2012-05-21

John Loftus (Debunking Christianity) “is done”

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by Neil Godfrey

I’m probably the last person to find out about this but for anyone else who is a tail-ender John Loftus of the Debunking Christianity blog has called it quits. He writes in his last post:

I have no more desire to engage Christians. They are deluded, all of them. I have never been more convinced of this than I am now. I have better things to do. I spent 39+ years of my adult life on a delusion. If I add the years of my childhood that’s almost my entire life. Yet this is the only life I will ever have. It’s time to move on, or at a minimum take a very long hiatus. I just finished what may be my last book, on The Outsider Test for Faith, to be published by Prometheus Books early next year. How many times do I need to kick the dead horse of Christianity? I don’t think I need to say anything more. If what I have written isn’t good enough then nothing is good enough for some Christians. What I intend to do is turn this blog over to a few qualified people. I’ll still be a part of it and I suppose I’ll post something from time to time. But I see no reason to waste large chunks of my time on this delusion anymore.

And adds for clarification the following comment:

Thanks for everyone’s comments, especially the encouraging ones.

What I said may be harder to do than I think. I’ve been blogging every day for over six years. I’ll be around, just cutting drastically back for a while. It’s definitely been a love-hate relationship.

For now Dr. Hector Avalos, Articulett, Joe Holman, Harry McCall, Jonathan Pearce, and “A is for Atheist” are team members here and can post at will. I’m looking for others who are qualified. This blog is an important resource so I intend for it to stay up and running and doing the work I’m so wearied from doing right now. In some ways this blog just got better because there will be some new blood with a diverse set of perspectives. Stay tuned, and once again thanks so much.

One thing is sure, and that is I’m not going to spend large chunks of my time here. I’m going to do other more enjoyable things. I’ll still post a few things, do interviews, speaking engagements, debates and respond to emails. But I’ve turned off my email notifications from DC so if you direct a comment or question to me I probably won’t see it.

I’m doing an interview for the Mancow show Wednesday morning at 7 AM Central time and I’ll link to it when available.

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  • 2012-05-21 16:32:00 UTC - 16:32 | Permalink

    I can fully understand his attitude.
    What I call “Liar-fatigue” can be very draining, even if onlookers/lurkers/fence-sitters benefit peripherally.
    Those who have acquired theist memes can be annoyingly obdurate in their willingness to ignore facts, reality, common-sense, decency and legality in their toxic quest to infect others.

    It is figuratively soul-destroying to combat those who literally believe in souls!

  • 2012-05-21 16:40:22 UTC - 16:40 | Permalink

    I can understand John’s burn-out, too. I could only dedicate myself for a very limited time to attempting to “rescue” others from a toxic form of Christianity to which I once belonged. One can only say and do so much before it becomes a repetitive and negative exercise.

    That’s one major reason I have had very little interest in debunking Christianity myself. I am willing enough to address the negatives of religion generally, and of the faith I know best in particular, as they impact on anything from major social and humanitarian issues to the psychology of individuals. At the same time I respect the fact that many people probably really are better off with a religion than without it. It’s true I like the idea of a world without religion, but I also recognize that that’s not going to happen for a long time. There is so much mental and emotional baggage to be addressed that it is clear to me that any such development is surely only going to happen through a long process of social evolution as scientific understanding inches its way into social systems and consciousnesses.

    • 2012-05-21 16:57:43 UTC - 16:57 | Permalink

      Quite.
      Universal education is quite able to reduce superstition to a minor problem.
      But those in positions of tenuous power will never allow that, for their power relies upon a carefully cultivated general ignorance.
      It used to be supplied by the churches around the globe, but is now being supplanted by the various truly Orwellian media outlets.
      (Cf: Leveson enquiry)

      To those who hold a tenuous grasp on power and privilege, superstition in general, and religious faith in particular, are a ‘godsend’ for their cause of keeping the proles in their thrall, if I may be permitted to employ an ironic turn of phrase.
      It used to be ‘bread and circuses’, now it is the *truly ironic* crap-fest ‘Big Brother’ that is served-up to the mind-slaves as poisonous puerile public pabulum.

      • 2012-05-21 19:24:28 UTC - 19:24 | Permalink

        All the more reason to take advantage of any opportunity to further causes that would break up state and global powers and empower everyone to hold all authorities to account.

  • sahansdal
    2012-05-22 03:44:49 UTC - 03:44 | Permalink

    I can’t help but laugh a little. I have a Christian cousin. It never ceases to amaze me how people will block out anything unsettling someone tries to tell them about their own belief system, the one they have apparently little interest in understanding, as long as it provides comfort. I understand his frustration completely! These people VOTE — that’s what’s really scary.

    • 2012-05-22 06:50:28 UTC - 06:50 | Permalink

      No-one who “knows” they’re right can ever find a reason to examine their beliefs. Others may be equally amazed over your belief in a Master.

      • sahansdal
        2012-05-22 08:05:35 UTC - 08:05 | Permalink

        Neil, Christians and others have “beliefs”, those who have seen their Master have experience. The difference is everything. Read John 6:40 until you understand that Jesus (or ‘Jesus’) taught living Mastership.

  • proudfootz
    2012-05-22 08:38:27 UTC - 08:38 | Permalink

    I seldom engage the religious one-on-one as most of the ones I know personally are pretty nice, good people.

