John Loftus has posted a, ahem, “response” to the first installment of my skeptical review of The End of Christianity at “Debunking Christianity”. Make sure your brain is fully engaged before you read it. This is heady stuff. Here goes:
Then Randal Rauser claims he is offering a skeptical review of The End of Christianity. Say that again? He’s doing a skeptical review of the book? This is clearly Orwellian Doublespeak where the word “skeptical” now replaces the word “believing”. It
is a believing review of my book! And can you or not clearly see that his criticisms miss the mark? I tire of this shit, big time. I’ll not even offer a critique since it’s so lame. You either see it or you are blind, bat shit blind. Sorry, but that’s what I think.
This kind of response is a gift wrapped up in shiny gold wrapping paper with a velvet red bow. I mean, I couldn’t ask for a better illustration of how John is locked into a set of presuppositions that inhibit him from true dialogue. Remember that I summarized his “Outsider Test of Faith” with the following four claims:
(1) If you are the adherent to a religion you should subject your basic metaphysical commitments to skeptical “outsider” analysis.
(2) If you do (1) you will become an atheist.
(3) Thus the person who does (1) and remains committed to their religion did not really do (1).
(4) Atheists don’t have to subject their metaphysical commitments to skeptical analysis because they already did so and that’s why they’re atheists.
I’m still a Christian. So according to John, I am stuck at (3), meaning that I never seriously subjected my faith to critical evaluation. And that means I am a “believer” rather than a “skeptic”. And of course you don’t need to listen to “believers”. So in one, bewildering step, John has marginalized all critical reviews of his works written from people who are Christian since the very fact that they are Christian tells him they failed to take his outsider test.
A little while ago John wrote a glowing review for my book You’re not as Crazy as I Think. (Glowing with the same luminosity as my flourescent Star Wars quilt.) I’m grateful for that review. Still I cannot help but wonder how he could give the book a good review when he engages in the very kind of behavior the book decries, namely the marginalization of individuals and social groups for being immoral or irrational simply because their beliefs differ from yours. That’s like endorsing Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation and then going to the butcher to buy polish sausage.
On the other hand, John did say on his website that he’ll be posting less in August so he can have some time off. So maybe John has simply implemented an interim policy of calling all his interlocutors “bat shit blind” for the month. We’ll have to wait and see.