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The Christian Delusion

The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails

edited by John W. Loftus

Prometheus Books, Copyright 2010

422 pages, paperback

Review by Jim Walker

[check out The Christian Delusion website for updates and bonus chapters]


 

The term "New Atheists" has sometimes been used pejoratively to refer to authors such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, etc. and to their popularity and rise of 21st century atheism. In spite of the excellent works coming from them, they are not experts in the field of religion and history (although they do a wonderful job at that too) but they really don't offer anything new to what has already been known by informed atheists for years. This is why the term "New Atheism" has puzzled me; I suspect they only seem new to Christians because never before in American history have atheists been so prominent in the American consciousness (except for, perhaps, Madalyn Murray in the 60s, who was hated, and her writings mostly ignored, or Robert Ingersoll in the late 1800s, but he was an agnostic, not an atheist, and not many Americans know of him today).

The Christian Delusion, however, is something different. In this anthology the authors are writing from the expertise in their fields. I'm not sure that any book debunking Christianity has ever had such a distinguished group of authors and scholars, and this, if anything, is what is new about this book. The book's authors range from professors of religion, historian of antiquity, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and former evangelical preachers (see "about the authors" below). If anything, these are the new atheists (non-pejoratively), if only because they offer factual information about history and religion that has never been presented in such a way before to debunk Christianity (at least not to my knowledge). Nor do I praise them because of their Ph.Ds, or their experience (I know all too well many Ph.Ds that I've worked with that don't merit a hill of beans), but because they present verifiable information and sound logic. The end notes and citations from the authors is worth the price of the book alone.

The "Delusion" in the title should not offend anyone, nor should it be taken as an ad hominem against Christians. A delusion, in a colloquial sense, describes a belief that is either false, mythical, or derived from deception. Since this is a book about the Christian delusion, it aims to show the false, mythical beliefs of the Bible (believed by Christians), and the deceptive practices by Christian apologists to deceive the public through falsehoods and unreliable scholarship.

The book is divided into five parts: "Why Faith Fails," "Why The Bible Is Not God's Word," "Why The Christian God Is Not Perfectly Good," "Why Jesus Is Not The Risen Son Of God," and "Why Society Does Not Depend On Christian Faith." Each part presents information and/or logic that destroys any Christian apologist's claims.

The Christian Delusion contains so much valuable information it would take too long to describe all of it so I will only concentrate on the major points. If you wish to read the book, fresh, and don't want to know any of the details beforehand, then just skip to the last paragraph.

Professor of Anthropology, David Eller, contributed two chapters and starts out by showing that there is no such thing as "Christian Culture" but rather many different Christian cultures, each one "permeated with Christian assumptions and premises," and each one differing from the next. In Chapter 13, Eller shows that Christianity can't possibly provide the basis for morality because morality existed long before Christianity; indeed, even some non-human animals have "moral" capacities.

Psychologist Valerie Tarico presents us with a look at Christian belief through the lens of cognitive science, showing that cognitive research provides a sufficient explanation for the phenomenon of belief. Indeed, in the past, many Christians argued that there was simply no explanation for the "born again" experience. Tarico claims: "We now know this is not the case. Humans are capable of having transcendent, transformative experience in the absence of any given dogma."

Jason Long demonstrates the malleability of the human mind in respect to how people influence the beliefs of others. Parents, for example, teach their children about matters of importance necessary for their upbringing but their teaching can also extend into the realm of the unfalsifiable. A child has only its innate ability to believe and does not have the mental tools to tell the difference between reality and falsehoods. Even in later life, Long reports (though Petty and Caciopoo's research) that "face-to-face appeals repeatedly have a greater impact than appeals though mass media." Moreover, people with low self-esteem are especially more likely to accept messages that confirm an initial viewpoint, and less likely to be persuaded away from it. Thus Long shows how human innate gullibility can cause us to be indoctrinated with religious beliefs in spite of later evidence against them.

Loftus contributed four chapters, and the Introduction to the book. In his chapter abut the Outsider Test for Faith (OTF), Loftus claims it to be the best way to test one's adopted religious faith from the perspective of an outsider with the same level of skepticism used to evaluate other religious faiths. If Christians (or any other religious-based person) honestly took this test, it is hard to imagine that they would pass the test. Christians can easily see the delusion of other religions, but will they see their own?

