Atheist author Mr. John Loftus and I recently had an online conversation about whether the Bible makes the factual claim that the earth is flat. If you desire to read our initial dialogue on the subject, he was kind enough to archive it here. In that initial interaction he refused to answer my question, and instead referred me to chapter 5 of his book, The Christian Delusion (questionable salesmanship, but I will let that go).
So I played his game. I read the chapter (and more) and wrote a rebuttal, Atheism’s Apparent Literary Impoverishment and the Need for Sophisticated Biblical Analysis. I sent the article directly to him, but rather than describing our conversation over the article, I will just let the conversation speak for itself. I will leave my commentary for the end so the reader can form their own judgments.
Me: I went back and reviewed both the Christian Delusion and Why I am Not a Christian as well as your blog posts.
Here’s my response. I look forward to yours.
Mr. Loftus: Nice job! Lots of thing wrong though. Try arguing against yourself on my behalf. Try it. Can you? This is an important exercise I’ve asked my students to do. You must understand the opposition at least as well as they do to argue against the effectively.
Me: I’m not sitting in your classroom. I’m waiting for you to raise your own objections.
Mr. Loftus: Okay, you are officially in line. In the meantime, can you offer a reasonable guess how I will respond? Yes or no? I need to know. It matters.
Me: Lol quit flattering your sense of self importance. You have had time to argue with me in comment sections and in messages so you certainly have time to read and respond to a blog article.
As for my guess on how you will respond, if I knew exactly what angle you would be coming from I would have already addressed it, wouldn’t I?
Mr. Loftus: So to be sure, and thus is important, you truly don’t know how to respond to your own post from a skeptical nonbelievet’s (sic) view.
Me: You’re conflating two different questions. While I have suspicions, I don’t know how you will respond. Of course I could try to argue against my own argument.
Mr. Loftus: The 2nd is what I’m asking
Me: Well then consider it answered.
(Roughly 45 minutes pass)
Mr. Loftus: What specifically do you mean by your last comment?
Me: Which one?
Mr. Loftus: Don’t play dumb with me or waste my time. Last is last.
Me: You’re being vague. The last comment in this message thread? The last comment in my blog post?
Mr. Loftus: I’m done with you.
Me: I literally have no clue what you’re talking about.
Mr. Loftus: …because you can’t tell which comment of yours is the last one prior to my question.
Me: So you’re referring to this message thread? You could have just said so.
I mean that I gave an answer. Of course I could try to write an argument against my blog post.
Mr. Loftus: Vague answer. You are not an honest discussion partner.
Me: Your question was if I could write an argument against my own blog. I couldn’t have been more straightforward.
Mr. Loftus: Do not message me again.
Me: Do you have a response to my article or not? If not, I will be forced to assume you just concede and are too proud to say so. Don’t let me down without a fight that easily.
I never heard back. Mr. Loftus completely blocked me.
I will let the reader form their own hypothesis about the reason for Mr. Loftus’ behavior.
I’m sure that at this point Mr. Loftus would most likely make the excuse that he as a scholar with 3 masters degrees and 2 years of doctoral work (which he never completed for God knows what reason) has better things to do than argue with an undergraduate student who has not yet seen the error of his ways.
But if all the letters after Mr. Loftus’ name and his long list of credentials actually did anything for his scholarly capability, shouldn’t it have been child’s play to put away the arguments of a 21 year old Christian? Am I not the very kind of person Loftus is on a mission to deconvert?
Mr. Loftus’ arguments against Christianity combined with his behavior when faced with the counterarguments of a 21 year old Christian are damning evidence that his self-vaunted education in Christianity has produced an incompetent theologian who is an equally incompetent atheist antagonist to Christianity.
I share this because I want to see dialogue between Christians and atheists progress forwards, but militant yet cowardly dogmatists like Mr. Loftus who refuse to earnestly engage with the other side are exactly what is holding us back.
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