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Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in Uncategorized Posts | 18 comments

My Letter to the Editor In the Free Inquiry Magazine on Greta Christina’s Op-Ed

The following letter appeared in the Dec/Jan issue I received yesterday:

Greta Christina’s Op-Ed (“Infighting or Healthy Debate?”) made some good solid points. What I strongly object to is a type of McCarthyism based on specific ethical, economical, or political issues, when the real enemy is religion. Until we are a majority in the world we need the efforts of every non-believing voice. Otherwise, a minority such as ours will become even less effective in the world.

As someone who was falsely accused of rape I can testify that it is not always reasonable to accept what an accuser says without some evidence, and I don’t see any evidence that a leading atheist, author, or blogger is sexist or misogynistic. If there is such an atheist then produce the evidence. Sure, there seems to be evidence of this among the rank and file and it should definitely be addressed. Sometimes all that’s need is to point it out and show why it is wrong. But this obnoxious behavior mostly comes from anonymous online trolls. How seriously should we take them? How old are they? Why are they lashing out? Is it because they hate all women or because they hate those women who accuse them of hating all women? Of course this is still despicable, but it is a difference. Do they actually attend atheist conventions? Do we know they’re all atheists? I have Christian trolls following my online footsteps posing as atheists who falsely characterize me as a liar. So I have reason to think at least a few Christians are involved, stirring up the pot here as well. Divide and conquer, you know.

In any case, let’s not become like a church that divides over power, greed, influence and personality under the guise of important “principles” without a reasonable debate based on solid relevant evidence. Atheists should unite together against a common enemy, the religious faith embraced by an overwhelming majority of outspoken people who are causing the world harm. That recognition alone should be good enough for us to do whatever we can to keep our debates healthy.

John W. Loftus
Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/ John W. Loftus

    Oh, and I have an article in this same issue titled, “How Christians Can Test Their Own Prayers Objectively” (pp. 57-59).

  • SmilodonsRetreat

    Excellent.  Thank you for a reasonable voice.

  • BethAnnErickson

    Very good, reasonable response. Thanks for posting.

  • http://de-avanzada.blogspot.com/ Daosorios

    Nice one, John!

  • ZedZero

    You make good points but, rather obvious points which illustrate the problem. I am a subscriber so I think I’ll write a full response to the mag but quickly, I found this bit of obtuseness to be funny in its self-serving blindness, ”I have found that it’s just about impossible to even say the name “Rebecca Watson” without someone bringing up elevatorgate.” Bwhahaha, really and this our fault how? Keep mining trolls for fun and profit baby, it’s what y’all are good at.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NZMJ7JRYKH7WR6YTXJGG3PU65E John Grove

    Thank you John for being the voice of reason.

  • An Ardent Skeptic

    Excellent!  I’ve grown tired of all the infighting, our inability to engage in rational debate, and a seeming lack of desire to resolve issues the way skeptics should through reason based on evidence.  We must look like A+ hypocrites to the outside world – Rationalists who can’t behave rationally.  It’s embarrassing!

  • Copyleft

    I suggest that all skeptic conferences add a new T-shirt to their inventories, saying in large red letters “PROVE IT.” It applies to ALL claims, of all types, on all topics, everywhere. Surely no skeptic would disagree with this simple principle, yes?

  • http://twitter.com/iamcuriousblue iamcuriousblue

    This part of her editorial really gets me:

    “Are the participants in the debate willing to disagree with people they’re usually allied with”

    I used to be a huge fan of Greta Christina, both her sex positive and atheist writing. But one small disagreement over some parts of a sexual harassment policy she favored, and I was a “troll” and an enemy.

    More generally, I saw little evidence of her high-minded words in the CSH op-ed in her moderation style.

  • Ronlawhouston

    First of all, bravo.  The rally cry of those skeptical of the claims of people should be “where’s the evidence?”  (Maybe we need a Wendy-esque video with a crotchety old lady demanding “where’s the evidence!”)

    If I could ask a personal question, how far did the case proceed concerning this false allegation before you were vindicated?

  • http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/ John W. Loftus

    The prosecutor was presented solid evidence before deciding whether to prosecute or not. Based on the evidence of who she was he decided not to prosecute. The evidence from seven former husbands all saying she was a liar was enough.

  • Ronlawhouston

     Good for you.  I do have a theory on this.  My theory is that crazy men usually end up in jail.  Crazy women (being generally less violent) are still out on the street.

    The sad part is that there is often no way to stop this.  You can’t charge the woman with filing a false report since it is a “he said, she said” situation.

    Anyway, I’m sure that was a perspective altering experience.

  • ThePrussian

    Good letter.  Well done. Christina’s a bloody fool.  

  • zenspace

    Good letter, direct and to the point.

  • zenspace

    !!!!!

    Seven former husbands!?!?! That simple fact probably vindicated you right there. Must have been mightily traumatic just the same. Glad you came out of it OK.

    BTW – it was pointing out this disparity before the law that brought the wrath of the A+ sorts on me. They find that quite acceptable, even proper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rocky-Morrison/100001552602936 Rocky Morrison

    But John, you did have sex with the woman didn’t you? And you were married, right?

    Moreover, she was an employee.  You could have been sued big time.

    And you have continued to smear your ex wife by saying stuff like her “lacking passion” etc.  Your kids must be proud of you trashing mom in your books.

    Yeah, you sound like you have little respect for women.

  • http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/ John W. Loftus

    Rocky, she was not an employee of mine. If I wanted to I could trash my ex-wife since there is a great deal more to say about her that no one knows.

    Your comment is shameless, something that is just as reprehensible as what William Lane Craig says:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2012/11/william-lane-craig-is-shamelessly.html

    YOU are one of the liars for Jesus I mentioned in my letter.

  • Chill Chick

    It’s not really about “infighting” so much as a faction within atheism/skepticism throwing their skepticism and critical thinking out the window when their hot button issue, feminism, is touched upon. It’s hard to have a worthwhile debate with someone who shouts “misogyny” as the answer to every question. They are as closed minded as any fundamentalist.