Regarding Historical Veracity of the Bible

29


Discussion by: Thoughtfull

I'm sure the title may have taken quite a few of you in.

To explain a bit of the background as to why I'm writing, this, I have a couple of firends whom I grew up with since about grade 7. I am now in University. My firend went to a Christian University. I don't oppose religion or Christianity anymore, but I believe that when religion steps over the line to interfere in matters of science and history etc. they have crossed the line. Now recently I have learned that they have started learning about "Christian sicence" and I was appalled to find out that this "science" has led them to believe in a literal Bible, including, but not limited to the following:

-A global flood (Noah's Flood) which led to the formation of sedimentary beds, including, but not limited to, the Grand Canyon,

-Sodom and Gomorrah (Bab Edh Drah and Numeira)

-The Exodus

-Young Earth

-Intelligent Design

etc. etc.

Most of this stuff is peanuts to me as I've spent 3 years (Grades 7, 8, 9) debating this sort of "Creationist Science"

but I don't have any experience refuting Archaeology at all.

Particularly I was at a loss to find any contradictory evidence relating to Bab Edh-Drah, Numeira and the Exodus as these aren't argumetns I have seen before. I've Googled and searched to about the 10th page on various variations, but all I get is christian nonsense. All I can find regarding any possible counterevidence is a few words from Wikipedia (which I nor anybody shouldn't count as an academic source) and the words of another Creationist scientist. Can anyone give me a few resources? I'm reasonably confident (more like desperate) to persuade them that they are in the wrong and since they've just started learning it I think I am capable of persuading them.

29 COMMENTS

  1. I’m no archeologist, and I daresay you will have looked up Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bab_edh-Dhra: perhaps of note there is that ‘Christian scholars’, as well as archeologists disagree on it being the site of Sodom.
    Yet there are some Christians who do seem to take account of evidence – though there is tendency of some fundamentalists to dismiss such sceptics as non-Christian ie only Bible literalists are allowed in the camp.
    So, for some, it is axiomatic that Sodom existed and was destroyed as per Genesis. The only scope for debate might be which set of ruins (see Bab edh-Dhra) but that seems a detail, not the point about evidence.
    Maybe those undergoing indoctrination can be persuaded – but it may be hard if they accept ‘Christian science’. Conversely, arguments for ‘scientific science’ might lead to doubt on the claims of what might be ‘Christian archeology’(?)

  2. I’d add that a major source of confusion os the fundamentalist insistence of taking the Bible en masse. It is manifestly not a single document and there are parts much more likely to be at least broadly historical (invasion by Babylon), others collated from local stories (Noah’s Flood, maybe Sodom) and those which are surely pure fantasy (visions of Ezekiel, Last Judgement etc). By taking the Bible as one work, the possible historicity of one part is argued to prove the rest: sceptics should not fall into the same trap of generalisation, i.e. the Bible may have some historicity despite its fictions (though the specific evidence for Sodom is thin, so far as I know).

  3. Of course many myths have their bases in historical events. Sodom and Gomorrah may well have existed and burnt down (see BBC news 18/8/01, Scientists Uncover Sodom’s Fiery End). Although the event would have had natural causes, it would illustrate a good story to back up God’s wrath in religious texts. The story may be true but again has been misinterpreted – or hijacked!
    The whole story is to illustrate the perceived ‘evil’ of homosexual activity; probably to justify hostilities or to ‘cure’ such activity by scaring them off. So this may be of help – the Sodom and Gomorrah myth is discussed in ‘Dispelling the Myth Sodom and Gomorrah’. Although it is by Logos Ministries it details how the myth has nothing to do with homosexuals – which is why the story is so important to Christian literalists.

  4. “Creationist Science”

    .. Does not exist! Only creationist pseudo-science exists – alongside literalist pseudo-history.

    Archaeology is a bigger problem, as the theist mix with genuine investigations is deep-rooted and not clearly separated. There are “Xtian archaeologists” who check their findings against their biblical preconceptions, and also “Zionist archaeologists” who check their findings against the Torah!

    There is a debate of historical biblical knowledge v ignorant biblical literalism here: http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias?category=Religion#

    and here:-

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2012/10/3/the-historical-jesus#

    There is “HISTORY” and then there is “biblical mythology”. The two should not be confused, but always are by literalists, who will dispute the historical records (or absence of them) in favour of biblical myths – including self-contradictory biblical myths! http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/3/29/contradictions-in-the-bible#

    • What bothers me about the Christian groups that support literal interpretation of the bible is that the Jewish people I know don’t believe the Old Testament is literal. It is meant as a source of lessons and knowledge grows. So, how can the people who inherited the Old Testament put more meaning into it than the original authors?

