[Note: John Loftus hosts the blog Debunking Christianity. He is author of the book Why I Became an Atheist. John was an evangelical Christian before becoming an atheist.]
I have decided to stop reading and commenting on your blog. The reason for this is the way you operate your blog. That is, you portray yourself as open-minded but your blog actually functions as an echo chamber for your beliefs, and works aggressively to quench and stigmatize any dissent from those who would comment on it.
I have observed and experienced first hand on multiple occasions the way your “regulars” swamp any comments favorable to Christ with multiple hostile refutations. Earlier this week, I commented on a post of yours and was met with numerous pointed challenges – including gratuitous insults and invectives – by your regulars. I did not complain about the venom but rather responded to each one with a calm focus on the points at issue. After a few days, this resulted in a total of some 250 comments (mine being a sizable fraction of the total, written with great care and respect for those who would read them). I was satisfied that I was at least able to convey my point of view. You found this intolerable, and you said you were going to delete all the comments and re-publish your post without them. And that you did. All the work I put into those comments offering reasoned explanations to your “debunkers” was washed away in an instant. I wrote those explanations for you and your debunkers but also for the Christians uncertain in their faith who visit your site. I wanted to give those unsettled believers another side to what they were hearing from you. If they decided to follow you then so be it, but at least they got to hear another side. You obviously don’t want them to hear that other side, because it threatens your goal of deconverting them from their faith in Christ.
You operate your blog like a church, and not a very open-minded church at that. You are the pastor and your regulars are the choir. You seek visitors because you want your church to grow. You seek to convert the visitors by bullying and applying enormous peer pressure on them. When you went from evangelical to atheist all you did was change uniforms – you’re still doing all the recruiting, enlisting, training, and battling that you did before. It’s still all about getting people to say, “Amen” to you and your worldview. It’s only your worldview that has changed. And your blog actually operates more like a gang than a church.
Jesus of Nazareth lived a life more moral than that of anyone else. He truly came from heaven to earth. And to heaven He has returned through His resurrection. It is bad enough that you have turned your back on Him. But that you have set up a website whose purpose is to persuade others to imitate your mistake is truly tragic and deeply saddening.
I had hoped we could have a mutually respectful dialogue on our points of disagreement. Your methods, however, will not allow that. You only want two or three comments from dissenters which will then be drowned out by your sycophantic followers in vituperative tones rather than rational discourse. While I occasionally sense some good will from them, their predominant tone was hostile and they liked “piling on.” You never jumped in to stop their overkill; only to stop the one commenting for Christ. Nevertheless, I bear no ill will toward you or them. The Lord is judge of us all.
I move on because I cannot in good conscience be a part of your trap for shaken believers. You are shrewd enough to keep just enough believers in Christ around to make the game seem unrigged. But it is rigged. I’m sure you would never sign up for a debate in which you were allowed up to three presentations and your opponent was allowed unlimited rebuttals. And yet that is the basis on which you “invite” dissenting Christians to debate on your site. I’m not the only person I’ve seen you threaten to bar for commenting too much – even though all we did was respond to the comments made to us. A newbie comes by and reads a post from you that is followed by a mountain of comments that disdain the few that might dare to disagree with you, and figures, “Wow, this atheist argument is really powerful!” I can’t let my words and my time be invested in such a scam.
I hope you will come to your senses, John, and return to Jesus Christ. If you ever loved Him in the first place, you surely should love Him now. His forbearance towards us is amazing. And the magnanimity of His grace unprecedented. There is truly none like our Lord Jesus Christ.
We shall all bow the knee to Him one day. I bow mine now. I won’t be reading or commenting on your site again, so the next time you hear from me will be if and when you reach out to me. May God have mercy on us all.