This series is an atheist's review of an important anthology critical of Christian beliefs called, "The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails" (TCD), that is likely to be popularly discussed across the web. I'll be reviewing the book in light of just about every other response to TCD on the web (pros and cons) and responding to new Christian objections as I find them. I think this will be the best that I personally can contribute to advancing our collective conversation about these important roadblocks to solidarity in our culture.
The following is a "CliffsNotes" page of my review. TCD has 5 different sections, so I'll be breaking this up accordingly (although I've lumped in Dan Barker's Foreword and John Loftus' Introduction here). I've copied and collected all the contents pages from each post so there can be a meta-overview that is easily accessible. It will be easy for those interested to have an idea of the book's various failings and will also work well for me to skim through to find links to particular sections when I need to self-link in future posts.
If anyone knows the html coding for collapsing sections of a post, I'd love to apply it here.
Note, you can search the entirety of my review (which is already a book in length on its own, just by chapter 5) with this custom google search I've set up.
Contents of this Contents Page:
Chapter 1, "The Cultures of Christianities," by David Eller (3 out of 5 stars)
Chapter 2, "Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science," by Valerie Tarico (5 out of 5 stars)
Chapter 3: "The Malleability of the Human Mind," by Jason Long (3 out of 5 stars)
Chapter 4, "The Outsider Test for Faith Revisited" by John Loftus (4 out of 5 stars)
Dan Barker's Foreword:
Barker tells instead of shows: Are atheists really that interested in the facts?
There might yet be hope for the book: Is TCD intellectually challenging and respectful in tone?
Barker is careless with his praise: Does TCD defend the mythicist position?
Random humorous observation: Why didn't Barker's wife write TCD?
Random curiosity: Are the vast majority of churches in Europe empty?
Outro: Not rated.
I respond to Christian reviewer, Paul Manata: Is TCD even long enough to refute the supposed thousands of Christian delusions?
I respond to Christian sensibilities: Has Christianity stood the test of time?
I respond to Christian sensibilities: Do atheists need new arguments?
Loftus fails to prove his case: Can modern exegetes get it right with so much historical fail?
Outro: Not rated.
The introduction amounts to sloppy, educated sh*t talk. Loftus wants to intimidate and overwhelm average Christian readers, but is probably going to cause himself more problems than it's worth.
I chastise the atheist movement: Should secular humanists be developing a well-rounded culture to satisfy human needs?
Eller is "one of those" philosophers: If years aren't real, does time even exist?
Outro: 3 out of 5 stars
Chapter 2, "Christian Belief through the Lens of Cognitive Science," by Valerie Tarico:
I respond to Christian reviewer, Looney: Has Christianity converged on manipulative techniques or is it too plastic to even label a single entity?
I respond to Christian reviewer, Patrick Chan: So which is it, cognitive science or culture?
I respond to Christian reviewer, jayman777: Can humans be trusted with metaphysical conclusions?
I respond to Hays:
Does bias cut equally both ways for theists and atheists?
Are subliminal biases uncorrectable if Tarico is right?
Psychology Vs. Religion:
I respond to Looney (and Rauser): Has psychology explained religious experiences?
I respond to Hays:
I respond to jayman777 (and Looney): Did Tarico only focus on the "born again" experience?
Do all Christians base their faith on emotional states?
What about Alvin Plantinga's argument against the reliability of naturalistic minds?
What about the demarcation problem in science?
What about the problem of induction?
Couldn't God have made our minds in such a way they naturally conclude God exists?
How can materialism account for subjective experiences like pain?
What about the zombie argument?
What about The Argument from Knowledge?
Does Christianity have an unfair cultural mystique?
Is there no social pressure from society against Christianity?
Are all of the conversions to Christianity by means of a persuasive historical case for the resurrection of Jesus illegitimate?
I respond to Christian reviewer, Paul Manata:
Is x more credible than y?
Is Long a presuppositional skeptic?
Can science and religion get along?
Standards: How might we avoid conventional Christian objections in the future?
I make a request: Are there studies that show which parts of the brain Christians use to deal with issues in the Bible?
Long "goes there":
Have Bible scholars never considered alternative viewpoints?
Doesn't arrogance also correlate well with IQ?
Outro: 3 out of 5 stars.
