You can dismiss the support request pop up for 4 weeks (28 days) if you want to be reminded again. Or you can dismiss until our next donations drive (typically at the beginning of October). Before you dismiss, please consider making a donation. Thanks!
One Time
$5/month (US)
$10/month (US)
Support II via AmazonSmile Internet Infidels Needs Your Support!
dismiss for   28 days   1 year   info
2017 Internet Infidels Fundraising Drive / $32,582.64 of $40,000.00
Support Us! By providing information which is nearly impossible to find elsewhere, the Secular Web has sought to level the playing field by offering arguments and evidence challenging supernatural beliefs. In an ocean of religious confusion, help us maintain a drop of sanity!
81.46%
 

Feedback on Jury

Several years ago, I idly picked up a copy of _Evidence that Demands a Verdict_. Even upon casual reading, I found McDowell's scholarship inane to the point of nausea. It seems obvious to me that Biblical Inerrancy is an obvious fraud, and those who attempt to demonstrate it are not attempting to convince rational people of its truth. This view is shared by seriously Christian members of my family.

Those who believe in Biblical Inerrancy do so not because it is objective truth, rather, they select the evidence to make it so to support their belief.

It seems a waste of time to debate the objective truth or falsity of the Bible. Those who believe in its inerrancy will never be swayed by evidence against their belief. Likewise, those who value true objective rationality (Christians and non-Christians alike) will never be swayed by the lame arguments and specious rationalizations supporting Biblical Inerrancy.

Larry Hamelin Denver, CO USA - Friday, March 12, 1999 at 09:38:39 (MST)


This feedback was in reply to: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap6.html

Concerning Robert Price's article entitled "Jesus - God's Son," I find it to be quite cumbersome to follow. It is extremely verbose while not saying much. What I mean is that there is a lot of bashing of the Christian faith and its specific tenents without any proof given as to why he feels the way he does. This is a typical response by people who cannot really beat the argument they are trying to defeat. It would be much better if he would state the problems he has with the Christian faith and then give specific supportable arguments against them. As it stands, he has not one time proven any of his points. But he probably feels much better after venting for 16 pages. Certainly his level of stress resulting from disagreeing with what he never disproved (because he really didn't know how to disprove it) by venting as he did is greatly reduced; and the only real benefit he will gain is that he may delay a stress-related heart attack.

The real issue though is this: He accuses Christians of holding to presuppositional truth or axioms which cannot ultimately be proven without believing in metaphysics. But the fact is, all beliefs held by anyone in any age are based on ultimately unprovable presuppositions. Mr. Price, if he were to acknowledge the absolute truth that his beliefs are built on unprovable axioms, would not have written his article the way he did. In other words, he covered up his unwillingness to admit to believing in unprovable axioms by bashing which is a foundational evidence that he really doesn't know how to disprove the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is:

1. Jesus claimed to be God, specifically Yahweh, by saying a number of times that He is the I Am.

2. That Robert Price and everyone else are depraved sinners deserving of everlasting punishment in hell.

3. That in opposition to his pride in himself, he can't be good enough to be accepted by the infinitely holy God.

4. That Jesus Christ, as a Substitute for sinners, lived the only perfect life that God will accept.

5. That Jesus Christ vicariously suffered the wrath of God in the place of sinners.

6. That Robert Price's and everyone else's only salvation is to except these above presuppositions for what they are--absolute Truth.

Yes, a Christian's faith is based on "unprovable" presuppositions, just like every other person's beliefs. The people I respect are those who are willing to admit it. Even though I whole-heartedly disagree with Mr. Price's beliefs, I will definitely respect him when, and only when, he stops bashing and starts making respectable points and arguments.

Mr. Price, try again. But be prepared to be surprised by the joy only the Lord Jesus Christ, the only God, can give. You won't be the first person to inspect the Bible to prove it wrong and be overwhelmed by the inerrancy of God's Word.

Chris Alsruhe Baltimore, MD USA - Friday, January 29, 1999 at 18:01:56 (MST)


This feedback was in reply to: /library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/feedback.html

Thank you one hundred times over for all of your fine work. A (hardcore) Christian friend told me to read ETDV. I knew what I was in for almost immediately. Bigoted, ignorant, and subtly antisemitic, as you so rightly point out, I felt absolutely depressed to be reading ETDV, to realize how many people subscribe to it, and to realize that it was the best my friend could come up with to help me "find faith." Your book is a balm to me after having to sit through McDowell's procession of bigoted, bible-thumping "scholars."

But I am brought back to my Christian friend, let's call her Hortense, who recommended this book to me in the first place. She is almost defenseless against the likes of McDowell. I believe that here is in McDowell a logic which appeals to a born again not unlike the way alcohol appeals to a drunk. So, I will try to read this "Response" with Hortense, but I am afraid for her. Some of the negative comments about Christianity may just set her over the edge.

I understand the urge to lob grenades at the other side. Certainly that blowdried fool McDowell and his ilk are annoying. Yet I can't help thinking that the ministries of Paula's church offer a counterargument to the one that Christianity is unparalleled in its history of violence. I know that there ARE people such as Hortense, single mothers who have done a good job raising their kids and who have persevered "through Christ" and survived hardships that might have broken those without faith. I'm not saying that her faith is proven, just that it is functional. It works. She also gets her house painted for free by members of her church because of her financial hardship, which puts the lie to some of my (previously held) stereotypes that all Christians are hypocritical and do not truly live in the spirit of Christ. Clearly, some of them do.

However, I don't want to gloss over the importance of the issue whether the bible should be treated as literal truth. Christian attitudes and morals are so influential on politics in our country that if only for the sake of my homosexual friends past and present I would fight the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

I am no friend of thought control, certainly not of persecution, so I can't be a friend of historical Christianity. I will fight any attempt to bring prayer back to the schools, school vouchers, etc. AS A JEW I think it would be ignorant for me to go blithely down that path with Hortense. What I would like to ask, maybe of the contributor who is working on "Beyond Born Again," is: what do I do as I try to wake my friend from the slumber of her narcotic born-again mentality?

My friend and the members of her church do many wonderful things for one another. They do take care of eachother. What is there that I can offer as an alternative to what she now has? I understand that my own brand of secular humanism is no substitute for the COMMUNITY she now enjoys. But there's more to our story. It's a little deeper than I made out. I first met Hortense in an intensely difficult period of my life. I found strength vicariously through hers, and as her strength and peace of mind derive at least in part from faith, one could say that I have lived as a vicarious Christian. "I have been through the valley of the shadow of death," from my perspective, and it wasn't so terrible.

I found Christians to be kind and indeed, loving. I don't like the fact that so many of them seem to be so profoundly ignorant. I don't just say that on the basis of being recommended McDowell, although that in itself should set off alarms, but also in the Creationism debate. I say that I do understand why Christians feel beleaguered, even while finding so many of their claims on our I and, God bless you. I don't mean that as sacrilege, I say it whenever I am inspired by someone or something. Where is religion headed? Will it "Change Or Die," to quote that ubiquitous advertisement of your pages, will it hang on, or will it turn the clock backward? Let's hope the answer is "no" for at least the last question. , made all the more malignant and threatening by being given the . To me, it reads like a thriller. One great chapter followed by another.

I guess that my query is better worded like so: Are you reaching those "weaker vessels" mentioned in one of your chapters? I certainIy wonder if you are not a bit like McDowell only in the sense that you reach only those who are inclined to give you the time of day. Of course, your scholarship puts you on a much higher plane and that by itself makes your efforts worthwhile, but what I'm wondering is whether you think there is any hope of reconciling this nation of bigotted religious folks

Isaac Levine Berkeley, CA USA - Wednesday, October 07, 1998 at 01:01:59 (MDT)



This feedback was in reply to: /library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/intro.html

Gentlemen,

Your review of ETDAV was interesting. I read your "Introduction." I must admit that I have not read ETDAV yet but am planning to later. It is plain to me that your crticisms are not necessarily literary in nature but have a theological point to prove. Your haphazard rebuttals, without form or direction, seem to miss the point of the ETDAV quotes that you use. Circular logic is unconvincing. Also, you must also realize that there are numerous scholars that have attempted to disprove Christianity and the serious and scientific ones have all come away convinced, not only of its feasibility, but of its absolute truth---read about the creation of "The Screwtape Letters" and you might be surprised. Even "Time Magazine" has attempted to "scientifically" refute Christ as man, prophet and most importantly, God incarnate. I generally dislike Time due to its pop-culture editorialism but was genuinely pleased and surprised that they were convinced of the evidence. Kind of makes you wonder...

Your vehement rebuttal of ETDAV makes readers wonder what your real motive is. "Thou doth protest too strongly." Keep up the good work. You only draw attention to God's truth and prove the validity of Christianity with the obvious perversion of your attacks. For every one of you who twist logic, there are more who are convinced of Christ as they examine the evidince.

J. C. Goff Monterey, CA USA - Sunday, October 04, 1998 at 17:21:09 (MDT)


This feedback was in reply to: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/

I had a question concerning your response to a letter printed in your "Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' for Jesus -- Is it Reliable?" feedback section. The person who sent the original post was concerned with the proper application of the historical method in defining the difference between an historical existence of Jesus and what the gospels taught. Here is your response:

"Thank you for your message. It certainly emphasizes the importance of correctly understanding and applying the historical method. However, I never claimed -- nor do I believe -- that history is a science. Rather, I claimed that all historical inquiry starts with a question and that the historian's job is to answer such questions with verified empirical statements. This is not the same thing as recreating an historical event in a laboratory. A laboratory experiment, by its very nature, is repeatable. A historical event is not. So I don't think you have fairly represented my understanding of the historical method."

To get to the point (finally), I am wondering that since you hold an atheistic worldview, and obviously believe that evolution is true and supported scientifically, how do you reconcile evolution as being science when it is an historical event? By your own admission, history cannot be science. You also made the separation between science and history with the statement that history is not repeatable. Evolution is not repeatable. You even made the observation that one cannot recreate historical events in the laboratory. So, how would you come to the defense of biologists who claim the historical event of evolution as science? Do you believe evolution is science? If not, how would you define it? Thanks for listening and I hope you have time to reply.

