Evidence That Demands a Verdict: Life-Changing Truth for a Skeptical World Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
The modern apologetics classic that started it all is now completely revised and updated - because the truth of the Bible doesn't change, but its critics do. With the original Evidence That Demands a Verdict, best-selling author Josh McDowell gave Christian audiences the answers they needed to defend their faith against the harshest critics and skeptics.
Since that time, Evidence has remained a trusted resource for believers young and old. Bringing historical documentation and the best modern scholarship to bear on the trustworthiness of the Bible and its teachings, this extensive volume has encouraged and strengthened millions.
Now, with his son Sean McDowell, Josh McDowell has updated and expanded this classic resource for a new generation. This is a book that invites listeners to bring their doubts and doesn't shy away from the tough questions.
- Thoroughly revised and updated from the previous edition
- Now coauthored by Josh McDowell and Sean McDowell
- All-new chapters defending against the latest attacks from Christianity's critics
- Designed to be a go-to reference for even the toughest questions
- Offers thoughtful responses to the Bible's most difficult and extraordinary passages
- Expansive defense of Christianity's core truths, including the resurrection of Jesus Christ
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|Listening Length||42 hours and 39 minutes|
|Author||Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell PhD|
|Narrator||Josh McDowell, Sean McDowell PhD, Bob Souer|
|Audible.com Release Date||October 03, 2017|
|Publisher||Blackstone Audio, Inc.|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #4,561 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#3 in Bible Commentaries
#10 in Christian Apologetics (Audible Books & Originals)
#40 in Christian Bible Criticism & Interpretation
Reviewed in the United States on October 4, 2017
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To begin then; why, another edition. This is a book that has been around in different editions for 40 years. When an "updated", "new and improved" anything comes out, I am the first to raise an eyebrow as to what the motivation is. In this case, it's simple, both the challenges and the evidence available to the truth of Christianity is a constantly evolving thing, this is a book that in reality could be re-released every 20-30 years with no problem.
Now to the book itself, it is a reference book first and foremost, it is not light reading, in fact it is quite intellectually taxing. It's designed for you to go to a particular section and gather information to answer a particular question, and in this area it is outstanding. The contents are well laid out so you can find what you need quickly. Questions or challenges are addressed concisely and thoroughly and with good cross references if you are looking to go deeper. I wouldn't suggest reading cover to cover in one sitting (though you can if you desire), take your time, let the information simmer, because there is a lot to take in.
In my opinion, this books greatest strength is its honesty. It is not afraid to present opposing views against Christianity, even when the evidence for faith in that subject can sometimes seem a little light, more than once I found myself wanting the authors to claim absolute undeniability, but that would detract from the overall strength of the honest, accumulative argument. There is no silver bullet either For or against Christianity, you have to weigh the evidence for yourself, honestly, and go from there, for me this book is a scale tipper.
The first time I read this book it helped bring me to a strong intellectual Christian faith, this time, it helped me go even deeper and provide even more answers to what, for me has been a journey with many questions to a faith in Jesus Christ.
ANYONE with an open mind, from staunch atheist to staunch Christian, with any questions about the truth of Christianity will benefit from reading this book, I couldn't recommend it more.
He Changed My Life: (A quote from Josh McDowell) You may think it was the irrefutable intellectual and historical evidence that brought me to Christ. No, the evidence was only god’s way of getting his foot in the door of my life. What brought me to Christ was the realization that he loved me enough to die for me. - Right here we can understand that Josh believes for emotional reasons not a logical assessment of the evidence.
