249 of 279 people found the following review helpful
Best Single Volume Exposing the Fallacies of Evangelical Christianity,
This review is from: The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (Paperback)
This newly published book is an anthology containing 15 chapters written by 9 scholars, most of which were at one time conservative Christians. It surveys the problems with Christianity from a number of different angles--sociological, psychological, scientific, historical, and biblical. It is the probably the single best volume available today to debunk evangelical Christianity. It brings together a variety of arguments into one work, that prior to its publication, would have required one to sift through dozens of books to find them. While there are some areas that still could be covered, for example, the immoral and illogical nature of the atonement (a topic near to my heart), nevertheless, it covers most of the bases.
Chapter One is written by anthropologist David Eller and discusses how Christianity is a phenomena that can be understood purely on cultural and sociological grounds.
Chapter Two is by psychologist Valerie Tarico who examines the concept of belief (or faith) as it is presently understood by neurologists and shows that it is rarely based on evidence or arguments.
Chapter Three is by pharmacist Jason Long who deals with how religious ideas develop in people and how they hold on to them regardless of the evidence.
Chapter Four is by former Pastor and Christian apologist John Loftus who explains his Outsider Test for Faith. He invites people to "step outside" of their belief system and evaluate their religion in the same way they would evaluate a religion that they do not hold.
Chapter Five is by librarian Ed Babinski who has studied Young Earth Creationism extensively. He clearly presents the pre-scientific understanding of the cosmos as held by biblical writers and shows that it is impossible to reconcile that understanding with what is currently known in science.
Chapter Six is by author (The Rejection of Pascal's Wager: A Skeptic's Guide to the Bible and the Historical Jesus ) Paul Tobin who shows that the historical criticism of the Bible reveals that it contains errors, inconsistencies, myths, legends, and forgeries.
Chapter Seven has John Loftus returning to demonstrate how the Bible fails to communicate clearly. He shows how interpretational conflicts over the meaning of Scripture has led to millions of deaths as well as untold suffering through the ages. He argues that one would expect an omniscient God to be able to communicate his will in a much better fashion.
Chapter Eight is by biblical scholar Hector Avalos and discusses why the God of the Old Testament is a cruel and monstrous tyrant in spite of Christian apologists attempt to justify him.
Chapter Nine is my favorite chapter in the book. In it John Loftus returns to lay out the problem of animal suffering and examine 8 different ways Christians have tried to reconcile that suffering with a good God. He shows convincingly that each Christian answer fails and that there is no reconciliation possible.
Chapter Ten is by NT scholar Robert Price who, in his own unique and sarcastic way, demolishes the attempts by evangelicals to wiggle out of the implications of biblical criticism.
Chapter Eleven is by historian Richard Carrier who applies the Outsider Test of Faith to the "historical evidence" put forward by Christian apologists for the resurrection. He demonstrates conclusively that if one treats the NT as historians treat every other ancient document, the teaching that Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead is untenable.
Chapter Twelve brings John Loftus back again to show that Jesus of Nazareth is but one in a long list of failed apocalyptic prophets. He demonstrates that Jesus taught the world would end in the lifetime of the disciples and that all of the first century believers including Paul thought Jesus would return at any moment. He goes on to show how Christians have had to rethink their eschatological ideas in light of the failure of Jesus to return.
Chapter Thirteen is a repeat performance by David Eller in which he explodes a commonly held myth that morality must be based on a divine being. He proves that morality is merely an expression of one's culture.
Chapter Fourteen has Hector Avalos returning to deal with the argument put forward by Christians that the holocaust and the other atrocities committed by Adolph Hitler were a result of Darwinian or atheistic ideology. He shows that instead Hitler's motivating factors were actually the example of the Roman Catholic Church and the teaching of Martin Luther about the Jews.
Chapter Fifteen is another essay by Richard Carrier in which he shows the absurdity of the Christian claim that modern science is based upon the precepts of the Christian worldview.
Once again, this is an excellent volume and I highly recommend it to anyone who is willing to examine the evidence and think seriously about the Christian faith. I am sure many Christians will be afraid to read it or even advised by their leaders not to read it. But as Socrates is reported to have said: "The unexamined life is not worth living."
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Showing 1-10 of 73 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2010 3:39:49 PM PDT
In the interests of full disclosure, Doctor, hasn't Mr. Loftus invited you to be a contributor to his next anthology?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2010 9:21:56 AM PDT
Anthony Lawson says:
Anna B, what does the fact that Dr. Pulliam will be contributing to a future anthology have to do with his present review? Are we trying to "poison the well" or something?
