Monday, January 3, 2011

Why Johnny Shouldn't Read

We recently noticed (hardy har har) that John Loftus (aka Voldemort) has issued a new “challenge” for 2011 in which he suggests twelve books for Christians to read to “test your faith to see if it can withstand our arguments.” It’s a joke in more ways than one, as most of John’s posts are.

The lesser joke is that 3 of the 12 recommends are John’s own books, including one yet to be published (but which will be available by later in 2011). Anyone who has heard John recite “buy my book” on TheologyWeb knows that there’s a little more to the recommend here than John being a kind soul who wants to help you “test your faith”.

The major joke, though, is this: Take out the one book yet to be published (John assigns it for September), that leaves 11. Three books are on subjects outside my scope (evolution and theistic proofs).

That leaves 8. And you know what? I’ve written complete refutations of all eight – in some cases, as an editor. (Yes, I include here Paul Tobin’s book; though I have not addressed him directly, I have addressed all of the same arguments he uses.)

It’s funny in other ways as well. John says he recommends books in opposition
to “blog posts” and “sound bites”. Yet John has been the master of the sound bite ever since I first lanced that boil he calls his brain when he came traipsing onto TheologyWeb. When I first tagged him with a detailed refutation – page by page – of his initial book, I was accused of not seeing the forest for the trees – and he refused to debate any of my counterpoints.
You think John cares about your faith? Only as far as it fattens his wallet when you buy his books.

I’ll close this one with some comments on some of John’s recommends.

For March, he lists Michael Martin’s The Case Against Christianity. Good choice, John. Martin is such an ignoramus that he actually thinks “Jesus didn’t exist” is a good argument, and that Jesus’ command against “swearing” was a prohibition of profanity (it was actually to do with taking oaths). Martin is an embarrassment to atheists and could only improve his reputation by donning a clown suit and appearing on the green at Boston U. to admit that all of his books were pranks.

For June, John recommends Hector “Crybaby” Avalos’ The End of Biblical Studies. Hector, too, is a joke, for no other reason if any than that he took thinks “Jesus didn’t exist” is a reasonable viewpoint.

For October, John recommends Ehrman’s Jesus Interrupted as “my favorite Ehrman book.” Quite understandable. Ehrman is at his most disingenuous in this book, and if there’s anything John loves, it’s dishonesty.

I have my own challenge for John and his readers – it’ll be over on the Ticker today.

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