      • In reply to #6 by fivewhys:

        What bothers me about the Christian groups that support literal interpretation of the bible is that the Jewish people I know don’t believe the Old Testament is literal. It is meant as a source of lessons and knowledge grows.

        On “metaphorical interpretations”, there are as many “interpretations” as there are sects and cults! – and then some individual ones! (Jewish and Xtian)

        So, how can the people who inherited the Old Testament put more meaning into it than the original authors?

        That is an easy question!

        They just make stuff up, and then copy from each other and from other people from the past who have made stuff up or mistranslated texts! Most of them do not even know that there were more than four gospels of the New Testament, or that the gospels were not written by the disciples named as authors.

        Basically they preach made-up ignorance to each other, and then CHOOSE what they WANT to believe.

      • In reply to #6 by fivewhys:

        What bothers me about the Christian groups that support literal interpretation of the bible is that the Jewish people I know don’t believe the Old Testament is literal. It is meant as a source of lessons and knowledge grows. So, how can the people who inherited the Old Testament put more meaning into it than the original authors?

        I remember a debate between Hitch, Dawkins, and a couple of Rabbis. One Rabbi attacked Dawkins for Christian fundamentalistic anti-semitism because he was taking the OT as literal in his argumentative stance. That was the first eye opener for me that something extra was up in Christianity. When a Jewish Rabbi says that someone using a literal interpretation of the OT is being anti-semitic and falling for Christian anti-semitism at the least it becomes interesting….

  5. My former church interpreted Sodom and Gomorrah metaphysically and symbolically. It was not about a literal place. It had nothing to do with homosexuality since gay people are highly capable of leading loving and productive lives. Instead it had to do with being excessive, reckless, and hedonistic for selfish gain. By destroying or ending this type of behavior and leaving your past behind, you are to look forward to a new future. By focusing on a new life ahead of you, you move forward. The key is to not look back or focus on your old ways otherwise, you will become petrified, stuck in the past. Keep moving forward and don’t return to your old habits.

    Here’s my point. The religious could believe that a literal man-God got ticked at people partying and having sex and slammed them down or the religious could believe that in order to make positive changes in your life you need to stop doing what you are currently doing and move forward – not turning back (or you’ll get stuck there.) Which is more productive? Which is true? How do they know there view is more valid than other Christian versions of the Bible?

    Archeology means nothing. People could have passed stories and legends down for generations about a particular place, but it doesn’t make the story true. The existence of the place doesn’t mean the stories are true, just that there are stories about the location or object.

  6. Hello Thoughtful

    To combat the Exodus, can I suggest you read Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman’s

    The Bible Unearthed. Free Press. ISBN 0-684-86912-8.

    More generally, your might like to read Richard Elliott Friedman’s

    Who wrote the Bible? and his later The Bible with Sources Revealed

    Also, have a look at the Wikipedia entry for Documentary Hypothesis. It has a good bibliography.

    Regards

    Peter Clemerson

  7. Noah is one of my favorites. Anybody here able to do illustrations in the genre of bible story comics? I tried to find some free examples on the web but gave up. There seem to be lots of paywalls out there.

    Anyhow, I’m seeking an illustrator for my own story of Noah’s Ark. The one where the geological anomaly that looks a bit like an ancient fossilized boat gets discovered half way up a mountain, and the locals make up some stories for the tourist trade, hoping to out do the Giant’s Causeway and get into the Top 10 Pilgrimage Destinations….

    • In reply to #11 by OHooligan:

      Noah is one of my favorites. Anybody here able to do illustrations in the genre of bible story comics? I tried to find some free examples on the web but gave up. There seem to be lots of paywalls out there.

      Anyhow, I’m seeking an illustrator for my own story of Noah’s Ark. The one where the geological anomaly that looks a bit like an ancient fossilized boat gets discovered half way up a mountain, and the locals make up some stories for the tourist trade, hoping to out do the Giant’s Causeway and get into the Top 10 Pilgrimage Destinations….

      I saw some video on TV once, but I cannot find any pictures on-line.

      I think this is the story you are talking about!
      http://www.mountainararattrek.com/ark/kurdishguides-noahsark.pdf

      All these wishful expeditions beautifully illustrate the cognitive biases of the deluded!

