“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons,
sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories,
and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ~ Mark Twain
"... the Son of God died; it is by all means to be believed, because it is absurd”
~ Tertullian (160 - 220)
Also known as the father of Latin Christianity and the founder of Western Theology. The principle, Credo quia absurdum (“I believe because it is absurd”)
is often attributed to him.
Biblical adherents, especially conservative Christians, Muslims and Jews, often make statements about reality and history based upon their world view which has been shaped primarily by their interpretation of New Testament, Hebrew and/or Qur'anic scriptures. It is instructive to list assertions made by many biblical theists and contrast them to what science, biblical scholarship, and rational thinking have revealed. It soon becomes apparent that these two world views are so antithetical that they are mutually exclusive; either both are wrong or only one can be correct. One relies ultimately on revelation and visions. The other has experimentation, observations and predictions to rest on and is independent of world view since science is pursued across cultures, religions, and by those with faith and also those without belief in the supernatural. The contrasts are stark, enormous, and irreconcilable.
Listed below are some statements often asserted by various Abrahamic believers as they apply their world view to the findings of science, our society, and attempt to reconcile their scriptures with reality.
1. Adam & Eve, as written in the scriptures, was the way God began the human race.
No. New DNA findings falsify that two individuals could have been the foundation of our species. Our species evolved from a population of ape ancestors 200,000 years ago and were not created de novo, with Eve coming from Adam's rib. The hominid fossil record is in direct opposition to this mythology. The radiometric dating methods are sound and confirmed. Our species is derived from a population of hominids, not two modern individuals.
2. The entire human race and the land animals, except for 8 individuals and pairs of animals, were destroyed in a global Flood.
No. There is no convincing geological evidence for a global Flood. In fact, predictions from the Flood narrative can be formed into testable hypotheses. The absolute non-mixing of fossils (no exceptions, no gradual transitions which are demanded of this model), in some places the 39,000 ft. of sedimentary rock, the findings of fossil dung (they were pooping while dying in all levels as the mud solidified?), areas that show dried cracks in the rocks that supposedly formed during the deluge, etc.- all and much more falsify any kind of universal flood, at any or all geological levels. There are well written anti-deluvian resources, many composed by Christian scientists who are distraught over the disruptive effect of Young Earth Creationism. It could not have been local given the description in the scriptures. It's what the Young Earth Creationists are not writing about that is very interesting.
http://reports.ncse.com/index.php/rncse/article/view/44/36 (pdf download)
3. At The Fall sin entered the world and the creation has been broken since then.
No. Since there was no historical Adam and Eve, there was no Fall. In addition, we now have DNA evidence that falsifies this. There are thousands of ERVs, transposons, and pseudogenes that show many animals across widely separated species have the same defects in their DNA. If God had disease enter the world at the Fall, there's no way all these species would share the same DNA mutations - they would be scrambled and certainly one could not put them into nested hierarchal phylogenetic trees as we can over and over in different independent scientific areas - a term called consilience. It looks like common descent with the various data because evolution, common descent, is true .
4. At the Fall, mankind used his free will to rebel against God and the entire world has suffered the consequences.
No. There was no Fall so this is also nullified. More importantly, we now know there is probably no free will. Many, many neuroscientists are saying we have no true free will. The data just keeps getting stronger and stronger. No Adam & Eve, no Fall, no free will, no Flood - the very foundations of Judea-Christianity are now falsified in our time.
5. The ark saved mankind and all the land animals from destruction.
No. The ark as detailed in the Bible is impossible. The number of species to take care of for a year. The size of a wooden boat that large that exceeds what even modern engineers could produce. All the problems with taking care of all the species. Dinosaurs? And again, the DNA we find today in our world's population makes a founding population of eight impossible. It also means God would have destroyed millions of infants and pregnant women. God would be an abortionist and baby killer. There are some great articles, by Christians and non Christians, that detail why the ark story can't be true. There’s a reason all the full scale Ark models being built by believers are all on land.
6. The Exodus occurred.
No. There is no evidence that there were millions of Hebrews exiting out of Egypt. Three million people wandered around the desert for 40 years and left NO archeological evidence? No broken pottery, no latrines, no buried animals or people? There is no evidence that the Egyptians had large numbers of slaves to build their monuments. There is no evidence that Jewish armies invaded city after city in Canaan and tried to wipe out an entire civilization (genocide).
"Absence of evidence is evidence of absence when the evidence should be there and is not". ~ Victor Stenger
The Biblical Exodus Story Is Fiction
Did the Exodus Really Happen?
7. The miraculous narratives in the Bible really occurred.
It is difficult for many to accept that intelligent people would still hold to this view. Job was a real person - what about all his innocent servants and family that were killed? Just to test Job? God had them all killed for a contest with the devil? Were they just collateral damage? The earth suddenly stops spinning in Isaiah 38 and Joshua 10?, a donkey has a reasoned conversation in Numbers 22, forming all the speech brain areas needed and all the vocal and mouth structures?, forty two children are torn apart by two bears for mocking a bald man (why 42 and not 39 or 51 - the number is important); all 42 just sit there waiting their turn instead of running away?, Shamgar kills 600 Philistines with a single stick?, Samson catches 300 foxes and ties torches to their tails in pairs? (300 foxes just show up and sit around waiting for him to tie torches to their tales?), the unbelievable quail story of Numbers 11, etc., etc. Some of these are called hyperbole, some theists accept as true. How does one choose which are literal and which are allegory or myth (hyperbole)? If some are, are not all open to question, including the miracles of Jesus? Actually, in terms of respectful reasoning, how can one believe them at all?
"People gave ear to an upstart astrologer [Copernicus] who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or 'man'] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." ~ Martin Luther
"Those who assert that 'the earth moves and turns'...[are] motivated by 'a spirit of bitterness, contradiction, and faultfinding;' possessed by the devil, they aimed 'to pervert the order of nature.'" ~ John Calvin
“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?” ~ Mark Twain
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