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The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh

The Origin and Rise, Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh

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Published by G.R. Pafumi
According to the Bible, Abraham hears the voice of god. God instructs Abraham to leave Ur, a city southeast of present-day Baghdad, and go to Canaan, where God would make Abraham a "great nation." Abraham goes to Canaan where Isaac is sired. Isaac begets Jacob, who sires 12 sons. The offspring of those twelve sons represent the Twelve Tribes, or Children of Israel. Jacob's favorite son Joseph is sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers. He rises to become the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh because of his ability to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams. When a famine strikes Canaan, he brings the Children of Israel down to Egypt, where they settle in the Land of Goshen, the land from which the Hebrews later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. After Joseph dies, a new pharaoh comes to power who "knew not Joseph," and the Hebrews are enslaved. Their captivity lasts for 430 years. When Pharaoh learns that a Hebrew "deliverer" is born, according to prophesy, the first male of every Hebrew family is killed by Pharaoh's soldiers. One Hebrew male baby is sent down the Nile River where he is found by the Egyptian princess Bithiah, who adopts the child. She names him Moses. Moses later learns of his Hebrew heritage, and in a rage kills an Egyptian soldier. He then flees Egypt. He meets Sephora in the desert, marries her, and is introduced to the location where the "god of the mountain" lives.

Moses meets "God" and learns that His name is YHWH, pronounced Yahweh, the Tetragrammaton which is loosely translated as, "I am that I am." The God of Abraham instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh refuses. God inflicts the Ten Plagues of Egypt upon Pharaoh's people. After the firstborn son of Pharaoh dies as a victim of the 10th plague, Pharaoh lets the God of Israel's people go. Moses takes the Hebrews into the desert. While they are waiting for Moses to return from Mount Sinai, where Moses is receiving the Ten Commandments, they build a "golden calf" to worship the pagan god of the Canaanites, Ba'al. The God of Abraham condemns the Hebrews to wander the desert for 40 years until all those who worshiped the false idol have died. Moses gets the Hebrews to the edge of Canaan where he dies and is buried on Mount Nebo. Joshua takes the Hebrews into the "Promised Land" where he leads the Hebrew tribes in the conquest of Canaan. Joshua fights the Battle of Jericho, where the soldiers of the Israelite army blow their trumpets and the "walls come tumbling down." This is the biblical narrative which chronicles the early rise of the Jewish nation and people, Israel and the Israelites, and how they came to know and exclusively worship the God of Abraham, YHWH. And not a word of it is true! This book will attempt to reconstruct the most likely series of events which can best describe how Israel and the Israelites came to be. The biblical stories of creation, of the universe and of humans, as well as the origin of Israel, are works of fiction.

Around 4,000 years ago, an Asiatic horde known as the Hyksos invaded Egypt and rose to prominence. By 1675 BCE they were in control of Lower Egypt, the northern half of Egypt, which had separated from Upper Egypt, still under control of the Egyptians. By 1550 BCE, Upper Egypt regained control of Lower Egypt and expelled the Hyksos, who left Egypt (in an "Exodus"). As they transited through the Sinai Peninsula, they were introduced to the pagan god (YHW) of the Shasu, Bedouin nomads. As the Hyksos made their way into Canaan, YHW evolved into YHWH, Yahweh. The God of Abraham who "spoke to Moses," YHWH, is most likely a new and improved version of the pagan god YHW. The god of Jews, Christians and Muslims is most likely an updated version of a pagan god of desert nomads. The Hyksos, with their "new" god Yahweh, merged with the pastoral nomads of the Canaanite highlands. A nation was formed, Israel. The Hyksos and the pastoral nomads of the Canaanite highlands became the Israel
According to the Bible, Abraham hears the voice of god. God instructs Abraham to leave Ur, a city southeast of present-day Baghdad, and go to Canaan, where God would make Abraham a "great nation." Abraham goes to Canaan where Isaac is sired. Isaac begets Jacob, who sires 12 sons. The offspring of those twelve sons represent the Twelve Tribes, or Children of Israel. Jacob's favorite son Joseph is sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers. He rises to become the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh because of his ability to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams. When a famine strikes Canaan, he brings the Children of Israel down to Egypt, where they settle in the Land of Goshen, the land from which the Hebrews later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. After Joseph dies, a new pharaoh comes to power who "knew not Joseph," and the Hebrews are enslaved. Their captivity lasts for 430 years. When Pharaoh learns that a Hebrew "deliverer" is born, according to prophesy, the first male of every Hebrew family is killed by Pharaoh's soldiers. One Hebrew male baby is sent down the Nile River where he is found by the Egyptian princess Bithiah, who adopts the child. She names him Moses. Moses later learns of his Hebrew heritage, and in a rage kills an Egyptian soldier. He then flees Egypt. He meets Sephora in the desert, marries her, and is introduced to the location where the "god of the mountain" lives.

Moses meets "God" and learns that His name is YHWH, pronounced Yahweh, the Tetragrammaton which is loosely translated as, "I am that I am." The God of Abraham instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh to let his people go. Pharaoh refuses. God inflicts the Ten Plagues of Egypt upon Pharaoh's people. After the firstborn son of Pharaoh dies as a victim of the 10th plague, Pharaoh lets the God of Israel's people go. Moses takes the Hebrews into the desert. While they are waiting for Moses to return from Mount Sinai, where Moses is receiving the Ten Commandments, they build a "golden calf" to worship the pagan god of the Canaanites, Ba'al. The God of Abraham condemns the Hebrews to wander the desert for 40 years until all those who worshiped the false idol have died. Moses gets the Hebrews to the edge of Canaan where he dies and is buried on Mount Nebo. Joshua takes the Hebrews into the "Promised Land" where he leads the Hebrew tribes in the conquest of Canaan. Joshua fights the Battle of Jericho, where the soldiers of the Israelite army blow their trumpets and the "walls come tumbling down." This is the biblical narrative which chronicles the early rise of the Jewish nation and people, Israel and the Israelites, and how they came to know and exclusively worship the God of Abraham, YHWH. And not a word of it is true! This book will attempt to reconstruct the most likely series of events which can best describe how Israel and the Israelites came to be. The biblical stories of creation, of the universe and of humans, as well as the origin of Israel, are works of fiction.

Around 4,000 years ago, an Asiatic horde known as the Hyksos invaded Egypt and rose to prominence. By 1675 BCE they were in control of Lower Egypt, the northern half of Egypt, which had separated from Upper Egypt, still under control of the Egyptians. By 1550 BCE, Upper Egypt regained control of Lower Egypt and expelled the Hyksos, who left Egypt (in an "Exodus"). As they transited through the Sinai Peninsula, they were introduced to the pagan god (YHW) of the Shasu, Bedouin nomads. As the Hyksos made their way into Canaan, YHW evolved into YHWH, Yahweh. The God of Abraham who "spoke to Moses," YHWH, is most likely a new and improved version of the pagan god YHW. The god of Jews, Christians and Muslims is most likely an updated version of a pagan god of desert nomads. The Hyksos, with their "new" god Yahweh, merged with the pastoral nomads of the Canaanite highlands. A nation was formed, Israel. The Hyksos and the pastoral nomads of the Canaanite highlands became the Israel

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Sections

  • What Do You Believe?
  • A Brief History of Faith
  • Origins of Monotheism
  • Who, or What, is Ishmael?
  • Was There an Exodus?
  • The Devil Made Me Do It!
  • The Demise of Belief
  • Killed Him! The Principle of QED
  • What Do You Believe Now?
  • Index

THE ORIGIN AND RISE, DECLINE AND FALL OF THE GOD KNOWN AS YAHWEH

Why the God of Abraham is st Incongr uous in the 21 Centur y

G.R. PAFUMI
I

The Origin and Rise,
Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh

II

The Origin and Rise,
Decline and Fall of the God Known as Yahweh
Why the God of Abraham is Incongruous in the 21st Century

G. R. Pafumi

III

Copyright © 2012 by G. R. Pafumi. ISBN-13: 978-1467925587 ISBN-10: 1467925586

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

This book was published in the United States of America.

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For my parents,

Virginia & Salvatore
Who believed only in the origin and rise
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Table of Contents
PART1– ORIGIN & RISE
CHAPTER 1 What Do You Believe? CHAPTER 2 A Brief History of Faith CHAPTER 3 Origins of Monotheism CHAPTER 4 Yahu and Yahweh; How the God of Israel Came To Be CHAPTER 5 Who, or What, is Ishmael? CHAPTER 6 The Documentary Hypothesis: Who Actually Wrote the Bible? CHAPTER 7 Was There an Exodus? CHAPTER 8 Was King David the Leader of a Great Israelite Nation? 113 CHAPTER 15 What Do You Believe Now? INDEX 255 273 87 73 59 47 CHAPTER 11 The Devil Made Me Do It! CHAPTER 12 The Demise of Belief CHAPTER 13 God is Dead…and Carl Sagan Killed Him! The Principle of QED 207 CHAPTER 14 In a Multiverse, Why Not Polytheism? 243 191 151 37 21 5 CHAPTER 9 Polytheistic Israel, From Solomon to the End of the Babylonian Captivity 125

PART2– DECLINE & FALL
CHAPTER 10 We Now Know, the Bible Can’t Be Trusted 141

VI

PART 1The Origin And Rise

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ARCHAEOLOGICAL PERIODS OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
Neolithic Age (Rise of farming)..........................10000–5000 BCE Chalcolithic Period (Copper Age).....................5000–3500 BCE Early Bronze Age................................................3500–2200 BCE Intermediate Bronze Age...................................2200–2000 BCE Middle Bronze Age.............................................2000–1550 BCE Late Bronze Age..................................................1550–1150 BCE Iron Age I...............................................................1150–900 BCE Iron Age II................................................................900–586 BCE Babylonian Period & Exile.....................................586–538 BCE Persian Period...........................................................538–333 BCE Hellenistic (Greek) Period........................................333–63 BCE Roman Period......................................................63 BCE–324 CE Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Period............................324–637 CE

Note: Archaeological periods and dynastic ages are approximate and not necessarily identical in every source researched for this book. Archaeologists and historians don’t always agree when historical periods and ages begin and end. In addition, periods and ages do not begin and end simultaneously in the various regions and civilizations of the world. Sources: The Bible Unearthed; Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Sacred Texts, Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman (The Free Press, 2001) and Wikipedia.

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TABLE OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Ra-Horakhty–Egyptian sun god...............................40 Figure 2A: Levant–830 BCE......................................................42 Figure 2B: Levant–today.............................................................43 Figure 3: Sinai Peninsula.............................................................60 Figure 4: Israel today...................................................................61 Figure 5: Map of Arab League...................................................64 Figure 6: Ugarit version of Ba’al................................................96 Figure 7: Golden Calf..................................................................97 Figure 8: Sacred Bull Apis...........................................................98 Figure 9: Ancient Egypt............................................................108 Figure 10: United Kingdom of Israel......................................115 Figure 11: Pan.............................................................................157 Figure 12: Poseidon...................................................................158 Figure 13: Modern Conception of the Devil.........................159 Figure 14: The Devil Visits the Twilight Zone.....................160 Figure 15: Cutaway of the Earth.............................................161

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Chapter 1
What Do You Believe?
An entire world at war and I’m left out of it? God will not permit this to happen! I am going to be allowed to fulfill my destiny! His will be done. George S. Patton Jr. (from the film Patton)

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ccording to the Bible, Abraham hears the voice of god. God instructs Abraham to leave Ur, a city southeast of present-day Baghdad, and go to Canaan, where God would make Abraham a “great nation.” Abraham goes to Canaan where Isaac is sired. Isaac begets Jacob, who sires 12 sons. The offspring of those twelve sons represent the Twelve Tribes, or Children of Israel. Jacob’s favorite son Joseph is sold into Egyptian slavery by his jealous brothers. He rises to become the most powerful man in Egypt next to Pharaoh because of his ability to interpret the Pharaoh’s dreams. When a famine strikes Canaan, he brings the Children of Israel down to Egypt, where they settle in the Land of Goshen, the land from which the Hebrews later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus. After Joseph dies, a new pharaoh comes to power who “knew not Joseph,” and the Hebrews are enslaved. Their captivity lasts for 430 years. When Pharaoh learns that a Hebrew “deliverer” is born, according to prophesy, the first male of every Hebrew family is killed by Pharaoh’s soldiers. One Hebrew male baby is sent down the Nile River where he is found by the Egyptian princess Bithiah, who adopts the lad. She names him Moses. Moses later learns of his Hebrew heritage, and in a rage kills an Egyptian soldier. He then flees Egypt. He meets Sephora in the desert, marries her, and is introduced to the location where the “god of the mountain” lives. Moses meets “God” and learns that His name is YHWH, the Tetragrammaton which is loosely translated as, “I am that I am.” The God of Abraham instructs Moses to tell Pharaoh to let his people go. Moses tells Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go.” Pharaoh refuses. God inflicts the Ten Plagues of Egypt upon Pharaoh’s people. After the firstborn son of Pharaoh dies as a victim of the 10th plague, Pharaoh lets the God of Israel’s people go. Moses takes the Hebrews into the desert. While they are waiting for Moses to return from
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Mount Sinai, where Moses is receiving the Ten Commandments, they build a “golden calf” to worship the pagan god of the Canaanites, Ba’al. The God of Abraham condemns the Hebrews to wander the desert for 40 years until all those who worshiped the false idol have died. Moses gets the Hebrews to the edge of Canaan where he dies and is buried on Mount Nebo. Joshua takes the Hebrews into the “Promised Land” where he leads the Hebrew tribes in the conquest of Canaan. Joshua fights the Battle of Jericho, where the soldiers of the Israelite army blow their trumpets and the “walls come tumbling down.” This is the biblical narrative which chronicles the early rise of the Jewish nation and people, Israel and the Israelites, and how they came to know and exclusively worship the God of Abraham, YHWH. And not a word of it is true! This book will attempt to reconstruct the most likely series of events which can best describe how Israel and the Israelites came to be. Let me begin with a reference to The Bible Unearthed (see note at the bottom of page 3). The authors Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman state, “Though the Bible credits Abraham as the first human to realize that there is only one God, we now know that there is no evidence for monotheism for many centuries after the reported time of Abraham. Nor is there any archaeological evidence for the Exodus.” There is no more evidence for an actual Abraham and Moses than there is for King Arthur and Sir Lancelot. No serious student of history believes that King Arthur and Sir Lancelot were real people or that there really was a Trojan horse. So why do just over half of the world’s population (about 54%) believe that the one and only god is the God of Abraham? How did the patron god of the Hebrews, who instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh, “Let my people go,” become the god of the “chosen people” and then most of Western civilization? And, aren’t we all god’s people, or are only the Hebrews “chosen?” If there is only one true god, the founding principle of monotheism, then how can any one subset of the human race call itself chosen? And if the Hebrews are “chosen,” what does that make the rest of us, chopped liver? If the God of Abraham is the god of only “the chosen” Hebrews, then mustn’t there be other gods for non Hebrews? What then happens to monotheism, the most important fundamental tenet of Judaism? Shortly before the 1944 D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, during World War II, General George S. Patton, Jr. delivered a speech at Knutsford, England, which was perceived to be critical of the Soviets. It nearly ended his career. In the movie Patton, a scene depicts a dejected Patton after a meeting with General Walter Bedell Smith, General Dwight Eisenhower’s chief of staff. Patton’s future status as a battlefield commander is now in question. Patton (via George C. Scott in the movie) turns to his orderly, Sgt. George Meeks, and says, “I feel…I’m destined to achieve some great thing. What, I don’t know. But this last incident is…so trivial in
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its nature and so terrible in its effect. It can’t be an accident. It has to be the work of God. The last great opportunity of a lifetime…an entire world at war and I’m left out of it? God will not permit this to happen! I am going to be allowed to fulfill my destiny! His will be done.” Those who have studied Patton know that he was a deeply religious, faith-based individual who believed in reincarnation and destiny. But he was not a blind faith, Bible-toting simpleton. Indeed one of his biographies is titled, Patton: A Genius for War (HarperCollins, 1995). So why did Patton, an Episcopalian, have so much faith in a higher power, the God of Abraham? This book was not written to explicitly promote non-belief. My previous book, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe Is Not What We Observe, (Xlibris Corp., 2010) addressed that issue. Instead its purpose is to challenge specifically what Christians and Jews believe (Muslims too) and why they believe it. Does the god hypothesis make sense in a world of scientific discovery where so much of what was once attributed to god can now be readily explained by fundamental science? The Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg said it best. “Science makes religious explanations unnecessary.” Another Nobel Laureate, Paul Dirac, said essentially the same thing. “The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions.” The evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), “We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.” We no longer believe in the gods and myths of the Norse, Greeks and Romans. So why do the faithful believe in the traditions of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus? Although it is impossible to identify the moment when people began to believe in a higher power, or even if there really is a god, it is not too difficult to show how the god of the Bible (and other sacred writings) is a product of human imagination and culture. Philosophy professor Gary Gutting from the University of Notre Dame, a religious institution, made this point explicitly in an August 2010 New York Times op-ed piece. “In these popular debates about God’s existence, the winners are neither theists nor atheists, but agnostics–the neglected stepchildren of religious controversy–who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case. This is the position supported by the consensus of expert philosophical opinion.” All contemporary religions and their associated deities evolved from some prior conception of a deity or deities. Seventy thousand years ago one African tribe worshiped pythons (they still do). Humanity progressed from worshiping pythons to the veneration of stars, planets and other astronomical bodies. Today the
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Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam preach there is only one god, the god who spoke to Abraham around 4,000 years ago and to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Is there any greater basis for the belief in the “one true god” of Abraham than there is for the belief in pythons (Monty Python excepted of course!) or the “supreme” gods Odin (Norse), Zeus (Greek) and Jupiter (Roman)? As I will show, the current Western practice of monotheistic worship originated around 2,500 years ago. It appears to have evolved from the worship of a specific “god of a mountain.” Although the God of Abraham is most likely a “new and improved” version of a patron god of a mountain, his veneration is no more valid than the worship of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, or Thor, the Norse god of thunder (and rock & roll!). This book provides a hypothesis about how the Judeo-Christian concept of god came to be known and why god’s description and presentation in the Bible is no longer credible. The Bible portrays god in a way which is far more plausible in biblical times, when people were ignorant about the world around them, than in the 21st century. Since I am not a biblical scholar, I will rely primarily on the views of people who are. Earlier in this chapter I referenced a book co-authored by Israel Finkelstein. He is Professor of the Archaeology of Israel in the Bronze Age and Iron Ages at Tel Aviv University (TAU) and is also the co-director of excavations at Megiddo in northern Israel. Previously he served as Director of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology at Tel Aviv University from 1996 to 2002. Between 1994 and 1998 he was the Chair of the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at TAU. It is scholars like Finkelstein who can offer the best opinions about the real “truth” of times past, if there actually is such a thing. Recognize that all researchers have two major hurdles to face when trying to reconstruct history. The first is limited information. There are no newspapers or newsreels of anything which occurred in biblical times. And for those documents which do exist, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the parchments and papyruses are often fragmented and incomplete. Fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls are still being pieced together for translation and interpretation. The other problem scholars face is that history is written by either the survivors or the winners. A history of the United States written by Western European immigrants and settlers would not chronicle the past in quite the same way as one written by American Indians. And certainly there are no steles erected by Egyptian pharaohs celebrating their defeats. If Pharaoh Ramesses II really did lose an army in the Sea of Reeds during the Exodus when Moses parted the Red Sea (if there was a Moses, he probably parted the Sea of Reeds not the Red Sea), Ramesses II would not have erected a monument commemorating this catastrophe.

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One point that Finkelstein repeatedly makes is that to understand biblical times, one needs to start with the archaeology of the past and then try to reconstruct history, not the other way around. Historically biblical scholars often took the Bible as literal and at face value and then sought the evidence to show the historicity of scripture. Finkelstein uses the scientific methods in his work. He finds artifacts, dates them, and then tries to see if the dates and other information which they provide match the biblical text. This issue will come up again and again in Finkelstein’s work. Bart D. Ehrman takes a similar approach to his research. He calls it the criterion of contextual credibility. Ehrman is a New Testament scholar and currently James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ehrman looks at historical evidence about Jesus and sees whether it fits within the context of first century CE Judea. For example, if a dialogue makes sense only in Greek, it is possible that it is worded in a gospel in such a way that is different from the original Aramaic. To put it another way, if a translation was made from Aramaic to modern English, it would not read the same as a translation from Greek to modern English. The dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus in the Gospel of John [3:1-36] makes sense in Koine Greek (the language in which the original Gospels were written), but not in Aramaic (the language Jesus spoke). This leaves open the possibility of bias, or spin, when the biblical authors translated the original story of Jesus and Nicodemus in John from Aramaic to Koine Greek. (Koine Greek is the Greek language spoken throughout post-Classical antiquity (circa 300 BCE–300 CE.) Finkelstein does the same with archaeology. In Genesis [12:14-16] it says, “And it came to pass, that, when Abram [Abraham] was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman [Abraham’s wife Sarai (Sarah)] that she was very fair. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.” Finkelstein and Silberman write in The Bible Unearthed, “We now know through archaeological research that camels were not domesticated as beasts of burden earlier than the late second millennium and were not widely used in that capacity in the ancient Near East until well after 1000 BCE.” Abraham and Sarah (if they were real persons) lived more than one-half millennium before the domestication of camels. It makes no sense for Abraham’s wife to have camels if they were not domesticated as beasts of burden. Were the camels Sarah’s pets? Not likely. Eilat Mazar (born September 1956) is a third-generation Israeli archaeologist, specializing in Jerusalem and Phoenician archeology. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center, she has worked on the Temple Mount excavations, as well as excavations
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at Achzib. In addition to heading Shalem Center’s Institute of Archeology, she is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2005, Mazar announced she had discovered in Jerusalem what may have been the palace of the biblical King David. David was the second king of a united Kingdom of Israel (also called the United Monarchy), who ruled from 1055 to 1015 BCE according to the biblical dating used in The Catholic Encyclopedia (or from around 1010 to 970 BCE according to American archeologist Edwin R. Thiele). Now referred to as the Large Stone Structure, Mazar’s discovery consists of a public building she dated from the 10th century BCE, and a copper scroll and pottery from the same period. Mazar said, “I work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other. That’s what biblical archaeologists do. The Bible is the most important historical source and therefore deserves special attention.” This is the exact opposite approach taken by Finkelstein. Finkelstein and other archaeologists at Tel Aviv University did not agree with her dating of the Large Stone Structure. “The biblical text dominates this field operation, not archaeology. Had it not been for Mazar’s literal reading of the biblical text, she never would have dated the remains to the 10th century BCE with such confidence….As she admits, the chronological data recovered in her excavations indicate that the sole Iron Age fortification system extending in this area was in use during the 8th–7th centuries BCE. However, according to the biblical sources the Solomonic city-wall must have passed here, hence [she maintains] the fortification system in question must be Solomonic in date.” Finkelstein made these comments in a 2007 paper, “Has King David’s Palace in Jerusalem Been Found?” Finkelstein noted that the archaeological remains found at the Large Stone Structure site are dated to the 8th–7th centuries BCE and not the time of Solomon in the 10th century BCE. How can Mazar explain this? Finkelstein does not “work with the Bible in one hand and the tools of excavation in the other.” He works with the tools of excavation in both hands. He does not consider the Bible “the most important historical source.” There is no place for a Bible during an excavation. Ehrman’s and Finkelstein’s expertise clearly challenges the veracity of much of what the faithful believe about the historicity of the Bible. In Jimmy Ruffin’s 1966 hit single, What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, he sings, “As I walk this land of broken dreams, I have visions of many things. But happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion.” Inerrancy of the Bible is a broken dream, filled with sadness and confusion for those who have read it literally only to subsequently learn that so much of its contents cannot be taken at face value. I went through this experience myself. I am a humanist and a secularist. I have no objection to faith as long as it is not used to affect public policy or education. Sir Martin Rees received the Templeton
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Prize in 2011. The Templeton prize is awarded to a living person who, in the estimation of the judges, “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.” Lord Rees, the astronomer royal and former president of the Royal Society, is a churchgoer who neither believes in god nor subscribes to any religious dogma. He attends chapel on a regular basis as part of a “traditional ritual.” He is Master of Trinity College, Cambridge. He cites the University’s choir, rated fifth in the world by Gramophone magazine, as a reason for his attendance. Rees said, “I participate in occasional religious services which are the customs of the society I grew up in. I’m not allergic to religion.” Sir Rees maintains an arm’s-length relationship between religion and science. He does not let his lack of belief in god affect the pleasure he obtains by listening to (instead of preaching to) the choir. Ann Coulter is the exact opposite of Rees. She uses her faith to deny the truth provided by modern science. In her book Godless, The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum, 2006), Coulter characterized the theory of evolution as “bogus science.” This has the potential to be hazardous thinking. To cite Voltaire, “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.” Just ask the Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. During the Third Reich, many Germans believed that the Jews were a threat to their society. Hermann Göring, Reichsmarschall of the Luftwaffe, said as much at the Nuremberg Trials. Does Ms. Coulter desire to deport any person living in America who does not accept Christ as his or her personal savior? It seems to me that Ms. Coulter would have been a welcomed addition to the Inquisition had she lived in Rome 200 years ago. Intelligent design (ID), an alternative to evolution, asserts that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” The intelligent cause, so say the advocates of this ridiculous idea, is “god.” There is not a shred of evidence for intelligent design and, to show what nonsense this concept is, no ID advocate is even attempting to find such evidence. ID merely claims that any aspect of evolution which cannot be explicitly explained by science is the work of an intelligent agent, i.e. god. Gaps in evolutionary theory are attributed to the intervention of a “god of the gaps.” This is nonsense. Why would god direct the process of evolution? Wouldn’t it just make more sense for god to create humans from day one, or day six as it says it the Bible? (Book of Genesis [1:27, 31], “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”) Alas, if god directed the creation process, then the creation story of Adam and Eve just
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makes a whole lot more sense to me than does intelligent design, where god took about four billion years to evolve humans from pond scum, that is microorganisms. Of course god has a lot of time on his hands. One could argue that god is a massless spirit who contains no matter, no stuff. As such, He travels at the speed of light in which, according to Einstein’s theory of special relativity, time is frozen. But then, how could this be demonstrated? Where is the evidence for such an idea? And why doesn’t Ann Coulter advocate creation? It makes much more sense for believers than does ID. Getting back to reality, Steven Weinberg asserts, “We have not observed anything that seems to require supernatural intervention for its explanation.” This includes intelligent design. ID, and not evolution, is the true bogus science. Ann, are you listening? Yes, evolution is a work in progress and it does not answer every biological question in explaining the ascent of man. But ID offers no help in addressing those unanswered questions except to claim that it is god’s intervention or design. The danger of ID dogma is that it teaches children what science isn’t. “One of the wonderful things about science is that it’s about evidence; it’s not about belief,” as stated by Clifford Johnson, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southern California. To quote Thomas Henry Huxley, “Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors,” or, as I would posit, “Irrationally held truths teach us nothing, as compared to reasoned approximations which can teach us a great deal.” In fact, all of the currently known laws of physics are based on reasoned approximations. I don’t care if Ann Coulter chooses to live her life with her head up her ass, but I wish she would keep her misinformed opinions about things she does not accept or does not understand to herself. It’s time for Coulter to stop auditioning for the part of Mrs. Quasimodo, Queen of Fools! Coulter writes in Godless, “I couldn’t have written about evolution without the generous tutoring of Michael Behe.” Behe is a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania. Behe testified for the defense in the Tammy Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. This trial concluded with ID banned from public school science classrooms. The Federal trial judge (John E. Jones–U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania) concluded that intelligent design is not science, based in part on Behe’s testimony. The judge wrote in the decision, “The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory….Accordingly, we find that the secular purposes claimed by the [Dover Area School District] Board amount to a pretext for the Board’s real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom, in violation of the Establishment Clause.” (Article 3, Bill of

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Rights, U.S Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”) Here is what the Lehigh University website has to say about Michael Behe and his views regarding ID:
“The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function. This commitment carries with it unwavering support for academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas. It also demands the utmost respect for the scientific method, integrity in the conduct of research, and recognition that the validity of any scientific model comes only as a result of rational hypothesis testing, sound experimentation, and findings that can be replicated by others. The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years. The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of ‘intelligent design.’ While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.”

Following is my correspondence with Lehigh University as I tried to establish the university’s overall position in this issue:
From: G. R. Pafumi Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 1:30 PM Subject: Chairman of the department of biological sciences
Dear Ms. [Diane] Hyland [Associate Dean for Faculty and Staff], Can you please provide me with the name of the professor who is the chairman of the department of biological sciences? Thank you.

From: Diane Hyland

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 1:50 PM

The chair for the Biological Sciences Department is Dr. Murray Itzkowitz.

From: G. R. Pafumi
Dear Professor Itzkowitz,

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 2:17 PM

I was informed by Associate Dean Hyland that you are the chairman of the department of biological sciences. I wanted to be sure since it says on your

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department webpage that you are Professor and Chair Behavioral Ecology. I am hoping you can clarify something for me as department chairman as I am working on a new book and I refer to Ann Coulter and one of her intelligent design gurus, Professor Behe. I wish to present Lehigh in an unbiased and fair view. On the page describing your department’s position on intelligent design, it says, “While we respect Prof. Behe’s right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department.” On Professor Behe’s webpage it says, “My ideas about irreducible complexity and intelligent design are entirely my own….In fact, most of my colleagues in the Department strongly disagree with them.” Most implies Professor Behe is not alone. Does strongly disagree imply the some of your staff only mildly disagree? I count 20 professors including you in your department, plus emeriti, adjuncts and post docs. There appears to be a contradiction here. If Professor Behe is correct, then can you tell me how many professors at Lehigh advocate, mildly or strongly, intelligent design? If Professor Behe is not correct, why does his webpage imply that he is not alone in advocating intelligent design at Lehigh? Thank you for any clarification you can give me.

From: G. R. Pafumi
Dear Professor Itzkowitz,

Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 2:40 PM

I have one additional concern about Lehigh which I hope you will address. On your webpage about your position on intelligent design, it says, “The department faculty, then, are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory, which has its roots in the seminal work of Charles Darwin and has been supported by findings accumulated over 140 years.” If one adds 140 to 1859, the year Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was published, the result is 1999. This implies that this statement has been on your website for 12 years and also originated six years before the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case which was tried and decided in 2005. This begs the question of why the defendants in the trial used Professor Behe as a witness and why Ann Coulter used Professor Behe as her intelligent design (ID) guru in her book “Godless.” She had 19 other professors to choose from, if Behe is truly alone in advocating ID at Lehigh. In fact, the defendants should have used a professor from the biology department at MIT or Berkeley if they wanted to present a cogent argument for irreducible complexity. But they could not because no such professor exists at MIT or Berkeley. MIT and Berkeley do not accommodate professors in their biology departments who advocate such nonsense. I have come to the conclusion that Lehigh does accommodate such thought. It is not possible for a student of Professor Behe to not know that he rejects the theses of Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace and Stephen Jay Gould. An intelligent agent is a euphemism for god and god has no place in a science classroom. It was the Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg who said, “Science makes religious explanations unnecessary.” I wrote in my book, Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often

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What We Believe Is Not What We Observe, “let’s leave god in the pews and science in the laboratory.” I do hope that you can persuade me that my conclusion about Lehigh is wrong. As far as I can see, Lehigh is the only private non-evangelical university in America which acknowledges intelligent design. The fact that Professor Behe is on your staff for at least 12 years (by my previous calculation) is a testament to this fact. Please tell me where I am incorrect in my conclusion, if indeed I am. I do hope you will reply. Sometimes “the sounds of silence” can speak volumes.

I never got a reply to my inquiries. Associate Dean Hyland provided me with the name the biology department chairman exactly 20 minutes after I emailed her. Professor Itzkowitz never replied. I must have struck a raw nerve. I have to conclude that ID is discussed, or at least not verboten, in Lehigh University classrooms. Certainly no student of Professor Behe can be ignorant of the fact that he substitutes the underlying basis of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, i.e. random mutations and natural selection, with a concept he calls irreducible complexity. (Irreducible complexity is an argument made by proponents of intelligent design. It asserts that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or “less complete,” predecessors. They are said to be too complex to evolve through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous and naturally occurring random mutations.) As I write this book, Behe is still teaching at Lehigh. I’ve said before that, “The danger of ID dogma is that it teaches children what science isn’t,” then wrote, “Coulter characterized the theory of evolution as ‘bogus science.’ This has the potential to be hazardous thinking.” It is appalling that only 28% of biology teachers present evidence for evolution as recommended by the National Research Council, while 13% explicitly advocate creationism or intelligent design. These data are from a 2010 survey conducted by Penn State professors Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer. Randy Moore, a professor of biology at the University of Minnesota, said he was not surprised by the study’s findings. In reading its results he said, “At least 25% of high school teachers in Minnesota explicitly teach creationism.” We are teaching our children science fiction in science class. It seems that Ann Coulter either does not understand the definition of bogus science or that she doesn’t comprehend the English language. Maybe it’s my English which ain’t so good. But I think the statement from Lehigh’s Department of Biological Sciences speaks quite clearly that Darwinistic evolution is bona fide science “supported by findings [evidence] accumulated over 140 years.” As for ID, Lehigh says “intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested
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experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific.” I read this statement to infer that ID is the true bogus science. Could it be that I, not Ann Coulter, need a refresher course in the English language? I don’t think so. Darwin’s idea about the ascent of all living things on this planet, including humans, is not the best scientific theory of evolution. It is the ONLY scientific theory of evolution. What Coulter believes about the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus, in addition to ID, also qualifies as “bogus science.” Science teaches us that there are no warm-blooded animals on this planet (such as mammals and birds) which reproduce asexually, i.e. by “immaculate conception.” Geckos and Komodo dragons (both reptiles) do. Unless the Virgin Mary was a gecko or Komodo dragon, the Jesus virgin-birth hypothesis contradicts all of the presently known laws of biology. In his book Mary Magdalene: A Biography (Doubleday Religion, 2005), Bruce Chilton, professor of religion at Bard College, wrote that Magdalene was a visionary who sensed Jesus in his spiritual (non-physical) resurrected form. On John McLaughlin’s One On One program, he asserted that Jesus’ body did not rise from the dead. McLaughlin, a former Jesuit priest with a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University, seemed intrigued by Chilton’s claim. He had him explicitly restate his assertion that Jesus’ body still lay buried in a tomb somewhere in Jerusalem. People do die. But they don’t come back to life. Ms. Coulter could well benefit from watching a little McLaughlin. There is no more evidence of a virgin birth and a resurrection than there is proof that Santa really delivers presents all over the world on Christmas Eve. How can Coulter believe in a virgin birth and a resurrection, for which there is no evidence, and deny evolution, for which there is an immense body of scientific evidence? She really does seem to have her head stuck up her ass! I wonder how she breathes. Coulter is at least 60 years behind the Roman Catholic Church. Ms Coulter should familiarize herself with the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. It is a scientific academy of the Vatican, founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI, which advises popes in matters of science so that popes can include scientific knowledge and discovery when deciding matters of faith. It members include and have included non-believers (atheists and agnostics), the most famous of whom are the physicists Stephen Hawking and Paul Dirac. In August 1950, Pope Pius XII issued Humani Generis, a papal encyclical which asserted ( among other things) that, “the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter–for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However this must be done in such a way that the
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reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness.” The encyclical did not endorse a belief in evolution, nor its outright rejection, because it deemed the evidence at the time to not be convincing either way. It allowed for the possibility of Darwinian science in the future. Almost half a century later, Pope John Paul II went further and explicitly endorsed evolution. In an October 1996 speech delivered to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences at the Vatican, Pope John Paul II declared the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin as factual and wholly compatible with the teachings of the Church. He said, “Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical [referring to Humani Generis] some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent studies– which was neither planned nor sought–constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory.” The pope was talking about the convergence in the sciences of biology, chemistry, DNA sequencing, paleontology, and anthropology. Steven Weinberg noted that, “The test of a physical theory is not that everything in it should be observable and every prediction it makes should be testable, but rather that enough is observable and enough predictions are testable to give us confidence that the theory is right.” Ms. Coulter, Darwin’s theory of evolution has provided more than enough evidence “to give us confidence that the theory is right.” Professor Behe, who is a Roman Catholic, ought to take note of Pope John Paul II’s opinion on evolution. According to the doctrine of papal infallibility, the pope is never wrong when it comers to matters of faith. Behe seems to agree with at least some Catholic dogma and apparently accepts the Church’s teachings on contraception. He has nine children. However they are home schooled, according to a May 2003 article appearing on the Catholic Exchange website. I presume he does not want his children attending a Catholic school where evolution is taught, while creation and intelligent design are not. The Church also does not insist that we are alone in the universe and has offered its assistance in the search for E.T. In November 2009, the Associated Press reported, “Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life.” It noted that, “the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church. ‘The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration,’ said the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory….Funes said the possibility of alien life raises ‘many philosophical and theological implications….If biology is not unique to the Earth,
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or life elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version, or we ever make contact with an intelligent species in the vastness of space, the implications for our selfimage will be profound.’” The article went onto say, “Earlier this year, the Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. The event snubbed proponents of alternative theories, like creationism and intelligent design, which see a higher being rather than the undirected process of natural selection behind the evolution of species….Working with scientists to explore fundamental questions that are of interest to religion is in line with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI.” The Vatican’s search for ET clearly demonstrates that the Church no longer presupposes a god who created the universe just so that only we humans could exist to observe it and worship Him. There is justified fear in the Christian community about where evolution’s disciples, such as Charles Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace and Stephen Jay Gould, have taken us. It even traumatized the Chairman of the Texas State Board of Education, Don McLeroy. In May 2009, McLeroy asserted in an anti-evolution tirade, “Somebody’s got to stand up to the experts!” McLeroy wanted to add ID to the Texas high school biology curriculum (apparently he chose to ignore the Kitzmiller decision). Ann Coulter has a legitimate concern about threat of evolutionary biology and its effect on faith. Richard Phillips addressed a closely related issue in The Search for the Historical Adam, the cover story of the June 2011 edition of Christianity Today magazine. “South Carolina pastor Richard Phillips, a blogger with the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and chair of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, sees serious doctrinal danger if the historical Adam disappears. ‘Can the Bible’s theology be true if the historical events on which the theology is based are false?’ he asks. If science trumps Scripture, what does this mean for the virgin birth of Jesus, or his miracles, or his resurrection? ‘The hermeneutics behind theistic evolution are a Trojan horse that, once inside our gates, must cause the entire fortress of Christian belief to fall.’” (Hermeneutics is the study of the methodological principles of interpretation, as of the Bible.) Theistic evolution, or evolutionary creation, is a concept which asserts that classical religious teachings about god are compatible with the modern scientific understanding of biological evolution. Theistic evolutionists believe that there is a god, believe god is the creator of the material universe and (by consequence) all life within, and that biological evolution is simply a natural process within that creation. Evolution, according to this view, is simply a tool which god employed to develop all life, including human life. It is tacitly endorsed by the Catholic Church. Theistic evolution, even though it does not conflict with Darwin’s theory, is also not science and has no basis in fact. It is simply a way to combine the belief that god has a
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hand in evolution without conflicting with or directly challenging and confronting scientific evidence. Darwin’s theory of evolution is based on scientific evidence. Let’s recall what Professor Johnson said. “Science is…about evidence; it’s not about belief.” A similar issue provides the plot for Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons (Pocket Books, 2001). The novel revolves around the use of antimatter to destroy the Vatican. The antimatter was created at the LHC, the Large Hadron Collider (atom smasher) in Geneva. Scientists at the LHC are searching for the last remaining undiscovered particle in the Standard Model of Particle Physics, the Higgs boson. The theoretical Higgs would explain the origin of matter. It is sometimes referred to as the “God Particle” because it can create matter out of pure energy. It has also been called “the brick that built the universe” and “the angel of creation.” Without the Higgs mechanism, “the universe would be a very different place.... no ordinary matter as we know it, no chemistry, no biology, and no people,” according to a CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) briefing paper. In the novel the fanatical Camerlengo (Vatican acting head of state) Father Patrick scoffs, “The god particle! To actually claim an act of creation. The blasphemy. The arrogance…If science is allowed to claim the power of creation, what is left for god?” Yes Ms. Coulter, Mr. McLeroy and Camerlengo Father Patrick, be concerned. Fundamentalist and evangelical Christian faith is primed for a fall! Pastor Phillips has met his Trojan horse. It is called 21st century science and discovery. It could be cosmology (the study of the nature, origin and fate of the universe), or Finkelstein’s systematic and scientific study of archaeological relics. In either case, the results are the same. Traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs seem to be out of place in the 21st century. They don’t corroborate and often conflict with historical data, scientific evidence, or both. They are indeed incongruous and an anachronism. In a scene from Cecil B. DeMille’s classic, The Ten Commandments (1956 film), Moses first meets his future father-in-law, Jethro of Midian. Jethro speaks, “You have come far.” Moses replies, “From Egypt.” Jethro, “You crossed the desert on foot? ‘He who has no name’ [the god of the mountain] surely guided your steps.” Moses, a Hebrew, puzzlingly asks, “‘He who has no name?’ Do you Bedouins know the God of Abraham?” Jethro responds, “Abraham is the father of many nations. We are the children of Ishmael, his first born.” Moses, “My people look to him for deliverance, but they are still in bondage.” From this scene, I first learned the connection between Judaism and a faith which would evolve into Islam. The following scene depicts a mountain (god’s supposed earthly residence) smoking and billowing in the background. It provided the graphical imagery which

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suggested that anyone who came into view of the mountain could have a lifechanging religious experience. Many nomadic tribes transited the desert in the “time of Moses,” traveling between Egypt and Canaan. The movie suggests that those tribes who passed or learned of the mountain might come to worship the god “on” or “of” the mountain. The movie’s imagery suggested how the god of the mountain, or some similar mythical figure, became the one “true” god of the desert tribes and eventually the one “true” god for over half of the world’s current population. The movie provided a plausible and credible account of how the acceptance and belief in the singular “God of Abraham,” i.e. YHWH (pronounced Yahweh), came to be. As I will show, Cecil B. DeMille’s classic is a total fabrication and in no way chronicles actual historical events.

