Issue No. 57

Paul--The Deceptive Disciple (Part Three of a Six-part Series)--This month's commentary will conclude an analysis begun two issues ago in which Paul not only contradicts himself but other parts of Scripture as well. (45) "Now when they {Paul and Timothy--Ed.} had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden by the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia" (Acts 16:6) versus "...but he (Paul--Ed.) himself stayed in Asia for a season" (Acts 19:22), "Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded...." (Acts 19:26), "And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:10), and (2 Cor. 1:8, Acts 20:4, 18). Paul supposedly had the Holy Spirit; yet, he ignored its commandment not to go into Asia. (46) "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?" (1 Cor. 11:14) versus "For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head...." (Judges 13:5), "All the days of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow" (Num. 6:5), and (1 Sam. 1:11). If long hair is a shame as Paul alleged, then why was it associated with holiness in the OT? (47) "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace...." (1 Cor. 14:33), "Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace...." (2 Thess. 3:16), "Now the God of peace be with you all" (Rom. 15:33) and (Heb. 13:20) versus "The Lord is a man of war...." (Ex. 15:3), "Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight" (Psalm 144:1), "For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29), and (Judges 9:23, 1 Sam. 16:14, 2 Thess. 2:11). (48) "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are" (1 Cor. 3:16-17 RSV) versus "And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the 250 men" (Num. 16:35), "The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up" (1 Sam. 2:6), "Who smote great nations, and slew mighty kings...." (Psalm 135:10), "See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me; I kill, and I make alive" (Deut. 32:39), and (Num. 21:6, 25:17, Joshua 10:40, 1 Sam. 15:18). If God destroys those who destroy God's temples, will he destroy himself? Or is this another example of: Do as I say not as I do. (49) "And every priest stareth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sin" (Heb. 10:11) versus "...and the priest shall burn them upon the altar...and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him" (Lev. 4:35), "And one kid of the goats for a sin offering to make an atonement for you" (Num. 29:5), "And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself" (Lev. 17:11), and (Lev. 4:26). Paul said that sacrifices could never take away sins when the OT clearly stated sacrifices could atone for sins. (50) "The merchants among the people shall hiss at thee (Tyre--Ed.); thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt be any more" (Ezek. 27:36), "...and shall set thee (Tyre--Ed.) in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old...that thou be not inhabited....thou shalt be no more; though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord God" (Ezek. 26:20-21) and Ezek. 26:14) versus "Now when we (Paul and his party--Ed.) had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria and landed at Tyre" (Acts 21:3) and "when we had finished our course from Tyre...." (Acts 21:7). How could Paul have sailed from Tyre in the NT when it was abolished in the OT? (51) "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners...his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper" (Psalm 1:1-3)" versus ...some (the judges and prophets--Ed.) were tortured.... Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated...." (Heb. 11:35-37 RSV). The judges and prophets Paul speaks of can not say that "whatsoever they did prospered." (52) "Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression" (Rom. 5:14) and "Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation.... For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners...." (Rom. 5:18-19) versus "The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers, every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (Deut. 24:16, 2 Chron. 25:4, 2 Kings 14:6, Ezek. 18:20, Jer. 31:30) and (Rom. 2:6, Ezek. 18:4). (53) "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh (whom Christians say is Jesus--Ed.) come...." (Gen. 49:10) versus "And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul...." (Acts 13:21). Paul refuted Gen. 49:10. He noted that a king was established in the person of Saul before the advent of Shiloh. Apparently the sceptre had fallen before Saul appeared. (54) "...we speak not as pleasing men, but God which trieth our hearts" (1 Thess. 2:4), "Not with eye-service, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ,...." and (Eph. 6:6), "...for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Gal. 1:10) versus "Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved" (1 Cor. 10:33), "Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification" (Rom. 15:2), and "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak; I am made all things to all men...." (1 Cor. 9:22). (55) "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river" (Ex. 1:22) and "the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months" (Ex. 2:2) versus "By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment" (Heb. 11:23). Paul's statement must be false. If the woman was not afraid, why did she hide her son, Moses? (56) "Who will render to every man according to his deeds" (Rom. 2:6), "...whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. 11:15), "(For not the hearers of the law are just before God) but the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom. 2:13), "Every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour" (1 Cor. 3:8) and (Gal. 6:7-8, Eph. 6:8, 2 Cor. 5:10, 1 Cor. 7:19) versus "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom. 3:28), "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ...." (Gal. 2:16), "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith" (Gal. 3:11) and (Heb. 10:38, 11:6, Rom. 11:6, 1:16-17, 3:20, 4:13, 5:1, 2 Cor. 5:7, Gal. 5:6). Paul repeatedly states that one's ultimate reward and salvation are based on faith, while simultaneously contending they are based on works and good deeds. In addition, that which follows shows Paul can't even come to a definite conclusion as to whether or not the Old Law should be heeded. (57) "...for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:l0), "...the doers of the law shall be justified" (Rom. 2:13), "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law" (Rom. 3:31), "Know ye not, brethren, that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?" (Rom. 7:1), " worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things that are written in the law and the prophets" (Acts 24:l4), "it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings" (Lev. 23:14, 21, 31, 41) and (Rom. 2:25, 7:12, Gal. 3:l2, 19, Acts 28:17,23, 1 Cor. 14:34) versus "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter" (Rom. 7:6), "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law...." (Gal. 3:13), "...blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us...nailing it to the cross" (Col. 2:14), "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ" (Rom. 7:4), and (Rom. 6:14, 10:4, Gal. 2:16, 19, 21, 3:24-25, 5:2-4, 18, Eph. 2:15, Col. 2:16, Heb. 7:19, 1 Cor. 8:8--Also note: Acts 15:1-2, 28-29, 21:21, 24-25, 13:39, Rom. 2:27-29, 3:20, 4:14-15, 14:3-6, 14, 17-20, 23, 1 Cor. 7:18-19, 10:23-25, 27-29, 32-33, Gal. 4:21-31, 3:11, Phil. 3:7, 9, Col 2:20-23, 1 Tim. 4:4, Heb. 8:8). (58) Several problems accompany Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus: (A) "And the men which journeyed with him (a) stood speechless, (b) hearing a voice, but seeing no man" (Acts 9:7) versus "And when (a) we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me" (Acts 26:14) and "they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they (b) heard not the voice of him that spake to me" (Acts 22:9). (B) "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor. 9:1) and "last of all he was seen of me also" (1 Cor. 15:8) versus "And he (Paul--Ed.) fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him; Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight" (Acts 9:4, 8-9). Nowhere in Acts 9:4-9 or Acts 22:7-9 and 26:14-15, which discuss the same events, does the narrative say Paul saw Jesus. Indeed, he had his eyes open only briefly and only heard him. (C) "...Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? and the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city and it shall be told thee what thou must do" (Acts 9:6) and "I said, what shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do, and when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came to Damascus" (Acts 22:10-11) versus "...rise and stand upon thy feet; for I (Jesus--Ed.) have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;...the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light...." (Acts 26:16-18). Did Paul receive his specific instructions on the road to Damascus or later in the city? (D) Contrary to previously-quoted Acts 9:8, 22:10-11 and 26:19-20, which say Paul went straight to Damascus after his conversion, Gal. 1:15-17 ("But when it pleased reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem...but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus") says he went to Arabia first. (59) "...and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor. 3:17) and "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Jesus Christ" (Gal. 3:28). One need only read Issue #8 to see widespread biblical support for slavery and female subjugation. (60) "...for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible...and the mortal must put on immortality..." (1 Cor. 15:52-53) and (Rom. 2:7 RSV, Rom. 6:23, 1 Cor. 15:16, 21) versus "For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies so dies the has no advantage over the beasts.... All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth" (Eccle. 3:19-21 RSV, 9:5-6) and (1 Tim. 6:15-16). (61) "By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac...offered up his only begotten son...." (Heb. 11:17) versus "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman" (Gal. 4:22) and "Abram was 86 when Hagar bare Ishmael to Abram" plus "Abram was 100 when his son Isaac was born unto him" (Gen. 16:16 & 21:5). Ishmael was 14 years older than Isaac, so Isaac couldn't have been the only son. (62) " (Paul's--Ed.) knowledge in the mystery of Christ which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets...." (Eph. 3:4-5) and "...even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but is made manifest to his saints...." (Col. 1:26) versus "For there is no respect of persons with God" (Rom. 2:11), "...knowing that your Master is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him" (Eph. 6:9) and (Deut. 10:17, 32:4, Col. 3:25). As was shown by #43 in the prior Issue, God clearly plays favorites. (63) "...if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law" (Gal. 3:21) versus "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the Lord" (Lev. 18:5) and "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them" (Rom. 10:5). Contrary to Gal. 3, Lev. 18 and Rom. 10 say the law can give life. (64) "For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than the necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols and from blood...." (Acts 15:28-29) and (Acts 15:20, 21:25) versus "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience" (1 Cor. 10:25 RSV), "But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not are we the worse" (1 Cor. 8:8), "If one of the unbelievers invites you to whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience" (1 Cor. 10:27) and (Col. 2:16). Paul is contradictory with respect to whether all meats can be eaten. (65) "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy" (Ex. 20:8) versus "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days" (Col. 2:16). (66) "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all" (Rom. 11:32) and (1 Tim. 2:4) versus "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth" (Rom. 9:18. (67) "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves...for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19) versus "...yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge" (2 Cor. 7:11) and (2 Cor. 10:5-6). And lastly, (68) "there is none other God but one" (1 Cor. 8:4) and "But to us there is but one God, the Father...." (1 Cor. 8:6) versus "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...." (Gen. 1:26) and "the Lord God said, Behold the man is become as one of us to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). How can God be singular when he refers to himself as "our" and "us"?