In the chapter, "What We've Got Here Is A Failure To Communicate" (a phrase taken from the movie "Cool Hand Luke"), Loftus examines the poor communication skills of the biblical god. If, indeed, an all loving god exists, then he could have avoided the problems of war, inquisitions, and cruelty of humans against humans by simply making his messages clearer. Loftus also answers Christian attempts to explain god's failure to communicate.

In the chapter on "The Darwinian Problem of Evil," Loftus explains how the cruelty of life in sentient nonhuman animals contradicts the concept of an all loving god. In Darwin's natural selection theory of evolution, suffering is natural and expected, but the supposition of Christian theism is that is not what we should expect to find. Loftus explains the flaws of the Christian solutions to the Darwinian problem of evil by examining eight options expressed by apologists.

In his last chapter, Loftus shows that, at best, Jesus was a failed apocalyptic prophet, even if he did exist. Moreover, Loftus shows that Christians have failed to explain away these failed prophecies. Only delusional thinking can support the prophesies of Jesus.

Edward Babinski discuses the cosmology of the Bible and how virtually every biblical idea of the cosmos derived from ancient Near Eastern views of creation long before the Israelites, including the flat earth, sky, heavens, stars, sun & moon, the waters, land, and the imaginary "firmament." Moreover, the biblical phrase, "circle of the earth" did not refer to a sphere but of a flat disk, which was not unique at all, but "was already in use by flat-earth-believing Mesopotamians long before the book of Isaiah was written."

Needless to say, in light of the facts known about polytheistic Near Eastern religions before the Old Testament was written, and how it contradicts modern cosmology, Christians will have a hard time claiming that their cosmology represents a unique view, and worse, an accurate one.

Paul Tobin addresses the Bible and modern scholarship showing that the Bible is inconsistent with itself, is not supported by archaeology, contains fairy tales, contains failed prophecies, and contains many forgeries. Thus, Tobin concludes that "the Bible cannot be considered inspired by God in any meaningful sense at all." In Tobin's addendum about liberals and the Bible, he notes that liberal theologians trip over themselves trying to avoid the historical truth (or the non-historical basis for a resurrected Jesus).

Hector Avalos wrote two chapters. His first chapter is on Yahweh's character as as a moral monster. Avalos' argument is against Dr. Paul Copan, a well-known Christian apologist who claims that the biblical laws are: unique in history; that their motive clauses are superior, and that the biblical slavery laws are superior to other Near Eastern cultures. Avalos destroys each of Copan's arguments and brings something to my attention that I never thought about. According to Avalos, the Hammurabi codes were, not only the bases for the first biblical laws, but that if we regard the welfare of others, rather than self-interest, then the motive clauses in the code of Hammurabi are superior to the Bible's.

In his second chapter, Avalos argues (against Dinesh D'Souza's claims) that atheism was not the cause of the Holocaust. Revealingly, Avalos shows that communism, in the sense of a system of collectivized property, is a biblical notion, and that Maoist and Stalinist deaths cannot be attributed to atheism, in both atheist or Christian forms. Furthermore, Avalos shows the connection between Nazism and Christian Anti-Judaism, the religious nature of the Nazis, and Nazism's role in promoting Positive Christianity, even appearing in their Nazi party program of 1920 (and remained there until the end of Nazism, I might add). Avalos continues with a look at the religious nature of Hitler, and shows that Darwin had nothing to say about racial inequality. In the end, Avalos proves D'Souza's arguments are false. D' Souza's face ends up with a cake full of an embarrassing lack of documentation or evidence.

Robert M. Price's chapter on "Jesus: Myth and Method" argues that the Gospels are myths about Jesus against the Christian apologists, Paul Rhodes Eddy and Greg Boyd, in their work, The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition, although what Price has to say applies equally to evangelical apologists in general. Price provides information on the Hellenistic influence on the Jewish and Christian religions, including the astrology of the Dead Sea Scrolls, synagogues with mosaics of Hercules, Dionysus, and the Zodiac, knowledge of the slain god Tammuz, in Ezekiel, and Baal and Osiris, etc. In Christianity, the early apologists, Price reports, admitted to earlier pagan versions before Christianity. More to the point, Price admits that we have no such historical information about Jesus, only myths. If we have no historical information about Jesus, then we can only assign Jesus as a mythical story similar to Hercules, Tammuz and many other myths.