Intro: I’m going to skip sections I & II because they are not relevant. III. Josh speaks of historical evidence. However, history alone is not sufficient to demonstrate the supernatural claims made in the bible are factually accurate. History can only report on the claims being made. We need demonstrable and verifiable evidence that these supernatural events actually took place in reality. Josh claims Christian faith is testable but then goes back to history which is not a means to test the validity of the claims. IV: Josh goes on to 10 misconceptions about the Christian faith. 1. Christian faith is blind? Not really. Christians believe they have good reason to believe but the cannot demonstrate their beliefs to be true. 2. It cannot be true because the church committed injustices: 3. Hypocrisy of Christians: 4. Intolerance of Christians: 2 – 4 have nothing to do with the truth of Christian claims. 5. There cannot be just one right religion: Not all religions can be right; but they can all be wrong. 6. Christianity and science are at war: No they are not. Science is used to help us understand observable phenomena in our shared reality by using the scientific method. At times scientific finding conflict with claims made in the bible. This creates issues for religion as they must accept their holy books as being 100% accurate. Science can demonstrate the factual accuracy of their findings; religions cannot demonstrate the factual accuracy of the supernatural claims made in their holy books. 7. God has not provided enough evidence for rational belief: I will rephrase this one; Christians have not provided sufficient evidence to substantiate their claims. This is true. 8. Being a good person is enough to get you to heaven: This one contains a claim that a place called heaven actually exists. This claim must be demonstrated. 9. A good god would prevent evil and suffering: Evil is a subjective term. A good person would attempt to prevent unnecessary suffering and a god should be held to the same standard. 10. Biblical teaching on sex is repressive and hateful: Again, this has nothing to do with the truth of Christian claims. But I agree with the statement. V, VI, VII do not pertain so I will not provide any feedback.
Now we move on to naturalism. This section is misleading. They speak of philosophical naturalism which is the ideal or belief that only the natural exists. But science has to follow methodological naturalism which is when using the scientific method we cannot take the supernatural into consideration because we have no mechanism to investigate anything genuinely supernatural.
The Kalam cosmological argument: 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore the universe has a cause. Premise 1 can be dismissed the second someone attempts to state that a god did it and that good must be the uncaused cause. Premise 2 is in question because we don’t know what existed prior to the big band. So we cannot determine if there was in fact nothing prior to that event.
A finetuned universe: This argument implies an intelligent agent finetuned the universe. This claim must be demonstrated to be true.
The origin of life: We currently do not fully understand how the first life arose on Earth, but we are working on it. Again, any claims that a god created life must be demonstrated to be true, not simply assorted.
The origin of consciousness: This is a brain function which evolved over time. If anyone states a god did it that god must be demonstrated.
Existence of free will: Our will to do what we want is not completely free as we have many influences which drive our decisions. If a god gave this to us, you must demonstrate that god exists.
Objective Morality: All morality is subjective; if a god created morality then it was his or her subjective opinion. We humans have shared moral values because we are all human and fully understand pain and pleasure and thereby understand the potential benefits of giving pleasure to others and the potential consequences of causing pain to others.
Chap 1: The Uniqueness of the Bible. There is a lot of interesting information in this chapter absolutely none of which demonstrates the truth of the claims made in the bible. This same chapter could be written about any holy book. They can all be considered to be unique in their own ways. Here are a few to consider: The Hindu Rigveda, Vedas, and Bhagavad Gita. The Quran. The book of Mormon. The Buddhist Pali Canon. The Scientology book Dianetics. Every one of them are unique in their own way but that doesn’t make the information contained within them factually accurate, especially the supernatural claims.
Chap 2: How we got the Bible: This chapter covers actually how it was physically written and who decided what was included (spoiler: they were all human). Again, interesting information but nothing that demonstrates the truth of the information contained in the bible. Humans wrote 100% of all holy texts. Humans made the decisions of what holy text were included in the bible and which were not. These are the facts. What they wrote, and was decided to be included in the cannon, is what is in question. Demonstrable and verifiable evidence is required to prove the truth of the claims made in the bible.
Chap 3: Is the New Testament Historically Reliable?: The bible is NOT a history book. It was not written by historians using the methods of histories at the times each book was written. Yes, the bible contains some mentions some real places, landmarks and people which can be demonstrated to be real. However, that does not demonstrate the truth of the extraordinary supernatural claims made in the bible. History alone cannot demonstrate the factual accuracy of events; additional corroborating evidence is required. For example: Many actual historians recorded information about Alexander the Great, but we also have a significant amount of corroborating evidence to verify the claim he was a real person. We have coins with his image, many sculptures of him by many artists and they all look alike, monuments in his name, cities named after him, account of him from non-historians (both ally and enemy). Etc. We can accept Alexander the Great was a real person with a high degree of confidence, yet we should not accept the claim that he was born of a virgin and his father was a god. That is an extraordinary claim and requires a extraordinary evidence.
