The John W. Loftus Moral-free Mentality

 

 

The following statements come from John W. Loftus, pool-player from Angola, Indiana, who posted his remarks at TheologyWeb.com.  This is his belief system, which he believes is superior to Christianity.  A Christian’s response is provided in Appendix One.

 

The Scriptures listed in Appendix Two demonstrate the Christian doctrines regarding sin, guilt and forgiveness.  Loftus claims to be a former Christian and a former minister.  This raises the question, if Loftus was a Christian and minister, why is he so ignorant of Christian doctrine?

 

 

May 30th 2007

http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2007/05/i-did-itit-was-me.html

"I Did It -- It Was Me!"

As far as my being dishonest goes, technically I was not dishonest, even if I was deceptive. I am not ethically obligated to tell everything that I know. No one is. Christians like St. Augustine claimed one could deceive others by having a hidden “mental reservation” in the mind. Even if I was dishonest I do not believe I did anything wrong because I hold to a consequentialist ethic. Even if I was dishonest it says nothing about my arguments. Even if I was dishonest it is such a small thing that I would be happy, very happy if that’s all I’ve ever done wrong. Even if I was dishonest it must be compared to JP Holding’s overwhelmingly dishonesty, and what I did pales by comparison. He is a scum bag.

 

July 7th 2005, 02:31 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1102892&postcount=5

Ex-Christian Testimonies

I frequent the bars a lot, because I play a lot of pool and drink. I divorced, remarried, and no longer even go to church, whereas before I was at most of the community church functions, as well as my own.

 

June 26th 2005, 11:55 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1088871&postcount=44

Where is God in Infinite SPACE?

Accuse away. I no longer am a sinner, because sin is a theological concept that depends on the existence of the Christian God. I do have a conscience, and sometimes I have a guilty conscience, but that conscience of mine does not consider any of my thoughts as sins, and I no longer feel guilty by not going to church or not forgiving someone, or not evangelizing enough...etc. I am pretty much guilt free, regardless of the biblical idea of a seared conscience, or that no one can claim they do not do sin. You have much more guilt than I do, I know, because when I was a Christian I felt it, and it was overwhelming to me precisely because I'm a very passionate man.

 

July 7th 2005, 08:48 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1103693&postcount=98

Submit Your Candidates for July Screwballs of the Month

By the way, I cannot be a hypocrite, because I do not have the same Christian standards that Christians do. I live my life according to my ethical principles almost 100% of the time. My ethical demands are reasonable to live by, whereas the ethical demands of Christians are higher than anyone could ever do--and don't mention Jesus here to me, either, because that is your faith statment about something I do not believe.

 

July 9th 2005, 02:57 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1106074&postcount=56

Former evangelical minister, now atheist

My former wife and I divorced, not so much because I became an agnostic, so long as I was willing to attend church with her, but because along with my changing views, my lifestyle changed with it.

Some have said that my ethics dictated my theological views, but chronological historical truth is the reverse, and she will testify to that.

My ethics are squarely in the happiness tradition of Aristotle and Hobbes, not in the duty tradition of divine command ethics and Kantianism.

Then I married an atheist, and I have never been happier--never. My wife has the character that most Christians don't have, and she's so witty.

My life is pretty much guilt free, because I now have an ethic I can live by. You ought to consider it.

 

July 21st 2005, 03:27 AM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1123323&postcount=1

Do Christians Feel A Lot Of Guilt?

When I was a Christian I felt guilty almost all of the time. I knew that it was by grace I was saved through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. I knew I could never earn salvation by my works too. Only by faith could I be completely forgiven in God's eyes.

And yet, I was reminded every time I read the Bible, prayed or attended church what I must do as a Christian in response to God's love. If I was grateful for God's free gift of grace, then I should respond and behave like I was grateful. And I did try.

But I never felt like I was praying or reading the Bible enough, even though at an early stage in my Christian life I prayed 1 hour a day, and read the Bible 1 hour a day. I never felt like I was donating enough money, or evangelizing enough, either. Then there were temptations of greed, lust, laziness, and worldliness which always plagued me. I even had some people on my hate list, whom I just couldn't stand, and I just couldn't forgive.

I tried. I tried to give myself over to the power of the Spirit to take control of my life. I prayed for the power to live a spirit-fulled life of righteousness, knowing full well even as a Christian I could never be perfect--that was something to await in heaven.

But I always felt guilty, at least nearly 4 or 5 times a day. I prayed for forgiveness and felt clean again, of course. But then I started to feel guilty that I didn't spend that much time in prayer praying for the real needs of the world.

