Jeff Lowder has been criticizing Loftus on some of his arguments. Since both are atheists, John asks why Jeff is doing this:
This ends our exchange so far. I've written a lot about these subjects so consult them for more. What I want to know is why Lowder is playing the devil's advocate. He either thinks religion harms people or he doesn't. He either thinks faith based processes are unreliable or he doesn't. I can only suppose he doesn't think so, or at least, not to the degree I do.
So I respectfully challenge Lowder to tell us if he thinks religion harms people, and if so, how much he's alarmed by it. I also challenge Lowder to tell us whether faith based processes are unreliable, and if so, how unreliable they are.
The fact that John asks this question is telling. Does religion harm people? Does atheism harm people? I happen to think there are people alive today who would take their own lives forthwith if the could no longer believe in God. The idea that everyone would become a cheerful humanist if they were pried loose from their religious beliefs is, to my mind, a delusion. Now, if someone declares atheism to be true as the result of an honest and fair pursuit of the truth, then if someone takes their own life because of it, I can't fault them morally. If they commit suicide because of a successful propaganda campaign on behalf of atheism, not so much. Again, Loftus relies on catchphrases like "faith based processes," which are inherently ambiguous. Clarity is not one of his strong points. Even when we can win more converts by violating it (at least in the short run), maintaining the honesty of the process of thinking about religion is absolutely vital. It is called following the argument where it leads. Anscombe criticized Lewis's argument, Aquinas rejected Anselm's argument, and Plantinga criticizes various theistic arguments. When I read some atheists, I think "These people wouldn't recognize evidence for God if it bit them." I will never forget the time when Jeff first asked me to put the first argument from reason paper on the Secular Web, and also asked for my paper on miracles. Jeff has responded to John, here.