Letter #225 from Robert Bowman Jr. of the Christian Research Institute Continues from Last Month (Part c)

My point was that your newsletter gave the distinct impression that the Bible "is filled with a disproportionately high number of errors." I would still like to know what explanation you would give for concluding that the Bible contains far more errors and self-contradictions than any other merely human book.

Editor's Response to Letter #225 (Part c)

Remember, Robert, the Bible is not a book; it's a compilation of books and writings. The myriad of difficulties contained therein are primarily attributable to the fact that you are dealing with a volume composed over approximately 1,500 years by 40 to 50 different writers, few of whom seem to be very concerned with what the others said.

Another major source of biblical inconsistencies lies in the tremendous amount of repetition from Genesis to Revelation. Deuteronomy repeats much of Exodus; the gospels are repetitious as is much of Proverbs, etc. Understandably, in the absence of correlation, inconsistencies are a foregone conclusion.

Letter #225 Continues (Part d)

I am not assuming the inerrancy of the Bible when I suggest that your methodology in biblical criticism is faulty. Rather, I am merely assuming the humanness of the Bible's authors. If they were ordinary human beings, they would not have contradicted themselves as often as you seem to think they do.

Editor's Response to Letter #225 (Part d)

First, you suggest my "methodology in biblical criticism is faulty" but provide no evidence to that effect. Your assertion rests more on opinion than proof. Secondly, why do you assume there are a limited number of times "ordinary human beings" can contradict themselves. I've never noticed any restrictions of that nature. The number of times people contradict themselves varies dramatically from person to person and group to group. The Bible's authors could easily be within one of the less consistent groups. That's quite understandable when you are dealing with a volume composed over many centuries by many people. And finally, what you or I feel or "seem to think" is of little consequence. The question is what the facts show.

Letter #225 Continues (Part e)

The reason why you feel "little stress" when looking for errors in the Bible is that your methodology makes it too easy. I challenge you to take any collection of writings--say, the Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Edwards, or The Federalist Papers--and try to find enough contradictions to fill a page of your newsletter. I suggest you will find it difficult to do; and if so, it will be either because you adopt a different methodology or the Bible really is a different sort of collection of writings.

Editor's Response to Letter #225 (Part e)

I'd use the same methodology regardless of the book being analyzed, Robert; so that's not really germane. The other writings you mentioned could easily have less inconsistencies which would account for the fact that I couldn't "find enough contradictions to fill a page" of BE. That would have little to do with my methodology. It could be that they simply aren't there. That's why I could very well "find it difficult to do." Why imply my approach is different, flawed, or unfair. Why couldn't it just be that the Bible has a far greater number of problems than most books and in that sense it "really is a different sort of collection of writings."

Letter #225 Concludes (Part f)

I do not believe Jesus ever contradicted Himself. My point was that if He were only human, while He would probably have contradicted Himself occasionally, He would not have done so as often as your newsletters suggest.

Editor's Response to Letter #225 (Part f)

Again, what you or I believe is irrelevant, Robert. The question is: What does the evidence show? Secondly, you are again engaged in a numbers game of assuming that there are limits on the number of times mortals can contradict themselves. Why do you assume that because humans probably contradict themselves occasionally, Jesus and/or the Bible's authors could not have contradicted one another to a much greater degree? You are assuming the very point in dispute, namely, those connected with the Bible are somehow superior to, rather than equal or inferior to, the average human being.

Letter #228 from VM of Del Mar, California (Part a)

Dear Dennis...I really enjoy BE, and have been using some of your arguments in debates with Christians. The results have been interesting! In response to the question "What did Jesus do that had not already been done?" (BE #3), they claimed he not only had the power to forgive sins, but also allowed himself to be worshipped (Matt. 28:17); something which both the Old and New Testaments reserve only for God Himself (e.g., Rev. 22:8-9).

Editor's Response to Letter #228 (Part a)

Dear VM. Did the people with whom you conversed provide evidence of things Jesus did that corroborate his power to forgive sin. Apparently they merely "claimed" as much and "claims' or "assertions" prove nothing. Many people have claimed a wide assortment of powers. Charles Manson made some outlandish assertions as have many clergymen. That certainly doesn't mean they are valid. Hundreds of people have claimed the messiahship throughout the centuries. "Claiming" is not "doing." I want to know what Jesus did to substantiate his powers, not what he or his followers alleged he could do. The people with whom you conversed haven't given an example of something Jesus did that was not only new and exceptional but directly related to this issue.

As far as being worshipped is concerned, the same standard holds. Anyone can allow themselves to be worshipped, urge others to worship them, or hold themselves up as worthy of worship. That proves nothing. The question is: What have they done that substantiates their elevation to such lofty heights. What they or others say in their behalf is of no import. Nothing is cheaper or more plentiful than words.

Letter #228 Concludes (Part b)

When I asked how Jesus could be the Jewish Messiah descended from David if Joseph was not his physical father, they replied that Joseph had adopted Jesus, and thus was recognized by Jewish and Roman law as his legal son. I wasn't sure how to respond to these rationalizations. Any ideas?...All in all, BE is quite remarkable...I look forward to the day you compile all your data into a single volume. Keep up the good work!

Editor's Response to Letter #228 (Part b)

Your apologetic acquaintance doesn't know the Bible very well, VM. To begin with, there is nothing in the gospels showing Joseph adopted Jesus. Indeed, evidence is to the contrary. The genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 clearly show Joseph is the physical, the biological father, of Jesus. Secondly, not only do prophecies say the messiah must be a physical descendant of David ("The Lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne"--Psalm 132:11) and (Psalm 89:3-4, 2 Sam. 7:12-13), but so does Paul ("Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh"--Rom. 1:3) and (2 Tim. 2:8, Acts 13:23). If Jesus was adopted by Joseph, how could he have been a physical descendant of David? And if he wasn't in the physical lineage of David how could he have been the messiah. Thirdly, I recommend you read to your friends the Commentary on the Virgin Birth in the 6th Issue, as it's directly applicable to this question. This entire topic will be discussed more extensively in a future commentary.


Letter #229 from JG of Cincinati, Ohio

Dear Dennis.... I have all 53 issues of BE. As they come through each month I become more and more impressed. You mentioned in an earlier issue about having materials available for two or more years. Isn't there some way you can consolidate this information into a well indexed reference book preferably aimed toward college classes?...The information you are putting out should be going to millions, not thousands. What this country needs is ONE well-organized, well-written explanation of biblical errors. Assuming this book were magically available, the next step would be promotion. The evangelists are already preparing to work over the Pan Am crowd when it arrives. Imagine even a small number of our group being there with a well-written flier to pass out in volume. It would contain information to catch the minds of the curious and doubters. This flier would then point to the one well-written book for those interested in more info....Please give at least some consideration to this idea....Keep up the good work; it's not just good, it's fabulous.

Editor's Response to Letter #229

Dear JG. Your project is only one of many we have been considering. You are by no means the only person who has suggested we write a comprehensive book encompassing BE. Unfortunately, time and money are limited.

EDITOR'S NOTE: We'd like to thank those who have arranged for me to speak on college campuses and elsewhere. Their assistance is invaluable. We'd also like to thank those who have increased our readership by word of mouth. People telling people about BE and what it has to offer is probably our single greatest source of subscriptions.

October 1987

Issue No.58

On Saturday, August 29, 1987, the editor of BE spoke before the American Rationalist Convention in Chicago, Illinois. We have decided to depart dramatically from our normal format by using the promised mid-point hiatus in the on-going revelation of Paul's inadequacies to give an edited and abidged account of what was said. A few comments that were not included but should have been are bracketed thus {}. The constraints of space usually account for the omissions (...). Because we intended to say a great deal in a limited amount of time, the speech was delivered in a considerably less formal manner than that normally exhibited by BE and words, but not meanings, have occasionally been altered. Oratorical flourishes of grandiloquent rhetoric were deemed less important than abundant and critical information.


Part One of Three Parts--I'd like to thank those who helped arrange my appearance here today, especially Eldon, who was very instrumental....Anyone who puts forth effort to arrange a speaking engagement is to be commended. (At this point some levity regarding several prominent figures and parachutes was attempted--Ed.)....My name is Dennis McKinsey, as some of you are aware...and my publication is entitled BIBLICAL ERRANCY. BE has a heading with a Bible split in half and that fits in very well with what the publication is all about. It's subcaptioned: "The only national periodical focusing on biblical errors, contradictions, and fallacies, while providing a hearing for apologists." BE is a six-page, single-spaced, monthly newsletter that will be starting its sixth year in January. I might briefly describe the sections contained therein. It begins with a commentary in which I simply talk about parts of the Bible I feel have many problems. Next, I'll sometimes submit a book review which I will critique apologetic writings.... Then I nearly always have a section entitled DIALOGUE AND DEBATE in which people write to me and state why they think I don't have it together and I promptly proceed to show them why they are mistaken. It's an inseparable part of the newsletter. I'm very dialogue and debate oriented as you will probably notice if you read the publication. Then I have a section called LETTERS TO THE EDITOR in which people are basically writing to me who agree with our perspective. And finally, sometimes a note will appear at the end. For instance, one appeared two issues ago announcing the fact that I was going to be speaking here.