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Chapter 2
A Brief History of Faith
The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings. Cassius, from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar Sometimes I envy you Margaret. At least you have the Bible as a place for comfort. Dr. John Becker–atheist to Margaret Wyborn-–evangelical Christian Men would rather believe than know. E.O. Wilson

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o one can determine the origin of belief. No one can say when humans made that first connection between phenomena they could not understand and god. Belief in the supernatural emerged from perceptions, subjectively conceived by individuals, to explain natural observable facts which they could not otherwise explain. (They did not realize that no paranormal explanation was necessary. There was no science back then, at least not in the contemporary sense.) It is also unknown when humans first became religious, as a collective group or congregation. The desire to share supernatural explanations with others eventually led to collective religious beliefs and worship. Evangelism has a long history. For millennia men believed that the stars could forecast the future and predict our fate. The quote, “The fault, dear Brutus,” from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, illustrates my point. Most people in the time of Caesar believed in astrology (many folks still do today). Planets, moons and other astronomical bodies were considered gods. Among the most powerful of gods was the Sun. If a plant is taken out of a dark room and into sunlight, it will turn its leaves towards the Sun. It appears to be praying. No one understood photosynthesis in the time of Caesar. The movement of a plant’s leaves is to maximize their exposure to the sun’s rays for the purpose of photosynthesis and plant growth. Ancient Egyptians worshipped Ra, the most
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which designed and built the first atomic bomb. believe the sun has a special place in history and in the cosmos.) Although never codified by law. who approved and signed the measure on June 30. Some Jews.” He signed a bill on Flag Day in 1954 which modified the Pledge of Allegiance to include the phrase “under God. Feynman won a Nobel Prize in Physics. “We are a religious people. President Harry Truman viewed the Cold War. the manicheistic 22 . Until the end of World War II. we are still members of a religious civilization. as essentially a moral conflict.” (It appears that Eisenhower never met J. which escalated in intensity throughout his tenure as president. And people who did not believe were often considered Communists. Congress passed House Joint Resolution 396 establishing “In God We Trust” as the official motto of the USA.” And he was well aware of Patton’s deep faith. in my opinion. in the Shinto religion of Japan. “Our form of government makes no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious belief.” In a speech about fighting communism. Believing in god was the way it was. Every 28 years pious Jews assemble to recite the Birkat Hachammah. as recently as the middle of the 20th century. Dwight Eisenhower stated. E pluribus unum. Robert Oppenhiemer or Richard Feynman. I don’t no anyone who thought that Oppenheimer or Feynman were silly. and former general. and I don’t care what it is. In Greek mythology the Sun was personified as Helios. Jewish tradition holds that the sun returns only once every 28 years to the spot where it stood at the moment of creation. But perhaps not. who were considered descendants of the kami.” was considered the de facto motto of the United States until 1956 when the U. would and could believe that their Emperor was descended from a sun goddess. It was Eisenhower. Latin for “Out of many. President. (Kami is the Japanese word for the spirits within objects in the Shinto faith. He also said. Public Law 140 was enacted by Congress making the use of the term “In God We Trust” mandatory on all currency and coins of the realm. the Emperor was thought to have descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu.) It may be difficult to imagine that the Japanese. In Roman mythology the Sun was identified as Sol. Eisenhower claimed.important of the sun gods. as President. “I am the most intensely religious man I know. And they were both atheists. (A year earlier.) I grew up in the 1950s. S. even today.” Patton was not alone among the generals of the Second World War who were pious. Oppenheimer supervised the project. These are two of the most influential scientists of the 20th century. so silly as to doubt the existence of an almighty. later Sol Invictus. one. Even those among us who are so…. 1956. They worked on the Manhattan Project. the “blessing of the sun. Amaterasu was said to be directly linked in lineage to the Imperial Household of Japan and the Emperor.

” They pray to the “Rock that Whispers. it could be that they were wrong about both the time and place. They live in a section of the Kalahari Desert called the Tsodilo Hills. He believed that communism was a tyranny led by leaders.000 years ago in Europe. (Didn’t Eve sin by venerating a serpent. Norway. performed advanced rituals in Africa 70. Stalin attended a Georgian Orthodox Christian seminary for about five years. a snake. When Coulson entered the cave. (Believe it or not. A group of the San lives in a sparsely inhabited area of northwestern Botswana known as Ngamiland. who had abandoned their faith in god. splitting off around 70. she found three-to-four hundred indentations that could only have been man-made. who refer to them as the “Mountains of the Gods.” The python is one of the San’s most important animals.” Coulson believes the archaeological discovery in Botswana demonstrates that our ancestors in Africa engaged in ritual practice 70. humans? It started a long time ago. In December 2006. While scholars have largely held that man’s first rituals were carried out over 40. geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells states that the DNA of the San people is one of the oldest. She discovered mankind’s oldest known ritual and a specific ritual location (the equivalent of an altar).000 years ago–30. or snake. In The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey (Princeton University Press.000 years earlier than the oldest finds in Europe. On the six meter long by two meter tall rock. spiritual world of light.” Here is another instance of a mountain deity worshipped. while disobeying god in the Garden of Eden?) The ritual was held in a little cave on the northern side of the Tsodilo Hills in Botswana.idea of the struggle between a good. material world of darkness. mankind 23 . such as Stalin and Mao. a Republican. It looked like a real python.. The San people believe these hills to be the site of creation. According to their creation myth. found that modern humans. in this case a rock chiseled into an image of a python located in the “Python Cave.000 years ago from those found in the rest of humanity. This discovery strengthened Africa’s position as the cradle of contemporary man. The surprising discovery was made while Coulson was studying the origin of the San people and searching for artifacts from the Middle Stone Age. a Democrat. the firelight gave one the feeling that the snake was actually moving. So where did Patton’s and Eisenhower’s deep faith come from? And what about the faith of many. Scientific American magazine reported that Associate Professor Sheila Coulson from the University of Oslo. and Truman. and an evil. 2002). it struck her that the mysterious rock resembled the head of a huge python. At night. if not most.) Fighting communism and godlessness is one of the few areas where Eisenhower. “You could see the mouth and eyes of the snake. The play of sunlight over the indentations gave them the appearance of snake skin. The object of ritual worship discovered was a python. were in complete agreement. Homo sapiens.000 years ago. still a sacred place for the San.

Ain’t it interesting that as little as 500 years ago some humans still believed that gods lived in the mountains? I wonder if they also believed Apus enjoyed skiing and snowball fights. god is a vegetable (a bush. I am fascinated that these two cultures. It seems the San people worshiped the python “god of the mountain” long before Moses and Jethro of Midian worshipped the god of another mountain. arid streambeds around the hills are said to have been created by the python as it circled the hills in its ceaseless search for water.” (Exodus [3:2]: “And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked. Coulson’s research is not without contention. not Africa. And the faith continues to this day for orthodox believers. The San believe that their “god of the mountain” is a “rock that whispers. and Bolivia. And note that the San people and Hebrews are not alone in worshiping gods of the mountains. We may giggle at the San people for worshiping a serpent.000 years. According to Hebrew tradition. i. that talks and burns but is not consumed).000 years ago in Europe. Ecuador.000 miles in space and 65. There are more than a dozen different Apus.e.” The Hebrews believe that their god of the mountain is a bush which burned but “was not consumed.descended from the python and the ancient. the bush burned with fire. “He who has no name. shouldn’t the serpent creator who created the heavens and the Earth be able to create water instead of searching for it? Didn’t He create the water which exists on the Earth? And why does god need water to begin with? Doesn’t god just exist without the need for external sustenance? But is a burning bush which was not consumed any 24 . and. Question: is god an animal. In the religion and mythology of Peru. He argues that deposits found in the cave may only be about 15.000 years in time. vegetable or mineral? According to San theology. a Professor of Anthropology and a Core Faculty member of the African Studies Center at Michigan State University.” or Yahweh.”) I can’t be the only person on this planet to notice the similarity of these two independent “god of the mountain” traditions.” the proverbial “burning bush. both San and Hebrew. San and Hebrew. an Apu is a spirit of a sacred mountain which protects the local people in the highlands. But that would still mean that the San’s mountain god preceded the Hebrew god of the mountain by at least 10.000 years old. seem to have such a similar notion of god. and the bush was not consumed. The term dates back to the Inca Empire. or plant. behold. After all. with histories measured in millennia and whose known origins are separated by about 4. has also explored the “Python Cave” in the Tsodilo Hills. This would suggest that man’s first ceremonial rituals may have arisen 40. Robbins. The Inca Empire existed from 1438–1533 CE. Lawrence H. god is an animal (python) manifested in a mineral (a rock that whispers). Perhaps.

Homo heidelbergensis and Neanderthals. even to Horeb. In Exodus [3:1]. Horeb has never been located. “Behold. Who knows?) Back with faith. Elephants show a keen interest in the bones of their own kind (including unrelated elephants who died many years earlier). Mt.e. Elephants are the only other species on Earth. They are often seen gently investigating the bones with their trunks and feet while remaining very quiet. which are known to have a recognizable ritual around death. what matter was converted into energy. the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert. according to the Bible. whereas Horeb is only used by the Elohist and Deuteronomist sources.” How could and why would the creator of the universe live on Mt. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. According to the documentary hypothesis–see Chapter 6–the name “Sinai” is only used in the Torah by the Jahwist and Priestly sources. Horeb? How could he take care of the rest of the universe if he is preoccupied with events occurring on the third rock from the sun? (Note: there are two versions of the Moses narrative in the Bible. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy and matter cannot be created or destroyed but only converted from one form to another. besides Homo sapiens. Exodus and Deuteronomy. although there is a small body of opinion that the two names may refer to different locations.” In Exodus [17:6]. It is not safe to walk on a wood floor which is charred.” Perhaps Sinai refers to a mountain and Horeb to the mountain’s location.more credible? A burning bush converts matter into energy. Mt. and there shall come water out of it. Sinai is a mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. Sinai and translates to “Moses’ Mountain. So when did the emergence of religious behavior begin during the course of human evolution? It may have begun around the time humans first engaged in rituals surrounding death. that the people may drink. belief in a god or a higher power predates the San people. So if the bush was not consumed. 25 . “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law. Some of that matter converted into energy is observed as fire and smoke. It seems to me that a “talking tree” (the proverbial burning bush which spoke to Moses) makes no more sense than a “rock that whispers. i. but its origin is undetermined. and thou shalt smite the rock. also referred to in the Bible as Mt.” Jabal Musa is the Arabic term for Mt. Mounts Sinai and Horeb are generally considered to refer to the same place. I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb. what the hell was burning? Where did the energy come from to produce a fire? How could the bush have “burned with fire” and not create smoke? How could the bush have “burned with fire” and maintain its structural integrity? This violates the first law of thermodynamics and what I learned in “fire and smoke” 101! Just ask any fireman. and came to the mountain of God. Sinai. However such rituals are not exclusive to humans.

trying to lift her. The entire elephant herd was rumbling loudly. were all gently touching her body with their trunks. for over eight years. Elephant Destiny: Biography of an Endangered Species in Africa (HarperCollins Canada. Maybe Jeff Foxworthy should ask. Some of the earliest significant evidence of religious practices predates the Middle Paleolithic (Middle Stone) Age. South Africa. They sometimes had to leave to get water or food. they have buried dead or sleeping humans or aided them when they were hurt. could be one of the earliest detectable forms of religious practice. Meredith remembers an event told to him by George Adamson. gently touching her. regarding an old Turkana woman who fell asleep under a tree after losing her way home. particularly with grave goods. When she woke up. As other elephants arrived. In many instances. there is credible substantiation of religious behavior existing for at least 350. 2004). they began to scream loudly and buried her under branches. evidence suggests that the Neanderthals were the first hominids to intentionally bury their dead. Though disputed. Adamson gave the elephant’s meat to local Turkana tribesmen and then dragged the rest of the carcass half a mile away. The complete family of a dead matriarch. Getting back to humans.Sometimes elephants who are completely unrelated to the deceased will still visit their graves. perhaps in preparation for 26 . and possibly more. because she was very frightened. but they would always return. That night. a Kenyan Game Warden. Adamson also recalls the time when he shot a bull elephant from a herd that kept breaking into the government gardens of Northern Kenya. This is because it might signify a concern for the dead which transcends life here on earth. including her young calf. Occurrences of elephants behaving in a similar way with human beings are common throughout Africa.000 years. the period from 300.000 years ago. there was an elephant standing over her. It was about a typical elephant death ritual witnessed by Anthony HallMartin. The calf was observed to be weeping and made sounds that sounded like a scream. She kept very still. a South African biologist who had studied elephants in Addo. the other elephants found the body and took the shoulder blade and leg bone and returned the bones to the exact spot where the elephant was killed. They spent the next two days quietly standing over her body. doing so in shallow graves along with stone tools and animal bones.” instead of a fifth grader! It is truly astounding that elephants seem to have such a profound awareness of death. They then began to throw leaves and dirt over the body and broke off tree branches to cover her. but then the entire herd fell incredibly silent. “Are you smarter than an elephant?. She was found unharmed the next morning by local herdsmen. Intentional burial. Elephant researcher Martin Meredith recalls an incident in his book.000 to 50.

Greenspan and Stuart G. Middle Stone Age sites in Africa.000 to 300. 100. Language. Heidelbergensis may be the direct ancestor of both Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthals) in Europe and Homo sapiens (modern humans). Anatomically modern humans. emigrated from Africa and inhabited the Middle East at least 100.000 years ago – first (disputed) evidence of intentional burial of the dead at Atapuerca in Spain.000 years to modern Croatia. Ninety percent of the known Homo heidelbergensis remains have been obtained from this site. Later Neanderthal burial sites show a consistent pattern: males and females placed in shallow graves with their knees bent. These findings have led some researchers to believe that the religious consciousness has been in existence for over 100. 130. It’s possible the Neanderthals believed that their earthly tools would be necessary in the hereafter. which contains a large number of human remains. Shanker (The First Idea: How Symbols. including the mandible of a wild boar in the arms of one of the skeletons. an extinct species of the genus Homo. Neanderthals bury their dead at sites such as Krapina in Croatia. corresponding to the Middle Pleistocene period and representing about 30 skeletons of the species Homo heidelbergensis. were discovered in the Skhul cave at Qafzeh.000 years ago – Earliest undisputed evidence for intentional burial. Heidelbergensis lived about 600. not Neanderthals. also exhibit increased use of the symbolic red ochre. Human skeletal remains stained with red ochre. The earliest undisputed Neanderthal burial dates back 130. has been cited as providing possible evidence for ritual disposal of the dead during the Middle Pleistocene era (800-125 thousand years ago). and Intelligence Evolved from Our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans [Da Capo Press.000 years.000 years. where bones of about 30 individuals in a pit within a cave were found. and wildflowers strewn about. An excavation team located more than 5. A variety of grave goods were present at the site. 2004]). The excavations suggest that the concentration of bones in the pit may represent the practice of burial by the inhabitants of the cave. A brief timeline of ritual burial follows:    350. Sima de los Huesos (Pit of the Bones) at Atapuerca in Spain.000 years ago). according to Stanley I.the afterlife.000 years ago.500 human bones dated to an age of at least 350. a pigment thought to have only symbolic value. Modern humans may have invented this form of ritualized burial practice.000 years ago.000 years ago – The oldest known ritual burial of modern humans at Qafzeh in Israel: a double burial of what is thought to be a mother and 27 . dating to around the same time frame. Israel (dating to 100. food and tools placed next to them.

Venus figurines and cave art. The body is sprinkled with copious amounts of red ochre–seen as evidence that the Australian emigrants had brought religious rituals along with them from Africa.000 years ago – Earliest known burial of a shaman. Venus figurines are thought to represent fertility goddesses. remains controversial.000 years ago–were discovered at a site known as the Shanidar Cave. The cave paintings at Chauvet and Lascaux are believed to represent religious thought.e. it is hypothesized that flowers had been buried with the corpse. Archeologists refer to apparent intentional burials of Homo heidelbergensis. Fossilized bones of eight adult and two infant Neanderthal skeletons– spanning burials from 65. as evidence of religious ideas.000 to 50. symbolism and religion.000 to 35. However.      *child.000 to 40. However the fossil record of these humans ends after 100. 100. The earliest evidence of religious ideas dates back several hundred thousand years. estimated to have been 30–45 years of age at the time of the death. as early as 350. The bones have been stained with red ochre. anatomically modern humans migrated to the Middle East from Africa. 65. 30. 35. the interpretation of early Paleolithic artifacts. The skeleton of an adult male discovered. abstract thought. was positioned so that he was lying on his left side in a partial fetal position. Archeological evidence from more 28 . By 100. Modern human behavior includes abilities such as modern language. preceding the Middle Paleolithic (Middle Stone) period (300.000 to 35.000 years ago – Ritual burial of a man at Lake Mungo in Australia. Other evidence of religious ideas includes symbolic artifacts from Middle Stone Age sites in Africa. leading scholars to believe that population either died out or returned to Africa. An abundance of fossil evidence includes elaborate burials of the dead.000 years ago. with regard to how they relate to religious ideas. Much of the evidence comes from Late Stone Age sites in Africa.000 years ago – Humans have evolved the traits associated with modern human behavior.000 years ago). From pollen found near his grave. 42. 50.000 years ago – Increased use of red ochre at several Middle Stone Age sites. i.000 years ago. priest or priestess. Red ochre is thought to have played an important role in ritual. in the Kurdistan area of northern Iraq.000 years ago – Upper Paleolithic (Late Stone Age) begins in Europe. One skeleton found at the cave provided the best evidence for burial ritual.000 years ago – Evidence of ritual burials by Neanderthals.000 years ago.

000 years ago).000 years ago).000 years ago) are generally interpreted by scientists as representing religious ideas. Although the monarch’s authority over the Church of England is limited. with chiefs. Organized religion may have emerged as means of maintaining peace between unrelated individuals.recent periods is less controversial. or magical aspect to these paintings. kings and emperors playing dual roles as both political and spiritual leaders. Religion led to temples. Religion also was the basis for an ethical code and a way for people to live together in peace. So.000-11. suggest that belief in god is a way to contend with “the overpowering forces of 29 . Even today. which led to religion. the position is still very relevant to the Church.000-28. It is evidence of the antiquity of human religious practices.000 to 26. They left the nomadic life of hunting and gathering. It is believed that the onset of the Neolithic Revolution. led to settlements. The Supreme Governor of the Church of England is the title held by British monarchs to signify their titular leadership over the Anglican Church of England. Examples of Upper Paleolithic remains associated with religious beliefs include the lion man-god (32. He claims that the leading cause of death among hunter gatherer societies is murder. The monarch is also the symbolic head-ofstate of the British constitutional monarchy. Others.000-10. The empires of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia were theocracies. Nearly all state societies and chiefdoms had similar political structures where political authoritywas justified by divine sanction. A number of artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic (40. Bands and tribes consist of a small number of related individuals. which lead to the formation of cities. which in turn possessed the right to collect taxes in return for providing social and security services to the state. People lived in one place for an extended period. However states and nations are composed of thousands or millions of unrelated individuals. Organized religion served to justify a central authority. cave paintings from Chauvet Cave (32. Jared Diamond (Professor of Geography and Physiology at UCLA) argues that organized religion also served to provide a bond between unrelated individuals who would otherwise be more prone to enmity. which has led experts in prehistoric art and cultures to believe that there was likely a ritual. this symbolically holds true in United Kingdom. Farming and settlements gave humans more leisure time.000 years ago). shamanic. what was the purpose of ancient organized religion? Organized religion emerged as a means of providing social and economic stability to large populations through the following ways. the beginning of agriculture. Venus goddess figurines (40. Temples aggregated worshippers. Sungir is one of the earliest known ritual burial sites. such as Paul Dirac. It is primarily maintained for its symbolic capacity. and the elaborate ritual burial at Sungir (30.000 years ago).

(In the glossary. and finally is genetic.nature. religion will endure for a long time to come and will not be replaced by scientific materialism. The three great religion categories of today are Marxism. Men would rather believe than know. “God remains a viable hypothesis as the prime mover. to some extent. are subject to the same physical laws. 1978). and (3) myth (the narratives that explain the tribe’s favored position on the Earth. Wilson had to say about religion. Even submission to secular religions such as Communism and guru cults involve willing subordination of the individual to the group. The ecological principle called Gause’s law holds that competition is maximal between species with identical needs.” His is also the Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.” Simple rules are provided allowing quick decisions. have a material basis. traditional religion.000 religions. It still does today. (2) commitment through faith (a kind of tribalism enacted through self-surrender).” 30 .” A kind of Darwinistic survival of the fittest has occurred with religions. apocalypse. Edward Osborne Wilson (born June 1929) is an American biologist specializing in myrmecology. the study of ants.” “Religion is above all the process by which individuals are persuaded to subordinate their immediate self-interests to the interests of the group.” leading to “process theology. and can be most deeply understood by scientific analysis. “God’s immanence has been pushed somewhere below the subatomic particles or beyond the farthest visible galaxy. It is an illusion to think that scientific humanism and learning will dispel religious belief. Religious practices confer biological advantage. McGoodwin wrote: The predisposition to religious belief is an ineradicable part of human behavior. however undefinable and untestable that conception may be. and millennium).O. often incorporating supernatural forces struggling for control. “Religion is superbly serviceable to the purposes of warfare and economic exploitation. the author defines the latter as “The view that all phenomena in the universe including the human mind. The mechanisms of religion include: (1) objectification (the reduction of reality to images and definitions that are easily understood and cannot be refuted). He is known as “the father of sociobiology. “Religious practices that consistently enhance survival and procreation of the practitioners will propagate the physiological controls that favor the acquisition of the practices during single lifetimes. deeper still is ecological.” Unthinking submission to the communal will promotes the fitness of the members of the tribe. Mankind has produced 100. Next is what E.”) Though theology is not likely to survive as an independent intellectual discipline.” I think ancient organized religion served both purposes. In 1991. and scientific materialism. The structure of religion is at the surface ecclesiastic (chosen for emotional impact under contemporary social conditions). Michael McGoodwin summarized Wilson’s book. On Human Nature (Harvard University Press.

Qafzeh. As I will advocate near the end of this book (Chapter 14). their graves occasionally appeared with limestone blocks in or on them. leaving only the bones.Wilson seems to have a real grip on what religion is all about.g.000 BCE In the area of present-day France and Belgium. possibly an archaic form of grave marking. the Pontnewydd Cave. Es Skhul. circa 1250 BCE (note that the defined time periods sometimes overlap. The graves. usually in funerary caches. the religion for the 22nd century will be agnosticism.000 BCE One of the earliest anatomically modern humans to be cremated is buried near Lake Mungo in Australia.000 BCE Roughly when Homo sapiens first enter Europe. at least for the educated. 98. I tend to agree with most of his opinion with one qualification.000 BCE This is the earliest evidence of hominids. Neanderthals placed their deceased in simple graves with little or no concern for grave goods or markers. Neanderthals and Homo heidelbergensis. Krapina). I endorse Professor Gutting’s idea that agnostics are the winners in the god’s existence debate. 31 .000 . prior to burial. this is due to non-coincident social development in various regions of the globe): 350th to 51st millennium BCE 350. may represent the beginnings of ceremonial rites. Atapuerca Mountains. 35. 50th to 11th millennium BCE 40. which coincides with the dating of the last convincing evidence of Neanderthal burials. however. Following is a brief timeline of ancient religion up to the possible late historical date of the Exodus. located throughout Eurasia (e. He believed that religion will be around for a long time to come and will not be replaced by scientific materialism. deliberately disposing of deceased individuals. Neanderthals began removing the flesh and organs of the dead.100. This is the beginning of the decline of Neanderthal civilization.

000-21. 25. with the older bones often being gathered together and cached together. etc. mammoth ivory beads. Wales. various objects are being included in the graves (i.e. women and children were being buried in the same caves which were used for burials 10. or some other unknown social dynamic. comprising an adult male with a juvenile male buried by his side.000 BCE Clear examples of burials are present in Iberia. This may possibly represent murders of the men the figurines are buried with. Additionally. Prior burial activity had either taken a less obvious form or contemporaries retained some of their burial knowledge in the absence of such activity. flint blades.000 BCE Noticeable burial activity resumes. 32 . Large stones may have acted as grave markers. periwinkle shells. dozens of men.Individual skulls and/or long bones begin appearing heavily stained with red ochre and are separately buried. Some of the figurines are deliberately broken or repeatedly stabbed. Old burials are commonly being redug and moved to make way for the new ones.000-8.000-11.000 BCE Convincing evidence of mortuary activity ceases. All of these also incorporate the heavy use of red ochre. “baton” antlers. and organized religions begin to emerge. The first cities. kingdoms. fox teeth pendants. 13. in which the political power is justified by religious prestige. shell and mammoth ivory jewelry–that go back thousands of years. Pairs of ochred antlers are sometimes placed as poles within the burial cave. and Eastern Europe. possible drumsticks. Some burials are double. The burials are very similar to each other and share a number of characteristics–ochre. This is compared to the modern practice of leaving flowers at one’s grave. They are now appearing to take on the form of modern cemeteries.000 years previously.). 100th to 34th century BCE 10. The oldest discovered “Venus figurines” appear in graves. 21.000-7000 BCE Beginnings of the Neolithic Age (the rise of farming–the initial transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement). All these graves are delineated by the cave walls and large limestone blocks. states. panoply of ivory artifacts. This practice may be the origins of sacred relics. The early states were usually theocracies. weighted clothing. dolls. The change results in a worldwide population explosion.

the 250. The site is famous for having revealed some of the world’s most ancient known temples and monumental sculptures. and hunting scenes. feminine. 33 . about 360 ft across. Establishment of Nevalı Çori. The circular bank and ditch enclosure.000 ton passage tomb aligned to the winter solstice in Ireland. may have been completed with a timber circle. an early Neolithic settlement on the middle Euphrates in eastern Turkey. 33rd to 16th century BCE 3228-3102 BCE Traditionally accepted time of Krishna’s life on Earth. It is the oldest human-made place of worship (temple) yet discovered. 3000 BCE Sumerian cuneiform emerges from the proto-literate Uruk period. allowing the codification of beliefs and creation of detailed historical religious records. is built. He is a central figure of Hinduism. It is sometimes called “the Turkish Stonehenge. 3100 BCE The initial form of Stonehenge is completed. He suggests that the carved animals are there to protect the dead.” Archaeologist Klaus Schmidt of the German Archaeological Institute of Istanbul considers Göbekli Tepe a central location for a cult of the dead.9500 BCE Construction of Göbekli Tepe in southeastern Turkey. 3100-2900 BCE Newgrange. 8000 BCE Four to five pine posts are erected near the eventual site of Stonehenge. Its inhabitants leave behind numerous clay figurines and impressions of phallic. 7500-5700 BCE The settlements of Catalhoyuk develop as a likely spiritual center of Anatolia (ancient Turkey) possibly practicing worship in communal shrines.

etc.The second phase of Stonehenge is completed and appears to function as the first enclosed cremation cemetery in the British Isles. the oldest pyramid of the Giza Plateau.–and shows consideration of solar alignments. the step pyramid at Saqqara. Citizens worship a variety of goddesses. 2348 BCE Noah’s Ark and the Great Flood which wiped out all previous civilizations. The wooden posts are replaced with posts made of bluestone. 2200 BCE Minoan Civilization in Crete develops. 2560 BCE The approximate time accepted as the completion of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Ussher was Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625–56 CE. station stones. Saqqara is the ancient burial ground in Egypt. It begins taking on an increasingly complex setup–including altar. are composed in Ancient Egypt. according to James Ussher’s chronology. portal. serving as the necropolis (cemetery) for the Ancient Egyptian capital Memphis. 2635-2610 BCE The oldest surviving Egyptian Pyramid is commissioned by pharaoh Djoser. the Pyramid Texts. 34 . 2600 BCE Stonehenge begins to take on the form of its final phase. 2150-2000 BCE The earliest surviving versions of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh (originally titled “He Who Saw the Deep” or “Surpassing All Other Kings”) were written. 2495-2345 BCE The first of the oldest surviving religious texts.

religion and organized religion. new and improved soap suds do what the old suds did.2000-1825 BCE The traditionally accepted period in which the Judeo-Christian-Islamic patriarch Abraham lived. Akhenaten’s monolatrism beliefs are thought by some to be the precursor of the monotheistic doctrines of the Abrahamic religions. Let my people go. 1250 BCE Approximate historical dating of the Exodus event. “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel. I tried to show how faith has existed in one form or another for hundreds of thousands of years. It is not all that different from new and improved soap suds. Roman religion and myth was influenced by the Greek religion on the Italian peninsula during Rome’s protohistory and by the later artistic imitation of Greek literary models by Roman authors. Basically. presupposing that Ramesses II (reign 1279-1213 BCE) was the pharaoh with whom Moses spoke those immortal words.” (Exodus [5:1]). They are simply altered to make them unique or special to a specific culture. Instead. 1600 BCE The ancient development of Stonehenge comes to an end. (Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history. Akhenaten is sometimes credited with starting the earliest known monolatristic religion. 16th to 13th century BCE 1352 BCE–1335 BCE Reign of Pharaoh Akhenaten in Ancient Egypt. They clean soiled clothes and dirty faces. 1312 BCE The traditional date of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt according to rabbinical Judaism. ***************************************************************** The purpose of this chapter was not to give an exhaustive dissertation on the origins of belief. It is my contention that most gods evolve as “new and improved” versions of gods which were previously acknowledged or worshipped. during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing but other cultures have already 35 . New gods provide a basis for faith as did the old ones. A great example is Roman mythology.

the Celts and the Germanic tribes may be considered to have been protohistoric when they began appearing in Greek and Roman texts. The subject of this book is the origin and rise (then decline) of the Hebrew god Yahweh. although it is less well documented than that of the Greeks.) The Romans identified their own gods with those of the Greeks and reinterpreted stories about Greek deities under the names of their Roman counterparts. 36 . Rome’s early myths and legends also have a dynamic relationship with the Etruscan religion. It is quite possible that Yahweh is a new and improved version of a god worshipped by nomadic tribes of the Sinai desert. For example in Europe.noted its existence in their own writings.

and laid the wood in order. and Abraham built an altar there. And he said. Lay not thine hand upon the lad. seeing thou hast not withheld thy son.Chapter 3 Origins of Monotheism There is little or no evidence to support the notion that [Egyptian Pharaoh] Akhenaten was a progenitor of the full-blown monotheism that we find in the Bible. neither do thou anything unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God. God’s covenant gives Abraham and his people the land of Israel. thine only son from me.” Genesis [15:18]. doesn’t know his Bible. who believes that monotheism’s roots can be traced to Abraham and his descendents. unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation. and get thee into the land of Moriah. and bound Isaac his son. Donald Redford A nyone. and I will bless thee. saying. and make thy name great. and from thy father’s house. Abraham. “The LORD had said unto Abram [later Abraham]. Take now thy son. “And [God] said. which records the life of Abraham. The Book of Genesis narrative. presents his role as one which could only be fulfilled through the establishment of a monotheistic covenant between him and god. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven. whom thou lovest. “In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram. and took the knife to slay his son. and laid him on the altar upon the wood. God speaks to Abraham. Abraham: and he said.” 37 . and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. the river Euphrates. and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the Earth be blessed. Abraham acknowledges the one. Get thee out of thy country.” And there it is. as the LORD had spoken unto him. true god. So Abram departed. Unto thy seed have I given this land. And Abraham stretched forth his hand. and from thy kindred. thine only son Isaac. Abraham is so certain that he hears the voice of the one. Genesis [22:2]. In the Book of Genesis [12-1:4] it says. God then makes his covenant with Abraham. and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee. “And they came to the place which God had told him of. Here am I.” Genesis [22:9-12]. and said. from the river of Egypt unto the great river. true god of his people that he willingly agrees to kill his own son to show his faith and devotion. including Billy Graham.

true god who spoke to Abraham? Noah and his family were supposed to be the last survivors on Earth. thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee. Christianity and Islam. At least. god or the angel?) Genesis [22:15-18]. but with the consistent worship of only one deity). By myself have I sworn.” Wasn’t it the same god. as well as the rise of Marduk in Babylon. Christians and Muslims believe Abraham is the beginning of Western monotheism. monotheism began with Adam and Eve. It seems to me that the “God of Abraham” should rightly be called the “God of Adam and Eve. It ultimately gave rise to the three monotheistic Abrahamic religions. instead of Moses? From a biblical perspective. who spoke to Abraham. The God of Abraham is not really the birth of monotheism among the people who would eventually be called the Hebrews. saith the LORD. Many Jews. a view endorsed by Penn State Egyptologist Donald Redford. instead of the god who spoke to Abraham? What about Adam and Eve? The god who spoke to Noah. In the biblical account. Not quite. and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven. Why wasn’t monotheism traced back to the god who spoke to Noah. Noah and Abraham saw it that way. The historical incidences of monotheism are so rare that it is difficult to support any theory of the natural progression of religions from polytheism to henotheism to monotheism. “Let there be light. some ancient Near or Middle Eastern religions from the Middle and Late Bronze Ages (2000-1150 BCE) began to exhibit aspects of monolatrism. However. the 10th generation before Noah. 38 . also spoke to Adam and Eve. and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. Isn’t the god of Abraham the same god who spoke to Noah? And didn’t Noah only worship the one. or Adam and Eve. YHWH? Why didn’t god reveal his name as Yahweh to Noah.” (Again. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Monotheism is related to henotheism (the worship of a single god without denying the existence or possible existence of other deities) and monolatrism (the recognition of the existence of many gods. And said. and hast not withheld thy son. Two examples of monolatrism developing from polytheism are the Aten cult in the reign of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten.” And Adam. the 10th generation before Abraham. for because thou hast done this thing. that’s not the way the Bible tells it. It was accepted as truth by Noah. Judaism. god or the angel?) This is the biblical version of how Abraham encountered god and demonstrated his faith and obedience. because thou hast obeyed my voice.(Who spoke to Abraham. “And the angel of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time. and as the sand which is upon the sea shore. it was the one and only true god (YHWH) who said.

Amenhotep later took the name Akhenaten. Patrick for the Irish. When Babylon became the capital of Mesopotamia.” where a deceased king is described as rising as god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk. It is an important step in the recognition of the roots of the creation account found in the Bible and in Ancient Near Eastern (Canaanite and Mesopotamian) creation myths.” Akhenaten praises Aten as “the creator” and giver of life.” In his poem the “Great Hymn to the Aten. It is the Babylonian creation myth. (An analogous concept to a patron deity in Christianity is a patron saint. Akhenaten can be translated as the “living spirit of Aten. is probably just a new. the sun-disk. Here we have another case of god being created by human ingenuity. the patron deity of Babylon was elevated to the level of supreme god. improved and modified version of a tale lifted from the Babylonians? And isn’t it interesting how Marduk became a supreme god when Babylon became a capital city? It appears that the supremacy of a god is determined by man. In order to explain how Marduk became the supreme god. When Babylon became the political center of the Euphrates valley in the time of King Hammurabi (1792-1750 BCE). at least in the old days! Of more significance is the worship of the god Aten. in worship and recognition of Aten. not god. 39 .) The planet Jupiter was associated with Marduk by the time the Hammurabi period had begun. Aten is the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology and originally an aspect of Ra. such as Pastor Phillips. The Enûma Eliš is recognized as bearing close relation to the Hebrew creation story. the officially recognized gods. Marduk started to slowly rise to the position as the head of the Babylonian pantheon. first appears in texts dating to the 12th Egyptian dynasty (1991-1802 BCE) in “The Story of Sinuhe. He became the primary deity of the arguably henotheistic or monolatristic religion of Atenism established by Amenhotep IV (circa 1352-1335 BCE). Isn’t it interesting that the story of creation espoused as literal by evangelical Christians.Marduk was the Babylonian name of a god from ancient Mesopotamia and the patron deity of the city of Babylon. The Aten. such as St. the Enûma Eliš was written. the supreme sun god (see Figure 1).

here Ra-Horakhty. has the head of a falcon and the sun-disk of the goddess Wadjet resting on his head. Note this Egyptian god combined a human body with a falcon’s head and included a celestial body in the imagery.In one of his many forms Ra. FIGURE 1 40 .

circa 830 BCE. So was the worship of Aten. Such imagery is not a feature of the early Israelite culture found in the Levant (the adjoining countries of the eastern part of the Mediterranean–see Figures 2A and 2B). and other religious language. By the ninth year of his reign. To show the contrast. which celebrated the natural world. to increasingly exclude references to other gods. Akhenaten. Figure 2B is a map of the Levant today. Akhenaten appears in history almost two centuries prior to the first archaeological and written evidence for Judaism and Israelite culture. Although some scholars believe that Akhenaten introduced monotheism. Figure 2A is a map of the Levant. As time passed. surrounding the northern Hebrew Kingdom of Israel and the southern Hebrew Kingdom of Judah. including Sigmund Freud in his book Moses and Monotheism (The Hogarth Press and the Institute of Psychoanalysis. Following Akhenaten’s death. but the only god and that he. 1939). Within a decade a comprehensive political. Much of the art and building infrastructure created during Akhenaten’s reign was defaced or destroyed in the period following his death. in Akhenaten: History. At some point he also embarked on an extensive erasure of the traditional gods’ names. promoting a return of Egyptian life to the norms it had followed during the reign of Akhenaten’s father. was the only intermediary between Aten and his people. Routledge. It didn’t stick. Akhenaten declared that Aten was not merely the supreme god. He did not actively deny the existence of other gods. he revised the names of Aten. Fantasy and Ancient Egypt. He simply refrained from worshipping any god but Aten while expecting his subjects to worship not Aten but him (according to British Egyptologist Dominic Montserrat.Akhenaten forced his religious reforms on his subjects. 2000). an idea which was subsequently rejected by the academic community. 41 . The idea of Akhenaten as the pioneer of the monotheistic religion which later became Judaism has been considered by various scholars. Subsequent rulers returned to the traditional gods and the Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records. religious and artistic reformation began. others see him as a practitioner of an Aten monolatry. Freud argued that Moses had been an Atenist priest forced to leave Egypt with his followers after Akhenaten’s death. widespread changes materialized. abundant visual imagery of the Aten disk was central to Atenism.

