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Christianity in the Light of Science: Critically Examining the World’s Largest Religion by John Loftus“Christianity in the Light of Science is a solid anthology of critical essays that examines the scientific evidence that have convinced most atheists to walk away from Christianity. Accomplished author and former preacher John W. Loftus, assemble a group of scholars who focus on the scientific evidence lacking in Christianity. This persuasive 380-page book includes fifteen essays broken out by the following five parts: 1. Science and Religion, 2. Science and Creationism, 3. Science and Salvation, 4. Science and the Bible, and 5. Science and the Christ. Positives:1. A professionally written and edited book. Loftus has an excellent track record of quality work.2. Fifteen solid essays from scholars of various backgrounds covering a wide-range of topics with a focus on examining Christianity through scientific evidence. 3. An excellent list of contributors including prominent women. 4. Easy to follow format that allows readers to jump to topics of interest.5. Always provocative. These anthologies are intended to provoke critical thought and examine the evidence for what it is. “The reason believers are not open-minded to science, in those areas where science conflicts with their faith, is because of confirmation bias.”6. Many great quotes immersed throughout anthology. “A man who prays is one who thinks God has arranged matters all wrong but who also thinks he can instruct God on how to put them right.” —Christopher Hitchens7. Harrison kicks it off with an excellent essay on thinking critically. “Christianitys overarching opposition to Good Thinking is the crucial challenge, and there is only so much time in a day. This is where the most damage is done, and it should be the focus.”8. Eller’s essay focuses on the cognitive science of religion. “The first thing to note about neurological and cognitive evolution (and this point will figure prominently below) is that the human brain developed from pre-human brains and retained many of the components and functions of those reptilian and mammalian brains.”9. So what accounts for the deep entrenchment of religion as a human universal? Nichols sheds light. “There are three trends playing out on the world stage today: anti-intellectualism, anti-science, and anti-modernity.”10. The late great Victor Stenger leaves us with his final essay on cosmology. “Copernicuss supporters had a hard time reconciling the Copernican model with the Bible, particularly the Joshua story (Joshua 10:12–13), as well as Psalms 93:1, 96:10, 104:5, and 1 Chronicles 16:30, which declare that the foundation of Earth remain forever unmoved.”11. Hafer destroys “Intelligent Design” with her cogent essay that cleverly showcases the scientific approach. “The results presented here are strong evidence that ID cannot be considered a scientific discipline because it does not follow the basic requirements for scientific research.”12. A look at the failure of original sin. 13. One of my favorite essays debunks the soul. “In spite of well-publicized claims to the contrary, there is in fact no credible evidence for the existence of the soul.”14. Pearce tackles the illusion of free will. “We are left with a concept of free will, this contra-causal, libertarian notion, which makes no sense in philosophical and theological context, and which is not supported by any evidence.”15. A look at the historic/scientific claims of the Bible. “Outside of a small circle of believers, there existed no actual proof of the man, Jesus, whom early Christians claimed changed history.” “The awkward fact is there is a mismatch between the Exodus narrative in the Bible and associated sources and the narrative based on the archeological record.” 16. Was there a Nazareth Village Farm (VFM)? Find out.17. Adair takes a comprehensive look at the Star of Bethlehem. “Putting this all together, the weight of the evidence strongly favors the idea that the tale of the Star of Bethlehem was deliberate theological fiction.”18. Tarico goes over the research on the power of petitionary prayer and why it’s far from harmless. “Petitionary prayer suppresses critical thought.”19. Nickell dissects the Turin Shroud. 20. Provides a brief biography of each contributor. Negatives:1. This anthology does not stack up to Loftus’s “Christianity is not Great: How Faith Fails”. Mr. Loftus has set the bar very high so it’s hard to live up to such expectations. That stated, don’t misconstrue such a statement as suggesting this book is not worth reading. I’m a big fan of all Loftus’ work, this book included. 2. I can’t quite put my fingers on it but there is something missing in this anthology. A big scientific “revelation” or something headline worthy.3. Some essays are easier to follow than others. As an example, though quite simplified the essay on Before the Big Bang will still go over the heads of laypersons.4. Requires an investment of your time.5. No formal bibliography.In summary, this is a solid anthology with excellent contributions. It’s not the groundbreaking book as previous works but it’s another solid contribution to a movement that focuses on critical thinking and progress. A solid anthology, I recommend it!Further suggestions: “How to Defend the Christian Faith” and “The Christian Delusion” by John Loftus, “God: The Failed Hypothesis” by Victor Stenger, “Natural Atheism” and “Atheism Advanced” by David Eller, “Soul Fallacy” by Julien Musolino, “Free Will? By Jonathan M.S. Pearce, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” by Peter Boghosian, “God Is Not Great” by Christopher Hitchens, “The Not-So-Intelligent Designer” by Abby Hafer, “NazarethGate” by Rene Salm, “The Star of Bethlehem: A Skeptical View” by Aaron Adair, “Infidel” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, “The Believing Brain” by Michael Shermer, “Faith vs. Fact” and “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry A. Coyne, “Nonbeliever Nation” by David Niose, “Trusting Doubt” by Valerie Tarico, “Freethinkers” by Susan Jacoby, “Nailed” by David Fitzgerald, “Think” by Guy P. Harrison, and “The Science of Miracles” by Joe Nickell.

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