Never used that phrase before, although I first heard it used at least forty years ago. I always felt it was just too strong, even though I’ve come across many for whom the moniker fit so well. I may never use it again (PA’s can be a litigious bunch). But something I read weeks ago has stayed with me, and in a moment of insomnia, I understood why, and who:
John Loftus is a Pompous Ass.
Why John Loftus? First, let me explain that I only mean one John Loftus, lest the names of other innocent Loftus-es be besmirched. The John Loftus to whom I refer is the author of The Christian Delusion, Why I Became an Atheist, The End of Christianity, and The Outsider Test for Faith. He runs a blog, Debunking Christianity. He is, allegedly, a Christian turned atheist. I doubt he ever was the former but the latter is fairly evident.
John earned the title, not for his arrogance as an atheist (which, lacking the existence of an “humble atheist,” arrogance and atheism seem to be pretty tight friends). No, not for mere arrogance, but for one, over-the-top spew of hubris in one little sentence, one brief comment. This comment, ironically, was regarding a man he allegedly admired, a Christian theologian and seminary professor who died in the Spring of 2014, James Strauss.
“Now he is gone, forever. He’ll never know his entire life was spent on a delusion, for in order to know this he would have to wake up from the dead for a moment.”
No matter what good will he intended for the late Dr Strauss, this one spot of conceit spoilt it all. For, according to the Loftus’ atheism, this is the end of all sentient life, including his own. In his smirking, self-assured overconfidence, he speaks as one who believes this same fate doesn’t await himself. It is as if Loftus’ overconfidence betrays a deep-seated assumption (perhaps a hope?) that for the intellectually elect there is an afterlife at the so-smart club, stocked well of fine brandy and cigars awaiting those who scoffed at deity while on earth, and who will enjoy an eternity of doing likewise over the graves of the poor sots who didn’t listen to them.
“He’ll never know . . .” Isn’t that the point of atheism? Without any scientific evidence (atheists, I’m told, fancy themselves scientific) for non-being after death, Loftus simply asserts non-existence.
“He’ll never know . . .” But the atheist must deny forever the possibility of true knowledge.
“He’ll never know . . .” So if Strauss had lived longer, perhaps listening to you, he’d wise up?
“He’ll never know . . .” But how do you know that, John?
This is the atheist’s unbearable arrogance, that he knows what no one else can know, unless atheism is the working assumption. But atheism can’t account for knowledge of anything, much less the universe. I would add that atheism is not, in any field of human science, philosophy, or ethics, a requisite for knowledge. Science has grown quite well apart from atheism, and will continue to do so. As a contributing factor to human advancement and achievement, it is theistic, not atheistic, assumptions that account for that advancement. Atheism is simply superfluous.
In atheism, knowledge is merely bald assertion, for this is the only argument atheism can muster. It takes a special kind of person to work up such chutzpah, such hubris.
So the Pompous Ass award must go to the one who asserts knowledge he does not have, nor can have. It must go to one who “knows” what others may or may not know. No atheist has knowledge that there is no God. He may hate God, be angry at God, feel that God is somehow unjust; but no one can know that there is no God.
Our (I was a student of Dr Strauss and a classmate of Loftus) dear “Doc” spent his life for Truth that is opaque to Mr. Loftus. At the risk of inviting more derision, I will close with the obvious: if Loftus is right, he’ll never know, and that means nothing changes. He doesn’t know now, and never will. If Strauss was right, Loftus will know forever in a most horrible manner.