The Advice of a Former Christian to Religious Apologists

Deutsche Version

I’ve read a great post of former Christian apologist John Loftus (DebunkingChristianity) who gives advice to current Christian apologists.

I was stunned to realize I agree with most things he has written.

Like Thom Stark, I was disgusted by the firing of Chris. Rollston due to his intellectual honesty and his willingness to expose bad things people from the past have attributed to God. I have myself been banned from quite a few conservative forums for my challenge against certain dogma, but this is evidently nothing in comparison to the ordeal professor Rollston underwent.

Here is the key point of John’s recommendations:

 “The ninth thing you must do is to become educated rather than indoctrinated.”


This is a wonderful sentence and I applaud John for leaving open the possibility that there might be Christian apologists out there who are really honest and educate themselves.

I hope he would agree Randal Rauser is a good example.

Yet, like many other things he rightly says about biases of all kinds, this sort of cuts both ways. Everyone with a worldview and an ideology is prone to delude herself. This is true for capitalists, socialists, marxists, post-modernists, transhumanists, Muslims, Christians and anti-theists alike. Until now, I haven’t found good evidence that the BEST theist intellectuals are more biased and deluded than the BEST atheistic intellectuals.

John is certainly right there is generally no come-back for a liberal who was previously a fundamentalist. However there are many cases of liberals who become fundamentalists in their later life.

Bin Laden is certainly the most ugly one. He was (among others) convinced by some books that he had to take the Koran seriously because it allegedly predicted scientific results, in the same way people converts to Evangelicalism after having read a book „proving“ that evolution is wrong.

Then get a real education if you want to be an apologist. Skip on by any evangelical apologetics program where the professors are required to sign a doctrinal statement. Attend a secular university instead. Then see what happens. If your faith is strengthened then you will be a better apologist. If it causes you to become a liberal or non-believer then follow the evidence where it leads.

Along the way do two things. First, read books and attend lectures that are outside the box of your comfort zone, books like these for starters. „

To that, I can only loudly answer “Amen“!

One of my own conclusions of such a process is that in many domains and cases the evidence is much more ambiguous than what both believers and deniers think it to be.

Finally, I would add one personal recommendation for every evangelical apologist believing in Biblical inerrancy: start reading many OTHER ancient religious books, from the near East, but also from many times and places.

Consider their passion for their gods, the despair they experienced, the good things they wrote as well as the ugly stuff they attributed to their deities.


Compare this with the Bible and draw your own conclusion concerning its alleged uniqueness, inspiration and lack of errors.



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4 thoughts on “The Advice of a Former Christian to Religious Apologists

  1. When I was undergoing my own journey of spiritual self-discovery, I began
    voraciously reading various apologetics books, only to notice with some amount of discouragement that most of them seemed to not be written for people with
    questions. Instead a majority of apologetics books seem to be written for people who want to reassure themselves that they DON’T have any questions.

    It alarms me that most Christians I talk to are utterly assured that they have all of the answers. They use this smug sense of certainty as a club in any debate they enter and are not willing to entertain even the smallest possibility that they could be wrong.

    I believe that in addition to courageously expanding the types of people w engage in conversation and the books that we read, we ought also to share the only suitable mindset that one should have when approaching questions as vast as those of religion: humility.

    Great post as always, Marc! I loved it!

    • Hey, thanks for your comment 🙂

      Yeah, they want to hide the fact they’ve honest questions and constantly resort to easy answers which rely on extremely unlikely hypotheses.

      But there is a good reason for this, though: they’re convinced that if they read too much books “from the other side” they might lose their faith and eternally suffer in case they die as non-Christians 😦

      Still, if they make that effort nonetheless and realize the numerous absurdities of conservative Evangelicalism, they’re likely to give up their faith altogether and become resentful atheists, as it happens to Loftus.

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