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February 16, 2009

So John Loftus and I Finally Did Talk on the Radio

My apologies for the lack of fresh content in the latter part of last week.  I was booked Wednesday through Friday, uninterrupted.  I can't imagine how anyone actually does pull off steady blogging as life goes on around them...

Also, several of you have awesomely sent me guest blogs.  And, everyone, please keep them coming!  I'm totally into them.  That said, to those of you who have sent them in, I'll look to get to them or get back to you.  I'm trying to maintain a flow of some indiscernible-to-the-naked-eye kind here, and I'm trying to figure out where everything fits in.

John Loftus Now to the topic of the day: As I mention in the headline, John Loftus, of debunkingchristianity and author of Why I Became an Atheist: A Former Preacher Rejects Christianity and I had our long-awaited radio interview last Thursday.  The hook was "atheist turned pastor talks with pastor turned atheist."  It comes out on March 1, so I'll do my best to keep you all posted about how you can hear it.

John rightly felt a little jumped on in the interview.  It's a Christian show and it was clear that I was on friendly turf and John less so. 

Why I Became and Athiest He emailed me afterward with some kind comments about his experience with me and a link to his critique of my book.  If only to close the loop even as we move onto whatever we're going to move onto this week, I'll pass on not only his link, but my response, below.  (Clearly you'll need to go to his link to have context for my response.)  Also in his article, he posts another link to an exchange he and I had on his blog about whether talking about spiritual experiences might ever have value. 

Here's my response (I had some pleasantries before and after):

And thanks for thinking through my presentation of Peck’s stage theory.  As has so often been true in our conversation, I continue to find myself modestly befuddled by your response, as I wasn’t thinking I was using it to make any truth claim at all, certainly not about Christianity.  It’s a developmental theory, not an epistemological one.  As with so many things, it strikes me as something people either find helpful on those terms, as many people I talk with do, or to find it to be largely uninteresting.  But you’re the first I’ve had push back that it’s inadequate as a vehicle to press theological truth claims.  I’d think that would be a given.

You seem annoyed that I placed atheist writers in Stage 3 at one point, and I’ll happily withdraw that as anything but a “perhaps.”  Clearly I don’t know anyone’s story even along Peck’s terms and you’re certainly right that any given person, spiritually-inclined or not, could on Peck’s terms be at a number of the stages.  Conservative religious people wouldn’t all be at Stage 2 and vocal atheists wouldn’t all be at Stage 3.  Granted, those would be the stereotypes, and that may not be for no cause.  But clearly it’s an oversimplification, so point well taken on those terms.


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