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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Does the bible discuss actual history?

One of the reoccurring themes by Christian apologists is that the bible is describing real history. Now this is an interesting idea. If the places, people and events in the bible are true, then we  should accept that Jesus lived, was crucified and was resurrected.

Within the past several months there was a major rain storm that hit the East Coast. If I wrote a story about that storm hitting the East Coast, I could talk about actual cities being flooded. I could mention the mayors, governors, the US President, and other actual people who lived through the storm. I could reference actual rivers, and national monuments of the USA that have been affected. That does not mean that if I also said it was caused by space aliens that the space aliens part of the story is also true.

Consider stories that we know to be false. Spiderman stories are set in New York City. New York is certainly a real city. If a Spiderman story mentions the Brooklyn Bridge and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, should we assume that there is actually a person named Peter Parker who has superhuman powers that mimic a spider and that he is a real person? Of course not.

However, that is what Christians are asking of us to accept when stories in the bible reference real places, people and events.

Additionally, there are many stories in the bible that are not accurate at all. There is no evidence that the Hebrews were ever held in captivity in Egypt or that they wandered the desert for 40 years. The city that Jesus grew up in did not exist during the time when he supposedly lived. There is actually no physical evidence that Jesus even lived at all. Jesus was a carpenter. It is not unreasonable to assume he would have made items from wood. If you believed Jesus was the son of god, would you not keep something he made after he was killed and resurrected? It would be the most famous family heirloom ever. But nothing like that exists.

So, the fact that the bible references actual events in history is not proof of the reality of the biblical Jesus.

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