Thursday, February 16, 2006

If You Can't Beat 'em, Tell 'em They're Gona Beat Their Wife

Very amateur atheologian, John W. Loftus, took some shots at me in the comments section of my my introductory post on Triablogue.

Loftus wasted no time in hurling some pretty harsh comments my way. This may be all he has left after I dealt with him here, here, and here. He has not responded to any of them.

Though I do not desire to somehow vindicate myself, as I agree that I am a wretched sinner, I thought I would still objectively analyze his comments. Since he doesn't want to deal with my critiques of his objective arguments, maybe he'll feel more confident to defend his subjective beliefs? With that said, let's look at what he said:

In my introductory post here I had given a link to something I wrote giving some biographical details about my life before I came to Christ. Loftus writes, "I read through Manata's conversion story, have you? I'm surprised there aren't any comments posted after that story, since it was written so long ago." What Loftus didn't know is that there were no comments allowed on my blog at that time, and so that's why there were no comments. You know what they say about assuming, right? Anyway, here's the good stuff.

Loftus comments, "But you were an evil person, Paul, there's no other way to describe it." There's "no other way?" Maybe I was just doing what the laws of biology had determined I do. Maybe I was "born that way." Does Loftus think homosexuals are evil for doing what they were born to do? Or, how about this, Loftus has no "foundation" for morality. Loftus writes, "...morals do not have an ultimate foundation" (SOURCE). So then, how was I "evil?" Was I absolutely, objectively "evil?" Loftus tells us elsewhere that, "It may even be that this whole existence is completely and wholly absurd to its core" (SOURCE). And so, Loftus does not even know if I am "evil," or if it is rational to call me and what I did "evil." What I did was maybe just as absurd as when Loftus eats his Grape Nuts for breakfast. Therefore we see that Loftus cannot make a rational point, even when he's just emoting subjective opinion.

Next, Loftus writes, "And it seems as though you still are glorying in those days, since your story was all about how evil you were, rather than focusing on your initial experiences when you first became a Christian." Above Loftus claims to have "read" what I wrote. Well, at the very beginning, I had explained the purpose for writing what I wrote. I wrote, "A month or so ago someone commented that I should write about my life prior, and then my conversion to, Christianity." So, apparently Loftus thinks that I cannot answer someone's request that I talk about my life PRIOR to Christianity. If I ever do that I must be "glorying in those days." So, what does Loftus propose that I do if someone asks me about my "glory days?" What should I say if someone asks me how "evil" I used to be? Upon analysis I think Loftus would like me to tell them to go fly a kite because that would mean that I'm "glorying" in those days. Maybe Loftus is right, with this kind of reasoning maybe we are living in a mad, mad world. Does Loftus still "glory" in his Christian days? Is he still, a "Christian?" Well, he constantly talks about his former life and his former teacher, William Lane Craig! Therefore Loftus glories in Christianity over against atheism.

Loftus asks, "You wanted us to know how poweful [sic] you were, didn't you?" Well, I wanted you to know how much of a sinner I was, that was kind of the point. I guess in absurd universes stories don't have points anymore.

Next Loftus continues to psychologize me and my motives by asking, "That's why you have tried to pick an argument with me, isn't it? To gain respect and to be "cool" to other Christians." Well, Loftus shows his short term memory problem. I had posted on the Secular Web and Dangerous Idea on the topic of there being no atheists. But before I even talked or argued with Loftus, he "picked an argument" with me! So, apparently Loftus can "pick arguments" with me, but if I respond or try to do the same thing I'm still "living in my evil glory days." This is more evidence of Loftus' hypocrisy. Loftus expects Christians to answer his questions but he continually tells us that he has no answer for anything, maybe they "just came about by chance" he says. He says, "the universe just popped into existence." This is to say, "it just happened, that's the way it is." But if I were to respond to his myriad questions with, "wulp, that's just the way it is," I'd get lambasted by him and his ilk. Yet more evidence that Christians are the tough-minded ones while many atheists continue to be epistemology lazy.

Loftus then goes below the belt. He writes,

"Mark my words, Paul, you will beat your wife when she disagrees with you in the future. If I were her I would be scared to marry you. But I'll never know if what I predict will happen, and I hope it doesn't. But it will, even as a Christian. And when it does, remember who is was who told you (the truth) that you would do it. And then reflect back on the conversion experience you've had and how it changed your life."

I really don't have much to say here. I will not return evil for evil but will just make a few comments:

1) He knows I'll do this yet he also thinks there's no cause or purpose for the universe. Loftus is caught in a rational/irrational dialectic. When it suits him he tries to reason inductively from my past life to what I might do in the future, but when he's pressed he just says, "maybe it's absurd and the universe just popped into existence and I don't have a foundation for morality."

2) Loftus' remarks that I reflect back on my "conversion" seem to imply that he is under the impression that a Christian can't or wouldn't sin. This is more evidence of Loftus' shoddy understanding of Christian theology. Maybe Steve Hays was right. Maybe Loftus is a undercover Christian trying to infiltrate the atheist camp and make them look stupid.

3) Loftus mentions "truth" in an "absurd" universe that has no "purpose" or "meaning."

4) This kind of behavior is strong evidence for the fact that Loftus' meeting with presupposition has rocked him.

Loftus tells us, "I too had a dramatic conversion." Um, no you didn't. Conversion is a consequence of regeneration, and I doubt Loftus was ever regenerate. But, like him, I hope I'm wrong.

Loftus says, "But there is still hate running through your veins." Note that he gives no examples of this hate that is "still" running through my veins. Secondly, "Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you (psi. 139.21)?

