John W. Loftus recently edited a book called The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails (Prometheus Books, 2011). It includes a number of essays, written by scholars, all debunking Christianity as we know it.
Loftus has offered to give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader. Details on that below. First, a couple excerpts from the book:
There are many religions in the world we don’t take seriously enough to pay attention to them. There are many dead religions of the past that we ignore in today’s world, including several dead Christianities. They do not merit our thought or discussion. They are dead. They have no relevance for our lives. Unless we’re interested in the history of these religions we simply ignore them. We ignore their scriptures, their prophets, their religious duties, their rituals, and their threats of punishment in the afterlife. They no longer matter to us.
When it comes to Christianity two thousand years is enough. It’s time this ancient myth was put to rest. This present book calls for the same end of Christianity as the other religions we reject that are dead to us. Just as we ignore other faiths our hope is that someday we can ignore the Christian faith, because the future adherents will live in the cultural backwaters like the Amish people who pose no threat to the peace of the world.
In fact, as far as I’m concerned Christian theism has no more credibility than Scientology, Mormonism, Haitian Voodoo, or the southwest Pacific Ocean cargo cults… And it has no more credibility than the many different dead ancient religions of the past, including the faith of ancient Israel, several other early Christianities, or the many other resurrected savior cults (such as the cults of Zalmoxis, Romulus, and Osiris).
Skeptics reject all of these religious faiths because none of them offers satisfactory answers to basic questions nor do they present sufficient evidence to believe. So it is not the case that we single Christianity out for rejection, and therefore it’s not the case we do so because we have hardened, sinful, selfish, prideful, rebellious hearts, or that we had poor father figures, or any such nonsense. All such attempts to dismiss our rejection of Christianity tacitly admit that the Christian faith does not offer good reasons to believe based on sufficient evidence. For you would never see a serious scientist dismissing another scientist in the same manner by saying: “That guy had a poor father figure so that’s why he rejects my new theory!”
Since I’m a thinking person I cannot accept just any claim at all. Given the number of false beliefs that have been propagated down through history and in today’s world, I am right to require reasonable answers to basic questions, and I am right to require sufficient evidence commensurate with the claims being made before I will accept them. I can see no reasonable objection to this requirement at all. Even if there is a god he supposedly created me this way as a thinking person. So the existence of a god changes nothing, for it would be duplicitous and counter-productive of a deity to create me as a thinking person and not also provide me with the answers and the evidence that a thinking person needs to accept the Christian claims. There are Christians who object that we should not trust our intellect. But it seems utterly contradictory for them to appeal to our intelligence when arguing for why we cannot trust our intelligence. There are Christians who object that our thinking about such matters is unreliably clouded because our minds are fallen. But that means thinking people are hopelessly condemned because they don’t know any other way to search for the truth but by using their minds. There are Christians who object that it doesn’t matter if thinking people can’t understand the truth because all of us deserve to be condemned for the sin of our first human parents in a Garden of Eden anyway. But isn’t it obvious that only if some of us would not have sinned under the same initial conditions can such a test be considered a fair one rather than a sham? Yet if some of us would not have sinned in the Garden of Eden then there are people who are being punished for something they never would’ve done in the first place.
There are Christians who object that we are in a cosmic war where thinking people are just unfortunately being deceived by Satan. But since humans are no match for Satan’s supposed intellect and power then God is to be blamed for allowing Satan’s continued existence or by not successfully helping us know the truth. It just seems unreasonable for God to demand that deceived people should ask for his help when they don’t even know they are deceived enough to ask for his help in the first place.
Loftus spends a lot of time in the book arguing for an “Outsider’s test of faith.” In a nutshell, it asks the question: Whatever reasons you have to dismiss other faiths, can I use it to dismiss yours?
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the book, just leave in the comments an example of an argument Christians use to dismiss other religions that we can throw right back at them. (e.g. “The stories in your holy book never really happened!”) You must leave the word “Anthology” after your comment if you’d like to be considered for the prize.
I’ll pick a random winner next week and contact that person directly!
By the way, until July 27th, the publishers are offering the Kindle version of the book for only $2.99. After that, the price goes back to normal.