My wife got baptized at church today and she invited me along. It just happened that the topic of the sermon was “how do we know the Bible is true” (paraphrasing). As the preacher, Dennis was giving the sermon, I took a few notes and I wanted to respond to a few of the points that were made.
Claim – The Bible is true because it’s historically accurate
Response – Saying that the Bible is historically accurate because it names some actual places is like saying that Harry Potter is real because some of the story takes place in London.
Claim – 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus!
Response – Dennis didn’t really source this during the sermon but I believe that the source of this of information is from 1 Corinthians 15:6:
6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
So, the Bible is true because it’s historically accurate. We know it’s historically accurate because 500 people saw Jesus resurrected, it says so right here in the Bible. 😐 I hope I don’t have to explain how that’s circular logic and why that makes the claim suspect.
Claim – No Archeology digs have falsified the bible.
Response – This is not true. Exodus 12:37-38 says 37And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. 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.” (source). At the very least, there is no evidence in the archaeological record that supports the idea of a mass exodus of 600k+ people from Egypt during that time frame.
Claim – The Bible is scientifically accurate!
Response – No, I don’t think this is right. Here are a couple examples:
Leviticus 11:6 says that rabbits chew their cud when we know that they do not:
6And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
Leviticus 11:13-19 appears to say that bats are a type of bird, when modern science knows them to be a type of mammal:
13 ‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard, 14 the kite, and the falcon after its kind; 15 every raven after its kind, 16 the ostrich, the short-eared owl, the sea gull, and the hawk after its kind; 17 the little owl, the fisher owl, and the screech owl; 18 the white owl, the jackdaw, and the carrion vulture; 19 the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.
Claim – Using world is flat argument to support idea that Bible is scientifically accurate.
Response – I believe he supported this idea by quoting Isaiah 40:22:
22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth,
and its people are like grasshoppers.
He stretches out the heavens like a canopy,
and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
A circle isn’t a sphere. It’s flat and round like a pancake. In Job 38:14 the earth is described like a clay seal:
14 It takes on form like clay under a seal,
And stands out like a garment.
Check out the image to see what a clay seal looks like.
I find this specific topic a bit frustrating though as it was the church that found Galileo “vehemently suspect of heresy” and then he was forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. So the modern day preacher gets to sit there and say that science was wrong about a flat earth, when in fact Galileo, who was known as ‘father of modern observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of science”, and “the Father of Modern Science”, was persecuted and tried by. the. church for trying to tell the world what we know now is true today. The irony!
There were more claims but I think I’ve already addressed the low hanging fruit that proves without a doubt that the last claim, There is nothing that isn’t true in the Bible, is flatly false. They weren’t able to finish the sermon this week so I’m pretty tempted to go back next week in order to get the rest of the claims… we’ll see.
I hope you don’t get the wrong idea about what I’m trying to do with this post. People’s personal faith is their business. Believe your beliefs because they make sense to you or it makes you feel good. Think of what the Bible says as analogies or allegories if you want but when somebody stands up and makes verifiably false claims, I’m not one to just sit by and let those go by without comment. All the people at the church want to believe what Dennis is saying. The problem is that what he was saying today is plainly false.
Stick with positive messages, support them with scripture if you must. But you’re not going to convince people like me who care about science that the Bible is scientifically accurate. Your target audience, my wife, doesn’t really care much about the scientific details so what’s the point?