Jeremy Johnson
USA - Friday, August 28, 1998 at 20:55:28 (MDT)


This feedback was in reply to: /library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/feedback.html

I have a few things to say, so please be patient. First, the evidence used to label Jeremiah a false prophet by the standard set in Deuteronomy is inconclusive at best. Because this fact is used repeatedly as evidence against other prophesies, it need to be proven thoroughly. Secondly, if this is to be a serious criticism, all the evidence that used will have to be cited. It's good so far, but it does me no good unless sources are given for every fact presented. Third, I'm glad this rebuttal was available to me; one of my friends hounded me until I read the book, and because of this rebuttal I'm able to see many weaknesses in it that I would otherwise have missed. Finally, regarding the comment from Mr. Holding, this is Biblical evidence against a second coming of Christ: if none of Jeconiah's decendants shall ever rule over Judah, they certainly can't be ruling over the entire Earth, of which Judah is a part. Please, keep up the work. I can't wait to see the next chapters completed.

Cameron Hoppe
Colorado Springs, CO USA - Thursday, July 30, 1998 at 03:26:38 (MDT)


This feedback was in reply to: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/

Your work has helped me think through some of the issues brought up in ETDAV [See The Jury is In -ed.]. Thanks for your extensive work. Though I have many thoughts after reading your work, I will restrict this response to one main thought:

In "Jury", the authors repeatedly criticize McDowell for not weighing all the evidence against his assertions, claiming that he is merely "stockpiling" quotes and sources that support his view, without regard to the considerable arguments against his view. While I cannot speak for McDowell, it seems to me that he is not even trying to WEIGH ALL of the evidence in ETDAV (though he probably could have stated it more clearly in the beginning of his book) . Instead he seems to simply supply a strong positive presentation, without trying to defend. Analagously, the authors of "Jury" seem to criticize him for not being a good jury by examining and carefully weighing all of the evidence and presenting it fairly. However, I see him playing the role of an attorney, merely presenting all the supportive evidence he can get his hands on to bolster his case, and leaving the weighing of the evidence to someone else (ie., the jury, or the judge). It seems to me that, as indicated by the title of your response, you have tried to play the role of the jury, which is fine, but it seems illegitimate to criticize McDowell for not presenting ALL of the contrary evidence, or for not rating/evalutating the solidness of his own evidence that he presents, etc... That would be like criticizing a prosecuting attorney for not presenting both sides of the case, when he is only trying to present one. Thanks for your consideration of this thought.

Brian L. Johnson
Kingsburg, CA USA - Sunday, July 26, 1998 at 18:46:13 (MDT)


This feedback was in reply to: /library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap1.html

I read your criticism on Josh McDowell's Evidence that Demands a Verdict. You have clearly been given all you need to support the infidel's side of the coin. I am at this moment going to buy Mr. McDonald's book, and use it as any Christian would. God bless you Mr. Lowder. I am praying for you.

Stephen Simoneaux
USA - Friday, July 24, 1998 at 20:58:28 (MDT)


[This message was in response to " The Jury is In: Chapter 5" by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Hello!

I found your critque of McDowell's Evidence That Demands A Verdict to be well written, and very comprehensive. Thank you for your hard work in this area.

I'm not totally convinced that Jesus was not a myth, rather than a historical personage. I don't take a dogmatic position on the issue, but I believe at this point that some serious arguments can be made in this direction. One writer whom I've read recently is Earl Doherty. I think He's made a series of interesting points concerning how the Gospel writers created an earthly biography for Jesus, after Paul first presented him as a mystical savior. Doherty's article about the topic can be found by searching for "The Jesus Puzzle". I understand that this is probably a minority position -- historian Michael Grant, and writers Randall Helms (Gospel Fictions, Prometheus) and Morton Smith (Jesus The Magician, Prometheus?) are more prone to the idea of a historical Jesus whose life was later enlarged over the years to be a divine miracle-worker and savior, just as many of the scholars you mentioned.

Incidentally, I wrote a rather lengthy paper about 10 years ago, concerning the apologetic efforts of John Warwick Montgomery. As you might know, he was a mentor of Josh McDowell. I critique, point-by-point, his particular "evidentialist" approach to defending faith in the New Testament, as well as touch on methods that other Christian apologists have employed. It was written at a time when I became a skeptic-free thinker-humanist, after roughly nine years of heavy-duty Biblical Christianity. Even so, it's not written as an emotionally insulting commentary, but an intelligent response to some very flawed thinking. I was then a History major at a Christian college (Covenant College at Lookout Mtn., TN.).

If you're interested in reading this paper, I can e-mail it to you. I think that you'll find it somewhat reminiscent of your McDowell studies, especially the amount of circular reasoning that's involved in proving the "accuracy" or "historicity" of Jesus. Please let me know if this interests you.

Sincerely,


[This message was in response to the "July 1996 Feedback".]

Hello, XXXX

I am glad that you are questioning Josh McDowells writings. But something causes me to want to ask, if you know so much about the Bible, how is it that you are NOT a Christian?

respectfully

Internet Infidels' Response:

My view is that it is much more remarkable for someone who knows a great deal about the Bible to be a Christian than not to be one.

Jim Lippard


[This message was in response to "Top Ten List of More Accurate Names for Josh McDowell's 'Evidence that Demands a Verdict'" by Robby Berry.]

Congratulations on your renaming list for Evidence that Demands a Verdict. I actually smiled at his list for proof of the existence of Jesus contianing his fact that the Encyclopedia Brittanica devoted so many pages to Jesus. I remembered that Encyc. Brit also had a few pages for Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse et al Disney people.

 

Anyway, Evid that Demand Verdict inspired me to write a proudly Jewish book trashing Jesus. I used his format of listing and explaining. I gave it the title Jesus Mishegahs: The Jewish Xmas Book by Yoesh (the Priest) Gloger. It contains 436 numbered reasons why Jews are/were/will be correct to reject jesus. Please take a look, for the book and 16 pages of exerpts are on display at the Internet book store, BookZone http://www.bookzone.com. You only have to type in "Jesus Mishegahs" or "Gloger" on Alta Vista or Yahoo! and my book pops up or at least BookZone does. I think you've like it. Let me know please if it hits the spot.

 


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" by Jeff Lowder.]

Congratulations on an excellent job of Biblical scholarship. Although you mention it in a few places, I would give greater emphasis to the strong possibility that the Gospel writers simply invented incidents like the flight into Egypt, the vinegar and gall on the cross, and so forth. They knew the Hebrew Scriptures and, as twnety centuries of hagiography amply attest, edifying incidents in the biography of a saint (even a secular saint like George Washington) are as common as pickpockets at a hanging.


I found your website by websurfing a couple of weeks ago. I've had some problems accessing it since. I really enjoyed the critiques of Josh McDowell's books. It is a relief to have the light of logic shed on his arguments.

I was raised Baptist but I converted to Judaism after a bout with a cult in college (the Local Church - considered by the fundamentalist Christians to be in error but not a cult since it accepts their Christology.) After my divorce about 6 years ago I temporarily reverted to Baptist thinking, and that is when I really ran into a lot of bad arguments, "just have faith" and contradictions. What finally broke my bubble of "someday I will figure it out, the problem is simply that I'm not smart enough and don't have the answers yet" was when I was reading Hosea 2 and recognized the contradiction with Romans 9:25. That is when I suddenly gave up. That was AFTER my inquisition for singing in the Reform synagogue (don't we have a first ammendment in this country? I don't know if it was illegal to ask me to give up the choir in order to continue as a low-paid teacher's aide at a baptist school or not....) Boy, the emotional price is pretty high.

Thanks again

P.S. Snail mail is probably more apt to reach me since I'm using the CSUN library computer and school will start soon.


[This message was in response to " The Jury Is In: Chapter 8 -- The Great Proposition," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

Hi. I suggest you read the following book: Mere Christianity (you can pick it up for 6.95 and it's written by C.S. Lewis). tell me why do atheists have such a hate and disgust for Christians? i think most people would agree that a white person should not kick in the teeth of an african- american because he's black.

"i'm willing to die to prove that my God lives, are you willing to die to prove He doesn't"

Internet Infidels' Response #1:

Hi! :)

You write...

>Hi. I suggest you read the following book: Mere Christianity (you
>can pick it up for 6.95 and it's written by C.S. Lewis). tell me why do
>atheists have such a hate and disgust for Christians? i think most people
>would agree that a white person should not kick in the teeth of an african-
>american because he's black.

I agree, a white person shouldn't kick the teeth of another because the other is black, nor should an atheist kick the teeth of a person because that person is Christian. In fact, I see no reason why any person would need to kick the teeth of another, do you?

I am an atheist. I do not hate people, nor do I loathe them. When I think of a person in terms of their religion, which I rarely do, I do not see why I would hate or be disgusted with him. On the other hand, I have often met the person who has expressed ill will towards me. I feel more pity for them than anything else, and when I do become angry its always because the person won't listen to me. But anger is as far as I go: there's nothing worse than wasting my time with the person than hating him.

Which is why I don't believe atheists hold any more hate and disgust for Christians than Christians do for atheists. I think many of us have been angry towards Christians, and may have spilt words best left swallowed. I think a number of atheists like me have either been pressed on or prosletyzed by Christians who don't know when to let up, and when we react it's most often taken as a sign of hatred. Why should Christians think atheists hate them?

>"i'm willing to die to prove that my God lives, are you willing to die
>to prove He doesn't"

I am willing to die in defense of your belief. Are you willing to die in defense of mine?

stephen B^)

Internet Infidels' Response #2:

>Hi. I suggest you read the following book: Mere Christianity (you
>can pick it up for 6.95 and it's written by C.S. Lewis). tell me why do
>atheists have such a hate and disgust for Christians? i think most people
>would agree that a white person should not kick in the teeth of an african-
>american because he's black.

/library/modern/the_fool/mere.html

>"i'm willing to die to prove that my God lives, are you willing to die
>to prove He doesn't"

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will die for your right to say it."

Sincerely,

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

I have been reading some of your stuff and related pages on trying to debunk Josh Mcdowell and his God. After reading your comments (thought there is more to read) I find your arguement shallow. For example you say that Josh Mcdowell putS up straw men just to knock them down to make his arguements look good. That comment in itself is very childess. If his arguement is true or logical it doesn't need to "look good." You must prove the straw men, not say they are there.

Daniel was written about 150 yrs before Christ? For one I know much evidence eternal and external that disagree's with this. 2nd the people who support this that I have saw are liberal theologians, and you athiest\agnostics should not need to solicit there help when they follow no hermenuetical principles what- soever.

3rd, IF YOU GO WITH 150 YRS BEFORE CHRIST, IT IS BEFORE CHRIST, THAT MAKES IT A PROPHECY.