Redford noted (and rejected) that some historians have viewed Akhenaten as a harbinger of Jesus. “After all. Professor Donald B.FIGURE 2A Scholars have likened some aspects of Akhenaten’s relationship with Aten to the relationship in the Christian tradition of Jesus Christ with God–particularly in interpretations that emphasize a more monotheistic interpretation of Atenism than henotheistic. 42 .’” (excerpted from The Monotheism of the Heretic Pharaoh: Precursor of Mosiac monotheism or Egyptian anomaly? [Biblical Archaeology Review. Akhenaten did call himself the son of the sole god: ‘Thine only son that came forth from thy body. May–June 1987]).

he is the director of the Akhenaten Temple Project. notably at the Karnak Temple Complex and ancient Egyptian city of Mendes. This is long after the era when the Exodus was supposed to have taken place. The 43 . Canaan. a project encompassing archaeological expeditions to Egypt and north-east Africa. In this book he maintains that the experiences of the Asiatic. Along with his wife. kings for thousands of years before Akhenaten’s time had claimed the same relationship and priestly role. Redford was the winner of the 1993 Best Scholarly Book in Archaeology awarded by the Biblical Archaeological Society for his book Egypt. It has been in operation since 1972. Since 1998 he has been Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at Pennsylvania State University. His wife Susan is also an Egyptologist at Penn State. leading to the story of Moses. Semitic Hyksos people in Egypt. This view was expounded upon in Finkelstein and Silberman’s book. He further argues that many of the details in the Exodus story are more consistent with the 7th century BCE. became a central foundation of myths in Canaanite culture. Professor Redford has directed a number of important excavations in Egypt. FIGURE 2B Donald B. 1992). and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton University Press. Redford is a Canadian Egyptologist and archaeologist.Redford argued that while Akhenaten called himself the son of the sun-disk god Aten and acted as the chief mediator between god and his creations. who ruled between circa 1675 and 1550 BCE.

The Quest was written by Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar. did it happen?). the Egyptologist [Donald] Redford suggested that the core of the memory is the expulsion of Canaanites/Asiatics from the delta of the Nile in the 16th century BCE. “O thou great living sun disk. either as a subtle influence or as an explicit component. (the Egyptian solar deity) to Psalm 104. “Before much of the archaeological evidence from Thebes and from Tell el-Amarna became available. “Thou hast made the seasons in order to nurture all that thou hast 44 . This is possible. Redford concluded. He compares the Akhenaten Hymn to the Sun Disk.” Even Israel Finkelstein. “Thou hast made the heavens afar off in order to shine in it. a mentor of Moses.e. These are the accounts of the creation.” In Egypt. and Israel in Ancient Times Redford does acknowledge that Egypt had an influence on Hebrew traditions. When I asked Professor Finkelstein his opinion of the Exodus (i. professor at the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But these imaginary creatures are now fading away one by one as the historical reality gradually emerges. For example. one of the world leading biblical archaeologists. “Let there be light. a Christ-like figure.” Redford comments. the Sojourn into Egypt [four centuries of Hebrew existence in Egypt] and the Exodus. “O Yahweh my god!” The Sun Disk Hymn says.” Regarding the moment of creation when god said. And yet. “Whether the story is based on an old memory is difficult to verify. a philosopher before his time. The Table of Nations [descendents of Noah]. the Exodus is believed to be the major driving force behind the advent of monotheism in the Abrahamic religions. For instance. There is little or no evidence to support the notion that Akhenaten was a progenitor of the full-blown monotheism that we find in the Bible. “Here we are reminded not of an Asiatic myth but of [an] Egyptian [one]. 2007). also called the Great Hymn to the Aten. Canaan. in Aspects of Monotheism (Biblical Archeology Review.” It seems Redford does not agree that the biblical story of creation originated at least partially from Babylonian (Asian) myths.Bible Unearthed. The Sun Disk Hymn says. The monotheism of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament had its own separate development–one that began more than half a millennium after the pharaoh’s [Akhenaten’s] death. wishful thinking sometimes turned Akhenaten into a humane teacher of the true God. Getting back to the origins of monotheism. cannot tell us if there really was a Moses or an Exodus from Egypt.” Psalm 104. and in The Quest for the historical Israel: debating archaeology and the history of early Israel (Brill. he replied. “The Pentateuch [also called the Torah. 1996). He writes. “…who hast stretched out the heavens like a tent!” The Sun Disk Hymn says. or the Five Books of Moses] includes four major traditions in which Egypt figures prominently.” Psalm 104.

Redford writes. priests. As 45 .” Psalm 104. “there go the ships. Regarding Egyptian mythology. The story of Akhenaten and Aten was not included in this chapter to suggest that Hebrew monotheism originated in Egypt. According to Finkelstein and Silberman in The Bible Unearthed.” Psalm 104. when the king. “O Yahweh! How manifold are thy works. cogent saga which became the history of the Jewish people. however. and only one. the Egyptian wiseman reinterpreted and shaped his crass traditions into something at once both sophisticated and imponderable. god. more polished society found themselves saddled with an embarrassingly primitive baggage.” The Sun Disk Hymn says. “How manifold is what thou hast done.” The Sun Disk Hymn says. the Persian and Hellenistic periods. “Every lion comes forth from his den. and the intelligentsia of a later.” The Sun Disk Hymn says.made. “As in most cultures the most fundamental spiritual tenets took their rise in antiquity. However I am not willing to dismiss the possible Babylonian origins of the Genesis story. Whether they were historically accurate or not seemed to be of little or no concern to the biblical authors. “Thou hast made the moon to mark the seasons. most of the Writings (homilies. Instead it was to show that the Hebrews were not the first culture to develop the idea of the worship of one. prayers. prophets and scribes were taken in chains from the Kingdom of Judah to Babylon and held in captivity). with incomplete evidence of the past. And it is another example of how. I guess all of the gurus have to agree to disagree! This agree to disagree predicament will come up time and again as I further develop the story of how Yahweh became the god to over half the world’s population. experts can come to vastly different conclusions.” Psalm 104. “…when all the beasts of the field creep forth. Redford has argued that kings for thousands of years before Akhenaten’s time had claimed a special spiritual role with god. Chapter 6) during or long after the Babylonian exile (586538 BCE. if not prehistory. and all the serpents bite.” Psalm 104. This is just one more example of how hard it is to reconstruct the past. It seems more reasonable to presume that the narrative regarding creation in the Book of Genesis is a combination of both Babylonian and Egyptian myths.” This sounds exactly like how the authors of the Hebrew Bible took the oral traditions of the distant past and wove them into cohesive.” He presents more examples but I think these six illustrate the point. Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis (which describes creation) and most of the biblical psalms were written by the same group of authors (the Priestly source-see documentary hypothesis. proverbs and psalms) were composed between the fifth and second centuries BCE. Without discarding anything. the young lions roar for their prey. “Ships sail both north and south. This is a great way to hold power. poems.

The universe is part of panentheism’s god. However. and by rulers as useful. Ahura Mazda first appeared as a supreme and otherworldly god in the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire starting around 550 BCE. I focused on the gods Aten and Marduk because they were worshipped in a region which is contiguous to Israel. “Religion is regarded by the common people as true. or damned close. No one today can be sure what Akhenaten’s religious motives were in making Aten the exclusive god of worship by his subjects. but not identical to. nor were the Abrahamics the first to think of it. Having the populace of Egypt worship him. is plausible and fits with Seneca the Younger’s notion that rulers regard religion as “useful. the period of roughly 1500 to 500 BCE. the Abrahamic traditions do not have a monopoly on this idea.” The key point is to realize that the worship of only one god predates the biblical Moses of the 13th century BCE by about a century (assuming the Pharaoh of the Exodus was Ramesses II. who ruled from 1279 to 1213 BCE). observed. This god sounds a bit like Superman. by about eight centuries. universal god existed elsewhere in ancient times. Monism is the type of monotheism found in Hinduism. a philosopher in the time of Jesus. Hebrews did not become truly monotheistic until after the end of the Babylonian exile. and at the same time the concept of a personal god. was a Roman Stoic philosopher. Forms of monism and monotheism emerge in Vedic India. But the idea of a supreme. He is both immanent (remaining and operating within the domain of reality) and transcendent (rising above the universe or material existence). as Montserrat suggests. Panentheism is a form of monistic monotheism which holds that god is all of existence containing. the universe. by the wise as false. statesman. encompassing pantheism and panentheism. It predates Hebrew monotheism. 46 . He is the god of Zoroastrianism. able to leap tall buildings in a single bound! At any rate. The one god of panentheism is omnipotent and all-pervading. circa 4 BCE–65 CE.Seneca the Younger. I will argue later that both Hinduism and Christianity are essentially polytheistic. The religion of the Vedic period is the primary historical predecessor of Hinduism. other than his own hubris. It has elements of monotheism but. Pantheism holds that the universe itself is god.” (Lucius Annaeus Seneca. and dramatist. which most contemporary scholars date to after the Babylonian captivity (or exile) of the Hebrews (538 BCE). It rejects the existence of a transcendent life form (a being rising above the universe or material existence) who is extraneous to nature. like Christianity. god can take more than one form. It seems that the exclusive worship of a single god may be a natural evolutionary development in religion.

His studies indicated that only after the speciation event was the neocortex sufficiently large enough to process complex 47 . has argued that the critical event in the evolution of the brain’s neocortex took place at the speciation of archaic hominids about 500. skills and culture occurring over hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution. British anthropologist. archeology and sociology to refer to a set of traits that distinguish present day humans and their recent ancestors from both living primates and other extinct hominid lineages. This led to the emergence of modern human natural languages.R. improved or modified versions of pre-existing deities. There are two main theories regarding when modern human behavior emerged. G. Robin Dunbar. But I would like to start this chapter with a simple premise: Almost all gods are new. where or how the origin of the Judeo-Christian god arose.Chapter 4 Yahu and Yahweh. Almost all gods are new. man developed the cognitive capability to engage in abstract thought and to conceptualize.000 years ago in prehistory. Behavioral modernity is a term used in anthropology. possibly as a result of a major genetic mutation or as a result of a biological reorganization of the brain. improved or modified versions of preexisting deities. How the God of Israel Came To Be We may never know how the god to half the world’s population came to be. These developments are often thought to be associated with the origin of language. It is the point at which Homo sapiens began to demonstrate a reliance on symbolic thought and to express cultural creativity. The second theory holds that there was never any single technological or cognitive revolution. At some point in the evolution of the human brain.000 years ago (speciation is the evolutionary process from which new biological species arise). Pafumi N o one can realistically determine when. One theory holds that behavioral modernity occurred as a sudden event some 50. evolutionary psychologist and Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology at the University of Oxford. Proponents of this view argue that modern human behavior is the result of the gradual accumulation of knowledge. Proponents of this theory refer to this event as the Great Leap Forward or the Upper Paleolithic Revolution.

It is quite understandable why primitive people. death. metaphysical power. In evolutionary biology. in another cave in the same region of Germany. giving human characteristics to an animal. If Lawrence Robbins is correct and the San ritual worship can only be traced back 15.000 years. the first ritualistic worship of a deity may be traced back 70. first called the lion man. in the state of Baden-Württemberg. This leads to the possibility that the lion-figures played an important role in the mythology of humans during the early Upper Paleolithic. along with other animal figures and several flutes. A number of artifacts from the Upper Paleolithic period (40.000 years ago if Sheila Coulson’s dating is correct. To reiterate Paul Dirac. after brains were sufficiently large to enable reflection of the world around them and the inevitability of personal mortality.000 years ago. although it may have represented a deity.000 years old. Examples of Upper Paleolithic remains associated with religious beliefs include the lion man. before the emergence of behavioral modernity. The idea of an afterlife seems like a reasonable way to deal with personal mortality and the inevitable confrontation with the Grim Reaper. who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today. and perhaps the beginning of animal-god worship. The sculpture has also been interpreted as anthropomorphic. and the elaborate ritual burial at Sungir. cave paintings from Chauvet Cave. is an ivory sculpture which is the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world and one of the oldest known sculptures in general. a python. Its pieces were found in a cave in the Swabian Alps. A similar but smaller lion-headed sculpture was found. Germany. then ritual worship may have begun in Europe 40.” It seems natural for larger-brained humans to attempt to explain forces which are not understood. Stephen Jay Gould. It was a type of spandrel. a spandrel is a characteristic which is a byproduct of the evolution of some other characteristic. as previously thought. “The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.000 or more years ago. rather than a direct product of adaptive selection.000-10. Religion may have provided the means of cementing group coherence among our more recent ancestors. lighting and earthquakes. also called the Late Stone Age) are generally interpreted by scientists as representing religious ideas. the Venus figurines. with some type of unexplained. suggested that religion may have grown out of evolutionary changes which favored larger brains. 48 . such as thunder. the prominent American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist. should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. A lion headed figure.social phenomena such as language and religion. The figurine was determined to be about 32. As I discussed in Chapter 2. She agues that the San people of Botswana in Africa began worshiping an animal/god.

000 years ago. shamanic. there are no paintings of complete human figures. This was the first step towards recording the moon’s influence on tides and rivers and towards organizing a communal calendar. In terms of age. lines and dots.000 to 30. it appears to have the lower body of a woman with the upper body of a bison. The significance of this is not clear. The radiocarbon dates from cave samples suggest that there were two periods of creation in Chauvet: 35.000 years ago and 30. about 115 miles east of Moscow. Astrology began as a field of study as soon as conscious attempts were made to measure. There are also two unidentifiable images that have a vaguely butterfly shape to them.000 years ago. Typical of most cave art. whose 49 .000 years ago. but red ochre is normally assumed to be religious or ritual in nature–perhaps symbolic of the blood of menstruation or childbirth. It may be the beginning of female-god worship. The Venus of Willendorf and the Venus of Laussel bear traces of having been externally covered in red ochre. They were all adorned with elaborate grave goods which included ivory-beaded jewelry. while the Venus of Monruz to about 11. the Venus of Hohle Fels has been carbon dated to at least 35. This combination of subjects has led experts in prehistoric art and cultures to believe that there was likely a ritual. The Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc Cave is a cave in the Ardèche department of southern France which contains the earliest known cave paintings. Perhaps this is also an example of early animal-god worship.Venus figurines is an umbrella term for a number of prehistoric statuettes of women portrayed with similar physical attributes.000 years ago.000 years old and serves as a grave to an older man and two children. The Sungir burial site does not give an indication as to the type or form of deity worshipped. They are dated from the Upper Paleolithic and mostly found in Europe but discovered as far east as Siberia. There are a few panels of red-ochre hand prints and hand stencils. Sungir is an Upper Paleolithic archaeological site in Russia. are found throughout the cave. The next major class of historical deities are those connected with astrology. as well as other evidence of Upper Paleolithic life. Abstract markings. Early evidence of astrology appears as markings on bones and cave walls. or magical aspect to these paintings. The site is approximately 28. and spears. clothing. although there is one possible partial “Venus” figure that may represent the legs and genitals of a woman. The site is one of the earliest known ritual burials and evidence of the antiquity of human religious practices. Agricultural needs were also met by increasing the knowledge base of the movement of constellations. which show that lunar cycles were being noted as early as 25. record and predict seasonal changes via the tracking of astronomical cycles. Also a chimerical figure may be present.

dating it to about 5500 BCE. “The most commonly accepted theory about the meaning of Qarahunge is that it is an ancient burial ground. long before the Egyptians there was a technology which was could be used like a calendar to track the annual seasons. is not in our stars. burials and the stars. most likely aligned to the moon and–what is really exciting. or necropolis–a place to act as a bridge between the Earth and the heavens in the cyclical journey of the soul involving life. many civilizations had developed sophisticated awareness of celestial cycles and are believed to have consciously oriented their temples to create alignment with the evening risings of the stars. the Moon and the Sun. By the third millennium BCE. possibly even some stars or planets–owing to the placement of small holes drilled through the monoliths and aimed at the horizon. but after our initial investigations of the central circle. dear Brutus. death and rebirth.” Whether it be Qarahunge or Stonehenge.000 year history as a body of organized knowledge which was most likely employed in the affairs of civilized states. “The fault. The necropolis thesis is certainly true. Qarahunge. I guess it was believed these were the gateways where souls transcended to the afterlife. It is these holes which makes this exceptional megalithic site unique out of all similar European sites. astrophysicist Mihran Vardanyan recognized the site’s astronomical implications. It seems reasonable to presume that the ancient astronomical observatories were also used as a basis for astrology.” was Shakespeare’s way of satirizing the belief that 50 . It did this by monitoring the movements of heavenly bodies. Monuments were constructed to monitor the movements of the night sky. Vardanyan argued. suggesting a connection between faith.appearances change with the seasons. while acknowledging that the stone circles are controversial. This likely occurred after some person or persons unknown connected the ability of the stars to predict the seasons with their ability to predict the future. is an archaeological site near the city of Sisian in Armenia. However researchers at Oxford University have called Qarahunge the world’s oldest astronomical observatory. As part of the Oxford’s Stars and Stones 2010 expedition. The oldest undisputed evidence of the use of astrology as an integrated system of knowledge is attributed to the records which emerge from the first dynasty of Mesopotamia (1950-1651 BCE). The rising of specific heavenly star-groups heralded annual floods and seasonal activities. Most people think of Stonehenge in the English county of Wiltshire when they think of an ancient astronomical observatory. also called Zorats Karer or the Armenian Stonehenge. it is clear the site was aligned to the sun. Some scholars are skeptical of the astronomical significance of sites such as Qarahunge or Stonehenge. This gives astrology a recognized 4. The sites where the technology existed were also used as places to worship ancestors or as cemeteries. It was constructed between 31001600 BCE.

his former student. Hasel. William Dever agrees with Hasel. Michael G. late in the 13th century BCE. argues that Israel was already a well established political force in Canaan in the late 13th century BCE.somehow the stars could predict the future and determine people’s fate. or whether a Libra or a Leo would be a better life mate! According to a December 2009 survey by the Pew Forum. It says. “Israel is wasted. Dever was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Arizona from 1975 to 2002. Professor of Near Eastern Studies and Archaeology at Southern Adventist University. Dever claims that Egypt saw the Israel of the central highlands of the 13th century BCE as a cultural and probably political entity. which would result in a famine the following year and incapacitating the defeated nation as a military threat to Egypt. It was constructed circa 1209/1208 BCE.” I guess Ann Coulter is not the only American with her head up her ass! The worship of animals (such as pythons). Sadly. and often used by Egyptians to describe defeated nations. It implied that the store of grain of the nation in question has been destroyed. The term Israel is first mentioned in the Merneptah Stele. While the Merneptah stela does not give any indication of the actual social structure of the people of Israel. So it seems Israel was an assimilated people known to the Egyptians by the late 13th century BCE.” The phrase “wasted. 51 .” This quote is from Israel in the Merneptah Stela (Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. well enough established to be perceived by the Egyptians as a possible challenge to their hegemony. bare of seed. “Israel functioned as an agriculturally based or sedentary socioethnic entity in the late 13th century BCE. He is currently a Distinguished Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. but as an ethnic group rather than as an organized state. combined animal/anthropomorphic gods (such as lion man). In Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Eerdmans Publishing. it does indicate that Israel was a significant socioethnic entity that needed to be reckoned with. Thus I will presume that the ethnic group the Egyptians called Israel existed and had its roots for a few hundred years before the 13thcentury. 25% of Americans “profess belief in astrology (that the position of the stars and planets can affect people’s lives). November 1994). many people even today still concern themselves about whether Virgo is rising or falling. and celestial bodies (the Egyptian sun-god Ra) were clearly established long before of the emergence of the Hebrews and YHWH. 2003). found in the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. bare of seed” is formulaic. one that is significant enough to be included in the military campaign against political powers in Canaan.

) The Egyptian Pyramid Texts are the oldest known religious texts in the world. as noted previously. So how did the god YHWH come to be (or not to be)? That is the question. In many cases the winner’s view is the only source of information and therefore it is difficult. who reigned from 1213 to 1203 BCE. both in hieroglyphic and hieratic (handwriting) form.000 BCE. It was the first mention of the word “Israel” in an Ancient Egyptian text. The pyramid texts are a collection of ancient Egyptian religious texts from the time of the Old Kingdom (2686-2181 BCE). around 4. closer to 3. modern Iraq today. Let me start by asserting that this hypothesis is not only one. were that same Shasu. Although no one can say for sure. I am going to focus on the hypothesis that I find the most plausible. It is logical to presume that Egypt had a major influence on the development and evolution of Hebrew faith.” (Amenhotep III reigned circa 1390–1350 BCE. Writing in ancient Egypt dates to later in the fourth millennium.Recorded history dates to the beginning of the fourth millennium BCE. (The Merneptah Stele is a tribute to the military victories of Pharaoh Merneptah. but Hebrew and other desert wanderers often moved to Egypt to be near the Nile during the years when droughts plagued the land which contains modern-day Israel and its environs.000 BCE. There are few written documents to rely on and so archaeology is often the primary source of opinion. We (humanity) will probably never know the whole or true origin of YHWH.) 52 . if not impossible. Written in Old Egyptian.) Redford also believes that the people who would eventually become the “Israel” cited on the Merneptah Stele. and that later formed the Kingdom of Israel. the pyramid texts were carved on the walls and sarcophagi of the pyramids at Saqqara during the 5th and 6th Dynasties of the Old Kingdom. to determine its accuracy and objectiveness. The oldest of the texts has been dated to circa 2400-2300 BCE.” citing a reference at the Soleb temple of Pharoah Amenhotep III to “YHW–in the land of the Shasu. Egypt was not only in close proximity to the people who would become the Hebrews. Trying to reconstruct history going back three or four thousand years is nearly impossible. The few written documents are frequently written by the winners and so the point of view of the losers is not presented. Such are the trials and tribulations of being a historian of antiquity. along with Sumerian literature. And so the best I can do is offer the opinions of the experts. (Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia. So who are the first Israelites? Donald Redford at Penn State argues that “Israel” was a band of Bedouin-like wanderers known to Egyptians as “Shasu. Egypt is considered to be the source of the world’s earliest literature.

the unspoken name of god. (Refer to Figure 2A for the location of Edom. neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way. moved northwest. and Israel in Ancient Times Redford writes. lest I come out against thee with the sword. must be looked for among the Shasu of Edom already the end of the 15th century B.” Even the authors of the Bible acknowledge that the “Edomites” were present in the land of Edom during the time of the biblical narrative of the Exodus. or Yahweh. And he said. may also be an early form of Tetragrammaton YHWH. without doing anything else. And Edom came out against him with much people.) He also argues that one tribe of Edomites split from the main body of Edomites. I pray thee. Canaan. Thus saith thy brother Israel. Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us: How our fathers went down into Egypt. and with a 53 . YHWH is generally interpreted as “I am that I am. and became one of the tribes of the Israelites. this explains how Yahweh became the God of the Israelites. and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time. until we have passed thy borders. Book of Numbers [20:14-21]: “And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom. and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and. and the Egyptians vexed us. “The only reasonable conclusion is that one major component in the later amalgam that constituted Israel.C. he heard our voice. The worship of Yahweh was introduced to proto-Israelites in the mountains of Canaan by a tribe of Edomites who migrated northwest and merged with these proto-Israelite tribes. a city in the uttermost of thy border: Let us pass. behold.” Redford identifies the Shasu of Yahweh with the Edomites and argues that Yahweh was at first worshipped as an Edomite god. or through the vineyards. and the one with whom the worship of Yahweh originated. Redford maintains that these references to the Shasu of Yahweh indicate that the worship of Yahweh began in ancient Edom. and sent an angel. probably pronounced Yahu. taking their god Yahweh with them. YHWH. In Egypt. and our fathers: And when we cried unto the LORD. And the children of Israel said unto him. For Redford. Thou shalt not go through. The name YHW may also refer to the Shasu’s patron god and bears a resemblance to the god of Israel. we are in Kadesh. as it is curiously similar to YHWH. long before there were true Israelites. Thou shalt not pass by me. through thy country: we will not pass through the fields. Egyptian texts place the Shasu people in a place called YHW around 1375 BCE. We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water. then I will pay for it: I will only. And Edom said unto him. we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left. go through on my feet.The Shasu lived in the deserts of southern Canaan circa 1500-1100 BCE. YHW.

strong hand.H. now Jordan and northern Saudi Arabia. Egyptian texts say one of the places where the Shasu lived is called “Y. and there a deity appears to him and reveals his name to Moses as Yahweh.. likely the name of their patron god. YHWH the God of your ancestors.God also said to Moses. the father of Ramesses the Great. has sent me to you: This is My name forever. in the form of a burning bush.’” MICHAEL COOGAN–Stonehill College: So we have.. but the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary suggests that it may have extended from the eastern shores of the Sinai Peninsula to the deserts east of 54 .. Moses first encounters Yahweh. before the Exodus. the place where the Shasu lived is referred to as Midian. commemorates one of his greatest victories over the Shasu. It is here. Establishing the precise location of Midian is difficult. for over a thousand years. and this My title for all generations. Seti. something that appears to be a name like Yahweh in the vicinity of Midian. the Bible tells us. Its premise is similar to Redford’s. So where do the Israelites find their God? The search for the origins of Yahweh leads scholars back to ancient Egypt. That name Yahu is strangely similar to Yahweh. Here is Moses in Midian. His name is nowhere to be found in Canaanite texts or stories. NARRATOR: Yahweh only appears in the Hebrew Bible. around the same time as the Israelites emerged. in Egyptian sources. here. obelisks and carved murals on temple walls. It describes how the Hebrew god YHWH may have evolved. for the place on which you are standing is holy ground…. the name of the Israelite god.” probably pronounced Yahu.W. It is believed to be in northwest Saudi Arabia on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba and the northern Red Sea.” Following are excerpts (indented) from the 2008 PBS/NOVA documentary The Bible’s Buried Secrets. Note that Midian is a geographical place and a people mentioned in the Bible. In the Bible. VOICEOVER: Exodus [3:5. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him. Here in the royal city of Karnak. we have scenes depicting the victories and battles of Seti the First. DONALD REDFORD–Pennsylvania State University: Here on the north wall of Karnak.15] “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet. Pharaohs celebrated their power with statues. NARRATOR: The Shasu were a people who lived in the deserts of southern Canaan. ‘Thus you shall say to the Israelites.

“The emergence of early Israel was an outcome of the collapse of the Canaanite structure. it is reasonable to presume that. CAROL MEYERS–Duke University: They spread the word to the highlanders. a small group demographically. perhaps. around or adjacent to either Edom or Moab (see Figure 2A). On their journey back to Canaan they pass through Midian. They spread the idea of a god who represented freedom. cannot be confirmed with outside corroboration. NARRATOR: The identity of “Israelites. in The Bible Unearthed.” They are a combination of disenfranchised Canaanites. The early Israelites were–irony of ironies–themselves 55 .the Gulf of Aqaba. however. There was no violent conquest of Canaan. Finkelstein and Silberman challenge the view that most Israelites were immigrants. runaway slaves from Egypt and even nomads. they were not Israelites but. Their story of deliverance resonates in this emerging egalitarian society. AVRAHAM FAUST–Bar-Ilan University: There was probably a group of people who fled from Egypt and had some divine experience. Canaanite slaves. near. The Bible calls them a “mixed multitude. It was probably small. as compared with the biblical version of Hebrew history prior to about 900 BCE which. who they now call Yahweh. This was a message that was so powerful that it brought people together and gave them a new kind of identity. The liberated slaves attribute their freedom to the god they met in Midian . While there is no evidence to support a mass migration. NARRATOR: They find their way to the central hill country. it was an area in. some now believe that a small group did escape from Egypt. had escaped from the tyranny of the Canaanite city-states. rather. However. who themselves. Most of the people who formed early Israel were local people–the same people whom we see in the highlands through the Bronze and Iron ages. Yahu. to the biblical authors. settling down. Edom and Moab. freedom for people to keep the fruits of their own labor. in most cases (according to Finkelstein). where they encounter the tribes who had fled the Canaanite city-states. NARRATOR: These tantalizing connections are leading biblical scholars to reexamine the Exodus story. but it was important at least in ideology. And most of the Israelites did not come from outside Canaan–they emerged from within it. where they are inspired by stories of the Shasu’s god. and because there is no evidence that a historical place called Midian actually existed. There was no mass Exodus from Egypt. not its cause.” The scenario just described seems plausible and is supported by some of the archaeological evidence. Because the exact location of Midian is unknown.

whereas he sees a fully articulated belief in gods only developing later in Mesopotamia. (2) local pastoralists forced by various conditions (for example.. the Sun. This corresponds well with an ancient Sumerian belief that agriculture. such as planets. etc. overpopulation) to return to their 56 . does not tell us how Yahweh became the god of the Israelites. Keep in mind my hypothesis. Associate Professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan. I would bet the god or gods worshiped at Göbekli Tepe. emerged no later than the Neolithic Age. The Annuna are a group of miscellaneous Mesopotamian (Sumerian.” I believe that all fundamental concepts of god. co-authored by Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar. starting around 9500 BCE. He assumes shamanic practices and suggests that the T-shaped pillars may represent mythical creatures. however. animal husbandry and weaving had been brought to mankind from the sacred mountain Du-Ku (Akkadian word for holy hill). perhaps ancestors. He did not have a “new thought. of the German Archaeological Institute of Istanbul. “Almost all gods are new. which was inhabited by the Annuna. may be the last “new thought” in deity creation. In 1994 archaeologist Klaus Schmidt. very ancient gods without individual names. I am dismissing the Moses story as nothing more than a parable conceived by an Israelite equivalent of Aesop. Everything after was new and improved. edited The Quest for the historical Israel: debating archaeology and the history of early Israel. Assyrian and Babylonian) deities. visited Göbekli Tepe and was the first to recognize that it was in fact a Neolithic site. improved or modified versions of pre-existing deities. But I do not believe that the Israelite Aesop conceived Yahweh from nothing. perhaps Professor Brian Schmidt might be able to connect the dots and tell us how Yahweh became the god of the Israelites. Schmidt posits that the Sumerian belief is based on a primeval myth which preserves a partial memory of the emerging Neolithic Age. Sinai. moons. “Mazar tentatively proposes a model that views the hill-country settlers in the following manner: The Iron [Age] I settlements [1150-900 BCE] are a mixture of (1) previously unsettled Transjordanian peoples who entered the hill country and were known by the Egyptians in roughly contemporary sources as the Shasu. based on comparisons with other shrines and settlements. Akkadian. Non-believers believe Yahweh was conceived by a person or persons. Schmidt. Schmidt has speculated about the belief systems the creators of Göbekli Tepe. associated with extensive temples and palaces.originally Canaanites!” This view. The Sumerian belief seems to be a new and improved Neolithic one! Back to the origin of Yahweh.” Believers believe Yahweh revealed himself to Moses on Mt. He summarized Mazar’s opinion as follows.

[Perhaps this was the precursor of the Hebrew temple. outdoor cult site serving the needs of a number of surrounding villages as a central place of worship. 2006). when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom. and Israel in Ancient Times. The lowlands were divided between a number of relatively densely settled territories ruled from city-states. Finkelstein and Silberman discuss correspondence between the Pharaohs Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV(Akhenaten). “At this time the Egyptians administered all of Canaan as a province and maintained garrisons in a few major cities. that from the beginning Israel tended to shy away from artistic representations of the deity such as the Canaanites favored. it seems undeniable.. while the highlands comprised much larger but sparsely inhabited territories. that is.] Moreover.’ in the Egyptian records–who were found in all parts of the country but were especially dominant in the relatively empty regions of the steppe and the highlands.. Canaan.”] This society struggled for its subsistence in the harsh environmental conditions of the forested mountains and semi-arid regions of the land of Israel. Redford describes an unusual aspect of the culture of the people new to Canaan. “Distinctive traits do appear among the newcomers. There is a similar tradition in Islam. In Search of the Bible’s Sacred Kings and the Roots of the Western Tradition (The Free Press. where Moses met Jethro. the Yahwists [worshippers of Yahweh] among the settlers were most likely those Egyptians referred to as the Shasu. but left most of the country under nominal local control. The information contained in the [Egyptian archives conform] quite closely with the archaeological evidence. although still based on an argument of silence. Edom.) In Egypt.former hill country sedentary lifestyle of 500 years earlier.This area contained a small number of villages and groups of pastoral nomads–called Shosu [alternative spelling of Shasu]. paintings or icons depicting Yahweh. For Mazar. on the one hand.” (Mazar’s assertion that the origin of Yahweh originates in Edom and not Midian. The proper name Yahwi appears in Egyptian sources alongside the mention of the Shasu from Seir. thus emphasizing the discontinuity with the antecedent cultic tradition of the Canaanites. Another aspect of the religious life of the Shasu/Israelites is reflected in the phenomenon of a single. and the rulers of Asiatic states and Canaanite cities in the 14th century BCE. or ‘plunderers. when thou wentest out of Seir. we can assume that they formed a relatively large portion of the 57 . on the other. [“LORD. implies that historical Edom and mythical Midian are the same place or nearly the same place. and (3) disposed Canaanite peasants who had recently left the lowlands seeking subsistence in the hill country.” I take this to mean to no drawings. God is never depicted In David and Solomon.. On the basis of the archeological evidence. such as their proclivity to locate their shrines away from settlements. which in turn corresponds to the reference in the Book of Judges [5:4] that Yahweh came from Seir.

The god of the Hebrews did not originate with Abraham and seems to have nothing to do with Abraham. that the development of early Israelite culture and religion was influenced by the pastoral nomads of the highlands. it had nothing to do with Moses meeting a talking tree (burning bush) either. but Kemosh drove him out before me. The Mesha Stele bears what is generally thought to be the earliest extra-biblical Semitic reference to the name Yahweh (YHWH). And it seems that the god of Israel was a new and improved version of the patron god of the Shasu. the patron god of the Israelites. Yahweh is not presented as a Moabite deity. whose temple goods were plundered by Mesha and brought before his own god Chemosh. It is worth noting that Yahweh was known outside of the Hebrew kingdoms in the first millennium BCE. and I dragged them before Kemosh. And the king of Israel had built Yahaz. It is appears that early in first millennium BCE. And Omri had conquered the land of Madaba [in Jordan].” In my days he spoke thus.population. and he dwelt there during his reign and half the reign of his son. This chapter dealt with the possible origin of the Hebrew god Yahweh.” It is safe to conclude Finkelstein and Silberman are advocating. or Noah. the Shasu “immigrants” from the Sinai Peninsula. It is the most extensive inscription ever recovered which refers to ancient Israel (also known as the “House of Omri”). and presented the spoils to his own god. or Adam and Eve. was known beyond the borders of the Hebrew Kingdoms of Israel and Judah as their god. I took the vessels of Yahweh. 58 . plundered the temple of Yahweh. and he also said. and go to the “promised land”–Canaan (modern Israel and its environs). And his son replaced him. king of Moab (in present-day Jordan). and he dwelt in it while he was fighting with me. in the city-state of Sumer (southeastern present-day Iraq). Following are the relevant verses from the inscription on the stele: Omri was king of Israel and he oppressed Moab for many days because Kemosh was angry with his land. As we will later see. But Kemosh returned it in my days…. along with Redford and Mazar. about 840 BCE. And Israel suffered everlasting destruction. who had been oppressing Moab. Abraham does not fit into the story. The oldest West Semitic attestation of Yahweh is the inscription on a victory stela erected by Mesha. The inscription was a tribute to Mesha’s victories over the “Omri king of Israel” and his son. Chemosh (or Kemosh). In this inscription. But I was victorious over him and his house. forty years. “I will oppress Moab. Yahweh. Mesha rather records how he defeated Israel.” The rise of Israelite nation had nothing to do with god instructing Abraham to leave Ur. The “God of Abraham” is probably more pragmatically and appropriately called the “God of the Shasu.

2008). which argues for the preIsraelite origins of the cult of Yahweh among proto-Arabian tribes east and west of the Arabah and [east and west of] the Gulf of Aqaba. [The Arabah is a section from the Dead Sea south to the Gulf of Aqaba–see Figures 3 and 4. “Absolute beginnings in the history of hypotheses in Biblical Studies are generally difficult to track. appear not to have been. who published his theory under the pseudonym Richard von der Alm. Ghillany. is Ishmael? We know…scarcely anything of Ishmael .Chapter 5 Who. why did the Bedouin nomads of the desert worship the same god as the Hebrews? Early critical analysis biblical scholars who took a more literal translation of the Bible believed that YHWH was a deity of Jethro and that YHWH became the god of the Israelites through Jethro. but in any case it was accepted during the remaining years of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century by German scholars of note…. April 1864–June 1920] did not deal with the hypothesis itself but noted succinctly that ‘it is certain that the ancient tradition neither considered Yahweh to be the original god of Israel. 59 . Now the question is. in fact. Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Most. This idea was first proposed in 1862.’” The Midianite-Kenite Hypothesis appears strikingly similar to the hypothesis that the people who became the Israelites learned about YHWH. it was while watching the movie The Ten Commandments that I first learned of the connection between Judaism and Islam. Hermann Gunkel A s I pointed out in Chapter 1. writing in 1862.] Not all who subsequently adopted the theory were indebted to Ghillany’s work. Joseph Blenkinsopp. F.W. nor to reside in Israel. but in the case of the Midianite–Kenite hypothesis.Max Weber [German sociologist. nor the god of Israel alone. from the historical records of Israel. or What. wrote in The Midianite-Kenite Hypothesis Revisited and the Origins of Judah (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. or Yahweh. Moses meets the Bedouin shepherd and priest Jethro of Midian and learns that the Bedouins worship the same “God of Abraham” as do the Hebrews. the earliest formulation has been traced to a German scholar. from Shasu pastoral nomads.

Midianites and Kenites described in the Bible lived north of the Gulf of Aqaba. FIGURE 3 60 . in the eastern part of the Sinai Peninsula and in the northwestern part of Saudi Arabia on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.