Richard Carrier contributed two chapters to the book. Unlike most historians, Carrier treats history like a scientist who establishes knowledge about the world. In other words, evidence counts, hearsay and lack of evidence doesn't. His first chapter is on Why the Resurrection is Unbelievable. Carrier asks, "If we don't believe Herodotus we can't believe the gospels." The marvels of Herodotus and the many varied tales of the resurrection of Jesus, including the Gospel of Peter (among the most popular Gospels in the 2nd century churches) were common in early Christianity but even the most fundamentalist of Christians today don't believe half of them. Carrier reports that there are no actual eyewitness accounts, documents, or any documents about Jesus during his alleged life on earth. Additionally, Carrier claims there are no outsiders observing the originating events of the Christian religion.

As one who has looked at the claimed evidence of Jesus myself (from Christians themselves no less), I can attest to the claims that Carrier makes (see Did a historical Jesus exist). There simply exists no reliable evidence, whatsoever, for a historical Jesus, and after many years, not one person has provided me with a single valid example. Considering that I am not a professional scholar, it is good to see that a historian of antiquity upholds my own observations about the lack of historical evidence. The same goes for Robert Price who also holds similar views.

In Carrier's second chapter (and the last chapter of the book), he addresses a popular (and false) delusion that Christianity was "responsible" for the scientific revolution (also read his blog on the subject: Science and Medieval Christianity). Carrier describes the common fallacies associated with this delusion, including the correlation fallacy: just because modern science only arose in Western Christian culture, does not mean mean Christianity caused it. The first "modern" scientists were pagan polytheists who formalized geometry, cosmology, botany, mineralogy, pharmacology, medicine, etc. And, no, their science did not depend on their theology either; they just happened to be living in pagan cultures at the time. Carrier reports that during the Roman Empire, science reached its pinnacle, and was not exceeded until the Scientific Revolution. During Christian tenure, however, (before the Scientific Revolution), "all the scientific achievements of the ancients were forgotten in the West and ignored in the East, or survived only in simplistic caricatures." That's quite a claim but all you have to do is examine the claimed science done during the lower and middle medieval period and you will discover a lack of science, not a scientific revolution as the deluded apologists want to claim. Carrier concludes that none of the premises on which this delusion is based are true. After reading this chapter, you will realize that not only is this delusion false, but embarrassingly false.

This book is extraordinary. If you liked any of the books by the "New Atheists" then you should enjoy this book even more because of its depth, scope, and scholarship. Every chapter provides a thorough list of citations, many sources which are available online for further reading. There is also a lot of information here that other books on atheism do not address. I think this is the best Christian debunking book to date and is a must read for nonbelievers and especially Christians who want to know about the history of the Bible and its claims.

 


About the authors (source):

Hector Avalos, Ph.D., is Professor of Religious Studies, Iowa State University, and author of Fighting Words: The Origin of Religious Violence (2005), and The End of Biblical Studies (2007).

Edward Babinski is the editor of the book, Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists (2003), and his writings appear on the Secular Web, Talk Origins, Debunking Christianity and at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/ed_babinski.

Dan Barker is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and author of Godless: How An Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists (2008).

Richard Carrier, Ph.D., is a published philosopher and historian of antiquity (www.richardcarrier.info), author of Sense and Goodness Without God: A Defense of Metaphysical Naturalism (2005) and Not the Impossible Faith: Why Christianity Didn't Need a Miracle to Succeed (2009), and of three chapters for the book The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave, edited by Robert Price and Jeffery Lowder (2005).

David Eller, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Community College of Denver, who has written the books Natural Atheism (2004), Atheism Advanced: Further Thoughts of a Freethinker (2007), and a college textbook, Introducing Anthropology of Religion (2007).

John W. Loftus, M.A., M.Div., Th.M., is the author of the book Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity (2008), and founder of www.debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com.

Jason Long, Ph.D., is the author of Biblical Nonsense: A Review of the Bible for Doubting Christians (2005) and The Religious Condition: Answering and Explaining Christian Reasoning (2008).

Robert Price, Ph.D., is a member of the Jesus Seminar and author of several books including Deconstructing Jesus (2000), The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable is the Gospel Tradition? (2003), co-editor of The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave (2005), The Paperback Apocalypse: How the Christian Church Was Left Behind (2007), and Inerrant the Wind: The Evangelical Crisis of Biblical Authority (2009).

Valerie Tarico, Ph.D. in counseling psychology, is author of the book The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth (2006).

Paul Tobin is the author of the book The Rejection of Pascal’s Wager: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Bible and the Historical Jesus (2009).

 


A few quotes from the book:

The more I learned, the less respect I had for faith. Today, given the choice (regardless of my "psychological reasons"), I would rather know--or not know--than believe. The case for faith is a case for ignorance.

