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A response to ‘Atheism: Hard Evidence in Support of a Creator’

Claims of evidence when none exists

20/11/2016 00:00:00
by David T Hofisi
 
David T Hofisi
 
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The man credited with most work in the gravitational field field is Sir Isaac Newton who was himself a believer. He never made this outrageous claim of linking the bible to his work. Even when scientists are believers, they do not take that belief into the laboratory because it is not a scientific book.

THIS paper is a response to the article “Atheism: Hard Evidence in Support of a Creator” by Learnmore Zuze (hereinafter referred to as ‘the author’).

It must be pointed out from the outset that attempting to provide hard evidence in support of a creator is an exercise in futility. Faith is the strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof. Hard evidence would be dispositive of the need for faith. A leap of faith is necessitated by the absence of factual support. It is beyond dispute that no one believes in a creator except within the bounds of faith. Thus the attempt to provide hard evidence for a creator was always going to produce weak results at best.

However, a distinction must be drawn between assessing evidence to find the best possible explanation for it and claiming to already have an answer but defending it in light of the existence of scientific fact. The latter seems to have been the method adopted by the author. That is to say, he sought out information to confirm his preconceived notions of the origins of the universe. This makes his article a simple exercise in confirmation bias.

Whilst many scientists are religious, none would ever come close to making the outrageous claim that faith has led them to scientific discovery. For this reason, technological innovation is primarily located in secular parts of the world as there is no religious intervention in the laboratory. (see the Global Innovation Index led by such countries as Sweden, Switzerland, and Finland).

This unlettered suggestion that there is a link between science and religion is disproved by the fact that the Bible believing regions of the world are not the hubs of scientific advancement. To the contrary, they tend to be shackled by the rustic and outmoded fatuity of superstition. This is why the bottom fifty countries in UN’s Human Development Index are unwaveringly religious. Religion has long fought scientific innovation and advancement (from the days of the indictment of Galileo) as the idea of a deity has shrunk to what Astro Physicist Neil de Grasse Tyson calls “ever decreasing pockets of scientific ignorance.” I now turn to the contents of the article by the author:



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The one consistent theme of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is the reference and prophecy about Jesus Christ who ultimately is mankind’s Lord and Saviour. Each Old Testament book of the Bible refers or points to a coming Jesus Christ, including intimate details of the exact place and circumstances he would be born, even the city. This is despite it having been written by people who lived hundreds of years apart.”

This claim is about the biblical prophecy. It has nothing to do with the universe, its origins or science. A collection of predictions about one thing does not prove that a claim about something else is true unless it be verifiable and provable. There is no link between the origins of the Universe and a prediction about a carpenter in Bronze Age Palestine.

However, having said that, it must be recalled that the Judaeo-Christian Bible is not as coherent or consistent as suggested. There are numerous instances to show this. I will illustrate with the matter of the birth of Jesus. There are only two Gospels which narrate the birth of Jesus Christ: Matthew and Luke. They both agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but disagree markedly as to why his birth occurred.

In the Gospel According to Matthew (See Matthew 1:18-2:23), Jesus’s parents are based in Bethlehem. They flee to Egypt because Herod orders a killing of all infants and would have returned to Bethlehem but for the reign of Archelaus in Judaea and so proceed to the Northern district of Galilee and settle in Nazareth.

In the Gospel According to Luke (see Luke 1:4-2:40), Jesus’ parents are not based in Bethlehem but in Nazareth. They only leave Nazareth because Caesar Augustus has called for a census so people have to move to their ancestral homes. As such, Jesus’ parents go to Joseph’s ancestral home of Bethlehem where all the rooms are filled and Jesus is born in a manger. After Jesus’ presentation in the temple they return to their home of Nazareth.

There is no mention of a killing of infants or flight to Egypt in Luke, neither is there a mention of a census or a journey to the ancestral home in Matthew. In one book, they are originally from Bethlehem in the other they are from Nazareth. Most historians and scholars know why this discrepancy exists. The bible writers were not neutral and unaffected authors making recordings in real time. They had an agenda. They were evangelists spreading a message (not a message of scientific fact) and many years after the fact. They were out to prove that Jesus was the Messiah.

Old Testament prophecy required the Messiah to be from Bethlehem (see Micah 5:2). The problem was the fact that everybody knew that Jesus was a Nazarene. The solution for both the writers of Matthew and Luke (both written between CE 80 and 85 some fifty years after the death of Jesus) was to manufacture stories to locate his birth in Bethlehem and thus justify his messianic claims.  However, they did so through manifestly contradictory tales. This is precisely why many Jews did not believe in the Nazarene as he did not fulfil prophecy. The bible writers made a sincere effort to embellish his story to make it seem like he was the one foretold, much as the author Mr Zuze now attempts to make it as though scientific discoveries are what the Bible foretold. As the author Christopher Hitchens put it, this is the art of “…playing tennis without the net.” It is manifestly disingenuous to use hindsight to claim foresight.