You guys are doing a great job at promoting reason in the spirit of history's greatest infidel, T. Paine. This website is wonderful and I hope you continue this for a long time. I am curious as to why you are spending so much time and effort into critiquing something as subjective as McDowell's book. His arguements are based solely on the bible, which is hardly a reliable historical reference. Criticizing McDowell's "research", it seems to me, is analogous to critiquing a barking dog. That dog ain't gonna stop barking no matter how long or convincingly you try to convince it otherwise. I would really be interested in seeing some critiques of legitimite biblical scholar's works. You know what I mean, some real meat! Not this cheese and cracker stuff. For instance, what about John Crossan's position that Jesus was a Medeterranean Jewish Cynic...how much did that Pagean Philosophy influence the Jesus Movement? Or E.P. Sanders' speculation on Jesus' rejection of the institution of marriage?

Internet Infidels' Response:

We spend so much time on Josh McDowell because he appears to be one of the most influential apologists. We are well aware that there are better Christian apologists than McDowell, but McDowell seems to be the most popular Christian apologist.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


If you would do some real research into the supposed contradictions of Saul's conversion experience (ie. go to the original languages) you will find there is no contradiction. One states (in the original language) that they heard, but did not understand the voice. The other states that they heard the voice but did not see anyone. No contradiction there, just in the translation.

I also take issue with your criticism of Mcdowell for doing his research while having a definite opinion of the scriptures Everyone has a definite point of view. Your opinion of scriptures is clearly stated in your paper by your eagerness to disprove McDowell's findings. So what is the difference between your opinion and his? The point is there should be an objective study of what the scriptures and history tells us about Jesus. I think McDowell is an acomplished scholar, deserving of an open-minded examination. Not an opinionated review that is clearly based in an antagonistic view point.

Internet Infidels' Response:

Please read http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/ and then explain to me why you consider Josh McDowell a scholar.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

Your are wrong. Thee jury is not yet in. You should check Dr. Ernest L. Martin's new book The Star that Astonished the World which has classical evidence from Roman history and archaeology that shows that Luke was right.

All the best to you and have a happy day.

An interested person. You are certainly a scholar.


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

only a fool has said "there is no God". So Josh may not be perfect or even close. But who is ,or should we ask who was and is to come?

Internet Infidels' Response:

My article, Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' for Jesus -- Is It Reliable?, never claimed that there is no God. So your quotation of Psalms is besides the point.

The point is not whether Josh is perfect. The point is whether Josh can accurately represent contemporary scholarship when he writes a book on something.

Obviously no one's perfect, but there have been lots of people who nonetheless have been able to accurately represent the views of other people.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

Hello, I am a graduate student in German history at Princeton. I am an atheist who has only in this last week found his way around the atheist pages in the Web. I am delighted to find some living atheists instead of having to content myself with dead ones such as Nietzsche or Russell or the like. I think all the activity by atheists on the Internet is fantastic. I want to let you know your material is much appreciated.

I have read the beginning parts of The Jury is In and thought you might want some more quick ideas. I have never read McDowell's book. I am picking up the line of thought from the material in The Jury is In. If you do not want such letters as mine then just write back and tell me not to bother you. As I said, I have not gone over everything, so I am sorry if I am repeating something I would have found if I had gone through all the chapters before writing this. If you like it, let me know if there is a better way or transmitting it than sending it from Word Perfect to e-mail to you.

On the subject of the Bible being the best selling and most widely read source of truth: A person cannot compare the books of the Bible itself, to Shakespeare when trying to demonstrate the authority of the Bible through its popularity. Shakespeare and other authors in literature were not trying to present truth. Comparing the Bible to works of literature is side-stepping the issue of truth entirely and, unintentionally on the part of McDowell, puts the Bible in the category with myths and story telling, fiction, where Atheists know the Bible belongs.

It is understandable when McDowell and others compare the Bible to other religious works which provide spiritual guidance. It is significant that most people find more solace in reading the Bible than in reading the Tao Te Ching. (I for one think this reflects poorly on humanity rather than positively on the Bible.) One source of truth, however, other than books on how to live life, that might have been overlooked in the discussion, but is nevertheless essential to judging the value of the Bible, are the books of the Sciences. The Bible as a source of truth should be compared to its obvious compeditor, Science.

Science and the Social Sciences try to get as close to the truth as possible. The sciences have a readership and approval greater than the Bible could ever hope for. Science is, barring extremely few exceptions, universally accepted. The volumes in the canon of mighty science are innumerable and found in almost every language you can imagine. No matter what religion, sex, race, nationality, etc. a person is, he or she looks to science for some truth, and there is only room for the natural, not the supernatural, in science. There is no room for the Bible or resurrection or other superstitious nonsense in the sciences, other than when the social scientist takes into account the affects of such belief on religious people when analyzing how those people behave.

When McDowell goes to the doctor he is going to heal his wounds by seeing a shaman of almighty science. When McDowell gets in his car to go give a lecture, he is mounting the steed designed by engineers who are the initiates, the chosen, of science. When McDowell relies on the carbon dating of artifacts to make his time lines, he is using and admitting the undeniable truth value of science. When McDowell or anyone else supports the validity of the Bible or any other religious writing, he or she runs into direct conflict with the sciences, ... science which he or she takes for granted in almost every aspect of his or her life.

Science is also not devoid of lessons on how a person can lead his or her life. While science is not in the habit of dealing with morals, there are some answers to difficult questions in some of the sciences. For example, when a person considers that homosexuality, something portrayed by many religious believers as unnatural and evil, is found by specialists to be a natural part of the animal kingdom, science has gone a long way to dispel a myth and a prejudice against gays and lesbians. Modern knowledge of diseases, explaining the spread of the plague by fleas on rats, dispelled some myth and prejudice against Jews who were, Christians thought, spreading the plague by deliberately poisoning wells. When science first found that the sun does not revolve around the earth and then went over to relativity and explained it is all just matter of which point of reference you take, science was taking the wind out the ego-centric garbage which in the Bible makes man so all-important There are morals to be learned from science.

At this point a religious person will try to assert that science is sometimes wrong and does not always have all the answers. This is easily granted. This is true, but, on this point I have to remind the slow person like McDowell, who always manifests this type of anti- intellectualism, this anti-academic attitude, that when a person weighs how often science is correct in relation to how often it is incorrect, the ratio is overwhelmingly to an extreme degree in favor of science. The difference is again, that everyone agrees on the truth of science, as an evolving source of truth, always revising itself, always improving, and most important, universally accepted, while the Bible remains some relic of the past, a static collection of myths written by ignorant, superstitious people.

I would also remind a reader that he or she is everyday, a thousand times a day, affirming the power of science. I cannot stress this point enough. No matter what the fundamentalist does, he or she admits the primacy of science. An apple he or she eats is the symbol of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, and the symbol of evil temptation, the symbol of all which can ruin a close relationship with the Christian god. Today that apple is provided by knowledge, by science. >From the horticultural sciences which taught the farmer how to grow mass amounts of apples and gave him the machines to do all the work, to the trucks which carried that apple from the orchard to store and the scanning machine which scanned the apple bag to get the price, science is correct and good and useful. The fundamentalist is blinded to its presence, suddenly, conveniently, when he or she wants to support Creationism or the Resurrection or something else in contradiction to the science he or she lives, eats, sleeps, and breaths every minute of everyday of his or her life.

Science still does not have all the answers. I do not propose that reading a physics book is going to provide the personal guidance a person looks for in collections like the Bible or Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not A Christian. While the Sciences may not have a complete alternative to the Bible, they do have something vital the discussion of McDowell's ideas. Science provides a set of beliefs in which there is practically universal acceptance, acceptance even by McDowell himself, and in which there is no place for truth through revelation. McDowell and others do not see the hypocrisy and the contradiction in a world where people like him accept scientific method, while at the same time accept the Bible with all its tales of the supernatural founded, on truth through revelation. They do not see the oddity of having the McDowells of the world dismissing the existence of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus and dismissing the value of psychic readings and the reading of Taro cards and all other non-Christian superstition, while holding onto their own superstition.

On subject of the idea that there are no moral teachings anywhere which are of the caliber found in the Bible, I would beg to differ. Because the Sciences do not have the answer to some questions does not mean a person has to go back to the Bible. A person can find moral values in secular Humanism, or in Dr. Suess, or on Sesame Street. A person can find answers to difficult questions in life by talking things out with mothers and fathers and with sisters and brothers and with good friends. A person can get the advice of especially wise persons through good books, as opposed to poor quality books, such as the Bible. A person can be sure that society agrees on some morals and principles by laying them down in statutes made by legislatures voted in by the people and in laws protected by the peoples' police. There are so many ways in which a person can find meaning in his or her life and act on that meaning without resorting to superstitions laid out by some ignorant crackpots ages ago. I prefer the ethics instilled in people by Sesame Street to the confusing mishmash in the Bible of forgiveness for sins on the one hand and the constant gory bloodshed suffered by the enemies of God on the other.

Mankind could hypothetically lead a full life and deal in philosophy and other deep questions without running contrary to science as is so blatantly the case with the Bible. One sad note is that the social sciences tell us that mankind has never in any culture done so and is highly unlikely to do so. Mankind, it would seem, is doomed to wallow in its own ignorance and stupidity, and rely on the McDowell's of the world to lead them in cult antics. Mankind will not be as lucky as the scarecrow and get a brain, it will remain in awe of the works of the mental midgets of the species, , works such as the Bible.

On the massive numbers of Bible which are published being any basis for its value as a source of wisdom: McDowell and others in awe of the success of Christianity would have a person believe that people make a conscious decision as to which religion they belong to. They would have a person believe that a person shops around, investigates the relative merits of many different religions, and then makes and intelligent, inspired, informed decision based on person convictions. This is more often than not an implicit idea when McDowell express their awe at wide circulation of the Bible. People rarely choose the Bible in this way. Most people, by far, are stuck with the Bible because their parents and their parents' parents and their parents' parents' parents' used it. The ignorant and illiterate are just passing on the Bible without having ever read competing sources of wisdom such as the Tao Te Ching.

