Illogic Primer Quotes Clippings Books and Bibliography Paper Trails Links Film

Why I Became an Atheist

John W. Loftus (Prometheus: Jun 2008), 355 pages.

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.

Table of Contents

    • Foreword   Edward T. Babinski     7
    • Introduction     11
  • The Basis for My Control Beliefs
    • My Christian Conversion and Deconversion     19
    • The Christian Illusion of Rational and Moral Superiority     35
    • Faith, Reason, and the Cumulative Case Method     46
    • The Outsider Test for Faith…     66
    • Does God Exist?     78
    • The Lessons of Galileo, Science, and Religion     106
    • The Strange and Superstitious World of the Bible     124
    • Pseudonymity in the Bible     167
    • Archaeology, Exodus, and the Canaanite Conquest     177
    • The Poor Evidence of Historical Evidence     181
    • Do Miracles Take Place?     199
    • The Self-Authenticating Witness of the Holy Spirit     213
    • The Problem of Unanswered Prayer     220
    • The Problem of Evil-Part 1: My Specific Case     228
    • The Problem of Evil-Part 2: Objections Answered     243
  • The Biblical Evidence Examined
    • Science and the Genesis Creation Accounts     265
    • Science and Genesis 1-11     281
    • Prophecy and Biblical Authority     289
    • Was Jesus Born of a Virgin in Bethlehem?     317
    • Was Jesus God Incarnate?     329
    • “The Passion of the Christ”: Why Did Jesus Suffer?     344
    • Did Jesus Bodily Rise from the Dead?     351
    • The Devil Made Me Do It!     383
    • Hell? No!     387
    • What I Believe Today
    • Why I Became an Atheist     399
    • What Is Life without God?     406
    • Bibliography of Selected Works     417