Loftus says,

"And I can see very clearly why it is you are the Calvinist you are today, it's because at the earliest stages of your Christian faith Presbyterian pastor Matthew Bohling taught you what you should believe."

No, as my pre and post-conversion story indicated, I already believed the truths of Calvinism, that was my argument against "Christianity" (as I only thought "Christians" were "Arminians")! Apparently Loftus not only fails to read up on presuppositionalism in order to critique it (as I've documented), he can't even read what I write in order to critique me! Also, I'm a Calvinist because it is what the Bible teaches.

Loftus ends by saying,

"This reminds me once again of the outsiders test which I proposed on my blog. What else could you have believed about Christianity? Arminianism didn't work for you because of your upbringing, just like Calvinism and Catholicism doesn't work for others because of their upbringing."

Loftus' outsider test is this: "If you were born in Saudi Arabia, you would be a Muslim right now, say it isn't so? That is a cold hard fact." But I was raised a Christian and Arminian! So how is my not being Christian and Arminian evidence of Loftus' outsider test? Loftus is so confused he not only misunderstands Christianity, presuppositionalism, my conversion story, morality, logic, reason, where the universe came from, etc etc etc, he also doesn't even understand his own "Outsider test!"



  1. Paul:

    You have great patience that I lack.

    I would have just pulled out, as Loftus did, the Nanny-Nanny-Boo-Boo defense ;-)

  2. Paul, would you please choose which blog you've decided to post in so I don't have to post a response twice?

    Do you really think I'm as stupid as you claim that I am? You can't possibly think that, nor can anyone who reads what we both write. If you did, then it is you who are the stupid one, and you've just revealed your ignorance for everyone to see here.

    You're still beating up on people aren't you? You're beating up on someone again, and liking the power you get from it. Aren't you so cool?

    Are you upset at me for telling you the truth? I can't help you if you are. But that's what I do. Prove me wrong and I'd be happy for you.

    I was bullied around when I was young, and so I'm thankful you have changed. But now a former bully is bullying still, this time with Biblical precedent (Ps. 139.21). This could get scary for me.

    Treat me and my arguments fairly and we will all know you have radically changed. Until then, claim you've changed all you want to, but you've still got a long long long way to go...and I dare say, you'll never be able to escape your past.

    The best thing for you is to channel your anger. And so you do, here on this blog. And that's much much better than beating people to a pulp from every state, just to say you did, but it exhibits the same characteristics.

  3. Lofuts:

    Congrats! You've excelled in teaching us all how to not interact with your opponent. I'm sure I can come up with an award for that...

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Evan, it actually takes me about 2 minutes to critique 8anything* John writes.

    Anyway, John, can we back up your claims? Where did I misrepresent you? Oh, maybe you meant that I'm *not* going to beat my wife. Oh, okay, sorry! Thanks.

    ANyway, you have the "outsider test" and I have the "put up or shut up test."

  6. Paul, I appreciate that you, like me, allow people to comment on what we write, and that you allow me the chance to respond on your blog. I like this, and so I allow it on my blog as you do. I like the challenge, like you. Although, I do not demean and belittle my opponents, unlike you. As I said before, your kind of confidence in what you believe will mellow in time. Your false confidence in what you know reveals that you are uneducated. It reveals that you were indoctrinated, in my opinion. Brushing up against differing views will mellow you.

    I will respond to your posts, if and when I have the time. But don’t assume that because I haven’t that I won’t, and don’t assume that if I don’t I can’t, and don’t assume that if I can’t that you’re right. Okay? You know what happens when you assume, right? ;)

    I know I couldn’t debate with a scientific I.D. creationist right now. Is that okay that I don’t know everything? Do you? But I’ll tell you this. If I were to read up on the literature, I dare say my mind wouldn’t change. Isn’t that strange? And if you were deficient in an area and read up on it, your mind wouldn’t change either. Strange how the mind works, isn’t it?

    Do you deny that the word “evil” best describes your pre-Christian life, by your own standards? I thought that was your whole point, that you were an evil person, because it sure came across that way. But now you are saved and so much is different.

    As far as me picking an argument with you goes, I do think the link you provided is a good one. Yes, I was arguing against something you had proposed, but your response is demeaning to me. It’s your belittling attitude that causes fights, and you are still doing it, only it’s verbal now. Anyone who cannot see this is blind, especially you.

    You do realize, of course, that I think we have an extremely strong tendency to believe what we were taught first, depending on cultural factors, unless what we were taught first was rejected because of how the people behaved who first taught us, or unless we’re talking about something that can be verified. So, from my perspective, your psychological state of mind is important to look at when I'm assessing your claims and counter-claims.

    From my perspective this is also an argument against what you now believe. What I said was not personal. But you’re taking it that way, and in a way I understand this, from your perspective. But it’s not from mine. Just like those who have been molested usually become molesters, so also, those raised in an environment like yours with the hate you express will usually beat their wives. These are facts, based upon science and probability. And I’m merely stating these things, not to piss you off, although I can understand why you are, but to offer a psychological critique of you claimed Holy Spirit life changing experience in advance of you doing what I think you will probably do to your wife. And when you do, I hope you think of me, since I was the only one who told you the truth, although once again I hope you don’t.

    You also realize that I don't believe in a Holy Spirit Conversion. So, I am merely pointing out, from my perspective, that you really haven’t changed that much. I think this is fair game, when you propose to say you have changed because you’ve come to the objective truth. If you put out your story, like the Apostle Paul did, as an example of the truth of Christianity and how Christ changes lives, then why can’t I evaluate it without you charging I did it because I’m pissed off at you for beating my arguments to the ground. You did no such thing at all. And I didn’t do here what you claim I did. Nor did I demean you here in this response by belittling you.