FIGURE 4 61 .

or some combination thereof. Thus the Ishmaelites could be either Edomites. but it can have a more specific reference as designating a region west of the Arabah. The new faith is. Isaac. Blenkinsopp notes it is likely that the one of the authors of the Bible substituted “Ishmaelites” for “Midianites. a German Protestant Old Testament scholar (May 1862-March 1932) said. Perhaps they learned of Yahweh from the Shasu or perhaps some of the early Ishmaelites were Shasu. Abraham. the earth trembled. Jacob and Moses early in the 7th century. Islam. with Edom and refers to them as Edomite–Ishmaelites. Israeli or Arab. The polytheism of the Ishmaelites changed when the prophet Mohammed restored these tribes to the uncorrupted. etc.” In The Bible Unearthed. when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom. original monotheistic faith of Adam. Yahweh? Is Ishmael no more than a means conceived by the authors of the Pentateuch to theologically connect Arabs and non-Hebrew Semitic tribes with Hebrew tribes (all of whom inhabited the Levant-see Figures 2A and 2B)? And did the authors use fictional patriarchs to accomplish that goal. Europe 62 . The opening invocation to Yahweh in the Song of Deborah presents him as proceeding in triumph from Seir. who is Ishmael? Hermann Gunkel. “We know…scarcely anything of Ishmael. Jewish or Muslim. the clouds also dropped water. So. Egyptian. (He didn’t tell them about dinosaurs either!) Before proceeding to answers these questions. Finkelstein and Silberman make only a few scant references to Ishmael and they are all based on the account in the Book of Genesis. of course. Midianites. when thou wentest out of Seir.” Blenkinsopp also cites German historian Eduard Meyer’s (January 1855–August 1930) association of the descendents of Ishmael. the Ishmaelites. desolate and mountainous regions east and west of the Arabah and [east and west of] the Gulf of Aqaba is also insinuated in some fragments of old Hebrew Yahwistic poetry. Persian. and Abraham for both? Who were the patriarchs of the Hindus and Buddhists? What about the Aborigines of Australia or the American Indians? It would appear that “God” did not tell the Bible’s authors about anyone or any religion outside of the Levant.Blenkinsopp adds. Isaac and Jacob for Hebrews. the regions of Edom (Judges [5:4]). Kenites. “That the worship of Yahweh originated among Kenites and related tribes which occupied and moved around in the vast. from the historical records of Israel. [“LORD. So why did the ancient Israelites and Edomites share the same god.” Note that there is no real historical evidence for either the Midianites or the Kenites. and the heavens dropped. Many Americans see the Near or Middle East as Semitic or Arabic. Noah. Ishmael for Arabs and other non-Hebrew Semites. Essentially they were non-Hebrew Semitic tribes who knew of and worshiped YHWH along with other gods. This is analogous to saying. let me define Semites and Arabs.”] Seir comes to be synonymous with Edom.

unlike biblical times. including. anti-Semitism is considered to be hatred toward Jews–individually and as a group–that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity. Amharic. So do the American newspapers in their reporting of Middle Eastern events! More importantly. accounting for over 8% of Israel’s Jews. not their ethnicity. who are not Middle Eastern experts. 63 . and many Christians live in the Middle East (but decreasing so these days). Israel is mostly Jewish while everywhere else in the Middle East is predominantly Muslim. from places such as Russia. The term Semite also means a member of any of various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia. Maltese. It is difficult for most North Americans. Department of State. Sabians. Edomites. According to the 2005 Report on Global Anti-Semitism issued by the U. to keep track of all of these ethnic groups. Hyksos. Chaldeans. binary. Judeans and Samaritans). Eblaites. Maltese. Canaanites. Sutu. Aramaic. few of the Jews in Israel are of recent Semitic descent. While the term might suggest that antiSemitism is directed against all Semitic peoples. Most have European or African ancestry. Shebans. Semitic was the adjective first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin. It is an oversimplification but the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to make it appear this way. Hebrew. Europe is mostly Christian while the Middle East is primarily Muslim. As an example. Ugarites. Mandeans. The third largest heritage is Polish. Ubarites. Many Muslims live in Europe (and increasingly so these days). Amorites. Syriacs and Ethiopian Semites. Iraqis can have a Sunni. S. Shiite or Kurdish heritage (among others). So we think of the Middle East as either Jewish or Muslim. Ahlamu. the Semitic languages. However the term anti-Semitism means hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious. or descendants of emigrants. Dilmunites. Phoenician. Christian versus Muslim. ethnic. Arameans. i. Moabites. Ge’ez. Interestingly. not all Israelis are descendants of Semites. today we usually classify people based on their country of origin. Hebrew or Arab. Moroccan and Russian heritage accounts for over a third the current Jewish population in Israel.e. the term was coined in the late 19th century in Germany as a more scientific-sounding term for Judenhass (“Jewhatred”) and that has been its normal use since then. Arabs. Hebrews (Israelites. historical and contemporary.versus the Middle East. Nabateans. The term Semite means a member of any of the various ancient and modern Semitic-speaking peoples originating in southwestern Asia. Tigre and Tigrinya among others. Some are descendents of European Holocaust survivors while others are emigrants. This family includes the ancient and modern forms of Akkadian. Akkadians (Assyrians and Babylonians). or racial group. Maganites. Arabic. Phoenicians (including Carthaginians).

Arab and non-Hebrew Semite can be viewed as a related class of Semitic non-Jews in the historical Middle East. Arabic is their first language. Qatar. the United Arab Emirates and Yemen. Lebanon. FIGURE 5 Now back to Ishmael. In Ishmael’s case. include all of the countries surrounding or in close proximity to Israel. Wiki usually has excellent footnotes and references at the bottom of the page. Somalia. which comprises the states and territories of the Arab League. the terms Bedouin. Trying to find some historical source for the origin or historicity of Ishmael was a time consuming and tedious task. Libya. Syria. Jews. Bahrain.For most non-Hebrews in the Middle East. Figure 5 displays a map of the Arab world. Oman. Mauritania. Palestine. Hebrews and Israelites can be viewed as the historical populace of Israel (the definition of an Israelite is “Child of Israel”). The dark areas represent mainly Arabic-speaking countries: Algeria. territories and populations in North Africa. Western Asia and elsewhere. Map of the Arab world This map is based on the standard territorial definition of the Arab world which comprises the states and territories of the Arab League. Kuwait. Comoros. Saudi Arabia. which. For the purposes of this chapter. Egypt. Morocco. The Wikipedia page on Ishmael only gave the Biblical description. Iraq. they were mostly other 64 . Jordan. Djibouti. in turn. Tunisia. The term Arab world usually refers to Arabic-speaking states. Sudan.

Fried (Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Department of History) and Roy Mottahedeh (Harvard University–Department of History). and neighboring tribes (such as the Edomites and the Kenites) are the descendants of those “12 princes. The only two significant sources which addressed the historical basis for Ishmael (located with a Google search) were Gunkel’s The Legends of Genesis. The Biblical Saga and History (first published in 1901. God would also make “the son of a bondwoman [Ishmael]” into a nation too. as it says in Genesis [16:3]. and a bottle of water. by Stephen D. Ishmael was born through Abraham’s marriage to Hagar. “12 princes according to their nations. Jethro of Midian. which existed in Canaan before the Israelitish immigration.” This demand was rejected by Abraham due to his paternal love for Ishmael. since he “is thy seed. and gave it unto Hagar.” Gunkel puts 65 . Abraham only agreed to Sarah’s demands when God told him that it was through Isaac that Abraham’s offspring would be known. Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an.” Sarah was old and barren. “Wherefore she said unto Abraham. An Historical Analysis.e. When Sarah became un-barren and bore Isaac. after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan.” This is the condensed biblical version of how Ishmael became the patriarch of non-Hebrews in the Near or Middle East. according to the Bible. and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba. Cast out this bondwoman [female slave] and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son. Hagar later conceived Ishmael with Abraham and the Ishmaelites descended from him. even [i. republished by Forgotten Books. This paper was not officially published and has no publication date but I estimate it to be early 2009. and the child. and sent her away: and she departed. and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. his first wife Sarah’s handmaiden. 2007) and the paper Ishmael: The Islamo-Arab Ethnogenesis. He has 12 sons. on a par] with Isaac. Sarah gave her slave Hagar in marriage to Abraham in order that Abraham might have an heir. and took bread. Moab and the tribes of Israel. Jethro’s tribe. and could not conceive.encyclopedias. Christians and Muslims.. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning. “Why has Ishmael become a Bedouin people with just this territory [Canaan] and this God [Yahweh]?” In his book The Legends of Genesis he argues that Ishmael is a country.” and dies at the age of 137 (Genesis [25:12-17]). race or tribal name similar to Ammon. He was Abraham’s first born child according to Jews. “And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian. Gunkel asks. The last reference they cite is from 2008. Hagar and Ishmael are cast out “in the wilderness of Beersheba” by Abraham (Genesis [21:14]).” Ishmael is fruitful and multiplies.” a descendant of Abraham as was Isaac. she demanded that Abraham expel Ishmael and his mother (Genesis [21:10]). “We should conclude that Jacob was originally the name of a Canaanitish district. putting it on her shoulder.

” How could Abraham sire a son at age 99? And how could Sarah become a mother at age 90? Women at 90 are way beyond the age of fertility.” In Genesis [21:14]. This leads me to the conclusion that the most likely scenario is: Yahweh was a patron god of nomadic desert tribes including. but is absolutely out of keeping with the simplicity of the old legends. Chapter 6] attaches to the legends a detailed chronology. “And Abraham was an hundred years old. the Shasu and that these desert tribes introduced Yahweh to the people who would one day become the Israelites. and the child. and a bottle of water. which plays a great role in his account. Accordingly it is not strange that the chronology of P displays everywhere the most absurd oddities when injected into the old legends: as a result. or primarily. “And it came to pass. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her. and Ishmael is carried on his mother’s shoulder after he is a youth of sixteen. And he entreated Abram [Abraham] well for her sake. I referred to Sarah’s beauty earlier. Where historical narrative and legend exist as living literary species. they are recognised as distinct. when Abram was come into Egypt. putting it on her shoulder.” In Genesis [21:5]. I can only conclude that the story of Ishmael is the way that biblical writers tried to connect the worship of Yahweh by Semitic non-Hebrew tribes to Hebrew worship of the same god. the Egyptians beheld the woman [Sarah] that she was very fair.the Ishmael story into a historical perspective in a sub-section labeled. Gunkel does not shed any light as to how the Ishmaelites came to worship Yahweh. and gave it unto Hagar. Sarah is still at sixty-five a beautiful woman whom the Egyptians seek to capture. This stuff makes no sense. Fried and Mottahedeh came to the conclusion that: Ishmael is regarded as an ancestral figure to Arab peoples in Islamic doctrine. The curious case of how a minor character in the Bible and Jewish national history became a central ethnological figure among Arabia dwellers and then 66 . the tribe of Muhammad and his kin. even though unconsciously. Ishmael is their patriarch and is connected to the Hebrew patriarchs of Isaac and Jacob through Abraham. and sent her away. These biblical stories are indeed oddities. In Genesis [12:14-16]. that. “And Abraham rose up early in the morning. and especially to the Quraysh. when his son Isaac was born unto him. not to legend. and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh’s house. and took bread. Gunkel is right. Chronology belongs by its very nature to history. Importance Attached to Chronology: P [the Priestly source–see documentary hypothesis. This confusion of the two species in P shows that in his time the natural appreciation for both history and legend had been lost.

” After connecting Arabs and Hebrews through Ishmael. “And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked. “Ishmaelites…. although it influenced faith communities who borrowed the Bible and accepted it as Truth. the authors of the 67 . “The term ‘Midianite’ almost certainly referred to peoples of Northwestern Arabia. They go on to say. it seems the Biblical writers had no more need to include Ishmael in their epic. Muhammad and especially later exegetes capitalized on these ethnological under-currents to inaugurate an Islamo-Arab ethnogenesis–unique in its emphasis on panArabianism and identification with faith–to build constituents into a new vibrant faith community. but Israelites decided to start calling their neighbors to the southeast. “We cannot know exactly when. [the Bible] illustrates conclusively that the appellation Ishmaelite refers to an ‘Arab. This latitude may have aided in the fleshing out of Ishmael’s role from the Biblical treatment to the Qu’ranic one.a large world empire prompts a question that we shall seek to examine: how and why did Ishmael come to such prominence in the early-Islamic narrative? Ishmael’s ethnological career began in a Jewish framework.” Fried and Mottahedeh add. He disappears and is never heard from again. a company of Ishmaelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh. and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. Ultimately. however. Arab communities discovered Ishmael through contact with Christians who had less consolidated views on the Bible’s ethnology. the term ‘Ishmaelite’ is definitely associated with the Arabian Peninsula. To some scholars. which ascribed Biblical names to Israel’s various neighbors as a way to understand ethnic diversity through a Biblical lens.’” Genesis [37:25]. The [Bible] matches the notion that the ‘Ishmaelites’ referred to Arabian traders who went back and forth atop camels between Mesopotamia (called Gilead in the Bible) and Egypt trading spices. and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit. going to carry it down to Egypt. And if Fried and Mottahedeh are correct. Interestingly. it is these traders to whom Joseph’s brothers sell Joseph as a slave. behold. but any more specificity or ethnological significance cannot be determined. who resided near the coastal plains of the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. “Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen. The interchangeability of the terms in Genesis may indicate that ‘Ishmaelite’ referred vaguely to people who lived southeast of the Promised Land….’” Genesis [37:28]. and. matters are more confusing because Genesis [37:28] apparently uses the term ‘Midianite’ interchangeably with ‘Ishmaelite. ‘Ishmaelite’ is not found in any other non-Biblical document of the timeperiod spanning the entirety of Biblical Israel’s existence…The Bible does not mention any more than the first generation after Ishmael. However. This Jewish custom never entered the mainstream.

“As the Sojourn and Exodus narrative is an adaption by Israel of an 68 . This suggests that Arabs were not aware of Ishmael until he was introduced to them through the Qur’an. We know that there are elements of the Hebrew Bible in the Qur’an.” the point made by Fried and Mottahedeh. we are the children of Ishmael. the Christian equivalent of the Hebrew Bible. the 1956 film The Ten Commandments. We know this from the science of geology. based on biblical dating of the life of Ishmael’s father. For sure there are five chapters in the Qur’an which refer to Jesus. Canaan.500 years ago. The Qur’an was not written until the 7th century CE.” attributed to Jethro of Midian. The screenplay is partly based on three non-scholarly books written about the Moses including Pillars of Fire. Do Arab Bedouins really have such short memories? The civilizations of the Near East were able to remember one or more 10. the story of Noah is probably loosely based upon some flood event which was kept in the memory of people for 10. such as Noah and the Ark.000 years. I would think he would be included in Arab oral traditions and not discovered “through contact with Christians.Islamic Qur’an learned the story of Ishmael from Christians. The biblical flood narrative may have been adapted from a Babylonian flood legend.000-year-old flood stories then but forgot a 600. Flood parables. It was written by the screenwriters of another epic. does not come from the Bible. The argument made by Fried and Mottahedeh that “Arab communities discovered Ishmael through contact with Christians” is most plausible There were real floods after the last glacial period ended about 12. “Abraham is the father of many nations. the meeting would have occurred around seven centuries after Ishmael had lived. How could the Arabs have forgotten Ishmael? If there was a real Ishmael.or 700-year-old patriarch until being made aware of him through “contact with Christians?” How likely is this? Is there a history student in America who has never heard of Charlemagne? And he lived 12 centuries ago. are a part of many religious traditions. The quote. and Israel in Ancient Times. written in 1859.000 years ago. Abraham. his first born. from the New Testament. Every Christian knows the name of Jesus. he would have lived after 1900 BCE. Islam. Redford makes a similar point regarding the historicity of the biblical Joseph story in Egypt. the “bible” of the newest Abrahamic religion. And he is not a patriarch of our country or our society. Perhaps these were obtained from the Old Testament. and he lived 2. the same year Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published. over 1. Regardless. or should I say patriarch! How could Arabs not know their own ancestry? If there were a historical Ishmael.000 years before Muslims “knew” their “true” lineage.000 years after the Pentateuch was composed! This implies that Hebrews from the 5th or 6th century BCE knew about Ishmael at least 1. Had a real Moses encountered a real Jethro of Midian circa 1250 BCE. Moses’ future father-in-law.

and. The stories of Joseph and Ishmael are fairly stories. There was no Ishmael. credible. Oliver Stone’s JFK. a lone assassin. I have discussed several scenes from The Ten Commandments because so many Americans think it is the true story of Moses. known unofficially as the Warren Commission. all of the evidence disclosed shows that our President was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. the 1991 film. The movie caused such a public uproar that it led to the passage of The President John F. there was no Joseph. This idea is also suggested in The Ten Commandments’ screenplay. Thus far. One additional point. is a gross distortion of the facts and no one actually knowledgeable about the assassination of our President gives it any credence. and that Jack Ruby acted alone in the murder of Oswald. come to that conclusion in 1964? Indeed they did. Yet the American public. loves a good conspiracy saga. Previously classified documents relating to the assassination were finally made available to public scrutiny. to the people who would one day become the Israelites. The ARRB worked until 1998. other than that JFK is actually dead. Hollywood is about entertainment and money. which seems to be totally ignorant of the facts. They do not shed any light as to how the Ishmaelites came to worship Yahweh. even though there is no hard evidence that Moses ever actually existed. “it’s déjà vu all over again.S. Following is the dialog between Moses and Sephora (the future wife of 69 . You can’t learn history from Oliver Stone or anyone else in Hollywood. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 (also known as the JFK Act) and the formation of the U. so the Joseph story of is the Hebrew exemplar of a widespread story line much in use in Egypt and the Levant at the time the Pentateuch was being committed to writing. A person cannot learn history or religion from Hollywood. Didn’t The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy. Assassination Records Review Board (ARRB).” It is expected to be entertaining.earlier Canaanite tradition. He has never met a conspiracy theory that he did not love. Producers twist historical facts to make a movie “based on a true story. their patron god. profitable.” to quote Yogi Berra. These desert tribes introduced Yahweh. Getting back to the historicity of Ishmael and the paper from Fried and Mottahedeh. the Shasu. There is no reason to believe it has any basis in fact–the absence of the story from the earlier tradition in the prophets speaks against such a belief–and to read it as history is quite wrongheaded. All existing assassination-related documents will be made public by 2017.” In short. or primarily. It seems Yahweh was a patron god of the desert tribes including. It is just like Jessie Ventura. most of all. It concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the killing of John Kennedy and the wounding of Texas Governor John Connally. understandable.

the screenwriters are taking the view that Sephora. In Exodus 3: 1: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his [Bedouin] father in law. 4: And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see. and came to the mountain of God. he would live on every mountain. introduced Moses to Yahweh. but of all men. and. in every valley. why the bush is not burnt. for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. the bush burned with fire. He would not be the god of Ishmael or Israel alone. Sephora: I do not know about such things. to know why He has not heard the cry of slaves in bondage. but I know that the mountain rumbles when God is there. Now let’s see what the actual Bible says. His temple. 2. has any man gone to see Him. or at least to the mountain where Yahweh lives. the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert. with Isaac.Moses) during the scene I have previously described. 70 . Moses. Moses: Does your god live on this mountain? Sephora: Sinai is His high place. every mind. and God had respect unto them. and the bush was not consumed. Why do you want to see Him. Moses. even to Horeb [Mt. I will now turn aside. every soul. In Exodus 2: 24: And God heard their [the Hebrews] groaning. face-to-face? Sephora: No man has ever set foot on the forbidden slopes of Sinai. 5: And he said. Moses: If this god is God. a mountain (god’s earthly residence) is smoking and billowing. In the scene’s background. And if He is. Moses: At such a time. And he said. Here am I. a Bedouin. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked. and the earth trembles. Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet. Moses? Moses: To know that He is. It is said he created all men in his image. and the clouds are red with fire. 3: And Moses said. behold. He would dwell in every heart. and God remembered his covenant with Abraham. Sinai]. and with Jacob. and said. 25: And God looked upon the children of Israel. God called unto him out of the midst of the bush. Indeed. and see this great sight.

and shall say unto them. and the God of Jacob. The LORD God of your fathers. the God of Isaac. and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? 12: And he said. And Moses hid his face. and the Jebusites. I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites. 15: And God said moreover unto Moses. appeared unto me. that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt. for I know their sorrows. 16: Go. 13: And Moses said unto God. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel. and they shall say to me. ye shall serve God upon this mountain. and say unto them. and the Hittites. and gather the elders of Israel together. 10: Come now therefore. and the God of Jacob. the God of Isaac. and the Amorites. and the Amorites. What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14: And God said unto Moses. the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. unto a land [Israel] flowing with milk and honey. Certainly I will be with thee. and of Jacob. and this shall be a token unto thee. and the Hittites. and the Perizzites. the LORD God of your fathers. for he was afraid to look upon God. and the Jebusites. I have surely visited you. behold. Behold. The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you. and the Perizzites. and the Hivites. and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters. I am the God of thy father. that I should go unto Pharaoh. Who am I. of Isaac. hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever. I AM hath sent me unto you. and this is my memorial unto all generations. the God of Abraham. 7: And the LORD said. the God of Abraham. unto a land flowing with milk and honey. and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17: And I have said. and I will send thee unto Pharaoh. I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt. and the Hivites. and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large. Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel. 8: And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians. I AM THAT I AM [the Tetragrammaton YHWH]: and he said. 11: And Moses said unto God. that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 9: Now therefore. saying. when I come unto the children of Israel. unto the place of the Canaanites.6: Moreover he said. the God of Abraham. 71 .

” the Bedouin nomads. These desert tribes introduced Yahweh. and God’s plan to free the Hebrews from the Egyptians. and other commodities. some ex-slaves) who ultimately became the Hebrews. including religious beliefs. because he is thy [Abraham’s] seed. They traded and exchanged food. Yahweh appears to be the patron god of the desert tribes including. such as spices. note that the name Ishmael is conspicuously absent from the biblical story of the Exodus. They would become the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. or primarily. or both. They most likely exchanged ideas. culture. the God of Isaac. “And also of the son of the bondwoman [Ishmael] will I make a nation. Canaanite city-states assimilated and united during in the Early Iron Age (Iron Age I. whether he be a person or a place-name. and the God of Jacob” are mentioned. Genesis [21:13]. grains for meat and vice versa. 72 . They carried their new faith north into Canaan. and other traditions. He is tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro of Midian and goes to a mountain in Jethro’s “backyard. Only “the God of Abraham.” However. Ishmael has no historical basis in fact whatsoever. perhaps. The faith of the Shasu became the faith of a people (including. the Shasu.Even the biblical story of Moses suggests that he was introduced to the God of Abraham by Bedouin pastoral nomads. to the people who would one day become the Israelites. 1150-900 BCE). or placename.” And there he learns the name of god. To say one more time. It seems the authors of the Bible rewrote “history” by tying together the Hebrews with the “children of Ishmael. YHWH. was contrived by the authors of the Bible to create a connection between Arabs and Hebrews who cohabitated in the Levant and worshipped the same god. Ishmael. their patron god. He is either a fictional person.

Wellhausen’s formulation was:  (J) Yahwist source: written circa 950 BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. R. combined into their final form by a series of redactors. P. the Elohist. and the Priestly Writer. D. Julius Wellhausen’s (May 1844–January 1918) contribution was to order these sources chronologically as JEDP.Chapter 6 The Documentary Hypothesis: Who Actually Wrote the Bible? Even authoritative biblical scholars. They are the basis for the documentary hypothesis. historians and archaeologists can’t agree on who wrote the Bible or when it was written. D’s contribution to the Torah). the Deuteronomist. Pafumi T o understand why the Bible is often not historically accurate and loaded with inconsistencies and contradictions. E. It holds that the Pentateuch (Torah) was derived from originally independent. Each was originally a complete and independent document. sources. The documentary hypothesis was developed in the 18th and 19th centuries as an attempt to reconcile inconsistencies in the biblical text. (the name comes from the Book of Deuteronomy. By the end of the 19th century it was generally agreed that there were four main sources. which he saw as one of ever-increasing priestly power. giving them a coherent setting in the evolving religious history of Israel. R. J (J being the German equivalent of the English letter Y). G. I need to discuss the four primary groups of biblical sources which are the starting point for the Bible in its present form. They were subsequently combined and woven into the current version of the Hebrew Bible by a series of redactors (editors). Biblical scholars eventually arrived at the theory that the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) was composed of selections pieced together from separate. or Jahwist. sometimes referred to as the Wellhausen hypothesis. 73 . These four sources came to be known as the Yahwist. and at times inconsistent. parallel and complete narratives.

According to John Van Seters. While the hypothesis has been increasingly challenged by other models in the last part of the 20th century. or that a basic text was “supplemented” by later authors/redactors. its terminology and insights continue to provide the framework for contemporary theories on the origins of the Torah.” The four were combined twice by redactors who strove to keep as much of the original documents as possible. A definition of redaction might be worth a look while contemplating how the Bible came to be. The fragmentary hypotheses see the Pentateuch as growing through the gradual accretion and accumulation of material into larger and larger blocks before being joined together. Van Seters postulates that J is an introduction to the Deuteronomistic history (the history of Israel included in the Books of Joshua. Samuel and Kings). He is the University Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina (UNC). Van Seters argues that while the identification of distinctive Deuteronomistic and Priestly theologies and vocabularies remains widespread. Van Seters (born May 1935) is a scholar of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the Ancient Near East. each dealing with the same incidents and characters. Ehrman. this approach is viewed largely as obsolete today. (E) Elohist source: later than J. each complete in itself. the Priestly writer then added his own material. and then by a Priestly writer (6th–5th centuries BCE).  (D) Deuteronomists: written circa 600 BCE in Jerusalem during a period of religious reform. the title now held by Bart D. according to Van Seters. These are the alternative fragmentary and supplementary hypotheses. Previously he was the James A. who places the composition of J (which he. Judges. However. Redacting means to select or adapt (as by obscuring or 74 . and these expansions continued down to the end of the 4th century BCE. they are used to form new approaches suggesting that the books were combined gradually over time by the slow accumulation of “fragments” of text. It is exemplified in the work of Van Seters. first by a Deuteronomic writer. which leads to the supplementary hypothesis. Wellhausen’s documentary hypothesis proposes that the Torah was originally four distinct narratives.” sees as a complete document) in the 6th century (rather than the 10th). but with distinctive “messages. Gray Professor of Biblical Literature at UNC. written circa 850 BCE in the northern Kingdom of Israel.  (P) Priestly source: written circa 500 BCE by Kohanim (Jewish priests) in exile in Babylon. The Priestly writers later added their supplements to this. unlike the “fragmentists.

and I think more applicable. But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot. until the waters were dried up from off the earth. most importantly.” Then Noah “sent forth a dove from him.” Redactors are human. or is it 150 days and night? Noah “sent forth a raven… until the waters were dried up from off the earth.” So. combining the original content of the four sources with new fragments and supplements makes the most sense. “And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated. Often this is a method of collecting a series of writings on a similar theme and creating a definitive and coherent work. Also he sent forth a dove from him. definition. and pulled her in unto him into the ark. ‘And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days. that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven. for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put forth his hand. If the waters had already dried up. and.” In Genesis [8:6-11]. they added their own spin to the existing material to present THEIR message. did the waters abate after 150 days (Genesis [8:3]). It helps to explain the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible. If god wrote or controlled the input of the biblical text.” Noah sent out a raven until the waters had dried up but then sent out a dove to see if the waters had dried up. and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. why did Noah need to send out a dove to see if the waters had dried up? This makes no sense. And. and she returned unto him into the ark. How can they redact the material being combined without subjecting it to their own individual biases? To me. and took her. which went forth to and fro. “I [god] will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights. “Redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined (redacted) and subjected to minor alteration to make them into a single work. according to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. The redactors seem to combine material without regard to consistency or contradiction. “And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. and the dove came in to him in the evening. to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground. in Genesis [7:4]. However Wikipedia provides another. lo. or 40 plus seven days (Genesis [8:6-11])? It rained for 40 days and nights.” In Genesis [7:24]. to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground.” In Genesis [8:3].removing sensitive information) from a document prior to publication or release. why did he permit so many 75 . “And it came to pass at the end of forty days.” In Genesis [7:12]. and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark. in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. For example. And he stayed yet other seven days.

King Rehoboam. YHWH is an anthropomorphic (humanlike) figure. a Flood story (P has his own flood story and the two are tightly intertwined). J provides all of Exodus chapters 19-24 concerning the appearance of God to Moses at Mt. The Yahwist source document is the only one to use the personal name of god. J accounts for the Golden Calf story. the material concerning Abraham. which concern Israel’s bondage in Egypt. Noah’s descendants and the Tower of Babel. prior to Chapter 3 of Exodus. J has a special interest in the territory of the Kingdom of Judah and individuals connected with its history. P makes some additions to the stories of the plagues of Egypt and the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. such as Bart Ehrman. YHWH. but the date and even the existence of J are currently the subject of vigorous discussion. These chapters make up the so-called primeval History. but not all. J provides much. The Bible is not only fiction. In J. Try to keep in mind the Wiki definition of redaction when thinking about how the redactors combined the four sources of scripture into one and then may well have added fragmentary and/or supplementary material.inconsistencies and contradictions? If the Bible was “written in stone. Sinai and the giving of the Covenant Code. of Exodus chapters 1-18. not long before the split of the united Hebrew kingdoms into the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah. could and do make potent arguments that the Bible cannot be taken at face value. Current theories place it in the exilic and/or post-exilic period (6th–5th centuries BCE). In the first half of the 20th century it was believed that the Yahwist (J) source could be dated to circa 950 BCE. Genesis 2 is followed by the Garden of Eden narrative. The split coincides with the death of King Solomon when friction between the northern and southern Hebrew tribes could not be mitigated by his son and successor.” it should not have been so ambiguously written that scholars. Jacob and Joseph. and J and P provide roughly equal amounts of material. from clay with his own hands and even speaks face-to-face with humans. Cain and Abel. Adam and Eve. and the Exodus itself. the youth of Moses. 76 . as previously noted). He creates man. Later study has demonstrated that J cannot be earlier than the 7th century. Isaac. Cain’s descendants (but Adam’s descendants are from P). it is bad fiction! Following is a summary of each biblical source so that the reader can get some perspective of each source’s views. circa 930 BCE. the story of mankind prior to Abraham. The Yahwist begins his the creation story in Genesis 2 (the creation story in Genesis 1 is from P. The Yahwist provides the bulk of the remainder of Genesis. biases and origin.

E has a particular fascination for traditions concerning the northern kingdom of Israel and its heroes such as Joshua and Joseph. Note the absence of Isaac in naming the key patriarchs of the faith. The theology of the Elohist focuses on four key elements: 1) prophetic leadership. the Elohist frequently utilizes angels to distance god from humans. Abraham’s son. E favors Israel over Judah. important but unrelated leaders of the emerging Israelite nation and faith. It is characterized by. Prophetic leadership is emphasized by building the narrative on four key ancestors (Abraham. 2) the fear of God. and Moses) who are presented as prophets who receive revelations from God in visions and dreams. According to Martin Noth (August 1902–May 1968). an abstract view of God. These three patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible are not biologically related at all. For example. Jacob. it is the Elohist version of the tale of Jacob’s ladder in which there is a ladder of angels with God at the top. God’s name is always presented as “Elohim” or “El” until the revelation of God’s name to Moses. when Elohim reveals himself as Yahweh. son and grandson. and 4) the theology of history. plus fragments of Numbers. if they actually existed. was a “patriarch” from the southern Kingdom of Judah. Joseph. How could Isaac be the father of Jacob if he was killed. In E. among other things. He describes a god with an impersonal nature (for example speaking through dreams. He favors the northern Kingdom of Israel over the southern Kingdom of Judah. Remember. It is generally agreed that Deuteronomistic history originated independently of both the books of Genesis. E describes a human-like God initially called Elohim. Exodus. While the Yahwist presented an anthropomorphic god who could walk through the Garden of Eden looking for Adam and Eve. In E. They may have been. E treats God as a figure capable of regret. E uses Horeb instead of Sinai for the mountain where Moses received the laws of Israel. The E narrative does not begin with a depiction of Yahweh’s creation of mankind. after which God is referred to as YHWH. Leviticus and Numbers (the first four books of the Torah) and the Books of Chronicles. by Abraham? Was Isaac sacrificed after he had become a father? E’s account of Isaac’s sacrifice adds some support to the hypothesis that Abraham and his grandson Jacob were “patriarchs” from the northern kingdom while Isaac. After Moses’ encounter with the burning bush. a German scholar of the 77 . but rather with a divine address to Abraham. prophets. The Deuteronomists are generally seen more as a school or movement rather than as a single author.The Elohist (E) source’s name comes from the term he uses for God: Elohim. They were not father. and shows him appearing in person at events. or sacrificed. E refers to god as YHWH. E makes up a third of Genesis and half of Exodus. Isaac was actually sacrificed by Abraham. 3) the covenant. and angels rather than personal appearances).

they will lose the land. as well as recapitulating the narratives of Exodus and Numbers. 78 . which brings failure. It takes the form of a series of sermons about the Law. including kings and royal officials. It also shows a special concern for the poor. Jesus.Hebrew Bible who specialized in the pre-Exilic history of the Hebrews. Too bad the Deuteronomists weren’t around during the Holocaust. which would have been prior to the Babylonian exile. and the prophets are the guardians of the law. the Deuteronomists really did believe in an angry. Some scholars estimate the D source may have been composed circa 650–621 BCE. and requires Israel to live according to his law. He wanted to show them that “their sufferings were fully deserved consequences of centuries of decline in Israel’s loyalty to Yahweh.” Deuteronomy never says where this place will be. although it continues into the subsequent books of Joshua. All Israelites are brothers (and sisters). The law given through Moses is the complete and sufficient revelation of the Will of God. their histories had ended in complete destruction in accordance with the divine judgment envisaged by Deuteronomy. however. or the law of Moses (Deuteronomy Chapters 12-26) forms the core of this book. Israel is to be a theocracy with Yahweh as the divine overlord. which brings success. and nothing further is needed.” Loyalty to Yahweh was measured in terms of obedience to the Deuteronomic law. Under the covenant Yahweh has promised Israel the land of Canaan. extends only to fellow Israelites and not to outsiders. who has chosen Israel as his people. This concern for equality and humanity. or disobedience. Deuteronomy was conceived as a covenant (treaty) between Israel and Yahweh. The Mosaic law code. demanding and wrathful god! Deuteronomy insists on the centralization of worship “in the place that the Lord your God will choose. but the Book of Kings makes it clear that it is Jerusalem. according to Van Seters. and each will answer to God for his treatment of his neighbor. for widows and the fatherless. Judges. Since Israel and Judah had failed to follow that law. Kings (the Deuteronomist history) and Jeremiah. but the promise is conditional: if Israel is unfaithful. Prophecy is instruction in the law as given through Moses. D’s input to the Pentateuch (Torah) is restricted to the Book of Deuteronomy. Samuel. The law is to be supreme over all other sources of authority. a Deuteronomist (one person) penned his documents in the middle of the 6th century BCE with the purpose of addressing contemporaries in the Babylonian exile. for whom Deuteronomy preaches a war of extermination. in contrast to Noth who believed it was written during the exile. The Deuteronomistic history explains Israel’s successes and failures as the result of faithfulness. The destruction of Israel by the Assyrians (722 BCE) and Judah by the Babylonians (586 BCE) are Yahweh’s punishment for continued sinfulness.

By about 540 BCE Babylon was also in rapid decline as the next rising power. Judah at this time was a vassal of Assyria. refugees came south to Judah. They brought with them traditions. led to much theological reflection on the meaning of the tragedy. Josiah launched his reform program. Josiah. The final stage was the addition of a few extra laws following the fall of Babylon to the Persians in 538 BCE and the return of some (in reality only a small fraction) of the exiles to Jerusalem. Deuteronomy was given a new introduction and attached to the history books as an overall theological introduction. They use the title Elohim as the general name for God in the primeval period (Genesis [1-11]). In 640 there was a crisis in Judah when king Amon was murdered. Zadokites traced their descent from an ancestor called Zadok. In 622 BCE. but Assyria now began a rapid and unexpected decline in power. By the end of the 7th century Assyria had been replaced by a new imperial power. the alleged high priest under King David.A broad consensus of scholars has emerged which describes the origin and growth of Deuteronomism in the following terms:       Following the destruction of Israel (the northern kingdom) by Assyria in 722 BCE. putting the ringleaders to death and placing Amon’s eight-year-old son. which had not previously been known to the Judahans. The trauma of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. Yahweh is the personal name for God that is revealed to Moses and is never spoken by any speaker in the Priestly source prior to Moses. and the Deuteronomistic history was written as an explanation: Israel had been unfaithful to Yahweh. and the exile was God’s punishment. leading to a resurgence of nationalism in Jerusalem. It was framed as a covenant (treaty) between Judah and Yahweh in which Yahweh replaced the Assyrian king. Chapters 5 through 26. Among those influenced by these new ideas were the landowning aristocrats (called “people of the land” in the Bible) who provided the administrative elite in Jerusalem. The Priestly source portrays God/Yahweh 79 . notably the concept of Yahweh as the only god who should be served. on the throne. Babylon. Persia. El Shaddai is the first special name for God and it is revealed to the patriarchs and reserved for that era. The aristocrats suppressed the attempted coup. was steadily expanding its reach. based on an early form of the Book of Deuteronomy. The Priestly source (P) may have been the Zadokites. and the exile which followed. With the end of the Babylonian oppression becoming ever more probable.

but alters details to stress the importance of the priesthood. P was written to show that even when all seemed lost. and seven times seven years. These people know that He is the one true god of the universe. It is at this specific location that Yahweh wanted to make Himself present to his people. substantial portions of Exodus and Numbers. who were not permitted to perform sacrifices and were restricted to menial functions. Portrayals of God viewed as distant and unmerciful are ascribed to P. the dietary laws. and on which he has bestowed his blessing. A summary of current theories about P is as follows:   Religion in monarchic Judah centered on ritual sacrifice in Solomon’s Temple. Yahweh’s presence and Yahweh’s blessings are described in the Priestly source not to be mediated by the king. The spatial center of the universe is the sanctuary which is first modeled in the tabernacle and later in the temple modeled after the pattern revealed to Moses. but by the high priest mediating at the central place of worship. there were other priests at other centers. P contributed about a fifth of Genesis. God remained present with Israel. which the southern king Josiah had tried to suppress. Humanity is created in God’s image (or as God’s image) implying dominion over the whole earth.as the creator of the whole world. One of the most important of these was a temple at Bethel. P includes many lists (especially genealogies). The covenant of circumcision. The Priestly source depicts a formal structure in terms of space. dates. There worship was in the hands of Zadokite priests. seven years. seven months. Aaron was in some way associated with Bethel. The Priestly source portrays Yahweh as a God who is interested in ritual. Primarily a product of the post-Exilic period when Judah was a province of the Persian empire (the 5th century BCE). Yahweh has arranged the temporal order around progressive layers of Sabbaths: seven days. since it was the center of the “golden calf” cult in the northern Kingdom of 80 . There was also a lower order of religious officials called Levites. numbers and laws. and the emphasis on making a tabernacle according to a divinely revealed plan are all ascribed to the Priestly source. north of Jerusalem. which he declared to be good. While the Zadokites were the only priests in Jerusalem. Scholars estimate its composition around 600–400 BCE. also known as the First Temple. The Priestly source portrays Yahweh as granting his presence to the people “who know his name” (maybe Yahweh should have dwelt in the bar called Cheers). time. and social structure. and almost all of Leviticus. P partly duplicates J and E.

