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Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails [Paperback]

John Loftus
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Mar 2010
In this collection of current criticisms aimed at the rationality of Christian belief, former evangelical minister and apologist John Loftus has assembled fifteen exceptional articles by leading sceptics. Central to the books premise is the editors idea of the Outsiders Test of Faith, which argues that believers should test their faith with the same sceptical standards they use to evaluate the other faiths they reject as if they were outsiders. Experts in medicine, psychology, and anthropology, join Loftus to show why, when this test is applied to Christianity, it becomes very difficult to rationally defend it. It also explores and discusses a number of other controversial topics, including errors and unfounded superstitions in the Bible, the immorality of God as depicted in the Bible, and Christianity as the basis for morality.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Prometheus (31 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616141689
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616141684
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 16.1 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 200,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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

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

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

About the Author

John W. Loftus (Angola, IN) earned M.A. and M.Div. 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 Th.M. degree in philosophy of religion. Before leaving the church, he had ministries in Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, and taught at several Christian and secular colleges. Today he has an online blog at debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended 11 May 2010
Format:Paperback
This book is a collection of related essays by multiple authors, which has advantages (many of the authors are qualified experts writing in their own fields) and disadvantages (a certain degree of inconsistency in style and approach). The diverse topics also have the advantage that there is likely to be something new here for many readers even if they are familiar with the common arguments for and against Christianity.

The first essay, from anthropologist David Eller, looks at religion and culture; while there are probably no big surprises here, I found it very effective at putting religion in context and addressing how it is spread and established and, in turn, how religion is itself influenced by culture. Then follows an excellent piece by psychologist Valerie Tarico, looking at what modern cognitive science has to say about our inherent irrationality (with a nice sideswipe at philosophy along the way) and the nature of religious experiences. Next up is Jason Long with more on the psychology of belief; then John Loftus closes out the first part with a defense of his "Outsider Test of Faith" (expounded in his earlier book but presented perhaps too briefly here).

Part two addresses the Bible, first with Edward Babinski comparing the Bible's view of cosmology with other ancient sources. Then Paul Tobin writes on what modern scholarship has to say about the Bible, giving a quick (possibly too quick) overview of some of the problems with it such as the discrepancies between the OT and the archaeological evidence, the internal contradictions, the inclusion of forgeries in the NT canon, and so on. (An addendum specifically addresses the problem of liberal or modernist theology.
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17 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By A.
Format:Paperback
I highly recommend reading this book. The best sermons you will ever hear.If you are motivated by a search for truth and sanity this is for you. This book is a gateway to the wider debate about religious beliefs. It is a meeting with 9+ of the top skeptical Bible scholars. Trying to piece together all the opposing ideas in the Bible is like trying to build a house of cards upside down. The Bible is a book at war with its self. p150 quotes Biblical Scholar Randel Helms, who in his book 'The Bible against itself', argues that "The Bible is a war zone, and its authors are the combatants".
I especially liked the chapters: 5. The Cosmology of the Bible, 6 The Bible and Modern Scholarship, 7. What we have here is a failure to communicate, 8. Yahweh is a Moral Monster, 14 Atheism was not the cause of the Holocaust.
Hector Avalos spots on p 225 that Genesis 20v17&18 claims that God was able to make a woman infertile, and points out that in that case God could have caused all Canaanites to be infertile thus avoiding any need for war / genocide. So why didn't God just make all unbelievers infertile 2000 years ago and let the chosen ones populate the earth, thus saving anymore going to hell? Probably because it is all fantasy. Note also that Genesis 21v 17-21 says God saved Hagar and Ishmael, who allegedly was the father of Islamic nations. God has deliberately caused 23% of the world hostile to accepting 'Jesus as Lord'.
The trick to being a Christian is to believe just enough to see yourself as eligible for heaven but not so much as to have any impact on your life. You need to focus on the parts of the Bible which concur with socially acceptable values of love, tolerance, compassion,not hurting anyone and being U.K.law abiding.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We all know poppycock when we hear it 27 Feb 2013
By Sphex
Format:Paperback
John Loftus is an ex-preacher who has not only left his evangelical beliefs behind but is now an eloquent voice for humanism and atheism and reason. In this excellent volume, he joins eight other writers in producing fifteen chapters divided into five parts. This is a systematic and informed analysis of the Christian delusion, starting with why faith fails as a route to knowledge and ending with a rejection of the idea that society depends on Christianity. The foreword is written by another well-known ex-preacher, Dan Barker, who charted his own journey from faith to reason in Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists. What both share with the contributors is an attitude that is characteristic of the new atheism, that, as Loftus puts it, someone "has to tell the emperor he has no clothes on."

Barker suggests that "what unities the authors of this volume is not revenge for having been victimized by the deceptions of religion, but a burning desire for actual facts." While the title of the book is provocative, the contributed essays are far from wholly negative. A typical strategy is that of David Eller, a professor of anthropology, who argues that our moral sense is grounded in the natural world and does not originate with Christianity. Eller identifies agency as the "one quality that religions seem to share" (it's certainly something that preoccupies the religious evolutionist Robert Asher in Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist).
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