Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So it's like Disneyland, but with supernatural wrath, genocide, and incest. Cool.

Watch out for those teeth, Noah!
SOURCE: Family that owns Hobby Lobby plans Bible museum in Washington

I had a few short thoughts on this article that talks about Hobby Lobby's founding family looking to spend $800 million on a museum to the Bible in Washington, D.C.:

1) I would think that there are tens of thousands of Bible museums on many street corners in most towns I've been to. The attract hundreds of thousands of museum-goers each year, give extensive tours of the biggest room on the premises, have a soundtrack and occasional topical re-enactments, and often have concessions available (though usually on Sundays, depending on the sign outside).

2) Given the extremely dangerous and bloodthirsty nature of some of the radical followers of these texts (data going back centuries!), it seems unwise to allow an icon/prayer facility so close to our houses of government. I've heard that these fanatics like to build buildings in the cities where they've had their conquests!

3) I like the nod to multiculturalism. "Sure, we're being diverse: we've got some old versions of the Torah." Jews are fine, they got a real nice book started there, but this museum will have the much-more important sequel. We've put the proto-Bibles in their own room. Good thing we need you guys for the end of the world! Ha ha ha!

4) “Discovery after discovery supports the accuracy of this book,” [Hobby Lobby president Steve Green] said. “The book we have is a reliable historical document.”

The book does have many points at which it comports with history. There is external evidence to suggest a rabbi named Jesus around 30 CE. There was a Roman emperor Caesar Augustus who called for a census. There was a Roman king of Judea called Herod, though he probably didn't call for the Massacre of the Innocents (he did kills his wife and two sons, though!) In fact, there's an entire program of study devoted to the historicity of the Bible. It's interesting stuff!

But there's a lot of ways that the Bible straight up CAN'T be a historical document. Take Genesis: the beginning words describe a time in which *only* God exists. There isn't even light or darkness yet - only void. And yet, we have a recounting of God's actions. Clearly, this is a story. It cannot be literally true, because there was literally no human there.

And then there's the worldwide flood, which spawned its own subset of geology in the 19th century, called flood geology. Most modern scientists don't find any evidence of a world-wide covering of water. They also don't think such an event is suggested by several difference geological methods used to track changes in the earth over time.

But that's the whole "science vs. religion" argument again. I'm pretty sure the two will be forever unsolvable, because they deal with the same things, but heading in completely opposite directions. One elevates Truth to be completely unassailable, while the other continually subjects Truth to tests and challenges. Those cannot have a mutual agreement. Truth must be inviolate in order to be called Faith, and Truth must be open to falsification in order to be called Science.

Q.E.D., I suppose.

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