If you take the Bible as the literal word of god, then you also have to believe the scientific and historical accuracies contained within its pages. There are many well-known scientific fallacies, such as the claim that a bat is a bird (Leviticus 11:13-19), the earth is flat (Isaiah 40:22, Revelation 7:1), evolution is just a theory (Genesis 1:1), and a talking snake (Genesis 3:1), a talking donkey (Numbers 22:28), and a talking fiery bush (Exodus 3:2-4) actually existed.
Most people can agree that the Bible and science have been at odds for quite some time. As we learn more about our universe and how things work, religion has had to go to great lengths to explain away solid evidence that contradicts their god hypothesis.
The problem is not strictly scientific. The Bible is a source of many dubious historical tales as well. For example, the Tower of Babel story attempts to explain the existence of different cultures and languages found in all parts of the world. According to this Old Testament myth, all the people on earth were united as one and spoke a common language. They worked together to build a tower that stretched to the heavens as a monument to their cooperation and ingenuity. God saw what they were doing and he was pissed. He said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” In a fit of jealousy, he confused their language so that they could no longer understand each other and scattered them upon the face of the earth (Genesis 11:1-9). Oddly enough, god doesn’t seem to have a problem with the International Space Station. Go figure.
Here’s a short list of other historical inaccuracies:
- Noah’s Ark and the Worldwide Flood
- Hebrew Enslavement in Egypt, The Ten Plagues, and the Existence of Moses
- The Exodus
- Joshua’s Battle at Jericho
- The Book of Esther (at least partially)
- The Census of Quirinius
- Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents
- The Story of Barabbas
The news story that prompted this post was about Dr. Ben Carson and his unusual take on the Egyptian pyramids. You can see the video below, but just to summarize, he believes the pyramids were built by Joseph to store grain. This goes against what archaeologists (notice Carson’s dismissive jazz hands in the video) and Egyptologists believe.
“My own personal theory is that Joseph built the pyramids to store grain,” Carson said. “Now all the archeologists think that they were made for the pharaohs’ graves. But, you know, it would have to be something awfully big if you stop and think about it. And I don’t think it’d just disappear over the course of time to store that much grain.”
The accepted theory is that the pyramids were used as burial chambers for Pharoahs as evidenced by Pharoah’s being buried within. But hey, maybe Carson has a point. Maybe he knows better than so-called experts. Right? After all, he totally disproved evolution with that devil theory of his.
So, does belief in the Bible make you stupid? In some cases, yes. People who deny the existence of dinosaurs and think fossils are put there by god to test their faith are, in my opinion, stupid. People who don’t provide their children with life-saving medical care because they think they can pray away cancer? Definitely stupid. People who think the earth is flat (yes, they still exist) are also stupid.
However, in the case of Dr. Ben Carson, my parents and many other smart, mostly rational people I think we simply have a case of willful ignorance, otherwise know as faith.
In every other area of their lives, they are capable of critical thinking. The problem is that the church teaches them not to think too hard about the claims of the Bible. You’re just supposed to have faith. Do they expect a snake, donkey or burning bush to talk to them? No. But they completely believe that those things happened to real people a long time ago. It’s sad to see the limits faith places on human intellect. I wish fairy tales didn’t have such a strong hold on people. That’s why I write this blog. Maybe someone will see it, get really mad at me, and then actually think about the things they believe.