Why Christianity is bullshit, part 2: The Bible isn't true

In part 1, I pointed out the absurdity of believing that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God. That leads to closely related, but no less important point: most of what is in the Bible is simply not true. And in some cases, that actually impacts Christian theology rather profoundly.

Adam and Eve did not exist. Overwhelming evidence from every field of biology points to humans evolving from a population of no fewer than 10,000 individuals. Any way you slice it, it's simply impossible that we can from one man and one woman. That's not an innocuous detail, either: the entirety of Christian theology is built upon Adam and Eve being real people. I'm fond of this quote from Pastor Tim Keller:
“[Paul] most definitely wanted to teach us that Adam and Eve were real historical figures. When you refuse to take a biblical author literally when he clearly wants you to do so, you have moved away from the traditional understanding of the biblical authority.  If Adam doesn’t exist, Paul’s whole argument—that both sin and grace work “covenantally’—falls apart. You can’t say that Paul was a ‘man of his time’ but we can accept his basic teaching about Adam. If you don’t believe what he believes about Adam, you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching.”
The Bible is also wrong about the history of the people of Israel. Guess how much evidence there is that the Jews were enslaved by the Egyptians, rebelled, escaped, and wandered the desert for 40 years? If you guess zero, you'd be right! Christians can't get out of this one by saying it hasn't been disproved, either. After all, maybe there is some powerful archeological evidence just waiting to be discovered! Problem is, Egypt is the greatest archeological hotspot in the world. There ought to be overwhelming evidence that they kept all those slaves, because that's not the kind of thing you can really keep secret. It takes tremendous resources to feed, clothe, and house all those slaves (600,000 according to Exodus!). But we don't have a lick of evidence that anything of the sort ever happened.

It gets worse, though. It just so happens that we do have evidence about the origin of the Jews... and they were Canaanites. Y'know... the ones that the triumphant armies of the lord supposedly slaughtered in the Old Testament? Wikipedia:
A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness,[22] and most archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as "a fruitless pursuit".[11] A number of theories have been put forward to account for the origins of the Israelites, and despite differing details they agree on Israel's Canaanite origins.[25] The culture of the earliest Israelite settlements is Canaanite, their cult-objects are those of the Canaanite god El, the pottery remains in the local Canaanite tradition, and the alphabet used is early Canaanite, and almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether even this is an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.[26] There is archeological evidence of the Caananite Hyksos people moving into and out of northern Egypt, though the relation of their dates to the biblical account is debated by scholars.
What about David?  As Steven Pinker notes in The Better Angels of Our Nature, "If there was a Davidic Empire stretching from the Euphrates to the Red Sea around the turn of the 1st millennium BCE, no one else seems to have noticed it." [p.11] Wikipedia again:
The evidence from surface surveys indicates that Judah at the time of David was a small tribal kingdom.[37] The Bronze and Iron Age remains of the City of David, the original urban core of Jerusalem identified with the reigns of David and Solomon, were investigated extensively in the 1970s and 1980s under the direction of Yigal Shiloh of the Hebrew University, but failed to discover significant evidence of occupation during the 10th century BCE,[38] In 2005 Eilat Mazar reported the discovery of a Large Stone Structure which she claimed was David's palace, but the archaeology is contaminated and impossible to date accurately.[39][40]

These examples are in addition to much which, Biblical literalists not withstanding, is already accepted as myth by the vast majority of Christians: the creation, the flood, Jonah and the Whale, Job – even the conquest of Canaan.

Then there's Jesus. There is absolutely no contemporaneous evidence that Jesus – at least as he is described in the gospels – ever existed. For someone who stirred up so much controversy and performed miracles in front of thousands of people, it's rather odd that no one seemed to notice. The only records of his existence appeared decades later in the gospel narratives. We don't have the original gospel manuscripts, but we do have many, many copies – and the copies are filled with errors, omissions and additions.

Why is this a big deal? There's always the view that the Bible doesn't have to be literally true, and that it doesn't have to be inerrant. I think most Christians hold just such a view. Over at the Christian blog Wide as the Waters, Jack Hudson wrote a post where he talked about the historicity of the Old Testament. He makes an important claim:
There were no archeological controversies over ancient Greek or Roman religious beliefs because they were never understood to be historical in nature – they didn’t pretend to be. We don’t talk about Hindu archeology or Buddhist archeology because those religions are not reliant upon historical facts. None of these religions even pretends to be the product of a set of events that occurred in a particular time and place in history; only vague references to certain individuals whose actual existence is unimportant to the belief system. Biblical belief however is definitively set in a particular places and times and concerns certain individuals. [link]
Exactly. The Bible is rooted in historical claims – so since we have overwhelming evidence that many of those historical claims are false, it creates real problems for Christian theology. Were it not for the progress of science, Christians would believe all these stories to be literally true. It's only in the face of science that Christians change their tune and say, "Oh, but of course that scripture was never intended to be taken literally!" The obvious problem is that Christians have no independent means of discerning which parts of the Bible should be taken as historical, and which should not. Science does the work for them, and they subsequently alter their theology to make it fit the facts.

This is already evident with the non-existence of Adam and Eve. Biologos has an article on it, and this is what they say:
One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God.  Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago.  Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an “everyman” story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God.
In other words, just make shit up. I sincerely wonder how Christians can do this to themselves. When the facts reveal their theology as untenable, they don't reject their theology – they just alter it with speculative nonsense to placate their cognitive dissonance. Why spend so much effort rationalizing beliefs for which there is no evidence?




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