John W. Loftus usually debunks religious arguments in his books, but his latest one gives Christians tips on how they can make a better case for their beliefs. (It’s not as weird as it sounds, I promise.)
That book is called How to Defend the Christian Faith: Advice from an Atheist (Pitchstone Publishing, 2015):
In the excerpt below, Loftus explains how Christian apologists have a lot of work to do because God left them with such an incredible burden:
In this chapter I’m going to address the most important question of all for would-be Christian apologists. It’s the obvious elephant in the room, not seen by apologists because they don’t have the eyes for it. My argument is that God, if he exists, failed to effectively communicate his will. He failed to provide the sufficient evidence we need to believe. Since he failed us, apologists have been given a tremendous work load, bigger than any one of them can bear up under. But if God had done a better job, there would be little, if anything, for apologists to do. In fact, God didn’t even need to hire apologists at all for this most important job. He could have done all the work himself. Thus the most important question of all:
Why is it necessary to defend the Christian faith at all?
I’m going to do a job performance review of the Almighty. I used to believe in God. I used to defend his ways. Now I’m an atheist. I don’t believe in him because his job performance rating is so poor he probably doesn’t even exist at all. He could have done better, much better, if the goal was to save souls from the pits of hell. First I’ll share why and then offer four other ways God could have done a much better job.
If God supposedly gave up Jesus to die on the cross for our sins, which is the greater deed by far, then why has he failed (and continues to fail) to do enough to reach nonbelievers, which represents the lesser deeds. I mean really, if God did the greater deed then why doesn’t he also commit himself to doing the lesser deeds? Isn’t that backassward for an intelligent being? It would be like preparing an extravagant delicious banquet, with enough food to feed all the starving people in a refugee camp, but not caring enough to send out workers to tell them about it — or hiring incompetent workers he knows won’t do it. If you think God is doing the lesser deeds then read onward Christian soldiers.
Why has God given the most important task of them all to Christians, according to their own theology? They are still sinners on this side of heaven, lacking complete sanctification and consequently lazy, self-absorbed, greedy, lying, lustful, fallible, ignorant, finite human beings. Most Christians who attend church services are much more interested in networking with others, finding a mate, being entertained, or learning lessons from pop-psychology on how to be a good person (because for some reason they need reminding weekly), than in reaching out to people who, according to their own theology, are headed straight for an eternal conscious torturous hell.
Compared with an all-knowing God, even the best Christian defenders are bumbling idiots and incompetent fools. Compared with an all-loving God, even the best Christian defenders are utterly self-centered and completely unconcerned that people are going to hell. Compared with an all-powerful God, even the best Christian defenders are totally lacking any energy to help people believe. Surely it stands to reason that many people have not accepted Jesus as their savior because Christian defenders lacked the motivation, the energy, and the necessary smarts to do so. Christians who lacked the smarts haven’t even known where to look for the needed evidence to believe, much less found it. This doesn’t make any sense at all, especially if there’s a flaming hell to pay for those who are not convinced to believe and be saved.
Surely a God like the one Christians believe in could have been more concerned for the lost than hiring the church to do this most important job, surely. If Christians have been incompetent with this task then God was incompetent in hiring them to do it. God should have cared for the lost more than that. As the CEO of his corporation his hiring practices are a failure. God should fire them and do the work himself.
How to Defend the Christian Faith is now available online and in bookstores.
Excerpt reprinted by permission of the publisher.