There are over 100 prophetic accuracies about Jesus Christ, all written hundreds of years before his birth. Specifically, there are over 300 prophecies in the OT that are fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in the New Testament which if I were to list here this whole article would become unnecessarily long. Every Book in the Bible has a verse(s) pointing to this coming Saviour especially Isaiah 53 and this demands a whole separate article.

Such prophecies as Isaiah 53 are Jewish prophecies. The Jews themselves maintained that Jesus did not fulfil these prophecies and for a good reason. The term ‘Messiah’ is never mentioned in Isaiah 53. It was never understood to be referring to the Messiah. This is a latter-day Christian attempt to bolster their own narrative of the Nazarene’s messianic claims. This was achieved by searching for passages which could be interpreted to support Jesus’ messianic claims in spite of the dearth of reference to the Messiah in those passages. This simply reflects the politico-religious battles of the time and does nothing to show the Bible is source of scie

“Take Moses and Matthew for instance, these are men who lived generations apart and never met, yet they all present an inter-related message. Matthew confirms the arrival of Jesus while hundreds of years before, the Old Testament (OT) writers had spoken of the coming Messiah (Jesus Christ). The writers of the Bible, each in his own time, never had an idea that their specific book would be incorporated into one single book now known as the Bible and what they wrote is structured, corroborative and consistent and perfectly unified throughout.”

There are three issues to be addressed there, the first of which is the claim of Mosaic authorship; there is no modern biblical scholar who agrees with this notion. Mosaic authorship in the Bible is not supported by biblical text. In no part of the Pentateuch is Moses named as an author. In fact, the books refer to Moses in the third person, suggesting these are books about and not by him.

If indeed Moses authored these books, such passages as those in Numbers 12:3 would be very difficult to comprehend: “Now the man Moses was very humble, more so than anyone else on the face of the earth”.  It would hardly make sense for the most humble person in the world to give themselves that mantle (unless they had an ego of the Donald Trump variety).

Further, Deuteronomy 34:5-12 describes Moses’ death in detail – there is no way Moses himself could have authored this passage. Similarly, the Gospel of Matthew is anonymous. It refers to the apostle Matthew in the third person (see Matthew 9:9) and the bible itself notes that all of Jesus followers were unlettered (see Acts 4:13). Thus one cannot refer to either Matthew or Moses as bible authors – the books referred to were written anonymously.

More importantly, the bible is not consistent, corroborative or perfectly united. The inconsistencies in the Bible are numerous and sometimes even embarrassingly so: who was the king when King David’s men ate the priests’ bread in the temple, Abiathar as Jesus says in Mark Chapter 2 or his father Ahimelech as the passage says in 1 Samuel 21:16?

How many animals did Jesus ride on his way into Jerusalem, is it two as in Matthew 21:7 or one as in the other three gospels? Which is the correct genealogy of Jesus, that in Matthew, Luke or 1 Chronicles as they all disagree? Did one thief on the cross laugh at Jesus as in Luke or did both ridicule him as in Mark? Was Jesus crucified the day after the Passover meal was eaten as in Mark (Mark 14:12; 15:25) or the day before it as in John (John 19:14)?

Does the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14 say a virgin shall give birth as in the Greek version in the Septuagint or is it a young woman as in the original Hebrew? This list is by no means exhaustive – but shows that the Bible is far from being inerrant and as New Testament Scholar Bart Erhman has put it: there are more errors in the Bible than there are words in the text. This is hardly the book to advance society morally or ethically let alone scientifically.

Scientific accuracy of the bible”

This paragraph is not easy to respond to – it is unlettered in the extreme. It creates nebulous links between scientific advancement and loose ramblings of the Bible which do not in themselves claim to be referring to science. Some are clearly poetic and descriptive whilst others are actually irrelevant to the subject matter.

One example is the reference to Job saying god “suspends the earth over nothing” and using that as an expose on the gravitational field. The man credited with most work in this field is Sir Isaac Newton who was himself a believer. He never made this outrageous claim of linking the bible to his work. The next scientist to make advances in this field was Albert Einstein who demonstrated that gravity is actually a curvature in the fabric of the universe; none of them used the Bible for scientific insights and this is why they helped us advance as a civilisation. Even when scientists are believers, they do not take that belief into the laboratory because it is not a scientific book.

The Bible contains genealogies all the way back to Adam and dates the earth to not more than 6,000 years old. The earth is actually 4,6 billion years old and the Universe is 13.7 billion years old. This is not a small error.

There is no phenomenon for which the religious explanation has ever outweighed the scientific. Those that choose to be locked in a 2000-year-old conversation from Bronze Age Palestine are free to do so. However, science will continue to advance and give reward to those who assiduously apply its method whilst others seek desperately to use its advances to justify an outmoded and irrelevant narrative as the author attempted to do.

The author is reachable on dhofisi@gmail.com


 
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