Chap 4: Have the Old Testament Manuscripts Been Transmitted Reliably?: Again, interesting information in this chapter, but even if it was perfectly transmitted says nothing about the factual accuracy of the information. The claims must be demonstrated to be true.
Chap 5: Gnostic Gospels and Other Nonbiblical Texts: This chapter discusses gospels which were not included in the cannon. Again, interesting information but not pertinent to determining the truth of the bible.
Chap 6: The Historical Existence of Jesus: I am willing to tentatively accept that the character of Jesus described in the bible may have been based on one or more itinerant apocalyptic preachers wandering around Israel in the first century. However, no amount of history can validate the miracle claims attributed to this character. These claims must be demonstrated to be true.
Chap 7: The Lofty Claims of Jesus: I love the fact that Josh included the work Claims in this chapter. He speaks of the claims made by Jesus but ignores that the unknown authors of the gospels are making claims about the claims the character of Jesus made. We have no evidence that anyone actually made these claims other than the gospel writers. So, until such time as it can be demonstrated that the character of Jesus was an actual person and all the claims made about him are demonstrated and verified to be true; these claims can (and should) not be accepted to be factually accurate.
Chap 8: The Trilemma – Lord, Liar, or Lunatic?: The 3 options provided are NOT mutually exclusive. No one has demonstrated that the character of Jesus described in the bible was a real person. So we have a fourth option, Legend. The stories in the bible about the character of Jesus are mostly fictitious or they must be demonstrated to be factually accurate.
Chap 9: Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled In Jesus Christ: Again, interesting information but irrelevant to the truth of the claims made in the bible. The new testament writers had full access to the old testament texts. It would be very easy for them to write in prophecy fulfilling information. Yet again, the claims in the bible must be demonstrated to be true before anyone can claim the information in the NT proves prophecies in the OT.
Chap 10: The Resurrection: Hoax or History?: I would say neither. The resurrection is an extraordinary claim. We have no evidence that any human being has ever come back to life after reaching the point of biological death. Once again, the gospel writers are making a claim which must be demonstrated to be true in a verifiable way. History along cannot confirm the resurrection and using the bible to prove the resurrection is text book circular reasoning.
Chap 11: Christianity is a Copy Cat Religion: This chapter was mildly interesting but completely irrelevant. It does nothing to demonstrate the truth of Christian claims.
Chap 12: The Deity of Jesus: An Investigation: In this chapter Josh speaks of the miraculous claims in the gospels. However he fails to provide any actual evidence which demonstrates these claims to be factually accurate. As I’ve said before extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to confirm they are factually accurate. Many religions make extraordinary claims which Christians dismiss. Should we simply accept that Mohamed flew to heaven on a winged horse simply because someone wrote that story down in the Quran? Should we simply accept that an angel translated the information on the golden plates for Joseph Smith simply because it is written in the book of Mormon? Oh, by the way we have actual written and signed court verified eyewitness testimony of the angel and the golden plates. These witness never recanted their testimony even after they were excommunicated from the Mormon church. Should we accept this as sufficient evidence to believe the golden plates were real and there was an actual angel present?
*My response to the below will be short as they do not pertain to proving the supernatural claims in the bible. If Josh wants to attempt to prove the characters of Moses and David (for example) written about in the bible where based on real people, I have no issue. If he wants to then state that supernatural occurrences attributed to them are factually accurate then he must provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate these supernatural events actually happened in reality.
Chap 13: The Martyrdom of the Apostles: First, we do not have good evidence to demonstrate the apostles died for their beliefs. Regardless of that, people often die for their beliefs and that says nothing about whether or not those beliefs are actually true. The men who flew planes into the World Trade center demonstrate this fact.