      • In reply to #12 by Alan4discussion:

        I think this is the story you are talking about!

        http://www.mountainararattrek.com/ark/kurdishguides-noahsark.pdf

        All these wishful expeditions beautifully illustrate the cognitive biases of the deluded!

        No, it wasn’t, but thanks deeply. Shock Horror! Ark Discovery A Hoax!!!! Amazing. Who’d have believed that?

        Reading that linked article – at least the start of it – made me cringe. The author was clearly breaking some very bad news, with mention of betrayal and all that. FFS what a bunch of fekkin eejits. Still, I’ll persevere and read the rest, it’s really quite funny.

        What I was describing is a much older story, one that predates the first time the Noah tale got written down. But it is basically the same story, with a similar cast of characters. The gullible with their money, the cynical opportunists with the Gift of the Gab, long before the Blarney Stone.

        Fools and money soon part company. Then fools fall out among themselves over whose fault it all was. While the cynical have a great feast with many high-fives and a lot of laughter and booze, before settling down to start planning how to fleece the next bunch of fools…..

      • In reply to #12 by Alan4discussion:

        I think this is the story you are talking about!

        http://www.mountainararattrek.com/ark/kurdishguides-noahsark.pdf

        Thanks again Alan. I read the article and followed links from there, and came upon sites that surprised me. I won’t link them here as they don’t deserve it, but anyone can follow from the story above. I stumbled into the rantings of some american fundamentalist bible-literalists who reckon that ending slavery was when the rot set in, and the wrong side won the civil war. Seems the bible made no bones about slavery, it wasn’t an issue, just a fact of life. Ah, the Good Old Days.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re actually in strategic alliance with the Taliban, they certainly have a lot in common.

  8. no point using geology on someone who believes it’s all 6000 years old. you could ask how noah managed to distribute all the animals globally

    then again wasn’t he about 900 years old and 60′ tall?

    no don’t bother arguing at all

  9. Hi,

    I think the book ‘Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why’ by Bart D. Ehrman would be a very good one to offer a fairly comprehensive hammer blow to any notion that the bible can be looked upon as historical fact.

    Bart D. Ehrman became a born-again christian as a teenager, attended the Moody Bible Institute, then went to Princton Theological Seminary and became a Christian scholar (with the ambition of convertng those awful secular christians into ‘True Chistians’). Eventually, the sheer weight of the evidence won the day and I think Bart D. Ehrman is an agnostic nowadays (but I’m not sure).

    Hope that helps.

  10. I’m reasonably confident (more like desperate) to persuade them that they are in the wrong and since they’ve just started learning it I think I am capable of persuading them.

    I’m just curious…how much effort would you waste on trying to persuade someone that Sherlock Holmes mysteries weren’t real, but just stories in a book. Given that there is archaeological evidence that there existed an apartment at 221b Baker Street in 19th century London.

    Or did it?

    221b Baker Street

    Or that Camelot and King Arthur have any veracity given all the archaeology surrounding that myth.

    Sites and places associated with Arthurian legend

    Or even that Zeus held his divine court of 12 gods on Mt. Olympus, along with a plethora of other minor deities. It must’ve happened. After all, Mt. Olympus is definitely a real place and there is Hellenistic archaeology pointing to said events. Homer also writes of that being the place where the Greek gods crashed out, so it must be true.

    Olympian gods

    Don’t get me wrong, I get a lot of joy outta pointing the inherent problems with the Biblical myths to the woo woo merchants also, but then I’d hardly class those with whom I contest, my friends.

  11. I am sure that many of the places, as well as people mentioned in the many books of the Bible were indeed real places and real people.

    However, modern books and movies also depict real places, and the names and roles of real people. But the things they allegedly do in these books and movies are by no means real. For instance, I watched the movie Independence Day last week. Now, I saw the President of the United States of America hold a speech, IN Washington DC, which we know to be a real location in this world. I also saw the White House being blown to bits by a extra terrestrial space-ship. The White House is also known to most if not all of us to be an actual structure.

    Without any more elaboration… References to real places and real people in books, are by no means proof of those people or friends of those people doing magic thus defying the laws of nature.

    I’m sure a deranged Prophet by the name of Jesus walked Palestine at some point in time… And I’m sure he unlike many of the other prophets of the time actually managed to gather somewhat of a following… But did he perform miracles? Unlikely… And in any case, we got people performing miracles like that today. They’re called magicians, or in the case of India – Gurus. The magician displays his tricks for amusement and profit, the Guru displays it to captivate the ignorant masses, and of course: profit.

