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Ask the Patriarch 257
Questioning the Old Testament

from: ArmyDicked

To give your own views on this question and reply for publication, please use the contact page to provide your comments.

I haven't yet written off the New Testament (I intend to go on Religious Sabbatical to find God or not) but I view the Old Testament as absolute garbage.

  1. The Christians absolutely believe that nonsense that the Universe, the Planets, the Sun & Earth, Adam & Eve all were created within 6 days of 23 Oct. 4004BC (or about 6,000 years ago).
  2. They then use Pretzel Logic to defend said WACKJOB date. If the Bible is the Word of God and God is never wrong then man MUST be wrong with his little 14 Billion BC Big Bang theory/4.3 Billion Earth theory.
  3. We have Neolithic Villages and artifacts from 7,000BC that can be carbon dated and we have fossils from the Upper Paleolithic Period (2.5million BC to 200K BC)
  4. Jewish History is only verifiable from King Solomon (975BC), meaning Adam, Moses, Noah, & Abraham can not be proven to have existed
  5. Worse, all three Abrahamic religions side with Moses against the Pharaoh and state, as truth, he drowned chasing Moses when he parted the Red Sea. What's the problem? There are only four Pharaohs whose dates match Moses alleged era and we have found TWO of them---none died from drowning. Worse Still, said Pharaoh isn't even named and Egypt goes back to 5,000BC (Neolithic Period).
  6. Just examining the historical record, the Old Testament doesn't add up---it is like one big Paul Bunyon Story!!!

Your take on this, Please. FYI, I haven't felt so disillusioned since the time my teacher in HS gave me a copy of the Epic of Gilgamesh!!!

The Patriarch replies:

I hope in my light editing of your writing for publication, I have not lost intentions.

You have provided several issues to address, but I will agree with you that the Old Testament is not credible - and especially not credible when considered literally. There are, of course, metaphorical interpretations which I also reject. But it is important to be aware of them because not all Christians - and not all Jews - interpret the Old Testament literally. Many follow a metaphorical interpretaion.

I make that point because in you opening point you seem to think that all Christians hold to 4004 BC as the date of creation. I suggest that it is a relative minority who hold steadfastly to Ussher's interpretation these days. A larger group of Christians are a trifle more flexible in their literal reading of Genesis and like to say creation occurred about 10,000 years ago. This is convenient for them because it does not require them to explain away many of the findings of Neolithic archeology.

But getting away from the fundamentalists, we can find many Christians who accept the findings of science with respect to the timing of the origin of the universe, and accept evolution - with the refinement that God poked his finger in occasionally to make it go in the right direction and gave humans souls when they had advanced enough.

Essentially the Catholic Church takes this position as does the Episcopal Church which takes the position that Genesis "should not be understood as historical and scientific accounts of origins but as proclamations of basic theological truths about creation." In other words, metaphor. Most traditional mainline Protestant and Orthodox denominations officially take similar positions.

However, they do a terrible job of informing their congregations on their acceptance of science. As a result, too many Christians are influenced in their thinking by the very vocal evangelical fundamentalists rather than their own churches' official positions.

I would question your claim that Jewish history is only verifiable from the reign of Solomon. As far as I know, outside the Bible there is no verifiable historical or archeological evidence for Solomon. You can add him to your list of those Biblical characters who cannot be proven to have existed.

As for your question about Moses and the Pharaohs, I suggest that the story of Moses is questionable from the story of the bulrushes on. If Pharaoh ordered the death of all the Israelite children, it is highly extremely he would let his daughter bring a child of no provenance complete with Israelite nanny into the royal household. And the tale of Moses makes no sense at all from that point on. As you say, it does not add up.