What of the converts to Christianity? How did people get the Christianity establish itself to become tradition to be passed down from generation to generation? Were the first generations of converts the ones who made some reasonable, intelligent, conscious decision that the Bible was a great book? No, they did not. McDowell and others do not adequately examine the process by which Christianity was spread through the use of force. Not only was Christianity a religion which was the persecutor far, far more often than the persecuted, the religion was spread through European conquest. People do not wake up one day and speak a different language or adopt a different religion. They do so because they are threatened with the sword. Why does South and Central America and Mexico speak Spanish and worship in Catholic churches? Catholic Spaniards decimated native populations with guns and with the diseases they carried, in short - European conquest. Why is North America Christian and English speaking? European conquest. A good historian, which McDowell is not, knows that conquest is what spread Christianity and Islam. You pick a place on the earth were you find Christianity, you with find a history of European conquest. Missionaries followed the ships full of mercenaries. Missionaries followed the slave ships. Missionaries follow merchant ships. Why is North Africa Muslim? Islamic conquests. Why is Southern Spain left with must Muslim influence in its architecture, language etc. Muslim conquest. Why is they a Muslim Pakistan right next to a Hindu India? Creation of a separate nation through Muslim guns. Why is there so much French influence in the English language? Early French conquest and rule of England in assimilation of the language of the rulers. Why is English spoken around the world? The sun never set on the British Empire. Where the Europeans went, so too did the Bible. Where Europeans went so too did the now widespread Spanish, English, and French. Is this because these languages are any better? No, they were simply the languages of the people with the biggest guns or the longest swords. There are a hundred and one reasons for the wide circulation of the Bible. Many of these reasons are evil and they are something the McDowells of the world would rather not discuss.

(While I have nothing against doing well and being affluent, it is apropos to mention that the Bible's own aversion to world riches could be used in this area to its own detriment. One good reason some of the major religions of Africa and the rest of the Third World cannot publish competing world views, is that people have a perfectly adequate oral tradition in which their traditions are handed down. The Third World has a hard enough problems getting the resources to fight typhoid and other common diseases the West has eliminated long ago, without having time to worry about some competition to spread the word as the Gideon Society does. The Third World has no money. Europeans and their descendants do. It is as simple as that. The Bible is the book of the rich man. I wouldn't know the exact wording of the phrase, but did't someone say in the Bible that it is easier for a camel to enter into the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven.)

On the ability of the Bible to survive persecution: Science, as in Darrow and Galileo etc. as was pointed out already the pages of your work had been persecuted heavily and yet has been astonishingly successful. Galileo's teachings as well as those of his fellow scientists throughout the ages are far more successful than the Bible. McDowell should not be so proud that Christianity has survived a great deal of persecution. One of the most glaring, obvious reasons for this is that other than in its very earliest history, Christianity has been a major source of persecution itself. The Crusades and the Holocaust come immediately to mind.

On the ability of the Bible to stand the test of time. Scientific method was going strong in Egypt long before Christ, and is now practically ubiquitous in the modern world. A person like McDowell might assert that Christianity was a dominant force in the West long before science ever was. He or her might say that science is a product of the modern age, only coming into its own during the Industrial Revolution. I would argue that when a person puts two and two together and discovers how to make fire and uses fire as a tool, he or she is using a rough form of the scientific method. Science is something which has only recently in human history been consciously glorified because people have become much better at it and have become much more self-conscious about it, but science in whatever form, whatever people called it, be it a base term such as common sense or a technical term such as scientific method, I would assert was has been part of humanity all along.

On a different note concerning time, civilization has been around for maybe 5500 or 4500 years or so, but man and woman have been around for millennia before this. In the history of the universe the earth has been around for only a tiny span of time. Likewise in the history of mankind, civilization has been around only for a short time. Man did not appear on the earth with complex societies. Space travel is something people identify as being quite recent. In the larger scheme of things, civilization itself is also a recent part of man's experience. In the larger scheme of things, the Bible has had a relatively short life span. McDowell does not take into account smple oral traditions and religion which might have been much longer lived in the period before civilization, and he certainly does not mention that man has lived almost his entire existence without the Bible and without his precious Jesus. Man has lived forever without Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Buddha, Zeus, Odin, the Christian God, the Jewish God, and every other recent concoctions made since civilization came about. Primitive man had his own superstitions which McDowell rudely leaves out of the competition for uniqueness through longevity.

Anyone trying to pull the bullshit of trying to portray Christianity and the Bible as being too sophisticated to be mentioned in the same breath with such old superstitions as those of cave men should be reminded of how base Christianity really is. From thinking demons caused the convulsions of the epileptics to ringing church bells to keep away the frequent lightning bolts sent from demons to rain down on churches, to people putting holy water on their cars or carrying a symbol of St. Christopher, when traveling, Christianity is a simple minded and superstitious as the worst animal spirits and the spirits of the elements. Christianity is even worse because it really has answers to such puzzles as epilepsy and lightening and evolution and space travel and yet still languishes in the mire of ignorance or old. There is no way around it. Christianity is as ridiculous, when it comes to truth value, as any other faerie tales and it is only a recently popular fairy tale which will come and go like many others.


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

Just read your Jury. Excellent! Please keep the good work!


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'," edited by Jeff Lowder.]

This business about uniqueness really fractures me. If you think about it for even a moment you will realize that it is not possible for something to exist and not be unique in some way. Because if it were not unique it would be exactly like something else. And if it were exactly like something else, it would be something else!


[This message was in response to "Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' For Jesus -- Is It Reliable?" by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

You e mailed me some time ago to ask my opinion of your study of the works of Josh McDowell. I am sorry that it has taken so long for me to reply to your message. I have been rather busy and needed some time to read your page before responding to your request. Frankly, I do not have a high regard for McDowell and his work. I have a copy of his book, but everytime that I begin to read it, I wind up turning to something with more substance. As an Orthodox Christian, I cannot get into his rationalistic theology. My beliefs are more mystical and do not require rational proof. I believe because I have felt the mystical presence of Christ in my life. I cannot prove it to you or anyone else. I can only share my beliefs and experiences and let you draw your own conclusions. I really doubt that many secular historians doubt that Jesus existed. However the field of secular history provides no way to assess either way the teachings of the Gospels. Historians can discover what the ancient Church believed about Jesus, but have no real sources that could allow us to prove or disprove the teachings of the Gospels. What interests historians is not the reliability of the Gospels but the impact of Jesus Christ on history. Like it or not, the Jesus Christ of the Gospels and the ancient Church is the Jesus Christ who had an impact on history, not the so called historical Jesus constructed by some Biblical Scholars.

I do have some problems with your statement of the historical method. History is not a science and does not follow the same methods as a science. We do not develop a hypothesis and then test it. We study the best sources we can find and develop our conclusions from the sources. Thus our method is different form the scientific method used in the experimental sciences. You cannot recreate the French Revolution and study it in a lab. You can read material about the French Revolution and look at eyewitness accounts and documents from the French Revolution and then draw your conclusions from these sources.

Internet Infidels' Response:

Thank you for your message. It certainly emphasizes the importance of correctly understanding and applying the historical method. However, I never claimed -- nor do I believe -- that history is a science. Rather, I claimed that all historical inquiry starts with a question and that the historian's job is to answer such questions with verified empirical statements. This is not the same thing as recreating an historical event in a laboratory. A laboratory experiment, by its very nature, is repeatable. A historical event is not. So I don't think you have fairly represented my understanding of the historical method.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "Josh McDowell's 'Evidence' For Jesus -- Is It Reliable?" by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

These are some very good points. Frame makes a similar point about the Ligonier (R.C.Sproul) apologetic when he writes that proving that the New Testament documents have integrity and constancy over time does not prove that what they say is true. I also like your point about probability -- I (Frame, too) still have not fully sorted out my thoughts on probability arguments...

I would say "keep up the good work", but I'm sure you could see how unusual that would be!! But exposing bad scholarship is _always_ called for -- bad arguments should never serve as servants of the truth.

Take Care of yourself,


[This message was in response to " Prophesy Fulfilled in History" by Stephen Carr.]

The first prophecy cited in Genesis 3:15-16 refers to "her seed." The "seed of woman" is considered a reference to the virgin birth, since normally, "seed" derives from the man. May be considered a bit of a stretch, but from a worldview where the background probability of such prophecies is high, it is perfectly reasonable that God would make known his plan for redemption (though in a somewhat obscure fashion) at the very beginning of the need for redemption.

Internet Infidels' Response:

>The first prophecy cited in Genesis 3:15-16 refers
>to "her seed." The "seed of woman" is
>considered a reference to the virgin birth, since normally,
>"seed" derives from the man.[...]

The "seed of woman" is considered a reference to the virgin birth only by Christians. Jews (who also canonize the book of Genesis, as do Christians) do not consider this a reference to the virgin birth; indeed, the very concept of a "virgin birth" is unknown in Jewish thought. Neither Gen. 3:15-16 nor Isa. 7:14 (the other verse commonly thought to refer to the virgin birth) has ever been interpreted as referring to a virgin birth by anybody but Christians-- and with the rise of biblical scholarship, even many Christians are abandoning this interpretation.

Sincerely,

Rob Berry


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's Evidence" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

You appear to base your criticism and propaganda upon biased skepticism. You spend much of your time trying to rationalize away historical documentation, but you do not provide any secular material from the 1st or 2nd century to refute the material.

Deductive and inductive logic has proven to lead to erroneous conclusions, without objective proof how do you expect us to "believe" your propaganda.

Logic is as falliable as human nature. For example, all apples are red and hard. Based upon this deductive logic, all hard red balls are apples, and a yellow apple is not an apple. Don't give me poor rationalism, give me objective verifiable proof.

Perhaps the proof that we are both looking for was destroyed by Moslem and Jewish intolerance prior to Constantine or later by Mohammad. In either case without hard evidence we are left in the dark-- your rationalism does not change the necessity for hard evidence.

Good luck with your faith and propaganda; ultimately it matters very little. If Jesus proves to be the Christo, then Christians will reign when he returns. If he is not the Christ, then who cares.

You know, I'm so tyred of hearing agnostic bull and thereotical crap. Don't talk to me about theory, let's talk about the consequences of your ideology on the drug addict who does not believe that God exists. He shoots up, exploits society for his or her drug addiction, and then ultimately commits suicide (having no hope and no God). This same drug addict with a hope in Christ and a love for humanity will lay down his life to save a child from drowning. Your ideology kills a child before it is given an opportunity of life in the name of expediency and women's rights.

Fine, live in your comfortable middle class society and forget about everyone else if you will. However, if Christ does exist then we will be held accountable. Your religious propaganda only spreads the destructive virus of intolerance and hatred toward those who are religious (church bombings for example). Should we debate the issues? Of course we should, but also remember the warning of Washington's Farewell address.