Usually when I speak before audiences I focus on problems and contradictions in the Bible and provide a lot of quotes. But since most of you are probably sympathetic with what I'm doing, what I'd really like to do is concentrate on how we should approach people who support the Book. Consequently, this talk will focus on strategy and tactics. The purpose of BE is to provide the other side because people in the United States are hearing an entirely one-sided presentation of this Book. That's obvious; that's clear. All you need to do is watch TV and hear the radio.... All of the pros and none of the cons dominate. That's also true in churches, Sunday schools, and other {forums}. Even when you talk with people individually, it's {apparent} they have been indoctrinated. People have a right to know; that's their prerogative. If they still want to believe the Book after having heard what I have to say, I have no objection. But they still have a right to hear the other side {and that's not being provided}. This is of great concern to me. You just can't have a nation of 240,000,000 people in which 10's of millions are hearing a totally one-sided presentation of anything as important as the Bible, because many people approach events out of that context. They look at abortion, education, divorce, and politics, virtually any topic you want to name, from a biblical perspective. So it's imperative that we know the Book, that we confront it head-on. I teach a kind of Sunday-School-in-Reverse by telling people all of the things they should have heard in Sunday school but didn't.


Some of you might ask, "Why be concerned?...{If people want to believe that superstitious medieval nonsense, let them. That's their mistake. Answering} this is a separate speech within itself and I'm not going into all the gory details, but clearly some of them need to be highlighted. If biblicists believe what they are told it's going to affect you and me. You may not think so but it will simply because of the number of people involved. They have voting power, if nothing else, which can't be ignored. Ignoring them isn't that easy. A certain mentality {with several prominent features} emanates from those believing in the Bible: (1) They'll contend, for instance, that a better world is coming so why work to improve this one. They won't be involved in the improvement of social conditions or participate in such projects as VISTA and the Job Corps.... Even when they donate money to missionary programs in foreign countries they are not really doing so because they are concerned about the welfare of others. The primary reason is to ingratiate themselves so that others will listen to the message they are bringing. This exposes a subtle, if not insidious, philosophy. (2) People who rely on the Bible are going to depend on prayer and outside forces rather than their own efforts, which will make them easy to manipulate, especially by anybody who comes along and says he is going to lead them to the promised land. (3) They won't oppose wars {with real conviction} and might even welcome them for several reasons. First, death is merely a sleep to most of them although some believe that when you are dead, you're dead and that's it. ...most Christians believe that when you are dead you are sleeping and waiting for the day you arise. Second, since you are going to a better world, why be concerned {about your fate in} this one. Third, can't really be destroyed regardless of what happens on the battlefield, why be concerned with the nuclear threat or be engaged in anti-nuclear activity. And lastly, why be concerned since Armageddon is inevitable {according to the Bible}. (4) They will oppose sexual equality. How any woman can support the Bible is hard to understand. I recently encountered one who argued that she still has equal status with men despite many verses I cited clearly showing the opposite. Paul's position on women is very demeaning. (5) Of extreme importance is the fact that they are going to believe that giving to "God's representatives," i.e. Falwell, Swaggart, etc., is actually giving to God. Buying their way into heaven is the unspoken motive and accounts in large measure for the fact that many clergymen are very well off. (6) Believers are going to feel that anti-social behavior can be exonerated by bequeathing wealth to the church, by repentance, by confession, by accepting Jesus, and by fulfilling rituals such as going to church. For many of them church-going will be viewed as a cleansing of their record on Sunday for all their evil deeds committed during the week. {Then they can return to their old ways the following week.} And that's not meant to be humorous, since a negative influence is unmistakable. People will seriously feel that confession or something of that nature will purify their account. {Such concepts could easily foster anti-social behavior as could the belief that good deeds are irrelevant to salvation.} (7) They will tend to rely upon supposed experts to interpret the Bible for them which will cause them not to view events objectively and independently but through the eyes of those who find them easy to manipulate. (8) Feeling they have constant, eternal truths, they won't be open to change and new ideas.... Yet, anyone who knows anything about science knows there is nothing so permanent as change. (9) Because they believe in original sin they will view all people as inherently corrupt and associate with others on a basis of hypocrisy. The hypocrisy lies in the fact that while outwardly smiling and exhibiting the {expected} social graces, inwardly, they will look upon people as pieces of dung, to quote Martin Luther....and you can't work with a piece of dung except to change it {to fit your preference}. {Low self-esteem will be on the minds of many}. (10) They are going to be intolerant with all the accompanying war and conflict--the inevitable by-product of anybody with this type of philosophy. As is often discussed in freethought literature, they will feel they have the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. (11) As outlined in Matthew, they will view anti-social behavior as the result of things from within rather than without. If you have a bad person, conditions did not make him that way; it came from within. The problem I have with this is that if it's true then why does most of the criminal activity occur in the poorer sections of cities? What they are really saying is that those who live in the higher crime areas are inherently bad. Something is wrong with them, which I reject. Most anti-social behavior has more to do with the conditions in which people are raised than something innate. (12) Those who believe in the Bible are going to tend to look for a savior, somebody to lead them to the promised land. They are not going to rely upon their own wisdom and guidance. (13) And lastly, they will tend to view themselves as more worthy than others because they are supposedly the {people chosen by God to carry his message}. The Jews are a prime example. All one need do is read the OT to see that. These are only some of the reasons one could give for opposing biblicism.


Now I'd like to relate some tactics that I would use to oppose those who place reliance upon the Bible. As I said earlier, this speech will be tactically-oriented because you are probably sympathetic to what I am saying. What follows are those strategems that I use in my newsletter, on the radio, and on TV. I am especially fond of radio because it reaches a wide audience composed of many people who don't agree with me. I enjoy talking to people who are diametrically opposed to my position {because differences are clearly delineated}. I want to talk with the largest number possible and radio reaches many more than speaking engagements. I've been told by radio hosts that I'd be speaking to 100,000 or more at a time and I know I'm going to be affecting some. There is no way I couldn't. So what are some of the tactics I'd use. First, and this is very important, ask the right questions. That's absolutely crucial. In fact, I have it underlined. Even the order is important. If you talk with one of these people and your first two or three points aren't effective, he is going to turn you off, especially if they are easily answered. He'll lose interest and respect for you. For many of these people, when I come upon the scene, it's like holding the dike. Remember the Dutchman who stuck his finger in the dike. They feel that if I get through with one, the whole dam will go. So they will fight very hard in the early stages. I imagine Gordon has found that to be true, too, when he was on the radio. Second, focus on absolutes. In other words, concentrate on biblical statements that deal with words like "all," "each," "every," and "none." Absolutist type comments allow no escape by closing the door. All I need do is find exceptions, which isn't hard, and they're doomed. Third, there are some topics I would avoid when debating biblicists. I'm not saying they aren't important, because they are, as I've mentioned in BE. But I'd put them on the backburner for several reasons. Let me list some of them and then state why they are weak: The Babylonian influence on the formation of the Bible, the history of church atrocities and bad popes, pagan influences on early Christianity, the similarity of beliefs between Christianity and other religions..., dating the books of the Bible, determining who wrote what book when, historical disproofs of biblical history, OT references to murder, rape and incest, unless they are being advocated, the theological beliefs of our founding fathers, {the history of the Canon's formation}, and the Creation/Evolution controversy. I'm not saying avoid these entirely by any means, but I am saying I would {assign them a secondary status} for several reasons: (a) Biblicists won't recognize outside information of this nature and will say, "I don't care what information you have, if it says the Bible is false, it's wrong, and that's that." They will turn you off. You can pile up a mountain of scientific and historical data but they won't recognize it.... (b) If you go into historical matter, all they are going to say is that we have our historians too.... The problem with history is that it really comes down to whom you want to believe because none of us were there. Years ago I taught history in high school and students called me on some points. I'd say, "Somebody said it but I'll admit I wasn't there. You just have to take the historian's word for it." (c) The main reason I would avoid these is that they simply don't carry weight with the public. I'm not talking about college-educated audiences and people of some scholarship; I'm talking about the average citizen on the street whom I try to reach. They won't recognize them as topics of substance. So, I stay almost entirely within the Bible and simply compare one part of the Book with another. You will find as you proceed that the Bible is its own worst enemy. I don't have something outside the Bible telling me the Bible is false; I have the Bible telling me the Bible is false. {And that is much more difficult to minimize or avoid}. When something in Mark is telling me the exact opposite of what's in John, biblicists have a problem. They are much more likely to wrestle with {dilemmas} of this nature. That's the type of problem that will stay with them after they leave the radio. They'll mull that over for awhile. Fourth, and last, start with simple problems; they lose less people. I learned years ago as a teacher that the more simple things are the less people you lose. Focus on problems...that the average person who has had no in-depth training can relate to. Let me give some examples, especially for people who have read the Book. Num. 23:19 says God doesn't repent but Ex. 32:14 clearly says he does. Ex. 33:20 says no man has seen God's face and lived while in Gen. 32:30 a man says, "I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." Solomon had 40,000 stalls for horses according to 1 Kings 4:26 while 2 Chron. 9:25 says 4,000 stalls. (Incidentally, you'll notice that I'm a chapter-and-verse man; I get right in there among them. I not only don't run from the Book but enjoy discussing it.) Second Sam. 10:18 has two contradictions in one verse. It says David slew the men of 700 chariots and 40,000 horsemen while 1 Chron. 19:18 says it was 7,000 chariots and 40,000 footmen. One of the big problems with the Bible is that it constantly repeats itself, especially the Gospels. Christians would have done well to have gone through and eliminated everything that was repetitious but clearly they didn't have much coordination going on. It's ideal for people such as myself.

