John Loftus and the Whole Kit and Caboodle

John Loftus and the Whole Kit and Caboodle January 2, 2021

I have to thank John Loftus (author, ex-minister and owner of the great Debunking Christianity blog) for giving me a leg up in the blogging world when, running a tiny independent version of the A Tippling Philosopher blog as I was, he allowed me to write for him there. From there, I was offered to help found the Skeptic Ink Network with some other great writers (that originally featuring John Loftus, Russell Blackford and Stephen Law, amongst others), before being asked to come and join the Patheos Nonreligious team.

I also have to thank him for his book How I Became an Atheist, whose first edition is what really catalysed my journey into specifically atheistic philosophy of religion.

John is an indefatigable (a word he kindly used for me the other day) atheist author, blogger and general fighter for critical thought and rationality. He has recently declared that his next book, already written, on the problem of evil and suffering, will be his last:

I just finished my own contributions for my last anthology, tentatively titled, The Incompatibility of God and Horrendous Suffering, to be published next year by Global Center for Religious Research. I’m done. It’s time to enjoy life more. What a ride this has been! No more books. I’ve written all the books I want to write. I’m very grateful for my readers and your encouragement over the years. It has been very frustrating at times. But it has also been very rewarding knowing I made a difference to some degree. I’ll still be here writing for my blog DC, Facebook, and Twitter, along with doing podcasts, speaking engagements, and debates, so no worries. I’m even thinking about doing some videos, we’ll see.

I didn’t write a single chapter for Christianity in the Light of Science, and only one chapter for The End of Christianity. But in this upcoming anthology I’ve written the Introduction plus five chapters! That’s because I’m more of an expert on this problem than any other.

Today I finished my last chapter on Calvinism. I think it may be the best chapter I’ve ever written! Given God’s pre-ordained decretive will he must agree. However, I might change my mind just to fuck with him. ;-) Below is the Table of Contents (subject to change). It’s an excellent model for how philosophers, apologists, and theologians should’ve been discussing this problem decades ago. If you place this upcoming anthology next to Christianity is Not Great, you’ll have everything needed to understand why we think it’s worthwhile to debunk Christianity, and religion in general.

I contributed a chapter on morality to Christianity is Not Great and a chapter on free will to Christianity in the Light of Science, both chapters of which I am proud of – they do a great job in each book.

I am happily going through a number of chapters to provide a blurb for his latest book, and it’s looking like another quality addition to the world of skeptical books.

Indeed, in a similar vein to his last sentence above, I want to wax lyrical about Loftus’s back catalogue of books. If you read all of his books, they produce pretty much the whole gamut of counter-apologetics. I remember thinking “How could The Outsider Test for Faith, as an argument, fill the whole of a book? It’s a simple (albeit effective) argument, but surely….”

And then I read the book and was thoroughly impressed by it, offering so much more, and synthesising so many thinkers on a number of different, though related, topics. It’s a superb book.

His books offer such a variety of quality content, not least because he has edited a number of anthologies pulling together expertise from a number of different areas. Most recently, this included an anthology on miracles, a book that I need to write a few blog pieces on, as it is shaping up to be another fantastic anthology (I have a lot more to read of it).

Actually, in Loftus’s own opening chapter in the upcoming book on suffering, he expertly weaves claims about miracles – as well as every other corner of counter-apologetics – into setting the foundations in place for the rest of the book. Again, there is great scope, even when supposedly dealing with a very niche area of counter-apologetics.

In this way, I can see why this might well be his last book: pretty much everything that needs to be said – from biblical exegesis to miracles, from the problem of evil to the demographics of religion, from the moral harms of Christianity to the ethics of the religion as a whole, from the problematic relationship of science and religion to virtually every major philosophical argument concerning God – it’s all within the voluminous pages of John Loftus’s books, including those chapters of his contributors.

Here are his titles:

The only two I haven’t read here are Unapologetic and How to Defend the Christian Faith. If you were to just survey the range and depth of writing in merely his anthologies, from him and his contributors, you would understand the scope of his work.

Anyway, this is a public thanks to him and it only remains for me to implore you to buy his books linked above – after buying mine, of course. Even with all of those great titles up there, I can tell you, unless you are a Dawkins of Harris,  you still struggle to make much of a living from writing in a niche intellectual area. Such is life.

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