Now I am pretty much guilt free, and I'm lovin' it--freedom!

But what about you? How do you reconcile the grace-guilt-grace trip as a Christian?

 

July 21st 2005, 12:58 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1123586&postcount=8

Do Christians Feel A Lot Of Guilt?

And I'm finding that I still am as good to people as I ever was as a Christian too, but without the specific kinds of Christian guilt. And I no longer feel guilty for my thoughts either, just my actions.

 

July 23rd 2005, 03:34 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1126377&postcount=25

Do Christians Feel A Lot Of Guilt?

Perhaps so. It's just that I no longer think it's wrong to hate or lust, I suppose. Those things are fantasy, and I can discipline myself enough to keep such fantasies in my head. They can lead to wrong actions, I know, so I still have to guard against them, and I do. But I just don't have any fantasies that I think will bust out into wrong actions.

 

 

Appendix One: A Christian’s Response

 

 

July 31st 2005 , 07:55 PM

http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showpost.php?p=1134436&postcount=29

Do Christians Feel A Lot Of Guilt?

Response posted by “Nyaminche”:

 

Excellent thread, DJ.
While being raised a Christian for my entire life, I've been struggling with issues of guilt for a long, long time. As a Christian, yes, I've felt guilty. Yes, I've been so captivated by my guilt at times that I felt utterly helpless, and that I just did nothing at all, and got a whole lot worse. It's a guilt trap that has led me to more angst than I care to describe. But this trap has nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the devil's lies and my own weakness.

The one verse that I never understood was Rom 8:1 - Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (NIV). On the one hand, it obviously was not carte blanche to do whatever I wanted, without guilt. On the other hand, if no one could accuse or condemn me of anything, didn't that mean that everything was fair game? Neither of those stacked up. Telling myself “don't feel guilty” didn't work either.

It's taken me an embarrasingly [sic] long time to realize what chickonfire so excellently expressed. I'd never really had a true understanding of who a Christian really was, and how they stood with respect to God and men. The words were there in the Bible and I knew them through and through, but I'd never grasped what they were saying.

What you do does not determine who you are - who you are determines what you do.

I'd always seen myself as “just a sinner saved by grace”. I treated myself like one. Lots of guilt, lots of prostration, lots of begging for forgiveness, feeling unworthy and unchristian and fake. Not all the time perhaps, but often. Living like this, I've never felt in the least victorious or free from guilt.

But when I finally understood what I was reading, that Christians are not sinners, but saints who sometimes sin, things changed for me. Understanding that I am a holy saint in the eyes of God means that I can finally act like one. Before I was always waiting (in guilt) for the grace of God to suddenly overwhelm me and cause me, a sinner, to no longer sin. Now I understand that as a saint, I'm free from condemnation from God. I don't have to wait to be transformed from a sinner into a marvellous Christian. I'm already a marvellous Christian, I just have to understand that, and believe that, and live like who I am (still not easy ).

As chickonfire [Now “Moon Woman”]  says, there's absolutely nothing that I can do (short of absolute, concious, and total rejection of God (but I'm not intending to discuss that argument here)) to change who I am in Christ.

What replaces guilt in a Christian is conviction. While sin is still sin for the Christian and non-Christian alike, Christians are not condemned for their sin (happy are those whose sins the Lord does not hold against them!). But we are still convicted of it, we still realize what we have done is sin, and we are still called to confess it, renounce it, and repent from it. We still have to ask forgiveness from God and others. If we don't, it will usurp God's control of our lives, introduce feelings of guilt, disrupt our communion with God, and cause us misery. We give the devil a foothold in our lives and start to live like people who we are not.

But there's no basis for feeling bad, or worthless, or unsaved, or unloved. While the devil cannot undo our holy standing with God, if he can convince us that we are any of these things, he can cripple us in our daily lives, and keep us from acting like any kind of Christians at all.

 

 

 

Appendix Two: The Bible on Sin and Guilt

 

 

Matthew 11:28-30

    28Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

 

Romans 3:22-24

22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 

Romans 5:1-21

    1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3Not only so, but we[c] also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

    6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

    12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.

    15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.

    18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

    20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 8:1-17

    1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,[a] who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    9But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

    12Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

 

Romans 8:37-39

    37Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Hebrews 10:19-23

19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

 

1 John 1:9

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

 

1 John 3:16-24

    16This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

    21Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

 

1 John 4:4

    4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

 

Philippians 4:4-9

    4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.