--Dan Barker (Foreword)

 

The Christianity of the past was different than today's Christianity. Nearly all modern Christians would have suffered under the Office of the Inquisition with what they believe, it's so far removed.

--John W. Loftus (Introduction)

 

One of the key qualities of culture is diversity; there is no such thing as "Christian culture" but rather "Christian cultures"; indeed no such thing as Christianity but rather Christianities.

--David Eller, PhD  (The Cultures of Christianities)

 

Around 1827, William Nelson Darby gave modern Christianity one of its more enduring innovations, the notion of the "rapture," which most American Christians think, falsely, is an ancient precept of their religion.

--David Eller, PhD  (The Cultures of Christianities)

 

Christians are not easily reasoned out of religion since they are not usually reasoned into it.

--David Eller, PhD  (The Cultures of Christianities)

 

This focus on belief is not characteristic of all religions. In the ancient Near East, the birthplace of Christianity, pagan religions placed little emphasis on belief.

--Valerie Tarico, PhD (Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science)

 

Research on psychiatric disorders and brain injuries shows that humans have a feeling or sense of knowing that can get activated by reason and evidence but can get activated in other ways as well.

--Valerie Tarico, PhD (Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science)

 

Once triggered for any reason, the feeling that something is right or real can be incredibly powerful-- so powerful that when it goes head-to-head with logic or evidence, the feeling wins.

--Valerie Tarico, PhD (Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science)

 

Nonetheless, it is a healthy mistrust for our sense of knowing that has allowed scientists to reach beyond everyday life to detect, predict, and produce desired outcomes with ever greater precision.

--Valerie Tarico, PhD (Christian Belief Through the Lens of Cognitive Science)

 

It is a curious thing that most of us ardently believe that we solved the ultimate question of the universe before we even learned how to tie our shoelaces. If philosophers, theologians, and scientists have struggled with the concept of existence for millennia without arriving at a definite solution, our naive assessment from childhood that a divine entity simply wished it were so certainly requires a reevaluation.

--Jason Long, PhD (The Malleability of the Human Mind)

 

Study after study demonstrates that prayer has no effect on patients when they are unaware that they are being prayed for.

--Jason Long, PhD (The Malleability of the Human Mind)

 

If an intelligent, rational group of people who were never exposed to the idea of religion were asked to become experts in the history of the ancient Near East, the unanimous consensus of the group would be that the Bible is bunk.

--Jason Long, PhD (The Malleability of the Human Mind)

 

Petty and Cacioppo point out that people with low self-esteem are more likely to accept messages that confirm an initial viewpoint, and less likely to be persuaded away from it.

--Jason Long, PhD (The Malleability of the Human Mind)

 

It's not possibility that matters, it's probability. So until you give me a good reason to think that my belief is not just possibly false, but probably false, I'm not changing anything about what I believe or what I think I know.

--John W. Loftus (The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited)

 

A possibility is not a probability. The inference does not follow. It's a huge non sequitur.

--John W. Loftus (The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited)

 

Today, scholars from both Catholic and Evangelical Protestant backgrounds agree that ancient Near Eastern views of creation shed considerable light on descriptions of creation found in the Bible.

--Edward T. Babinski (The Cosmology of the Bible)

 

[T]he phrase "circle of the earth" is not unique at all and was already in use by flat-earth-believing Mesopotamian's long before the book of Isaiah was written.

--Edward T. Babinski (The Cosmology of the Bible)

 

The text of the Code of Hammurabi was redacted for 1,500 years, and is considered the predecessor of Jewish and Islamic legal systems.

--Edward T. Babinski (The Cosmology of the Bible)

 

Most medieval theologians follow the lead of the Bible and church fathers and claim with certainty that waters lay above the planets and stars.

--Edward T. Babinski (The Cosmology of the Bible)

 

Indeed, there is now so much contrary evidence against the historical accuracy of the Bible that the term "biblical archaeology" has been discarded by professional archaeologists and Syro-Palestinan archaeology has been suggested by some practicing in the field as a more appropriate term.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

Archaeological discoveries have shown that the story of Noah's ark and the Flood wasn't even an original Hebrew tale.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

Genesis 12:14-16, 24:10-11, and 37:25-28 include the use of domesticated camels in the story of Abraham and of Joseph. The archeological evidence shows us that camels did not become domesticated until the eleventh century BCE, well after the time of Abraham and Joseph.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

Many of the popular deities were born of virgins. For example, in the Greek myth, Perseus was born of the virgin Danae, by Zeus who took the form of a shower of gold to impregnate her. Phoenician mythology claimed that Adonis to be born of the virgin Myrrh. Parthenogenesis was also the explanation for the birth of the Phrygian deity Attis from his mother Cybele.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

[T]here is no historical evidence for any Roman census in Judea before 6 CE. . . . The Romans have never been known to initiate any census in their client kingdoms.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

One of the most commonly used passages by evangelicals to "prove" biblical inspiration is this one: "Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). Yet this passage is almost certainly the work of a forger.

