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When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties
~Norman L. Geisler , Thomas Howe
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List price: $29.99
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Sales rank: 47706

Product Information

Media: Hardcover
ISBN/ASIN : 0801011426
Manufacturer : Baker Books
Release data : 01 September, 1992

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    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    A Great Resource and Reference Book for Students of the Bible

    This book addresses and provides concise solutions to just about every conceivable problem, apparent contradiction and supposed error in the Bible. The authors demonstrate the reliability and trustworthiness of the Bible by citing historical facts, quotes from ancient sources, archaeological discoveries, etc. I highly recommend that all serious Bible students have this on their shelf.

    1 star1 starNo starNo starNo star    Preschool logic, ignores some of the most difficult texts

    In the Preface, Geisler supports biblical inerrancy by stating that: "The Bible has withstood the criticisms of the greatest skeptics, agnostics, and atheists down through the centuries, and it is able to withstand the feeble efforts of unbelieving critics today." It's evident that this same exact argument can be made in support of the Koran. Either Geisler is ignorant of this or he uses the argument dishonestly.

    Secondly, I was pleasantly surprised to see an argument in logical form. It's presented in the Intro as: 1. God cannot err. 2. The Bible is the word of God. 3. Therefore, the Bible cannot err. This argument is deductive so if the premises (1&2) are true, the conclusion (3) is necessarily true also. But how does Geisler show that the premises are true? In a classic case of circular reasoning, he appeals to what he's trying to prove as support for his premises. To the question: How do we know that God cannot err? Geisler tells us that the Bible tells us so! To the question: How do we know that the Bible is the word of God? Geisler tells us that the Bible tells us so!

    So in actuality Geisler is proclaiming that The Bible cannot err because it says so! Geisler's 40 years of learning were apparently not enough for him to learn elementary logic. How stupid do you think your readers are Mr. Geisler?

    Thirdly, he quotes St. Augustine favorably when it comes to dealing with difficulties in the Bible: "If we are perplexed by any apparent contradiction in Scripture, it is not allowable to say, the author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood." The skeptic or the critic can answer to this: If we think that we have identified an error in the arguments of the critics as written in book XYZ, it is not allowable to say, the author of this book is mistaken; but either the manuscript is faulty, or the translation is wrong, or you have not understood.

    Fourthly, in one of the weirdest and most ludicrous explanations given by Geisler, one of the reasons he gives as justification for the slaughter of children in Jericho is that those children went to heaven so it was actually an act of mercy on God's part. I'd like to ask Geisler if he ever considered killing his own children to ensure that they go to heaven. I'm sorry to be so brutal but the stupidity of the argument calls for it.

    Lastly, Geisler simply ignores some of the most difficult passages of the entire Bible. Some of these are: Exodus 21:7-11 where God explicitly grants fathers permission to sell their daughters into lifelong slavery, Exodus 21:17 where God orders the execution of children who curse their parents, Exodus 21:21 where God says that a slave is the "property" of the owner, Exodus 22:18-20 where God orders the execution of those who sacrifice to other gods. Apparently Religious Freedom was foreign to the God of Love, Numbers 15:32-36 where God orders the execution of a man for gathering firewood on the Sabbath, and Deuteronomy 21:10-14 where God gives Israelite soldiers permission to take female prisoners of war as "wives" and to discard them if they don't please well.

    I give it 2 stars instead of 1 for attempting to answer some of the difficult questions.

    1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star    Refreshing and englightening... a good read for Christian or Skeptic

    Norman Geisler has once again done a fantastic job of defending the Bible as the inerrant word of God. Although, this book will definetly not convince most skeptics (not surprising considering nothing usually does) nonetheless it is and excellent resource for laymen to well-seasoned apologists alike.
    In a very systematic fashion Geisler simply treats nearly all of the supposed "contradictions" in a head-on shoot from the hip manner. And while he doesn't claim to have all the answers, he generally offers very plasible explanations for supposed Bible contradictions and mistakes.
    If one has ever been attacked by skeptics(as I have)and wasn't quite prepared to "give an answer" as the Bible commands, this book will be right up your alley. In fact, one of the most uplifting aspects of this book is that it demonstrates the near desperate tactics that critics take to discount the Biblical text. Being somewhat of an analytical thinker myself I understand the natural tendency to downgrade the supernatural and uplift 'natural"' thinking. So it was no surprise to me to find that the vast majority of the so-called contradictions listed in this book could easily have been resolved with a little more critical reading of the text. However, as I so often find, skeptics will INTENTIONALLY see mistakes simply because they are looking for a reason to disbeleive. I encourage you, if you are seeking and somewhat skeptical, this book will offer explanations for some tough Biblical texts in the Bible. If you are a flat-out critic I hope this book will urge you to rethink some of your previous beleifs.
    For the rest of this review, I would like to respond to a couple of the general negative arguments I have read concerning this book. First, it seems abundantly clear that most of the skeptics simply from the tone of their review have already decided in their minds that Geislers explanations are wrong and that the Bible cannot be trusted. This is called an axiom and it is perfectly okay to have an axiom. However, an axiom must always be corroborated with strong evidence if it is to be held onto in light of plain reason. It is utterly foolish for a reviewer or skeptic to blast Geisler for holding to Biblical inerrany as an "a priori" commitment when the skeptics does the same with naturalism. Although, few admit this, it is abundantly clear that most skeptics have concluded that naturalism is a correct philosphy and therfore the Bible is not completely true or inspired by God. This is a perfectly valid assumption. Notice however, that the key word is assumption. Naturalism cannot be proven, and neither can Biblical inerrancy. However, what one can do is start with an assumption and see what assumption be fits the evidence. I would argue that the Bible's explantion of past present and future makes more logical sense than any other worldview. (read works by Francis Shaeffer if you want to learn more about the superiority of the Christian worldview).
    Second, what most skeptics have blasted in reviews is a TINY sampling of Geislers explanations which they have found to be the least satisfying. If those critics intimidate you from buying this book I urge you to reconsider. Most of these skeptics are making unsound generalizations because their sampling is far too small. If one reads this book with an open mind I am convinced that one will find nearly all of Geislers explanations satisfactory. Not to mention I beleive one will note the absurdity of most of the critics claims. Which brings me to another point. Simply because not every explanation Geisler offers seems legitimate is not a reason to reject Biblical inerrancy.
    The Bible is a large book, that covers a vast period of history and we as modern day Americans are not anywhere near the cultural context of the ancient middle-east. Therefore, it would be fairly audacious to presume that we would not find any Biblical text that is somewhat confusing and may on the surface seem contradictory to other parts of the Bible. In fact, the opposite is true. We should expect to find a small amount of Biblical texts that are troubling. If we didn't that would be a good reason to suggest that the text was edited so that it would look more complete. And what do we find? We find a small amount of Biblical texts that are troubling. And while yes, Geisler has listed over 800 texts, as I stated previously if one reads the book, one will find that most of the supposed contradictions exist in the overly active imagination of the critic rather than in the text itself. If one examines the text with an open mind and legitmately tries to understand the nature of the context and literary genres a in which the authors of each book wrote. Most of the "contractictions" dissapear.
    All in all, this book is fantastic and I would encourage any Christian or skeptic to buy it.
    A son of the King,

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