Customer Reviews


3 Reviews
5 star:
 (2)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the Bible supernatural realm wildly improbable?
May the force of sceptical logic from these masters of the Bibleverse set you free, then you will be free indeed! The truth calls out to those living in darkness, come out from under the false image of divinity into the light of reason. These voices interpret the Bible honestly and declare checkmate on the phantom of its opera. There is nothing to fear. The one who...
Published on 31 July 2011 by A.

versus
7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Presupposing materialism
"The End of Christianity" is a compilation of hard-line, atheist-materialist polemics against - guess what - Christianity, brought to us by the indefatigable John W. Loftus, a recovering fundamentalist minister. Apparently, its part of Loftus' very own space trilogy, the other titles being "The Christian Delusion" and "Why I became an atheist". (I haven't read those,...
Published on 30 Dec. 2011 by Ashtar Command


Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is the Bible supernatural realm wildly improbable?, 31 July 2011
By 
A. (Broxburn, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The End of Christianity (Paperback)
May the force of sceptical logic from these masters of the Bibleverse set you free, then you will be free indeed! The truth calls out to those living in darkness, come out from under the false image of divinity into the light of reason. These voices interpret the Bible honestly and declare checkmate on the phantom of its opera. There is nothing to fear. The one who claimed to offer peace but in reality gave a cruicifying burden is no more. Hell was the log in Jesus eye.
The chapters are:
1.By David Eller: Christianity evolving: On the origins or Christian Species
2.By Richard Carrier: Christianity's success was not incredible
3.By John Loftus: Christianity is Wildly Improbable
4 By Hector Avalos: Why Biblical studies must end
5 By Jaco Gericke: Can God exist if Yahweh doesn't?
6 By Varlerie Tarico: God's emotions: Why the Biblical God is hopelessly human
7 By Ken Pulliam: The absurdity of the Atonement
8 By Matt McCormick: The Salem witch trials and the evidence for the resurrection
9 By Robert Price: Explaining the Resurrection without Recourse to miracle
10 By Keith Parsons: Hell: Christianitiy's most damnable doctrine
11 By David Eller: Is religion compatable with science?
12 By Richard Carrier: Neither life not the universe appear Intelligently designed
13 By Victor Stenger : Life after death: Examining the evidence
14 By Richard Carrier: Moral facts naturally exist ( and science could find them)

Behold rational thought stands at the door and knocks, who so ever accepts it will be saved from internal delusion.
I think Ch 10 can be summarized: A morally perfect God wouldn't do a cruel and unjust thing like sending people to eternal suffering, a competent God wouldn't have let a hell come into existence, a good & loving God wouldn't let the world exist after Adam & Eve if most were doomed. On p242 Parsons notes that C.S. Lewis in his 1940 book, 'The problem of pain' was aware of many valid objections to the doctrine of hell. 1 The punishments are purely retributive and therefore cruel. 2 Eternal punishment for transitory sin is unjust. 3 The punishments of hell are too severe to be just 5. God who desires the salvation of all is defeated when a soul is lost.On p233 he writes that Charles Darwin was a trained theologian and thought Hell was a damnable doctrine. [I think that if you weren't afraid of going there then you would agree with those objections, but fear makes people like Lewis bend their thinking to try defend it] p 234 The dogma of hell is rationally and morally indefensible
Valerie Tarico p162 encourages people to value honesty, integrity and truth seeking
Hector Avalos p129 inspite of his confrontational chapter title thinks that Biblical studies should be retained to help people move towards a post scriptural society. He suggests that 99% of the Bible would not be missed. I get the point but I think that the Bible will always be valuable as an excercise in Higher criticism- it is important to be able to explain why is ain't necessarily so. It will help people to stay grounded if they know the history of religion & philosophy. I have accepted, as John Loftus suggests, that the Bible supernatural realm doesn't exist. However I still have faith in the Golden rule: treat others as you want them to treat you, and in the riddles of love your neighbour & enemies (eg have a caring attitude toward & non exaggerated, non generalised opinion of them), be forgiving, be a peacemaker, be merciful, turn the other cheek where appropriate but vigorously defend your innocence when falsely accused, comply with the 2011 U.K laws. etc
So what if Jesus and God are myth? Church is about meeting friends chatting about holidays & friends and singing nice tunes or sitting round a camp fire with a guitar. If churches would honestly embrace the full arument pro and con instead of covering up inconvenient truths they would get on much better. You have heard it said, 'Believe and do not doubt' but now I say unto thee, to have a balanced view ministers should encourage people to value doubt which is simply the other side of the argument from the one that supports your conclusion'. It is possible to move from Christian orthodoxy to a higher moral plane.A health & safety assessment can be done on all human activity. Modern secular law reflects that. These authors point out the defects in Bible morality which is largely superstition based. Loftus & co stand alone on the word of man; the B.I.B.L.E.
It's time to accept that the sceptical in the congregation were right all along when they they thought the minister was taking it all too seriously.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The case is now closed, 6 April 2015
By 
This review is from: The End of Christianity (Paperback)
Christians will no doubt accuse ex-priest John Loftus of hubris or worse for his apparently extravagant claim that this book thoroughly debunks Christianity. And yet religions have come and gone throughout history. Ralph Waldo Emerson quipped that the religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next. We now wonder that the Delphic Oracle lasted so long, or how anyone could worship Zeus, or why the Norse gods went out of fashion (although these deities are being revived, mainly as an excuse for drinking beer and feasting). Why couldn't Christianity go the same way? Christianity is different from all the other religions, say its apologists, because it's true. Really? Together with his previous anthology (The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails), Loftus and his collaborators show the many ways in which Christianity and its teachings on history, society, cosmology and morality all fail to stand up to rational scrutiny. The truth about anything is one of the last things to be found in this religion.