    OTOH I don’t know how they vote…

  • ROO BOOKAROO
    2012-05-22 17:43:36 UTC - 17:43 | Permalink

    John Loftus had to discover on his own, a major fact of the struggle of rationalism against belief in God and the supernatural.
    The ambition to eradicate religion from human beliefs is a postulate of the Enlightenment’s mystical dogma that “Reason” will become universal and triumphant over ancestral beliefs in the supernatural.

    Christopher Hitchens published an answer to the question: ““Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?”
    That was the Templeton Foundation’s Big Question in the third of a series of questions posed to leading scientist and scholars, among them: Steven Pinker, Victor Stenger, Mary Midgley, William D. Phillips, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and Michael Shermer.
    Hitchens’s famous answer “No, But it Should” was published in eSkeptic Magazine of Jan. 4, 2012,
    http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/12-01-04/

    I, for one, totally agree with Hitchens. In my own comment to the article, I concluded
    “In any event this book (“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman) is a fundamental breakthrough and in a positive way, reinforces Christopher Hitchens’s insightful conclusions.

    We have to start thinking about “faith” and “reason”, “childish” and “mature” thinking in a modern scientific way, as belonging to the same brain system, and no longer in terms of antiquated notions of “two natures”, or two opposed “systems”. Faith and reason, religion and science are at the extreme ends of the same continuum.
    There are no demons in the brain, and no angels either, in spite of Steve Pinker’s latest book.” (“The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”, by Steve Pinker, 2011)

    Continuing the charade of attributing behaviors to “demons” is particularly annoying and misleading.
    After Robert Kennedy’s wife, Mary Richardson, committed suicide last week, his sister Kerry Kennedy explained: “She fought it with dignity and with love and in the end the demons won.” In his eulogy at the funeral, Robert Kennedy reinforced the message: “She really fought so hard. She had these demons, and she didn’t deserve it.”

    And this is 2012, with the Kennedys, all Catholics, with the best education the Western World can offer, still rejecting all responsibility on “the demons” which inhabited Mary Ridcharson’s “soul” (?) and won.

    And let’s not make the mistake of writing this off as a literary image. We still are invoking those familiar Jewish-Christian ideas, in spite of all the efforts done by the activist advocates and defenders of “Reason”.
    John Loftus had to throw in the towel. And he never took on the Kennedys.

    • 2012-05-22 18:52:44 UTC - 18:52 | Permalink

      Ah yes: the temptation to an excuse, however ludicrous or infantile, to “wash one’s hands of personal responsibility” for one’s failings, and place blame on a non-existent external agency remains a part of the human primal urgings.
      Yet one that need not remain: one that can be resolved via education.
      (As has the acquisition of language, for instance. The acquisition of rationality can be similarly acquired through education.)
      Or, by way of example of a primal urge that has been shown to have been mostly conquered: the vital primitive urge to murder strangers on sight.

  • ROO BOOKAROO
    2012-05-22 18:53:25 UTC - 18:53 | Permalink

    All the 13 answers to the Templeton Foundation’s Big Question “Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete” can be found at http://www.templeton.org/belief/
    The answers are from:

    Steven Pinker (Psychologist, Harvard): Yes, if by..
    Jerome Groopman (Medicine, Harvard): No, not at all
    Christoph Cardinal Schönborn (archbishop of Vienna): No, and yes
    William D. Phillips (Nobel Laureate in physics): Absolutely not!
    Pervez Amirali Hoodbhoy (physics dep’t, Islamabad Un.) : Not necessarily
    Mary Midgley (philosopher of science and evolution) : Of course not.
    Robert Sapolsky (Biology and Neurology, Stanford) : No
    Christopher Hitchens (journalist and New Atheism advocate): No, but it should (see above)
    Keith Ward (Canon of Christ Church, Oxford): No
    Victor J. Stenger (physics and astronomy, Hawaii Un., philosophy, Colorado Un.) : Yes
    Michael Shermer (Professional skeptic, Claremont Graduate Un.): It Depends!
    Kenneth Miller (biology, Brown): Of Course Not
    Stuart Kauffman (Biocomplexity and Informatics at Calgary Un.): No, but only if…

    Only 2 Yeses (by scientists) 10 Noes (6 by scientists, 2 by career Christians, 2 by philosopher and journalist) and 1 uncertain (Shermer)

  • Karl
    2012-05-23 02:44:29 UTC - 02:44 | Permalink

    LOL, John Loftus doesn’t rank high on the IQ chart. I stopped reading his crap long ago. He’s mostly blogging to himself as far as I’m concerned. He’s quite dogmatic in his view in favour of a historical Jesus based on no valid evidence. Loftus never was and never will be any sort of goto guy for anything.

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  • 2012-07-26 14:48:09 UTC - 14:48 | Permalink

    I have every sympathy for what Hoffman is saying here. And seeing as his blog is one of the most popular destinations on the web in its category, I am glad that he is trying to find people to carry it forward.

  • Bob J.
    2012-09-03 22:18:40 UTC - 22:18 | Permalink

    Hello John, so you have thrown in the towel! You have tried to dry the oceans with a mop. You have had the delusion to erode the Eternal Rock of ages. Believe me a woodpecker would have had better success polverizing Mount Everest. I hope someday you will find the warm and loving arms of the Father. There you will find hope, joy and life.

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