--Paul Tobin (The Bible and Modern Scholarship)

 

There are harsh sayings about hating one's parents that cultists have used in brainwashing their young converts, since they seek to separate rebellious youths from parental oversight (Matthew 10-34-39, 12:46-50; Luke 14:26).

--John W. Loftus (What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate)

 

We find the virtues of faith to be more important than reason in the NT too (Mark 9:23, 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16), which has lead many believers into some bizarre fatal doomsday cults.

--John W. Loftus (What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate)

 

[T]he number of deaths during the Inquisition pale by comparison to the religious wars fought between Christians themselves. . . . The mentality expressed in the phrase "Heretics Must Die" was transformed into: "Heretics Must All Die."

--John W. Loftus (What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate)

 

So great was the loss of life from this war [The Thirty Years' War] that estimates show one-third of the entire population of the Germany was killed. . . . Outside of Germany nearly one-third of the Czech population died as well.

--John W. Loftus (What We've Got Here is a Failure to Communicate)

 

[T]here is much more evidence that Hammurabi was an actual historical figure, whereas we have nothing about Moses outside of biblical manuscripts that are no earlier than the first through the third centuries BCE in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Yahweh Is A Moral Monster)

 

It was only after the secularization of the West, and after the erosion of biblical authority, that we moved away from slavery and toward greater civil rights for women. If we followed Ephesians 6:5 or 1 Peter 2:18, we might still have slavery.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Yahweh Is A Moral Monster)

 

For most of biblical history, Yahweh was not against child sacrifice per se, but rather against child sacrifice to other gods.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Yahweh Is A Moral Monster)

 

What does not exist has no value relative to what does exist. What cannot be proven to exist should never be place above what does exist. If we value life, then you should never trade something that exists, especially life, for something that does not exist or cannot be proven to exist. That is why it would always be immoral to ever take a human life on the basis of faith claims. It is that simple.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Yahweh Is A Moral Monster)

 

They [Boyd and Eddy] follow Bruce Metzger (p. 136, 140), Edwin Yamauchi (p. 144) and other apologists in arguing, absurdly, that the Mystery Religions borrowed the dying and rising god mytheme from Christianity---even though early Christian apologists like Tertullian, Firmicus Maternus, and Justin Martyr admit the pagan versions were earlier (even insisting the devil fabricated the Gospel events long before they happened with Jesus)! Some dying and rising god cults we know for a fact were earlier, so this borrowing can't have gone the other way around as they pretend anyway.

--Robert M. Price, PhD (Jesus: Myth and Method)

 

So there as no need to go to paganism for the ressurection doctrine myth. It was homegrown in earlier Israelite polytheism.

--Robert M. Price, PhD (Jesus: Myth and Method)

 

Curiously absent from the record are any actual eyewitness accounts of what Jesus said or did, either in life or at his resurrection, any records of events by historians or authorities or correspondents from the same time and place, any inscriptions erected or documents composed by the earliest churches, any neutral or hostile accounts from outsiders observing the originating events of the Christian religion, any court documents from the many early trials reported in Acts, or anything written by Jesus himself--or in fact any of his disciples, since hardly any scholar today believes Peter's Epistles are authentic (and none believe his Gospel is authentic), and no other document in the NT claims its author was a disciple--not even the Gospels, contrary to common assumption.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Why the Resurrection Is Unbelievable)

 

[T]he first Christians behaved a lot more like crazy cultists than you'd ever be comfortable with.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Why the Resurrection Is Unbelievable)

 

We don't really know how Christianity began. We can't trust our sources, and we have no idea who their sources were or how faithful they were to them. We have no eyewitness accounts, and the only author we can definitely place near the faith's origin tell us almost nothing about how or why it began.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Why the Resurrection Is Unbelievable)

 

So, if Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet, then he was a failed one, just like every other doomsday prophet in history--before and after him.

--John W. Loftus (At Best Jesus Wa A Failed Apocalyptic Prophet)

 

In light of the nearly two thousand years and no return of Jesus in sight, Christian eschatological theories are in a major crisis.

