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The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails Paperback – April 27, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"The contributors to this book have interesting, important, and controversial things to say to conservative Christians: It isn't true that modern society has Christian foundations; it isn't true that there is significant historical evidence for the Resurrection; it isn't true that scripture portrays a perfectly good God; it is untenable to suppose that the Bible is the Word of God; and there are many new challenges to the believability of Christianity in contemporary sciences: pyschology, sociology, cognitive science, archaeology, and the like. This book is a fitting successor to Loftus' book Why I Became an Atheist and merits a similarly broad readership." -- Dr. Graham Oppy, associate dean of research and associate dean of graduate studies in the faculty of arts at Monash University, author of Arguing About Gods (2006), and co-editor (with Nick Trakakis) of The History of Western Philosophy of Religion 5 vols. (2009)

"John Loftus and his distinguished colleagues have certainly produced one of the best and arguably the best critique of the Christian faith the world has ever known. Using sociological, biblical, scientific, historical, philosophical, theological and ethical criticisms, this book completely destroys Christianity. All but the most fanatical believers who read it should be moved to have profound doubts." --Dr. Michael Martin, professor of philosophy emeritus and author of The Case Against Christianity and Atheism: A Philosophical Justification

"If John Loftus never wrote anything else he will be remembered a century from now for his Outsider Test for Faith, which figures prominently in this book." --Frank Zindler, PhD, former president of American Atheists and editor of American Atheist Magazine.

"I'm quoted in this book as saying that treating the arguments of others fairly is simply an application of the Golden Rule. Christians regularly ask atheists to listen to their arguments and read their books. If a Christian wishes to return the favor, this volume offers atheist views on a range of subjects, presented respectfully (for the most part) yet with conviction. Christians who wish to critically examine and reflect on their beliefs will benefit from the outsider perspectives offered here. I join with its authors in encouraging you to dare to doubt. If you follow that courageous path, you may at times draw the wrong conclusions. If you do not, you will certainly be wrong at least as often." --James F. McGrath, PhD, Associate Professor of Religion and Clarence L. Goodwin Chair of New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University, and author of The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context

"For nearly two thousand years apologists have striven mightily to show that the dogmas of Christianity are rationally defensible. For much of the Christian era critics have sought to debunk those apologetic claims. In that long tradition of criticism, there have been few works as effective as The Christian Delusion. The essays are incisive, rigorous, and original, shedding new light on old issues and boldly exploring new paths of argument. The selection of topics is outstanding--at once both comprehensive and innovative. For fresh insights into an old debate, The Christian Delusion is strongly recommended." ----Keith Parsons, PhD, professor of philosophy, University of Houston, Clear Lake, and author of the book, God and the Burden of Proof

"John Loftus is to be congratulated for assembling such a fine collection of papers from such a diversity of fields. This book is not simply an anthology of atheist thought, but a wide sweeping attack on the basis of Christianity. Using these various approaches, the authors subject Christianity to a rigorous critique: challenging it from the psychology of belief to the origins of morality, the historical Jesus, Christian exceptionalism, and claims of eternal truth despite the constant evolution of that religion. The end result is that Christianity is demonstrated to be just one of the many religions humans have invented for themselves." --James Linville, PhD, associate professor of religious studies, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge AB, Canada.

"The culture of Christianity has dominated the U.S., and to some extent the world, for so long that even the act of asking questions or raising doubts is scorned. But with Christian doctrine so far out of whack with scientific, moral, philosophical, and political realities, we cannot afford to leave it unanalyzed. When we do cast an objective and critical eye towards it, its ideas, arguments, and justifications unravel. The thinkers in this volume, who have the courage, the will, and the expertise to conduct that critical evaluation have made a valuable contribution to the sea change." --Matt McCormick, PhD, philosophy professor, California State University, Sacramento, CA

"John Loftus cut his Christian apologetic teeth at our seminary, and I believe that he has since exchanged them for a false set. Nevertheless, in this book he has prepared a buffet with other notable atheistic chefs that 'honest Christians' dare not ignore. Many will simply refuse the menu because of its perceived poisonous entrees. But Christians need to chew on what these cooks are serving, even though much may be hard to swallow or difficult to digest. I say, 'Let the banquet begin!'" --Rich Knopp, PhD, professor of philosophy & apologetics at Lincoln Christian University, Lincoln, Illinois

