In this unabashedly polemical collection of 14 essays, atheist commentator Loftus continues the diatribe he began against the Christian faith in Why I Became an Atheist (2008) and The Christian Delusion (2010).
The basic argument he and his contributors—including Robert Price, Hector Avalos and Richard Carrier—use to debunk Christianity is what he calls the “Outsider Test for Faith,” which asks people to evaluate their own religious faith “with the same level of skepticism they use to evaluate other faiths.” By applying the strictest logic to the literal word of the Bible, the essays demonstrate why 2,000 years of Christianity is more than enough. Christian beliefs in such things as miracles, Immaculate Conception and the Resurrection are “absurd and bizarre.” The Bible is an outdated text that represents “norms, practices and a conception of the world very different from ours” and “endorses everything from genocide to slavery.” As a work set down by humans, Christian Scripture is “fantasy literature” and the biblical God “nothing more than a memorable old monster.” The central doctrines pertaining to hell and repentance are dangerous for the way they “intimidate people into belief” and offer justification to the unscrupulous to perform unspeakable acts of cruelty. Taken together, the essays show how Christianity should not be used as the basis for notions of right and wrong; science, offers a much better foundation for a system of morality. The arguments advanced against Christianity are not new, but Loftus’s book is admirable for its bluntness and single-minded drive toward the belief that science—itself a human construct and thus as subject to flaws as religion—is mankind’s saving grace.
Provocative but not earth-shaking.