The book is organized into four parts. The first part ("Why Two Thousand Years Are Enough") upends one of the supposed strengths of Christianity: its long tradition. Far from convincing everyone of its truth, Christians have failed to convince each other of the truth of their particular interpretation. Christianity is notoriously schismatic. Indeed, as David Eller argues in his chapter on "Christianity Evolving" there's no such thing as Christianity but only Christianities, a multiplicity of sects and cults of boggling diversity. In 1054, for example, "the Roman church excommunicated the Byzantine church, creating the first enduring schism or speciation in European Christianity." In the millennium since, Christians have proved extraordinarily adept at falling out with one another, to say nothing of their aggression towards infidels (in other words, anyone who isn't a Christian). Richard Carrier refutes the argument "that Christianity's origin and success were supernaturally special" and shows how the evidence of its origins actually disconfirms the supernatural claims of Christianity. Loftus ends the part with a powerful reality check for believers: "fifteen addition items they believe and why each one of them involves double standards, non sequiturs, special pleading, begging the question, or just plain ignorance." His conclusion: their "faith is wildly improbable."

In the second part ("Putting an Ancient Myth to Rest"), Hector Avalos reviews the current sorry state of biblical studies and sees no future for endless academic wrangling over diminishing scholarly returns. In fact, Christians ought to have been in the vanguard in putting a stop to such inquiry, since what has been established, by textual critics for example, is devastating: the "claim that the Bible has been transmitted faithfully from any original text" is false, and textual criticism has helped destroy the notion that the Bible was ever a stable entity. (For more on textual criticism, see Bart Ehrman's excellent Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why.) For good measure, biblical archaeology "has helped to bury the Bible" by digging up evidence that contradicts much of so-called biblical history. Jaco Gericke asks: "Can God exist if Yahweh doesn't?" Valerie Tarico details God's emotions, which are a strange thing for a supposedly divine being to possess: we "expect God not to be the kind of guy who needs anger management classes."

Ken Pulliam's contribution to the third part ("Living on Borrowed Time") shows "that the dominant view of the atonement in Evangelicalism, the view that many claim is the very heart of the Christian Gospel, is illogical, immoral, incoherent, and therefore, absurd." Matt McCormick challenges the Christian to compare two sets of stories: those contained within the Gospels and those surrounding the Salem witch trials. He argues that, by any reasonable measure, "the evidence we have that there were real witches in Salem is vastly better than the evidence we have for the magical return from the dead by Jesus." And yet, of course, the idea that the women accused in Salem really were witches is repellent to most modern Christians. So why do they believe in the historical truth of the resurrection, when all they've got to go on are "a few anecdotal, hearsay stories from passionate and committed religious adherents that were passed by word of mouth through an unknown number of people for decades before being written down"? Following this up, Robert M. Price explains the resurrection without recourse to miracle, and Keith Parsons comes off the fence and decides that hell is Christianity's most damnable doctrine. Hell is one of the reasons Christianity has survived for so long: by creating a real fear of an imaginary place, the church was able to intimidate people into belief. Now that Christianity has to rely on its merits in the marketplace of ideas, it's not looking so healthy.

The final part ("Science Puts an End to Christianity") is as forthright as the foregoing material. In the past, when churches were socially and politically powerful institutions with access to the instruments of torture, it used to be scientists who were concerned to keep on the right side of religion. Today, it's the religious who look foolish if they insist that the world is 6,000 years old because the Bible says so. David Eller concludes his chapter on the compatibility of religion and science with the observation that modern science couldn't care less if it proves scripture to be more fiction than fact. Richard Carrier argues that "Christianity is actually the least credible explanation of any apparent design in the universe" and he uses Bayesian analysis to show the improbability "that any god designed life or the universe" (see also his Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus). Victor Stenger examines the scientific evidence for life after death (there isn't any), and Richard Carrier returns to argue that moral facts naturally exist (and science could find them).

