The Pledge of Allegiance states that the United States of America is "one nation under God." Additionally, polling shows that an overwhelming majority of American evangelical Christians believe that the United States is "uniquely blessed" by God. But is there any mention of the Americas in the Bible, or were they ever mentioned by Jesus or any of the Old Testament prophets? This article seeks to answer this question.
Kings David and Solomon are said to have ruled over a huge kingdom that stretched from the Euphrates River to as far as the border of Egypt (according to the Bible). Archeological confirmation of the existence of such an expansive kingdom is inconclusive, however. Some apologists hold that evidence for their reign would not have survived some three millenia later. In this essay, however, Robert Shaw considers a similarly sized civilization, contemporaneous with that of David and Solomon, to explore what remnants of a three-thousand-year-old polity can reasonably be expected to be discovered today.
The story of Moses and the Exodus continues to be seen as a historical fact by many Americans, and its events are commemorated with a 'Seder' meal in over a million households every year. In this article, Robert Shaw considers whether or not the story can be placed comfortably into the timeline of Egyptian history as we currently understand it.
Most people (whether they are religious or not) either assume or were taught that the Israelites were, and had always been, monotheistic: that they believed in only one God and thus worshiped Yahweh only. Is this idea based on truth, tradition, or maybe assumption? In this paper, Jason Gibson attempts to uncover the truth—a truth that most people are unaware of, and one that, were it common knowledge, could signal the end of all of the Abrahamic religions. Were the ancient Israelites henotheistic? If acknowledged, the answer could change the world as we know it.
In this article Robert Shaw examines some of the successes attributed to the authors of the Bible, and compares them to those of other secular prophets such as Nostradamus, in being able to precisely tell the future. Shaw looks at a number of ways in which these prophecies are given the appearance of fulfillment by those that advocate their validity. He then argues that the skill of being able to predict the future accurately is scientifically impossible.
An embellished and creatively written history of the origins and development of a Canaanite tribe underlies Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. None of the myriad of documents from ancient Egypt ever mention hundreds of thousands of foreign slaves leaving following a series of catastrophes, for example, nor has any archaeological evidence of the movement of a supposed half a million refugees from the Sinai peninsula ever been uncovered. Nevertheless, the Jesus of the Gospels seems to concur with this erroneous version of history, affirming the Genesis creation myth, the existence of the mythological Noah and Abraham, and the historicity of Moses' exodus, among other things. The Qur'an and Islamic exegesis subscribe to the historicity of such people and events no less. The arbitrary selection of Yahweh—the Canaanite god of metallurgy—from the vast Canaanite pantheon of gods over 2,500 years ago has had a profound effect on the belief systems of billions of people who have lived since.
The fundamentalist claim that the Bible is inerrant does not stand up to scrutiny. Just one error is sufficient to refute the claim. Given the quite inventive explanations that inerrantists have devised to explain away textual problems, it nevertheless takes a really choice error to flummox them. In "Establishing Errancy Beyond Error," Stephen Van Eck presents just such an error.
Trinitarianism has had a long and colorful history, and belief in the concept was once rigorously enforced. Yet it seems to attract little critical attention today. An analysis of its tenets, however, does not withstand scrutiny.
"One of the biggest ironies involving those who virtually worship the Bible is the fact that they often haven't read much of it. If they had, how could they fail to notice that Ezekiel, one of the major prophets, was not only a lousy prognosticator, he was an absolute lunatic as well."
Intensive study of the Old Testament, reading critically and analytically rather than reverentially and devotionally, casts serious doubt on the claim that Moses was the author of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. Not only that, but even the historicity of Moses is in serious doubt.
Job is the ultimate biblical hero. His long-suffering and unflinching faith is legendary and the stuff of great sermons and Sunday school lessons, and in the end Job is rewarded for his continued faith in the face of adversity. The standard interpretation of Job is that we should use him as a role model, accept adversity unquestionably, and never question God. But a critical interpretation reveals that God was the villain of the book, undeserving of Job's—or anyone's—devotion.
"Last week I dreamt I had died and surprisingly gone to Heaven. St. Peter's computer system had developed a glitch and although our Boarding Passes on the Shuttle that took us there had a very different destination printed on them, we tore them all up as we passed the moon and partied the rest of the way..."