Back Page: spring 1993 GOD... which it thrives, it isn't very comforting to think that soc

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Back Page: spring 1993 GOD... which it thrives, it isn't very comforting to think that social progress in our country will continue to be impeded by those who seek to impose their interpretations of "God's inspired word" upon us all. Something that rational- ists can do that might hasten the demise of Bible fundamentalism is to get involved in teaching people how to think. A regrettable characteristic of our society is the emphasis that we put on teaching what to think. Certain ideas and attitudes become socially, politically, and religiously correct, and children in particular are indoctrinated in them with little or no attention to logical analysis to determine if they are indeed the most suitable and beneficial ideas and attitudes to espouse. For this reason, people grow up to believe that God exists, that Jesus of Nazareth was his son, that the Bible is his inspired word, that God is responsible for the apparently fortuitous events that hap- pen to us, etc., etc., etc. They believe these things not for sound rational and well thought-out reasons but simply because these ideas represent what they have been taught to believe. In this publication, we have identified and discussed more than enough problems to convince rational thinkers that the Bible just cannot be "the inspired word of God." We will continue to publish articles with that inten- tion in mind, but perhaps it is time to devote at least some space to articles that discuss how to think and how to apply logical thought processes to the biblical text. Some of the articles in this issues have been written and se- lected with that intention in mind. Similar ones will follow in later issues. *********************** VIRGIN... but in fairness, note that most Jewish scholars (who should know better than evangelicals) insist it is an ode praising Hezekiah, Ahaz's righteous son (2 Chron. 29), who came to the throne in 720 B.C. and centralized the worship of Jehovah at Jerusalem. The various titles ascribed to him, such as "Prince of Peace" and "Everlasting Father," were apparently honorifics used by the ancient Jews for favorite kings. (You find the same sort of bread-buttering in Egyptian hymns to the pharaoh and in Babylonian royal eulogies.) Hebrew scholars also remind us, gently, that the key Hebrew verbs in Isaiah 9:6 are in the past tense. A moot point. For reasons stated earlier, we cannot use the child in Isaiah 9:6 as a bridge connecting Immanuel to Jesus. As Old Testament prophecies of the Christian Messiah go, this one, like so many others, has been overrated. (Kenneth E. Nahigian's address is 2411 Tyrolean Way, Sacramento, CA 95821-4809.) ********************************** A CHALLENGE TO JOSH McDOWELL In discussing Bible inerrancy with lay believers, I am often asked if I have read Josh McDowell's book Evidence That Demands a Verdict. As a matter of fact, I did read it, long ago, and found it to be incredibly simplis- tic, as are most books of its type. McDowell's name has come up so often that finally, on February 6th, I wrote to him and proposed a debate. As this edition goes to press, he has not yet responded to the challenge. I predict that he will be no different from other fundamentalist champions who like the security of partisan audiences, but I will keep you posted (FT). ************************************* 1 COMPUTER DISKS All articles that have been published in TSR can be copied to 5" or 3" disks in either Wordstar, WordPerfect, or ASCII format. Send one high density or two double density disks (formatted) and $1 for postage. ******************************** FREE SUBSCRIPTION: A free one-year subscription to The Skeptical Review can be obtained by writing to P. O. Box 617, Canton, IL 61520-0617. 2


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