revised book surpasses the original in just about every way (the original was very good, so this is saying something). The sections on explaining faith, the cumulative method, and the reasons why theists reject the classical arguments for god greatly surpass anything in Hitchens, Dawkins, or Harris. Like in the first edition, he also does an excellent job explaining the way apologists use worldview and how his Outsider Test plays into this. On top of these more academic investigations, John explores the Bible (both Old and New Testament) and the historical Jesus. These will probably be more helpful in a casual level discussion of these issues.

If one seeks a good introduction to the arguments and nuances of "the God debates", this book is probably the best starting point because it goes over all of the relevant material but is not as technical as something like JL Mackie's classic The Miracle of Theism.
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Format: Paperback
This book is fairly content dense. It is 460ish pages. Of course given its comprehensive scope it can't go into any one topic in deep detail. So this book should be considered wide in scope not deep. It should not be criticized for this because its purpose is to go wide and not deep. I can (and have) read whole books on the individual issues (like argument from evil). If somebody wants to read a whole book on a particular topic they can. That's not the purpose of THIS book. Despite the wide scope, Loftus does an amazing job of distilling the essential points out of each topic. I say all this because a previous reviewer criticizes this book because it doesn't contain book length individual arguments inside itself. This same reviewer has made similar arguments on other book reviews and evidently doesn't see the complete absurdity of such a criticism. I guess he thinks books should be a million pages long.

This book by Loftus is heavily footnoted with references to longer treatments by authors on both sides of the issues he is addressing. I have added many books and articles to my list as a result of pursuing his footnotes.

Despite the wide scope, its arguments are cumulative. The same point made on one issue usually applies to another so considered as a whole it does indeed make what I consider a quite formidable case. I haven't read any previous versions of this book so I have no idea how this edition compares to those. I do know that THIS edition is very well done. It does an excellent job of giving an overall and comprehensive view of why someone would or should become an atheist.

Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I wish I'd had this book back when I was 15 or 16 years old. I would have become an atheist much, much sooner than I actually did. Instead, I wasted decades trying to make Christianity work for me. For years I thought my problems with my church were due to my not being good enough or spiritual enough. Well, turns out that I had actually been the victim of a con going back centuries.

The best part about this book is its thoroughness. It covers absolutely every angle of why religion in general and Christianity in particular should be rejected. The philosophical arguments are covered. Problems with the Bible are discussed. It's great. If you can only read one book on atheism, it should be this one.

Be warned that this book is for serious readers willing to invest a lot of time. If you're looking for something short and entertaining, you might want to try some other book. Believing Bulls***: How Not to Get Sucked into an Intellectual Black Hole might be a better choice.
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