I have a prophecy: I am going to hear some of the most entertaining bullshit humankind has to offer.
And you'll be the only person laughing!
Regrettably, it was too pathetic for laughter. Here's what took place:
Presentation 1: Dead Men Do Tell Tales, by Dan Bentzinger: Amazing Discoveries tour.
I get to the hotel early just in case it becomes standing room only. I am greeted by people from the local Seventh Day Adventist Church and handed a page reiterating the information in the mailer. I also received an envelope with a pencil and a little card with a bar code for registration. There were two giant screens for the presentation. People were pretty quiet and detached as we waited for the program to start. Just before the program Bentzinger's wife sits at a keyboard and plays some gospel style music with a perma-grin only evangelists can manage (the kind that looks painful and forced).
Bentzinger begins with quite a bit of preamble about registering and emphasizing that they don't want our money. The DVD of the program is optional but requests a donation of $5 which I thought was reasonable. In his preamble he welcomes all comers including atheists. No recordings allowed.
One of the first images of the actual presentation is held onscreen for quite a while of a creepy hollow-eyed ancient bust. Bentzinger starts in by talking about how we have to believe in the factual truth of the Bible before we use it as a text. He states that the Bible will be the only text for the 7-night series. The two methods he attempts to use for showing the Bible's veracity are archaeology and prophecy.
He goes into prophesy for a bit first and states "If there is a prophecy that didn't happen then the Bible isn't true". I thought that was quite a good scientific way of looking at it (falsifiability). However, I suspect he never tried to find a failed prophecy or he hasn't tried very hard. He stated that he is in the God-knew-everything-that-was-going-to-happen-from-the-beginning camp. He quotes Isaiah, saying that god is never wrong about any of his plans and does just what he intends to do.
Next Bentzinger dives into Genesis citing examples of archeological sites that correspond with the Bible. The book has actual locations and characters in it. Hmm. What else would they write about?
He moves on to Exodus and goes into what he thinks is a super-important point that Mt. Sinai is not where we thought it was, which is evidence for the truth of the Red Sea crossing of Moses. The Sinai nonsense goes on for about 10 minutes before he gets rather excited about the underwater geography of the Red Sea. Somewhere in there he mentions the "great work" of the Discovery Institute (located here in Seattle) in the last 10-15 years.
Then we finally get to the good stuff. He shows a picture of a guy in a boat, says its Lennart Moller, and goes on to describe how he went with lots of high tech equipment and implies he discovered the chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea. Here's a link to a debunking of Moller: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.c ... cy-dr.html
Mostly Bentzinger refered to "They". "They" found this, and "They" discovered that. It was quite frustrating when he ended his talk encouraging us to "just look at the evidence"...
Finally he gets into some prophecies:
The destruction of Tyre from Ezekial, Town of Jesus from mathew 11:24,25, Corinth and Romans 16:23
Then we have the Dead Sea Scrolls showing the "innerrancy of the Bible through the generations" . He actually quotes a Harvard prof. saying there are no major inconsistencies. I noted that the Harvard guy did not say "perfect" or "innerrant".
Bentzinger finishes weakly talking about how people will try to talk you out of believing in the Bible, especially University professors. Watch out, be careful where you send your kids to school because the teachers will try to de-convert you! He even suggested he had been subjected to this treatment. He then went on to give an example of an atheist turning religious (Lew Wallace--author of "Ben-Hur"). Now that's convincing, isn't it?
He continued to drag it out, encouraging people (despite all the nay-sayers) to give the Bible a fair shot. He repeated over and over about having an open mind and looking at the evidence as if he were talking to a room of non-believers. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't put some doubt into a few people. I mean why else would he be so worried about it? Just give it a chance he said.
He thought a funny conclusion was to talk about how we don't trust anyone anymore. He made a list: bankers, politicians, each other (did you lock your car? hahahaha). Suspiciously absent from his list was science.
Then it was good night, we will see you tomorrow when we get into some serious prophecies. No question time, everyone just filed out receiving an 8.5 by 11 sheet summarizing the topics covered. No references whatsoever. Not even the mention of Moller as in the presentation.
I decided to play nice and just left with the rest. I look forward to the next presentation where he will show how the Bible predicts which country will be the next superpower. I think I will try to go early and ask for some references so I can "examine the evidence" as he pleaded with us to do...