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Interview with John Loftus, Author of "God and Horrendous Suffering"

"The most pressing challenge to belief in God today is undoubtedly the problem of pain. One only needs to read the provocative array of essays in this volume of leading atheists and other non-theists to see why this is such an ongoing problem for those of us who believe that God is real. Whatever one’s beliefs or worldview, and whether one agrees or disagrees, I commend all seekers of truth to read and reflect on this significant work that John Loftus has so skillfully edited.."

Dr. Chad Meister.

Professor of Philosophy at Bethel University,

Co-Editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Problem of Evil

"I’m not sure there is anyone out there right now who articulates atheistic augments as well as John Loftus does, and this book on horrendous suffering is no exception. In it Loftus has done a great job in marshaling a stellar group of scholars in offering one of the best attempts at criticizing the Christian faith in a more comprehensive way with regard to the problem of evil. Believers who hold to a theistic perspective should seriously—and more deeply—study the alternative perspectives and questions that this anthology poses for theism. They should especially be more mindful of these kinds of criticisms when speaking with people who do not believe like we do that the Christian God is so good."

‒Dr. David Geisler,

President of Norm Geisler International Ministries

Co-Author of Conversational Evangelism


The chapters in this book combine to show that it is exceedingly improbable to the point of refutation for the god of Orthodox Theism to exist. The main problem is an evidential one regarding horrendous suffering. A perfectly good god would be opposed to it, an all-powerful god would be capable of eliminating it, and an all-knowing god would know what to do about it. The existence of horrendous suffering in the world leads us to think that god is either not powerful enough to eliminate it, or does not care enough to eliminate it, or is just not smart enough to know what to do about it.

The book also addresses issues relating to the lack of objective evidence for miracles, the absurdity of theistic myths, the relationship of horrendous suffering to differing theologies and religious faiths, the horrendous nature of the biblical god, the horrendous actions done because of religious faith, and how these considerations can lead reasonable people away from religion.

The authors discuss these issues philosophically, theologically, apologetically, biblically, religiously, historically, and personally. It’s an excellent model for how philosophers, apologists, and theologians should’ve been discussing this problem decades ago.


Tell your readers a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I went to several colleges, had several ministries, taught at several Christian and secular colleges and currently live there. I graduated from Great Lakes Christian College with a B.R.E in 1977. Major: New Testament. Minor: Christian Ministries.

I graduated from Lincoln Christian University in 1982 with an M.A. and MDiv. Major: Theology/Philosophy. Half of my hours were taken under James D. Strauss. I then graduated from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1985 with a ThM. Major: Philosophy of Religion. Half of my hours were taken under William Lane Craig. I also studied under Kenneth Kantzer, and Christian apologists Stuart Hackett, and Paul Feinberg.

Finally, I attended a Ph.D program at Marquette University. Double Major: Theology & Ethics. 1986-1988. No degree. I studied under Ronald Feenstra, Daniel MaGuire and Marc Griesbach.

What inspired you to author your book?

The need for a unique book on suffering that hadn’t been done quite like this before.

Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?

It has changed over the last decade, from Richard Carrier, to Hector Avalos, to David Eller to Peter Boghossian. All of them contributed to my current atheistic views as I was learning and writing.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

I actually wrote about them here.

Tell your readers about your experience writing the book.

God and Horrendous Suffering is my last book. It was the last one I procured a contract for, the last one I submitted chapters for, and the last one being shipped to buyers. It's published by the prestigious Global Center for Religious Research, whose President is Dr. Darren Slade. Dr. Slade is my friend and publisher. He was an absolute joy to work with and an expert at what he does. But I just could not convince him to reduce the words in his chapter, and I suggested ways he could do so without a loss in his over-all case. As it stands his chapter is the longest one in the book at about 16k words, or two chapters worth!

I am extremely happy with the authors of this anthology and their chapters, as I am with all of the previous ones! Together we've made a difference. I could not have done this without them! I am deeply in their debt!

Who is your target audience, and why?

College students and educated people in the pews. My goal is to change minds. Writing on the college level reaches more people. University and college professors are not likely to change their minds.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

It offers a uniquely powerful global perspective on the problem of god and horrendous suffering nowhere else to be found. Even many of the most educated readers will learn a great deal from it by seeing a perspective they hadn’t yet considered before.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My twelve books.

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

I’m uniquely equipped to understand the arguments that I’m arguing against, from both my educational pedigree and being a former believer, former minister and former apologist.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

If you want to know the truth about religion, then what do you have to lose? Read this book. You’ll learn from it. You’ll be challenged by it. If your faith survives, then we’ve helped you in a backhanded kind of way. If your faith doesn’t survive, then wouldn’t you honestly want to know? If you’re an apologist, wouldn’t you want to deal with the best arguments that the topic of suffering and evil forces upon you, rather than misrepresenting and strawmanning them? Check out this book! You won't regret it.


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