Internet Infidels' Response #1:

Your message certainly emphasizes the need to be aware of one's biases in one's writings. However, your message itself reveals a Christian bias that is not supported by either historiography or the historical evidence. For example, you argue that I "do not provide any secular material from the 1st or 2nd century to refute" Josh McDowell's historical documentation. But this violates what what historians call the 'rule of affirmation': the burden of proof for any historical claim lies solely on those making the claim. So the relevant question is not, "Can I provide 1st or 2nd century references to refute McDowell's references?" Rather, the question should be, "Has McDowell met his buden of proof?"

Simply strip-mining the ancient literature for passages that have the name 'Jesus' in them is not good enough; a historian will also want to know 1) the author of the passage (e.g., whether the passage is an interpolation), 2) the date of the passage, and 3) the sources the author had for his information. McDowell failed to apply these three criteria to his "evidence" for Jesus.

The fact that you dismiss my message as "propaganda" makes one wonder if you have even read my entire article, much less understood it. Normally, the feedback I get on my article falls into two categories: 1) messages from Christians thanking me for defending the historicity of Jesus and exposing Josh McDowell's shoddy scholarship, and 2) messages from non-Christians criticizing me for defending the historicity of Jesus and exposing Josh McDowell's shoddy scholarship. Although I was extremely critical of Josh McDowell -- I make it quite clear in my article that I believe Jesus existed -- a point you don't seem to grasp.

As for your comments about the alleged consequences of whether your god exists, I will remind you that the purpose of my article was to put Josh McDowell under the microscope, NOT to refute Christianity. (And a defense of the historicity of Jesus is not a refutation of Christianity, anyway!) So your comments about the alleged negative consequences of atheism are besides the point. The fact of the matter is that McDowell exaggerated his sources to defend a relatively uncontroversial claim. And there is no faith involved here.

Finally, your claim that my article somehow spreads intolerance is totally false. If Josh McDowell wishes to write a rebuttal to my comments, I will gladly publish them alongside my article on the Secular Web. This is much more than McDowell seems willing to do in his books. Moreover, I would remind you that several nontheists, including Dan Barker, Farrell Till, Frank Zindler, and Gordon Stein have all attempted to debate Josh McDowell, but McDowell refused to debate them. If someone is being intolerant here, it isn't the atheists.

Your message amounted to nothing more than name-calling and utterly failed to address ANY of the historical issues raised in my article. If you decide that you do not like me (even though you have never met me), then so be it. If you decide that you do not agree with my arguments (even though you failed to address them in your message), that's fine. But don't resort to ad hominem attacks just because you can't handle informed historical criticism of Josh McDowell (1 Peter 3:15).

Sincerely,

Jeffery Jay Lowder

Internet Infidels' Response #2:

Jeff has already responded to most of your comments, but I'd like to address the points he left alone:

>Deductive and inductive logic has proven to lead to erroneous conclusions,
>without objective proof how do you expect us to "believe" your propaganda.

>Logic is as falliable as human nature. For example, all apples are red and
>hard. Based upon this deductive logic, all hard red balls are apples, and a
>yellow apple is not an apple. Don't give me poor rationalism, give me
>objective verifiable proof.

I must take exception to your claim that "Logic is as falliable as human nature." I will gladly concede, however, that human nature is flawed enough to often foul-up what one 'thinks' is logic.

Let's examine your examples above:

"all apples are red and hard" Let me translate that into symbols so we can be extra careful about what we're saying:

a(s) - s is an apple
r(t) - t is red
h(u) - u is hard

Ax a(x) -> ( r(x) & h(x) )
That is: "For all 'x' that is an Apple, x is red and x is hard."

Your second sentence "all hard, red balls are apples" translates quite differently.

Ax ( r(x) & h(x) ) -> a(x)

Note that the direction of the conditional (->) is reversed. This is whats called a contra-positive, and confusing a statement as being identacle to it's contra-positive is a common logical mistake.

Let's examine your third statement: "a yellow apple is not an apple".

Assuming your first statemtent ("all apples are red and hard") is true, you're correct, a yellow apple could not be an apple. Logic does tell us something about a situation with two statements like:

"all apples are red and hard" and
"there exists a yellow apple"

Logic tells us that one of the two statements must be false. Human experience tells us that it's the first statement.

Logic is only a tool, if an oft' mis-used one. On it's own it can only produce a few mildly interesting tautologies. It is only when used with statements we assume as true (either because they're part of our world-view, or for the sake of arguement), that logic's usefulness becomes evident.

Given multiple premises, one can use logic to discover new statements that follow from the premises, or (as I did above) to ferret out contradictions demonstrating that one (or more) of your premises is invalid.

>Perhaps the proof that we are both looking for was destroyed by Moslem and
>Jewish intolerance prior to Constantine or later by Mohammad. In either
>case without hard evidence we are left in the dark-- your rationalism does
>not change the necessity for hard evidence.

I (basically) agree with you. However in the absence of much hard evidence, I give far more weight to rationality than faith. Personal experience has alot to do with this as well... I have no experience with people rising from the dead after three days, so absent any compelling evidence, it's more reasonable to discount such claims than accept them. Likewise little green men from Mars.

>Good luck with your faith and propaganda; ultimately it matters very little.
>If Jesus proves to be the Christo, then Christians will reign when he
>returns. If he is not the Christ, then who cares.

I care. Personally, I'm far more interested in knowing as much of the 'truth' about the world than in who get's to be boss at some alleged later date.

>You know, I'm so tyred of hearing agnostic bull and thereotical crap. Don't
>talk to me about theory, let's talk about the consequences of your ideology
>on the drug addict who does not believe that God exists. He shoots up,
>exploits society for his or her drug addiction, and then ultimately commits
>suicide (having no hope and no God). This same drug addict with a hope in
>Christ and a love for humanity will lay down his life to save a child from
>drowning. Your ideology kills a child before it is given an opportunity of
>life in the name of expediency and women's rights.

1) Don't assume that non-theism necessarily equates with what you seem it does. I know more than a handfull of self-proclaimed atheists who are fairly avidly anti-abortion. Personally, I find the practice of abortion morally repugnant, but also believe that forcing women to bring unwanted children into the world can often result in harm being done to child, woman, and society.. if it were an easy question, there wouldn't be the current public debate about it.

2) On your 'no God = no hope' claim. There are (within this framework) two kinds of atheists: it is true there are those who take the statement 'there is no god', and come up with ideas like: 'there is no hope', 'there will be no ultimate punishment for what I do', etc... but that are also those as I try to be who rather discover that: 'I cannot rely on supernatural beings to right wrongs, I must do what I can', 'My destiny is my own decision', etc... Which type are in the majority I haven't a clue, I do know that there are far more of the latter than is popularly believed.

>Fine, live in your comfortable middle class society and forget about
>everyone else if you will. However, if Christ does exist then we will be
>held accountable. Your religious propaganda only spreads the destructive
>virus of intolerance and hatred toward those who are religious (church
>bombings for example). Should we debate the issues? Of course we should,
>but also remember the warning of Washington's Farewell address.

One of the things I absolutely insist upon is tolerance. To paraphrase a friend of mine: "You're free to believe any fool thing you want to." ;) I have very little interest in convincing others to believe as I do. I'm far more interested in convincing all to allow all to live as they chose so long as it harms no other. There's an old pagan maxim that goes something like: 'an it harm none, do as ye will'. Words to live by.

Brett G. Lemoine

Internet Infidels' Response #3:

>You appear to base your criticism and propaganda upon biased skepticism.

Sorry, only if you consider relying upon the evidence of our senses, and the world of physical reality as a bias. If you can provide me some reason why you reject the reality of Krishna, or Amida Buddha, while accepting that of Jesus, God and angels, I may listen. We are both skeptical of extravagant claims. You have stopped being skeptical of one class of unsupported extravagant claims, I have not.

>You spend much of your time trying to rationalize away historical
>documentation, but you do not provide any secular material from the 1st or
>2nd century to refute the material.

What historical documentation is that? Every claim that historical documentation exists has been shown, to every scholar's standards to have been either fraud, interpolation, or simple error. We merely note the total lack of documentation, and the extravagant nature of the claims. It is extremely improbable that such goings on could have occurred without being remarked upon. Possible, but not very likely.

>Deductive and inductive logic has proven to lead to erroneous conclusions,
>without objective proof how do you expect us to "believe" your propaganda.

Logic and reasoning serve as mututal verifications, the data; that is, the raw sensory information, reamins the same.

>Logic is as falliable as human nature. For example, all apples are red and
>hard. Based upon this deductive logic, all hard red balls are apples, and a
>yellow apple is not an apple. Don't give me poor rationalism, give me
>objective verifiable proof.

The yellow apple or the red ball are proof that the syllogism is incorrect. Give me objective verifiable proof that Jesus is alive in the sky. And, by the way, do it through some method that I cannot use to prove that fairies are dancing at the bottom of the garden every morning.

>Perhaps the proof that we are both looking for was destroyed by Moslem and
>Jewish intolerance prior to Constantine or later by Mohammad. In either
>case without hard evidence we are left in the dark-- your rationalism does
>not change the necessity for hard evidence.

As Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet of God, but that the Christian church misinterpreted his message, and veered off into blasphemy by deifying him, they would be just as interested in establishing any proofs of his historical existence. Most Jews, as well, have no problem believing that some radical rabbi named Yeshua existed at the time, they do not accept that he was the Meshiach.

>Good luck with your faith and propaganda; ultimately it matters very little.

Ultimately nothing matters. We believe that what counts is here and now.

>If Jesus proves to be the Christo, then Christians will reign when he
>returns. If he is not the Christ, then who cares.

And if Mohammed proves to be the Final Prophet of Allah, then Muslimin will enjoy eternal bliss in paradise. If the Buddha proves to be the Enlightened One, then those who follow the eightfold path will eventually reach nirvana and leave the wheel of samsara behind. There are literally thousands of different religions to worry about. Maybe your brand of Christianity isn't the One True Church, for instance, maybe the Mormons are right and you will never make heaven because you blew your chance to accept Joseph Smith, the Prophet of God.

>You know, I'm so tyred of hearing agnostic bull and thereotical crap. Don't
>talk to me about theory, let's talk about the consequences of your ideology
>on the drug addict who does not believe that God exists. He shoots up,
>exploits society for his or her drug addiction, and then ultimately commits
>suicide (having no hope and no God). This same drug addict with a hope in
>Christ and a love for humanity will lay down his life to save a child from
>drowning. Your ideology kills a child before it is given an opportunity of
>life in the name of expediency and women's rights.

Let's talk about the consequences of your ideology on the poor rapist who believes that masturbation is a sin, but that rape is OK because he can confess it and have Jesus wash away his sins next Sunday. Let's talk about the ideology that keeps young women ignorant of their bodies and leaves them to be victims of the "funny uncles" priests, and Good Christian businessmen on holiday looking for a bit of "fun."