What follows is a good example of a problem that stirs up things on-the-air. Rom. 3:23 says, "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." "All" have sinned and come short of the glory. All means all; that's what it says. But Gen. 6:9 says, "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations" and Job 1:1 and 1:8 say the same about Job. My question is: If these men were perfect, how can all be sinners...? The approach biblicists will usually employ is to play with the word "perfect." They'll contend Gen. 6:9 doesn't say Noah is perfect; it says he is complete. But that's in the newer versions which are trying to escape the problem by changing the wording. You'll find that Christians can't solve many problems so they will simply rewrite the script. A good example that comes immediately to mind is the kill or murder situation in the Ten Commandments. The latter tell people, "Thou shalt not kill," but this creates a problem for soldiers.... How could any army or police force be successful if its members believed "Thou shalt not kill"? So, many modern versions are changing "kill" to "murder" when the former is correct.

Sometimes I'll focus on problems that require little more than reason, logic, and common sense. Christians say, for instance, that you must have Jesus to be saved. That's an absolute rock-bottom requirement. Then what do you do about foetuses that die in the womb and babies that die in infancy; what do you do about people with low IQ's, the mentally ill, or those in the New World before the missionaries arrived.... Where are they going? They must go to hell. Why, because they didn't accept Jesus. But how could they? How, then, could God be just as related in Deut. 32:4?... I"m not talking about only 8 or 10 persons. I"m talking about millions. Imagine what the infant mortality rate is in some countries. How many foetuses die in the womb? Millions and millions.... According to fundamentalists foetuses are human beings; that's their argument. By saying people become human beings at conception rather than birth they have only compounded the injustice and their problem by adding millions of people. A lot of foetuses die in the 9 month interim.

Other problems are: Why are we punished for Adam's sin? That's his problem not ours. He ate of the forbidden fruit, we didn't.... Moreover, why are women punished for what Eve did? That's her problem. Where is the justice? If Adam was created by God, then Adam had to have been perfect. Then how could he have sinned? They say, "He had free will..." But I don't care how much free will he had, if he chose to sin then he wasn't perfect. If someone approaches me and says I'm perfect and five minutes later he sins, what better evidence do you need that he isn't perfect. He disproved his own point. Another problem is that we are punished for Adam's sin and Jesus is punished for ours. Supposedly, Jesus corrected the situation Adam created. Yet, we are told two wrongs don't make a right. We are being punished for Adam; that's wrong. Jesus is being punished for us; that's wrong. Yet, it's all corrected. Clearly two wrongs do make a right according to their theology. Not only that but Jesus supposedly died on the cross...for our sins and that's why many have a crucifix in their child's bedroom. Jesus stepped into our place. The problem I have with this is that no court in the land would accept such an arrangement... Suppose you were sentenced to die and your father voluntarily stepped in and said, "I'll sit in the electric chair for him." I don't know of a judge in the Nation who would agree. It has nothing to do with justice. It's a magnanimous gesture, but it has nothing to do with justice. {Any God who would accede to that just wants blood and doesn't care who dies as long as somebody pays.} When Jesus was on the Cross he said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me." And he's supposedly our savior. Can you imagine a redeemer saying that. Those aren't the words of a savior but of a man who can think of a hundred places he'd rather be. He's not up there saving you or me; he's trying to save his own skin.

Another key problem is how God can talk to God.... When Jesus was on the Cross he said, "Forgive them Father, they know not what they do." I'll usually ask, To whom was he speaking," and they'll say, "He was talking to God." "But I thought he was God?" And they'll say, "Well, he is God." Then I'll say, "Now wait a minute. God is talking to God. How can God talk to God? That's two Gods." They'll say, "No, there is only one God but three persons." Then I'll say, "How can you have God out there somewhere talking to God here if there is only one God?" Incidentally, I've received calls and correspondence from several Moslems who agree with me. We have some Moslem subscribers and several have said they love BE not only because of its anti-Bible stance but also because most of my points are precisely the ones they have been making for centuries. The point about the Trinity is a good example. They consider the idea of the Trinity to be blasphemous; the whole idea that a man could be God is both heretical and absurd. One need only read Sura 5:72-75 in the Koran to see as much....

Another very important point with Christianity is the Resurrection. Paul said that without the Resurrection our faith is in vain. Christianity rises or falls on its existence. If Jesus didn't rise, there isn't any validity to Christianity. Even Christians will admit that. So all one need do is address the issue. (At this point all the problems associated with the Resurrection that were related in Issue #2 were repeated.)

I think the point that really strikes home is the next one. I have probably gotten more feedback on this one when I'm on-the-air as well as when I give speeches than any other. The Bible is God's word, that's what we always hear; the Bible is God's book. Let me read to you a list of the deeds that God committed somewhere in the Bible and I'd be glad to give chapter and verse {for purposes of substantiation}. He does all of the following. Please bear with me; it's rather lengthy. (At this point I read the list of God's deeds related in Issue #3 with some additions.) Now can you imagine anyone, any person, saying, "Yes that's my book, that represents me, that's the way I am," especially a supposedly perfect being. I can't think of an individual in history, including Hitler and Ghenghis Khan, with a worse record. In fact, to go even further...I can't think of one good, decent act that God committed in the entire OT such that you'd want to hug him around the neck, kiss him on the cheek, and say, "Good job, well done, I'm proud of you." The Devil clearly comes out of the Bible looking much better than God. You'd almost think the Bible was written by the Devil about God.

After about an hour or so of talking to people, ...they will usually start asking questions like: who am I, where did I come from, why am I doing this, what do I hope to gain and, of course, the ever present, am I saved. They want to get away from the Book, to literally close it up, and begin discussing me. And I'm not being facetious. That's sad because it shows the extent to which they have been indoctrinated. Even the most intelligent believers don't really have much of a case when confronted with the facts.


Knowing the apologetic arguments before you debate believers is quite important because I occasionally run into people who are knowledgeable.... You have to know what you are talking about because some can handle themselves better than others. You need to know their arguments before entering discussions. What then are the points they usually use? The most common ones are: (1) You are taking verses out-of-context. If I've heard that once I've probably heard it a hundred times. I'm supposedly reading the Book wrong because I'm taking one verse out and not taking account of those around it. Not true! If you go to Proverbs, for example, there is no context. It's just a series of statements that are often unrelated. Not only that but if you read the verses, that's clearly what they say, verbatim. I'm taking nothing out-of-context. That's an unfair criticism. (2) Another argument is that I'm focusing on copyist errors. They'll say the Book has mistakes, granted, but that's because somebody copied the original manuscripts incorrectly. But how do we know that? We don't have copies of the original manuscripts. Even they will admit there are no copies of the original writings of the Bible. So anything we have, any volume (The KJV, the RSV, the NASB, etc.) really a book composed by a group of people who are looking at a collection of documents that proport to be accurate representations of the originals. The problem is that you have thousands of the documents and who knows which ones are correct. It's often decided by vote.... How do they know they are copyist errors?.... (3) Another argument is that I don't know Greek and Hebrew. They claim you have to know these languages.... I've never portrayed myself as a scholar in either; but I don't have to be. One conservative scholar admitted as much when he said you don't need to know Greek and Hebrew because with good commentaries, good lexicons, and so forth you can critique the Bible quite well.... I don't need to know these languages to ask questions like most of those already posed. {Moreover, scholars don't agree on how verses should be translated. I could be the world's greatest Greek/Hebrew scholar and still have other experts disagree with my interpretations. So who is correct? If scholars agreed there wouldn't be so many versions with major differences.} (4) Another one you will hear is the "natural man" argument. I'm the natural man. First Cor. 2:14 says, "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, neither can he know them for they are spiritually discerned." In other words, you have to get into a particular mind-set, a certain mentality,...and then you will see the Bible is true, which is really a circular position. All they really are saying is that if you accept it as true, you'll see it's true and if you see it's true you'll accept it as true.... (5) Another one that was mentioned earlier today and is often posed to me is Pascal's Wager--You'd better believe it; you never know, it might be true; don't take any chances; be on the safe side. In the first place, if I believed something for that reason and that reason alone, I'd be rather hypocritical, wouldn't you agree. Secondly, I'd have to believe thousands of religions at the same time just to be "on the safe side." And thirdly, how could I be a Moslem and a Christian simultaneously when one of them says that those who believe the Trinity have committed blasphemy and are condemned. A dichotomy is present. One excludes the other. So you have to take a gamble. All Christians are gambling whether they will admit it or not. And I'm not talking about just within denominations. I'm talking about being a Christian, period.... (6) Another defense I often confront is that I'm taking words too literally. "You have to realize there are symbolic meanings and metaphors" the common refrain. {This defense is usually employed when the common sense interpretation of the natural meaning of the words creates an obvious inaccuracy or absurdity}. Although valid in some instances, it's mostly employed for no other reason than to escape from a dilemma. {(7) A final argument I often confront is the assertion that I'm being petty. Of course, this is a matter of opinion. What is petty to one is a serious problem to another}....

