Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Don't Have Faith in Geisler and Turek!

I'm writing a book that will catalogue and critique every theistic argument ever made* and so I thought it would be a good idea to get Turek and Geisler's book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

It seemed like a good repository of standard theistic and evangelical arguments, something that would be useful for me. And it is. So I wrote a review of it, which you'll see here. I think I've written a "must-read" review for anyone who has read that book. I expose so much BS that most people would never even realize was there. In fact, take a look at it even if you haven't read the book, you may get a kick out of it!

Must return to writing book now. That is all. [click]


* I say "all" but what I mean is every one that I have heard and every one that you are remotely likely to hear. I'm sure you'll always be able to drag up some obscure argument that I never saw because it was only ever made in one fundamentalist book from the 1930's that only sold 200 copies.

6 comments:

Apenuut said...

Looking forward to your book, any eta?

John Myste said...

I don't have time to finish your article. I will, probably later today.

I do have a request though. When you get your list of every argument ever made can you give me a brief one-line summary of the arguments? I am not tasking you to summarize them, but to just give me the list.

Thanks,
John

John Myste said...

Two things: Firstly, I read your review. It was the most entertaining of your articles I have read to date. You MUST post it here. I want to link to it (in a blog list, not a blog post) and I am not willing to link to Amazon in this way.

Moreover, though I am sure you have all of them, I gather quite a bit of data for a post I never completed that was a satirical view of the contradictions in the Bible. I did not realize that you were going into the Christian Bible so much as doing an overview of theism.

If you are talking about Christianity, I should send you the list, even though you probably have discovered or realized most of them. There is quite a bit of data scattered on my machine in this regard.

Additionally, I am interested in your manuscript and I will purchase the book when you complete it (at least that is my current stance).

Therefore, add me to to your list of people to notify when it is complete. Who knows if I will still be blogging then.

JMyste@Gmail.com.

Defaithed said...

Your Amazon review is awesome (I wrote about it at http://www.defaithed.com/2011/09/cross-to-bear-bible-authors-struggle-to-keep-details-straight ). I have a basic awareness of the Bible's many inconsistencies and flaws as a historical document, but you've outlined some I wasn't aware of (like the conflicting Gospel stories of who carried the cross).

Thanks for the lesson!

Robin Schumacher said...

Interesting review, but a few comments are in order. I don't have time to go through each point, but for starters...

He makes a big deal of who carried the cross. The verse says, "They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between (John 19:17-18).

So Jesus goes out with the cross, falters along the way because of His beatings, and Simon is pressed into service to finish the journey. Problem solved.

He also says, "Item #11 says that "Christ's command to eat his flesh and drink his blood would not be made up." On the contrary, it must have been made up. As New Testament scholar Gerd Ludemann put it, "Can one seriously imagine a pious Jewish teacher of righteousness inviting his followers to partake, even symbolically, of his flesh and blood?" (see page 203, Sources of the Jesus Tradition: Separating History from Myth). Judaism had prohibitions on consuming blood, see Leviticus 17:10."

The Old Testament law also had dietary prohibitions, which Jesus declared obsolete (cf. Mark 7:19). He broke the Sabbath too. Covington also fails to say that Gerd Ludemann is a fellow atheist. Lastly, the Bible specifically says this statement caused many to walk away from Him (cf. John 6:66). This was a standard "hard saying" of Jesus to separate the pack, so to speak as He routinely did. Bottom line, Covington has no way of ever making his claim of `things were made up' stick.

He also says, "Item #7 says that the pool of Bethesda did not exist in 70 AD. No reference is cited, but that is false. The pool of Bethesda has continually existed from the first century to today and even the church father Origen, writing in the early third century, knew about it. See pages 29-32 of The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (Oxford Archaeological Guides). (If you go to google books you can view the portion I have cited)."

Geisler's book doesn't say that the pool of Bethesda didn't exist until A.D. 70, but rather the "five colonnades at the pool" didn't exist "after the Romans destroyed the city in A.D. 70". Not sure if Covington is just too eager to prove Geisler & Turek wrong that he's not taking the time to read carefully or what.

Lastly, notice he picks 7 things (3 of which we've already refuted above) out of 59 items to call out as wrong. Even if they are wrong (and we've shown at least that 3 aren't), what about the other 52?

AIGBusted said...

"So Jesus goes out with the cross, falters along the way because of His beatings, and Simon is pressed into service to finish the journey. Problem solved."

John doesn't say that, he says that Jesus carried his own cross.

"The Old Testament law also had dietary prohibitions, which Jesus declared obsolete (cf. Mark 7:19)."

True, the gospel of Mark does put away prohibitions against certain meats, but I feel like the prohibition against drinking blood is far more serious and in a different category than pork.

"Covington also fails to say that Gerd Ludemann is a fellow atheist."

So what if he's an atheist? Why would that be important to mention?

"Lastly, the Bible specifically says this statement caused many to walk away from Him."

Could you be specific as to how this is relevant to our discussion?

"Geisler's book doesn't say that the pool of Bethesda didn't exist until A.D. 70, but rather the 'five colonnades at the pool' didn't exist 'after the Romans destroyed the city in A.D. 70.' Not sure if Covington is just too eager to prove Geisler & Turek wrong that he's not taking the time to read carefully or what."

I reread p.264 of Geisler and Turek, and they do not specify that "the five colannades" didn't exist. They say that (and I'm paraphrasing) the pool was discovered *just as John described* (implying it had not been altered or destroyed) and that if John had been a later noneyewitness he probably would not have known about the pool since the city was destroyed in 70 AD (which implies that after 70 AD the pool would have to be inaccessible; if it had been accessible and known about after that then this bit of info would not prove that John wrote before 70). Those statements are provably false, as I demonstrated when I cited "The Holy Land: An Oxford Archaeological Guide."

Lastly, notice he picks 7 things (3 of which we've already refuted above) out of 59 items to call out as wrong. Even if they are wrong (and we've shown at least that 3 aren't), what about the other 52?

I have several things to say about that:

1. Since you did not respond to every item that I wrote, how can you expect me to respond to every item Geisler and Turek write?

2. This statement is a diversionary tactic, just like when a magician gets you to look in one direction so you won't catch him pulling a card out of his sleeve. I created this list to show that the gospels do indeed contain historical errors and that some of the reasoning T&G use to support the accuracy of the gospels is flawed. You cannot refute that point by showing that the gospels/and or T&G aren't always wrong.

3. I already did address the other items when I said that many of them are unimpressive.