There are sixty pages of notes and references, containing a wealth of scholarship underpinning all the material. That shouldn't put off the lay reader whose interest is piqued by any of the questions raised. Indeed, curiosity is at the heart of a sceptical mindset: to plunge in without knowing all the answers, without having some preestablished conclusion in mind, but being committed to using reason to the best of one's ability. Scepticism is a learned virtue; faith is a vice most commonly passed from parent to child. In The Outsider Test for Faith: How to Know Which Religion Is True, Loftus "asks believers to test their own inherited religious faith from the perspective of an outsider with the same level of skepticism they used to evaluate other religious faiths." The OTF "asks believers to abandon the double standard they have about religious faiths, nothing more." If Christianity is true, it should easily pass the OTF. This book puts Christianity to the test, and finds it wanting.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Presupposing materialism, 30 Dec. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The End of Christianity (Paperback)
"The End of Christianity" is a compilation of hard-line, atheist-materialist polemics against - guess what - Christianity, brought to us by the indefatigable John W. Loftus, a recovering fundamentalist minister. Apparently, its part of Loftus' very own space trilogy, the other titles being "The Christian Delusion" and "Why I became an atheist". (I haven't read those, yet.)

Being neither a Christian nor a materialist, I'm of course eminently suited to give this book a fair hearing and perfectly objective review... And then, maybe not. :D

Frankly, "The End of Christianity" is a very mixed bag, but it veers strongly towards the "bad" end of the bag spectrum. For instance, John Loftus' Outsider Test for Faith (OTF) is obviously rigged so only atheist-materialists can pass it. Richard Carrier's moral philosophy is zany, to say the least, and other articles work only if you accept the exact theological notions being debunked. Thus, those who don't accept the particular version of the atonement attacked by Ken Pulliam will consider his article a shot in the dark. Likewise, only cessationists will be stung by Matt McCormick's article about the Salem witch trials. The undertone of the entire book is that science (or perhaps Science) can solve all problems, including those pertaining to morality, the meaning of life, etc. Some of the authors have an obsession with a certain kind of formal logic, as if that could prove anything (on this point, they share the pew with some Christian apologists). As somebody pointed out long ago: you can't use formal logic to prove the existence of whales.

Another weak argument goes like this: The empty grave doesn't prove that Jesus was resurrected, since a phoney story about a resurrection will - by definition - include a story of an empty grave. You can't use one part of a legend to "prove" the other part (there's even a funny comic to drive home this point). True, I suppose. But then, a *true* story about a resurrection would also include a story about an empty tomb, wouldn't it? In fact, I think I can prove that using formal logic! Thus, the argument of "Jesus and Mo" only works if materialism is presupposed from the outset.

And that, I think, is the main reason why I find this book so frustrating (a bit like Lee Strobel in reverse). The narrow materialism-positivism-scientism of the contributors is never really argued for, it's there from the outset. (The OTF is just the most glaring example.) Nothing "wrong" with that, I suppose, expect that it gives the book the quality of a monologue. A more native, American problem (already mentioned) is that the target of the polemic is assumed to be an equally narrow evangelical, perhaps a fundamentalist pure and simple. Those of us who aren't high on Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell or Billy Graham feel somewhat left out, guys!

The best articles are "Hell: Christianity's most damnable doctrine" by Keith Parsons and "Christianity's success is highly improbable" by Richard Carrier. The latter author attempts to prove that the ideas of Christianity weren't unique or unusual in the Jewish-Hellenistic context where they first emerged. In fact, there are many parallels between the Christian stories and various legends or expectations found in other religions. The mystery religions are mentioned, and Carrier also mentions that the resurrection of the body is originally a "pagan" idea, taken over by the Jews from Zoroastrianism. (I'm impressed, Richard! Few people notice that many "Biblical" ideas actually come from this Persian religious system.) Carrier's point is that the idea of a dying and resurrecting god-man could have evolved by purely natural means. No need to postulate any supernatural explanation. Of course, this argument also presupposes materialism. Here's an alternative explanation: What if all Hellenistic religions reflect objective spiritual truths, some better than others? Or what if Zoroaster was right? ;-)

The best atheist-materialist books are those which attempt to prove Neo-Darwinism and give it a strictly materialist spin, such as "The Blind Watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins. If Dawkins is right, then all (or almost all) religions and pre-1859 philosophies are dead wrong. No need to argue the finer theological points about the atonement or the Trinity. In other words, the best books are those which somehow try to prove materialism, rather than simply postulate it.

But sure, I'm somewhat subjective on this point. We all have our "issues", I suppose. Maybe there are people who could be de-converted even by "The End of Christianity"...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The End of Christianity
The End of Christianity by John W. Loftus (Paperback - 1 July 2011)
£16.99
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews