Item description for More Than a Carpenter (Japanese): Is Jesus God or an Imposter? (Japanese Edition) by Josh McDowell...
Overview Worldwide best-seller examines the evidence for the resurrection and deity of Christ for Japanese readers. Begins with McDowell's testimony.
Publishers Description (Japanese title: Kirisuto wa Kami ka? Gizensha ka?)Worldwide best-seller examines the evidence for the resurrection and deity of Christ for Japanese readers. Begins with McDowell's testimony.
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Studio: Word of Life Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 6.91" Width: 5.79" Height: 0.53" Weight: 0.36 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2007
Publisher WORD OF LIFE PRESS MINISTRIES
ISBN 4264023297 ISBN13 9784264023296
Availability 0 units.
More About Josh McDowell
An internationally known speaker and author. He is most often connected with Campus Crusade for Christ - having spoken to more than ten million people in at least 84 countries and 700 university & college campuses.
Josh McDowell currently resides in Julian Dallas, in the state of California.
Josh McDowell has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about More Than a Carpenter (Japanese): Is Jesus God or an Imposter? (Japanese Edition)?
Marvelous Introduction to Apologetics Aug 3, 2008
I reread this book everytime I feel my faith slipping and it has never failed to boost my faith considerably.
Drawing from a variety of sources, including his personal experiences, archaeological findings, literary and historical criticism, and the theology of C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell makes an excellent case that Jesus is more than a carpenter.
One of the most delightful and suprising inclusions in this book is the manner in which McDowell blends common sense and circumstantial evidence with historical reliability. He certainly does not prove that Jesus is the Son of God, but any open-minded atheist or agnostic will certainly finish reading this book with a much different perspective on Christianity.
All but the most stubborn reader will appreciate that it is just as hard to question Jesus as it is to refute Him.
Great Witness Jul 13, 2008
This is a classic book that can be shared with skeptics to help share the Word!
This is an awesome book Jun 13, 2008
If you know someone or are someone who thinks that Jesus is just a historical figure. This is the book for you! Jesus is way more than a historical figure He is our gift and our only true way into heaven! This book really explains it all it is very compact and precise. It is pocket size and makes a wonderful gift.
A long review of a short book May 27, 2008
The shortness of this book is both its strength and weakness, but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was. He attempts to make the argument that science is invalid when investigating something that already happened, or historical events. He says, "The scientific method can be used only to prove repeatable things; it isn't adequate for proving or disproving many questions about a person or history" (page 38). I couldn't possibly disagree more. If we were to adopt McDowell's rather narrow definition of science, then paleontology (the study of the fossil record) should not be considered a science, because fossils aren't "repeatable" (i.e. you can't, and really shouldn't need to, actually see an animal being fossilized to make paleontology possible). Likewise, astronomy, forensic anthropology and archeology should also not be considered sciences, because it is impossible to "repeat" and observe the big bang, or a murder, or an ancient civilization. I consider history (and, in effect, scriptural history) a science because it should require the same sort of evidence seeking as any of the other fields that I mentioned above. A field of study doesn't need to have repeatable results to be considered a science. I realize that this might just be how we choose to define what "science" is, so I can't really hold this against McDowell. But what I can say is that, even if we adopt his more conservative definition of what the "scientific method" is, I still have quite a few things to say about McDowell's claims. For one, if he's claiming that someone in history literally rose after being dead after three days, then that's something that most definitely can be repeated and observed. He says "based on overwhelming historical evidence Christians believe that Jesus was bodily resurrected in time and space by the supernatural power of God. The difficulties of belief may be great, but the problems inherent in unbelief present even greater difficulties". Difficulties in disbelief are greater than belief? Oh really? Since the dawn of modern science, there has never been a verified instance of anyone rising from the dead, anywhere at any time (There has, however, been many instances of staged deaths). What's more, in claiming that Jesus literally rose from the dead, he's also undermining all of our current knowledge of human anatomy and of modern medicine. So far, there is no known physical mechanism by which a dead corpse can be reanimated. What's more likely: for all the known laws of physics, medicine and general biology to be completely suspended (such would be necessary for a supernatural event such as a real resurrection), or that there was a simple misunderstanding about Jesus' death? Perhaps the writers of the New Testament felt they had to embellish Jesus' story with a few miracles so that he would seem more believable as the messiah - who knows. There as many things that could potentially explain the account of Jesus' resurrection, but claiming that it was due to a supernatural event that defies all that we know about nature is definitely not the most probable answer. McDowell actually reveals himself to be a young-earth creationist in chapter 9. If you didn't already know, a young-earth creationist Christian is a person who takes the stories of Genesis literally and thus is confident that we can measure the age of the universe by tracing the lineage of mankind all the way back to Adam and Eve. This view implies, among many, many other outrageous things, that during the great flood of Noah, the human population was reduced to only three reproducing couples. In the book, McDowell argues that it's highly unlikely that Jesus was not the Messiah, because God, through the prophecies of the Old Testament, narrows down the possible candidates for Messiahship to a very exclusive set of people, Jesus being one of them. Part of his defense was this: "Noah had three sons, Shem, Japeth, and Ham. Today all of the nations of the world can be traced back to these three men. But in this statement, God effectively eliminated two thirds of them from the line of Messiahship. The Messiah will come through the lineage of Shem." (page 104) Did you catch it? He said today all the nations of the world can be traced back to these three men. This is most definitely not just a historical statement, but a scientific one, i.e. we aren't simply able to use testimonial evidence to prove that statement (actually, even the testimonial evidence is lousy, because while many cultures have "big flood" stories, they don't all agree, and they don't involve animals going into a big arc in pairs). We can take DNA from people around the world to trace the lineage of mankind, and the evidence suggests that we all came from a small population in Africa. Note that when I say "small", I don't mean merely three couples (Shem, Japeth, Ham and their wives), as McDowell believes was the case, but a population of about 15,000 individuals. That may sound like a large number, but it really isn't if you wanted to avoid marrying a relative. A species that is reduced to just three reproducing couples (not to mention that all the fathers are brothers!) has an ice cube's chance in hell of surviving. This is because incest is inevitable once you get to the next generation, and everybody knows what happens when you marry blood relatives. With that said, I'll concede that if Noah and his sons and their wives had exceptionally good genetic health, they could technically repopulate the earth just between themselves. But even this presents a problem. The genetic variability within the different peoples of the world is much too great for all of us to have descended from just three couples no more than 6000 years ago. 6000 years is the age of the earth, according to young-earth creationists, and this number, I reiterate, was found by tracing the lineage back all the way to Adam and Eve and counting the years. Now, McDowell doesn't specifically say that he believes the earth is only 6000 years old, but I'm betting dollars to donuts that he does. If you take the Bible literally enough to believe that we all came from Noah's three sons, you kind of have to believe in the 6000 year estimate to stay consistent. McDowell admits that he relies completely on scriptural testimonies to prove his points. Well, so do Muslims, and they have as fervent a belief in their scriptures as any Christian (and they fervently believe that Jesus was not the Son of God). Who's to say which religious scripture is correct? McDowell seems to be going the right direction when he says that there are three ways to prove whether a document is historical accurate: "the bibliographical test, the internal evidence test, and the external evidence test" (page 47). The Bible passes the "bibliographical test", which is really not so hard as long as you have enough people willing to copy it with enough precision. But copying a document that was false to begin with would still produce a false document, no matter how accurate copiers were. What is important is the validity of the original document. Okay, for "internal evidence", he has no trouble yanking out multiple passages from the Bible that he beliefs proves that the Bible is literally the word of God. But how far can you really go by simply quoting from the same text that you want to prove? It would be like saying "I know this book is true because it says so in its pages". In addition, he presents nothing from the Bible that could not have been written by a man 2000 years ago. On the most important test, the "external evidence test" he only has a little more than 2 pages written, and I think I may know why: because no such external evidence exists! McDowell quotes someone who says, "Archeology often provides powerful external evidence [for Christianity]" (page 56) but never actually provides the archeological evidence that he says exists. Unfortunately for McDowell and any other scriptural literalist, no big, wooden arc or any remains of an arc have ever been found, no external records or archeological evidence has ever been found to verify the Exodus, and there is no record of Jesus in any other ancient text other than the Bible. You'd think that if someone really did rise from the dead and perform a whole slew of miracles, a Roman guard or someone - anyone - would have written it down or told someone about it. But the fact of the matter is, no external text describing any aspect of Jesus' allegedly world-altering life has ever been found. He uses the testimony of two friends of John to claim that therefore, ever word that John wrote down about Jesus was absolutely, one-hundred percent true (page 55). Does the testimony of two friends seem like enough evidence to you? It seems to me that the testimony of two enemies of John might be more convincing, because then they wouldn't have any incentive to stick by their buddy. In addition, to "prove" that the New Testament was actually written by some of Jesus' disciples, he quotes "Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (A.D. 180)" (note the date) who said something along the lines of "Yes, the guy who wrote the Gospel of John was really Jesus' disciple, so his account of Jesus is accurate" (page 55). Okay, now, I don't know much about who actually wrote the New Testament, but does this argument sound convincing to you? Why wasn't there anyone who actually lived at the same time as John to confirm that he was, in fact, Jesus' disciple? Why did we have to wait one hundred years before someone actually confirmed that, yes, indeed there was a first-hand, written account of Jesus' life? I'll give you my speculation: none of Jesus' disciples or any of his acquaintances actually had anything to do with writing the scriptures. They were all written by people who heard about Jesus, but never actually met him or met anyone who knew him personally. (Okay, this isn't just speculation. I've read about it before). Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the scripture is an absolutely, one-hundred percent truthful account of Jesus' life (even though this is highly dubious). So, was Jesus a liar, a lunatic or Lord? I would have to say that Jesus was, at worst, a lunatic, and a best, a well-intentioned lunatic. McDowell quotes J. T. Fisher who said "Here... rests the blueprint for successful human life with optimism, mental health, and contentment" referring to Jesus and his life. I will certainly agree that Jesus had a lot of exceptionally wise and profound things to say during his short career on earth, but to claim that he was somehow a perfect, ideal human being with flawless mental health is somewhat of a stretch. He had many moments when he simply lost his temper, or would give bad advice, which would indicate that he's not the flawless son of God, but rather an imperfect leader with good intentions, but was just a little insane (which is really not so unusually for a religious leader):
"Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, `Why are you doing this?' tell him, `The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'" (Mark 11:1-3) (Comment: Jesus never actually returns the colt). "If your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell." (Matthew 18:8-9) (Comment: the Christian parent who cut off her child's arms may have unfortunately taken this message to heart). "On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts." (Mark 11:15-16) "Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26) "The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, `May no one ever eat fruit from you again.'" (Mark 11:12-14) I agree with McDowell that Jesus was, in many ways, an exceptional teacher and leader, but McDowell doesn't stop there. He insists that He also had absolutely flawless mental health. Such is required for the Son of God, after all - and this is how McDowell "proves" that Jesus was more special than any other religious leader in history. However, does a person who curses a fig tree for not giving him fruit seem like a person with flawless mental health to you? There's nothing undeniably special about him that could only be explained by concluding that he's the inerrant Son of God. McDowell goes on to say "wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, lives have been changed for the good, nations have changed for the better, thieves are made honest, alcoholics are cured, hateful individuals become channels of love, unjust people become just" (page 28). It's funny, because while the US has a much higher percentage of believing Christians than do countries like England, Switzerland and Germany, these European countries have far less crime than the US. This does not in any way prove that Christianity inspires crime, but it does indicate that Christianity does nothing to deter crime, and that anyone who says that it does it sadly mistaken. McDowell asks, in chapter 5 of his book, "Who Would Die for a Lie?" He suggests that because the apostles of Jesus were willing to be persecuted and die for their belief in Jesus, it could not have been a big lie. These people were serious about what they believed. From this, he concludes that Jesus really must have been the son of God, and that he really must have rose from the dead, etc. I hope that you can see the glaring logical flaw in this argument. It's true that it is difficult to die for a cause that you don't honestly and passionately believe in, but that alone doesn't prove that the cause was true to begin with. This is what McDowell specifically says: "The apostles went through the test of death to substantiate the veracity of what they were proclaiming. I believe I can trust their testimony more than that of most people I meet today, people who aren't willing to walk across the street for what they believe, let alone die for it" (page 70). I suppose now McDowell should become a radical Muslim, because currently, they seem to be the most willing to die for their beliefs. How do we know that in another hundred years, people aren't going to look back and argue that Islam must be the true religion, because so many people were willing to die for it, just like McDowell did to argue for Christianity? Okay, now for the question "Isn't There Some Other Way?" Did Jesus have to die on the cross to save our sins? Why didn't God just forgive us? Or couldn't he have just sent Jesus down and then let him die of old age? Why did God have to make Jesus' death a violent and bloody one? McDowell goes through a lot of hoops to justify this one: "many people ask the question, `Why couldn't God just forgive?'... People fail to realize that wherever there is forgiveness there's a payment. For example, let's say my daughter breaks a lamp in my home. I'm a loving and forgiving father, so I put her on my lap, and I hug her and say `Don't cry honey. Daddy loves you and forgives you'... who pays for the lamp? The fact is, I do. There's always a price in forgiveness" (page 116). McDowell's cute little analogy doesn't really work, because there's a very important difference between God and himself that he seems to be forgetting. God is all-powerful, but McDowell isn't. Therefore, God can do whatever the heck He wants, while McDowell is stuck with paying for broken lamps. You see, because McDowell isn't all-powerful, he can't magically make a lamp appear out of nowhere. But for God, such things are possible. And since when did God have to pay for anything? The entire universe is His on making, so there's nothing that doesn't already belong to Him. So where exactly does the "payment" for forgiveness come in? More important, isn't God the top man, the biggest of all big cheeses - why does He ever have to do anything? Why is he forced to make Jesus die on the cross in order to redeem the sins of mankind? In order for McDowell's argument to have any validity, he must concede that God is not all-powerful after all, and that even He is confined by a set of rules. But of course, you'll never get McDowell or any true Christian to admit this, because omnipotence is one of God's most important traits. Either God is all-powerful, or He is bound by a set of rules that mandates Him to sacrifice Jesus. You can't have it both ways! As a final note, I'd like to point out one of McDowell's earlier points. "If Jesus wanted to get people to follow him and believe in him as God, why did he go to the Jewish nation? Why go as a Nazarene carpenter to a country so small in size and population and so thoroughly adhering to the undivided unity of God? Why didn't he go to Egypt or, even more, to Greece, where they believed in various gods and various manifestations of him?" (page 30) If I may paraphrase a bit, he argues that if Jesus really wanted to lie to people about his divinity, then he would have had an easier time at it if he had gone to Greece, where they were much more willing to believe in half-god individuals. If Jesus was truly a con artist only pretending to be the son of God, McDowell argues, then why would he do it the hard way? This is meant to be an argument for Jesus' divinity, but when I read it through the first time, it actually sounded like an argument against Jesus' divinity. I mean, if Jesus really was the Son of God, would it have been better if he had gone to Egypt or Greece, where hundreds of merchants from all over the world go to trade, so that his message would have spread much faster throughout the world? Doesn't it seem odd that God would decide to send his one true messiah to a small, extremely isolated country in the Middle East, and not to a more accessible country like Greece or Egypt? Sending Jesus to the Middle East ensured that the soul-saving message of Jesus would not reach East Asia for at least 600 years. Doesn't that seem unfair? Christianity would not reach the Philippines until the Spanish brought it over in the 1500s, suggesting that native Filipinos went on living and dying and going to hell (because they most certainly worshipped false idols) even after Jesus supposedly redeemed the world with his message. Remember what Jesus said: "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to God the Father except through me." (John 14:6) Isn't it unfair of God to give only some people the secret to salvation (people in the Middle East) while leaving others (such as people in Asia, the Americas and Africa) out of the loop and in the dark for at least another few hundred years? I found the last chapter of the book very touching, and I'm not being facetious. I'm reminded of the saying: "Nietzsche said that God is dead. Freud said that God is dad". I feel that the reason why McDowell turned to Christianity was because he was in dire need of a solid parental figure to set rules for him. His own, earthly dad was an embarrassment to him, so for guidance he looked to the heavens. He seems to me one of the people who would genuinely be lost if they did not believe that there was a God to guide their every action. However, I think that the majority of people aren't like McDowell and don't need God in order to determine what's right and wrong. Most of us, I believe, eventually grow out of our childish need for parental rule. We do the right thing not because we are told by a celestial parent, but because our own inner convictions tell us to do so. Doesn't that seem like a much better way to live one's life?
Great purchase! May 16, 2008
The Life Of Jesus / More than a Carpenter
Purchased the Japanese version of this book and my unsaved Okinawan mother is reading it. She said that the book makes a lot of sense and she prays that someday soon she too can pray to Jesus. Thank You Lord! Thanks for the speedy shipping of the book and it was in good condition.