“And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests. The Israelites are God’s chosen people. leaving behind the Levites. and finally to Moses by his unique name. and genealogies–all expressed in a formal. expanding considerably on the role given to Aaron (all Levites are priests. who were too poor and marginalized to represent a threat to Babylonian interests. and all things happen because of his power and will. they came into conflict with the Aaronite priests. It stresses the rules and rituals of worship. The Zadokites won the conflict but adopted the Aaronite name. his relationship with them is governed by the covenants. but according to P only the descendants of Aaron were to be allowed to officiate in the inner sanctuary). and the crucial role of priests. Yahweh. 81 . under the influence of the Aaronite priests of Bethel. P divides history into four epochs from Creation to Moses by means of covenants between God and Noah. first as Elohim (the Hebrew word simply meaning “god”). Bethel was one of the main religious centers of Israel and had royal support until Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BCE. P’s god is majestic and transcendent. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” P’s elaborate rules and rituals are aimed at creating and preserving holiness. and an holy nation” (Exodus [19:6]).” meaning the ritual purity of the people and the land: Israel is to be “a kingdom of priests.   Israel. The priests also won this battle. whether as part of a compromise or in order to out-flank their opponents by co-opting their descent. The Zadokites simultaneously found themselves in conflict with the Levites.” When the Zadokite priests returned from exile after 538 BCE and began re-establishing the temple in Jerusalem. P is deeply concerned with “holiness. which characterizes the challenge to priestly prerogative as unholy and unforgivable. began calling themselves “sons of Aaron” to distinguish themselves from the “sons of Zadok. writing into the Priestly document stories such as the rebellion of Korah. Following their conquest of Jerusalem the Babylonians destroyed the Temple and took most of the Zadokite priesthood into exile. repetitive style. then to Abraham as El Shaddai (usually translated as “God Almighty”). The Priestly work is concerned with priestly matters– ritual law. the origins of shrines and rituals. and P’s god is concerned that Israel should preserve its identity by avoiding intermarriage with non-Israelites. The temple at Bethel now assumed a major role in the religious life of the remaining inhabitants of Judah. who objected to their subordinate position. Abraham and Moses. The non-Zadokite priests. He reveals himself in stages. and an holy nation.

atonement could still be made through sacrifice and ritual. two censuses. Isaac and Jacob. Abraham was the ten generation after Noah). and [33-36].P is widely accepted to date from the exilic or post-exilic period (6th/5th centuries). Scholars accept it as a discrete collection within the larger Priestly source. P was responsible for Chapters [25-31] and [35-40]. rulings on the position of Levites and priests (including the provision of special cities for the Levites). part of the Flood story. In Numbers. including. Good cases have been made for both possibilities (exilic or postexilic). not holy) masses and the holy priests. the Priestly source contributes Chapters [1-10:28]. and the usual understanding is that the Priestly writer(s) were adding to an already-existing Yahwist narrative. leading to the destruction of Jerusalem and the exile in Babylon. The Priestly themes in Numbers include the significance of the priesthood for the wellbeing of Israel (the ritual of the priests is needed to take away impurity). They emphasize Israel’s obedience to the command to be fruitful and multiply. and the genealogy of Noah’s son Shem (i. so that even when Israel alienated itself from God. Leviticus [17-26] is called the Holiness code.e. leading to the conclusion that it has at least two layers. and the scope and protection of the Promised Land. Most of the remainder of Genesis is from the Yahwist. and god’s provision of the priesthood as the means by which He expresses his faithfulness to His covenant with Israel. Abraham’s ancestry. the instructions for making the Tabernacle and the story of its fabrication. 82 . The Book of Exodus is also divided between the Yahwist and P. This was a period when the careful observance of ritual was one of the few means available which could preserve the identity of the people. and the passage of time.. P is responsible for the first of the two creation stories in Genesis (Genesis 1). Leviticus [1-16] sees the world as divided between the profane (i. the Table of Nations (Sons of Noah). from its repeated insistence that Israel should be a holy people. Chapters [1-24] (from bondage in Egypt to God’s appearances at Sinai) and Chapters [32-34] (the golden calf incident) are from the Yahwist. and the narrative of the priestly authors created an essentially stable and secure world in which Israel’s history was under God’s control. [2531]. sacrifice. Anyone who incurs impurity must be separated from the priests and the Temple until purity is restored through washing. P’s additions are relatively minor. among other things.e. and have traced similar holiness writings elsewhere in the Pentateuch. spanning a broad time period of 571-486 BCE. [15-20]. but P provides the covenant with Abraham (Chapter 17) and a few other stories concerning Abraham.. for Adam’s genealogy.

It may have been in circulation in written from about the time of the composition of the Synoptic Gospels (i. This ancient Q text supposedly contained the logia. The central government was willing to grant autonomy to local communities throughout the empire. no new consensus has emerged to replace the documentary hypothesis. Each group had its own history of origins that legitimated its prerogatives. Genesis [12-50] defines the people of Israel. some scholars believe that an unknown redactor composed a Greek-language proto-Gospel. between 65 and 95 CE). and the priestly families who controlled the Temple. The major groups were the landed families who controlled the main sources of wealth. but since roughly the mid-1980s an influential theory has emerged which relates the emergence of the Pentateuch to the situation in Judah in the 5th century under Persian imperial rule. In the study of New Testament literature. Q (short for the German word Quelle. In the final document. Mark. which had existed since at least the 6th century and had its roots even earlier. It is generally accepted among scholars that Luke and Matthew also used Mark as a source.In conclusion. I would like to add a word or two about the origins of the Christian New Testament. (The Torah is also called the Five Books of Moses. and the remaining four books of Moses define the community’s laws and the relationship to god. or quotations from Jesus.) Before I end this chapter. an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It functioned both as the administrative center for the province and as the means through which Yehud paid taxes to the central government. The tradition of the landowners was based on the old Deuteronomistic tradition. The gospels of Matthew. or “source”) is defined as the “common” material found in Gospels of Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark. but it was first necessary for the would-be autonomous community to present the local laws for imperial authorization. and Luke are known as the Synoptic Gospels because they include many of the 83 . The Q source (also Q document or Q) is a hypothetical written source for the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. The central institution in the post-Exilic Persian province of Yehud (the Persian name for the former kingdom of Judah) was the reconstructed Second Temple. the first Gospel believed to have been written. It is not necessarily relevant to the overall content of this book but I hope it will give the reader some additional insight about how scripture was compiled almost two millennia ago. Genesis Chapters [1-11] lay the foundations. This provided a powerful incentive for the various groups which constituted the Jewish community in Yehud to come to an agreement.e. The tradition of the priestly families was composed to “correct” and “complete” the landowners’ composition..

then Q would probably have been a written document. language. The Q document must have been composed prior to the Gospels of both Matthew and Luke. Finally. The Two-Source Hypothesis posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and the lost. advocates of the Farrer theory argue that the Gospel of Mark was used as 84 . Scholars note that the similarities between Mark. in 1924. Some scholars believe it can be partially reconstructed by examining elements common to Matthew and Luke (but absent from Mark). as there is no need for hypothetical sources to be created by biblical scholars.same stories. it has since been lost. narrative arrangement. a British biblical scholar and textual critic. Some scholars even suggest Q may have predated Mark. This degree of parallelism in content. A date for the final Q document is often placed in the 40s or 50s of the first century. it is highly unlikely that two independent translations would have exactly the same wording. If Q did exist. (Austin Marsden Farrer (1904–December 1968) was an English theologian and philosopher. and the three lost sources: Q. and L source. L might be the source of Luke’s special material. It was proposed by Burnett Hillman Streeter (November 1874–September 1937). it is possible to deduce that Q was written in Greek. it could not account for the nearly identical word-for-word similarities between Matthew and Luke when quoting Q material. hypothetical source Q. If Q were merely a shared oral tradition. Instead. Matthew. If the Two-Source Hypothesis is correct. and sometimes use exactly the same wording. In addition to Q. the Farrer theory posits that that the Gospel of Mark was written first. and sentence structures can only be accounted for by literary interdependence. it appears to be a collection of Jesus’ sayings and quotations. The Four-Source Hypothesis posits that there were at least four sources to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke: the Gospel of Mark. a hypothetical textual source for the additional material in the Gospel of Matthew. If the Gospels of Matthew and Luke were referring to a document that had been written in some other language (for example Aramaic). Q does not mention Jesus’ birth. or the resurrection. his selection of the 12 disciples. and Luke are too great to be accounted for by mere coincidence. followed by the Gospel of Matthew and then by the Gospel of Luke. often in the same sequence. This reconstructed Q is notable in that it generally does not describe the events of the life of Jesus.) The Farrer theory has the advantage of simplicity. which composes nearly half of his gospel. there is M. Similarly. It refined the Two-Source Hypothesis into a Four-Source Hypothesis. Instead. his crucifixion. M-Source.

was authored by persons unknown as well as times unknown.source material by the author of Matthew.” 85 . historians and archaeologists can’t agree on who wrote the Bible [both Testaments] or when it was written. The Bible’s history is all guesswork. To cite the introductory quote to this chapter. “Even authoritative biblical scholars. What can I say? The New Testament. Luke used both of the previous gospels as sources for his Gospel. just like the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible.

86 .

specifically locates the Israelites in Canaan. archaeological or literary. of any great movement of Semites from Egypt later than the expulsion of the Hyksos. Department of Semitic Studies. The Book of Exodus tells us the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and eventually escaped under the leadership of Moses. MacLaurin..” And the Bible does not name the pharaoh of the Exodus.C. NARRATOR: This convergence between archaeology and the Bible provides a timeframe for the Exodus. around 1275 B. the “pharaoh of the oppression” who enslaves the Israelites. as compared to what is believed about the Exodus and the origins of Israel. George Santayana We will never know if Moses wore galoshes or Hush Puppies when he parted the Red Sea.C. At least two pharaohs are involved. and it could not have happened after 1208 B. has pointed out.B.B. R. to see whether scripture matches the archaeological record. when the stele of pharaoh Merneptah. not dogma.C. As Professor E. The biblical story does not 87 . MacLaurin The Bible is literature. “Let my people go.” or was it Charlton Heston? Following is more dialogue (indented) from The Bible’s Buried Secrets. It could not have happened before Ramesses became king. of any great movement of Semites from Egypt later than the expulsion of the Hyksos. archaeological or literary. and the “pharaoh of the exodus. Ramesses the Second’s son. E.” during whose rule the Israelites escape. “There is no evidence. G. It describes what is known about the Exodus and the origins of Israel. Pafumi D id Moses actually say.Chapter 7 Was There an Exodus? There is no evidence..C. University of Sydney.

children. in a hundred years of searching. estimated to have had a population of between fifty thousand and 100. “You can’t learn history from…anyone…in Hollywood. In Exodus [12:37-38]. and flocks. “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. According to the Bible. nor does it give enough information to identify the period in which the events are set. Archaeological research has found no evidence that the Sinai desert ever hosted. More importantly the Merneptah Stele. there should be an 88 . and herds. beside children. say. Ramesses II is portrayed as the pharaoh of the Exodus. NARRATOR: The Bible says the Israelites leave Egypt in a mass migration. two million or more individuals.” If taken literally. This takes us to 1250 BCE. 600.name either.000 men and their families. constructed circa 1209/1208 BCE. around three to six million people. According to the Bible. 600. about six hundred thousand on foot that were men. But even assuming the Bible is exaggerating. bare of seed. And a mixed multitude went up also with them. also known as Ramesses the Great. it occurred before Ramesses II ruled. and the “mixed multitude. In The Ten Commandments film. is the most commonly imagined figure in popular culture. many decades if not a few centuries before 1250 BCE. archaeologists have not yet found evidence of migration that can be linked to the Exodus. If this many men left Egypt. Pharaoh Ramesses II (reigned circa 1279–1213 BCE). if there was an Exodus.” Rabbinical Judaism dates the life of Moses to 1391–1271 BCE and the Exodus to 1312 BCE. As I said before. and then wander in the desert for 40 years. or that he chased Hebrew slaves fleeing Egypt. even very much cattle. bears the inscription “Israel is wasted. the elderly.000 Jewish men left in the Exodus. How many decades or centuries did it take for Israel to conquer Canaan and then become recognized as an independent political entity or civilization? I don’t know but I would think it set the time of the Exodus back many. This is the possible equivalent of more than half of the entire population then living in Egypt. the Hebrews wandered the desert for 40 years before arriving in Canaan.000.” This strongly infers that Israel was a recognized ethnic. Using rabbinical dating. millions of people.” That would amount to. but there is no documentary or archaeological evidence that he had to deal with the Ten Plagues of Egypt or anything similar. nor of a massive population increase in Canaan. social entity and possibly a political and military entity before 1210 BCE. or could have hosted. with the result that there have been many suggestions as to which of Egypt’s many rulers was involved. the total number of people departing Egypt included six hundred thousand men plus wives. The loss of such a huge proportion of the population would have caused havoc to the Egyptian economy yet no such record to this effect has ever been discovered.

.C. The freed Hebrews wandered the Sinai Desert for 40 years. But when archaeologists date the destruction. In fact. “So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass.C. who view is: WILLIAM DEVER: There was no evidence of armed conflict in most of these sites. Lycoming College: No excavated site gives us any information about the route of the wandering through the wilderness. which were eventually destroyed. they discover it occurred about 2200 B. these city-states were not destroyed at the same time. or so it says in the Bible. NARRATOR: Any historical or archaeological confirmation of the Exodus remains elusive. Yet scholars have discovered that all four groups of biblical writers [the documentary hypothesis] contributed to some part of the Exodus story. NARRATOR: A single sweeping military invasion led by Joshua cannot account for how the Israelites arrived in Canaan.Egyptian record or hieroglyphic to corroborate the story. so that 89 .… NARRATOR: These heaps of stones were once a magnificent palace and temples. And Exodus is simply not attested anywhere. At least that possibility is presented in The Bible’s Buried Secrets. it was discovered that most of the large Canaanite towns that were supposed to have been destroyed by these Israelites were either not destroyed at all or destroyed by others. after the destruction of Hazor. when the people heard the sound of the trumpet. or not destroyed at all. At the same time. If the Egyptian economy was based on slave labor like the Nazis. and the people shouted with a great shout. WILLIAM DEVER–University of Arizona. They date the destruction of Jericho to 1500 B. There is no Egyptian record yet discovered which recorded such an event. then there should have been a huge recession or great depression when the source of free labor departed.… In Joshua [6:20]. that the wall fell down flat. they range over nearly a thousand years. about 1250 BCE. Thus it would seem that Joshua was not responsible for the destruction of any Canaanite city since most of them were destroyed before Hazor.C. The Exodus could be dated to circa 1250 BCE during the reign of Ramesses II. Indeed this is the opinion of William Dever. and [the city of] Hazor’s [destruction] to about 1250 B. few showed any signs of war. Thus Joshua would not have arrived into Canaan until about 1200 BCE. Clearly. But the destruction of Hazor does coincide with the time that the Merneptah Stele locates the Israelites in Canaan. of the 31 sites the Bible says that Joshua conquered.

was a first-century Roman citizen/ Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history. written in Greek for Josephus’ gentile patrons.the people went up into the city. And Early Israel 1300-1100 B. (Hagiography refers to writings on the subject of holy people. (Society of Biblical 90 . “Most scholars today accept that the majority of the conquest narratives in the book of Joshua are devoid of historical reality. even though he lived 2 millennia ago. died. a word about Josephus might be in order. How can this be? Before going any further. Canaanites.” This supports the view that Joshua may not have actually existed and is written in her book. Joshua led the Israelite tribes in the conquest of Canaan and allocated the land to the tribes. written around 93 or 94 CE. Joshua. While his retelling of ancient Jewish history may be skewed. there is no record of Joshua. especially radiocarbon dating. died 20 years after the conquest of Canaan (written in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews. budgets and technology can do a better job of reconstructing the history of the Jews 3. died at about the time of Moses’ birth. composed near the end of the first century CE). He neither had the staff to research a comprehensive history of the Jews nor did he have the tools of modern archaeology. Titus Flavius Josephus (37 CE–circa 100 CE). Philistines. sometimes called The Great Revolt. using the rabbinical dating for the lifetime of Moses as 1391–1271 BCE.) His Antiquities of the Jews. “And it came to pass after these things. Joshua lived between 1500–1390 BCE.. It says in the Bible that after the death of Moses. Killebrew.000 to 3. According to Ann E. every man straight before him. In Joshua [24:29]. sometime in the late Bronze Age. It resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE. according to Josephus. Josephus was essentially one-man band.” This biblical saga doesn’t even make sense. contains an account of the history of the Jewish people. Biblical peoples and ethnicity: an archaeological study of Egyptians. according to the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus.500 years ago than could Josephus. the time between the writings of the Hebrew (Old Testament) Bible and the Christian (New Testament) texts. Josephus is a vital source for the history of the Intertestamental period. and they took the city. and “the walls came tumbling down!” Joshua. with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War.E. Thus I do not place a great deal of faith in his dating of the life of Joshua or the amount of historicity in Antiquities of the Jews. the servant of the LORD. Keep this in mind. or Old Testament. being 110 years old. that Joshua the son of Nun. Outside of the Hebrew Bible.C. According to Josephus.” This is the verse from the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament) which is the basis for the spiritual Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho. Joshua died at the age of 110. I would argue that contemporary scholars with huge staffs.

And they went out. and they smote them. and to the king of Shimron. when Jabin king of Hazor had heard those things. and unto Misrephothmaim. even as the sand that is upon the sea shore in multitude. and chased them unto great Zidon. If I take 90 years. and subtract 65 years. He and the rest of the escapees (Hebrews and perhaps some nonHebrews) departed Egypt and wandered the desert for 40 years. Joshua built an enormous army and conquered all of Canaan in the subsequent 25 years. 20 years after the conquest of Canaan. Killebrew is Assistant Professor of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Jewish Studies at Pennsylvania State University. who smote them. suggesting he reached Canaan when he was 65 years old. that he sent to Jobab king of Madon. And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword. and burnt their chariots with fire. they and all their hosts with them. much people. And to the Canaanite on the east and on the west. And to the kings that were on the north of the mountains. and to the king of Achshaph. How do people wandering the desert build an army with no horses or chariots (there are no horses or chariots in the biblical story of the Canaan conquest) and defeat a variety of Canaanite citystates which had horses and chariots? In Joshua [11:1-11]. and burn their chariots with fire. until they left them none remaining. the time Joshua and the escapees entered Canaan. And the LORD delivered them into the hand of Israel. And the LORD said unto Joshua. and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms. and the Jebusite in the mountains. 2005). they came and pitched together at the waters of Merom. So Joshua came. According to Josephus. “And it came to pass. and all the people of war with him. and the Hittite. and took Hazor. and the Perizzite. and they fell upon them. And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed their horses. to fight against Israel. utterly 91 .Literature. Somehow in the 40 years of desert wandering. So Joshua completed the conquest of Canaan in his 90th year of life. Be not afraid because of them: for tomorrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hough their horses. I do not need to be a historian to show another way that the Joshua story makes no sense. and to the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh. and unto the valley of Mizpeh eastward. with horses and chariots very many. the year the conquest of Canaan was completed. I have a difference of 25 years. and in the valley. And when all these kings were met together. against them by the waters of Merom suddenly. Joshua died at 110 years old. Let’s say Joshua was 25 years old when the “Exodus” occurred. and of the plains south of Chinneroth. and to the Amorite. and in the borders of Dor on the west. And Joshua at that time turned back.

And the narrative doesn’t get any better. The Netherlands. Where were the Canaanites when the ghost of Joshua and his merry men were performing such dastardly deeds? Were they asleep at the wheels of their chariots? Didn’t the horses make any noise when they were being crippled? This makes no sense. “Israel is wasted. and Johannes van der Plicht. in the range of 1617–1530 BCE. all he would have found were ruins. then there is another problem. Her result was confirmed in 1995 by radiocarbon tests which dated the destruction of Jericho to 1573 BCE. It happened at around the time the actual Exodus. if we accept that the lifetime of Joshua was 1500–1390 BCE. and if he arrived in Jericho. according to the Bruins and van der Plicht analysis. He destroyed Hazor in 1250 BCE (archaeological dating) about 150 years after he was dead. 92 . Bruins.destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire. was in progress. (The tests were performed by Hendrik J. University of Groningen. around the time “Israel is wasted. Joshua died about 100 years before Ramesses II became pharaoh in 1279 BCE. as calculated by Josephus. Centre for Isotope Research.) Jericho. If there was a historic Joshua (and probably there was not). of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for Desert Research. The walls of Jericho came tumbling down long before Joshua got there. the expulsion of the Hyksos out of Egypt. If we accept the dating of the Exodus to around 1250 BCE during the reign of Ramesses II. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon (January 1906– August 1978) was a leading archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent. She is best known for her excavations in Jericho in 1952-1958. during the reign of Ramesses II. was destroyed over a quarter century before Josephus calculates Joshua was even born. Kenyon states that her work showed Jericho had been deserted at the accepted biblical date of the Conquest.” to fight the Battle of Jericho? Let’s see what one expert has to say about the history of Jericho. defeated the Canaanites by houghing (hamstringing or crippling) their horses and burning their chariots. Kenyon traced the entire history of the city from the earliest Neolithic settlement.” How could Joshua arrive in Canaan in 1200 BCE. didn’t I write just a few paragraphs ago that “Joshua would not have arrived into Canaan until about 1200 BCE?” How could Joshua have defeated Canaan after the Exodus ended if he died before the Exodus began? What about the Merneptah Stele. But wait. with no horses or chariots. bare of seed. They came down about 300 years before the biblical account of the Exodus.” So Joshua. constructed circa 1209/1208 BCE? It say. using the dating of Josephus.

you have the story of the Israelites coming from outside. According to census data. They were basically the have-nots. whereas archaeology tells us something which is the opposite.… ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN–Tel Aviv University: In the text. The number of centenarians who make it their 115 th birthday is about 1 out of 50. WILLIAM DEVER: So what we’re dealing with is a movement of peoples. The Bible is not only fiction. PETER MACHINIST–Harvard University: The Israelites were always in the land of Israel. and then besieging the Canaanite cities. Joshua did not have a tank. but they were different kinds of groups. according to Josephus.000. He rode on top of his beloved sandals. The odds of living to age 115 are about the same as winning the lottery. The probability that Joshua lived to the ripe old age of 110 years is essentially ZERO.… NARRATOR: If the Israelites wanted to distinguish themselves from their Canaanite past. unless he did it from his rocking chair or sitting on top of one of his beloved tanks.450 American make to their 100th birthday. not the reason for that collapse. but it is bad fiction at that! WILLIAM DEVER: The notion is that most of the early Israelites were originally Canaanites. the rise of early Israel is an outcome of the collapse of Canaanite society. surely the number of people who made past their hundredth birthday would be much.700. So why does the Bible consistently cast the Israelites as outsiders in Canaan: Abraham’s wanderings from Mesopotamia. destroying them and then becoming a nation in the land of Canaan. They celebrate the power of what the Bible says is the foremost 93 . it is 1 person out of 134 million. I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Exodus and the Conquest serve another purpose. According to archaeology. Moses leading slaves out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. about 1 out of 4. and Joshua conquering Canaan from outside? The answer may lie in their desire to forge a distinctly new identity. what better way than to create a story about destroying them? But the stories of Abraham. but not an invasion of armed hordes from outside. NARRATOR: Archaeology reveals that the Israelites were themselves originally Canaanites. In Japan that ratio is 1 out of about 2. displaced Canaanites. When I do the math. much less than today.Joshua was about 90 when he finished the conquest of Canaan. I calculate that 1 out 222 million Americans make it to the age of 115 years. They were natives. For the Japanese. Considering the health care system and nutrition of biblical times. but rather a social and economic revolution. Even old “Blood and Guts” George Patton would not have been leading battles when he was 90.

For. did not suggest that other divinities had no existence at all. El was a Northwest Semitic word meaning “deity. the god of Abraham. the father of humankind and all its creatures. an ancient port city in 94 . one of the major Hebrew historians (the Elohist or northern historian). though he identifies El with Yahweh. on the one hand. likely representing El. But that is not the case. the chief god of the Canaanite deities. 1984). the classicist Michael Grant (November 1914–October 2004). while nevertheless ungrammatically treating the word as a singular noun. for centuries. [These are all names of god in ancient Judaism.’ Yet on the other hand. the Bible still abounds with references to El. And indeed.” In other words they were monolatristic. NARRATOR: This bull figurine. In later Judaism. ‘I am the God (Yahweh) of your forefathers. God was said to have explicitly declared to Moses.they took over the idea that he was the universal Father and Creator. is one of thousands of idols discovered in Israelite sites. their God. This is recorded in the clay tablets of Ugarit. centuries later. and the Israelites worshipped only the one true god. Grant also notes that “the biblical writers. In the specific Canaanite religion.…So is this the birth of monotheism? MICHAEL COOGAN–Stonehill College: The common understanding of what differentiated the ancient Israelites from their neighbors was that their neighbors worshipped many different gods and goddesses.distinction between the Israelites and all other people. still employs the plural form Elohim. an anomaly which vividly reflects the transition from a belief in many gods to a belief in one who embraces them all…. the God of Jacob. Elyon. the God of Isaac. El Roi. and there were still Israelite memories of El’s local manifestations such as Shaddai. connected with revered sanctuaries.] The local cults…tended to make people think not only of a single El but in polytheistic terms as well. the name of God [Yahweh] is considered so sacred it is never to be spoken.” On the other hand. and Levantine religion as a whole. whose cosmic royal character was inherited by the God of Israel. In The History of Ancient Israel (Charles Scribner’s Sons. wrote. and the husband of the goddess Asherah. “The God to whom Moses devoted himself can be defined as a blend between the ‘God of the Fathers’ worshipped by his patriarchal forebears and El who had long been the supreme deity of the Canaanites. an expert in the ancient Mediterranean world.This is only one of many ways in which the Israelites continued to use Canaanite imagery to convey the might and majesty of their God…. The subsequent compilers of the Bible were extremely well aware of this dual heritage [a new and not so improved god!]. Bethel. any god including Ba’al (see Figure 6) and Yahweh.” in essence a generic word for a god. El was the supreme god.

was widely worshipped. each called Ba’al and regarded as false gods. Ba’al refers to any number of local spirit-deities worshipped as cult images. In the Hebrew Bible. maybe they weren’t supposed to. In the Bronze Age. 95 . often as the sacred Lunar Bull and as the creature of El. The laws given to Moses by God expressly forbade the Israelites to do what was being done in Egypt. Moloch worship was practiced by the Canaanite. many. Canaan and elsewhere.” MICHAEL COOGAN: The Israelites frequently worshipped other gods. So at least on a practical level. but they did. as a symbol both of strength and fertility. El and Ba’al are often associated with the bull in Ugaritic texts. who had once been the primary god of the Canaanite pantheon. In Egyptian mythology. a wild bull and an ancestor of domestic cattle (it is now extinct). The Bible warned the Israelites against sacrificing their children to him. Moloch is the name of an ancient Ammonite god. if not most. Among the Egyptians’ and Hebrews’ neighbors in the Ancient Near East. the aurochs. In Leviticus [18:21]. In the Canaanite pantheon. Hadad. Moloch sacrifices have traditionally been understood to mean burning children alive to the god Moloch. as attested in Ugaritic sources. Israelites were not monotheists. neither shalt thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD. “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Molech. Hadad was the son of El. Now.the eastern Mediterranean in present-day northern Syria. Phoenician and related cultures in North Africa and the Levant. a northwest Semitic storm and rain god. was especially likely to be called Ba’al. NARRATOR: The Bible’s ideal of the Israelite worship of one god will have to wait. the sacred bull-deity was revered as Apis (see Figures 7 and 8).

This Ba’al appears to be anthropomorphic. 14th–12th century BCE. with right arm raised. FIGURE 6 96 .Bronze figurine representing a Ugarit version of Ba’al. It was found at the Bronze Age city Ras Shamra (in present-day Syria) archaeological site.

a bull-deity worshiped in Memphis. the northern-most section of Egypt. an administrative division of Lower Egypt.Worshiping the Golden Calf. The Golden Calf is similar to the Egyptian mythological god Apis. Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch. as described in Exodus. FIGURE 7 97 . Chapter 32.

Egyptian mythological god and sacred bull Apis. FIGURE 8 98 .

Now let’s return to the question. They were generally assimilated–after a generation or two they became Egyptians. in Egypt. other gods. as we try to recreate the past.It is a mistaken to believe that the Israelites became monotheistic after the Golden Calf incident. maybe because life was so difficult for them in Egypt. And there also probably were people from Canaan who went to Egypt during periods of extended drought and famine. summarized the Exodus in an August 2007 interview for The Bible’s Buried Secrets’ documentary: During this period [the Late Bronze Age. were consumed. So Canaanites went to Egypt for a variety of reasons. There were also traders from the eastern Mediterranean who went to Egypt for commercial reasons. But there are one or two Egyptian documents that record the flight of a handful of people who had been brought to Egypt for one reason or other and who didn’t want to stay there. But in our western historical imagination. from regions of the eastern Mediterranean. thought that life would be greener than in the pastures that they had left. There is almost no evidence that those people left. Sometimes they were taken there as slaves. After “40 years in the wilderness. which the LORD sware unto their fathers that he would give us. The Bible says they spent 40 years in the wilderness as punishment for worshiping the Golden Calf. This is documented in the Amarna letters discovered in Egypt. rallied a few of those people and urged them to make the difficult and traumatic and dangerous 99 . “For the children of Israel walked forty years in the wilderness. circa 1200 BCE] there likely were a lot of people from the land of Canaan.” the Israelites continued to worship false idols. as is reported in the Bible for Abraham and Sarah. The local kings of the city-states in Canaan would offer slaves as tribute to the pharaohs in order to remain in their good graces. till all the people that were men of war. So we know that there were people taken to Egypt as slaves. a land that floweth with milk and honey. And it’s possible that a charismatic leader. a Moses.” The Bible is wrong. was there an Exodus? Carol Meyers. an archeologist and professor of religion at Duke University. which came out of Egypt. there is no direct evidence that such people were connected with the exodus narrative in the Bible. Now.” It was not until about seven centuries later (assuming the 1250 BCE date of the Exodus) that the Israelites actually became monotheistic. other “Golden Calves. In Joshua [5:6]. somehow. because they obeyed not the voice of the LORD: unto whom the LORD sware that he would not shew them the land. it’s certainly worth considering that some of them. for some reason that we can never understand.

whom they called Yahweh. back to what their collective memory maintained was a promised land…. Schiffman about the historicity of the Exodus. who themselves were migrants into the highlands. Edelman Professor in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU. somehow began to identify with each other. a new ethnicity? Many scholars. He had been the Chair of New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies and was the Ethel and Irvin A. Many aspects of a new culture emerge and are linked with the “memories” of exodus. Judaism in Late Antiquity. And the group that had come from Egypt felt that one particular god. no such consensus actually exists. And the idea of a god that represented freedom–freedom for people to keep the fruits of their own labor–this was a message that was so powerful that it brought people together and gave them a new kind of identity. And. though. following are the views of Lawrence H. and Talmudic literature. in places where there never had been any settlements before. They spread the word to the highlanders. While very few Israelites may have actually made the trek across Sinai. including me. In reality. What was it that brought them together and gave them a new national identity. for instance. they could have met with people who had made the trek across the Sinai Peninsula. would search in the theological realm. He is a specialist in the Dead Sea Scrolls. In a February 2009 essay titled. it becomes the national story of all Israelites and is celebrated in all kinds of ways. There is a belief in the Bible that the dream of escaping from Egypt and returning to an ancestral homeland could not have happened without supernatural intervention. who perhaps had escaped from the tyranny of the Canaanite city-states or from an unsettled life as pastoralists across the Jordan River. the history of Jewish law.journey across the forbidding terrain of the Sinai Peninsula. which eventually became known by the term Israel…. divine intervention. at least as I see it. We’ll really never know the whole story. The emergence of ancient Israel in the highlands of Palestine is shrouded in clouds and mystery. he wrote: …there is a consensus of biblical historians and archaeologists that the Exodus did not happen. was responsible for this miracle of escape. Has the Exodus Really Been Disproven?. Their agricultural festivals become celebrations of freedom. We can only conjecture how the inhabitants of new settlements in the highlands. 100 . In the interest of fairness. Schiffman is the Vice-Provost of Undergraduate Education at Yeshiva University and Professor of Jewish Studies.

led by a group of western Semites known as the Hyksos. including the Israelites. though. the Semites. would be dangerous because of the Egyptian armies stationed there. At some point.Many archaeologists. get real. and this development can be taken to be reflected in the Bible’s description of the Pharaoh “who did not know Joseph. as can be shown from the Egyptian linguistic usage. In reviewing his victories against the peoples of Canaan. among them the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. at least at present. The Bible describes the period immediately after the Exodus as one of extended wandering in the desert. We know that for the previous few centuries. the only Egyptian document to mention Israel. ca. especially at Deir al-Balakh. the biblical record is confirmed. Again.” As a result of this change. Even an indirect route from Egypt to Israel on one’s hands and knees would not take 40 years!] Further support for the historicity of the Exodus comes from a stele of the Egyptian ruler Merneptah (1224-1214 BCE). are 101 . Many scholars believe that this text refers to the people of Israel before they entered Canaan–that is. we have letters which describe the life of work gangs from Pharaonic Egypt and these seem to paint a picture very close to that of the biblical report. not the land. it seems that in this text. What we do have. From this point of view. [My dear Professor Schiffman. conclusive proof that the Israelites left Egypt en masse as the Bible describes. in the period of desert wandering. This circumstance has been confirmed as historical by the discovery of the remains of extensive Egyptian influence. his seed is not. it is a reference to Israel after they have entered Canaan. the period during which the Israelites are reported to have come down to Canaan from Egypt and to have become influential. habitation and fortification in the Gaza region in this period. along the Mediterranean coast toward what is now the Gaza Strip. but before they established themselves as a sedentary population in the hill country in today’s West Bank (Judea and Samaria). Bible scholars and historians continue to conclude from the evidence that the Exodus did indeed occur. This wandering was said to result from the fear of the Israelites that a direct route to Canaan. the native Egyptians rebelled against these foreigners. there was indeed a rise in Semitic influence in Egypt. Since this view accords with the dating of the Exodus we suggested above. we have a direct reference to the Israelites in the period of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan…. found themselves in the difficult position the Bible records.” Here the text designated the people of Israel. one which must have lasted for centuries. “Israel is laid waste. 1580 BCE. who were closely related to the Hebrews. he claimed. the story of the slavery and Exodus is perfectly plausible within the framework of Egyptian and Near Eastern history. We may not possess. Further. More likely. Hershel Shanks… The Exodus is dated by most of those who accept its veracity to about 1250 BCE.

but no rational person believes that what has not been proven is false. I do not find his arguments for the Exodus to be more compelling than those of Finkelstein’s or Redford’s against. became the Hebrews. does not assert the historical accuracy or the literal translation of the Bible. If the original Israelites were a “mixed multitude. I take issue with his statement that a “group of western Semites known as the Hyksos. It might be worthy to point out that Schiffman is an Orthodox Jew. runaway slaves from Egypt and even nomads. biases his views. Why else would he choose to be an Orthodox Jew instead of joining a more liberal sect of Judaism? Conservative Judaism. It roughly coincides with the end of the United Monarchy in 930 CE shortly after the death of King Solomon. As I see it. Actually. he wishes the Bible to be true to justify his devotion to his faith.. I believe. “The identity of ‘Israelites. I would like to pause a moment to relate an experience I had with a Jewish doctor. There were no Hebrews at the time of the Hyksos expulsion. Israelite history prior to about 900 BCE is almost pure speculation. biologically speaking. So was there an Exodus? At this point in time. any more than is a German Jew related to a Chinese Jew today. In The Bible’s Buried Secrets. The Bible calls them a ‘mixed multitude. We engaged in the usual small talk during my examination.were closely related to the Hebrews. And I question his objectivity. why would he wear a yarmulke? His faith. Ezekiel was only 52 when 102 . He replied that Abraham lived to be only 175 years old and that it was the prophet Ezekiel who lived to be 900. It is a simple matter to claim that lack of clear. decisive external confirmation of the biblical account is itself a disproof. and ample evidence that the biblical account is entirely plausible. according to biblical scholars. however. they were not. an ethnic group. What can be stated with certainly. the Hyksos left Egypt and learned about Yahweh from the Shasu nomads of the Sinai desert. who was Orthodox.’” The early Israelites did not share a common DNA. for instance. settling down. And the original Hebrews were not a single ethnic group as were the Hyksos. They were not all from one or more closely related tribes. The Hyksos. The Hebrews were a religious group. I have never seen him without his yarmulke or long beard.’ They are a combination of disenfranchised Canaanites. is that there is no consensus that the Exodus is a myth. Moreover.” If the Midianite-Kenite hypothesis is correct. and others. In the view of Israel Finkelstein. If he didn’t believe in the Exodus.several indications of the Exodus’ historicity. long after an Exodus event.” as it says in the Bible. the Narrator says. the historicity of the Bible does not begin until around 900 BCE. This time we got to chatting about the Bible. We were discussing Abraham and I asked if he really believed Abraham lived to be 900 years old..

“The Biblical narratives about Abraham. The Sister teaching the class said Earth years might not have always been 365 days. as per the James Ussher chronology.” It is worth noting that there are some differences between Dever and Peter Machinist as to origin of the Israelites. but the ‘larger-than-life’ portraits of the Bible are unrealistic and are. there was no Exodus. Dever asserts that the early or proto-Israelites were a mixed multitude. (Biblical Archaeology Review. March-April 2006). Noah —950 years [9:29] 4. Joshua and Solomon probably do reflect some historical memories of actual people and places. “Is that in Earth years?” To which he replied. Jared—962 years [5:20] 3. The centrifugal force and momentum created by the Earth’s higher velocity would have exceeded the gravitational attraction of the Sun. When the Earth acquired its current mass about four and a half billion years ago. You can’t read the Bible as history! So. a man of science. contradicted by the archaeological evidence. resulting in a shorter Earth year. Mahalalel—895 years [5:17] 9. Kenan—910 years [5:14] 7. My physician had forgotten his Bible! Following are the ten oldest men of the Bible and their ages at death. is nonsense. Any faster. and in short. Some of Israel’s ancestors probably did come out of Egyptian slavery. of course. but there was no military conquest of Canaan. and most early Israelites were displaced Canaanites. Methuselah—969 years [5:27] 2. and the Earth would have flown off into space. It has nothing to do with Moses meeting Yahweh on the “mountain of god” and convincing the Israelites that their future lies in His exclusive worship. Shem—600 years [11:10-11] Even though my physician incorrectly asserted that it was Ezekiel who was 900 years old at the time of his death. perhaps even some who left Egypt (with an embellished story of the Exodus). it revolved around the sun in the same amount of time as it does today. This. Seth—912 years [5:8] 6. Adam—930 years [5:5] 5. “Nobody knows!” I could not get it through my thick skull that a contemporary doctor of medicine. In The Western Cultural Tradition Is at Risk. would believe such drivel. 103 . in fact. Lamech—777 years [5:31] 10. Enos—905 years [5:11] 8. William Dever wrote. Moses [and the Exodus]. as accorded to the Book of Genesis: 1. without hesitating I quickly fired back. This is the same argument I heard in Catholic School when we discussed the age of the universe and whether Adam and Eve were created in 4004 BCE. Monotheism did not develop until much later in Israeli history.he died. local inhabitants and some immigrants.

” 104 . We can’t identify Mount Sinai and many other place-names in the story. Papyri describe small groups of slaves escaping to the Sinai through the eastern fortification system of Egypt…. The story in the book of Exodus where the Hebrews are portrayed as building the city of Ramesses may reflect this huge building operation of the 13th century. Ramesses II…built a new city called Pi-Ramesses very close to the location of the older capital of the Hyksos at Avaris. as paralleled by events recorded on papyri from the late New Kingdom [16th–11th centuries BCE] of Egypt.” In The Quest. “The Israelites were always in the land of Israel. close to the time of the compilation of the biblical texts. As archaeologists we cannot provide any clues to the Exodus as an event that indeed happened. but they were different kinds of groups. To reiterate Harvard’s Machinist from The Bible’s Buried Secrets. co-author Finkelstein says the exact opposite of Mazar. there is no trace of Late Bronze remains in the rest of the Sinai Peninsula…. They were natives.many of the places mentioned in the story of Exodus and the wandering in the desert were not inhabited before the eighth or seventh century BCE…. were not an ethnic group] and have brought with them both the Exodus story as well as new religious ideas. The theme of escape to the Sinai Desert is also something that was not unknown during this period [second millennium BCE]. nor were any remains from this period found anywhere in the Sinai.” The Quest co-author Amihai Mazar writes “During the 13th century [BCE].Machinist maintains that the early Israelites were locals.[Donald] Redford has convincingly shown that both the geography of the Exodus in the eastern delta and the personal names in the story best fit…the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. It was a huge city built of mudbrick in an area where large Semitic populations lived for centuries.it may be conjectured that the [Exodus] tradition is rooted in the experience of a certain group of West Semitic slaves who fled from the northeastern Delta region into the Sinai during the latethirteenth century. that is. Redford does not discard the possibility that Exodus preserves an ancient memory of great events that took place centuries earlier–possibly the expulsion of [Asiatic] Canaanite populations known as the Hyksos from the Delta of the Nile in the 16th century BCE. At the same time. The northern coast of the Sinai [peninsula] was protected by formidable Egyptian forts that could have easily prevented an escaping people from crossing the desert. A late-date compilation would also fit the most of the place-names mentioned in regard to the wandering in the desert. They were basically the have-nots. Such a group might have joined what would become the Israelite confederacy [the early Hebrews were not homogeneous. “There is no trace of the early Hebrews in Egypt.