As I am sure you well know, the prisons are not full of atheists, but full of bible believing Christians, all of whom are looking for forgiveness, and all of whom have been assured that Jesus died for their sins, so that, if they believe they will go straight to heaven when they die. They will be your neighbours, and welcome to them.

>Fine, live in your comfortable middle class society and forget about
>everyone else if you will. However, if Christ does exist then we will be
>held accountable. Your religious propaganda only spreads the destructive
>virus of intolerance and hatred toward those who are religious (church
>bombings for example).

The bombings of black churches are almost certainly the work of bigoted KKK type christian racists.

Greg Erwin


[This message was in response to "The Trilemma -- Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?" by Jim Perry.]

I have just finished reading "The Trilemma" and found it very intersting.You points are intellectually and rhetorically sound. As you know, however, Christian faith is so much more than that. It is easy to focus on the form of what Jesus said without concidering the substance. While the options of Lord, Lunatic or Liar may present a false "trichotomy" (I think I made up that word), the bottom line of Christianity is that each person must must decide for himself who Jesus was. Do not be misled by the feeble attempts of humans to communicate God to others only God can show Himself to you. Unfortunately, tht often happens in spite of the volumes of believers who "talk the talk" but have dificulty "walking the walk." Keep up the interesting work. Josh McDowell began his journey doing the exact same thing!!

Internet Infidels' Response #1: Thank you for your comments (I'm the author of the "trilemma" section of _The Jury is In_; Jeffery Jay Lowder, the main force behind that project, forwarded your message to me). I hope it is apparent that the intent of that article, as well (as I understand it) as the rest of the _Jury_ project, is to criticize the quality of the specific arguments McDowell presents in _ETDAV_, rather than criticizing Christianity per se (although some of the contributing authors are in fact critics of Christianity, and more are nonbelievers, there is considerable criticism of McDowell's apologetics even among Christians). Perhaps this should somehow be made clearer; _Jury_ just launches straight into rebutting _ETDAV_ without any statement of purpose etc. (Consider that a suggestion, Jeff; while we're on the topic, the history section of the "revisions" page misidentifies my update of ch. 7 [trilemma] as ch. 5 [a man of history]).

Jim Perry

Internet Infidels' Response #2: I'm not Jim Perry, but I thought I'd chime in anyway. :)

I wanted to thank you for your polite tone. As our Feedback pages make obvious, we receive quite a bit of hate mail from Christians. We genuinely appreciate courteous messages like yours.

Thank you for your interest in our work. It is gratifying to know that it is being read by McDowell supporters.

Best wishes,

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on Josh McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Dear I.Infidels, though I am an accursed Christian fundamentalist (not ashamed to say) I must admit what you had to say was quite stimulating. Though I might agree that some individuals (who call themselves christians) give people a very hard time, don't you think you're stereo-typing all of us into one lump? I can say that to some extent I had some of the experiences that some of the writers of "Walk Away" had, I can't rely on what I experienced as being from God rather I should place whatever blame there is on people.

Apparently you have found imperfect people who are following a perfect God, maybe you should stop looking at people and start understanding who God might be. Unfortuneately you have seen what some imperfect christians had done and will now judge Christ by them. I would agree that if Christ were here today he probably would agree with some of YOUR views. However, he would also remind you that in John chapter 21 that you should never compare yourself with other people but him only.

In any case I'll keep reading your Web pages and might actually learn some more stuff.

Internet Infidels' Response:

I appreciate the sincerity of your message. Believe it or not, the primary purpose of Jury is to criticize McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict", not to refute Christianity. Our complaint with McDowell is not with "imperfect people," but with the poor arguments in ETDAV.

Thanks again for your message. Take care!

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to the "Introduction to The Jury is In:Evidence That Demand a Verdict" by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Why do you want to discredit something that does the many people that I have met in Christian circles such good. For Christianity to be blind faith is true to a certain extent but all people from all facets of life have a certain degree of blind faith (e.g. sitting in a chair, breathing, going to work in a post office and coming home alive). One Christian told me this. He said being "born again" is blind faith at first but the evidence of the changed life a person changes that blind faith to true faith . Many people who have been drug addicts, prostitutes, thieves, etc. change their whole life style to being very respectable people. I've met some of those people and it's amazing to me that if blind faith is so bad, how could it be bad for the people I have met. I am aware that Christianity is not the only religion to change people for the better. Let's face it, many religions can change people's lives for the better because of their structure. I noted this from a friend who was a former Muslim.

What attracted him was the structure. Strangely enough, he did not remain a Muslim. He became a Christian because of some incident involving a flat tire. According to him, he was with a group of Christians on a ride back from a United Way Campaign. Their van hit something and they were without a spare tire or a jack. To make a long story short, the Christians prayed for the immediate needs, while my friend prayed to Allah to help him reach the next gasoline station while the "infidels" behind him prayed for naught. He started heading for the a gas station when he was finished praying but immediately someone arrived with a tire to spare for these strangers. This incident convinced him to attend their church. Some time later he became a Christian. I have experienced things like this too which makes me believe that Christianity is not a blind faith. I've come to doubt my faith sometimes but these experiences make me think otherwise. If what is in the Holy Bible is just religion, I would have left it a long time ago. What the Holy Bible says about itself is convincing to me. I've experience a healing that made my doctor ask me if I had some kind of self-healing power. I have seen cars that would not start at all, start when people prayed to the Christian god for help. How do you explain this? I can understand that people have the ability to believe themselves to health, but didn't Jesus Christ even say, "according to your faith you will be healed." Testimonies like this have surfaced over and over again by different churches. The biggest convincing factor for me on this was when a couple here in the Chicago land area were burned and lost all their children in a freak car fire accident. Those people, who the entire country saw, were strong enough to hold on to their faith even when circumstances showed that they had every reason to lose it. If faith in a Christian god is able to do all these things, which are good, then why try to discredit it?

Experience not books is the best teacher my friend. I'm not simple enough to think that you will change your mind on Christianity but I think you should reexamine what you are doing. Maybe you should consider there is truth to Christianity.

P.S. I don't know if you will be able to respond at the above address. I'm new at using this stuff. I welcome any response you may have.

Internet Infidels' Response:

I appreciate your message. To answer your first question, "Why do you want to discredit something that does the many people that I have met in Christian circles such good?", I will simply state that "Jury" is not to meant to refute Christianity per se. The purpose of "Jury" is to expose the logical and factual errors in Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict". Whether McDowell's book or Christianity has been a benefit to many people is debatable and irrelevant to this purpose.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


I used to be a heathen until God entered my life on his own accord and took me into Heaven.

I was not drunk, stoned or in anyway not sober. I was shocked by what I saw and have seen about 10 times in 10 years.

What I saw was tangible, real, and definable. Everything the gospels say is true. Jesus is Lord, I have seen his thrown!!!

It took me along time to come to terms with being a christian. If you think you can disprove christianity (you would be worth millionsif you could), why not openly refute the findings of Barry Setterfield of Australia that christians value so much. Why not refute the facts as outlaid in Josh McDowells book 'More than a Carpenter' & 'Evidence that demands a Verdict'.

If you really want to impact the body of christ, do as I say, what have you to lose?

Jesus does love you. Keeping looking for a 7 year peace treaty in the middle east, when that happens we have all only got 7 years.

Internet Infidels' Response: We are well aware of Setterfield's and McDowell's work. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/ contains a detailed criticism of "Evidence That Demands a Verdict." http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/dave_matson/young-earth/ contains point-by-point refutations of all major young-earth creationist arguments, including Setterfield's claim that the speed of light has decayed.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

I read your [incomplete] opus re Josh McDowell taken from the WWW (Internet Infidels), "last modified 8 Mar 95." Thanks for your efforts.

Jeff Lowder was also mentioned. Is he the author?

Who is putting together this reply to Josh? I want to know if any progress has been made since March and whether you seek any contributions. How do you solicit entries? Is a committee involved?

I have been involved for 5 years in posting Bible Contradictions and I have found the most frequent source defenders of the faith use is McDowell. That apologist needs a thorough refutation, a fact I'm sure you are well aware. Please inform me of any recent progress--I'm interested in the success of your endeavor.

Sincerely, Kornform, a life long atheist and adversary of the faith.

Internet Infidels' Response: Thanks for your message. I am the editor of _The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's "Evidence"_. It is still under construction. I personally am working on a criticism of chapters 5 and 10, and there are others who are working on their material as well. I recommend you watch the Revisions Page for news about further updated to _Jury_.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


It is interesting to note how intent you are on disproving Josh McDowell. Have you corresponded with the man in order to figure out why you and Josh seem to be at odds with things? Please consider doing it or you may end up eating your own words some day.

Internet Infidels' Response #1: Thanks for your message. We appreciate getting feedback from our readers.

I think it's important to understand that we have no quarrels with Josh McDowell as a person. I have no doubt whatsoever that McDowell sincerely believes everything he has written, and that he is doing what he thinks is right. However, the simple fact is that McDowell uses logically fallacious arguments (e.g., the trilemma) and makes factually incorrect statements ("evolution is only a theory"). Moreover, given that McDowell is one of the most influential Christian apologists of our time, it is only natural that we should him our attention. Please remember that prior to the start of _Jury_, Christians would often cite the fact that no one had ever refuted "Evidence" as evidence for Christianity. (We still continue to get such messages to this day; you can imagine their surprise when we tell them about _Jury_.)

Thanks again for your message. Take care!

Jeffery Jay Lowder

Internet Infidels' Response #2: About three or four years ago, I made a serious attempt to arrange a debate with one of the leading Christian "apologists," so I wrote letters to Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, and Josh McDowell. Both Archer and Geisler answered my letters. Archer refused the challenge, and Geisler accepted but attached to his acceptance conditions that were impossible for me to meet. Later I arranged a debate with Geisler by having the invitation come from a sponsoring student organization at Columbus College in Columbus, Georgia.

One of his conditions for this was that he be paid for his travel expenses. Although I don't remember exactly how much he asked for, I think the amount was $350. The student organization didn't have enough money to meet this demand, so I actually provided most of the money myself. I wrote a personal check for $100 to the student organization and directed a Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship, which had offered me an honorarium of $200 to speak to its group while I was in Columbus, to give the money to the student organization. The balance ($50, I believe) was provided by the student organization. (I don't think that Geisler ever knew that most of the money he received had come from me.) I paid all of my own travel expenses, which were less than $350 even though I had traveled much farther than Geisler.

