Christianity Is Not Great: How Faith Fails – Book Review

Review from Amazon

 By: David Mills

The Christian faith fails miserably and this book proves it!, October 21, 2014

I received an advanced printed copy of this book a week before it was available. Having already read a digital version to write my blurb, it’s so damn good I wanted to write up a brief review as well.

John Loftus is the only atheist to have published six impressive books in the last several years arguing against Christianity and in favor of atheism. Of the first one, “Why I Became an Atheist” (now revised), I wrote a blurb that I stand by: “Loftus is to atheism what Tiger Woods is to golf, or what Babe Ruth was to baseball.” In the years he’s been publishing successive books I’ve found that many Christian apologists are treating him just like pitchers treated Babe Ruth.  Many times they walked the Babe for fear of him. I think I know why. They cannot answer Loftus. Taken together his books contain a massive refutation of their religion. So the best response is to ignore them.  Act like they don’t exist.  Perhaps no one will notice. Give him a pass. Walk him.

Up until Loftus, as Hector Avalos notes in the Foreword, atheist books were almost exclusively single issue books, focusing on creationism, arguments for God’s existence, the resurrection of Jesus, the unreliability of the Bible,  and so on. Christian apologists, by contrast, have been spitting out apologetic books that covered a wide ranging number of issues in defense of their faith.  Loftus’s books resemble what Christians have been doing for a century or more.  His books are counter apologetic textbooks that rival them, covering a wide ranging number of issues involving various disciplines. As such they signal a new era for atheist books, one that is long overdue and very effective.

This present anthology is no exception. It may very well be John’s most celebrated work, as I wrote for my blurb, which is saying a great deal indeed given his other ones. The central theme concerns faith, that it’s an unreliable guide to the truth and has been the source of a whole lot of bloodshed and needless pain.  This book tests, as Loftus explains in the first chapter, the results of faith. He argues that “the Christian faith can be empirically tested by the amount of harm it has done and continues to do in our world. Jesus reportedly said, ‘By their fruits ye shall know them’ (Matthew 7:20). When we evaluate the fruits of Christianity the result is that it fails miserably.” So based on “The Outsider Test for Faith,” something he has masterfully defended in a book with that title, he says, “believers just need to honestly ask themselves if they would accept any other religion that had such a terrible track record. If they wouldn’t, then they should not continue identifying as Christians. It’s that simple.”

I know of no other single resource coming from experts in their fields that massively refutes the claim that Christianity has been good for the world than this one. It brings to light the failures of the church and of faith itself, like nothing else on the market. Honest Christians who really want to know if their faith is true should read it. Atheists and agnostics who want to disabuse Christians of their faith should read it. In fact, everyone who is concerned with the influence and truth of Christianity should read it.

Readers will be forced to consider the various harms committed by Christian believers who sincerely tried following the so-called Good Book. They will be forced to consider the harms committed when Christians had nearly absolute political/institutional power over others. They will be forced to consider the various scientific and social/moral harms of the Christian faith. The result of these excellent chapters is obvious; faith has failed us, and still is failing us today. Since Christianity is based on faith it should be rejected by honest thinking people.

It won’t do for Christians to complain that the authors have no objective moral standard for their claims of harm, nor that they need faith to solve the problems of the world, nor that they cannot live a good life as atheists.  Those objections are swiftly and decisively refuted in the final part of this book, leaving Christians no reasonable option but to honestly smell the putrid stench of their own faith and reject it.

The only response to this book by Christian apologists, like Loftus’s other books, is to try to ignore it.  That alone should be a strong indicator on its own that Christian apologetics are utterly bankrupt, and the more reason for atheists around the world to help our common cause by promoting it.