Although Finkelstein and Mazar advocate distinct views of early Israel’s history. The 15th. to include all of the peoples who occupied the emporia (commercial centers) of the delta. They increased their influence in the eastern Nile Delta during the 12th dynasty (1991–1803 BCE) and climbed to power in the 13th dynasty (1803–1650 BCE). Greek for shepherd kings) were an Asiatic people who first appeared in Egypt during the 11th dynasty (2134– 1991 BCE). This book brings together for the first time and under one cover. Egypt was then existed as two distinct political entities. The 14th Dynasty gets completely lost in the shuffle. a currently emerging centrist paradigm as articulated by two leading figures in the fields of early Israelite archaeology and history. The Amazon.com description of the book states. Some archeologists describe the Hyksos as multi-ethnic. ancient Israelite history.) By the way. The results of their research are featured in accessible. how can biblical non-scholars and non-archaeologists. the biblical traditions. and debate within the interrelated disciplines of Syro-Palestinian archaeology. much like the United Monarchy of Israel was divided into two nations after the death of King Solomon. It was limited in size and never extended south into Upper Egypt. But if they can’t agree. They believe some were warlords 105 .Note that The Quest is a compilation of essays by Finkelstein and Mazur. and the ancient Near Eastern written sources are all significantly relevant to the historical quest for Iron Age Israel. which was under the control of Thebanbased rulers. It is dated to 1705– 1690 BCE. “Three decades of dialogue. Now I remember why I hated history in high school! There are various hypotheses as to the Hyksos’ ethnic identity. in the second half of its immediate predecessor. ascertain the truth? One thing which is agreed by all biblical scholars is that the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt. By the 15th dynasty (1675–1550 BCE) they ruled Lower Egypt (northernmost section of Egypt) from their Egyptian capital in Avaris and by the end of the 17th dynasty (1650–1550 BCE) they were expelled. parallel syntheses of the historical reconstruction of early Israel that facilitate comparison and contrast of their respective interpretations. don’t be confused by the overlapping dates of the different dynasties. discussion. the 13th dynasty (1803– 1650 BCE). they nevertheless share the position that the material cultural data. (Egypt was split into two regions circa 1675 BCE when the Hyksos took control of Lower Egypt. and Hebrew Bible over the question of the relevance of the biblical account for reconstructing early Israel’s history have created the need for a balanced articulation of the issues and their prospective resolutions. 16th and 17th Dynasties of ancient Egypt are often combined under the group-title Second Intermediate Period. The Hyksos (Egyptian for foreign rulers. The Hyksos kingdom was centered in the eastern Nile Delta and Middle Egypt. such as me.” Essentially Finkelstein and Mazar agreed to disagree when they collaborated on this book.

Some were merchants importing raw materials: timber from Byblos. linen. This implies a Canaanite background for this Hyksos king and is the strongest evidence for a Canaanite background of the Hyksos. Even before that. and most importantly the horse-drawn war chariot. scribes. medicines for the doctors. Manetho’s account. The Egyptologist Herbert E. Josephus records that the Hyksos burnt their cities. destroyed temples and led women and children into slavery. natron. Manetho wrote the Aegyptiaca (History of Egypt). It has been claimed that new revolutionary methods of warfare ensured the Hyksos the ascendancy in their influx into the new emporia being established in Egypt’s delta and at Thebes in support of the Red Sea trade. Kamose. Some were unemployed agricultural workers looking for work. as recorded by Josephus. The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Winlock (February 1884–January 1950) describes new military hardware used by the Hyksos. In the last few decades. and the metal helmet. priests. tin. Oxford University Press. has gained support. of the appearance of the Hyksos in Egypt describes it as an armed invasion by a horde of foreign barbarians who met little resistance and who subdued the country by military force. They introduced new tools of warfare into Egypt. the last king of the Theban (southern Egyptian) 17th Dynasty. as seen in those with names of Semitic deities such as Anath or Ba’al. in Ian Shaw’s. mailed shirts. which seems to have occurred partly in order to subsidize the extensive building work. bronze. accountants. doctors. bitumen. a new type of shield. such as the composite bow. thus leading eventually to the collapse of 106 . 2000) notes that “the large intake of Asiatics. The Hyksos had Canaanite names. Some exported grain and beer to as far away as Greece. They resorted to banditry. most notably the composite bow and the horse-drawn chariot. Other scholars believe that the Hyksos were likely Semites who came from the Levant. approximately the 3rd century BCE. perfumes for the wigmakers. Amenemhat III (reigned circa 1860–1814 BCE) carried out extensive building works and mining. referred to Apophis as a “Chieftain of Retjenu” (Egyptian for Canaan) in a stela. frankincense and myrrh for the mummification industry at Karnak. the idea of a simple migration. various kinds of swords and daggers. with little or no violence involved. lawyers. semi-precious stones from as far away as Afghanistan. Manetho was an Egyptian historian and priest who lived during the Ptolemaic era. Some were skilled tradesmen. He noted improved arrowheads. theft and other crimes when they did not get it. Gae Callender (The Middle Kingdom Renaissance. professionals. copper. the Egyptian rulers of 13th Dynasty (1803–1650 BCE) were too weak to stop these new migrants from travelling to Egypt from Asia as they were preoccupied with domestic famine and plague. diplomats.seeking employment by the Egyptians as mercenaries. may have encouraged the so-called Hyksos to settle in the Delta. Under this theory.

Itjtawy is an unidentified location of a royal city founded in 12th Dynasty. continued the campaigns after the death of Kamose (also in battle with the Hyksos). sailors. With Ahmose I. “It is no longer thought that the Hyksos rulers. are traditionally credited with the final defeat of the Hyksos. Egypt was fragmenting politically with local kingdoms springing up in the northeastern Delta area. In The World of the Past (Random house. Around the time Memphis and Itjtawy fell to the Hyksos. founder of the 18th Dynasty. Kamose’s reign is important for the decisive military initiatives he took against the Hyksos.g. No one knows for sure if the Hyksos took control of Egypt by the sword (and chariot) or by their ability to bring political stability to a weak Egyptian government.... Tao II the Brave (reign 1560–1555 BCE) and Kamose (reign 1555–1550 BCE). He ruled over a population consisting largely of Syro-Palestinians who had settled in the area during the 12th Dynasty (1991–1803 BCE) and who were probably mainly soldiers. (To see the location of Memphis and Thebes. the native Egyptian ruling house in Thebes declared its independence from the vassal dynasty in Itjtawy and set itself up as the 17th dynasty. lost his life in battle with them. especially since the 12th Dynasty.represent the invasion of a conquering horde of Asiatics. shipbuilders and workmen. the New Kingdom (1550–1069 BCE) begins. is considered to have brought the country to a peak of power. Egypt returns to exclusive Egyptian rule. Kamose’s full brother (Ahmose I) made the final conquest of the Hyksos and united all of Egypt. One of these was that of King Nehesy. 1963). as regent.. who had come to rule much of Ancient Egypt.” By around 1700 BCE. His father (Tao II) had begun the initiatives and.” However. no traces of chariots have been found at the Hyksos capital of Avaris despite extensive excavation. British archeologist Jacquetta Hawkes (August 1910– March 1996) states. The two last kings of the 17th dynasty. whose capital was at Avaris. With the 18th dynasty. Supporters of the peaceful takeover of Egypt claim that there is little evidence of battles or wars in general in this period. They also maintain that the chariot didn’t play any relevant role. prior to this period. this view still makes it difficult to explain how “wandering groups” could have gained control of Egypt. refer to the map of ancient Egypt–Figure 9. e. It is thought that his mother (Ahhotep I). 107 .they were wandering groups of Semites who had long come to Egypt for trade and other peaceful purposes. So we are again at an impasse. It was able to spread southwards because of the unstable political situation in Egypt at the time. quite possibly. Kamose was possibly the son of Tao II and Ahhotep I (Great Royal Wife) and the full brother of Ahmose I (reign 1550–1525 BCE).) This dynasty was to prove the salvation of Ancient Egypt and eventually would lead the war of liberation that drove the Hyksos back into Asia.native Egyptian rule. His dynasty was probably replaced by a West-Semitic speaking SyroPalestinian dynasty which formed the basis of the later Hyksos kingdom.

(This seems similar to the attitude the Nazis took against the Jews. the expulsion of the Hyksos is the view advocated by Donald Redford as the likely historical basis for the Exodus legend. Thus the Hyksos. foreign rulers. and Ahmose I all saw to it that the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt. 108 . Kamose.) And Tao II. As previously noted.Map of Ancient Egypt showing the Nile and major cities and sites of the Dynastic period (circa 3100–332 BCE). So the Hyksos had to go. FIGURE 9 The Egyptians believed they had been given divine power by the deities. Perhaps this is the memory which became the saga of the Exodus. Foreigners were considered to be inferior and ugly as compared to Egyptians. had to be expelled.

In the case of the latter. native in origin to the folklore memory of the Canaanite enclaves of the southern Levant.C. The exact details were understandably blurred and subconsciously modified over time. In The Bible Unearthed. he had Egypt to thank. But we can 109 . Perhaps they were early evangelical proponents of the emerging Hebrew faith. namely that of the Pharaoh. as most of the Biblical stories told about them took shape much later and served etiological needs felt by Israel in the first millennium B.” It seems Redford believes that the Hebrew patriarchs have at least some historical validity. and Israel in Ancient Times Redford writes. “Finkelstein and Silberman conclude.’ It became not a conquest but a peaceful descent of a group with pastoral associations who rapidly arrived at a position of political control.” Redford adds. but either voluntarily or as a flight from a feud. Their departure came not as a result of an ignominious defeat. “New layers would be added to the Exodus story. An honest reading of the account of Exodus and [the Book of] Numbers cannot help but reveal that the tyranny Israel was freed from. lacking traditions of their own. they appropriated from the earlier culture they were copying.In Egypt. Nor are we justified in construing as a difficulty the discrepancy between the bondage tradition of Exodus [1:11-14] and the historical reality of the Hyksos expulsion (sound a bit like the expulsion of the Moors from Spain during the Middle Ages): the Biblical writer has here incorporated another figment of legend for which. The Canaanite origin of these figures is now only dimly reflected. if he would have been identified as a patriarch too. One batch of tales centered upon an ‘ancestor’ called Abram [Abraham] whose memory lived on in Beer Sheva and in the Negeb. Canaan.. should have lived on not in that tradition but among two groups that had no involvement in the historic events at all–the Greeks and the Hebrews.” “One final irony lies in the curious use to which the Exodus narrative is put in modern religion.during the exile in Babylonia and beyond. in fact. was mild indeed in comparison to the tyranny of Yahweh to which they were about to submit themselves. But they themselves were undoubtedly bona fide historical figures of the Middle Bronze Age. another took its rise at Shechem in the highlands and revolved around the figure of a Canaanite leader Jacob. and which.. “It is ironic that the Sojourn and Exodus themes. or yet again as salvation from bondage. as a symbolic tale of freedom from tyranny. for the purpose of ‘facesaving. the Exodus was part and parcel of an array of ‘origin’ stories to which the Hebrews fell heir upon their settlement of the land. “We may state that the memory of the Hyksos expulsion did indeed live on in the folklore of the Canaanite population of the southern Levant. I wonder had John the Baptist been born millennium and a half earlier.

could have served as a focus of solidarity and resistance as the Egyptian control over Canaan grew tighter in the course if the Late Bronze Age….C. To pin this biblical image to a single date is to betray the story’s deepest meaning. “In Judah. “The Exodus narrative reached its final form during the [Egyptian] 26th Dynasty. The main outlines of the story were certainly known long before….. this was the time of King Josiah. to Moses. reaching dominance in the [Nile] delta and then being forced to return to their homeland.now see how the astonishing composition came together under the pressure of a growing conflict with Egypt in the 7th century B. It was a time when Josiah embarked 110 . The confrontation between Moses and pharaoh mirrored the momentous confrontation between the young King Josiah and the newly crowned Pharaoh Necho.It is impossible to say whether or not the biblical narrative was an expansion or elaboration of vague memories of the immigration of Canaanites to Egypt and their expulsion from the [Nile] delta in the second millennium BCE. It is a powerful expression of memory and hope born in a world in the midst of change. in the second half of the 7th and first half of the 6th century BCE. The idea that YHWH would ultimately fulfill the promise given to the patriarchs. (It was in much the same way that European illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages depicted Jerusalem as a European city with turrets and battlements in order to heighten its direct impact on contemporary readers..E.. less formalized legends of liberation from Egypt could have been skillfully woven into the powerful saga that borrowed familiar landscapes and monuments. to become a central. and to King David–of a vast and unified people of Israel living securely in their land–was a politically and spiritually powerful one for Josiah’s subjects. or were the basic stories first composed then? [Good question!] It is clear that the saga of liberation was not composed as an original work in the seventh century BCE.) Older.” They add. shared memory of the people of Canaan. “The Egyptologist Donald Redford has argued that the echoes of the great events of the Hyksos occupation of Egypt and their violent expulsion from the delta resounded for centuries. Passover proves to be not a single event but a continuing experience of national resistance against the powers that be. But can it be a coincidence that the geographical and ethnic details of both the patriarchal origin stories and the Exodus liberation bear the hallmarks of having been composed in the seventh century BCE? Were there older kernels of historical truth involved. The saga of Israel’s growing conflict with Egypt is neither historical truth nor literary fiction. These stories of Canaanite colonists established in Egypt. Its many references to specific places and events in this period quite clearly suggest that the author or authors integrated many contemporary details into the story.

immigrant and indigenous. there is no credible evidence for an actual Exodus. worshiped in one Temple.” Professor Schiffman is one of the few scholars who believes there might be some historical basis for the Bible’s version of events. most scholars agree that the story of the Exodus is a narrative about a people’s desire for freedom and the ability to control their own destiny. [Josiah could be labeled the Abraham Lincoln of a united Israel. In the Book of Exodus [12:37-38] it says. Whatever the truth may be. In David and Solomon. and flocks. Sinai. on them were inscribed the Ten Commandments]. “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel. He would establish a single capital in Jerusalem and designate a permanent place for the Ark of the Covenant [the chest holding the Stone Tablets given to Moses by God on Mt. Israel might well be an amalgamation of different ethnic groups and tribes. Let my people go!” 111 . disputed. “Men shall be ruled by law. even very much cattle. and herds. not the will of other men (Charlton Heston as Moses). located in the one and only capital. “It was in the fateful reign of King Josiah that the mystique of the David dynasty was suddenly. It was in truth Charlton Heston. beside children.” The tale of the Exodus was most likely composed around the time of King Josiah’s reign and it ultimately led to a faith for over half of the world’s population. trying to put together a divided country. dramatically transformed from a collection of dynastic legends into a messianic faith that would long outlive the independence of the tiny Iron Age kingdom to become the irreducible basis for Judeo-Christian religious belief. And a mixed multitude went up also with them.]…[Josiah] would banish the influence of foreign gods from the hearts and daily practices of the Israelites. under one king of the Davidic dynasty were the keys to salvation of Israel.” It brought an origin and a history to a people whose origin and history was.on an ambitious attempt to take advantage of the Assyrian collapse and unite all Israelites under his rule…. “And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. Finkelstein and Silberman state. who said. Perhaps the Hyksos learned of Yahweh from the Shasu in the Sinai Desert and brought this god with them as they entered Canaan and mixed with the indigenous population. not Moses. in Josiah’s case the northern Kingdom of Israel with the southern Kingdom of Judah. One God.to realize the dream of a glorious united monarchy (see Figures 2A and 10): a large and powerful state of all Israelites worshiping one God in one Temple in one capital–Jerusalem–and ruled by one king of Davidic lineage. no one can say when it occurred because no one is certain which event it is based on or which group of people left Egypt for Canaan. The expulsion of the Hyksos who were cast out of Egypt makes sense as a basis for the Exodus legend. However the fact remains. and is. There is no real evidence for such an event. And if it did occur.” No one can say for sure if an Exodus occurred. about six hundred thousand on foot that were men.

112 .

Yahweh promises that he and his descendents will rule forever. the stone sank into his forehead and he fell down on the ground. one of the Bible’s larger than life figures emerges to unite the 12 tribes of Israel against a powerful new enemy. NARRATOR: The Bible celebrates David as a shepherd boy who vanquishes the giant Goliath. pitting the Bible against archaeology.C. the king of a great nation. some skeptics. none appears more than David. scholar against scholar. [This reminds me of the Pledge of Allegiance–“one nation under God.’ First Samuel [17:49]): David put his hand into the bag.”] WILLIAM DEVER: Now. Families grow into tribes. or was he only the leader of a small city-state. with little to no international power or prestige? Let’s begin with more dialogue (indented) from The Bible’s Buried Secrets. a lover who lusts after forbidden fruits.. And in a new covenant. NARRATOR: About two centuries pass after the Merneptah Stele places the Israelites in Canaan. today. Israel Finkelstein T his chapter addresses one of the greatest debates regarding scripture. David’s son Solomon builds the [First] Temple where Yahweh. was David. Scriptures say David creates a kingdom that stretches from Egypt to Mesopotamia. VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible ‘Revised Standard Version. Of all the names in the Hebrew Bible. now the national God of Israel.Chapter 8 Was King David the Leader of a Great Israelite Nation? The transition from the formative to the more historical part in the Bible is circa 900 BCE. The Kingdom of David and Solomon: one nation. according to the Bible. and a poet who composes lyric psalms still recited today. He makes Jerusalem his royal capital. who reigned circa 1010–970 BCE. Was there a real King David in the first place? And if so. their population increases. It struck the Philistine [Goliath] in the forehead. will dwell for eternity. It’s a later biblical 113 . Then about 1000 B. united under one god. he took out a stone and slung it. have argued that there was no such thing as a united monarchy [see Figure 9]. indivisible.

The Greek hoplites embodied the image of a threatening enemy.” Here is another example of how the Bible’s authors made up “history. 114 . “David is no more historical than King Arthur.. The duel between David and Goliath–dressed as one of the Greek hoplite mercenaries who protected Egypt’s interests and might–symbolized the rising tensions between Josiahic Judah and Egypt of the 26th dynasty [675–525 BCE]…. consisting of a metal helmet. arrogant enemy that would have been all too well known to many Judahites of the late 7th century BCE…. In short. Finkelstein and Silberman write.. and a large shield. As one of the biblical revisionists has said. seemingly invincible Goliath…. a construct of modern scholarship. But Judah’s dream of recapturing the rich lands of the western Shephelah [a region in south-central Israel] was threatened by the power of Egypt that now dominated large parts of the Philistine plain. plate armor. It is only with the appearance of the heavily armed Greek hoplites [citizen-soldiers of the Ancient Greek citystates] of the 7th through 5th centuries BCE that standard [military] equipment comes to resemble Goliath’s.. Josiah. would defeat the elite Greek troops of the Egyptian army in the same way that his famous ancestor overcame the mighty. Finkelstein also suggests that David’s battle with Goliath will eventually become a symbol of the confrontation between Jesus and the devil during the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness.The legend of David and Solomon…would be told and retold for centuries. as described in the Bible. bears little resemblance to the military equipment of the early Philistines as archeology has revealed it….. Was “David no more historical than King Arthur?” Perhaps. gradually losing its link with history and assuming increasing cosmic proportions and spiritual meaning. there was no David.” In David and Solomon. And this suggests that the author of the biblical story of David and Goliath had an intimate knowledge of Greek hoplites of the late 7th century BCE. the standard hoplite’s accouterments were identical to Goliath’s. But even the legend of King Arthur may not be a total fabrication.Goliath’s armor.. a sword.In the late 7th century BCE two great revival dreams collided: Judah’s fantasy to “reestablish” the united monarchy of David and Solomon and Egypt’s vision of reviving its ancient empire in Asia.” Interestingly. In fact.the new David. possibly containing elements of historical events.construct and. metal greaves. History repeats itself! So was David a figment of the biblical author’s imagination? Not totally. particularly. two spears. “The detailed description of Goliath’s armor reveals the famous biblical story to be a late-seventh-century BCE composition that expresses both the ideology of holy war and the particular enemies faced by Judah in Josiah’s time..

FIGURE 10 115 .

in conflict with the opinion of Israel Finkelstein. So David. who argues that the Kingdom under David was neither large nor powerful. In The Bible Unearthed. this clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem. written in Aramaic. Dedicated by the king of Damascus or one of his generals.NARRATOR: But then. We have better sources. Gila Cook was finishing up some survey work with an assistant at Tel Dan. It is important to note that the dialog in The Bible’s Buried Secrets. Furthermore. Thus. I killed the king of the House of David. it celebrates the conquest of Israel. seems to be a historical truth. They are strong evidence that David really lived. I killed the king of the House of David. WILLIAM DEVER: The later we come in time. Avraham Biran… NARRATOR: Cook had found a fragment of a victory stele. king of Moab in the 9th century BCE. the stories of Israel’s kings move the biblical narrative out of the realm of legend and into the light of history.” Those words. Unlike Genesis. scratches on 116 . (An epigrapher is an expert in the study of inscriptions. we have more written sources. “[the Tel Dan Stele] is dramatic evidence of the fame of the Davidic dynasty less than a hundred years after the reign of David’s son Solomon. made by Avraham Biran and epigrapher Joseph Naveh. boasting. or at least a House of David. Following is a partial line-by-line translation of the Tel Dan Stele. an ancient language very similar to Hebrew. was found in the 19th century east of the Dead Sea. “I slew mighty kings who harnessed thousands of chariots and thousands of horsemen. “I slew mighty kings who harnessed thousands of chariots and thousands of horsemen. “the House of David. the French scholar Andre Lemaire has recently suggested that a similar reference to the house of David can be found on the Mesha Stele. an amazing discovery literally shed new light on what the Bible calls ancient Israel’s greatest king. The fact that Judah (or perhaps its capital Jerusalem) is referred to with only a mention of its ruling house is clear evidence that the reputation of David was not a literary invention of a much later period. the firmer ground we stand on.” make this a critical discovery. The excavation was headed by the eminent Israeli archaeologist. we have more contemporary eyewitness sources. Finkelstein and Silberman write. today.” The inscription on the Tel Dan stele has been dated to the 9th or 8th century BCE. The tribute to Mesha. the house of David was known throughout the region. in 1993. a biblical site in the far north of Israel. such as engravings in stone or metal.” could give the impression that David was the king of a great nation.

son of Jehoram [of Judah]. Symbology does not really exist as an academic discipline. except in the mind of Dan Brown and his readers. the fictional Harvard University professor of religious iconology and symbology.) In the translation. Hazael repelled two attacks by the Assyrians. or embossing on cast metal. son of Ahab.... circa 842 BCE.rock. Using conventional dating that King David ruled from 1010–970 BCE and Solomon from 970–930 BCE. who was a king of Damascus and an enemy of the kingdom of Israel and Judah. seized Israelite territory east of the Jordan River. was a northwest Semitic storm and rain god. and I slew [seve]nty kin[gs].. There is limited historical information about the life of Hazael outside of the Bible. time. Hadad. and location make it plausible that the author was Hazael. And I set [their towns into ruins and turned] their land into [desolation.. 12]. The monumental Aramaic inscription discovered at Tel Dan is seen by most scholars as having being erected by Hazael after he defeated the Kings of Israel and Judah. was king of the northern Kingdom of Israel around 850–840 BCE.. Ahaziah[u]. [And] Hadad made me king.. it is most likely a king of neighboring Aram-Damascus. then it seems that the Tel Dan Stele commemorates the conquests of 117 . let me now identify the names identified in the text. Fans of Dan Brown novels might equate an epigrapher with Robert Langdon. The Biblical accounts of Hazael’s conquests can be found in 2 Kings [8. [and] I departed from [the] seven[. And Hadad went in front of me.. Jehoram [of Israel].. Jehoram [of Judah] was king of the southern Kingdom of Judah circa 849–842 BCE. was king of the southern Kingdom of Judah for only one year. Language. [I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab] king of Israel. Ahab was king of the northern Kingdom of Israel around 875–850 BCE.. a field related to the study of historic symbols.. who harnessed thou[sands of cha]riots and thousands of horsemen (or: horses).. During his approximately 37-year reign (circa 842–805 BCE).. King Hazael led the Arameans in battle against the forces of King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah.].” Although the name of the author of the stele does not appear on the available fragments. and I killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g of the House of David..] of my kingdom.. To make some sense out of this incomplete inscription. After defeating them both at Ramoth-Gilead (at two different times). impressions in wax.].. while words and letters which appear within square brackets [ ] were supplied by religious historians: “And the king of I[s]rael entered previously in my father’s land. missing text (or text that is too damaged by erosion) is represented by [.. as previously noted. 9. and sought to take Jerusalem as well. the Philistine city of Gath.

which is Elohim. And doesn’t it seem strange that David and Solomon each ruled for 40 years? Forty is a popular number in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). NARRATOR: So the two different writers [of the Bible] became known as E. King David is the earliest biblical figure confirmed by archaeology to be historical. Abraham knew God simply by the most common Hebrew word for God. the view consistently advocated by Israel Finkelstein. Jesus roamed the desert for 40 days where he was tempted by the devil. NARRATOR: When the biblical chronology of Israel’s kings can be crossreferenced with historical inscriptions. Abraham knew God by his intimate. scholars refer to as J. NARRATOR: Passages with the name Yahweh. for Elohim. The Hebrews roamed the Sinai desert for 40 years.. Jesus was with his disciples for 40 days after the Resurrection until his Ascension into heaven. Most likely based on poetry and songs passed down for generations. which many scholars dated to the 10th century B. for Yahweh.Hazael after the David/Solomon period.C. the time of David and Solomon. conventionally pronounced Yahweh. the stories of Abraham in the Promised Land.… NARRATOR: In the 18th century. And most scholars agree he lived around 1000 B. This corroborates the Bible that there was an actual House of David. they can provide scholars with fairly reliable dates. hidden in two different names for God. the 10th century. 118 . and J..C. and the New Testament too. And David and Solomon each ruled for 40 years. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights during the “Great Flood” in which only Noah and his family survived. like the Tel Dan Stele. but tells us nothing about either a historical David or a historical Solomon. which also means they might not be kings of a great and powerful kingdom. MICHAEL COOGAN: According to one account. they both write a version of Israel’s distant past. MICHAEL COOGAN: The earliest of these sources is the one that is known as J. MICHAEL COOGAN: But according to other accounts. It seems to me that the statistical odds the number 40 would come up so frequently in “biblical history” is damned close to zero. Moses and the Exodus. personal name. German scholars uncovered a clue to who wrote the Bible. I would not be too quick to believe that David and Solomon each ruled for 40 years. which in German is spelled with a J.

today called the City of David. who both would have lived in Jerusalem in the Kingdom of Judah. to date. and Mazar believes her excavations. who places J in the time of David and Solomon. Wellhausen concluded that (J).C. it was a long shot that any biblical remains would survive. archaeologists have searched Jerusalem for evidence of the Kingdom of David. Israeli archaeologist Eilat Mazar went digging in the most ancient part of Jerusalem. EILAT MAZAR–Shalem Center : We started excavations here. It can be only royal structure. wrote his verses for what became the Bible circa 950E BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. Biblical archaeologists date ruins based on the pottery they find associated with those ruins. around 1000 B. The problem is stone walls can never be dated on their own. It goes from east. This coincides with the opinion of Michael Coogan. but excavating here is contentious because Jerusalem is sacred to today’s three monotheistic religions. Pottery dating is based on two ideas: pottery styles evolve uniformly over time. but is it David’s kingdom? For these walls to be David’s palace. the further back in time 119 . NARRATOR: Such huge walls can only be part of a massive building. and we don’t see the end of it yet. NARRATOR: But because this area has been fought over. destroyed and rebuilt over thousands of years. and the further down you dig. they would have to date to his lifetime. five meter wide.NARRATOR: And because the backdrop for J’s version of events is the area around Jerusalem. represent only 20 percent of its total size. it’s likely he lived there. three meter wide. NARRATOR: This huge complex may be evidence of a kingdom. the Yahwist source. because we wanted to check and to examine the possibility that the remains of King David’s palace are here.. 30 meters to the west.… NARRATOR: Despite the difficulties.. perhaps in the royal courts of David and Solomon. And then we saw that it goes all directions. EILAT MAZAR: Large walls started to appear. But then. NARRATOR: For over a hundred years. EILAT MAZAR: Such a huge structure shows centralization and capability of construction.

and some critics argue the system for dating that pottery relies too heavily on the Bible. which relates this sample material like olive pits or seeds or charcoal to the archaeological context. NARRATOR: So has Mazar discovered the Palace of David? She adds up the evidence. its radioactive carbon-14 decays at a consistent rate over time. without any fixed dates. dates to the 10th century B. the kingdom itself rest on the dates associated with fragments of pottery. then it is earlier than pottery style B that comes from the stratum above it. By analyzing pottery from well-stratified sites. according to Albright’s chronology. If pottery style A comes from the lowest stratum. NARRATOR: Today. By measuring the ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12. the carbon in the seed can be used to date the pottery. EILAT MAZAR: What we found is a typical 10th century pottery. there is a more scientific method to anchor pottery to firm dates. The building is huge. indeed. radiocarbon dating. Boaretto can determine the age of the olive seed. of course. it is located in a prominent place in the oldest part of Jerusalem. a beautiful black-on-red juglet. ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN: Archaeologists in the past did not rely too heavily on the Bible.you go. It is a specialty of Elisabetta Boaretto of the Weizmann Institute. But this chronology is floating in time. Israel: The first step is. What is so important is that this is a 10th century typical juglet. Albright’s chronology.. and the pottery. ELISABETTA BOARETTO–Weizmann Institute of Science. they relied only on the Bible. can be used to date the pottery. used events mentioned in both the Bible and Egyptian and Mesopotamian texts to assign dates to pottery styles. meaning bowls with hand burnish you can see from inside. 120 . How do you date in archaeology? You need an anchor from outside. in the field.C. slightly modified. considered the father of biblical archaeology. in turn. is what Mazar uses to date her massive building and what most archaeologists use today. NARRATOR: If an olive seed is found at the same layer as a piece of pottery. together with an import. When the seed dies. We have a problem in dating. To anchor this chronology William Foxwell Albright. which. But that evidence and. the time of David. Mazar believes she has indeed found the Palace of David. excavators are able to create what they call a relative chronology.

but if Boaretto is right. NARRATOR: Pottery and radiocarbon dating alone cannot determine if the Kingdom of David and Solomon was as large and prosperous as described in the Bible. With no writing or monumental building. Fortunately. and so on and so forth. the Bible offers clues of other places to dig for evidence of this kingdom. and his despised wife Jezebel. It was to build the House of YHWH .. VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version. nothing more than a cow town. Hazor. Her carbon samples date the pottery that Albright and most archaeologists associate with the time of David and Solomon to around 75 years later [after the David and Solomon period]. Megiddo and Gezer. ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN: So David and Solomon did not rule over a big territory. According to their results. NARRATOR: But it’s not so simple. and his royal capital. ISRAEL FINKELSTEIN: These are the results of the radiocarbon dating.. Mazar’s palace…can date to the 10th century. I treat them as if arguing that the world is flat. but it is Solomon. the population was limited. this may seem like a trivial difference. the time of David and Solomon. And I cannot argue anymore. if you wish. The Bible credits David with conquering the kingdom. that the Earth is flat. This places [it] in the time of the lesser-known kings Omri. suddenly the Kingdom of David and Solomon is far less glorious than the Bible describes. who is the great builder. there was no manpower for big conquest. How can this discrepancy be explained? The problem is that these radiocarbon dates have a margin of error of plus.” First Kings 9:15): This was the purpose of the forced labor which Solomon imposed. all worshippers of the Canaanite god Ba’al. 121 .Boaretto has meticulously collected and analyzed hundreds of samples from over 20 sites throughout Israel. NARRATOR: This would make David a petty warlord ruling over a chiefdom. with just a few settlements. Mazar’s Palace of David…[has] to be re-dated. very poor. his son. and the wall of Jerusalem. Jerusalem. For events so long ago. about the difference between the two sides.or minus-30 years. Other teams collected radiocarbon samples following the same meticulous methodology. Ahab. It was a small chiefdom. He or she who decides to ignore these results.

” First Kings 14:25–26): In the fifth year of King Rehoboam. NARRATOR: Stunned by the similarity of these three gates. believes this may be evidence of Solomon’s building campaign. NARRATOR: Three monumental gates. in Egypt. Rehoboam. He carried off everything. lies in Egypt. Throughout its history the Israelites had been divided into tribes. Yigal Yadin first uncovered this structure. The locations of these strikingly similar gates in both regions suggest a single governing authority throughout the land. 122 . NARRATOR: The Egyptian pharaoh Shishak invades Israel. north and south. director of excavations. then into kingdoms. once again. VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version. specific dates. would seem to be powerful evidence not only of prosperity. in which Egyptian history coincides with biblical history is really startling and has to be taken note of. DONALD REDFORD–Pennsylvania State University: The head-smiting scene. in fixing one of the earliest dates. very similar gate was excavated at Gezer. and Yadin immediately remembered that a very. Amnon Ben-Tor. Archaeologists call it a six-chambered gate. an event the Bible reports and specifically dates to five years after Solomon’s death. King Shishak of Egypt marched against Jerusalem and carried off the treasures of the House of YHWH and the treasures of the royal palace. a massive entryway. AMNON BEN-TOR: Here we have a wonderful connection of the biblical passage as it shows up in archaeology. or Sheshonk. but also of a central authority. which you see on this wall. the founder of Dynasty 22. AMNON BEN-TOR–The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: It turned out to be a six-chambered gate. commemorates a military campaign conducted by Pharaoh Shishak. all based on the same plan. fortified with towers and guard rooms. and then Chicago University excavated this gate.NARRATOR: Here in Hazor. here at Megiddo. NARRATOR: This stunning convergence between the Bible and Egyptian history gives a firm date for the death of Solomon. Ben-Tor’s predecessor. during the reign of his son. But how can we be sure this is the Kingdom of David and Solomon? The answer. DONALD REDFORD: The importance of this. Shishak’s campaign. Yadin recalled the passage in the Bible.

So there you have it. WILLIAM DEVER: We can actually see vivid evidence here of a destruction. with its capital in Jerusalem. And the Bible says Solomon dies five years earlier. this convergence of the Bible. This is vivid evidence of a destruction.C. and we would connect that with this well-known raid of Pharaoh Shishak. but. and it flows down like lava. up in here..Solomon. north and south. In Finkelstein’s opinion. who died just five years earlier. Both make credible arguments.. At this point in time. You can even see where they’re burned from the heat of a huge fire that has been built here.C. which means 930 B.” It seems there were historical Kings David and Solomon who ruled during the 10th century BCE. in 925 B. Bill Dever directed the excavations in the late 1960s. we have the original stones. where archaeologists find the hallmark of Solomon’s building program. with their depictions of bound captives and city walls. Down below. whose size and power are of great debate. but there’s even more hidden in these walls. This is further evidence that David and Solomon lived in the 10th century. Egyptian chronology and Solomon’s gates is powerful evidence that a great kingdom existed at the time of David and Solomon. And I am not taking sides. Historical accuracy of the Bible does not begin. you see the fire had been so intense that the soft limestone has melted into lime. 123 . pretty much in situ. We don’t know much about them but it seems they existed and ruled over an Israelite kingdom. until 900 BCE. One of those places is Gezer. I don’t really see anybody winning this debate until more evidence is uncovered. Finkelstein is an advocate of a small kingdom while Amnon Ben-Tor and William Dever advocate a much larger monarchy. and if it’s in the 10th century. WILLIAM DEVER: Surely this kind of monumental architecture is evidence of state formation. you see the stones are badly cracked.. then it must have been built during the lifetime of Solomon. Israelite history prior to about 900 BCE is highly subjective and controversial. These ovals. “The transition from the formative to the more historical part in the Bible is circa 900 BCE. And then.according to the well-established Egyptian chronology. NARRATOR: And if the gate was destroyed by Shishak.C. in the mainstream. represent places Pharaoh Shishak conquered in Israel. then. if you look in here. a six-chambered gate. dates to 925 B. NARRATOR: Although a minority of archaeologists continue to disagree [read Israel Finkelstein]. spanning all of Israel.

124 .

The result is that Jerusalem and the Temple emerge as powerful symbols. From Solomon to the End of the Babylonian Captivity I am the LORD thy God. NARRATOR: The worship of the ancient Israelites bears little resemblance to Judaism today. out of the house of bondage. Finkelstein and others are far better equipped to discuss that topic. It was caused by economic complaints from the northern tribes which Solomon’s son and successor. after the United Monarchy (also called the United Kingdom of Israel) split circa 930 BCE.Chapter 9 Polytheistic Israel. and seen as Yahweh’s earthly dwelling. which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. NARRATOR: But Jerusalem is more than a political center. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. SHAYE COHEN–Harvard University: The magic of Jerusalem is the magic of the Temple. Exodus [20:2-3] T his book was not written with a focus on the history of Israel in period between Kings David and Solomon and the middle of the first millennium BCE. one temple for the one god. I have added very few comments since the transcript pretty much tells the whole story. The text focuses on Jerusalem. It centered around the Temple. To understand how the 125 . could not resolve. The split coincided with the death of Solomon. but also the oneness of the Jewish people. It deals with Israel from Solomon to the end of the Babylonian captivity. Rehoboam. I have included in this chapter a large chunk of The Bible’s Buried Secrets’ transcript. it is the center of worship. the capital of the southern Kingdom of Judah. built by David’s son Solomon. However for the convenience of those readers who have limited knowledge of Israel’s history. not just of the oneness of God. It presents a credible hypothesis of how Judaism transited from a polytheistic religion to a monotheistic one.

There was a room. Andromeda was not known to be a galaxy until 1925. Unique to the temple at Ain Dara are the enormous footprints of the god who lived here. which includes the Dome of the Rock. because it is the room where God’s presence could be found. In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim. NARRATOR: Now it is possible to reconstruct. how Solomon’s Temple may have looked and how the ancient Israelites worshipped their god. NARRATOR: The Bible’s description suggests a floor plan for Solomon’s Temple. He overlaid the cherubim with gold. Guarding both temples are sphinxes or ‘cherubim. LAWRENCE STAGER–Harvard University: If we take the details that we find of Solomon’s Temple in the Book of Kings and compare it with the Ain Dara temple. why didn’t he tell the Israelites about Andromeda?] NARRATOR: And the ancient Israelites believed their god demanded a very specific form of worship. but the Bible offers a remarkably detailed description. Evidence of this survives today. scholars must discover what the Temple looked like and how it functioned.. To be fair to the Israelites. based on the work of Edwin Hubble. Venus or in our sister galaxy Andromeda. in Palestine. 23 and 28): The house which King Solomon built for YHWH was 60 cubits long. who live here. and it is strikingly similar to temples built by neighboring peoples who worship many gods.. 20 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. although archaeologists know where its remains should be.” First Kings 6:2. They mark his progress as he strode to his throne in the innermost sanctuary. of what this temple might have looked like in the age of Solomon.’ as the Bible calls them. the holy place. at Ain Dara. VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version.each 10 cubits high. If god supervised the composition of the Bible. in modern-day Syria. They have similar dimensions and the same basic floor plan. we can piece together a fairly good picture. with some confidence. [It seems it never occurred to the Israelites that god might reside on Mars. the holy of holies where tradition says the Ark of the Covenant held the tablets of the [Mosaic] law. I think. and then beyond that the most sacred room. JOAN BRANHAM–Providence College: Out front was an enormous altar. The closest in appearance is a temple hundreds of miles to the north of Jerusalem. It lies under the third holiest site in Islam. Beyond that was a porch area that led into the inside of the Temple. But. The Samaritans. claim direct descent 126 . And this room was considered to be the most sacred site on Earth.ancient Israelites worshipped their god. on Mount Gerizim. Not a stone of Solomon’s Temple has ever been excavated. it is impossible to dig there.