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 13, 2010 9:28:07 AM PDT
Ken R. Pulliam says:
Yes he has but what does that have to do with my endorsement of this book? If I didn't think he had done a good job with this anthology, then why would I want to be a part of his next? Seems perfectly consistent to me.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2010 10:26:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2010 10:28:23 PM PDT
Friendly Greetings Ken,
I have no problem with you expressing your opinions as you have.
I'm thankful for this forum in which we can do so.
However, I noticed you claimed that: "It [TCD] is the probably the single best volume available today to debunk evangelical Christianity."
In response, I have identified 57 objections which Loftus has read, but refuses to answer.
Go ahead and view Loftus' comments regarding my review to verify this for yourself.
Are you willing to defend TCD against my objections?
I look forward to a friendly exchange of ideas.
Here are the objections which Loftus has read, but refuses to answer.....(I wonder why?)
1. I wrote a book-length critique of Loftus' position. Loftus answered the critique here:
I then exposed 24 false claims in his answer:
Has Loftus now defended himself against these 24 objections? No. In fact, the list of substantive unanswered objections to his position has now grown to 57.
2. I posted a critique of "The Christian Delusion" here at Amazon. Has Loftus now answered the substance of my critique? No.
For example, in my review, I identified seven reasons to reject the OTF. Has Loftus now defended his OTF against my 7-point objection? No. He ignored it. Read his comments regarding my review to verify this for yourself.
3. In my review, I identified the "LOFTUS DILEMMA" as a useful tool for exposing the error of Loftus' position. Has Loftus now responded to the LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
4. Has Loftus now defended Babinski against the LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
5. Has Loftus now defended Tobin against the LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
6. I have shown that Loftus has failed to justify his claim that he is in an epistemic position in which he is justified in supposing he can inform God regarding better choices God should have made, if God exists.
Has Loftus now defended himself against this objection? No.
7. Has Loftus now defended Avalos against my 5-point objection to Avalos' article? No.
8. I have shown that Loftus has failed to justify his presupposition that if the Biblical God exists, then it is likely that he would know a theodicy which accounts for the observed nature of animal suffering.
Has Loftus now answered this objection? No.
9. I have shown that "The Christian God is not perfectly good" can not be defended.
Has Loftus now answered this objection? No.
10. Has Loftus now defended Price against the LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
11. There is a contradiction between the methodology of Loftus and Price.
Has Loftus now answered this objection? No.
12. Has Loftus now defended Price against my demonstration that Price's position is inconsistent? No.
13. Has Loftus now defended Price's anti-miraculous methodology against my critique? No.
14. Has Loftus now defended Carrier against my LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
15. In light of my critique, has Loftus now defended Carrier's claim that God would act the way Carrier would act, if Carrier were God? No.
16. Has Loftus now defended Carrier's metaphysical claims against my ACPO metaphysics? No.
17. Has Loftus now resolved the contradiction between claims made by Carrier and Price regarding the nature of the universe? No.
18. Has Loftus now defended TCD Chapter 12 against my LOFTUS DILEMMA objection? No.
19. In my critical review, I identified 47 authors now subject to the LOFTUS DILEMMA objection. Has Loftus now enlisted their assistance (he surely will need it!) in an effort to bring a defense against my fatal critique of them all? No.
20. Has Loftus now answered my HIP defense? No.
21. Has Loftus now shown that the OTF is superior to my STONE (Stone's Test Of Neutral Evidence)? No.
22. Has Loftus now defended himself against my SOBRB (Standard Objection to Biblical Religious Belief) ? No.
23. Has Loftus now accounted for the implications of the DRP and MH principles? No.
24. Has Loftus now worked through the details of my natural theology arguments? No. Instead, he has confessed that he has not even worked through them.
25. Loftus has written that the ID thesis does lead reasonable thinkers to conclude that some trickster god exists. Well, a trickster god is a god! Does Loftus now think ID justifies belief in god? Has Loftus now answered this objection? No.
26. How can Loftus know the implications of my arguments, when he confesses he hasn't even worked through them in detail? Loftus gives us no persuasive answer.
27. Loftus claims he can do the math required to understand my natural theology. How can Loftus be so sure, if he confesses he hasn't even worked through my arguments?
28. Loftus claims that the book-length critique of his position is not well planned. Has Loftus now defined and defended his conception of "well planned book" and shown that it applies to the book-length critique of his position? No. (I am referring to the book: "The Loftus Delusion: Why Atheism Fails and Messianic Israelism Prevails".)
29. Has Loftus now defended his skeptical agnosticism against my neutral agnosticism alternative? No.
30. Loftus claims my neutral agnosticism is a nonexistent middle position. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of this claim? No.
