The Bible and History

 

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Atheists always  point to the Christian holy text as a book of stories and myths that although may have some view on morality, in fact are just that, no different than Grimms Fairy Tales. Of course there are Christians that too do not necessarily take every story in the Old Testament as being truth, but merely a metaphor. If only they’d look at their New Testament the same way.

There are those, like Answers in Genesis, that believe the science in the book. These people spend their lives, mostly as apololgists, exercizing to prove that events in the bible actually occurred: from Adam and Eve, to the Great Flood, to the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. As much as they strain under the weight of contrary  scholarship, they persist in their collective delusion that their god performed all of these acts, and challenge mainstream science to disprove their research, which is not based on any recognized scientific procedures and is not peer reviewed beyond their own.

One argument made is that if there is some truth, like the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in the 6th centiry BCE, described in the bible, then other stories within are true as well.  Another example comes from a stela discovered in the 1990’s at Tel Dan that refers to “the House of David”. The inscription is dated to the 9the century BCE and is the only inscription found to refer to the biblical king David. Although it doesn’t refer to him as an historical figure, scholars believe that it is a reference to the dynasty.

So then, we non-believers should just surrender and say that indeed, because there is some historical evidence of events or people in the bible that we should declare that the entire book must be true as well? Can we conclude that one tiny inscription proves the life od David as descibed in the bible, or that indeed there was a king Solomon? Of course not. It adds to our knowledge of the ancient history of Israel, but doesn’t affirm anything about any god as the finds made over 3 centuries in Egypt cannot affirm their pantheon, or those archeological sites in Syria, Iraq, and Iran prove those gods existed.

Showing that the bible contains a certain amount of historic truth doesn’t say anything about it overall. We all notice that when there is a discovery made in the Middle East somewhere that Christians will stand, point their fingers at non-believers and say, “Aha!”, not understanding that most atheists have no problem with the historical places, and whenever verified, people named therein. It’s the idea that any of that has anything to do with the nature of belief in a god – which is doesn’t.

Learning more about the ancient world, whether it’s in the Middle East or elsewhere only helps us to discover where we came from and what it may have been that makes us who we are today. That’s all. Nothing about it, where it is discovered, proves that a supernatural exists.

 

 

5 thoughts on “The Bible and History

  1. Christopher Robin from Winnie the pooh is partly based on a real boy as is the 100 acre wood where pooh hangs out. Does this mean there was once a tiger bouncing around on it’s tail chilling with a donkey a pig and a bear in a forest near Sussex?

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