NARRATOR: But while the priests were offering sacrifice to Yahweh in the Temple. He is not an anthropomorphic being and is gender neutral. So it is the most precious substance in the human world. WILLIAM DEVER: When I got home and brushed it off. Even hundreds of years after the Israelites rise from their Canaanite pagan roots.500 years. monotheism has still not completely taken hold. Question and note: why does god need a wife? How human that seems. Here. for over 2. JOAN BRANHAM: The primary function is to make a connection between our mundane world and the divine world. 127 .Dever concludes God had a wife. According to their tradition. Executed in clear eighth-century script. throughout Israel…. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. “Blessed may X be by Yahweh”–that’s good biblical Hebrew. a fertility goddess that was worshipped here in Israel. is embodied in blood. animal sacrifice. I presume the Holy Spirit is gender neutral. exceptional clay figurine showing a goddess. NARRATOR: More inscriptions associating Yahweh and Asherah have been discovered and thousands of figurines unearthed. Bill Dever was carrying out salvage excavations in tombs in southern Israel. AMIHAI MAZAR–The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Well. archaeologists are digging at an Israelite house that illuminates the religious practices of its ancient inhabitants. Blood is the most sacred substance on the altar. when a local brought him an inscription that had been robbed from one of them. and blood is the substance that embodies life. NARRATOR: Who is this fertility goddess? And what is a pagan idol doing in an Israelite home? Dramatic evidence as to her possible identity first surfaced in 1968. we just found this beautiful. God shouldn’t need a companion unless he is an anthropomorphic being. and it says. and it gives the name of the deceased. but it says– “by Yahweh and his Asherah.from the ancient tribes of Israel. many Israelites were not as loyal. At Tel Rehov. and the means. In Islam god is god. where He is referred to as Lord–Judaism and Christianity. it’s a tomb inscription. as compared to Judaism and Christianity where god is assumed to be masculine. for the ancient Israelites. she is shown holding a baby. or God the Father and Son–Christianity. in this case.” And Asherah is the name of the old Canaanite mother goddess. they have been practicing the ancient Israelite form of worship.

was worshiped in a variety of ways–and sometimes pictured as having a heavenly entourage. that it wasn’t. appears in a late-monarchic inscription from the Shephelah of Judah. such as Ba’al. From the biblical critique of Solomon (probably reflecting late monarchic realities). 2 Kings [23:13]). speaking of YHWH and his Asherah. the prophets. Jeremiah tells us that the number of deities worshiped in Judah equaled the number of its cities and that the number of alters to Ba’al in Jerusalem equaled the number of bazaar stalls in the capital (Jeremiah [11:13]). Ezekiel 8 describes in detail all the abominations practiced in the temple in Jerusalem. cult objects dedicated to Ba’al. and even the national deities of the neighboring lands. Finkelstein and Silberman write. we learn of worship in Judah of Milcom of Ammon. the moon and the stars. Asherah. Chemosh of Moab and Ashtoreth of Milcom (1 Kings [11:5]. in short. But we know. Moreover. now. we learn that priests in the countryside also regularly burned incense on the high places to the sun. the hosts of heaven. a somewhat similar formula.” WILLIAM DEVER: This is awkward for some people. such as Baal. Asherah and the hosts of heaven were installed in the temple of YHWH in Jerusalem. “Since the high places were presumably open areas or natural hilltops. So the clearest archaeological evidence of the popularity of this type of worship throughout the kingdom is the discovery of hundreds of figurines of naked fertility goddesses at every late monarchic site in Judah. NARRATOR: The Bible admits the Israelites continue to worship Asherah and other Canaanite gods. no definite archaeological traces of them have as yet been identified. In fact. More suggestive are the inscriptions found in the early 8th century site of Kuntillet Ajrud in northeastern Sinai– a site that shows cultural links with the northern kingdom. And lest it be assumed that YHWH’s married status was a sinful northern hallucination. There is ample biblical and archaeological information that the syncretistic cult of YHWH flourished in Jerusalem even in the late monarchic the condemnations of various Judahite prophets makes it abundantly clear that YHWH was worshiped in Jerusalem together with other deities. They apparently refer to the goddess Asherah as being the consort of YHWEH.In The Bible Unearthed. the notion that Israelite religion was not exclusively monotheistic. YHWH. From the indirect (and pointedly negative) evidence of the book of Kings. including the worship of the Mesopotamian god Tammuz. “This deep-rooted cult was not restricted to rural districts. “The settlers of Judah…worshiped YHWH along with a variety of gods and goddesses known or adapted from the cults of neighboring peoples. holy men 128 .

God would reward them. your God. flood south into Jerusalem. in the late 7th century B. One of them.” Hosea [11:2]: The more I called them. he would punish them. He would punish them by using foreign powers as his instruments. MICHAEL COOGAN: The Israelites had made a contract with God. in the Book of Kings. D retells the Exodus story and reaffirms the covenant Moses made between God and the Israelite people. PETER MACHINIST: The Assyrians were the overpowering military force.” So the divine 129 . fell under the sway of the Assyrian juggernaut. D is the third group of scribes who write part of the Hebrew Bible. and as the scroll was being read.speaking in the name of God.C. according to the Bible. Then a powerful new enemy storms out of Mesopotamia to create the largest empire the Near East had ever known. Josiah. Deuteronomy. Soon after Solomon’s death.. If they broke it. the two states that the Bible talks about as the states making up the people Israel. in the seventh century B. whom scholars call the D writers.. that King Josiah. MICHAEL COOGAN: We are told. consistently rail against breaking the covenant made with Moses to worship only Yahweh. was told that a scroll had been discovered in the Temple archives. It inspires another group of scribes. the more they went from me. NARRATOR: Scholars believe that the lost scroll is part of the fifth book of the Torah. because he has loved you. the 10 northern tribes rebel and form the northern Kingdom of Israel. the Assyrians.C. where the descendents of David and Solomon continue to reign. According to the Documentary Hypothesis. He has loved you more than any other nation. The scroll was brought to him. and Israel and Judah. finally heeds what the prophets prescribe. NARRATOR: Events seem to fulfill the prophets’ dire predictions. the Assyrian army crushes the Northern Kingdom. Josiah began to weep. NARRATOR: In 722 B. Those who escape death or exile to Assyria. NARRATOR: Numerous Assyrian texts and reliefs [sculptures] vividly document their domination of Israel and Judah. because he realized that it was a sacred text containing divine commands which the people had been breaking.C. after J and E. VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version. MICHAEL COOGAN: “You should love the Lord. If they kept it.. they kept sacrificing to the Ba’als and offering incense to idols. a detailed code of laws and observance.

after defeating the Assyrians. We will not kill him. the Ten Commandments establishes a code of morality and justice for all. Before his eyes. NARRATOR: By associating the belief in one god with moral behavior. MEYERS–Duke University: The destruction of Jerusalem created one of the most significant theological crises in the history of the Jewish people. The book of Deuteronomy contains the clearest prohibition of the worship of other gods. ERIC M. we will not steal from him and we will not lie about him. because that’s the most important thing about the way in which we treat one another. I want to pause for a moment to contemplate the implications of Michael Coogan’s views. NARRATOR: To enforce the covenant. Josiah orders that idols and altars to all other deities be destroyed. as God himself repeatedly says through the later prophets. Jerusalem Temple. ancient texts and the Bible. prophets and scribes. Israel is wiped out.C. the last Davidic king. The covenant–the promise made by Yahweh to his chosen people and to David that his dynasty would rule eternally in Jerusalem–is broken. and drag them in chains to Babylon. is insistent that only the God of Israel is to be worshipped. In 586 B. the Babylonian victors slay the sons of Zedekiah. the Ten Commandments…. Babylonian records confirm the presence of Israelites. We will abide by the commandments. It starts with the destruction of Yahweh’s earthly dwelling. If they 130 . more than other parts of the Bible. Their acceptance of one god and the triumph of monotheism begins with a series of events vividly attested through archaeology. it is also a code of conduct between people. And Deuteronomy. in Deuteronomy and in Exodus. “The Israelites had made a contract with God. He said. in exile. an exclusive loyalty to God.. including the king. the ideal of Western civilization….love for Israel requires a corresponding loyalty to God. The commandments. then blind him. And that’s where the idea of justice comes in. THOMAS CAHILL: Author-The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels: The revelation of the Ten Commandments is an ethical revelation. NARRATOR: The Babylonians round up the Israelite priests. are already written on the hearts of human beings. NARRATOR: The Ten Commandments appears in two books of the Bible.The ancient Israelites continue to worship other gods. a new Mesopotamian empire invades Israel: the Babylonians ransack the Temple and systematically burn the sacred city. It is not only a contract with Yahweh. After 400 years.

” This statement implies that the God of the Hebrews. his house. their sacred traditions. MICHAEL COOGAN: Among the exiles from Jerusalem to Babylon were priests from the Temple. And what about the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 538 BCE? He gave the Hebrews permission to return to Yehud Medinata (Aramaic for “the province of Judah”–roughly equivalent to the older kingdom of Judah).” Or because they were still polytheistic. Yahweh. I wonder if the Priestly sources actually believed this stuff.kept it. and to rationalize the destruction of the Hebrew kingdoms. how could God allow his temple. he would punish them. God rewarded the Babylonians with the conquest of the southern Kingdom of Judea around 586 BCE. He allowed them to rebuild their Temple. Did God really punish the Hebrews because they were still polytheistic? As noted by the Narrator. The Persians did not worship Yahweh either. How could they not know they were composing fairy stories at the time they were writing scripture? WILLIAM DEVER: In every age of disbelief. were rescued from the flames of the destruction. did the Hebrews believe that the Assyrians and then the Babylonians had more powerful gods? This second possibility is not in accord with the concept of Hebrew monotheism. king or land. then the Babylonians and finally the Persians? This is another biblical story which doesn’t seem to make a great deal of sense in the 21st century. that priests and scribes 131 . which. It was heard by the Israelite flock. It seems to have been written specifically to promote monotheism (which is how the Israelites became “chosen”). And surely those who survived the fall of Jerusalem must have thought so. He would punish them by using foreign powers as his instruments. such as Ba’al. NARRATOR: According to the widely accepted documentary hypothesis. and they seem to have brought with them their sacred documents. the Assyrians. first by the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians. The Assyrians. neither the Assyrians nor the Babylonians worshipped Yahweh. God would reward them. But more importantly. one is inclined to think God is dead. how can the Israelites survive? Their journey begins with the ancient scrolls. So why did Yahweh influence events dominated by the people who did not see Him as their god. some scholars speculate. it is here in Babylon. far from their homes in Israel. Babylonians and Persians did not attribute their successes to Yahweh. If they broke it. mostly uneducated Hebrews of the time. favored the Assyrians in 722 BCE and rewarded them by allowing them to conquer the northern Kingdom of Israel. After all. “the Israelites continue to worship Asherah and other Canaanite gods. the visible sign of his presence among his people to be destroyed? NARRATOR: Without temple.

were desperately trying to find a way to reaffirm their difference. who is a member of the covenantal people.. The only problem with it is that it isn’t possible to prove. Cohen said. But the Babylonians are not circumcised. something that will help them retain their distinctiveness even in diaspora. the J source. It was a common ancient practice among many peoples in the Near East.e. who.E. but rather as the marker of the covenant and they attributed this view back to Abraham. The Israelites may realize that circumcision is something that will set them apart from their neighbors in Babylon. This is a very attractive scholarly view. the D source and other sources.] In a September 2007 interview conducted by NOVA for The Bible’s Buried Secrets documentary. the first five books of the Bible. Now I wonder if monotheism was simply just another way for the Israelites to differentiate themselves from their pagan. It is really talking about the exiles of the sixth century B. based on mythical history. In this context. the E source. i. and far from their institutions and the way of life that they had known previously. in exile. polytheist neighbors.” Genesis 17:11): You shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskins. “Many modern scholars have argued that circumcision takes on its role as a marker of Israeliteness or a marker of Jewishness only in the time of the Babylonian exile. Here. far from their homeland. it’s not really talking about Abraham. MICHAEL COOGAN: It was P who took all of these earlier traditions. clear ways of indicating who is in and who is out.] VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version. and combined them into what we know as the Torah. SHAYE COHEN: When Genesis 17 attributes a covenantal value to circumcision.C. and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. Israelites would have been looking for symbols of difference. P edits and writes a version of Israel’s distant past—including the Abraham story—that provides a way for the Israelites to remain a people and maintain their covenant with God.” 132 . without a temple. Scholars refer to these writers as P. [Note that Finkelstein makes this same point about why the Hebrews abstained from eating pork. circumcision and perhaps other ritual practices will take on meaning as markers of identity. far from their home. [Keep in mind that the Torah is largely fiction. It was a way of differentiating themselves from their neighboring cultures. far from their native home. as it is known today. not simply another practice. Therefore they began to look at circumcision as.will produce much of the Hebrew Bible. as well. NARRATOR: But more than just compiling. or the priestly source. Circumcision is something that Israelites may have been doing for centuries.

Perhaps with the same faith as Abraham had. and Israel in Ancient Times Redford argues that Egypt had an influence on Hebrew traditions. the first phase: the place of Ezra and Nehemiah in the origins of Judaism. from whom they must remain apart. a model for those who would return from Babylon to Judah. became known to the Hebrews as Abraham. It served to assure the Israelites in exile that despite the destruction of Jerusalem. Redford looks to Egypt as the basis for the history of the Israelites. But the Abraham story. He writes. “It is no coincidence that the exiled P scribes place Abraham’s origins in Ur. It is remarkable how widely different the opinions of two noted scholars can be. For the exiles in Babylon in 133 . uncircumcised peoples. the Israelites go to Egypt and get out. B.” Blenkinsopp says Abraham originated from literary circles of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE.NARRATOR: To the exiles. “The Pentateuch includes four major traditions in which Egypt figures prominently. Eerdmans Pub. MICHAEL COOGAN: One of the pervasive themes in the Torah is the theme of exile and return: Abraham goes down to Egypt and comes out of Egypt. the Temple and the Davidic kingship. while Blenkinsopp looks to Babylon during the Persian period. just down the river from Babylon. but originated from literary circles of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. Redford wrote. with its harrowing tale of a father’s willingness to sacrifice his own son. It is no coincidence that the exiled P scribes place Abraham’s origins in Ur. as described in the Book of Genesis. is also about the power of faith. A point of note. the idol-worshipping. They…were undoubtedly bona fide historical figures of the Middle Bronze Age. 2009) that a growing consensus among modern scholars is that the Genesis story of Abraham was not transmitted by oral traditions. Co. too.. through the oral tradition. either as a subtle influence or as an explicit component.” Joseph Blenkinsopp writes (in Judaism. Wm. so. The Narrator says. “One batch of tales centered upon an ‘ancestor’ called Abram [Abraham] whose memory lived on in Beer Sheva and in the Negeb. Yahweh’s dealings with their ancestors provided a historical foundation on which hope for the future could be built. just down the river from Babylon. Here is another example about how difficult it is to determinate if there really was a historical person who. the Babylonians are the new Canaanites. in the Persian period. another took its rise at Shechem…and revolved around the figure of a Canaanite leader Jacob…. Canaan.” In Egypt. will the exiles be returned to the Promised Land. Abraham became.

the P tradition emphasizes observances. Cohen said. First discovered by accident. ERIC MEYERS: And we have allusions in the biblical writings and the prophets to the fact that the exiles also learned to pray in groups. Archaeologists suspect there were at least hundreds more scrolls throughout Israel. The most celebrated surviving biblical texts are the Dead Sea Scrolls. without a temple. Without a temple. 134 . “The experience of the Babylonian Exile is the mother of Judaism. can they redeem themselves in the eyes of Yahweh? MICHAEL COOGAN: To assure that divine protection.the sixth century B. By compiling the stories of their past–originally written by the scribes J. Moses and the Ten Commandments. will presumably do so again. be loyal to God and to follow God’s commandments.”) NARRATOR: The experience of the exile transforms ancient Israelite cult into a modern religion. in the expanded transcript of Shaye Cohen’s remarks. How. the scrolls represent nearly all 39 books of the Hebrew Bible. but because they were written on papyrus or animal skins. They survived because they were deposited in the perfect environment for preservation. This is the foundation of Judaism. NARRATOR: The Israelites still have a problem. without kings. physical evidence of any biblical text from the exile or earlier is hard to come by. the hot. SHAYE COHEN: It is during this period. This is the foundation of Judaism. in 1947. such as the Sabbath observance. Abraham’s journey to the promised land. through the exile. that theme must have resonated very powerfully. (From the same September 2007 interview. God. be loyal to God and to follow God’s commandments. even far away from their homeland.C. who had acted on their behalf in the past. that the exiles realized that. It is during this period that the Judeans realize that they can be loyal to God even far away from their homeland. at least in fragments. they are still able to worship God. P creates what we know today as the first five books of the Bible.. without kings. dry desert. E and D–the exodus from slavery to freedom. You don’t need to be in the land of Israel to keep the Sabbath. in a foreign land without the Temple and sacrifice. without all the institutional trappings they had enjoyed in the old days–without any of that–they are still able to worship God. without the priesthood. without the priesthood. they have long since decomposed…. Though this theory is widely accepted. in what was to become the forerunner of the synagogue.The earliest of the Dead Sea Scrolls dates to at least 300 years after the Babylonian exile [circa 200 BCE]….

And the natural thing to do is to worship the more powerful god. As modern scholars suspect. oral traditions and prayers that go back to the time of Josiah’s D writer and likely beyond. wherever we dig.NARRATOR: The silver scrolls with the Priestly Benediction [amulets containing the Priestly Benediction found in the Book of Numbers. monotheism triumphs. the Israelites must also confront the fundamental question: why did their God. the first five books of the Bible. even in Jerusalem itself. and the archaeological evidence proves it. NARRATOR: Through the experience of the exile and writing the Bible. NARRATOR: The Israelites abandon the folly of polytheism. and. the Torah. as it is known today. NARRATOR: But after the destruction there are none. EPHRAIM STERN–The Hebrew University of Jerusalem: Before the destruction of the First Temple [586 BCE]. it meant that their gods were more powerful than your god. but the survivors continued to worship Yahweh and struggled to understand how this could have happened. Chapter 6] predate the earliest Dead Sea Scrolls by 400 years. after all. the silver scrolls confirm that the Hebrew Bible is created from poetry. the concept of God. we find sanctuaries. P created something that was much greater. if your country was destroyed by another country. which is found elsewhere in the ancient Near East: “We must have done something wrong to incur the wrath of our God. only one God. more often. Yahweh. we find hundreds and thousands of figurines. By giving us text from before the Babylonian exile. KYLE MCCARTER: In a way. to writers E and J. because it was greater than any individual land or kingdom. PETER MACHINIST: They resort first to a standard form of explanation. is born. EPHRAIM STERN: We are speaking about thousands before and nothing– completely nothing at all–after. takes its final form during the Babylonian exile. forsake them? MICHAEL COOGAN: In the ancient world.” WILLIAM DEVER: It’s out of this that comes the reflection that polytheism was our downfall. in whatever part of the Judean country. It was a kind of 135 . proving that at least some verses of the Bible were written in ancient times. But dwarfed by the mighty temples and giant statues of Babylonian gods. during the reign of King David’s descendents. there is. It is an amazing find.

NARRATOR: In 539 B. (Regarding the returning exiles.universal religion based on a creator god. even if it copied the idea from Akhenaten who believed that Aten was the all-encompassing Creator. didn’t return.. Yahweh. the Big Bang does not represent the beginning of all space and time. orchestrates a new exodus. not just a god of a single nation. creator god for the entire cosmos. in fact. They try to recreate life as it had been before. Most of them. As written in the Bible.. in his new role as the one invisible God. but the God of the world. Back in Jerusalem. They rebuild their Temple. But some of them did. the God of the universe. This is one of the most important contributions of Judaism. a universe composed of a tremendously large or infinite number of sub-universes. It always was and always will be. the Babylonian empire is toppled by the Persians. CAROL MEYERS: This moves Yahweh into the realm of being a universal deity who has the power to affect what happens in the whole universe. This novel idea of a single god who is the god of all mankind and is the creator of the universe is the most prevalent view of god today. The total universe had no beginning and will have no end. But the Judeans did. We don’t know of any other exiled people from this period who returned from exile to reestablish traditional institutions and modes of worship.” VOICEOVER (Reading from the Bible “Revised Standard Version.” Nehemiah 8:1–3): All the people gathered together. what is the role of god the creator in a universe which was not created but always existed? I will address this issue in more depth in Chapter 13. according to the modern scientific view. So somehow…they managed to retain their identity. retain their religion and their values strongly enough to motivate them to return and try to start over. Such a view begs the question. Often people will refer to god as “The Creator. This makes the god of ancient Israel the universal God of the world that resonates with people—at least in Jewish. In this view. Not all of them. which the Lord had given to 136 . the universe was perceived to be created at the moment of the Big Bang.C. Shaye Cohen points out. but the beginning of space and time of our sub-universe. This view of the universe is rapidly fading and now most physicists believe in a multiverse. he gives a public reading of the newly written Torah to reestablish the covenant. “The remarkable thing is that the Judeans return from the Exile..” Until perhaps a decade ago.They told the scribe Ezra to bring the book of the law of Moses. the innovation of a single. Among one group of returning exiles is the prophet Ezra. Christian and Muslim tradition— to this very day.

an ancient cult becomes a modern religion. Old Testament for Christians. 2002). The story of Abraham and his first born Ishmael became the conduit to connect Hebrews and Bedouins. “At some early stage.. the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Michael Grant wrote.. The same is true for Ishmael. and Jacob originally with Shechem (in the central highlands [in Israel]).” For once we 137 ..” In The History of Ancient Israel (History Book Club. Through its writing. so we have the feeling that the process begun in the exile is finally finished. at the intersection of science and scriptures. who seems to have been used by the Bible’s authors to explain how they came to worship the same god as the Hebrews. except by the writers of the Pentateuch or Torah. Yahweh. transforms into the God of the three great monotheistic religions. and the Israelite deity. the Bible established a code of morality and justice. ERIC MEYERS: To me.Israel. the existences and traditions of these patriarchs seem to have been originally quite separate from one another and unrelated. Isaac and Jacob (father. In any case. As previously noted. It covers Israel from the end of the United Monarchy (930 BCE) to the end of the Babylonian exile or captivity. Isaac and Jacob] have been associated with a specific sanctuary of pre-Israelite origin: Abraham with Mamre near Hebron in Judah (the southern reign of the country). there is no “convincing explanation for the mention of all these desert dwelling people in the patriarchal genealogies except as late literary attempts to incorporate them in a systematic way into the early history of Israel. the patriarch of the desert Bedouins... aspirations that resonate through the ages. a sacred text for over three billion people. Abraham.He read from it. it’s one of the most moving moments in the whole Bible. NARRATOR: The scrolls that chronicle the Israelites’ relationship with their god is now the Hebrew Bible. and grandson) are separate Hebrew patriarchs (making the implicit assumption that they were real people) who are not linked together historically or biologically. the Old Testament. According to The Bible Unearthed. and Ezra has a copy. son. the names of each of them [Abraham. Isaac with Beersheba (farther still towards the south). More than fact or fiction. This is a summary of the origin of monotheistic Judaism according to the scholars appearing in The Bible’s Buried Secrets.. Through its teachings.000 years ago and continues to this day.and the ears of all the people were attentive to the book of the law. Ezra returns with the Bible in his hand. is a story that began over 3.from early morning until midday. It was only much later that the compilers of the Bible wove their stories and genealogies together into a single theological construction.

have two scholars which agree on the same idea: Abraham. Joseph. Isaac and Jacob were not biologically related. Isaac and Jacob. and Moses). In the Elohist work. However Grant sees Abraham as being identified with the southern kingdom. Any connection between them and either the northern or southern kingdoms is pure speculation and subject to the biases and agendas of the Bible’s original authors. Even if there were a real Abraham. that is associating Abraham with the northern Kingdom of Israel. Isaac never appears again after the sacrifice scene. I wouldn’t dwell too much on the discrepancy between Grant’s view and those of scholars who are more prone to accept E’s view. This suggests that Isaac was actually sacrificed. 138 . Jacob. In contrast to Grant’s view. He links Abraham to a Canaanite cultic shrine Mamre near Hebron. The E source (documentary hypothesis) seems to connect Abraham more with the northern kingdom which E favored. sky god of the Canaanite pantheon. nothing is known about them. Isaac is not included in the E narrative of the four key Hebrew ancestors (Abraham. which is dedicated to the supreme. El.

PART 2The DECLINE And FALL 139 .

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Maimonides What a fool believes he sees. the Hebrew Bible cannot generally be trusted as a historically accurate source documenting the origin and emergence of the Jewish people. This chapter includes some of his and Neil Asher Silberman’s views. king or queen is today. our national flag. He united the fragmenting Roman Empire with a quasi-state religion which would then have a unified view of the life of Jesus. “Yahweh must be imageless…images of Yahweh were taboo from a very ancient date. People accustomed to the Canaanite attachment to places–and to the statues of the gods and goddesses–must have found this hard to 141 . Note how they conflict with the opinions of other Biblical scholars. What is the most prominent symbol of England? The Queen (or the King). Michael Grant makes a similar argument about the association of an entire people with their patron god. Emperor Constantine I did the same thing in the 4th century CE. What is the most prominent symbol of America? Old Glory. He writes. Michael McDonald. expressed in The Bible Unearthed and David and Solomon.Chapter 10 We Now Know. Let me start by pointing out that the god of a nation in ancient times was as symbolic of that nation and its people as a national flag. the Bible Can’t Be Trusted Truth does not become more true by virtue of the fact that the entire world agrees with it. nor less so even if the whole world disagrees with it. because they tended to localize his divinity. and the purpose of the crucifixion. The Doobie Brothers I srael Finkelstein’s opinion is that prior to about 900 BCE. Jesus became the de facto “patron” god of the Roman Empire. his message while he was on Earth. What was the most prominent symbol of Japan until the end of World War II? The Emperor. no wise man has the power to reason away. In The History of Ancient Israel.

. no Exodus. The god of the Jews. “Many of the archaeological props that once bolstered the historical basis of the David and Solomon narratives have recently been called in to question. Judges. as described in the Five Books of Moses and the books of Joshua.. regardless of whether they ruled a large dynasty or a small fiefdom.Yahu seems to have evolved into and to have become Yahweh. Although David and Solomon are generally considered to be important to the history of the Israelites (in the Bible. “The God of the patriarchs triumphs. no conquest of Canaan–and no prosperous united monarchy under David and Solomon–can we say that early biblical Israel. of a god which befell each one independently at particular times. not to say manifestations. and Samuel ever existed at all?” Question: What does David and Solomon’s life stories have to do with god or the original worship of Yahweh by the Hebrews? Answer: Not a damn thing. The actual extent of the Davidic ‘empire’ is hotly debated.. This type of religion is understandable among non-sedentary groups. Thus a consideration of the evidence has enormous implications. And the monuments ascribed to Solomon are now most plausibly connected with other kings. or tribes.accept or understand. as guarantor of a valid experience of God. Albrecht Alt (September 1883–April 1956) was a leading German Protestant theologian and biblical historian. or can represent him. To these their descendants referred. The divinity does not reveal himself at the holy place of a permanent sanctuary. During the process of settlement. and eventually Christians and Muslims.individual patriarchs were subjects of particular experiences. [This] allows us to draw decisive conclusions for the history of the patriarchs. Finkelstein and Silberman point out. is most likely a new and improved version of an already existing god of some Semitic tribe. For if there were no patriarchs. also determines the belief of members of the group and their descendents. Digging in Jerusalem has failed to produce evidence that it was a great city in David or Solomon’s time.. 1975). no name appears more often than David). In David and Solomon.” Herrmann (born 1926) is an Old Testament scholar and was the assistant to Albrecht Alt during the last years of Alt’s life. but makes himself known to a person who. of the Sinai desert. The lives of David and Solomon shed no light on how Yahweh became known to the Israelites..” Siegfried Herrmann wrote something similar in A History of Israel in Old Testament Times (Fortress Press. the patriarchs and their gods displace the local gods of the country. they also demonstrate how much of the Bible cannot be taken at face value and 142 . But the point was that nothing in all of nature can be compared to Yahweh.

The inscriptions corroborate the Bible’s narrative and demonstrate that the Egyptian invasion of Judah under Shishaq was almost certainly a real historical event. Why is the rest of Shishaq’s campaign absent from the Bible. or pharaoh.Thus. he sees it as making more sense with the pieces of information that we know from the Bible about the relationship between Egypt and Israel. when he fled from Solomon[during the later years of Solomon’s reign]. Finkelstein creates a ‘house of delusion’ in his flawed theory of the development of the Israelite State.. “Larry Stager points to the [Tel Dan Stele] found at Dan mentioning a…‘House of David. The Shishaq (Shishak) Relief is a series of inscriptions recounting pharaoh Shishaq’s invasion of Judah and possibly Israel in 925 BCE.” 143 . The Moabites and Arameans certainly viewed Israel-Judah as a full-fledged state long before the 8th century. not everyone agrees with the opinions of Finkelstein and Silberman about the reigns of David and Solomon. The Center for Online Judaic Studies offers Kevin A. let’s consider another scholar’s views. especially in light of the fact that the Bible spends much time discussing the kingdom of Israel during Rehoboam’s reign? How could it not have mentioned a widespread attack by the Egyptian Pharaoh?..how much of Israelite history is in dispute. Smith writes.’ That is indicative of something more than the ‘dimorphic [dual] chiefdom” claimed by Israel Finkelstein. how could such a poor Judah have been able to pay a tax [tribute] to Rehoboam [king of the northern Hebrew] kingdom? Or to King Shishak? [Shishak was the Egyptian king. it was Judah that stood independent from Egyptian presence. king of Judah. For instance. a 2010 essay by Robert F. Smith is associated with the Maxwell Institute. May 30. In fact.C. There was no need to campaign there because it already was already an area under strong Egyptian influence…Rather. Indeed. Egypt already had the loyalty of the northern kingdom after the breakup of the United Monarchy since they had harbored its king. Wilson’s (professor at Lithuania Christian College) view of events. Robert F.” (Lawrence “Larry” Stager is a Professor of the Archaeology of Israel and head of the Harvard Semitic Museum in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. That is all the Relief corroborates. Jeroboam I. Smith. 2003. In Moses Our Teacher. Brigham Young University.) In defense of Finkelstein’ views. who received the Judahan tribute from Rehoboam.] Perhaps Judah was not so poor…. Smith noted Stager’s opinion during Stager’s four-hour formal debate with Israel Finkelstein at UCLA. “[Wilson] notes that the Bible only mentions Shishaq advancing on Jerusalem and taking large tribute from Rehoboam. [Wilson] does not deny a small campaign of Shoshenq I [Shishak] to Jerusalem that is attested to in the Bible. a tribal confederation had become a tribal kingdom by the 10th century B.

and Edom was then at least a ‘super chiefdom. San Diego] and Mohammad Najjar at Khirbat en-Nahas [Arabic for] ‘Ruins of Copper. Why doesn’t the Shishaq Relief describe a great battle and a defeat of the great Israelite Army? There is no evidence to demonstrate that Judah was a rich and powerful kingdom which could pay a large tribute. Smith also disagrees with Finkelstein and Silberman about whether copper was mined in Edom during the 10th century. but rather a small skirmish in which a presumably weak Judah had its treasures confiscated as tribute. All the more reason to credit the Old Midianite Hypothesis!” At least Smith agrees with the Midianite–Kenite hypothesis. Smith goes on.C. along with the presence of about 3. It has only been corroborated that there was a defeat of Judah by Shishak and that a large tribute (according to the Bible) was paid. The Bible can’t be trusted and so I am not taking the biblical account of a large tribute at face value without outside corroboration. I’m siding with Finkelstein and Wilson on this one. An article in the December 2010 edition of National Geographic 144 . Schiffman.C.500 Early Iron Age burials in an Edomite cemetery in nearby Wadi Fidan.The Center for Online Judaic Studiest compiles sources which make up the story of the Jewish people.C. Smith is relying on the work of Levy and Najjar. engaged in large-scale and complex copper mining and metallurgy.)…. as accorded in the Bible. the problem with that is the absence of copper production in the 8th century B. when (they say) fictional tales about the legendary King David were being composed in order to add glory to the legacy of the tribe of Judah. I mention it because Wilson suggests that the Bible’s version of events does not describe a great battle between one or two powerful Hebrew kingdoms and Egypt. as per Finkelstein and Silberman.’ That is. based on the recent archaeological work of Thomas Levy [University of California. pottery or carbon dates at Khirbat en-Nahas. as well as lack of any 8th century B.C. which argues for the pre-Israelite origins of the cult of Yahweh among proto-Arabian tribes..Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman have called these excavation results [of Khirbat en-Nahas’ copper mines] into question. the Edomite lowlands were already occupied in the early Iron Age [1150–900 BCE]. or later during the 8th century.’ if not an archaic state.C. Thus I consider it credible although I had never heard of it before researching Shishak. and the gatehouse (late 11th– early 10th centuries B. “Early biblical accounts of Edom and the Edomites (Genesis [36:31]) likewise appear now to be very credible. as Professor Stager argues..C. and have attributed any mining or building activity in Khirbat en-Nahas to the 8th century B.).). makes that abundantly clear. Highland sites were occupied only later (8th–6th centuries B. One of the editors of the information on this site is Professor Lawrence H. Robert F. However [Smith notes]. Radiocarbon dating of workshop and slag mounds (12th-11th centuries B.

but were allowed it only with the Pharaoh’s consent. I have seen the satellite photos and there are definitely the remains of ancient copper production at the site.it is hard to separate Old Testament reminiscence of ‘servitude’ in Egypt from the employment of Semitic groups in the building of this new residence of Pharaoh…. believe Edom did not emerge as a state until the 8th century BCE even though Levy’s radiocarbon dates relate to the 10th century BCE.magazine. There’s no way people lived on this site during production.. But whether the site was destroyed by the pharaoh Shoshenq I (Shishak) at the end of the 10th century BCE during the Egyptian invasion of Judah (Levy’s opinion) or it was operating during the 8th century (Finkelstein and Silberman’s opinion) is still unclear. presumably composed of different elements.... Of Levy’s mining fortress. noted that scholars. excavated by Levy and Najjar. The groups are Shasu tribes from Edom. for either a shorter or longer period. All this takes place in the very area in which the Old Testament indicates that the ‘Israelites’ stayed.C…. but the places in which they are allowed to graze their flocks are mentioned. the toxic fumes–forget it! Instead.The theory that a group of workers.’” So Levy says the mining fortress is Edomite and Finkelstein says it is Assyrian. The fire. as per the Bible. Kings of Controversy.All scholars dealing with Edom in the last two generations claim that Edom didn’t exist as a state prior to the eighth century B. were part of King Solomon’s mines (Edomite mines controlled by Solomon) and the source of his great wealth. members of those nomadic groups which came to the eastern zone of the delta after crossing north of the Sinai Peninsula from southern Palestine. It affords a first-hand glimpse at the situation in this area at a time near to the ‘exodus’ of the groups later to become Israel.C. such as Finkelstein. or whether they came from a later period. In A History of Israel in Old Testament Times.. The National Geographic article candidly points out that. finally escaped from Egypt and. These groups are given no further description.The letter gives an impression of the routine registration of border traffic which was evidently connected with a change in the pasturage of nomadic groups. And since Solomon’s existence has not been verified by outside sources. the Bible can’t be trusted or relied on to determine whether the copper production site was Edomite or Assyrian.. I don’t see anyone winning this argument until more evidence is uncovered..Archaeologists have believed that they have discovered the city of Rameses.. ‘I don’t buy that it’s from the tenth century B. 145 . Herrmann refers to a “letter from [an Egyptian] frontier official stationed at the edge of the eastern [Nile] delta to his superior [circa 1190 BCE]. I see Tom [Levy]’s building as an eighth-century Assyrian fortress parallel to the other one. look at the fortress of En Hazeva on our side of the Jordan River. built by the Assyrians on the main road to Edom. “Solomon’s existence…remains wholly unverified…. or at least parts of it. Finkelstein says. Here they sought pasturage. The real issue is whether the copper production site and an adjacent fortress. titled David and Solomon.

and amongst them were the Shasu with their further designation yhw [Yahu].” as told in Exodus 13-15. the Sea of Reeds has not been uniquely identified.” Herrmann also notes.000 years ago. Biblical scholars now believe that the Israelite “crossing of the sea. attached themselves to groups in the Sinai desert who later went on to Palestine. “This is also a period [the first half of the 14th century BCE] when the Israelite tribes were operative in the area [south of the Dead Sea].” However Herrmann also points out that.. “It should not be necessary to apologize for presenting these considerations about religious and ethnic origins as a hypothesis. one might go so far as to recognize in the yhw the name of a mountain and a god. Herrmann concludes. having penetrated into this area and perhaps also having made closer contact with one another as a a result. one which 146 . is better translated as the Sea of Reeds or Sea of Seaweed. While it may be a hypothesis to see this ‘land of the Shasu yhw’ as hill-country. Stager. We are virtually forced to associate them with the Old Testament tradition. “A Bedouin tradition supposes the miracle [Moses’s parting] of the Reed Sea to have taken place at the Red Sea in the neighborhood of jebel hamman (in present-day Yemen). and the task of the historian is always that of coming up with a better hypothesis.. Levy and Smith need to agree to disagree. And note. the God with the name YHWH may have been a relatively new but significant phenomenon. In a sense. Herrmann. As Blenkinsopp wrote in The Midianite-Kenite Hypothesis Revisited and the Origins of Judah. It would explain how and why Yahweh entered the lives of particular tribal groups which did not know him earlier as something new. No one is quite sure which body of water was supposed parted by Moses. Despite the elements of a hypothesis here. as the God of a particular area or of a mountain. this would provide the historical roots for the Old Testament traditions about the mountain of God and Yahweh who manifested himself there. seems to be logically correct. or at any rate when the Israelite tribes were beginning to form in the Sinai area. “At the time of the exodus. Moreover there are no reeds there!” Yam Suph is a phrase which occurs 23 times in the Hebrew Bible and has traditionally been understood to refer to the salt water inlet located between Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.” I guess Finkelstein. No one knows for sure what happened 3. all our knowledge of the past is hypothetical and probabilistic.despite their probable ethnic complexity. Sinai]. in the Shasu of yhw we at least have an element which comes surprisingly close in time and place to the Old Testament tradition [of Moses meeting YHWH on Mt. known as the Red Sea.this tradition surely rests on false presumptions. at any rate. tribes or ethically related groups attached themselves to him.

” Montana became a state 13 years after Custer’s Last 147 . and builds universities with departments of archaeology and history. I portrayed Custer as Goliath not due to his physical size but because he led a usually more powerful army of “Philistines. Native Americans. A growing number of non-Indian miners and settlers (“Philistines”) encroached upon the Indian’s territory.provides a more complete and adequate explanation of the complex of data available than any other currently on offer. Humanity recovers after.000 years. Future archeologists and historians might compare this battle as a combination of David and Goliath and Armageddon. the U. What the future archeologists and historians would not have known was that even though the Indian tribes won the battle. such as totem poles. The battle itself was nearly an Armageddon. The 7th Cavalry suffered 52% casualties and every soldier in the five companies with Custer. they eventually lost the “war. and the Battle of the Little Bighorn as Armageddon. Future archeologists and historians discover totem poles which recount the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Let’s assume that a nuclear war destroyed much of human civilization. was killed. Lakota tribal chief Sitting Bull (circa 1831–December 1890) as David. The players are General George Armstrong Custer (December 1839–June 1876) as Goliath. which could be used to recount familiar legends. It occurred in June 1876 near the Little Bighorn River in the then eastern Montana Territory. Sitting Bull and the associated tribes were like the good David protecting their territory. Their traditions and lore were handed down from generation to generation by word of mouth. better known as Custer’s Last Stand. or American Indians. including Custer himself.” the U.” Let me pause for a moment and expand upon what Professor Blenkinsopp wrote about knowledge of the past with a hypothetical of my own. All written and other media records are lost. The battle was an armed engagement between combined forces of Lakota. Future archeologists and historians are trying to understand 19th century America.S. Army. say. but to argue that this hypothesis provides the best explanation currently available of the relevant literary and archaeological data. What therefore I have tried to do in this study is not just elevate a mere possibility–which no scholar to my knowledge has denied–into a serious probability. Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people against the 7th Cavalry Regiment of the U. Custer’s Cavalry were like the invading Philistines trying to take over the territory of the Israelites. 10. Cavalry. Those icons are the only remaining evidence of 19th century America. via the oral tradition. Cavalry as the invading Philistines. Armageddon can be defined as the site or time of a final and conclusive battle between the forces of good and evil. were not literate. or through the use of iconic sculptures.S. S.