(To Be Continued Next Month)

November 1987

Issue No. 59

Part Two of Three Parts--I spend a significant amount of time in Christian bookstores and libraries reading their apologetic works. One should prepare as would a general going into battle.... When you intend to fire something over, you have to know what could come back. {All teams in sports send out scouts to evaluate the opposition; businesses buy and analyze the opponents products}; the United States and the Soviet Union spy on one another constantly. They know they must discover what the other has before an exchange occurs. If you get on-the-air and somebody hits you with an argument you've never heard, you can be thrown off track and become unnerved to some extent. So I like to know their positions ahead of time. That is not to say you aren't going to lose some points. On a couple of occasions I have not fared too well. But I did my research and {was prepared the next time}. You have to study the matter and come back; you don't just quit. You "get your act together."


At this point I'd like to address something of great concern to me--the strategy we should follow in the freethought movement in general. First, proselytizing is a must. We have to go to them. Don't expect them to come to us because they are convinced they already have the truth. Why would they come to us? Why would they come to a meeting like this?...You must first show them what is wrong with what they have before they are going to accept or even be open to what we have. And this is certainly not being done. They have been indoctrinated to believe that we are {satanic} they are not going to come to us. That's one of the problems you have in even trying to talk to these people. You can't build a parallel mountain...and say, "Look at my mountain; isn't it better than your mountain. Why don't you climb my mountain instead of going up yours." You haven't shown them what's wrong with their mountain. And I think in nearly every instance this is what we have been doing. {Freethought groups have only been picking up people who have rejected religion in general and the Bible in particular for their own personal reasons}. New adherents have not come over because they were persuaded or shown the error of their ways by others. {All too often freethought organizations have been little more than psychological support groups providing a service to intellectuals and others of similar persuasion comparable to that rendered former fundamentalists by Fundamentalists Anonymous.} Second, you must start re-educating from the beginning. You must tell them what they should have heard but didn't, i.e., teach a Sunday-School-in-Reverse. Third, you must build bridges, not walls. No put-downs. Don't do anything that will damage their self-image or self-respect. The idea is to persuade and convert not embark upon an ego trip. To demean, degrade, or embarrass them is not going to create empathy. Fourth, avoid humor. Generally I don't employ jokes, not because I'm not a lover of humor, but because if you do they are going to assume you don't understand because you haven't thought seriously enough about the topic. If you thought about it more deeply, you'd see it's true. So I give the impression I'm very serious, which is nearly always true anyway, and I'm trying as hard as I can to understand what I'm hearing.... Fifth, don't use profanity and dress decently. Do nothing that would confirm the image they have been given of the Bible's opponents. Sixth, return again and again to the topic, give them time to think about your points and return later with more problems. One of the difficulties I have is that members of the freethought movement will say, "I met a Christian, presented many of my best arguments, and, yet, he ignored everything and just walked away." My response is, "You must be kidding? You sought to convert somebody in 30 minutes from beliefs they have held for 30 years. That's not the real world, my friend." You must get that person out of what he was put in the same way he was put in it. How was he put in it? By going to Sunday school and church week after week after week.... You must give him some information, let him think about it; give him some more, let him think about it, etc. That's why I'd like to have some radio and TV programs that appear week after week, rather than going on-the-air once, hitting them with some concepts, and walking off. Seventh, you must ooze people away from the Bible. It's a long slow, gradual process of many revelations. {I dare say that's how all of us arrived at where we are today. None of us changed overnight.} Eighth, and very important, you must get into the Bible. You have to know the Book; that's crucial. A lot of studying is involved. You can't stand at a distance and just throw rocks. You also must assume that there are such things as the Resurrection, Salvation, the Messiah, Judgment Day, etc. for purposes of discussion in order to wean them from such beliefs. You shouldn't say, for instance, that the Resurrection is nonsense and that when you are dead you're dead and that's that, or that salvation is a myth and I don't want to talk about it, because that will lead nowhere. You must show why there are logical problems with each. Ninth, put vague topics on the backburner. And I can't think of one that's vaguer than eschatology.... They love to talk about what happens after you die and where the world is going. There is quite a stir in Christian circles today about eschatology and many books are coming out in that regard.... The subject is very imprecise and I can't think of two books in the Bible that are more nebulous than Daniel and Revelation.... Even Martin Luther rejected the latter...because, as he said, you don't even know what it is saying and Christ and the Holy Spirit aren't in it. So you must know when you are entering an area that can be symbolized or spiritualized as they involve subjects with escape hatches and back doors. Eschatalogy is one of the best. It has a multitude of fire escapes. And tenth, don't spend time debating atheism. When I go on-the-air the first question I'm usually asked is: Are you an atheist? The problem with this is that if I say yes, what's going to happen? I'm going to spend the rest of the program defending atheism and we are not even going to get into the Bible. Callers will start asking questions like: "How do you explain the design in the world....etc?" They will resurrect all the arguments we have heard many times before.... I won't be exposing their ideas; instead, they are going to be attacking mine. I'm not going to be on the offensive; they will be. I want to be on the offensive because that's where you succeed; you don't prevail on the defensive. So I constantly return to their beliefs, especially since that's what we are there to discuss anyway. Another problem with discussing atheism is that the burden of proof lies on he who alleges. If somebody tells me there is a God, I don't say there is or there isn't. What I do say is, "Prove it; you brought up the subject." If he says, "Prove there isn't one," that would be analogous to somebody telling me people live inside the planet Jupiter...and saying, "If I doubt it's true, prove they don't." What he is really saying is that until I prove they don't live there, they do, in fact, live there. That makes it true. As I said, the burden of proof lies on he who alleges. He brought up the subject so he must prove it. If we work on the theory that something is true unless I can disprove it, then every crackpot, weirdo, hair-brained, crazy idea is valid until I can disprove them. How am I going to prove somebody does not live inside the planet Jupiter? I can't prove they are imaginary but, then, I'm under no obligation to do so. He, on the other hand, is required to prove they do. That's the essence of science. Assertions must be {demonstrable and} independently verifiable by different people.

I try to focus on pre-tested questions and usually have a certain number I feel really register. When I go on-the-air they are the ones I try to present. After giving my opening arguments on the radio, I usually discuss what interests callers because they usually have topics that "turn them on." You shouldn't talk about what strikes your fancy when it's of little interest to others. You have to develop a sense of what is activating the audience. As in teaching, you wouldn't teach first-graders the way you would seniors. {Both methods and content would vary dramatically.} And it's the same with the Bible. You shouldn't make the same type of approach to every group. You must be able to empathize and know when you are hitting home.... You must also realize that it's more than a debate with fundamentalists because people are on a broad spectrum in this country. They range all the way from fundamentalists to us and they are constantly evolving. Many points you'd make to liberals won't hold weight with conservatives and vice versa. I talk primarily to fundamentalists because I feel that affects everybody on the spectrum. If I show what is wrong with the Bible, everyone is influenced to some degree. They are all going to tend to move to the religious left. But I'd err if I made arguments only to the liberals. The latter won't disagree with you about many topics such as the Creation issue. They say the six days of creation are not referring to {literal} days, but each day represents millions of years. They symbolize the day. And Jonah wasn't swallowed by a whale or fish. {That's mythology}.... Many of them reject almost as many things of this nature as we do. They don't accept many of the miracles.... So you are not going to make a case with them when you oppose miracles. They will support you. The argument I make with them is: "Wait a minute! You don't believe in Noah and the Flood; you don't believe Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt; you don't believe Jonah was swallowed by a whale; {you don't believe Adam and Eve were real people}? Then you don't believe in Jesus because Jesus said those happened. If you say those did not occur, then you are saying Jesus is a liar and you're no Christian. That's a valid criticism fundamentalists use against the liberals. I would agree with the conservatives on that point.... {Another reason for zeroing-in on the conservatives is that they are our most vocal opponents. Moreover, liberals are so divergent in their views that refutation of some leaves most unscathed.}

Knowing whom to talk to is very important. When I debate a hardened fundamentalist like Falwell or {Swaggart}, I know I'm not going to convert him. We must be realistic. He isn't going to convert me and I'm not going to change him. But while conversing with {biblicists} I have an audience that is reasonably open-minded, that broad spectrum I referred to earlier. By showing what's wrong with his views, I am going to influence listeners. I'm not interested in affecting him; I'm interested in showing what's wrong with what he believes in order to influence others. {My main focus is on the audience}. So I will usually talk to youth, or the hard core when I know other people less firm in their views, such as youngsters, are listening.

Another problem I find with people in the freethought movement is that they are too satisfied with fending people off. Christians will approach them at the door, for example, start a conversation, donate some literature,...and walk away. The freethought person will then think, "Whew, I got out of that one; he didn't change me any; I won that exchange." Oh no you didn't, you lost! You lost because their numbers are far greater than ours and we can only gain by increasing our supporters and reducing theirs. So you have to engage that person and bring him over to your side. That's a victory. Fending him off, merely keeping him from converting you, is not victory but defeat. With the numbers what they are, we are in trouble. I think of an encounter with Christians as I would a court trial. The Bible is the defendant; the apologist is the defense lawyer; I'm the prosecutor; the moderator of the program is the judge and the audience is the jury. That's the way I proceed. Sometimes you'll have trouble on-the-air...if you don't have a neutral host. You have to watch the media people; some are tricky. Sometimes, for instance, they will want to know my points ahead of time. They will ask me, "What are you going to ask the Christian you are going to engage?" That's a silly question. That's comparable to asking the prosecutor before the trial what he is going to ask the defendant. I'm not going to tell him anything. My immediate reaction is, "I'll tell you what I'm going to ask if you will tell me what he is going to answer. Then he'll be back to square one. He'll have to know what my next question is going to be. I'd rather the host not pick the topics because they might channel the discussion, especially unsympathetic people, to where the Bible is not so vulnerable. I know where I feel it's weakest and that's where I want to go. Unsympathetic hosts will also often interrupt after my first point. That's another tactic that wouldn't be allowed in a court-of-law. A prosecutor is allowed to present his case; he's entitled to an uninterrupted 10 to l5 minute presentation, at least. Then, if people want to call in and...tell me where I'm wrong, I have no objection. But at least let me get my case out. Many don't even allow that. You present one point and they are immediately on top of you.... Reminds me of the TV program "Crossfire".... I tape record all of my appearances and will explain why later. (At this point I played an exerpt from one of my radio appearances to give some idea of what media confrontations entail).... That's where people are and that's what you must confront.

