From Christian to atheist

I know nothing about John Loftus except for one article of his I read many years ago, in which he was asserting his Christian beliefs, and his rocklike conviction of his own Christian virtue, in a manner that I found unpleasant and unsettling. It did not feel Christian to me, but brutal in its bullying certitude, with more than a touch of malignity toward everything that was non-Christian or sinful. And now this same Loftus has written a book, Why I Became an Atheist. In a way I’m not surprised, since Loftus’s Christianity clearly had something out of whack and overly emphatic about it, sort of like, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

What does it say about a man that he spent two decades as an ordained Christian minister, and then didn’t just lose his faith, which happens from time to time, but became an outspoken atheist, using all his powers of persuasion to convince people that Christianity is false, that God doesn’t exist, that only the material exists, and to win people over from Christianity to materialist atheism? If he could so aggressively assert for two decades something that he now believes is totally false, what does that say about his own soundness? It’s one thing for an outspoken atheist to become a Christian, and to say, “I was blind to the truth of God, and now I see, praise God for delivering me.” But when an outspoken Christian becomes a outspoken atheist, what is his message? “Haleluhah, I was blind to the great truth that the universe is nothing but matter, and now I see! Because of the great revelation that been vouchsafed to me, I understand at last that even my experience of my own consciousness as non-material is a material illusion! I’m so happy!

Here is a publisher’s description of his book at Amazon:

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 of religion.

There are comments on the same page calling the book the best critique of Christianity ever written.

- end of initial entry -

Harry Horse writes:

Loftus is a well-known character at where the amateur [Christian] apologists cut their teeth by kicking sand in his face. He is not a stable person by most estimates. J.P. Holding of Tektonics is probably the chief of amateurs and chronicles much of this at his huge site.

At first I dreaded the publicity you gave Loftus by making an entry on him, but this is actually a bright spot for our side: There are double the number of young, amateur apologists out there mixing it up with the destroyers/materialists, at this low level. God bless them.

As to why the doubters/atheists feel the need to spread their belief in the death of the transcendent, I see it through the prism of liberalism and the goal of destroying the West. If you could honestly probe the mind of the activist atheist, I have little doubt that they would consider lethal force an option necessary to get rid of this pesky belief in God.

LA replies:

What is particularly interesting to me about this development is that central to my analysis of liberalism has always been the denial of God and the transcendent. The denial was more “built in” and implicit to liberalism than open and explicit. But now, with the rise of the “New Atheism,” the aim of extirpating the belief in God and any sense of the transcendent from human society has become explicit, demonically driven, and, at least in principle, murderous. Thus, for the first time, the true underlying essence of liberalism has emerged from the background and is in the captain’s seat. Living through the Apocalypse isn’t for sissies.

LA writes:

The theme of the emerging atheist essence of liberalism is expanded on here.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 27, 2009 01:50 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):