    • *In reply to #17 by kare.olsen.718

      I’m sure a deranged Prophet by the name of Jesus walked Palestine at some point in time… And I’m sure he unlike many of the other prophets of the time actually managed to gather somewhat of a following…

      While I wholeheartedly agree with most of your comment, can I ask why, on this point, you are so “sure”?

  12. I’ve talked several times with archeologists who told me that the U.S. has a strong tradition of belief in the historical truth of the Bible that makes many of the research carried out in the Middle East, funded by Americans agencies, very biased. In the past it was said that the ruins of Sodom and Gomorrah had been dug out, but some time later nothing was said about the matter. Someone suggested that the ruins of the walls of Jericho showed a collapse; then silence again. When a gold figurine depicting a calf was found in Ashqelon in 1990, it was suggested it could be the evidence of the golden calf that the Israelites worshiped during the exodus. Pages were written confirming the hypothesis; fortunately some time later it was found a logical explanation: this was one of many representations of bulls typical of the Canaanite peoples.
    The most disparate biblical findings are an entire subgenre in the world of archeology. It is interesting to see who made the discovery: the findings of “American universities + biblical sensational news” are often misleading and very biased.

  13. Well, I can’t add much to #10 about Finkelstein, who proved that Exodus never occurred, and what IA alluded to. I can tell you this: your antagonists are getting their information from liars. Simply ask them for the source. You will find that the source of their information is not scholarly, but theologically biased bullshit. Several of my brother and sister posters have given you real sources–use them. Do your homework.

    There is one miralce archeology story that is real–in that it was recorded contemporaneously with the event by Eusebius of Cesarea. After the Council of Nicaea in 325, Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena, was funded to go south into the holy land to search for artifacts. She hired a guide who took her directly to a piece of wood which really was a part of the cross of Jesus. She took the wood back to Constantinople where it was displayed until Constantinople was overrun. The piece of wood was thought to be lost.

    I happen to have come into possession of a fragment of that wood, and, while I cannot part with the whole thing, I would be willing to sell you a splinter for only $5,000.00. Cash or PayPal only.

    Translation: those who have decided to be gullible will not listen to you, or to the facts, or to the real scholars, or to anything approaching rationality.

    • In reply to #21 by JHJEFFERY:

      I would be willing to sell you a splinter for only $5,000.00. Cash or PayPal only.

      I’ll take two hundred of them. Unfortunately I’ll need your assistance in releasing the funds, which are currently hiding in an offshore account. There will be a small advance fee required…

  14. Библия оставлена не для испытания ее наукой. А для людей, которые ищут истину. Человеческая жизнь не заключена в рамки науки без Творца. Жизнь человека основана на познании. И суть жизни познавать. Творец есть Разум и жизнь заключена в познании Этого Разума. Вот для этого Библия и дана.

  15. From my understanding the Exodus is thought to have happened in several waves, not one led by Moses. Moses wasn’t heard of until the 900s BCE when the United Monarchy under king David was trying to unit the twelve tribes. Moses was probably a minor character or a fiction used as a focal point. The Priests of King David mysteriously “found” a copy of Deuteronomy in the temple.

    It is only after that time you start running into writing and legends about Moses and stories about the exodus.

    Remember that the twelve tribes probably did not all share exactly the same religion or even exactly the same sense of history, and only two of the twelve, the tribe of Benjamin and the tribe of Judah created what we know as Judaism. It’s not Israelism.

    • In reply to #25 by Ron Hooft:

      From my understanding the Exodus is thought to have happened in several waves, not one led by Moses. Moses wasn’t heard of until the 900s BCE when the United Monarchy under king David was trying to unit the twelve tribes. Moses was probably a minor character or a fiction used as a focal point. The Priests of King David mysteriously “found” a copy of Deuteronomy in the temple.

      It is only after that time you start running into writing and legends about Moses and stories about the exodus.

      Remember that the twelve tribes probably did not all share exactly the same religion or even exactly the same sense of history, and only two of the twelve, the tribe of Benjamin and the tribe of Judah created what we know as Judaism. It’s not Israelism.

      Nice post.