McDowell never responded to my letter, so I sent him a second one. This one was ignored too. After my debate with Geisler, I wrote to him and suggested a second one that would be held at the seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Geisler is the dean. Geisler answered my letter on seminary stationary to tell me that he didn't have time for another debate, and I noticed on the letterhead that Josh McDowell was on the seminary's advisory board. I then wrote to Geisler to say that if he didn't have time to debate again, perhaps he could persuade McDowell to be my opponent. Geisler did not answer this letter, and I heard nothing from McDowell.

Farrell Till


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's `Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

There are no atheist` in fox holes. Your claims to denounce Christianity are fruitless and hold no water. The Word of God (bible) stands for itself, no one needs to defend it, it defends itself. People can believe what they want to, but in the end the Word of God will stand by itself, it will live forever and so will everyone who puts there trust in it, all those who do not will also find out in the end, and wished they could have had another chance.


[This message was in response to "The Trilemma - Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?" by Jim Perry.]

I think that what I just read was disgusting, untrue, and a message from lunatics. Who are you people that you can denounce our Lord Jesus Christ? You think you have all of this knowledege disproving who Jesus was, you are truly blind men. If you knew the Lord, you would enjoy living a life for him. Instead, it seems that you guys are spending all of your time thinking up ways to discredit Jesus. How boring your lives must be! The joy that Jesus Christ brings is beyond your imagination, unless you accept Him for who He was. I pray for you deeply that your eyes will be open and your computer will break down so that you will have to find a purpose in life. Actually, I'll give you a short cut--it is to live a life for Jesus Christ.


I realize you probably receive a lot of mail from Christians regarding your criticisms of Evidience that demands a Verdict. I found the information interesting and enlightening, though I disagree with much of it. My question to you is why? I mean, Josh McDowell obviously wrote the book because he feels a need to evangelize among those who disagree with him (which I also do). But why did you spend so much time refuting it and putting it into print? Was it for your own curiosity or to evangelize to Christians? I'm asking this question honestly. I have met very few thinking atheists- your article was one of the most engaging criticisms of Christianity I have seen. If you have time, I would appreciate a quick reply as to your motives in writing this. If you don't, that's cool.

Internet Infidels' Response #1:

Atheists criticize Christianity for similar reasons that Christians write books criticizing atheists, and criticizing Catholicism, and criticizing Islam, and criticizing Hinduism and Buddhism and Mormonism etc. It just SEEMS strange to you that YOUR faith might be the focus of such criticism since you may not have read or realized how many scholarly criticisms of your Christian faith exist out there, and you're beginning to grow aware of them, via the Internet, for example.

Ed Babinski

Internet Infidels' Response #2:

Because, for a number of reasons (e.g. _Evidence_ is a concise uncritical compilation of lots of apologetic sources, and is widely disseminated by CCC among the sort of earnest young Christians who are motivated to proselytize), arguments recycled from _Evidence_ are disproportionately represented in forums where religion or atheism are discussed. Many of them are furthermore extremely bad arguments, logically speaking, and so are annoying to atheists and embarrassing to thinking Christians. [I consider myself a thinking atheist and have a number of thinking Christian friends, relatives, and acquaintances]. Some of the specific arguments are addressed in "Frequently Asked Questions" files in newsgroups such as alt.atheism, but Jeffery Jay Lowder undertook to organize a systematic rebuttal to the whole thing (an extremely ambitious, though nonetheless laudable, project).

As far as I know most of the contributors to the _Jury_ project are indeed from the atheist end of things, but note that in itself _Jury_ is not intended as a criticism of *Christianity*, but of a particular collection of logically and otherwise flawed apologetic arguments *for* Christianity. Again, I know a number of Christians who have no higher opinion of _Evidence_ than I or other atheists do, and indeed I know some who've indicated that it's not only stupid but outright and dangerous lies, a tool of [in so many words] the Father of Lies (i.e. that "conversion" through dishonest/fallacious arguments does the faith no service, and in fact does honest faith a disservice).

There are many ways to take your "thinking atheists" comment. I'll charitably take it as indication that you haven't met many mature atheists. There was a time a while back when I would have recommended a visit to alt.atheism, but things there have degenerated of late, and no equivalent to what it used to be has surfaced. You might consider reading alt.atheism.moderated for a while.

If more people were better able to recognize bad reasoning, or more generally if arguments from _Evidence_ weren't repeated so often, there would be no reason to bother. But they are repeated, and they are bad reasoning, so it's worth at least having a canned rebuttal on hand for the next time someone puts forth the "trilemma" argument (etc.)

Jim Perry


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury is In: The Ruling on McDowell's `Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Hello Jeff,

Just a quick note to share with you my pleasure of having found your manuscript. I am in the process of printing them all out as I wish to have them in hardcopy form.

I don't know whether you are aware of this, but in your home page, the chapters 2 5 6 and 12 are in black, meaning that they are not hyperlinked (?). How do I access them? A reply would be appreciated.

A further question, what exactly is the purpose of your critique, and how can outsiders, like me, engage in this exercise? The reason I ask this question is that my own conviction has become (over a lifetime of struggling with it) that the original Christian message has become corrupted, and is in dire need of being re-imaged!

Again, thank you for your effort, and hoping to hear from you.

Internet Infidels' Response:

Patience. We are in the process of writing the files you can't access, as well as re-writing some of the files you can read.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury is In: The Ruling on McDowell's `Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Wow! I am impressed to see anyone read McDowell's book. His argument is sound on a Biblical side, but I see that in a court of law some of his evidences are not solid nor are his witnesses unbiased. I hate to say it, but you guys did your homework as the prosecution. I don't think the jury's in, but I certainly know I need to look at the way I present the Bible to an unbeliever as well as to the believer.

I know that your presentation uses the Bible towards its own end, such as quoting Paul. Then discrediting Paul, two sections later, as unreliable. I liked the direct attack on the Resurrection, very to the point! Can I disagree? Sure, but does that discredit your accusations? No. From here, I will be studing closer my own ideas and interpretations of the Biblical accounts of Easter morn as then I can stand on a rebuttal. As Chambers implies, struggle is the reward itself for words gained to enlighten those in darkness. I'm preaching on your platform...pretty good, eh?

What guts! I honestly could not believe you linked to the Bible. Not just once, but several times. I am willing to bet that at least one person, in the next year, will be saved by a passage that you have linked to in "The Jury." I know Christian arrogance is dangerous, but I experienced the power of God's Word in my life through a outlet similar to this. I liked the way you noted McDowell's own conversion was not based on the evidence, but God's love. I, as well, have no solid, provable grounds for my faith, aside my human experience, which led me to belief in God's Word.

I hate your logic because it is so good! 'If God was man, wouldn't he write His own book'... Good presuppositional requirement. Robby, you got me on that! I love good debate, this is like arguing political platforms. No winners, just voters choosing and candidates knowing the truth in their own eyes. I hope you enjoyed this, also!


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Thanks! Someone had to do this. You did a great job.


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

I have enjoyed reading your work. I read McDowell's book several years ago and after the first few pages started calling is "Evidence That Demands a Yawn". All of your information is welcome keep up the good work all of you.


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Hi. I was just checking our your site, and I was wondering if there's a hard copy of The Jury Is In document, parts of which you have on line (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/). If you do, I'd be interested in getting a copy of it. Thanks.

Internet Infidels' Response:

There is no hard copy available, and we do not presently have any plans to distribute "The Jury Is In" in printed form. If someone can introduce us to a publisher who would allow us to electronically publish the materials while keeping the document freely available on the Web, we would gladly have them make hard copies available.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

 

It is truly heart-wrenching the fact that you have HELL to pay for your denial of the God of scriptures. This web sight is blasphemous, and "He who sit's in the Heavens laughs" at your future punishment in an eternal, agonizing lake of fire where you will most certainly go if you don't repent in time!!

May God NOT have mercy on your soul

Internet Infidels' Response:

Before your attempt at bullying us into salvation can possibly be effective, you will need to prove to us the existence of God and Hell and the truth of Christian claims. Without evidence to that effect, your threats will only amuse, not frighten. May I ask what your evidence is for the existence of God? Of Hell? What evidence is there for Christian claims, and why is that evidence sound?

Sincerely,

Robby Berry

"Standing up to metaphysical bullies since 1990."


[This message was in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

I was wondering since you are an expert on making up myths. I want to know how to write four books about an imaginary person claiming that person did incredible miracles. The books are by four imaginary authors. Of course we must convince millions of people that they are true. We could make millions. I shall be waiting for an answer because I realy could use the money.


I am not asking to be an anti-thot being, quite the opposite!!!! (: Have you ever read the book titled "THE RESURRECTION FACTOR by Josh McDowell? It seems to answer,in a very thoughtful and logical way some of your questions abouth the resurrection. also the EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT VOL.I & II. only two anyway. I am offering this in a fellow searcher of truth manner. I would love to cultivate a friendship with you (all) and i do not necessarily view it as an Us vs, Them thing either. OK :)

Internet Infidels' Response:

Yes, I have read all of the McDowell books you list, plus many others not listed by you. In fact, I'm the editor of an on-line rebuttal to McDowell's EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT. The rebuttal is entitled THE JURY IS IN: THE RULING ON MCDOWELL'S "EVIDENCE" and is available on the Web at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/. Also, you might find of interest my undergraduate thesis on the resurrection. It's available at http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jesus_resurrection/. Hope this helps.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

 

I would like to see your documentation in saying that:

1) the Bible is full of contradictions
2) that the disciples weren't disciples
3) that Luke doesn't precede Acts, and the dates of when they were written

I just want to verify whether you have proof of what you're saying so that I can weigh it as true/false, or whether your inventing cleverly constructed ideas. Do you have a vendetta against McDowell, or are you pursuing this with integrity? I just want to know... Thanks.

Internet Infidels' Response:

I might be wrong -- I frequently am - and if that is the case, I want to be corrected. But I'm not sure where in Jury we claimed any of the above three contentions. Can you show us where we wrote this?

Jeffery Jay Lowder


I read your comments on Josh McDowell and in them you implied you could disprove christianity as well as the ressurection of jesus christ. Do you think you could e-mail me something on that? Although i was (and am being even now) brought up by christian parents, I am still interested in making an informed decision on religion. Thank You.

PS: I promise not to run out to my pastor when i get your letter hoping to disprove whatever is in it as soon as possible. Whatever you sent will be for my own use only.