I might mention some other points about my radio appearances. When I go on the air I usually submit several requests to the host. First, I'd like to have a tape of my appearance. Second, I would like to put my name, address, and phone number out over the air. Third, I'd like to tell people that a free sample will be provided to anyone who writes. Fourth, I'd like to pick the opening questions. And lastly, I'd like to know if someone is going to be on as my opponent. Recently I went on a California station and wasn't told I would be debating the founder of the Pensacola Bible Institute until 5 minutes before air time.... I had already read one of his books and would like to have known he was going to be on so I could have talked to him about it.... One of the few Christian programs in the United States that has any intellectual merit is the John Ankerberg TV Show. The program is one-sided in orientation, of course, but Ankerberg does bring on people who present another point of view. He recently had Paul Kurtz,...the editor of Free Inquiry, for example.... When you go on such a should not debate two people simultaneously. Paul was sitting on the stage debating a Christian professor...while he was also confronting Ankerberg who was out in the audience. That's two on one and two on one means you're allocated one-third of the time,...if everyone speaks the same amount. Winning is very difficult when your opponents have 2/3's and you receive 1/3 of anything. {In addition, nearly all of the audience was against Paul.} If I went on I'd be willing to engage anybody, {regardless of whom they chose}, but I would not debate half the {auditorium} simultaneously. Moreover, throughout most of the program Paul was on the defensive answering questions. They didn't debate the Bible {or the biblicists' perspective} as much as they debated humanism and whether or not it was a religion.... Paul was kind of sand-bagged.


Moving on to the last part of my speech the question becomes, "What's Needed?" {This is of tremendous importance and merits special emphasis}. I think we need a national organization of knowledgeable experts to create literature, {give speeches}, and appear on the media before audiences. It should be a think-tank composed of people who know the book as well as believers with, if possible, a full-time paid staff. A tremendous amount of study and research are going to be required. As was stated in the introductory pamphlet announcing this convention, I'm battling the Bible as a force of one and that's the way I feel.... The sad part is that Christians already have these organizations. The Christian Research Institute, the Research and Education Foundation, and the John Ankerberg Show, to name only a few, are all set up for one basic purpose--to eradicate the opposition, figuretively speaking, and gain converts. Generally they concentrate on the cults (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists) and similar groups because...millions of people are involved. But if our organizations and numbers grew to such an extent that we became a real threat they would shift their focus and a lot more information would come out in opposition to us. A good example is a book that emerged recently entitled, The New Atheism, which attacked me, Gordon Stein, Paul Kurtz, MM O'Hair and some other advocates of freethought. Gordon wrote a response {in The American Rationalist}. Biblicists pay people to attack the opposition and we need {point men also}. We need institutes, courses, seminars, and relevant literature. This will probably sound immodest, but if you know {the Bible} and every issue of BE, I feel you will be well-prepared to confront the opposition. I feel that BE is the most comprehensive refutation of the Bible in the English-speaking world {and possibly the entire world}. At least that's what I hope to {possess eventually}. Other people have produced similar information but I can't think of anybody, including Ingersoll and Paine, who has created anything remotely approaching the volume of BE. A lot of time and energy is needed; sticktuitiveness is a must. It's going to be a long, protracted struggle with no place for a short attention span or sunshine patriots. Actually, it's going to be more like Valley Forge in the winter. {But it's still very satisfying and provides a strong sense of accomplishment.}

{After hearing all this}, many of you are no doubt thinking, "You mean I have to do all that; you mean I have to read, study, research, and so forth?" No, not necessarily. Suppose you don't really want to become knowledgeable to that degree in the Bible. Some people will admit that they just can't bring themselves to read it, especially the King James Version which is written in Elizabethan English with all those "thee's," "thou's," and "begat's." To them it's a drag and frankly I'm sympathetic. I can think of a hundred books I'd rather read than the Bible. It's not very interesting and the plot is often thin. In many places it's {repetitious} and about as exciting as reading a dictionary. But it has to be read. There is simply no way to avoid the Book because of its numerous supporters. Suppose you just can't bring yourself to study the thing.... Then, there are other activities you can engage in: (a) Call {colleges and other institutions} to arrange appearances {for our spokesmen}. (b) Call radio stations that have Christians on and say something like, "Don't you feel an obligation to provide balance and the other side down there? I'm tired of hearing about the 'merits' of religion and the Bible." That's when our panel of experts could come into play.... I'd like to have people other than myself doing this. (c) Provide funds and other physical services such as lodging and transportation. (d) Circulate public access tapes. (e) Ask 8 to 10 well-chosen questions. (f) Arrange speaking engagements. (g) Distribute anti-Bible literature at conventions and assemblies. (h) Send letters to the editors of newspapers. (i) And, re-educate those who come to your door. Don't shew them away.... Don't let Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses escape. {At our home they are invited in and} happily seated. After about 45 minutes, though, they nearly always {seek sanctuary}. As they start for the door...I usually suggest we meet again. Although they usually agree to a repeat engagement, it rarely occurs.

The organization I seek needs to meet periodically {so members can} compare notes on what works and what doesn't. That's why I record every appearance. The whole encounter resembles a football game. You go down to the locker room and replay the tapes to see how you did and what needs to be changed. Then you go out, play another game, come back, and view your tapes again.... Self-criticism is a must. You must recognize the subtle Christian and Jewish influences all of us carry. Most freethought people come from religious backgrounds and most of them have not left their past as much as they think. Reservations are dwelling within. A woman in Columbus, Ohio recently told me...she was afraid she would fall back into the Christian miasma if she started talking to biblicists. She was afraid of backsliding...

One must expect opposition, {insidious and surreptitious censorship}, and counterattacks. After appearing on the radio I'm often told a return engagement is a {distinct} possibility but they rarely occur because of opposition from clergymen, station management, sponsors, hosts, and other influential figures. I've had people admit as much when I called. Free speech is not as prominent as we are led to believe and this becomes more obvious as your presentation becomes stronger, {more accurate, more poignant, and more relevant}. Although I'm sometimes brought on as a novelty act, they soon learn they have {a problem of the first magnitude} on their hands. It's by no means hopeless, however, because there is a broad spectrum of believers in varying stages of evolution and open-mindedness.

If you wish to research these matters you can adopt my technique. Go to a bookstore and buy the Layman's Parallel Bible which has four versions--the KJ, the RS, the Modern Language, and the Living Bible {and then proceed as follows}. First, read the KJ; if you can't understand it, read the RS; it's newer and not quite as difficult; if you still don't understand the text, then read the Modern Language, and if you still don't understand, read the Living Bible. It's a pathetic paraphrase with many inaccuracies but very easy to read.... Go through the entire Bible this way. Next I'd buy Strong's Exhaustive Concordance because you must have some kind of index.... It will tell you every word in the Bible and its location. All you have to do is remember any word in any verse and the book will locate every verse in which it appears.... Another thing you will need is an historical atlas of the OT, such as Hammond's or Westminster's, to trace, for instance, the migration of the Israelites at the time of the Exodus. Buy a red pen and do a lot of marking in your Bible of contradictions and other problems. I bought a thin pen and my Book looks like I'm working in the red it's so marked up. {Internal problems are noted on the pages to the left and external problems are noted on pages to the right}. Avoid Christian commentaries. I wouldn't go out {initially} and ask Christians what they think about the Bible {or read their opinions on it. You are intelligent enough to read the Book as you see it}. Don't let them influence you as to what it should say or what they think it says. Just read it cold, yourself. Go to Christian meetings and ask questions. I was recently in a Seventh-Day Adventist Seminar on the Books of Daniel and Revelation and everyone else present was of a fundamentalist mentality. I asked questions every week.... And after...about the 4th or 5th week, you could have heard a feather drop when I was asking a question because they were pretty sure something was going to come out of my mouth they hadn't considered or didn't want to hear. The minister teaching the course tried to get me to join his church and told me several times privately that the church would send me to an educational setting for training where they would pay all expenses if I would accept Jesus. They couldn't refute me so they were trying to co-opt me. They will do that sort of thing; {you can be sure}. I will go to anything Christians sponsor AS LONG AS I CAN ASK QUESTIONS THROUGHOUT. {I almost never listen to one-sided sermons}.... The only strategy I can think of that would be more effective than mine is force... But I can't do that nor would I recommend it.... {Of course, if I could determine the education of people from the moment of birth, that would also be decisive.}

In conclusion, if you really delve into the Bible you will see it's a maze, a mass, a veritable labyrinth of contradictions, inconsistencies, inaccuracies, poor math, bad science, erroneous geography, false prophecies, immoral comments, and a multitude of other problems too numerous to mention. It may be somebody's word but it certainly isn't the product of a perfect, divine being. The Bible has more holes in it than a backdoor screen. In a society dominated by the Book's influence I think all of us in the freethought movement should do what Adam and Eve did when they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. They went out and raised Cain. Thank you for being so attentive.