      I would be interested in your sources about the “several waves” of Exodus. It is my understanding that no event which could be called “exodus” ever occurred. I thought that iInkelstein and the complete absence of Egyptian acknowldgement of the presence of Jews, ever, in Egypt, pretty much put this fable to rest. If you have some citations, I would like to take a look at them.

      Thanks

      JHJ

  16. The Exodus is an easy one. Its often said history is written by the winners and this is one of those times.The reason you may have had difficulty finding information on this is because you were looking for info on the Exodus as described in the Tanach. But, if you were to look up, let’s say, the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt, you’ll have what you are looking for. Here are two great articles covering this:
    http://www.bibleorigins.net/Exodus1540BCHyksos.html

    http://www.bibleorigins.net/ExodusJosephusVSManetho.html

    As for the so-called global flood, lolz, ask them to explain why the pyramids of Giza have absolutely no evidence of ever being underwater. However, here’s a couple links to explain the problems with the Noah’s Ark story:

    http://www.bibleorigins.net/NoahsArkillustrationPictureSumerianShuruppak.html

    http://www.noahs-ark-flood.com/index.html

    As for Soddom and Gomorrah, to my knowledge, no one has yet to locate either of these two cities. Yes, some believers have claimed to have found them but, have yet to actually offer any evidence to support this. Remember to look at the geological area these 2 cities were said to be in. It will explain a lot. i.e. volcanic activity and earthquakes. Also, even if Soddom and Gomorrah were to be found it does nothing to add credibility to the bible story. Reason being, even the scifi authors of today, mention real cities and places in thier fictional stories.

  17. There is no history at all in the Bible. If someone tells you that, he has never been trying to find out what the book is about. Nothing written in there ever happened anywhere on this planet, it is just a fairytale, a simple narrative that hides 4 stories in one. The text is based on 4 codes, where metaphors, symbols and numbers play the game. It is too much to explain in detail how to read it, but know that no translation works, all translations are adapted text, Hebrew is written in vowels only, and Greek writers have respected the 22 letters and 6 sophits that they converted in their own language to write the New Testament. Hebrew is an ancient Phenician glyphic script, and every letter has 3 different symbolic values and one pair of numeric values. Arabic is the same letter system and same number values.

    By that, they compose words, names, places, and those words are indeed not words but compositions of a path of single letter symbols. Every letter has 2 numeric values, first is the position, second its numeric value. A for example is position 0, value is 1. Now, that is where all starts, 0 and 1, the binary code, or duality.

    A is Air, Nothingness, ,an Ox, a Bull, Taurus in Zodiac, and so on. B is a House, G is a camel, a rope. So, this gives you an idea how the letters, by symbols, reveal what the texts say in reality. A is 0 and 1, B is 1 and 2, G is 2 and 3, Yud is 9 and 10, Shin is 20 and 300, and Sin is the symbol of fire. Now see this, MShH, is Mosheh, M is water, Sh is fire, H is a window, and that equals as a sum, 345, the Jews call YHWH, Hashem, HShM, what is an angram of Mosheh, it is also 345, and that is the sum of the Hebrew letters GDH, God.

    Sum of 345 is again 12 signs in the zodiac. In our procreation cycle, the zodiac is divided in 3 male signs, 4 auxiliary, 5 female signs. The male signs are Taurus, St Luke, Aries, the pillar, and Cancer, or Judas. The female signs are Virgo, Mary, Aquarius, St Mathew, Libra, the head of the mountain of Sinai, Scorpio, St John, and Pisces, the window to life. The auxiliary ones are Gemini, male and female, Leo, St Marco, Sagitarius, what is Cupidon, called AMOR or with anagram ROMA, the empire of love and fairness, and Capricorn, the horny black goat of Mendes. Now, find your path with that, and create the world.

    So, only by those few examples you can see how complex that book is written and that the narrative is a misleading fairytale only. It would take a lifetime to “read” it, and when you know what it says, or you find a big surprise, or you find a big deception. There is nothing in there that anyone of us doesn’t knows, it is just surprising how much those who wrote it knew in that times. But, that gives us not any excuse for the mess that religions do with it since more than 2000 years.

    Hope that this helps you a bit to see trough the veil of that stupid books that cause all the problems we know. Now, want to know more, ask a question, you get an answer, except if the moderation of this site does not wants any answers and insights in the cloak of that crap. There is only one way to hear what people say, and that is to let them talk. Deleting comments and blocking accounts is a way to capitulate only. Truth will anyway win it some day, and I think that this is what most of us want.

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