Monday, January 15, 2007

John Loftus: Grand Wizard of Infidelity

"God could’ve created all human beings with one color of skin. There has been too much killing, slavery, and wars because we are not one race with one language."

If Loftus were God, he'd be the Imperial Wizard of the Universe.

No more Jews. Or Latinos.

No more Blacks. Or Chinamen.

Or Arabs. Or East Indians.

Or Polynesians.

No miscegenation.

Everyone would be a pure-bred Icelander.


  1. Let's be fair now. I agree that John's demand for a single race comes off a bit harsh, but I don't think there's anything racist in his idea.

    The real problem with John's claim is that (as is usually the case when atheists suggest changes in God's plan) it results in a world that is worse than our own. John is saying that God should prevent racial differences so that we won't be able to discriminate based on race. But we also discriminate based on sex, so God would have to eliminate one of the sexes. But we can also discriminate based on tons of other factors, and if we follow John's reasoning through to its logical conclusion, we find that God should have created us all exactly the same. Is this better than a world with diversity? I don't think so.

    Like many of John's criticisms, we find that if we do something (such as discriminate against one another), then it must be God's fault (not really our own). I think this is actually John's justification of his rebellion against God. "If I rebel against God, then it's his fault for giving me the ability to rebel."

  2. My second debate with John can be downloaded here:

    Loftus-Wood II

    The debate went for nearly two hours, but only the first half aired on Friday. I didn't feel very good about the first half, but I liked the second half quite a bit. Someone told me that they thought the first half went very well, however. I'd be interested in hearing what others think.

  3. I agree with the Shogun. However, isn't it also a big atheist criticism of Christianity, or religion in general, that it's religion that divides people? So in Northern Ireland you have one set of English-speaking Celts ready to kill off members of another set of English-speaking Celts, because they differ over transubstantation. In the Balkans, one faction of Slavs glue pictures of the Virgin Mary to their rifles before going off to kill other slavs who also have pictures of the Virgin Mary glued to their rifles.

    But isn't this off-key with the usual atheist hymnbook? (so to speak). If humans can (and I agree with this) find ever-finer points to fight over - "the narcissism of minor differences", as Michael Ignatieff dubbed it - why blame God for giving people different amounts of melanin when even a populace of milk-white Icelanders could fight a civil war over Shi'ite vs Sunni? (or over Ayn Rand's version of atheism versus Karl Marx's, for that matter?)

  4. John argues for this as well. He says religious wars are due to God's not giving us proof of any one position.

    My criticism of this is that we don't kill one another because God hasn't given us enough information. We kill one another because we don't mind killing one another, and that's our fault, not God's.

  5. Of course, if there was just one race and one skin color, etc., then wouldn't Loftus complain about the lack of diversity?

    These sorts of childish statements on his part demonstrate more about him than any problem with theism or Christianity.

  6. If it weren't racism, it'd be something else. Perhaps it'd be whether or not we had straight hair or curly hair. Or if we could roll our tongues or not. Or perhaps it'd be whether we could pronounce shibboleth "correctly." Or whether we were right handed or left handed. Humans will always find something by which to discriminate others with. It's not racism that's the main issue. It's our sinful hearts.

  7. Oops, sorry Shogun. Oddly enough, I was reading this in reverse. So I read your comment your first comment last. And noticed you've already said what I just said, and much better, too! Anyway, sorry for stealing your thunder.

  8. To clarify, religion isn't the only micro-difference that can cause violence or tension. European kings fought plenty of bloody wars at a time when they were all (nominally) Catholic. Black Americans were (until the 1960s, when Islam started to take hold) almost all the same Protestant religion as white Americans; ditto South Africa. Czechs and Slovaks are both predominantly Catholic. So even when the "two tribes" are the same religion (not just generally, but same denomination), they can find things to fight about. "I want a second bite of the cherry before you've even had your first" will always do (sorry to channel Marx there, but).

  9. Gene,

    You're correct. As is often the case, we find that no matter what God does, it's wrong. If he does X, we will complain. If he doesn't do X, we will complain.

  10. John W. Loftus seems to forget that all humans do have one color of skin. Technically, we're all brown. We're either a lighter shade of brown or darker.

  11. The Shogun said:
    "Let's be fair now. I agree that John's demand for a single race comes off a bit harsh, but I don't think there's anything racist in his idea."

    To say, as Loftus does, that the world would be a better place without all these races, that we'd be better off if we only had one race, is definitive racism. You can't get any more racist than that.

    So which races does he think God, if he were God, should eliminate? Which races don't make the cut in Loftus' vision of the best possible world?

  12. Steve, C'mon now, you know John's smarter than that.

    John would create, if he were God, the best possible race.

    He'd make a race that had Jewish legs, Arminian arms, Italian eyes, African ears, Chinese hands and feet, etc.

    The Eclectites

  13. John is focused on suffering. He's trying to think of what God could have done that would eliminate certain kinds of suffering. So he sees racial discrimination and wonders what God could have done to eliminate it. He decides that if God had created only one race, there wouldn't be racial discrimination.

    Keep in mind, an atheist who loves all races equally could make this argument. I don't think it's a good argument, but I don't see any racism here either.

  14. Thanks David for being fair with me. Fairness is not a hallmark here at Triablogue. They do not think I deserve fairness because I disagree with them, and they are doing just what Jesus did. Funny. They aren't Jesus, now are they?

    But the racist charge is absolutely ridiculous. For that charge to stick I would have had to argue that God should've created one particular race, and specified that one race. In fact, I don't care which race he would've created at all, for it wouldn't matter. Furthermore, none of us would've known that there was such a possibility as different races of people if God had done so.

  15. John Loftus wrote:
    Furthermore, none of us would've known that there was such a possibility as different races of people if God had done so.

    Yet, your own arguments depend on humans being able to imagine possibilities different from the current state of the universe. Thus, you presumably "know" that the world would better if it was different in X manner.

    But I agree with the above paragraph; we don't know that. We don't know that any of your suggestions would actually make the world better than it is.

    You can't have it both ways.

  16. Look, all in all there is only one race. There is no such thing as a "race" of different people (but we use that term as a cultural phenomenon). That concept became more popular at the advent of evolution. As Stephen Jay Gould said, "Biological arguments for racism may have been common before 1850, but they increased by orders of magnitude following the acceptance of evolutionary theory." Anyway, it's not like Loftus has any real good arguments to combat racism.