Are Christians superstitious? Part 1
I was asked the following question by a “Bible based born - again relationship – with - Jesus” Christian: "Why is it that people who don’t believe in God think that Christians are merely a bunch of superstitious fools" , this is my answer to him?
It depends if you are referring to liberal or evangelical Christians. Most Christians who believe in God do not believe in evolution, big bang or that the Bible is to be taken literally. So I assume you are referring to evangelical Christians who would not even regard liberal Christians as true Christians.
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events. Therefore Christians are a bunch of superstitions fools (your words) because they believe: that the Bible is the word of God, a divine holy book, infallible, inerrant, and they believe literally in all the myths, stories, analogies, symbolism, types, shadows, etc as if they really happened.
For example let’s look at four examples only for the sake of brevity and not because there are not hundreds more; Noah’s Ark, Moses and the exodus, resurrection and ascension story of Jesus and the Adam and Eve creation myth. Basically, extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, and the biblical evidence is barely even mundane.
Evangelicals say: "The ark, was built big enough and strong enough to hold two of every kind of animal, including dinosaurs. Looking at the dimensions, scientists have determined that it could hold all of them. There was no rain or rainbows before the flood and the whole earth was covered in water - even Mt Everest. God was entitled to kill and drown every living creature because of their sin. Dinosaur bones are found buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the earth. It's obvious to me they were deposited there by the great flood. Noah’s Ark has been found”
My reply - The answer is not because the “Bible says so and that settles it” nor is “it i know, that I know, that I know”. That’s admitting to superstition and is a religious cop out bordering on fanaticism as it is an assumption based on faith in the Bible as infallible in spite of the story being ridiculous and not even unique to the Bible but borrowed from earlier Sumerian and Babylonian traditions.
Therefore to the Noah story I say “OH REALLY? And: How many animals was that? How did they come from all parts of the earth when the door was open for such a short time, (if it was open for years how would they keep and provide for the animals inside the Ark before the rain came down) Animals from – Australia, America, Japan, China etc to the ark? Who feed them on the ark? Where did all the food come from? Where did all the manure go and who disposed of it? Who fed the lions, leopards, tigers etc and what did they eat? Where did all the water come from to cover Mt Everest and where did it go afterwards. How can the entire human population come from such a gene bottle neck of Noah and his family with out there being spastics, mutations and deformity in his descendents? They same goes for the animals that reproduced after there kind.
Some game farms have weird concoctions of buck because the gene pool is small and new animals (bulls) have to be added to diversify the gene pool. If you marry your sister your descendents will be spastics. Every one knows that! So where are the dinosaurs to day? Where is Noah’s Ark?”
Exodus and Moses
Evangelicals say – The Book of Exodus tells how Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness to Mount Sinai, where God /Yahweh reveals himself and offers them a Covenant: they are to keep his torah (i.e. law, instruction), and in return he will be their God and give them the land of Canaan. The Book of Leviticus records the laws of God. The Book of Numbers tells how the Israelites, led now by their God, journey onwards from Sinai towards Canaan, but when their spies report that the land is filled with giants they refuse to go on. God then condemns them to remain in the desert until the generation that left Egypt passes away. After thirty-eight years at the oasis of Kadesh Barnea the next generation travel on to the borders of Canaan. The Book of Deuteronomy tells how, within sight of the Promised Land, Moses recalls their journeys and gives them new laws. His death (the last reported event of the Torah) concludes the 40 years of the exodus from Egypt.
My Reply – As there is no archaeological evidence, it never happened and it is all a religious story in order to create a nation, by changing history. I was in the valley of Megido (well within Israel) and also at a temple in Egypt (near Cairo) where I saw depicted by engraving, a scene on a temple wall, of a triumphant Ramses who marched to Megido in three weeks and took out an army of Assyrians. (This is concrete proof for all to see). The Bible tells me it took forty years to cover a similar journey that took pharaoh Ramses three weeks. Three million people living for forty years would have left evidence behind – you would think? Bones, cutlery, shards, anything - there is none. Read the following from Wikipedea:
The archaeological evidence of the largely indigenous origins of Israel is "overwhelming," and leaves "no room for an Exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness." For this reason, most archaeologists have abandoned the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as "a fruitless pursuit." A century of research by archaeologists and Egyptologists has found no evidence which can be directly related to the Exodus narrative of an Egyptian captivity and the escape and travels through the wilderness, and it has become increasingly clear that Iron Age Israel - the kingdoms of Judah and Israel - has its origins in Canaan, not Egypt: 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. Almost the sole marker distinguishing the "Israelite" villages from Canaanite sites is an absence of pig bones, although whether this can be taken as an ethnic marker or is due to other factors remains a matter of dispute.
Several details also point to a 1st millenium date for the Book of Exodus: Ezion-Geber, (one of the Stations of the Exodus), for example, dates to a period between the 8th and 6th centuries BC with possible further occupation into the 4th century BC, while the place-names on the Exodus route which have been identified -, Pithom, Succoth, Ramesses and Kadesh Barnea - point to the geography of the 1st millennium rather than the 2nd. Similarly, Pharaoh's fear that the Israelites might ally themselves with foreign invaders seems unlikely in the context of the late 2nd millennium, when Canaan was part of an Egyptian empire and Egypt faced no enemies in that direction, but does make sense in a 1st millennium context, when Egypt was considerably weaker and faced invasion first from the Persians and later from Seleucid Syria.
The chronology of the Exodus story likewise underlines its essentially religious rather than historical nature. The number seven, for example, was sacred to God in Judaism, and so the Israelites arrive at Sinai, where they will meet God, at the beginning of the seventh week after their departure from Egypt, while the erection of the Tabernacle, God's dwelling-place among his people, occurs in the year 2666 after God creates the world, two-thirds of the way through a four thousand year era which culminates in or around 164 BC, the year of the rededication of the Second Temple.
The Torah lists the places where the Israelites rested. A few of the names at the start of the itinerary, including Ra'amses, Pithom and Succoth, are reasonably well identified with archaeological sites on the eastern edge of the Nile delta, as is Kadesh-Barnea, where the Israelites spend 38 years after turning back from Canaan, but other than that very little is certain.
The crossing of the Red Sea has been variously placed at the Pelusic branch of the Nile, anywhere along the network of Bitter Lakes and smaller canals that formed a barrier toward eastward escape, the Gulf of Suez (SSE of Succoth) and the Gulf of Aqaba (S of Ezion-Geber), or even on a lagoon on the Mediterranean coast. The biblical Mt. Sinai is identified in Christian tradition with Jebel Musa in the south of the Sinai Peninsula, but this association dates only from the 3rd century AD and no evidence of the Exodus has been found there.
The most obvious routes for travellers through the region were the royal roads, the "king's highways" that had been in use for centuries and would continue in use for centuries to come. The Bible specifically denies that the Israelites went by the Way of the Philistines a northerly yet coastal route along the Mediterranean (the purple line on the map to the right indicates the Way of Shur which goes inland towards Shur, Asshur or Syria). The Arabian Trade Route (green) and the Way of Seir (black) are improbable routes, the former having the advantage of heading initially toward Kadesh-Barnea but swinging east towards Petra north of Aqaba/Eilat.
To be continued soon - resurrection and ascension story of Jesus and the Adam and Eve creation story.