#1 If you picked one contradiction as the best and simplest to use, what would it be?

ANS: Good question. I would probably use one of those that has already been mentioned. Why are we being punished for Adam's sin; how could Noah and Job be perfect if all have sinned, and {how could deceased fetuses and infants be saved if you must accept Jesus? However, what I do in BE is present nearly all of them and let people pick what they feel are the best. The ones I mentioned usually cause the greatest effect as far as I'm concerned. They are the ones that seem to generate the greatest interest.... Incidentally, I might say that the approach I'm taking is hard. I don't deny that at all. There is a lot of work involved and frankly I don't know many people willing to do what I'm doing. For instance, I listen to tapes on the NIV version of the Bible as I drive my car.... I don't do it very often as it does get old, but it is quite educational. As I listen I'll notice points I didn't see before, take notes, and look them up later at home. You also must read apologetic literature and that entails getting in among them. Usually we want to stay away from biblicists whenever possible, as if they had a contagious disease. Many think, "I don't want to get among those people, {I might succumb to their siren's song."} But it must be done.

(To Be Concluded Next Month)

December 1987

Issue No. 60

Paul--The Deceptive Disciple (Part Four of a Six-Part Series)--With this month's commentary we resume the discussion of Paul's inadequacies that was last addressed in the September issue. As was stated in the July issue Paul's failings lie within 5 major categories: contradictions, misquotations, non-quotes, misinterpretations, and ill-conceived comments. As of now we have completed our enumeration of the contradictions and can proceed to the second category--misquotations. Almost no bounds exist with respect to Paul's propensity to extract from the OT the meanings he desires. (69) In l Cor. 3:20 (...For it is written....The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain") Paul misquoted Psalm 94:11 ("The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity"). Surely not all men are wise. Wisdom and men aren't equal. (70) In Rom. 15:12 ("And again, Isaiah saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust") Paul misquoted Isa. 11:10 ("And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek....). (a) Isaiah does not say he shall reign or rule over the Gentiles. It merely states that the root of Jesse will act as a standard or banner for the people. (b) Isaiah refers to "it" not "him." (71) In 1 Cor. 2:9 ("But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him") he misquoted Isa. 64:4 RSV ("From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him"). (a) Nowhere in Isa. 64:4 does it say, "neither have entered into the heart of man." (b) Paul states, "the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." Yet, Isaiah 64:4 does not state or even imply that there will be a future reward for those that love God. It merely states that God will work for those who wait for him. (c) Isa. 64:4 says, "no eye has seen a God besides thee," which Paul omits. (72) In Eph. 4:8 ("Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men") Paul misquoted Psalm 68:18 ("Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men....") (a) Psalm 68:18 says "received gifts" not "gave gifts." (b) It also says "thou" not "he." (c) Jesus never led captivity captive, led others to a high mount, or gave gifts unto men. (d) There is a big difference between "giving gifts to men" and "receiving gifts for men." (73) In Rom. 3:4 (" it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged") Paul misquoted Psalm 51:4 ("...that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest"). (a) Psalm 51:4 says "judgest" not "art judged." (b) Psalm 51:4 also says "and be clear" or "blameless," not "and mightest overcome" or "prevail." (74) In Rom. 15:21 ("But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand") Paul misquoted and misapplied Isa. 52:15 ("...the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they have not heard shall they consider"). (a) Isaiah 52:15 says nothing about "he was not spoken of"; it says "that which had not been told them." It says "that," not "he." (b) "They that have not heard shall understand" is not the same as "that which they have not heard shall they consider." Because something is considered does not mean it is understood. (75) In Heb. 10:7 ("Then said I, Lo I come [in the volume of the book it is written of me] to do thy will, O God") Paul distorted Psalm 40:7-8 ("Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart"). He left out the last phrase ("thy law is within my heart") which shows God's will is the law. If Paul had quoted Psalms correctly he would have been stressing the importance of upholding the Old Law. Since Paul never stressed the Old Law, he understandably left out the last verse. (76) In 1 Cor. 15:54-55 ("...then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?). Paul misquoted Isa. 25:8 RSV ("He will swallow up death forever") and Hosea 13:14 ("...O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction"). (a) Isaiah says death will be swallowed up "forever" not "in victory." (b) Hosea says "thy plagues" not "thy sting." (c) "Hosea was not written in interrogatory form. (d) Hosea says "thy destruction" not "thy victory." It is difficult to see how Paul's words could be accurately derived from Isaiah and Hosea. (77) In Heb. 10:36-37 (" might receive thy promise. For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry") Paul perverted Hab. 2:3 ("For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry"). (a) Habbakuk says nothing about "he." The "it" in the verse is a vision, not Jesus. Hab. is referring to the maturation of a vision he has. The "it" referred to has nothing to do with the arrival of any individual. (b) Where in the OT, esp. Hab., did God promise "he will come and not tarry?" (78) In Rom. 11:9-10 ("Let their table be made a snare, and a trap and a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, and bow down their back alway") Paul misstated Psalm 69:22-23 ("Let their table become a snare before them: and that which should have been for their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be darkened, that they see not; and make their loins continually to shake"). The Psalmist said nothing about a "stumblingblock," a "recompense," or "bowing down their back alway." (79) In Rom. 11:26-27 ("And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, For this is the covenant unto them when I shall take away their sins") Paul misquoted and misused Isaiah 59:20-21 ("And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord...."). (a) Isaiah 59:20 says "to Zion," not "out of" Zion. (b) Isaiah says the Redeemer shall come "unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob." It does not say the Deliverer "shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." In other words, he will come to those who turned from transgression on their own volition. It does not say he will turn away ungodliness. (c) Moreover, "when I shall take away their sins" is not in Isaiah 59. Paul created that out of nothing. (d) Nowhere does Isaiah use the word "saved" or "salvation" as Paul uses it. (80) In Rom. 9:25-26 ("as he saith also in Hosea, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God") Paul misquoted and misused Hosea 2:23 ("...and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God") and Hosea 1:10 ("...and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God"). (a) Hosea 1:10 is speaking only of Jews as Hosea 1:11 ("Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together") shows. It is not referring to Gentiles and does not justify spreading the word to Gentiles. (b) "and her beloved, which was not beloved" is not in Hosea. Paul created the words. (c) Hosea 2:23 says, "and they shall say, Thou art my God," which Paul conveniently left out of his quote since millions of Gentiles have clearly not made such a statement. (81) In Rom. 10:6-8 ("But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? [that is, to bring Christ down from above] or, who shall descend into the deep? [that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead]. But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach...."), Paul mutilated Deut. 30:12-14 ("It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it? But the word is very nigh unto thee in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it"). (a) The latter is only saying that his (Moses--Ed.) commandments are easy to obtain. They are not far off but as close as one's heart or mouth. Deut. says nothing about "faith." (b) It refers to seeking "it" and doing "it," not seeking "him" or doing "him." (c) It does not even imply Christ or Jesus, let alone mention him. (d) Deut. is referring to Penitence and is not about believing on or bringing down Jesus from heaven or up from the dead. (e) Deut. is saying that God wills us to repent of sin and that you may know when you have sinned. You have only to look at his law which is very close by. (82) In Heb. 10:16-17 ("This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more") Paul misquoted and misapplied Jer. 31:33-34 ("...but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts,...for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more"). (a) The New Covenant referred to in Jer. 31:31 is not that of Jesus' New Testament but a reaffirmation with Israel of the importance of following the Old Law. Jer. 31:33 clearly states that God's law (my law) will be put in them. (b) Jer. says the law will be written in their hearts, not their minds and God's law will be put in their inward parts, not their hearts. "And in their minds will I write them" does not appear in Jer. (83) In Rom. 9:33 ("As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed") Paul misquoted Isa. 28:16 ("Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste"). (a) Isaiah says nothing about "on him" or "being ashamed." (b) Isaiah says God will lay a precious corner stone, a sure foundation, not a stumbling stone or rock of offence. (c) True, Isa. 8:14 ("And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel....") speaks of a stumbling stone and a rock of offense, but it is speaking of God himself. Paul deceptively combined two unrelated verses and altered the text in the process. (84) And finally, Heb. 12:20 is a misconstruction of Ex. 19:12-13 and Heb. 4:3 is a perversion of Psalm 95:11.

Besides contradictions and misquotations, Paul also engaged in quoting non-existent OT statements--nonquotes. (85) "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" (Rom. 10:11). No such statement exists in scripture. Isa. 28:16, Jer. 17:7, and Joel 2:32 simply don't apply. (86) "For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them" (Rom. 10:5). Although Paul is quoting Lev. 18:5, he couldn't be quoting Moses since Moses didn't write the Pentateuch. (See: Moses and the Pentateuch in Issues 19 and 20). (87) Second Tim. 3:8 ("Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses....") refers to two people who were never mentioned in the OT and there is no evidence they are the Pharoah's sorcerers in Ex. 7:11. (88) Contrary to 1 Tim. 1:18 ("This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee...."), there are no OT prophecies pertaining to, or referring to, Timothy. (89) Eph. 5:14 ("Therefore it is said, Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light") is nowhere to be found in the OT. Isa. 60:1 and 26:19 are not applicable. (90) Contrary to 1 Cor. 15:7 ("After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles") no gospel says James saw Jesus. (91) And finally, contrary to Heb. 9:3-4 ("And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant,...wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant...."), 2 Chron. 5:10, Deut. 10:2, 5, and Ex. 25:16 show there is nothing in the OT about a golden pot or Aaron's rod being put in the ark. {This listing of nonquotes will conclude next month.}


#2 Why is so much of the focus on Christianity? Is it because it's statistically the majority religion on the planet?

