Oh for the books, for the books of John Loftus
To free me from the net of religion
Oh for the writings, for the writings of John Loftus
Far away, far away, far away from Christianity would I roam
I would know reasons to think there were no gods
And no supernatural realm either
consider all the possibilities & focus on probabilities
turn my back on bible nonsense & study science.
In the wilderness built John a blog
To remove from folks eye religion's log
In the wilderness he built a website
To show that christian faith is not too bright
November 2015 review of "How to defend the Christian faith" by John W. Loftus
posted here anachronistically:
Church services tend to be a bit of a one way street with the minister giving out his point of view with very little feed back. Contrast this situation with a parliament debating chamber where lots of different points of view are heard. So if you ever wondered about a 2nd opinion now there is an easy way to anonymously find out- ask honest John. He won't force 'answers' on you but rather help equip you with the skills to find out and give a few handy pointers. Is John the one who has come to lead us into all truth ?
How many people sat in the congregation agree with each point the minister has made ? Even the Bible presents a picture of conflicting theological opinions. The New Testament tells of synagogues where Pharisees were at odds with Sadducees over various ideas e.g. Acts 23v8 "The Sadducees say there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all" The fact that ministers try to persuade people in the congregation to change their opinion shows that he thinks they currently hold other views.
The gospels speak of Jesus being in the synagogue but having some radically different views from those around him. John Loftus points out that there has been a wide range of opinions & interpretations among Bible scholars such as those of Karl Barth,mentioned in chapter 4. ( By the way, I have read that synagogues didn't become a common feature until the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem and following diaspora so their presence in the gospels might be an anachronism ? Not sure if that is correct )
Luke 14v31-32 offers the example of going into battle where you should work out if you can win before engaging and if not then ask for terms of peace. John offers that it is wise to find the most weighty challenges to Christian doctrines to see if those doctrines really are true or not. If the idea is true then it should be able to overcome all contenders. In any case it makes life more interesting if you are aware of the many aspects to each issue.
I liked part 3 the best,"How to defend God in a world of pain" especially chapter 16,"Ignore this empirical refutation of Christianity"
Chapter 6 "How to know which religion to defend" mentions the 'Outsider test of faith' which I think is a valuable tool but I would quibble that it is more helpful to look at the pros and cons of each idea no matter where it is found. What is the best reaction to each of the notions in the Bible ? It is possible to cherry pick ideas and this is what many people do. Many modern day Christians hold personal creeds which wisely have only the faintest relationship to ideas in the Bible. If you had a personal relationship with Jesus would you find out that he had radically altered his views from how the New Testament portrays them ? Perhaps Jesus would now view the Bible mainly as an interesting contrast to his current theology ? Would a 21st century Jesus go through each matter in the Bible and ask if there was a less violent, more civilized way of dealing with each issue or negotiating to resolve the conflict of interests ? Perhaps the 21st century Jesus has been born again and if not then maybe he needs to be ? Maybe he hasn't returned due to being too embarrassed by some of the things people quoted him as saying ?
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This book is about exploring the many aspects of Christianity and their place in modern civilization