Chap 14: The Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Influences: Interesting but not relevant to this discussion.
Chap 15: Biblically Faithful Approaches to Genesis: Genesis is full of supernatural claims which must be demonstrated to be true: people being create from dirt and bone, a talking snake, magic fruit, an entity creating the universe in an order that makes no sense, a god existing. All of these claims must be demonstrated to be true.
Chap 16: Archaeology and the Old Testament: As I have said before, there are real places, landmarks and people mentioned in the bible. This does not prove the supernatural elements are true.
Chap 17: The Historical Adam: We have no evidence that the Adam written about in the bible actually existed. Again, we required actual evidence to prove he did exist.
Chap 18: The Historicity of the Patriarchs: Maybe these people were loosely based on actual people or they may just be myth. Either way any supernatural occurrences attributed to them must be demonstrated to be true. (Example: parting of the Red Sea)
Chap 19: The Historicity of the Exodus: We have insufficient evidence to demonstrate the Exodus actually took place.
Chap 20: The Historicity of the Conquest: Not relevant
Chap 21: The Historicity of the United Monarchy: Not relevant
Chap 22: The Historicity of the Divided Monarchy and Exilic Period: Not relevant
Chap 23: The Composition of the Pentateuch: Not relevant
Chap 24: The Composition of the Book of Isaiah: Not relevant
Chap 25: The Historicity of Daniel: Not relevant
Chap 26: Alleged Contradictions in the Old Testament: There are contradictions in the old and new testaments. But I would have to write a separate review just to cover this topic and I do not want to waste my time.
Chap 27: The Nature of Truth: Here is a good working definition of truth – Truth is the extent to which a proposition conforms to reality and can be adjudicated by predictive power. This describes factual accuracy. Truth is not subjective, but belief is subjective. Gravity exists. This is true. It is objectively true. The same cannot be said of the miraculous claims made in the bible.
Chap 28: The Knowability of Truth: We can know things to be factual accurate to the best of our ability. We are restricted by our five senses as to what we can know. Reality as we understand it could be different then we perceive it. However we have no other option but to accept or reality and work within our human understanding.
Chap 29: Answering Postmodernism: Not relevant
Chap 30: Answering Skepticism: I’m a skeptic and all this means is I question things for which I currently have insufficient evidence to accept as fact. That is all it is.
Chap 31: Are Miracles Possible? Here is the definition of miracle: a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency. Yes potentially miracles are possible. But so far we have no verified miracles. We have no means to investigate anything supernatural. All we have are unverified claims that miracles occurred.
Chap 32: Is History Knowable? The answer is yes, to some extent. Because we have not way of going back in time we cannot really know every detail of things that happened in the past. However, with enough evidence we can understand the past with a reasonable level of certainty. However, as I have repeated many times in this review, claims of extraordinary events require a much higher level of evidence than mundane events.
This book contains no actual evidence for the existence of a god or for any of the supernatural elements contained in the stories found in the Christian bible. I find it a bit sad that all of the Christian apologetic arguments simply fail. Obviously these types of books are not written for skeptics, atheists or people who adhere to other religious beliefs because most of these people would find any of the information convincing. These books are written as Christian propaganda for Christian believers to bolster their ”faith.”
Please excuse any typos
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For all its rave reviews I somewhat feel it misses the point. Nobody is going to sit down and read all 800 pages from start to finish and although it clearly has some useful content finding it is hard. Hardly light reading either. If the aim is to convince sceptics that there is a Lord they are the least likely to read and digest. I expect my copy will sit on my bookshelf unread.
I think the biggest strength of the book is that it's virtually an encyclopedia of primary source quotations from a huge range of authors and scholars, both Christian and non-Christian. This means the book provides an easy way to access a vast amount of scholarship in one place and at a fraction of the price.
The new edition also means the book is up to date with the latest scholarship. There's also a new prologue on a Theistic Universe which briefly covers the latest debates on topics like consciousness, determinism, multiverse theories and morality. Plus a new appendix responding to Bart Ehrman's recent attacks on the bible.
All in all this is simply an essential book for every Christian.