31. Loftus claims that we should test our handed down faith with skepticism. Has Loftus now defended himself against objections raised in "The Loftus Delusion", pp. 76-81? No.
32. Has Loftus now answered my response to the "democratization of extraordinary miracle claims" objection? No.
33. Has Loftus now defended an objection to my claim that neutral agnosticism can lead to theism? No.
34. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on Genesis? No.
35. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on prophecy? No.
36. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding Biblical authority? No.
37. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding the virgin birth? No.
38. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding the atonement? No.
39. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding the resurrection? No.
40. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding evil supernaturalism? No.
41. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding hell? No.
42. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding rationality? No.
43. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding morality? No. He has never even
44. Loftus has failed to show that his second and third control beliefs are derived from his first control belief.
Has Loftus now answered this objection? No.
45. Has Loftus now defined and defended the conception of "cause" he has in mind when he mentions the RDPT? No.
He wants us to accept the causal RDPT thesis, yet he won't even tell us how to define "cause".
46. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding science? No.
47. Has Loftus now defended methodological naturalism against my LP (Lawful Physicalism) alternative? No.
48. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding history? No.
49. Has Loftus now defended Dawkins' "Ultimate Boeing 747 Gambit" against my critique? No.
50. Loftus references the book "The Improbability of God", but fails to mention my book-length critique of all those arguments. I refer to the "Atheism Is False" book. Loftus knows about it. Has Loftus now defended any of the contributing authors to "The Improbability of God" against my book-length critique of their arguments? No.
51. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on the nature of religious experience? No.
52. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on miracles? No.
53. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on the Bible? No.
54. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views on prayer? No.
55. Has Loftus now defended himself against my critique of his views regarding incarnation? No.
56. Has Loftus answered my 4-point STONE challenge (ST1, ST2, ST3, or ST4) ? No.
57. In his earlier review, Loftus claimed that I do "not deal at all with my [Loftus'] most recent book, The Christian Delusion (TCD)". Well, now that I have dealt with TCD here at Amazon, has Loftus answered my detailed objections here? No.
So, Ken, I hope you will be willing to defend your implication that TCD helps to debunk Christianity.
Personally, I believe my 57-point objection, above, is a devastating refutation of TCD ("The Christian Delusion").
No one, anywhere, has answered these objections.
Loftus claims to have already answered me. The above 57 objections prove that Loftus has
not told us the truth.
I hope you will step up to the challenge, and defend TCD against these objections.
I look forward to your response.
David Reuben Stone, B.S., M.S., UCLA
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2010 3:26:52 AM PDT
John W. Loftus says:
I have alreadly briefly responded to David Reuben Stone here:
But that's not good enough for him. He thinks I should spend as much time responding in a back and forth exchange with him as he did writing his book. That ain't gonna happen. I'd rather spend my time dealing with responses from Christian scholars, and I do.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2010 4:34:23 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2010 4:43:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 25, 2010 9:30:08 AM PDT
John W. Loftus says:
The self-promotional Stone just wrote: "I am David Reuben Stone.....the Biblical scholar whom John W. Loftus refuses to answer."
Hey Biblical scholar, I was wondering what you majored in for your B.S. and M.S. degrees. What say ye? I mean, really, if these two degrees make you a Biblical scholar then they should be related to that field. And while you're at it, do tell about any books you've written that were published, rather than self-published. And you might also tell us which Biblical studies department for what University you teach at. Then too, tell us which Biblical scholar(s) recommend your book? While I'm not claiming to be a Biblical scholar, I don't think you're one.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 14, 2010 6:26:38 PM PDT
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2010 9:27:42 AM PDT
See Loftus's comment which follows this post, reader (since I will read no further): as a professional who has published in my field, I can say that the published argument IS its own defense and that one cannot re-write one's entire thesis over and over again in a constant battle with those whose beliefs or ideas are different or in opposition to one's own. Further, there is more than sufficient scholarly evidence to clearly see that the Bible is not the inerrant word of "God", but rather a compilation (with a redactor) of myths, legends, parables and human attempt to intuit what "God" is or is not. Because one chooses rational thought over the belief in a mythical figure, or a figure that has been elaborated upon, such as Jesus, does not mean there IS NO "God". All it means is that we are incapable of understanding such an entity (whatever it might be) and that our nature, by its inherent design, requires us to attempt to "understand" everything that pertains to our ongoing lives and well being.
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 26, 2010 6:07:14 PM PDT
two in tents says:
"I believe my 57-point objection, above, is a devastating refutation of TCD ("The Christian Delusion")"
The author of claim P not having answered an objection to claim P does not refute claim P -- that's an ad hominem fallacy ... duh.