"The Christian Delusion is an incredibly powerful book that's a must-read for anyone who's ever had a doubt about God--believers and non-believers alike. I wish a book like this was around when I first had my doubts about Christianity. It would have saved me many years in getting to the truth." --William Lobdell, author of Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America--and Found Unexpected Peace

"This book systematically undermines the pillars of evangelical Christianity. It shows the arguments for the divine inspiration of the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus, a supernatural conversion experience, the necessity of the Bible for a proper system of ethics, etc. to be full of holes. It demonstrates that those who believe in the tenets of evangelical Christianity truly are deluded." --Ken Pulliam, PhD, who taught NT Greek, theology, and apologetics for nine years before becoming an agnostic

"The Christian Delusion is a comprehensive and representative presentation of contemporary skeptical thought. Anyone who wants to understand the position of contemporary free thinkers could not do much better than to read this book." --Matthew Flannagan, Christian philosopher and adjunct lecturer in philosophy for Laidlaw College and Bethlehem Tertiary Institute

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: 422 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (April 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616141689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616141684
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #374,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ken R. Pulliam on April 10, 2010
Format: 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.
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I purchased this book expecting it to be a review of material I had already become familiar with through authors like Bart Ehrman and Dan Barker. While there is some overlap, there is a wealth of additional material here that goes beyond the usual points raised in the critical examination of christianity. The inclusion of substantial content from the perspectives of psychology, anthropology and ancient history makes this book more than just a polemic; it's a nice anthology that provides the buyer with a broad range of discourse that has very uncomfortable implications for theism. All of the authors provide thorough references for their contributions, which is a plus for the intended audience of this book, i.e., any critical reader who is loath to take a statement or an assertion "on faith", regardless of which side (or the middle) of the fence you sit. Another plus for this book is the fact that the authors take time to examine various lines of apologetics with respect to several of the chapter topics and why they believe they are philosophically untenable, historically implausible or distort scientific fact.

It's easy to find books that bash religion (or atheism, for that matter) on superficial levels, and while some parts of this book have an aggressive tone, none of the authors resorts to trite or ad hominem arguments to make their points-they rely on depth of scholarship which makes this a highly readable, if sometimes complex, addition to the increasing body of works critical of christianity and religion in general.
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I thought the coolest thing in my copy would be Richard Carrier's signature. But, it actually taught me quite a lot. It's the weirdest feeling. It's been years since one piece of media has seriously enlightened me on more than one or two topics. It's a rare gem to find something that dispels a misconception or suddenly clears up some issue, or corrects a mistake, or changes one's mind but this book did all of those things.

When I read the God Delusion, the criticisms of which spawned this book, it was mostly old hat. Dawkins was a perfectly fine author but most of his stuff was basically remedial. And many criticized Dawkins on the grounds that he was discussing topics for which he was not an expert and the work wasn't scholarly. But largely it was all stuff I already knew, and learned years ago. It was entirely review. In the Christian Delusion, the essays fit together nicely and those writing them actually are experts on the topics they are writing on and the book as a whole is devastating to Christianity, and actually taught me quite a lot. It's rare to run into a few bits of new info but this book is full of em.

Though a very small group, if you found the God Delusion to be boring because it was so much review, buy this book. I cannot even fathom how jawdropping it would be for somebody who hasn't spent years already studying this stuff.
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My only complaint is there wasn't a hardback version. If there is a book that warrents a hardback edition, it it this one. That is really my only criticism. I too am a former Christian. In fact, I came from the same religious fellowship as John Loftus. I like his writings because he tends to approach topics from the same point of view I do. His book 'Why I Became an Atheist' was thorough and handled some issues that other writers from more mainline evnagelical writers tend to overlook. I always love the work of Richard Carrier and Robert Price. The chapter on the resurrection by Carrier was strong as usual. It was like a small preview of his own upcoming book on the historicity of Jesus which I know will be awesome. Babinski's chapter on Biblical comsmology was very informative. The more I learn about other ancient religions I see parallels in creation, not only from Genesis but all over the Old Testament. In this chapter Babinski lays out not only the references to the non-biblical texts but also lists the ones found in the Bible; dealing with everything from the creation stories to the flat earth, etc. This proves to me that any claim to inspiration by an all knowing god is foolishness. Why would god describe in his guide book to a lost humanity a false picture? He being all knowing, he should have seen that one day mankind would find out the truth concerning the spherical nature of the earth. I let me guess; he's testing us. Right! I hope this book will be read by many and highly circulated. I bought three just so I could loan them out to those lost in the darkness of confusion.
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