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

 

Hello, Jeff. My name is XXXX, and I'm a freshman at YYYY. I've already written to a student organization ... that is involved in atheistic/agnostic views. I'm a Christian (keep reading!) and have found my faith challenged here at school. My mind, however, has not been changed, and these questions and doubts have strengthened my faith. Your critique of Mr. Bright's statement was very insightful, by the way.

My main proposition is this: I am interested in organizing a debate between a Christian advocate (i.e., Josh McDowell) and an atheistic advocate (i.e., yourself?) I would strongly reason that my intentions are by no means to "prove" or "disprove" God, the Bible, etc. Rather, I am interested in an experience whereas both sides of an issue are given equal representation to present their views to the audience. I suggest a limited topic, such as, "Is the Bible accurate? or something along those lines. One of the reasons that I've contacted you is to prevent any "slant" by being the one in charge of bringing the parties together. And realistically, my plan is still very much in its infant stages - any suggestions, criticisms would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Internet Infidels' Response:

I am flattered that you would consider me as a possible debate opponent of Josh McDowell. However, I have serious reservations about oral debates.

First, speaking as a former interscholastic debater myself, time limits greatly decrease the quality of such debates. Time limits necessarily limit how much each debater may say, even though the topic is very complex. They also force the debater to be able to extemporaneously devise arguments. All too often I have known debaters who have thought of excellent arguments, only a day too late. I'm more interested in getting all the arguments out for discussion, rather than seeing who's quicker on their feet.

Second, it is unclear what value such debates have. I recently organized a debate between Farrell Till and Michael Horner on the historicity of Jesus' resurrection, and I left wondering if the debate was indeed worth all the work. It is my experience that people generally go into debates waiting for their side to score the most "points" and usually do not give the other side a fair chance.

However, I don't want to rule out any dialogue with McDowell. When the Internet Infidels finish "Jury", we plan to send a copy to Josh McDowell. If he is interested, we will electronically publish his rebuttal on the Secular Web. I think that written debates are much more valuable than oral debates.

There was a time when I would have jumped at the oppurtunity to debate against Josh McDowell. But I now think that written debates are much more valuable.

Hope this helps!

Jeffery Jay Lowder


[This was in response to "In Defense of Evolution" by Internet Infidel Mark Vuletic.]

 

Please allow me to comment. You failed to cite your credentials so forgive me if I make any false assumptions about your knowledge. So you may know my credentials up front I will state them. As to both science and Christianity, I am a laymen. I am a mathematician by degree and a software engineer by experience. I have been a student of both science and the Bible for over 35 years. I am not fluent in either Greek or Hebrew but do understand how to do word and translation studies and have spent considerable time reading the works of scholars in both these languages and also that of other Biblical scholars.

The place I would like to start in this discussion is to discuss bias. I fully admit bias. Having a bias is not synonymous with having a closed mind. Having a bias merely establishes my starting point. My bias is believing that there is a God and that the Bible is His infallible word. This is not the place to make a defense of this belief. I would direct you to a book by Josh McDowell called "Evidence That Demands a Verdict" ISBN 0-918956-46-3 for the work of a skeptic who set out to disprove the Bible and became a believer after he considered the evidence. His bias was that of a non believer yet his bias did not prevent him from examining the truth and changing his basic beliefs. You may choose to not believe in God. That too is a bias. I seek explanations consistent with observable facts and what the Bible says. You may choose to explain everything without allowing for the existance of God. The problem with that point of view would be similar to saying that it is impossible for a person to be in Los Angeles at one time then in New York four hours later without allowing for the existance of airplanes. If you eliminate the answer before you start, you will be forced to come to wrong conclusions.

Now to creation versus evolution. Both are beliefs. Unfortunately neither of us can put cosmology in a test tube and observe it happening. You look at similar design and conclude common ancestor...

I look at similar design and conclude common designer. You say that all animal life has similar DNA. God could have designed different kinds of DNA and half of our country could be on AC and the other half on DC, but that would add unnecessary complication. What we do know about DNA is that the amount of information contained in the nucleus of a cell, is equivalent to millions of web pages can be read by something the size of a cell and totally duplicated in about 20 minutes. That speaks to me of design, not chance... just as the Internet speaks of design not chance. I never cease to be amazed how some can look at a flower in a clay pot and conclude that the flower in all it's beauty is a product of random chance while the clay pot is undeniably a product of intelligence. But going on...

For this part of my discussion, I would refer you to the book "Starlight and Time" by D. Russel Humphreys, Ph.D. ISBN 0-89051-202-7 Contained in this book is an excellent discussion of a theory which is totally consistent with relativistic physics, the size of the universe, and a young earth. It also deals with the supposed conflicting creation accounts. Most simply put, the first account in Genesis 1 is given as a chronological account. It says things like "first day". It uses Hebrew idioms which indicate sequence and every where else used refer to 24 hour days. The second account has no such ordering. Just as you might discuss your vacation chronologically or topically. You might talk about the great fishing holes you found in the order you found them or by the kinds of lures you used. No problem. You have made the common mistake of thinking that believing the Bible to be the literal word of God means that it cannot contain literary styles. Taking that approach would make canibals out of the disciples for Jesus said to them "Take, eat, this is my body which is broken for you." Actually the whole argument of taking the Bible literally has nothing to do with these passages. In the passage in Genesis 2 it says the Lord did this and the Lord did that. It doesn't use words that imply order. If I were to say I've been to California Washington, Oregon, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, etc. That doesn't mean that I went to them in that order. Your arguments are very weak there. But, we go on. You speak of the multitudes of fossils which vary in complexity but fail to point out that each fossil is fully formed and capable of carying on life. If there are all these transitional forms, being transitional, they should be the weaker ones and should be found in abundance, yet we don't find a single one. Every fossil we find represents a completed design very similar to species that are found today.

I might go on, but at this point I'd rather pause and let you ponder what I've said. It is obvious from your article that you have had to deal with some rather zealous and even hostile creationists. I apologize for what appears to have been rudeness on their part. I mean no disrespect when I say that there are many partial truths in your statements of what we believe. Undoubtedly you have not had the opportunity to read and study the material in entirety and in context.

I leave you with this thought. If there is a creator and he did create the world in 6 days or 4.5 billion years. If the Bible is his word, and true as it stands, then we will one day stand before him. Then I would assume that you would rather stand in the final day before Him forgiven. If on the other hand, as you seem to believe, we are all cosmic accidents and simply rot back into the earth when we die, I will not have lost anything having lived a life in which I found purpose and fulfillment. Simply denying the existance of God makes you no less bound by His laws that denying the laws of gravity allows you you to jump off the Golden Gate bridge.

Prov 26:12


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

 

We have been looking at the page on the rebuttal of Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands a Verdict".

A number of the points have links to responses which do not yet appear to be working. Could you please give some idea of when these responses may be available?

Internet Infidels' Response:

I won't make any promises, but we hope to have this done within six months. Please check our "Jury Revision Page" for the latest information on revision plans and history of "Jury".


[This message was sent in response to "The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's 'Evidence'" edited by Jeffery Jay Lowder.]

Have you or when are you going to publish the refutation of McDowell? I'm anxious to read this much needed piece. This is definitely my favorite place on the internet. Keep up the good WORD.

Internet Infidels' Response:: Well, we have considered publishing The Jury Is In: The Ruling on McDowell's Evidence, but there are at least two reasons why we have not done so. First, we haven't even finished it yet! We are in the process of rewriting several of the sections, and other sections have yet to be written. Jury is a long-term project. Second, we're not sure how publication would affect the on-line version. We would only pursue printed publication of Jury if we were allowed to keep the on-line version on the Secular Web.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


I just wanted to say that I'm really glad that your organization has seen fit to make criticisms of Josh McDowell's books available to the public. I was recently hounded about my religious beliefs and told that I should really read McDowell's books by someone I thought was a friend. I found the book that I tried to read ("More than a Carpenter") to be a crock of...well, I won't say! I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who felt that they were full of inconsistancies. Keep up the good work!

Internet Infidels' Response: Your message is just another testimony to the need for McDowell refutations. McDowell supporters often wonder why we spend so much time on our McDowell refutations, but the only reason we even bother is because so many Christians enthusiastically endorse his works. If we did not have McDowell slammed down our throat so much, we would not make the effort.

Jeffery Jay Lowder


We'll give Berry a bit of a break here, because he notes Jim Lippard as the source of this information. Lippard, not surprisingly, has botched all three of these attempts:

1) Jeremiah 22:30 states:

This is what the Lord says; Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule anymore in Judah.

Far from saying that Jeconiah will be childless, this verse acknowledges that Jeconiah will have/has children (offspring)! He is to be recorded as if childless because none of his descendants will receive an inheritance from him.

2) Jeremiah 34:4b-5a says:

You (Zedekiah) will not die by the sword. You will die peacefully...

Jeremiah has only prophesied that Zedekiah will not die by the sword, that is, in battle. That he died in a Babylonian prison (Jer. 52) does not qualify as dying "by the sword," unpleasant though such a situation might be!

3) Jeremiah 29:10 says:

This is what the Lord says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."

This verse says nothing about the Exile. The seventy years begins at 605 BC, the year Babylon defeated Assyria and became the ruling power in the area, and ends in 535, the year that the foundations of the new Temple were laid down, symbolizing the return of the Jewish people from the Babylonian captivity.

John Patrick Holding

Internet Infidels' Response:

If you're going to accuse me of "botching" something (and "not surprisingly" at that), you could at least take the time to read what I said first instead of relying on secondhand sources. First here's what you said, then I'll give you what I actually wrote.

[snip quotation of Holding, reproduced above]

But the problems for these prophecies run even deeper. Is Jesus actually of the tribe of Judah, the family line of Jesse, and the house of David? The sole evidence for this is two sets of genealogies for Jesus, in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. Both of these trace Jesus' lineage through his father, Joseph. If the virgin birth story is taken seriously, then Jesus lacks the proper ancestry. On the other hand, if the genealogy in Matthew is taken seriously, then Jesus has as an ancestor Jeconiah (Matthew 1:12), of whom the prophet Jeremiah said, "Write this man down as childless, a man who will not prosper in his days, for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah." (Jeremiah 22:30) The genealogy in Luke suffers from the same problem, since it includes Shealtiel and Zerubbabel, both of whom were descendents of Jeconiah.

I stand behind my criticism, which you have not addressed. My point is that the prophecy specifically says that none of Jeconiah's descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David, yet that's exactly what it is claimed that Jesus will do. Your response to Berry fails to address this.

Jim Lippard

Top
Support Us