Rebuttal to Jury Chapter 2 ;-)

The Jury Is In-sane!
A Spoof Upon the Varying Methodologies of "The Jury Is In"

J. P. Holding

The second chapter of Josh McDowell's ETDAV is entitled, How Was the Bible Prepared? In it, Josh McDowell offers some background information on the sort of physical materials that were used to prepare the original texts of the Bible. There really isn't anything for skeptics to disagree with there, so of course it is not addressed by The Jury Is In.

But what if they HAD addressed this chapter? What would such a rebuttal look like? Based on the methods of argument currently in use in Jury, I hereby offer, in the grand tradition of Glenn Miller, a light-hearted spoof of what a Jury rebuttal to ETDAV's Chapter 2 MIGHT look like. Have fun! :)

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How the Bible was Prepared By Phibert P. LaPhlem

The Bible is a bad book. The people who read it are morons who drool on their shoes, wear mismatched socks, can't make up their minds on anything, think that throat lozenges are gourmet food, and stare at cans of frozen orange juice because they say "concentrate" on them. People who like the Bible are called Christians, and there are three kinds: those who can count and those who can't. Christian apologists are nothing but Amway salesmen with brylcreem in their hair.(1) They couldn't argue their way out of a paper bag or find their own behinds with two hands, a road map, a compass, a homing beacon, and directions halfway there. These "Christians" fool us by walking upright. They really belong in the zoo. Their lack of intelligence is due to cerebral fluid drainage.(2) I do not claim to have proved this. It is just the way of things as I have come to see it. If you happen to be a Christian, you will find out for yourself sooner or later if the shoe fits. Then you will be happy, well-adjusted, friendly and courteous like I am.(3)

In this chapter of ETDAV, McDowell seems to believe that merely telling us how the Bible was prepared will make us think that the Bible is the Word of God, or that reading it will cure cancer and foot fungus. This is simply sloppy scholarship. No one in their right mind believes this. (4) Frankly, McDowell and all Christians should learn that wisdom is divided into two parts: (a), having a great deal to say, and (b), not saying it. They should keep their sayings inside church doors, where they belong. And, McDowell is so full of hot air that if he were President, when he would have his fireside chats, he would put the fire out.(5)

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Materials Used In Its Preparation

McDowell talks about writing materials of the Bible and how ancient manuscripts were hard to preserve. He says that this is basically due to the perishable materials used for writing. You would think that ancient people would have been smart enough to put their manuscripts in the refrigerator so they wouldn't go bad. (6)

He says that the most common ancient writing material was papyrus, made from the papyrus plant. It was a reed that grew in shallow lakes and rivers of Egypt and Syria. (7) This is probably why the Bible has so many mistakes in it. No one in their right mind would stand in the middle of some lake or river up to their knees in cold water and try to write anything on a reed. (8)

Happily for Christianity, things improved later when parchment was used. This was the name given to prepared skins of sheep, goats, antelope and other animals. Their skins were shaved and scraped in order to produce a more durable writing material. I think that this is very cruel. Why did they do this to live animals? And the animals would probably run away before you could write on them or read anything that was written on them. This is more stupid than writing on a reed. (9) It also tells us why the Bible is full of mistakes. It is because it was written and read on the run.

He mentions other writing materials like ostraca, clay and wax tablets, and an iron pen. This should tell us how unprofessionally the Bible was written. An omniscient God would have used a laser printer.(10)

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Writing Materials

McDowell says that a chisel is an iron instrument used to engrave stones. I think we knew that already.(11) He says that ink was a compound made from charcoal, gum and water. He doesn't tell us whether the gum was cinnamon or spearmint.

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Forms of Ancient Books

Scrolls and codexes were types of ancient books. Unfortunately, there were also diaries, paperbacks, notebooks, looseleafs, post-its, bagels, and brogans. (12)

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Types of Writing

Although it is specified by McDowell that there were only two different types of writing, uncial and minuscule, used to write the Bible, all that needs to be shown to prove that the Bible was never actually written is that there were different types of writing other than uncial and minuscule. (13) It is not the case that there are two and only two precisely-defined choices to be made here, but rather a vast continuum of possibilities.