ANS: The reason I'm concerned is because it represents the majority in this country. If the Koran were the main religious book in the U.S., I'd focus on it.... You must know the Bible because when you talk to these people they are going to retreat into it. If you ask them how they know God exists, they are going to say, "Because the Bible says so." If you say, "Prove God exists;" many will say, "I don't have to; the Bible says he does." Now you have to prove the Bible is not to be believed, which means you must get into the Book and go over each point. {Don't forget their motto: The Bible says it; I believe it, and that settles it.} As long as they put credence in the Book, any arguments you make to the contrary are not going to carry sufficient weight....

#3 What is the origin of the Bible?

ANS: Answering that is a speech within itself. Let me attempt a quick summation. When you go into a bookstore and ask for a copy of the Bible, they don't give you a copy of the Bible; they give you a version. But you say, "I don't want a version; I don't want the King James, the Revised Standard, the New American Standard or the Living Bible. I want a copy of the Bible. But they can't give you that as there is no such animal. What they will produce is a book written by a group of people who claim to have manuscripts that are accurate copies of the originals--the autographs. But how do we know which are correct, assuming the originals ever existed? There are thousands of copies. Scholars picked and pulled from these different manuscripts and compiled or composed books which are portrayed as accurate versions of the originals. That's what you are reading.

In addition, there are the problems associated with how the Bible was put together initially. The catholic version has more books within the Bible than the protestant King James. During many councils and conferences in the 200 to 600 A.D. period scholars basically voted on the books to be accepted and rejected. I have a list in my notes of many of the books that {never made the canon's list}.... Christians don't want you to know this because it shows the Bible was composed by people and not by God. It was an expedient document put together by individuals pushing and pulling like typical politicians.... {Evidence shows the Book is not inspired.}

#4 If they admit a copyist error, how can they continue the discussion?

ANS: They admit there is a copyist error but contend the original writings are perfect. Most don't defend an inerrant King James.... Evangelists and other fundamentalists will concede errors in the King James. That isn't what you are debating.... They say it's the original writings which are accurate, the ones written approximately 2,000 years ago....They are the ones without error. If you have a book today with mistakes in it, that's because somebody didn't copy correctly.... But we don't have the original autographs; all we have are a lot of writings purporting to be accurate representations of the original writings which don't exist.... Does that sound like a book composed by God?.... How do you know what is a copyist mistake and what isn't? That's their problem.... When they say it's a copyist mistake, they are obligated to provide evidence.... {And how do you know what's true if you start admitting certain parts are false? Where do you draw the line? That's a major issue that looms over the entire Book. That's why many hold the line so fervently}.

#5 Doesn't this come down to empirical, logical, rational thinking versus irrational faith and an emotional need to hold on to something absolute? Aren't they going to believe no matter what you say?....

ANS: {As I said earlier}, you must realize the spectrum of believers is very wide. You can't use a broad brush to cover all Christians. Putting them all in the same bag is preposterous.... True, you have people on the fringe with whom conversation is futile. I wouldn't waste my time on them. I've talked to some biblicists and realized I might as well have been talking to a stone. There's no reaching them. Trying to present a rational argument to an irrational mind is an exercise in futility. Didn't the psychiatrist, Jung, say, {"I have treated many hundreds of patients. Among those over 35 there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life.} Religion is a mental problem and it's reflected in their logic and rationalizing. Making a logical case to an illogical mind is a waste of time. But that isn't true of a lot of Christians, especially those who are more intelligent. If you present a case, many will listen. I'm not saying they will quickly change. As I said earlier, you must present some evidence and come back later and present some more repeatedly. You can't convert them in 20 minutes, but you can reach a lot of people by multiple contacts. I think you are saying they all fit your mould while many I talk to do not. I see many whom you can reach.... It relates to what I said about talking to Falwell. I know I'm not going to convert him to anything, but I can sure shake-up his followers.... (At this point my time was exhausted and the program was concluded.)


Letter #230 from JW of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Dear Dennis. In Issue #3, where you respond to letter #3, you give 7 verses where God created evil. A verse which you did not list, but is directly on point is Isa. 45:7 KJV ("I form the light and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things"). Keep up the good work and keep thinking about putting it all in a book.

Editor's Response to Letter #230

Dear JW. Although I could have referred to this verse, it was omitted because apologists claim that just as light is the opposite of darkness, war or confusion, not evil, is the opposite of peace. So they contend the word "evil" means disruption rather than immorality. Rather than debate the issue I opted for verses less open to dispute.

Letter #231 from CWL of Reynoldsburg, Ohio

Dear Dennis. The other day a Jehovah's Witness knocked on our door (alone, surprisingly) and I invited him inside. I didn't try to overpower him in one visit and so I just politely asked him to resolve the Mary Magdalene problem in the four gospels. He left and didn't come back for about two weeks. His answer or solution was very poor. However, he returned and continued his evangelizing by supplying me with You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth to show me the "light."

Your periodical is a valuable aid in dissuading such individuals from their beliefs. However, I would like to ask if you have a considerable number of biblical verses that contradict the basic tenets or interpretations of Jehovah's Witnesses in particular. I would definitely appreciate receiving such information by return mail. What I am pointing out is that your periodical has organized the Bible's contradictions in a certain manner. However, the contradictions are not organized so as to contradict the basic tenets of any particular fundamentalist religion, e.g. Jehovah's Witnesses and Baptists. Perhaps, as your periodical continues its publication, you will see fit to present biblical contradictions in a format that is aimed at one particular group or another.

Editor's Response to Letter #231

Dear CWL. I'm glad to see you confronted the JW on his own turf and didn't avoid a dialogue. When they gave me the book you mentioned I read and critiqued it from cover to cover. Some of the information was useable. As far as outlining problems in such a manner as to oppose particular groups is concerned, I intend to do so someday but other activities are of greater concern. Except for matters pertaining to eschatology, the Trinity, and a few other key areas, most of the basic beliefs of the Witnesses are in agreement with those of orthodox Christianity. So I'd direct the same points to them that have been made to other biblicists.

Letter #232 from BF of Louisa, Kentucky

Dear Dennis. A friend referred me to Jer. 8:8 RSV ("How can you say, We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? But, behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie"). Isn't this a golden test acknowledging biblical errancy straight from the horse's mouth? Maybe you've cited it often before but I haven't seen it in BE's pages?....

Editor's Response to Letter #232

Dear BF. I've never used this verse in BE because how one turns a law into a lie is somewhat unclear.

Letter #233 from Mark Potts, Wilson Hall, Rm. 203, NSU, Tahlequah, Oklahoma

Dear Dennis. I think I can answer your question, "What happens to people who never hear about Jesus?" According to 2 Thess. 1:7-9, those "that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" will be condemned. Because this passage is unambiguous and allows no exceptions, modern Japanese who have not heard the gospel are just as worthy of damnation as people in Christian countries who have heard the gospel but have rejected it.

Letter #234 from ARG of Front Royal, Virginia

Dear Dennis. My sincere admiration for your efforts in producing BE. Christianity is undoubtedly the biggest scam ever perpetrated on mankind. You are effectively knocking the foundation out from under it. Too bad there isn't some way to get your work before all reasonable people who still think the Bible has some inherent validity.

Letter #235 from JC of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada

Oh, Bless you sir! You've taken a most loathsome chore off my hands. I can't stand that book; it gives me a headache. I open it looking for two things--a clear and straightforward explanation of Christian theology and eloquent examples of Christian mercy. There is hardly enough of either to fill a thimble.... Thank you for making some sense out of it. Perhaps you could set up a home study course. I agree with you that the freethought movement needs its biblical experts to point out to the religious middle-of-the-roaders that the Christian mythology preached in mainstream churches has little to do with the bible and to point out to the fundamentalists that the bible does in fact have errors and contradictions. Personally I don't care what people do in the privacy of their own pew. The Moral Majority, however, is going for political power and taking their Inquisition-type-mindset with them.... If the current economic woes deepen, we will see a desperate casting about for Something-to-Believe-In, something sure, rock solid, fundamental.... I don't think Jim Bakker's troubles will hurt the cause of fundamentalism, but rather cause people to turn to someone even more rigid and uncompromising....

Letter #236 from KDB of Largo, Florida

Dear Dennis. WOW! Totally awesome! Fifteen adjectives indicating extreme surprise, fascination, enjoyment, and approval! In other words I like it. I just received #56 and #57 which began my subscription. Wadda Trip! There is just so much good stuff on the reprint list, that it may constitute mental cruelty. Which do I order first?... Please create a TRACT to give out. It must avoid obscene (hard to resist) insulting language, and set forth the truth in plain verifiable speech....

Letter #237 from PH of Calverton, New York

Mr. Dennis McKinsey....Keep up the good work. I live on Long Island and heard you on the Buffalo station. Some great person said an unexamined life is not worth living. I say an unexamined religion is not worth living by. I admire how you insist on the callers' logic but wonder how you take the abuse....

Letter #238 from VEC of Hood River, Oregon

I love them Dennis. Take good care of yourself and don't get burned out.

January 1988