truths. The atheists, of course."
So why do we do it? Why are we so evangelical about our skepticism? The answer is simple. There are
many people trapped in the throes of Bible fundamentalism who with help can find their way out of it, as this
young woman has done. As long as this is so, we will continue to put our philosophical views into the free
market of ideas and let the shoppers decide if they want to buy them. Our contention is that we have a better
product than the shoddy commodity being peddled by Bible fundamentalists. From personal experience and
the testimony of others, we know that a message in this young woman's letter is true: If you abandon supersti-
tion and face reality, you will be a happier person. So what is so wrong about helping people be happy?
DEBATE ON BIBLE MORALITY
In the next issue of The Skeptical Review, editor Farrell Till and Lindell Mitchell, a Church-of-Christ
preacher from Livingston, Texas, will begin a written debate. Till will affirm that the Israelite destruction of the
Amalekite nation (as recorded in the Bible) constituted moral atrocity; Mitchell will deny that it was a moral
As indicated in Clarence Lavender's article "Was It Morally Right for God to Order the Killing of the
Canaanites?" (TSR, Winter 1993, pp. 6-7), biblical inerrantists argue that the massacre of civilian populations,
including even children and babies, in time of war was morally right, if God so decreed it. They must take this
position, because the Bible clearly attributes such actions to the Hebrew god Yahweh, who inerrantists believe
was the omniscient, omnipotent deity who inspired the writing of the Bible. To say that Yahweh erred morally
would be the death knell for the inerrancy doctrine, so inerrantists must defend baby killing while usually
Lindell Mitchell refused to defend the massacre of the Amalekites, but he did agree to deny that it was an
atrocity. The debate will continue through the Spring 1994 issue.
In addition to The Skeptical Review, Skepticism, Inc., publishes other materials that might be useful to
those wishing to hone their skills on the subject of Bible inerrancy. The following booklets are available at $2.50
each, postage paid.
The Laws-Till Debate, a 56-page unfinished debate with James Laws, Jr., a professor of apologetics at
Tennessee Bible College. Although Laws challenged, he quit after only three manuscript exchanges and has
since refused to accept mail from Till. Correspondence is reproduced in the booklet.
Jackson-Till Debate, a 64-page debate on the issue of Bible inerrancy with a Church-of-Christ preacher.
Prophecies: Imaginary and Unfulfilled, an in-depth examination of the most commonly claimed examples of
prophecy fulfillment. Recently revised to expand its scope.
BACK ISSUES of The Skeptical Review from winter 1990 to the current edition (16 in all) are available at
$1 per copy.
SAUL & THE WITCH OF ENDOR
The myth of Bible inerrancy can be easily exposed by two or more writers. Quite often, the telling of the
same story a second or third time resulted in noticeable discrepancies. An example of glaring inconsistency can
be found in the two accounts of the death of Saul, the first king of Israel, as told by the writers of 2 Samuel and
1 Chronicles. Both writers claimed that Yahweh engineered Saul's death because of his disobedience, but the
two versions of his disobedience differ significantly. This is how the Chronicle writer summarized Saul's igno-
So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against Yahweh, because he did not keep the word of Yahweh, and
also because he consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of Yahweh; therefore He killed him, and turned the king-
dom over to David the son of Jesse (1 Chron. 10:13-15).
The statement is too direct to be misunderstood. Saul consulted a medium for guidance but did not inquire of
Yahweh; therefore, Yahweh killed him.
The Chronicle writer did not record Saul's experience with the medium who is commonly called "the Witch
of Endor," but the event was recorded in 1 Samuel 28 in a way that clearly contradicts the statement in 1
Then the Philistines gathered together and came and encamped at Shunem. So Saul gathered all Israel together, and
they encamped at Gilboa. When Saul saw the army of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart trembled greatly. And
when Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets.
Then Saul said to his servants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." And his
servants said to him, "In fact, there is a woman who is a medium at En Dor" (vv:4-7).
The rest of the chapter records the actual seance in which the witch at Endor conjured up the spirit of Samuel
the prophet, who told Saul that the next day his army would be defeated by the Philistines and that he and his
sons would be killed.
The significant thing to notice in this story is not the absurdity of the writer's apparent belief that a
medium actually conducted a seance in which she conjured up the spirit of a dead man but his obvious dis-
agreement with the Chronicle writer's version of Saul's death. The latter said that Saul consulted a medium but
did not inquire of Yahweh, and so Yahweh killed him. The writer of 1 Samuel, however, said that Saul did not
consult the medium until after he had inquired of Yahweh and had received no answer. Both versions of this
story cannot both be right. The discrepancy is obvious, yet in the face of such glaring inconsistency as this,
inerrantists will stubbornly argue that the Bible is a perfectly harmonious book from cover to cover.
With the change in our format, we will be publishing more materials. If you have an idea for an article,
we would be interested in reading it. All articles should address specific points of inconsistency, discrepancy,
contradiction, or logical absurdity that illustrate fallacies in the Bible inerrancy doctrine. Our style is thorough-
ness, so we will expect in-depth discussion of major points. Unsupported assertions and generalizations that
characterize most fundamentalist papers should be avoided.
We will also consider pro-inerrancy articles with the understanding that if we accept them, they will be
published simultaneously with our rebuttals.