Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianityby John W. Loftus
Pub. Date: 03/28/2012
Publisher: Penguin Random House Llc
For about two decades John W. Loftus was a devout evangelical Christian, an ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and an ardent apologist for Christianity. With three degrees-in philosophy, theology, and philosophy of religion-he was adept at using rational argumentation to defend the faith. But over the years, as he ministered to various congregations and taught at Christian colleges, doubts about the credibility of key Christian tenets began to creep into his thinking. By the late 1990s he experienced a full-blown crisis of faith, brought on by emotional upheavals in his personal life as well as the gathering weight of the doubts he had long entertained.
In this honest appraisal of his journey from believer to atheist, Loftus carefully explains the experiences and the reasoning process that led him to reject religious belief. The bulk of the book is his "cumulative case" against Christianity. Here he lays out the philosophical, scientific, and historical reasons that can be raised against Christian belief. From the implications of religious diversity, the authority of faith vs. reason, and the problem of evil, to the contradictions between the Bible and the scientific worldview, the conflicts between traditional dogma and historical evidence, and much more, Loftus covers a great deal of intellectual terrain. For every issue he succinctly summarizes the various points of view and provides references for further reading. In conclusion, he describes the implications of life without belief in God, some liberating, some sobering.
This frank critique of Christian belief from a former insider will interest freethinkers as well as anyone with doubts about the claims ofreligion.
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Table of Contents
Foreword Edward T. Babinski 7
The Basis for My Control Beliefs
My Christian Conversion and Deconversion 19
The Christian Illusion of Rational and Moral Superiority 35
Faith, Reason, and the Cumulative Case Method 46
The Outsider Test for Faith... 66
Does God Exist? 78
The Lessons of Galileo, Science, and Religion 106
The Strange and Superstitious World of the Bible 124
Pseudonymity in the Bible 167
Archaeology, Exodus, and the Canaanite Conquest 177
The Poor Evidence of Historical Evidence 181
Do Miracles Take Place? 199
The Self-Authenticating Witness of the Holy Spirit 213
The Problem of Unanswered Prayer 220
The Problem of Evil-Part 1: My Specific Case 228
The Problem of Evil-Part 2: Objections Answered 243
The Biblical Evidence Examined
Science and the Genesis Creation Accounts 265
Science and Genesis 1-11 281
Prophecy and Biblical Authority 289
Was Jesus Born of a Virgin in Bethlehem? 317
Was Jesus God Incarnate? 329
"The Passion of the Christ": Why DidJesus Suffer? 344
Did Jesus Bodily Rise from the Dead? 351
The Devil Made Me Do It! 383
Hell? No! 387
What I Believe Today
Why I Became an Atheist 399
What Is Life without God? 406
Bibliography of Selected Works 417
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I found this book to be very enlightening. Mr. Loftus has some very importnat points to make and he argued them with clarity and reason. Not only has it given me insight into Atheism, it has also given me a better understanding on why a person would choose to abandon theism. I recommend this book to any open minded individual.
John W. Loftus has written an important book that should be read by every Christian who cares about truth and reality. This is not the angry rant of some disgruntled former believer with an axe to grind. Loftus is thorough, fair and convincing. As a former Christian minister and apologist who became an atheist, he knows both sides of the belief question very well. The insights and detailed information contained in this book make for enlightening reading. There is much for everyone, from believers who are courageous enough to think more deeply about their faith to nonbelievers who want to better understand the arguments Christians make in defense of their religion. I highly recommend this outstanding book. --Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God
john w. loftus' book is the almost the best atheist book next to the richard dawkins, victor j stenger, bart erhman, and michael sherman. I enjoy mr. loftus book best cause of the detail and the really hard arguements that christian apologist make to support a claim that god exist. i found this book very interesting. im an open minded person and i read book on both sides for my own opinion. and this book is a must. i the christian aruguements were hard to understand but i got it.
Really detailed, informative book. Fascinating read b/c the author is a former religious insider; now on the outside. I would describe this book as geared toward doubting and non-doubiting believers (specifically Christians) rather than non-believers as I found it to be soft and sympathetic toward the typical (non-fundamentalist/extremist) point of view.. The text includes a lot of direct quotes from the bible which I found interesting as I have been an atheist for many years and have never read much of the bible (and what I have read, I certainly don't like). Loftus makes some valid, thorough points regarding the argument from evil and I especially enjoyed that chapter. I would def recommend this book to believers and non, as well as students and their teachers. If you like more of the scientic proof against the existence of god, I would for sure recommend anything by Richard Dawkins and Victor J Stenger.
John W. Loftus has written an excellent detailed explanation of his reasons for rejecting Biblical faith and embracing atheism. I urge you to purchase a copy of his book. Loftus now stands thoroughly refuted, however, by David Reuben Stone (2010), The Loftus Delusion: Why Atheism Fails and Messianic Israelism Prevails. This is the critique Loftus hopes you'll never discover.
This is book that is designed to make the uneducated Christians question their faith, obviously due to lack of space I cannot point out all of the factual and logical errors in this book. On page 85 he states "David Ramsay Steele reminds us that according to quantum mechanics "Things begin to exist without any cause all the time." So if some things can begin to exist without a cause, the universe could be one of them, which does not require a creator at all" The problem with this is is no such thing as NOTHING in quantum mechanics. "Nothing" in reference to quantum mechanics has properties and a measurable existence as part of the quantum-mechanical vacuum, so there is SOMETHING there, but it is referred to as 'nothing' because there is no matter, but there are physical fields, so there IS something there, not to mention an entire universe of existence around it. Furthermore, the things he is talking about that exist without a cause are quantum fluctuations, but to say they exist without a cause is a downright lie, since they pop in and out of existence due to the uncertainty principle, not to mention that these things happen when there is ALREADY something in existence, principles, fields, physics, etc. On page 85 he also criticizes william craig on his premise (Kalam cosmological argument) that the universe began to exist. Loftus states "Craigs second premise is that the universe began to exist. It too has difficulties when it comes to scientific discussions abotu time, relativity, cosmic singularities and quantum mechanics." Then on page 266 he states "There is overwhelming evidence our universe originated from a big bang." He quotes Wes Morriston on page 84 in response to william craigs assertion that 'tigers don't spring into existence uncaused' (they were talking about the kalam argument, premise 1. Everything that beings to exist has a cause of its existence) "We have no experience of the origin of worlds to tell us that worlds don't come into existence like that. We don't even have experience of the coming into being of anything remotely analogous to the 'initial singularity' that figures into the big bang theory of the origin of the universe. That is why the absurdity of tigers and the like popping into existence out of nowhere tells us nothing about the utterly unique case of the beginning of the whole natural order." But on page 85, as I noted Loftus tries to use quantum mechanics as an analogy that the universe could exist without a cause, not only that but referencing david ramsey steele as a source on quantum mechanics? that guy is an author and is hardly an authority on quantum mechanics, he also cites Richard Carrier on metaphysics who is a historian which qualifies as 2 fallacious appeals to authority, since I highly doubt Loftus or any other atheist would accept an argument on the evidence or proof of God found in physics from a P.E. instructor or someone with a P.H.D in Botany. I don't recommend this book to anyone, although the first couple pages are interesting as it shows Johns de conversion is purely emotional and not intellectual or rational at all.