--John W. Loftus (At Best Jesus Wa A Failed Apocalyptic Prophet)

 

"Morality" does not appear suddenly out of nowhere in humans but emerges gradually with the emergence of certain kinds of beings living certain kinds of lives. This is not to assert that animals have full-blown "morality" any more than they have full-blown language. It is to assert that, just as some prehuman beings have "linguistic" capacities, some prehuman beings also have "moral" capacities.

--David Eller, PhD (Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality)

 

We have proved that Christianity is not the only basis for morality, since religion of any kind is not required for morality nor is humanity even required. Let the silly and biased claim never be uttered again.

--David Eller, PhD (Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality)

 

To be sure, there are some commonalities across these religion-inspired moral systems, but what is specifically religious in moralities is not universal or important, and what is universal and important in moralities is not specifically religious.

--David Eller, PhD (Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality)

 

What religion does for morality and for society in general is move the authority, the responsibility, for rules and institutions out of human hands.

--David Eller, PhD (Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality)

 

Most of Stalinist violence resulted from forced collectivization, and recently published documents show the complicity of church authorities in the Stalinist agenda.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust)

 

Moreover, communism, in the sense of a system of collectivized property, is a biblilcal notion found already in Acts 4:32-37.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust)

 

A Nazi report indicates that by 1938, 51.4 percent of SS members were identified as Protestant, 22.7 percent were Catholic, and 25.7 percent were "God-believers" (Gottglaubigen).

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust)

 

It is in the Gospel of John (8:44) where Jesus himself says that Jews are liars fathered by the devil. That verse later shows up on Nazi road signs, whereas no quotes from Darwin were ever on Nazi road signs.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust)

 

Moreover, D'Souza and Weikart also ignore evidence that Darwinism was specifically banned in Nazi Germany, at least in 1935.

--Hector Avalos, PhD (Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust)

 

[I]n the early second millennium any motive, to be respectable in such a strict and paranoid cultural matrix, had to be framed in terms agreeable to Christianity--indeed as fulfilling Christianity, if at all possible. For anything that even had a whiff of being unchristian was condemned and its advocates punished--socially to be sure, sometimes physically.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science)

 

I can ascertain the names of over a hundred published scientists, almost all of whose work was not preserved by medieval Christians.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science)

 

[D]uring the early Roman Empire, science reached its pinnacle of achievement, producing works not exceeded until the Scientific Revolution: from Dioscorides in botany, mineralogy, and pharmacology; Hero in mechanics, pneumatics, and theatrical robotics, Ptolemy in astronomy, cartography, optics, and harmonics; and Galen in anatomy, physiology, and medicine.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science)

 

Had Christianity not interrupted the intellectual advance of mankind and put the progress of science on hold for a thousand years, the Scientific Revolution might have occurred a thousand years ago, and our science and technology today would be a thousand years more advanced.

--Richard Carrier, PhD (Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science)

 


CONTENTS

Foreword  
      Dan Barker

Introduction

Part 1: Why Faith Fails

Chapter 1: The Cultures of Christianities
      David Eller, PhD

Chapter 2: Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science
      Valerie Tarico, PhD

Chapter 3: The Malleability of the Human Mind
      Jason Long, PhD

Chapter 4: The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited
      John W. Loftus

Part 2: Why The Bible Is Not God's Word

Chapter 5: The Cosmology of the Bible
      Edward T. Babinski

Chapter 6: The Bible and Modern Scholarship
      Paul Tobin

Chapter 7: What We've Got Here Is a Failure to Communicate
      John W. Loftus

Part 3: Why The Christian God Is Not Perfectly Good

Chapter 8: Yahweh Is a Moral Monster
      Hector Avalos, PhD

Chapter 9: The Darwinian Problem of Evil
      John W. Loftus

Part 4: Why Jesus Is Not The Risen Son Of God

Chapter 10: Jesus: Myth and Method
      Robert M. Price, PhD

Chapter 11: Why the Resurrection Is Unbelievable
      Richard Carrier, PhD

Chapter 12: At Best Jesus Was a Failed Apocalyptic Prophet
      John W. Loftus

Part 5: Why Society Does Not Depend On Christian Faith

Chapter 13: Christianity Does Not Provide the Basis for Morality
      David Eller, PhD

Chapter 14: Atheism Was Not the Cause of the Holocaust
      Hector Avalos, PhD

Chapter 15: Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science
      Richard Carrier, PhD

Contributors


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