Sunday, 8 July 2012

Archaeological A-holes for God.

One of the things that Christians regularly bring up in debate is how “archaeology supports the Bible!”. Does it? Really? No. Of course it doesn't. Here's why.

Imagine you're going to write a book that portrays events you want to appear historically accurate. Would you A) invent a fictitious land with imaginary location as Tolkien did, for example, or B) draw on known locations and even individuals from your history? Exactly! The authors of the bible, whomever they actually were, would have had to be crazy to dream up entirely fictitious locations if attempting to tell their peoples' history.

Yet Christians will insist that because the bible names places that archaeology has subsequently found to exist the bible must be reliable historically. So we can play them at their own game here.

Anybody familiar with the science-fiction book The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells, which differs entirely from the 1953 and 2005 films, will know of the plot. Aliens land and invade England, the story unfolding as we follow the lead character's journey in and around the London area to avoid them and reach his fiance.

The story starts with the landing of the first alien cylinder on Horsell Common, where the narrator witnesses the unscrewing of the lid and the appearance of the Martians. The second lands in Addlestone, the third in Pyrford, the fourth in Bushey Park, the fifth in Sheen. The story follows the narrator and his brother and includes mentions of Barnet, Chelmsford, Wimbledon and other locations.

Now I know these places exist, I've visited most of them and live not too far from Barnet, regularly visiting the Spires Shopping Centre situated there. My mother was even born in Bushey back in the early 1930's, so we can be damn sure that exists, too. In fact we can be sure they all exist because here are photos of all those mentioned above.

Horsell Common



Bushey Park





Anyway, you get the idea.

This raises a problem for Christians who would claim that archaeology supports the bible because it can find places that are mentioned in scripture; if that is evidence for the historicity of the Bible then the existence of so many of these locations could also be considered evidence for the historicity of The War of the Worlds. At least The War of the Worlds makes no claim of a 7 day creation or goes against any other scientific evidence such as evolution, which the bible does from page one, making it arguably even less reliable.

Yet one would have to be stark raving mad to argue that the Earth was invaded by Martians in the last years of the 19th Century because outside of that book there is no evidence it ever took place. Of course this is very true, but then it's also true to say that outside of the Bible there's little to no evidence for anything that is claimed to take place there either.

Do we have photos of Heaven or Hell? No. We know Mars exists, here's a photo of it.

Archaeology is not evidence for stories in the bible. At best we can say the authors were knowledgeable of the geography and drew upon it, yet even then the bible likely falls down in several places. Rather than go into the details here I shall link you to some sites where you can read of those mythological mix-ups.

Keep watching the skies, but not for gods ;)

1 comment:

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