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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
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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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2012
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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2013
John Loftus does an excellent job of completely demolishing the central arguments of Christianity. Many Christians argue that atheists are afraid to take on William Lane Craig, yet here we have Loftus who studied under Dr. Craig and attacks all his arguments backed up with evidence. In response Dr. Craig has talked about Loftus's personal issues which Loftus admits to in the beginning of this book. Although there are some errors such as Loftus misspelling Bart Ehrman's name a few times the book overall is very detailed and provides an excellent refutation of Christianity. At times it is hard to read to the point I felt like quitting. However, this was not due to the it being a bad book but because it was so in depth and complicated. The final two chapters however I feel that he glosses over. In these chapters he simply discusses hell and satan. I have read other books on this subject so I knew more about the development of the satan myth, but I wish Loftus would have gone more in depth on that. Another criticism would be at the end he has a pledge to sign to help end Christianity. I think this is an example of atheism becoming more dogmatic instead of freethinking. I have read over 25 books on this journey away from Christianity and this is by far the most detailed. I warn you this book is wonderful but read other secular books first or you will be overwhelmed.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
This book is a powerful refutation of both Conservative and Liberal Christianity. Unlike many Atheist books on the market this books has great depth while covering a diverse range of topics. This said the book is by no means a light read especially the first half which deals in depth with a boatload of philosophy concerning the existence of god. My favorite part of the book was John's criticisms of the Bible and its theology. I highly recommend this book.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2012
Writing, as it were, from the 'inside out,' (Loftus was an evangelical minister and studied under William Lane Craig) the author presents us with the most thorough and convincing of the plethora of New Atheist books. His is the very best of the bunch and covers the ground in detail that Dawkins and Hitchens leave lacking. A few slow spots, but a must read for any thinking person. For fundamentalists the sign reads BEWARE, KEEP OUT.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 1, 2014
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2013
Unlike many of the "new atheists" John actually knows a thing or two about the Bible and theology. He's also aware of the views of mainstream scholarship on Biblical criticism and the historical Jesus. Many of today's apologists for evangelical Christianity rely on philosophical arguments for the faith rather than strictly Biblical arguments. Talking to these apologists, one might wonder if the Bible is really the basis for their faith or not. Anyway, in John's "Why I became an Atheist" he exposes these philosophical arguments for Christianity as fraudulent AND shows that the Bible is a human book(s) full of scientific and historical errors. This is a devastating critique of evangelical Christianity.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2012
I'm about halfway through the book and find some very strong points for atheism and against Christianity (and other varieties of theism). I felt compelled to rate early to cancel out the 1 star rating of the obvious troll "KC" who is apparently bitter that his faith is unable to withstand critical scrutiny.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2013
John Loftus's book, Why I Became an Atheist, is like a sonic blast of reason and logic. I love it! My father is a hard core new earth creationist - I only wish the word "atheist" didn't have such a negative connotation among Christians so that he would be willing to read it. Regardless, I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for an escape to reality.
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