Friday, December 26, 2014
The Christian Delusion ed. by John W. Loftus
The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails, edited by John W. Loftus. Amherst NY: Prometheus Books, 2010. eBook, 453 pps.
The Christian Delusion is a collection of essays spanning neuroscience, culture, astronomy, morality, historical research, history of the Holocaust, scientific philosophies, and more. Of the listed authors, I've read stuff by Dan Barker, Valerie Tarico, John W. Loftus, Edward T. Babinski, Paul Tobin, and Hector Avalos. I didn't recognize the other authors but it seems like they are well-established in their fields. The authors are all scholars and experts thus The Christian Delusion is not an easy read. Of all of the essays, the one that I got the most value out of was Chapter 15: Christianity Was Not Responsible for Modern Science by Richard Carrier. Richard Carrier made some excellent points in respect to the history of the persecution of scientists throughout the ages and how scientific progress was often held back by Christian leadership.
Chapter 4: The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited by John W. Loftus peaked my interest enough to read the book by Loftus. A review of that book is in the offing. Some of the other ideas were familiar to me. I've heard before the expression "Yahweh is a moral monster." I also know that Adolph Hitler was a faithful Roman Catholic and that the "solution to the Jewish problem" that he established and carried out was previously expressed in the writing of none other than Martin Luther. Luther learned this prejudice at the knees of Mother Church which did not treat Jews kindly throughout the ages. [excerpts from his writing may be found at:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/Luther_on_Jews.html ]. That belief in the tenets of any religion is not required to live a moral life seems to me to be a given. I understand morality and societal laws both as being generated from groups of humans bound together by their culture rather than from divine edict. I am also familiar with the problems involved in a literal interpretation of the Bible and some of the doctrines therein. Even so, The Christian Delusion got me thinking and that in itself is good.
sapphoq reviews says: Although the blurbs about The Christian Delusion indicate that this book may find its way into the hands of Christians who wish to study the arguments of atheists in order to understand us better, I cannot imagine that too many Christians will choose to read this book. The title itself is probably off-putting to the majority of people of faith. As an atheist, I liked this book although I found that parts of it required re-reading and further study. For atheists, highly recommended.