John W. Loftus said:
“Steve, you have just proved that you are not just a biased reviewer of my book. You are a dishonest one too. You never quoted what I said about this, did you?”
I didn’t quote what he said about what?
“You only quoted what you wanted to quote, and that's dishonest.”
Oh, so I did quote him after all.
Notice that he doesn’t document the charge of dishonesty. Is he suggesting that I quoting him out of context?
If so, the customary way of showing that someone quoted you out of context is to quote a larger sample of the surrounding text to demonstrate that when the original quote in put in context, it casts the whole thing in a different light.
Now, Loftus wrote this book. I assume he wrote it on computer. So it would be very easy for him to copy/paste whatever addition material he thinks would document his charge.
“People who have read my book know differently.”
All three of them, you mean?
“Tell me this, does your faith require that you be dishonest with those who object to your faith? If that's the case, then you are is a desperation mode.”
Once again, why doesn’t he back up his claim by actually illustrating how I supposedly quoted him out of context?
“Three other things here: 1) You cannot confess your own shortcomings because if you did then it would undercut your own claim to have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus.”
This reflects the very defective state of Loftus’ theological understanding. What comes through in his account is not contrition, but angry finger-pointing.
“Tell us this Steve, in the interest of full disclosure, do you look at pornography on the net...do you lie...do you yell at or hit your wife..do you tithe...do you pray like you think you should...do you pay your taxes....have you ever been divorced...are you secretly gay....do you hate someone...do you desire another woman.... 2)”
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that, unlike Loftus, I’ve never been a sex slave to a scheming Dominatrix.
I guess I’ve led a very boring life.
As to whether I have a secret sex life, well…if I told him about it, then it wouldn’t be a secret anymore—which would spoil all the fun.
So I’ll have to keep my secret sex life secret—at least until I write up my own deconversion story, at which point I’ll spice it up with juicy details about my Lotharian exploits with naughty, mob girls like Jayne Mansfield (I was very precocious) to sell more copy.
“I am free from the guilt trip that Christians throw on other people.”
If he’s guilt-free, then why does he sound so defensive?
“3) Such a review as yours does not undercut my case. It's an ad hominem of the worst sort.”
Actually, this isn’t ad hominem, but ex hominem. Not “to the man,” but “from the man.”
It’s not as if I hired a P.I. to dig through his garbage.
No, Loftus volunteers this information. Puts it in the public domain.
It’s very revealing that when I quote his own words back to him, he accuses me of launching an ad hominem attack of the worst sort.
Consider the source. If he thinks that quoting directly from his own book is some form of character assassination, then this could only be a form of self-inflicted character assassination—which is far more damning that any charge I could level.
“Nice going! Wow! That says it all.”
Since, however, he accuses me of not quoting what he said about “this,” whatever “this” is, here’s a much fuller quote from the infamous “Linda” episode:
I was the founding president of Operation Shelter, (now called Turning Point) in Angola, Indiana. It was an organization that seeks to give temporary shelter to people in need, I worked day after day with the executive director, whose’ name was Linda. She practically idolized me. She did everything I said to do, and would call me daily to help her deal with various situations that came up from the running of the Shelter, along with her personal problems. What man doesn’t want to be worshipped? I guess I did. I was having problems with my own relationship with my wife at the time, and Linda made herself available. I succumbed and had an affair with her.
There’s so much more I’d like to say bout this, but few people would believe me. I believe she was a con artist, and she conned me. As a former stripper she had it inn for preachers, and she took out her wrath on me. Perhaps because I was a moral crusader in town and stood against abortion and X-rated video rentals, she chose to humiliate me. Suffice to say there are some women out there who, akin to Potipher’s wife in the Bible, find it challenging to see if they can sack a minister, and she did.
How many sermons have you heard about Joseph and Potipher’s wife where the preacher asked something like this: “how many men would have been able to overcome this temptation?” And they conclude with, “I fear not many men could’ve over come this.” Preachers say this to bolster our confidence in the amount of faith Joseph had, and his strength of will. But when someone like me actually does succumb to such a temptation, these same preachers are quick to condemn me. Although, I’m not proud of this.
Ethicist Richard Taylor wrote a book on Having Love Affairs (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1982) and he discusses whose fault it is when there is an affair. I am not excusing myself here, but as he explains, there may be more to it. “Though a wife may be ever so dutiful, faultless, and virtuous in every skill required for the making of a home, if she lacks passion, then in a very real sense she already is without a husband, or he, at least, is without a wife…What is to be stressed is that the first infidelity may or may not have been committed by the one who is having an affair. The first and ultimate infidelity is to withhold the love that was promised, and which was originally represented as the reason for marriage to begin with.”
But there is more. After a few months I decided I could no longer reconcile the affair with my faith or my family life—at this time I was not ministering at the church. So I told Linda that it was over. Well, William Congreve is right, “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.” She went off in a rampage and told the board of directors at the Shelter that I had raped her. She went to the prosecutor with my former associate minister and tried to press charges against me, too. They were all lies. No charges were brought against me, thankfully.
I thought everyone had heard of her accusations and that most people believed her. I received a phone call from someone who threatened my life, and it sounded like he would kill me, too. One man whom I had a great amount of respect for, had heard her accusations. I said to him, “you don’t believer he do you?” He replied, “John, I don’t know what to believe.” This really hurt. I did some research on her and found that she was married eight times; although she told me she was only married twice. I talked with most of these former husbands and I learned she was quite the consummate liar. I found out some more negative stuff too, which led me to the conclusion that she had duped me about many things. But I was supposed to be smarter than that, or so I thought. How could this happen to me? How could I let her come me like that? How could I have an affair with her? How could I allow my reputation be sullied by claims that I had raped her? Why did God test me by allowing her to come into my life when she did? All of this devastated me. I do thank my ex-wife, Kathy, for forgiving me and for standing by me during this period in my life. She is a wonderful woman.
Why I Rejected Christianity, 22-23.
So is that what “this” is referring to?
Okay, then—let’s take stock. Does this extended quote present Loftus in a more favorable light? What does this quote include that I left out in my original quote?
In this quote:
1.Loftus blames his ex-wife for the affair. Borrowing a page from Richard Taylor—who is writing, not coincidentally, for an atheistic publishing house—he insinuates that his ex-wife was really the first one to cheat on him since she was a frigid woman, which is equivalent to infidelity.
2.Loftus blames his fellow ministers for condemning the affair.
3.Loftus blames Linda for seducing him. Yes, Linda—that sinister reincarnation of Jezebel, Delilah, Messalina, Thais, Mata Hari, Barbara Stanwyck, &c., &c.
BTW, am I the only one to detect a deep-seated strain of misogyny in Loftus’ description?
4.Loftus mitigates the affair on the grounds that when he had his fling with her, he thought she’d only been married twice before.
5.Loftus talks about how she accused him of rape, and how most of the folks he knew found her side of the story more credible than his.
6.In both the original quote and the extended quote, Loftus says there’s “so much more” he’d like to say, but “few people” would believe him.
Gee, imagine that.
7.In both quotations he also blames God for his affair.
I’ll leave it to the reader to decide if this additional material paints him in a more favorable light.
Remember, all this sordid stuff is coming straight from his own book, to justify his deconversion.
And, indeed, the real reason for apostasy is often emotional or sexual.