Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Comments are Banned by an Atheist

It appears that I have been banned from posting comments by John Loftus at Debunking Christianity.  The comments that got me banned concerned John's claim that the quality of any academic program in Christian apologetics could be judged by whether or not it dealt specifically with the books he has written on counter-apologetics.  I suggested "that criticizing apologists for not specifically addressing your arguments is the exact same tactic that apologists use to dismiss scholars they don't like."

Apparently, however, it is my agnosticism about the historical Jesus that really ticked John off:  "Vinny you are like every other atheist I have met who does not think Jesus existed. You have cookie cutter mentality. If I do not fit the mold you will find something to criticize me for if you can."

My response to that comment was evidently the straw that broke the camel's back:

I do not in fact believe that Jesus did not exist. I am agnostic about the historical Jesus. I don't think it really matters whether the historical Jesus existed or not because I think he has been too thoroughly mythologized to be recovered either way. I think that historicists overestimate the strength of their case and underestimate its vulnerability. However, I think that mythicists generally do the same thing.

I do find the discussions of mythicism interesting and I enjoy participating in them to test my own thinking and understanding. I have generally tried to be polite although I realize I can be a smart ass sometimes.

I think you are completely overreacting to my comment. If it's not too late to vote on whether you should take some time off from counter-apologetics, I think I might vote yes.
The next time I returned to John's blog, I found that I would not be allowed to post any more comments.  I have been banned from the blogs of some conservative Christians, however, this is the first time that I have been banned by an atheist.

I regret this because Debunking Christianity has always been one of my favorite blogs, and as far as I can tell, I have not violated any part of John's Comment Policy.  However, I guess it is just as well that there is one less internet site that I will have reason to waste time on. 

I was gratified to see that John has decided to take some time off from blogging.  I don't know whether it had anything to do with my suggestion.


  1. How can anybody ban somebody like you? It makes no sense.

  2. Vinny, I think you're much more capable of commenting without involving your ego than is John. It's too bad for his site that his ego won't allow you to contribute anymore. I think he wanted validation far more than a reasoned analysis of the situation.

  3. DoOrDoNot,

    Everybody needs validation. Blogging doesn't seem like a very reliable way to get it.

  4. Well, you're welcome to comment on my blog, if that's any consolation.

    Then again, it's probably more like a punishment. Sorry about that.

  5. Paul,

    Thanks for the invite. I will be sure to stop by.

  6. Vinny,

    I'm sorry to hear that you were banned over something so minor. It sounds like John overreacted and demonstrated that he really does need a break.

  7. Loftus is pretty egotistical. He doesn't like it when people disagree with him. I stopped visiting DC a long time ago on account of his "my way or the highway" attitude.

  8. Hey Vinny,

    Regarding you recent comment on Tom Verenna's blog that god might have explanatory power as to why there is "order and not chaos".

    Wouldn't you consider hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, volcanic eruptions, meteors striking the earth, cancer, AIDS, Smallpox, the Black Plague etc. as examples of chaos?

    Wouldn't god have to be an explanation for the "chaos" in this world as well as for the apparent order?

  9. kilo papa,

    I'm not sure. By order, I was thinking at a more macro level of why there are comprehensible natural laws governing the universe. I don't know that the randomness of natural events is inconsistent with that kind of order.

    Before I chose to label myself an atheist rather than an agnostic, I would want to devote a lot more time to looking at those kinds of questions. However, my time is not unlimited and I would rather spend it studying other topics.

  10. I see your point.

    Thanks for the response.

  11. Variation on the discussion:

    Vinny, I'm guessing that you have observed that religions, etc. are very much the same. That is, the core values held by Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Judaism, Islam, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoist and Animist are virtually identical .....their differences being cultural and understandings of Allah's presence in our lives and how He has made His word known to us.

    Do these similarities suggest to you that there is a fundamental absolute? One that surpasses psychological explanations that relegates God to a totem to satisfy our need to understand?

    I believe that these universal values are empirical evidence for a consciousness that arises from a fundamental absolute and we are better off spending our time accepting one another rather than debating concepts that are based in individual or collective faith.

    I leave you with a quote from the Holy Quran:
    "O mankind! We created you from a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know and honor each other (not that you should despise one another). Indeed the most honorable of you in the sight of God is the most righteous." Chapter 49, Verse 13

    Ma'assalam and Fii AmanilLah