The “Debunking Christianity” Challenge failures

Cover of "The God Delusion"
Cover of The God Delusion

I don’t follow John Loftus anymore. The guy failed to deliver at a debate that I invested time and effort to attend back in February. He blamed his failures on his fans’ inability to understand his awesomeness. I’m glad I wasn’t the only fan to abandon him and his complete lack of self-awareness.

But Loftus doesn’t seem to lack in obsequious minions (check his blog if you like), so it was no sweat off his back.

After yesterday’s Pew Poll findings, I am, however, curious about the Debunking Christianity challenge that Loftus attempted. I started following two of the Christians who agreed to take the challenge, and it seems that both failed miserably.

In fact, Loftus and I discussed the challenge over beers the night before the debate back in February. He was excited to have people take the challenge, and we laughed over the first guy.

The first guy’s name is: PhilVaz (<link to his results). He bailed April 1. His goal was to read the list of books and rate how his faith stood after each one. The first book, “The God Delusion” brought his faith down to an 18 from 20 (the highest out of 1-20). The next two books opposed Dawkins’ book. His faith moved back up to a 19. After he read Sam Harris’ book “The End of Faith”, it moved back down to 18.

His faith seemed to fluctuate, but not much right? I’d say wrong, but who’s really watching? Around April, he announced some personal issue and he would return to the challenge in June.

He never did.

The other guy I followed bailed sooner. Micah Cobb runs a blog called “The Small Rivers.

His about page says:

My name is Micah Cobb. I live in Oxford, Mississippi, though I was born and raised in Alabama. I received my B.A. in Philosophy from Auburn University, and I’m almost finished with an M.A. in Philosophy at University of Mississippi. I’ve also spent time in law school and seminary. I am married, and I’ll soon be a father.

I also work part-time in campus ministry. I have no idea what I’ll do after I finish my M.A. I have too many interests to make that decision easy.

You can find his entries on taking the Debunking Christianity Challenge here. In his defense, he said he was having his first born, and he would continue the challenge as time presented itself. Time never really presented itself apparently.

He started with Bart Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus,” and I’m not sure he moved to another book.

I’ve been rereading Christian books on my shelf lately. I jammed through Josh McDowell’s “New Evidence that Demands a Verdict. I try. I really try. McDowell doesn’t approach the subject with any kind of academic comprehension in mind. It doesn’t take a genius to see that he’s not basing his evidence on evidence; his ideas are faith based.

That’s fine, because it jives with the bible, right?

1Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)

When I get some time, I want to write a better review here of McDowell’s book. Or maybe another book. Are there any Christian readers out there who want to suggest some titles? I’ve done it before. It’s a great time. Christians pull all kinds of punches like, “You don’t understand the material.” Then they go and debate a single bible verse with another believer for 10 hours. It’s hilarious.

There’s a book that my brother referred me to. I asked him twice and I forgot the title again. I’m afraid to ask him about it again.

I have asked this before … Where are the Christians who read non-Christian material? I’ve heard several of my non-Christian friends say, “Jer, if I read the stuff you read, I’d probably become a nonbeliever too.”

Wait, what?

When you fear education will not support your views, there’s something wrong with that. But don’t let me tell you what to think.

Search. Search. Search. Education should not be feared. Embrace it. It’s really not as scary as you think.

5 thoughts on “The “Debunking Christianity” Challenge failures

  1. For what it is worth, I haven’t abandoned the challenge. I’ve only quit blogging about it for the time being. I had too many time commitments, so all of my blogging dropped off. I plan to resume it soon.

    I finished Ehrman a while ago. I’ve been (re)reading Rowe’s *Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction*, reading some Thomas Aquinas, reading some works on naturalism (mainly for my Phil of Mind class), listening and reading to stuff from Common Sense Atheism, and I’m about to start reading different works on the Argument from Contingency.

    However, as a minister, I also have to keep up a steady stream of theology works, so I can’t devote all my time to Phil of Rel.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say I haven’t abandoned the Atheism Challenge; I am on a break. I will definitely resume it over Christmas break. (I work in campus ministry and I’m a grad student, so Christmas break is double the free time for me.) Hopefully I can resume it sooner.

    Sorry for the long comment, I just wanted to inform you of my situation.

  2. I have a list of eight books every Christian should read. The first two were composed by Evangelicals, the next three by liberals, and the rest by apostates. If someone does not at least learn where many of the major questions lay after reading such work, we’ll, then I’ll be damned. These books are quite an education. And they deal with biblical issues, not “philosophy of religion.” Learn the Bible related questions first. Philosophy of religion is far vaster and involves far more ingenuity than biblical studies. I think any challenge should start with catching up to where biblical studies currently are at. http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2010/09/seven-books-every-christian-should-read.html

  3. Loftus had beers the night before the debate! What a buffoon. I thought he seemed a little messed up.

    What a loser.

  4. I’ve personally spoken with Phil and I mean no offence when I say you misrepresent his actions in the challenge. YES, he left the challenge before finishing the reading list (albeit a good chunk was completed), but NO, it was not as an apologetic move, to protect his faith, or anything like that. It was a new schedule which didn’t give him the time to finish.

  5. As the kids say in latin, “Esse quam vidiri.”

    Let a failure be a failure and move on. Whining about it only exacerbates the loss.

    All the best!

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