This post from Mr. Rogers addresses my supposed distortions claimed here. I’ve added bullets in his post to make it easier to read. As the reader will note, a lot of dealing with theists is repetitive.
There are many distortions in your piece, but let’s just start at the beginning, where you say, “none of the essential events of the Bible have been shown to occur at all.” That’s quite a broad statement! I’ve never heard of historians question that Moses led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt,
- or that the Hebrews fought the Canaanites to occupy Palestine,
- or that King David and Solomon were powerful Jewish rulers,
- or that Assyrian kings captured and deported Hebrews from the northern part of Israel,
- or that Jerusalem was conquered by Babylon and Jews were exiled to Babylon, or
- that Jews returned and settled in Palestine, or
- that a man named Jesus existed during the first century in Palestine and was killed,
- and His followers testified to His resurrection, or
- Christianity began to rapidly spread in the first century.
These are all essential events of the Bible. Are you seriously saying that there is no evidence that these events happened? Now I challenge you to show that they did not occur. Answer that one, and we can then proceed to your next distortion.
John did a good job at replying to this, but I’ll answer too. You have claimed that you have “never heard of historians question” the events of the exodus. That is a shame since they have. You have offered a variant on the logical fallacy, the argument from personal incredulity. Since Mr. Rogers hasn’t heard of something, therefore it must not be true. Well, Mr. Rogers, I have a reading list for you. The wiki entry on the exodus has a great bibliography on all of those historians who don’t agree with you. Some of those events you list seem to have happened, for instance the Israelites being overwhelmed by the empire of Babylon and came back. We can find evidence for that. There were probably wars that had people captured and deported. We know that Christianity spread quickly in the first century. We have evidence of that, contemporary writings, etc. But JC existed? No we have no evidence of a man/god did miracles, gathered a legion’s worth of people outside of a occupied city at least twice, etc. You try hard but mixing plausible events with implausible ones fools only those who want to be fooled. I suggest you do not rely on willful ignorance to defend your faith. It always fails, especially in this age of easily found information. No wonder the SBC is consistently shrinking.
You see, Mr. Rogers, myths often have roots in reality but that does not make them real. We know that Athens exists but I doubt you believe that Athena and Poseidon contested over naming the city. We know that humans love to make war on each other so plenty of battles probably happened. But having god have a magic box that the Israelites carried into battle that helped them win, no evidence for that. We know that messiahs were a dime a dozen in ancient Palestine but we have no evidence one was really doing magic or was crucified or rose from the dead. I can point to many books that have mention of real people and real events but they are fiction, like most political thrillers written today. I’m guessing you’ll bring out the old “but why would people die for this?” argument. People have cut off their penises and killed themselves because they were told a spaceship was coming to get them. People often aren’t real bright when it comes to believing in things.
The exodus, described in the bible, is a massive event. We have plagues, huge numbers of food animals dead, all of the first born murdered (animals and humans), the entire Egyptian army destroyed, and supposedly this “about 600,000 soldiers on foot, besides their families. 38 An ethnically diverse crowd also went up with them, along with a huge number of livestock, both flocks and herds.” left Egypt. Assuming a wife and 2 kids, there were more than 2 million people plus animals wandering around for 20 years.
The first question to be asked about claimed historical events is when did it happen? Can you answer that one, Mr. Rogers? One way we could figure it out is by knowing who was pharaoh then since the Egyptians did a lot of carving. However, the bible doesn’t mention who it was, though that should have been no problem. We have a good history of Egypt and there is no mention of the events of the exodus. We have none of Egypt’s enemies taking advantage of Egypt supposedly losing its entire army, a huge amount of food stuffs, etc. I have seen Christians claim that the Ipuwer papyrus as evidence but all it says is that Egypt suffered some bad things, nothing about Israelites, their god, or magical events. Appealing to that document is the usual “Hey it’s vague, it must mean us!” nonsense that is often used by theists. This also happens when they try to claim that the global flood was real.
We have found nothing to show that 2 million people wandered around the Sinai for two decades. No latrines (archaeologists love those!), no mention of this horde by contemporary sources, etc. People have been looking for centuries for evidence. They have found nothing.
You claim that your historians have never disputed that Solomon and David were powerful Jewish rulers. Well, no evidence for that either and yes, historians have disputed it. No relics of the temples that supposed existed and that had tens of thousands of pounds of precious metals in them. We have one ivory pomegranate claimed to be of it, but nothing shows that this is the case. We have a possible carving that some think says “house of david”, a common name in the society. We have another that might say david or might not. So much for having much historical impact. Solomon was supposed to be the wisest man but we have no great contributions to anything by Israelite culture that should come from such a man.
I’m guessing you’ll now declare that no historians that you considered worth the name have disagreed with you. You might not, but I’ve a lot of experience with Christians moving the goalposts when their claims are shown to be wrong.
As for the historicity of Jesus, again, there is nothing that supports the existence of a man/god that did miracles, etc. The usual “evidence” that Christians claim is rather pitiful. We have Josephus, which is likely an added forgery since the early church fathers mysteriously never mentioned that really really important passage that Christians mention. Funny, that. They also claim that mentions of Christians by contemporary writers means that their God/Jesus existed. Well, with that shoddy logic, the gods of every believer ever are as real as the Christian God. No one can even agree when he lived or died, and you’d think something so supposedly important would have been remembered. There may be a root of reality to the myth, that there was a itinerant rabbi wandering around Palestine that had much attributed to him but that isn’t who Christians worship. Heck, the bible can’t even get the story of the cruxifiction straight. Why should I think that it gets anything else right? Yes, that can be a fallacy in itself, saying that if the bible is wrong at all, then it will always be wrong. However, since we have no evidence that the bible is right in essential events that require a god to intervene (and that’s what I mean by essential events, not some mundane event), then it demonstrates that the possibility of the bible being accurate is low.
Since we have no evidence for your god-driven events, and evidence against them e.g. no one noticed the exodus and life went on as usual) it is up to you to provide evidence for extraordinary events. The burden of proof is not mine, it is yours.
You may proceed or try to counter.