I respond to Christian reviewer, Paul Manata: Is Loftus' application of the OTF to Christianity incoherent?
I respond to Christian reviewer, Steve Hays: Is the OTF unfair because of Loftus' mission in life?
I respond to Hays: Do many Muslims claim that demons inspired Christianity just like many Christians claim demons inspired Islam?
I respond to Christian reviewer, Jason Engwer: How does the OTF apply to appeals to modern paranormal phenomena?
I respond to Hays:
What about the psychological probability about whether every Christian who claims to have seen a miracle is delusional?
I respond to Christian reviewer, Randal Rauser:
Should we apply the OTB to politics and ethics?
Should people explore other political viewpoints?
Should people build entire worldviews based on consistent standards of evidence?
Is the OTF unfair to Christians while letting atheists off the hook?
How much should geographical distribution matter to apply the OTF?
Is James McGrath a faithless axe-grinder?
Do proponents of the OTF have Hays' best interests at heart?
Is the lack of denial of the existence of physical objects a bad example to compare to the denial of the existence of God?
How can atheists shame or praise a person's relationship to their epistemic duties?
Isn't it solipsistic to be distrusting of your experiences?
Superstition and Barbarism: Is there no such thing as a superstitious person?
Does Loftus make no effort to apply his tests consistently to the category of superstition and barbarism?
Can't the Bible merely record superstition that it doesn't necessarily embrace?
Are atheistic moral realists inconsistent and haven't even plenty of secular writers convincingly refuted that position?
Would we not apply Loftus' standards in any other field of inquiry?
Doesn't Loftus need to justify epistemic duties with an OTB?
But as an atheist isn't there no obligation to deny that God exists?
Don't atheists just distract themselves from this misery and live a lie?
Don't cultural influences, psychological gimmicks, cognitive biases, and double standards cut equally against atheism?
Does Hays owe Loftus a spiritual autobiography?
Does Steve need Ben to affirm him?
Is Ben over-focused on the OTF?
Should Hays let Loftus off the hook because of the more sensible things Ben advocates?
Sh'ld yee shaw yir teeth unless ye can bite?
I respond to Engwer:
Does Loftus go too far with this OTF?
I respond to Manata:
Is the OTF a logical truth or a theorem?
How does Loftus get a "highly likely" from a "very likely?"
If all religions are probably false, then why bother even taking the OTF?
Can't Christianity still be true despite the initial low probability against it?
Does Loftus' OTF commit the genetic fallacy still?
Doesn't the Bible say we're supposed to know Christianity is true by the Holy Spirit?
Isn't the OTF beside the point if you can just present good reasons why Christianity is false?
Isn't the OTF too vague?
Who would take an "outsider test for philosophy" if it had the same structure as the OTF and what standards would we apply?
Is Loftus' OTF conclusion related to his OTF premises?
Does Loftus disagree with Tarico on whether humans are rational?
Aren't a large majority of our culturally inherited beliefs also perfectly rational?
Does the OTF get rid of original thinkers?
Are some religions more probable than others?
Should we treat beliefs that have a low probability of being true as probably false?
Is Manata defending his right to be inconsistent with his standards?
Would Manata be in a state of cognitive paralysis if he took the OTF?
Would Loftus take a test to see if his cognitive faculties are reliable?
Does Loftus prove that Manata holds double standards?
Is Christianity the only reason we can know anything (as C. S. Lewis said)?
What happens to the OTF when people vastly agree about things at the expense of atheism?
Does Loftus' OTF fail at every level?
Why can't Loftus see that Manata just wants to point out that the OTF is so horrible?
Is Loftus the equivalent of a religious zealot?
Did Loftus reject every Christianity with his insider test for faith?
Would Plantinga's extended A/C model make Loftus premise 2 false?
Is there still no connection between premise 1 and premise 2 of Loftus' OTF?
Should religious beliefs be justified by other beliefs?
Is a possibility a probability?
Is someone holding a winning lottery ticket rational for believing they have it despite the odds against that being true?
Is the OTF too uninteresting to take seriously?
Does Loftus admit that some religions are more probable than others.
Did Loftus tell us why all religions are equipossible?
Would Manata's brain still explode if he ever dared take the OTF?
That does it for Part 1 of TCD.