Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door

brainsatthedoor

Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door, by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler. Originally published in 1992.

This book was marketed as a high school students’ apologetics book to help Christian teenagers more articulately express why they believe what they believe.

Unfortunately, a Christian teenager with any substance or firm foundation of faith in his life could check their brains at the door of this book and still understand the information presented just fine.

Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door contains 42 very short chapters divided into six sections:

  1. Myths About God
  2. Myths About Jesus
  3. Myths about the Bible
  4. Myths About the Resurrection
  5. Myths About Religion and Christianity
  6. Myths About Life and Happiness

Each chapter within the sections is devoted to debunking commonly heard myths and misconceptions about the Christian faith, The Bible, and Christians themselves.

By far, the best and most informative section, containing information many Christians have never been exposed to or considered, is the section Myths About the Bible, where McDowell and Hostetler do a decent job of supporting the authenticity and historical veracity of the Bible:

When you study Plato in school, does the teacher express skepticism about the reliability of The Republic?

When your ancient history teacher has you read aloud from the poetry of Catullus or Julius Caesar’s account of The Gallic Wars, does she warn you that what you are reading my be unreliable?

Do your instructors dismiss the writings of the Greek historian Thucydides or the philosopher Aristotle or the tragedian Sophocles and Euripides as being unworthy of serious consideration because off textual problems and variant readings? p. 51-51

Probably not.

After taking the time to document the rigorous and meticulous process required when both the Old and New Testaments were being copied and verified, they point out the two factors commonly accepted as the most important in determining the reliability of an historical document:

Two factors are most important in determining the reliability of an historical document: the number of manuscript copies in existence and the time between when it was first written and the oldest existing copy.

When you compare the New Testament with other ancient works, it’s reliability is immediately obvious. Not other ancient document even comes close.p. 52

He includes a chart there with the comparison of the Bible to other ancient works and as I said earlier, this is by far the most informative portion of the book.

This isn’t to say that this book isn’t useful to a new convert, because it most definitely cold be. I just approached it looking for more depth and intellectual rigor than I found within its pages. Perhaps I have overestimated the capacity of today’s typical Christian teenager.

Grade C-/D+

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Check Your Brains At the Door

  1. Perhaps I have overestimated the capacity of today’s typical Christian teenager.
    Perhaps we all tend to do that. If the information is true, I would be thrilled, regardless of how simplistic. In all honesty, I think we need to return to teaching “simple” and basic truth in the Church.
    I had the privilege of meeting Mr. McDowell once. It was an interesting encounter, for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Intelligent people tend to over-estimate the intelligence of others while under-estimating their own intelligence. It’s kind of the flip side of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

    Dunning and Kruger found this self under-estimation of high IQ people in their research (I’ve surmised the concomitant over-estimation of others) but it’s less widely reported because that wasn’t the purpose of the study, which was to find out if those with low IQs could be taught some level of mastery whereby they would be better as estimating their own capacity for certain tasks.

    Something like that – too lazy to fact check right now. They found that it was indeed possible I believe, which then brings up the question of why we don’t do this in schools. The answer to which of course is a long one, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If the information is true, I would be thrilled, regardless of how simplistic. In all honesty, I think we need to return to teaching “simple” and basic truth in the Church.

    You’re right about the need for back to basics, Christianity 101 teaching in the church. It often seems as if we have gone so far afield.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. which then brings up the question of why we don’t do this in schools. The answer to which of course is a long one, lol.

    You and I both know the reason they don’t do the things they should do in schools is because somebody, somewhere is deathly afraid that they might actually get *good* results, stemming the need for ever expanding bureaucracy to fix what they refuse to acknowledge that they broke in the first place.

    The PS system is first and foremost a jobs program, quiet as it’s kept.

    Like

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