What all these alternative types of writing are is not important here -- most readers will no doubt be familiar with several -- what is important is that they exist and are at least as well attested as the other types of writing. It is therefore not reasonable to talk in narrow terms about "how the Bible was written" or in broad terms about "the sort of letters that were used" as if they were black and white alternatives, to be either entirely accepted or entirely rejected. A perfectly valid and supportable response to "The Bible was written" is "No, it wasn't." (14)

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Divisions

Nobody cares about this part. (15)However, I feel obligated to add an extremely intelligent quote from one of my favorite atheistic authors:

"Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or remotely to all life and indeed to all that is material." [George Gaylord Simpson, "The Meaning of Evolution," Yale University Press 1971, page 345]

One can readily see that this statement completely negates all Christian thoughts. For the Bible believer, God was once a primitive method of crowd control that got out of hand. (16)

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Conclusion

In this chapter, McDowell seems to be arguing that the Bible is a book. What about all the Bibles on cassette tape and CD-ROM? (17) Why doesn't he tell us how those were prepared? Is he trying to hide something? It is simply sloppy scholarship to expect his readers to track down a copy of a Bible on tape or CD-ROM. I mean, doesn't he realize I've got grocery shopping to do?

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Sources
  1. Futz, Phonias J. "The Bible Stinks, So Don't Read It." American Irrationalist, March 1982.
  2. Limburger, Rolf. "Does Satan Cause Traffic Fatalities? A Demonological Approach to Accident Reconstruction." Technical Journal of the Association of Accident Reconstructionists and Croissant Bakers, June 1979, pp. 35-167.
  3. Funky, Bubbalou. Knitting in your Spare Time. Missoula: Barfola Press, 1997.
  4. Encyclopedia Brutannica, 1932 ed. Entry: "Aardvarks."
  5. Chaucer, Geoffrey Potatoe. The Canterbury Tales. Stratford: Scandal Press, 1453.
  6. Farr, Tillell and Snookpeeper. Put Together your own Jesus Seminar in 2 Weeks! Buffalo: Narcissus Press, 1985.
  7. Some guy on the street told us this.
  8. Puddentain, Roscoe. "A Study on the Feasability of Potholes as Low-Income Housing." Journal of the Absurd, Peculiar, and Unnecessary, January 2003, pp. 35-12,985. (Provided courtesy J. W. Moore Research Institute and Time Travel Consortium.)
  9. Clark, Roy. Favorite Hee-Haw Hits. Laff Riot Records: 1992.
  10. McGuffey Reader, p. 101.
  11. "Secret Prophecies of Nostradamus Reveal: James Patrick Holding is Really Glenn Miller!" National Enquirer, April 1997, p. 1.
  12. Sesame Street, episode #4561, aired 10/14/79.
  13. This footnote provided by Chevrolet, the Heartbeep of America. Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or other use of this footnote without the expressed, written consent of The Christian Apologetics Bookshelf will result in your immediate removal to a lecture hall where Farrell Till is loudly explaining how atheism promotes good morals and stops tooth decay.
  14. "Dog Bites Man, Flees in UFO." The Milwaukee Mudhen, March 10, 1995. p. A-7.
  15. Rabadash, Rolfo. "An Analytical Study of Post-Modernist Ineffectuality in Terms of Neo-Platonic and Feminist Rationales, with Emphasis upon Dialoguing Resources Pertinent to Spam Cans." Saskatchewan Philosophical Quarterly, June 1903, pp. 3412-193743.
  16. "Building you Own Diesel-Powered Piano." Popular Mechanics, June 1934, pp. 5-6.
  17. Spires, Keven. "Beard Trimming Using a Weed Whacker Made Easy." Facial Hair and Small Gasoline Engines Quarterly, Octember 1995.


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