Those of us who study religion have known that the Bible’s creation narrative isn’t a factual account for quite some time, especially considering the ample evidence revealing parts of it were lifted from Mesopotamian myths, but now that has been confirmed a top Israeli newspaper.
While the article is behind a paywall, the paper compared various accounts from the Bible, like the story in Exodus, and “dismisses them all as fables,” according to Newsweek. Most notably, the paper said “no evidence of the events described in the Book of Genesis has ever been found.”
No city walls have been found at Jericho, from the appropriate era, that could have been toppled by Joshua or otherwise. The stone palace uncovered at the foot of Temple Mount in Jerusalem could attest that King David had been there; or it might belong to another era entirely, depending who you ask.
Of course, for most of us, this is old news. Most literal interpretations of the Bible fail to line up with history and science, and Creation myths are no exception.But it’s nice to have that confirmed by sources that would typically side with religion, especially when much of the world is falling into the trap of Young Earth Creationism, even trying to push it in public schools.
Newsweek says Young Earth Creationism “directly fails science’s demands for coherence and hypothesis testing.”
The mounting evidence against the Bible means fewer Americans than ever before are trusting scripture as gospel. Only 35 percent of Americans read the holy book at least once a week, while 45 percent seldom or never do, a Pew Research Center report in April found. About 36 percent of Christians said the Bible should not be taken literally, while 40 percent say it is the word of God. In all, only 24 percent of Americans said the holy book was “the actual word of God, and is to be taken literally, word for word,” a Gallup poll conducted in May concluded.
“This is the first time in Gallup’s four-decade trend that biblical literalism has not surpassed biblical skepticism. Meanwhile, about half of Americans — a proportion largely unchanged over the years — fall in the middle, saying the Bible is the inspired word of God but that not all of it should be taken literally,” the poll said.
This is the best thing about the Age of Information. As Haaretz and others investigate the Bible’s claims and find them lacking substance, those results are more easily accessed by everyday people. Those people, after enough of this critical exposure, are seeing that holy books don’t give literal interpretations of the world. And since most harm by religion comes from rigid fundamentalist beliefs, this is something that will help us all in the long run.
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