“We can never know how reliable were the traditions. It was in the middle of the 20th century that the Bible as “the only religious truth” was challenged by new discoveries. some of which tested our longheld beliefs based on what is written in the traditional Hebrew Bible and New Testament.) The Gnostic writings are generally not accorded any status. at least in its broad details. better known today as the Big Bang (further discussed in Chapter 13). Government and were relegated to Indian reservations. but not the Protestant Bible on their claim that it is not god’s word. Lemaître. Native Americans lost most of their lands to the U.Stand. They each presented new information and new insights about ancient Israel and Jesus Christ. theorized that the universe began with an “exploding” cosmic egg. It was never again controlled by tribal Indians. Given that different denominations have different beliefs about what constitutes canonical scripture. it is misleading in this sense to refer to the Gospel according to the Gnostic writings (gospels) as apocryphal. when the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi library first surfaced. or Old Testament. Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works. texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded. Their aims were not to produce an objective history…but rather to provide a theological explanation for a history that was probably already well known. Non-canonical books are texts of uncertain authenticity. Indeed during the 19 th century. Pius sanctioned the idea. Apocrypha is the term applied to the books in the Roman Catholic Bible and the Eastern Orthodox Bible. respectively. Here is a case of a religion trying to fit 148 . or archives used by the biblical authors to compile their history of the kingdom of Israel. there are several versions of the apocrypha. Although my story is based on historical facts. These texts are sometimes included in and referred to as the apocrypha. it is a subset of all of the facts which can describe America in the 19th century. and in 1945 for the New Testament. In the middle of the 20th century. This occurred between 1947–56 for the Hebrew Bible. As such. as they are incompatible with the accepted canon prima facie. texts. Pope Pius XII (reign March 1939-October 1958) endorsed the creation hypothesis of Monsignor Georges Lemaître’s. Finkelstein and Silberman argue in The Bible Unearthed. And it leads to the wrong conclusion about the dominance of tribal Indians during that period. (Antilegomena refers to written texts whose authenticity or value is disputed.” Believers in a literal Bible are living in the 19th century. or writings where the work is seriously questioned. because they would not be classified in the same category by orthodox believers: they would be classified as a heretical subset of antilegomena. These are the years. History is not always as it appears to be. About 30% of the identified Dead Sea Scrolls are either apocryphal or pseudepigraphical manuscripts.S. not even a negative one: they are ignored. a Roman Catholic priest and physicist.

149 . And God called the light Day. and darkness was upon the face of the deep. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. molded the Milky Way galaxy. The biblical creation story was written about 500 years earlier. Three quarters of a billion years later. The universe was opaque. The Book of Genesis might have read.” I like my version of creation better. stars and planets. a point of infinite density and temperature. God said ‘Let there be electromagnetic radiation. and always will be. not rays of visible light. and saw that it was good. The universe was with form and no longer void. one of an endless series of Big Bangs. They did not even know the size or complexity of the universe. God created the heavens. a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher of southern Italy. The biblical authors could not have conceived of a modern description of “in the beginning. The people who wrote the Bible had no idea how the universe began. But god did not create the heavens and the Earth in the beginning. God.’ and a singularity erupted into a Big Bang. God created the Sun and the Earth. There was no light for the first 379. and the darkness he called Night.000 years of the universe. Let there be light: and there was light. The earliest attestable accounts of mathematical infinity come from Zeno of Elea (circa 490–430 BCE). It’s too bad that god did not give the Bible’s authors true insight about creation. and void. And the earth was without form. how did God create the heaven and the earth before the Big Bang moment of creation. Less than a billion years after the Big Bang. The universe always was. And God saw the light. that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. “There was no beginning. Gamma rays were the electromagnetic radiation released at the moment of the Big Bang. in our cosmic neighborhood. The Book of Genesis [1:1-5]. The first galaxies and stars were formed.” when a singularity.scripture to scientific knowledge after a new hypothesis changed the way the universe was understood.” There is a problem here. From the hidden 11th dimension [see Chapter 13]. And the evening and the morning were the first day. “exploded” into the universe we now observe. He created the universe (the heavens) first. 13. At least it stands up to modern scientific scrutiny. And God said. with his own hands. The universe is three times older than the Earth. when he said “let there be light?” This doesn’t add up. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. a singularity.75 billion years ago. Four and a half billion years ago. The Big Bang led to the creation of galaxies. More importantly. Gamma rays are the highest known source of electromagnetic energy. It is absurd to believe that the people who came up with the phrases “in the beginning” or “let there be light” had any inkling that at the moment of creation the universe “exploded” in a “Big Bang” from an infinitely dense point.

The point is that no one can take modern scientific discovery and try to retrofit it to the Bible. silicon is the second most abundant element. animal and microbial) is based on carbon not silicon. and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. and closed up the flesh instead thereof. In Genesis [2:7]. which could imply men are more important than women in the eyes of god? Adam was formed from the dust of the ground? Dust from the ground is dirt.5% of the human body. “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. All life on this planet (plant. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground. Carbon accounts for 18. and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman. “So God created man in his own image. Either God. because she was taken out of Man. male and female created he them. And the redactor who put together the Book of Genesis didn’t attempt to reconcile the two views. And the rib. and man became a living soul. made he a woman. The day after December 21. If there was more than one redactor. no wise man has the power to reason away. it seems they did not compare notes. and brought her unto the man. clear and simple. there was only one redactor. “What a fool believes he sees. which the LORD God had taken from man. in the image of God created he him. or Doomsday 2012. of course. On the surface of this planet. Dirt is composed of silicon.In Genesis [1:27]. Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers was right. silicon only 0. and he slept: and he took one of his ribs.002%.” This suggests Adam and Eve were formed at the same time. The Bible’s authors were not visionaries and they predicted nothing. This assumes.” In Genesis [2:21-23]. It cannot be demonstrated that some new scientific principle is what was in the minds of the Bible’s authors. silicon accounts for 27. a story which gave an identity and laws to an ancient emerging people. And of course the stories of the creation of humans in the Bible conflict with each other. How can this be? Answer: the authors of the Bible knew nothing of biochemistry and the creation of life stories conflict because they were written by two different authors who did not compare notes. or the Bible’s authors themselves got the biochemistry wrong. The Bible was not written to give an accurate historical account of the past. This is now bone of my bones. And Adam said. at least not in the sense that history is written today. The Bible is.” 150 . On the third rock from the Sun. if He wrote or influenced the Bible’s authors.” Hold it! Adam was formed first? Does this mean Adam came before Eve.7% of the Earth’s crust by mass. will prove once again that no one can predict the future and that prophets and prophecies are here for simpletons and fools to be deceived (and relieved of their cash). after oxygen. 2012.

the injustices. but that doesn’t prove the existence of the devil. evil spiritual being is behind it. Black’s agrees with Billy that natural disasters are outside of human control. Billy Graham T he above quote comes the February 2009 newsletter of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. the illnesses. Just as the creation bears witness to its Creator. I am confused. are areas of low atmospheric pressure in the Earth’s atmosphere.Chapter 11 The Devil Made Me Do It! It takes more faith to believe it [evil] all happens by chance than to believe it happens because a powerful. Tropical cyclones occur when moist air is carried upwards and its water vapor condenses. for which no one can be held responsible. does it?” Billy responds. as any meteorologist can tell you. a reader asks. Acts of God is a legal term for events outside of human control. such as sudden floods or other natural disasters. hurricanes are natural phenomena known to be caused by the warming and cooling of the Earth’s atmosphere by the Sun. the accidents. more properly called tropical cyclones. but it implicitly implies that god. “How do you know the devil is real? I know bad things happen to us and all that. The pressures recorded at the centers of tropical cyclones are among the lowest which can occur on the Earth’s surface at sea level. so evil bears witness to its creator: Satan. the wars. not the devil. is responsible. the most widely used law dictionary in the United States. evil spiritual being is behind it. According to Black’s Law Dictionary. “Have you ever honestly stopped to consider just how much evil there is in the world–the famines.” I must say. it takes more faith to believe it all happens by chance than to believe it happens because a powerful. In the section My Answer by Billy Graham. Don’t think of him as a cute little figure with a pitchfork and a red suit. the natural disasters. Billy also confuses me because. earthquakes and such. not the devil. and so forth? The total sum of evil and human misery is truly staggering. Otherwise the concept would be called an Acts of the devil. Satan is ferocious and terrible. are the work of god. And frankly. such as hurricanes. and his one goal is to destroy everything that is good. 151 . All hurricanes. I thought natural disasters.

is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust (outermost layer-see Figure 15)) which creates seismic waves. Earthquakes. “Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices. The planets Mars.) Following is the text from a CBS News report. As Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said ‘well over’ 100. 2010.An earthquake or tremor.0 earthquake that shook the island nation–the most powerful to hit the country in a century. Venus has several times as many volcanoes as Earth. Earthquakes are usually caused by a rupture of geological faults. “Science makes religious explanations unnecessary.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and devastated Port-au-Prince on January 12.’ True story. just below the crust or surface of the Earth. but they can also be caused by volcanic activity and landslides. The movement is what creates quakes.’… They were under the heel of the French. the international journal of science. all of Earth’s current continents will be pushed together into a single landmass around the North Pole.’ said that Haitians need to have a ‘great turning to god’ while he was reporting on the devastating 7. The Earth’s surface movement has been going on for 4. Even the moon has earthquakes. dated January 13.. Tectonic earthquakes can occur anywhere on the Earth where there is sufficient stored energy to drive a fracture along a fault line or plane. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves [i.” Sadly. However some evangelists are not just silly. And so the devil said. set] free.” (The word atrocities is sometimes used in the citation instead of injustices.e. ‘Ok it’s a deal. To cite Voltaire. In 50 million to 200 million years’ time. the American Christian televangelist and host of ‘The 700 Club. two of Saturn’s moons. Billy is not alone is promoting ignorance while rejecting the laws of nature. you know Napoleon the third and whatever.” 152 . volcanic eruptions and hurricanes are all natural phenomena which are readily explained by modern science.000 people may have died in the natural disaster. as any geologist can tell you. move as the inner Earth slowly cools (global warming only occurs above the Earth’s surface). Robertson took to the airwaves Wednesday [Jan. They said ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince. according to a study published in a February 2012 edition of Nature. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another. when the Earth cooled enough to have a solid crust. although they are known as moonquakes. they are also just plain mean and cruel.’ And they kicked the French out. the day after a 7. Venus and Mercury in our solar system exhibit evidence of past tectonic activity as does Enceladus and possibly Titan.5 billion years. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. 13] on his show and said that the country has been ‘cursed by one thing after another’ since they ‘swore a pact to the devil. To cite Steven Weinberg once again. Tectonic plates in the mantle of the Earth. “Pat Robertson.’ Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about.

religious bad men are the worst (C. For with what judgment ye judge. Lewis). As it says in the Gospel of Matthew [7:15. he would act in accordance with the teachings of the Bible. “Of all bad men.S. at least the false prophet part. but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. And... It seems that the evangelists can’t agree among themselves who. Back with Billy. How can any man who professes to be a man of the cloth speak such absurdities which could lead to injustices? Haven’t the Haitian people suffered enough already? Perhaps Robertson would like to cut off foreign aid to Haiti until they renounce “the devil?” Perhaps he would enjoy seeing the suffering of the people on this devastated island increase until they repent? Yes Pat. shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. that ye be not judged. Not every one that saith unto me. That was my first clue that evangelists are not the best place to learn about the mysteries of nature or the secrets of the universe.. it shall be measured to you again.” It appears that Pat needs a refresher course in Matthew. when ignorance controlled and deceived the masses. but inwardly they are ravening wolves. such as earthquakes.True story? Any ninth grader who has studied earth science knows that earthquakes are natural phenomena. Many will say to me in that day. earthquakes on the moon? If the devil’s “one goal is 153 . He reminds me of Elmer Gantry. It says in Matthew [7:12]. the devil or god. Lord. Robertson is condemning an entire race of black and Native Haitians with his statements. ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete. I never knew you: depart from me. There is one significant difference between Pat Robertson and Elmer Gantry. ye that work iniquity. which come to you in sheep’s clothing. “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction (Blaise Pascal). Gantry actually believed in god! And ain’t it interesting that Billy blames the devil for natural disasters. Lord. It is you every time you open your mouth and make racist statements as you have done for the people of Haiti. while Pat blames them on the wrath of god. 21-23]. It seems that Billy’s view of the devil is more appropriate for the Dark and Middle Ages.” Robertson seems to be a false prophet who preaches hate. “Judge not. I personally believe that Pat Robertson is an atheist. have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them. we have seen the devil. is responsible for natural disasters. I don’t see why he requires a devil to explain phenomena (in this case natural disasters) which today can be readily explained by modern science. Lord. If Robertson was truly a man of god and a believer. 80% of Haitians are of African and indigenous Taíno heritage. “Beware of false prophets. For what purpose does the devil create moonquakes. Lord. This smacks of racism.

” what is good on the moon which needs destroying? To reiterate Paul Dirac. But to Christians. He can also thank John Milton for his poem Paradise Lost. like Chapter 3. who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today.” 1 Samuel [29:4]. or sinfulness. Christians have understood the devil to be the author of lies and the promoter of evil. when we understand so many natural processes. But nowadays. “and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. The original Hebrew term. 154 .” The definite article “ha-. He is often identified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden. should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. The devil is named Satan. His poem. “For my love they are my adversaries.” as it is found in Numbers [22:22]. oppose. The devil commands a force of evil (fallen) angels. The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament in Christianity) describes the Adversary (Ha-Satan) as an angel who instigates tests (not evil) upon humankind. This chapter.” Many other religions have a trickster or tempter figure who is similar to the devil. he is the fallen angel who rebelled against god. and sometimes Lucifer. In mainstream Christianity. it is presented to give the reader a sense of how the present-day concept of the devil evolved. versus the name of a being. He is a metaphor for the evil committed by humans. Billy Graham can thank Dante for his conception of the devil and hell. the Divine Comedy. Satan. with the devil seeking to lure people away from god and into hell. god and the devil are usually portrayed as fighting over the souls of humans. Traditionally. “lest in the battle he be an adversary to us.” Psalms [109:4]. whose persuasions led to original sin and the need for Jesus Christ’s redemption.” Ha-Satan is traditionally translated as “the accuser” or “the adversary.to destroy everything that is good. In mainstream Judaism there is no concept of a devil such as in mainstream Christianity or Islam. Thus this being would be referred to as “the Satan.” The devil is mankind’s anthropomorphic (humanlike) symbol for the cause of the evil which exists in the world and this notion was conceived long before Christianity and Billy Graham.” in English “the. also called demons. Contemporary conceptions of the devil include the concept that he symbolizes humans’ own lower nature. was not written to give the reader a comprehensive history of either faith or the devil. we have no need for such solutions. The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Instead. describes Dante’s journey through hell.” is used to show that this is a title bestowed on a being. A Brief History of Faith. is a noun from a verb meaning primarily to “obstruct. “It is quite understandable why primitive people.

Initially he was not perceived as the god of evil. In the Old Testament. the deification of darkness and chaos). Ba’al” stand up? Ba’al has meant different things to different people over time but today is most associated with the term Beelzebub. the devil. and his images on temples were replaced with those of Sobek or Thoth (good gods). Set. who had traditionally been viewed as the god of foreigners. This political split was echoed in the Osiris & Isis myth. concerning the mythical Egyptian deities Osiris. In Job [41:1]. Beelzebub (in Latin) is one of the seven princes of Hell. In Ancient Greek. the Ptolemaic dynasty (305–30 BCE). will the real “Mr. with a strong following in Upper Egypt. According to Christian demonology. He is mentioned widely in the Old Testament as the primary pagan idol of the Phoenicians. was worshiped by the Arameans. It is about the death of Osiris and birth of Horus. and the Roman Empire (44 BCE–1453 CE).The devil concept predates Christianity by at least five centuries. the Christians were not the first group to connect evil with a metaphysical power or spirit. According to the Bible. probably the most widely worshiped Baal. often associated with the pagan goddess Astarte. The god Ba’al can refer to any one of the numerous Canaanite and Phoenician local deities. a political faction inspired an initial disparaging of Set’s name and reputation. Ba’al Hadad. Horus. Set was a god of the desert. So. Egypt was divided into two kingdoms: Lower. Leviathan was originally a fire-breathing sea monster. Ba’al Zebub (Hebrew-literally “Lord of the Flies”) is a Semitic deity who was worshipped in the Philistine city of Ekron. who brought his worship to other parts of the Mediterranean. The followers of Horus thus denigrated Set as chaotic and evil. ruled by the god of the sky Horus (and later the sun god Ra). The demonization of Set occurred after Egypt’s conquest by the Persian ruler Cambyses II (530–523 BCE). including the First Persian Empire (circa 550–330 BCE). By the 22 nd Dynasty (circa 943–720 BCE). As the history of Set demonstrates. “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with 155 . storms. Beelzebub was ranked as the first and principal king in Hell. Set was one of the earliest deities. Set’s followers resisted a unification of the Upper and Lower kingdoms. and foreigners. and Set’s subsequent battle with Horus. Ba’al Azabab (in Arabic). It was during this time that Set was particularly vilified. Upper by Set. Set’s name is given as Seth. and chaos. became associated with foreign oppressors. Set was equated with his old enemy Apep (an evil god. In later myths he was also the god of darkness. His mythical defeat by the god of the sky Horus was widely celebrated. Isis. In Ancient Egyptian religion. and Set. Originally highly regarded throughout Egypt as the god of the desert.

“In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent. This level of detail about the true nature of the devil has not been officially defined by the Catholic Church. or do they represent different evil spirits? I always thought Satan. is the top devil or demon prince still Beelzebub? Does that mean Satan and Lucifer are subservient to Beelzebub? I am still confused! Not to worry. Aren’t Satan. But what most interests me is to see Satan. of Pan (left) teaching his eromenos Daphnis how to play the flute. and a flame goeth out of his mouth. I am confused. as well as the companion of the nymphs. Leviathan became one of the seven princes of Hell. Figure 11 is a copy of marble sculpture made by the Greek Heliodorus. a Catholic Jesuit bishop. In Greek religion and mythology. In demonology. along with Beelzebub. The Christian image of the devil in the Middle Ages was derived by combining different myths. Thomas Aquinas (circa 1225-March 1274) described Leviathan as the demon of envy. Often considered an authoritative list composed in 1589. even leviathan that crooked serpent. are as follows:        Mammon: greed Asmodeus: lust Leviathan: envy Beelzebub (Ba’al): gluttony Lucifer: pride Belphegor: sloth Satan/Amon: wrath This is not the only list of the demons and princes of Hell. as out of a seething pot or caldron.” But Leviathan morphed into the devil after the Catholic Church put its spin on him. shepherds and flocks. Pan is the god of the wild. Lucifer and Beelzebub on the list. St.” In Isaiah [27:1]. and sparks of fire leap out. Satan and Lucifer. the demon princes according to Peter Binsfield. Out of his nostrils goeth smoke. nature. Lucifer and Beelzebub synonyms. which I will come to later in this chapter.a cord which thou lettest down? In Job [41:19-21]. And if it is the latter. Note the horns on his head. Lucifer and Beelzebub were the former. “Out of his mouth go burning lamps. hunting and rustic music. and not the latter. of mountain wilds. circa 100 BCE. synonyms. Very 156 . His breath kindleth coals. and he [the LORD] shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

FIGURE 11 157 . is a passive or subordinated male partner in ancient Greece.devilish! (An eromenos.) Pan (left) teaching his eromenos Daphnis how to play the flute. or beloved.

Figure 11 shows the sculpture of Poseidon located in the port of Copenhagen. Poseidon with trident spear. A trident is a three-pronged spear used for spear fishing.Poseidon and Neptune also contributed the devil’s image. FIGURE 12 158 . Poseidon and Neptune are classically depicted bearing a trident. Denmark. It was also a military weapon. In Christian iconography. Neptune was the god of water and the sea in Roman mythology. the trident is the weapon of the devil. Poseidon (see Figure 12) was the god of the sea and “Earth-Shaker” of earthquakes in Greek mythology.

159 . Even Betty Boop has a devilish side! Man in Halloween devil costume on left. Figure 14 is how Rod Serling had the devil depicted in a November 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone. FIGURE 13 And finally. with his horns and goatee. a devilish Betty Boop on right.Now all one needs to do is to put the trident spear in the hands of Pan and a fairly common personification of the devil is the result. He reminds me quite a bit of the Greek god Pan. Following are two examples (Figure 13).

Some said that 160 . terrified human beings believed that volcanoes were the work of angry gods or goddesses. 2006). Hell is described merely as an abode of the dead–a neutral place located under the surface of the Earth (for example Hades. Hell is often described as being populated with demons and the souls of dead people who are tormented. the author Philip Steele writes. the devil does not actually reside in Hell.The devil visits The Twilight Zone. FIGURE 14 In some religious traditions. such as caves and volcanoes. In Islam. Hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Hell is usually ruled by a death god such as Hades or the devil (aka Satan or Lucifer). Typically these traditions locate Hell under the Earth’s surface and often include entrances to Hell from holes in the surface. which do not conceive of the afterlife as a place of punishment or reward. In his book Inside Volcanoes (Gareth Stevens Publishing. of giants or evil spirits. In many other religious traditions. “Long ago. which is both the name of the abode of the dead as well as the ancient Greek god of the underworld).

” How silly. I think it is safe to conclude that if there is a hell. Maybe it’s in Miami. The pressure in the inner core ranges from 3. he will eventually reach the inner core (see the cutaway of the Earth-Figure 15). The temperature in the inner core is nearly 10. the surface temperature of the Sun’s outer layer. the pressure will.6 million atmospheres. Sometimes human sacrifices were thrown into the crater. air pressure is about 14. If the devil journeys toward the center of the Earth and passes through the crust.000º F. and cruel! Hell is said to exit in the bowels of the Earth. At the surface of the Earth. to appease the gods. is about the same. Under the crust and mantle of the Earth lies the outer core. it can’t be in the bowels of the Earth. in science referred to as one atmosphere. but at least the air pressure is not onerous! Cutaway of the Earth FIGURE 15 161 . called the photosphere. To put this into some perspective. Archie Bunker said as much in an episode of All in the Family! Fact: the bowels of the Earth are hotter than hell. Miami is as hot as hell for sure.7 pounds per square inch.3 to 3. And if the heat doesn’t kill the devil.volcanoes were gateways to hell. mantle and outer core. Even the devil doesn’t have lungs to handle this extreme pressure.

162 . Pennsylvania. Mount Etna on Sicily was considered to be an entryway to hell. the person was welcomed into the perfect afterlife. According to legend. El Salvador. Metnal is the lowest and most horrible of the nine Hells of the underworld. ruled by Ah Puch. the underworld and the dead) during the Middle Kingdom (2055–1650 BCE). In Nicaragua there are two sites with this reputation. near York. It is sometimes referred to as a pit and was believed to be an entrance (gateway) to hell. the area is still associated with death. the site dates from the 5th century. Cave systems in nearby Belize have also been referred to as the entrance to Xibalbá. the person was thrown to a “devourer of the dead” and didn’t share in eternal life. thorny and very forbidding. when Christ showed St. St Patrick’s Purgatory is an ancient pilgrimage site on Station Island in Ireland. At death a person faced judgment by a tribunal of 42 divine judges. If he was found guilty. while Icelanders believed their own Mount Hekla was also a gateway. the Goddess of justice. the “democratization of religion” offered to even Osiris’ humblest followers the prospect of eternal life. Patrick a cave. Isn’t it interesting that Dante’s Inferno has nine levels too. It is interesting to note that in Mayan mythology. In China. such as Dante’s Divine Comedy or Milton’s Paradise Lost. has the problematic reputation of being the home to the Seven Gates of Hell. In 16th-century Verapaz. Guatemala. with moral fitness becoming the dominant factor in determining a person’s suitability. Xibalbá (roughly translated as “place of fear”) is the dangerous underworld of nine levels ruled by the demons Vucub Caquix and Hun Came. Hellam township. If he led a life in conformance with the principles of Maat. According to some of the K’iche’ Maya presently living in the vicinity. Human sacrifices have been found in caves. The person who is taken by the “devourer” is subject first to terrifying punishment and then annihilated. These depictions of punishment may have influenced the perceptions of hell and its inferno as described in medieval and Renaissance Christian-themed literature. Fengdu County has a long history in the Taoist tradition of being a portal to hell. even though Dante had no knowledge of Mayan mythology? More gateways: Erta Ale is a continuously active basaltic shield volcano in the Afar Region of northeastern Ethiopia. In the medieval period. The road into and out of it is said to be steep. Ritual healers would intone healing prayers banishing diseases to Metnal. the most active volcano in Ethiopia.With the rise of the cult of Osiris (the Egyptian god of the afterlife. Erta Ale means “smoking mountain” in the local Afar language and its southernmost pit is called “the gateway to hell” by the Afar people. the entrance to Xibalbá was believed to be a cave in the vicinity of Cobán.

In Hinduism. Individuals who finish their quota of the punishments are reborn in accordance with their balance of karma. It is believed that people who commit sins go to hell and have to go through punishments in accordance with the sins they committed. I thought. Pastor Chris Simpson. like many evangelical preachers. assured viewers that Hell really is in the bowels of the Earth! After I stopped laughing and had time to regain my composure. Meru. how can anybody be this obtuse? Simpson. in that it is pleasant. Buddhism teaches that there are five (sometimes six) realms of rebirth. who is also the god of death. Svarga is a combination of Christian purgatory.Today. burning in fire. Georgia. a temporary realm of enjoinment similar to Paradise. in that it is temporary. In later Hindu literature a realm similar to hell. though suffering can persist for eons before being reborn again. Svarga is a set of heavenly worlds located on and above Mt. where punishment is given depending on the level of evil done in life. rebirth in the hell realms is not permanent. These punishments include dipping in boiling oil. and limbo. and good is separated into other levels depending on how well one followed god while alive. torture using various weapons. Early Vedic (proto-Hindu) religion didn’t have a concept of hell. etc. but if one has generally led a pious life. called naraka. after a brief period of expiation in Hell and before the next reincarnation according to the law of karma. Svarga is seen as a transitory place for righteous souls who have 163 . is described as a place where souls are sent for the expiation (atonement) of their sins. presides over Vedic hell. Detailed accounts of all the sins committed by an individual are kept by Chitragupta. heaven and hell are split into many different levels depending on the actions perpetrated in life. like all realms of rebirth. Chitragupta reads out the sins committed and Yamarāja orders appropriate punishments to be given to individuals. which can then be further subdivided into degrees of agony or pleasure. It is a heaven where the righteous live in a paradise before their next reincarnation. in various hells. who is the record keeper in Yamarāja’s court. can’t seem to get it through their god-damned thick skulls that the only thing beneath their feet is magma! And the only similarity between magma and the infernal regions is that magma is hot. hotter than hell! In Islam. But in the 2010 History Channel documentary The Gates of Hell. The god Yamarāja. All created beings are imperfect and thus have at least one sin to their record. many educated Americans might think how ignorant it was for the ancients to believe that Hell was beneath the surface of the Earth. However. of the White Oak Springs Baptist Church in Dallas. one ascends to Svarga.

is assailed by three beasts (a lion. Beatrice. a symbolic instance of poetic justice. i. half of the biblical life expectancy of 70 (Psalms [90:10]. if not conceived. as recorded in the Bible. metaphysical and spiritual universes. commonly known as Dante. all of which have standing in Zoroaster’s writings. purgation in molten metal. by Dante and Milton. Dante is at last rescued by Virgil. had their 164 . unable to see what is ahead. The poem is written in the first person. The Roman poet Virgil guides him through Hell and Purgatory. Purgatory (Purgatorio) and Paradise (Paradiso). and eternal punishment. They also have a comparable conception of the god of the underworld. Mount Meru has never been located. The medieval and Renaissance Christian concept of Hell and the devil was structured. and a she-wolf) which he cannot evade. Dante’s ideal woman. The religious beliefs in Zoroastrianism sound an awful lot like those of Christianity. including annihilation. and how to get there.e. destroy evil and finally resurrect tormented souls to perfection. fortune-tellers have to walk with their heads on backwards. and is unable to find the “straight way” or “right way” to salvation (symbolized by the sun behind a mountain). a leopard. Durante degli Alighieri (1265–1321 CE). Conscious that he is ruining himself and that he is falling into a “deep place” where the sun is silent. Sylvia Browne and John Edward. describes Dante’s journey through Hell (Inferno).performed good deeds in their lives but are not yet ready to attain moksha. such as James Van Praagh. Ahura Mazda (the highest deity of worship in Zoroastrianism) will ultimately reconcile the world. Zoroastrian eschatology (end of times scenario) includes the belief that wicked souls will remain in hell until the arrival of three saviors at thousand-year intervals. or union with Brahman. Each sin’s punishment in Inferno is a contrapasso. guides him through Heaven. “The days of our years are threescore years and ten”). His poem. Zoroastrianism has historically suggested several possible fates for the wicked. universal Spirit. and tells of Dante’s journey through the three realms of the dead. and the two of them begin their journey to the underworld. Just replace the words Ahura Mazda with Jesus Christ. the Divine Comedy. For example. Just like Mount Horeb. It is apparent from this discussion that many religions have similar views about heaven and hell.” Dante is thirty-five years old. The poem begins as Dante is “halfway along our life’s path. (Wouldn’t it be nice if modern fortune tellers. lasting from the night before Good Friday to the Wednesday after Easter in the spring of 1300. Mount Meru is a sacred mountain in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical. see the future. He gets lost in a dark wood (understood as sin). was an Italian poet of the Middle Ages. because that was what they had tried to do in life. the one supreme. where Moses received the Ten Commandments from Yahweh.

containing four indulgent sins (lust. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia. Circle 7 for the sins of violence. These three types of sin also provide the three main divisions of Dante’s Hell: Upper Hell (Circles 2-5). In Latin. within Circle 1. “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon. and the sceptre of the rulers.” In Isaiah [14:12]. At the bottom of the nine circles. he that ruled the nations in anger. the violent. aka Satan. is held in bondage. O Lucifer. Added onto these are two unlike categories that are specifically spiritual: Limbo. which didst weaken the nations!” Isaiah is not speaking of any fallen angel but to the defeat of the Babylonian King. let me cite the New International Reader’s Version of Isaiah [14:9-12]. “Lucifer is not the proper name of the devil. containing the heretics who contradicted the doctrine and confused the spirit of Christ. and Circle 6. Isaiah referred to the Babylonian king by the Latin term Lucifer. Although Lucifer is a name which usually refers to the devil before being cast from heaven. is the “prison” where the devil. let me quote Isaiah.) Allegorically.heads on backwards? Then only the assholes walking behind them would have to listen to the nonsense pontificated by these windbags. If the words of Isaiah seem confusing. and the three beasts represent three types of sin: the self-indulgent. is persecuted. How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked. “How art thou fallen from heaven. and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Lucifer means “light-bearer” from which the English terms Day Star or Morning Star are derived. and the malicious. the Inferno represents the Christian soul seeing sin for what it really is. In Isaiah [14:4-7]. and Circles 8 and 9 for the sins of malice (fraud and treachery). The whole Earth is at rest. For background reference purposes. contains the virtuous pagans who were not sinful but were ignorant of Christ. this is not the original meaning of the term. but denotes only the state from which he has fallen. which signals the approach of daylight. instead of the King James Version which I normally 165 . in the center of the earth. gluttony.” It is only in post-New Testament times that the Latin word Lucifer was used as a name for the devil. and none hindereth. avarice. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke. and say. The Vulgate (a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible used by the Roman Catholic Church) used the word “lucifer” (lower-case) twice to refer to the Morning Star (Venus): once in Isaiah [14:12] and once in 2 Peter [1:19]. but in colloquial English he would be called Day Star or Morning Star. son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground. anger). These were the names given to the dawn appearance of the planet Venus.

whereunto ye do well that ye take heed. The spirits of the dead get up to welcome you. he is a tragic figure best described by the nowfamous quote. Worms cover you. Some historians have interpreted Paradise Lost as a poem questioning the Anglican Church’s power (a common theme during the English Renaissance) rather than only a description of the fall of Adam and Eve. “King of Babylonia. They were kings over the nations.” Again the day star [Lucifer] bears no relation to the devil. you thought you were the bright morning star [Lucifer]. The use of the name “Lucifer” to represent the devil was later popularized in such works as Dante’s Inferno and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. They say.” Although the primary event in the epic is about the Fall of Man. than to serve in Heaven. or what they represent. many people in the grave are really excited about meeting you when you go down there. Milton’s purpose. But now you have fallen from heaven! You once brought nations down. King of Babylonia. They get up from their thrones. Satan is 166 . In 2 Peter [1:19].” He is introduced to Hell after he leads a failed rebellion to wrestle control of heaven from god.’ Your grand show of power has been brought down to the grave. stated in Book I. Formerly the most beautiful of all the angels in Heaven. until the day dawn. “We have also a more sure word of prophecy. as unto a light that shineth in a dark place. Satan’s desire to rebel against his creator stems from his unwillingness to be subjugated by god and his son (Jesus). self-raised. can change over time. But now you have been thrown down to the Earth!” This passage was incorporated into the seven princes of Hell theology and the name “Lucifer” came to be used outside of the Bible to represent the devil. Milton’s story has two parts: one of Satan (Lucifer) and another of Adam and Eve. originally published in 1667 in ten books. All of them call out to you. The noise of your harps has come down here along with your power. Isaiah [14:12] and 2 Peter [1:19] are just two examples of how the meanings of words.use. “Better to reign in Hell. is to “justify the ways of God to men” and elucidate the conflict between God’s eternal foresight and “free will. the character Satan serves as an anti-hero and as a prominent driving force in the plot. ‘You have become weak. falsely claiming that angels are “self-begot. It begins after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and banished to Hell. the term day star appears. At one time all of them were leaders in the world. The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden.” thereby denying god’s authority over them as their creator. and the day star [Lucifer] arise in your hearts. just as we are. Satan is the first major character introduced in the poem. John Milton (1608–1674) was an English poet best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. Maggots are spread out under you. You have become like us.

Plato wrote (circa 380 BCE) that souls were judged after death and that those who were to receive punishment were sent to Tartarus. “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. But in the time of Dante and Milton. But the idea of a literal devil being responsible for all of the evil in the world still lingers. but he also is able to rally the demons to continue in the rebellion after their agonizing defeat in the Angelic War. The devil has other fallen angels in his employ and they can take the form of demons. Milton and perhaps Plato. Satan’s persuasive powers are evident throughout the poem.” The devil’s rebellion was due to his own hubris and his willingness to exercise his own “free will” to challenge god. Billy’s (and Plato’s) view is antiquated but not isolated. Exorcisms are performed in Christian churches to rid “sick” people of the demons which are supposed to be responsible for the abhorrent behavior these “sick” people exhibit. It is one of the primordial objects that sprung from Chaos (the void state preceding the creation of the universe). The demon who was exorcised in the move The Exorcist is pure fantasy and entertainment. It is part of the underworld located deep beneath the Earth’s surface. which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week. Dante and Milton formed much of the foundation for the contemporary Christian view of the devil as the individual who rebelled against god and who thereafter sought converts to worship him instead of god. the exorcist rids the “sick” person of the demon inside who is a minion of the devil. Today few highly-educated individuals believe in demons and exorcisms. “And certain women. along with Gaia (Earth) and Eros (desire). Billy Graham’s view of the devil was fashioned by Dante. It is worth noting that Jesus was an exorcist. out of whom went seven devils.”The great pit of Tartarus is a gloomy place. just ask Billy Graham. before mental illness was understood.” In Matthew [4:9] the devil says.” In an exorcism. It is shared by many evangelical and fundamental Christians. In Homer’s Iliad (circa 700 BCE). He is seen as the agent and cause of all evil.deeply arrogant. Satan argues that god rules as a tyrant and that all the angels ought to rule as gods. an abyss used as a dungeon of torment and suffering for damned souls. He even attempted to seduce Jesus in the wilderness. 167 . Again. or War in Heaven. out of whom he had cast seven devils. many people believed that demonic possession was real. Mary called Magdalene. Not only is he cunning and deceptive. if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Zeus asserts that Tartarus is “as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth. “All these things will I give thee. However it is also an anachronism and incongruous. he appeared first to Mary Magdalene. if Billy is familiar with Greek mythology. In Matthew [4:1]. Just ask Billy Graham.” In Luke [8:2]. albeit powerful and charismatic. In Mark [16:9].

stole many a man’s soul and faith. Jennifer Aniston and Sandra Bullock in the other. held a generals rank.” Please allow me to introduce myself. I watched with glee while your kings and queens fought for ten decades for the gods they made. I get to rock and roll all night.” This makes me wonder. Petersburg. And I was round when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain. an atheist. and Jr. hope you guess my name. In a July 2009 newsletter from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. Pleased to meet you. Made damn sure that Pilate washed his hands and sealed his fate. It reminds of Billy Graham. is Billy Jr. Billy’s son. And I laid traps for troubadours who get killed before they reached Bombay. oh yeah. We’re not going to have sore feet. I’m a man of wealth and taste. but what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game. alternating rotation of Halle Berry. I rode a tank. the Bible says we’re going to worship God and reign with him [in heaven]. or does Billy Jr. I’ve been around for a long. And I never get tired. “First of all. i. when the blitzkrieg raged and the bodies stank. a con man or a schizophrenic? Does god talk to Billy Jr. who unceasingly preaches the deviousness and cunning of the devil. I don’t get hangovers from my endless stein of Heineken’s! It seems that Billy Graham Sr. Following are the words to the 1968 Rolling Stones hit. long year. we’re not going to be just sitting up there playing a harp. when I saw it was a time for a change. Listen. And Billy is not alone in believing in nonsense. I will have a bottomless stein of Heineken’s in one hand and an endless. Pleased to meet you. Killed the czar and his ministers. Anastasia screamed in vain.e. who killed the Kennedys? When after all it was you and me.better suited for a world dominated by 15th century superstition than one dominated by 21st century science. hear voices in his head? And why do the people who go to heaven have specific jobs to do? In my vision of heaven.) said.’s concept of the devil is similar to that of Mick Jagger. We’re not going to be sick. ah what’s puzzling you is the nature of my game. He’s also got specific jobs for us to do. I don’t have sore feet. hope you guess my name. In my heaven. God’s got a plan. and our minds can’t even begin to conceive all that he has for us. You be the judge. and party every day. Let me please introduce myself. So. William Franklin Graham III (who I refer to as Billy Jr. And I am never sick.] I stuck around St. 168 . [I love this line. But we’re not going to get tired. I shouted out. “Sympathy for the Devil. I’m a man of wealth and taste.

’ And fire flew from his fingertips as he rosined up his bow. Since I am in a singing mood now. And if you win you get this shiny fiddle made of gold. the Devil gets your soul. Or even by Billy Graham himself. let me offer a few words from another great tune about the devil. Then a band of demons joined in and it sounded something like this. or I’ll lay your soul to waste. But if you lose. your gonna regret. As heads is tails just call me Lucifer cause I’m in need of some restraint. Now you play a pretty good fiddle. Pleased to meet you. And the Devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said: Boy let me tell you what: I bet you didn’t know it. senior or junior! They could be added to a repertoire of songs sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir along with Gregorian chants. but I’m a fiddle player too. boy. and some taste. hope you guessed my name. So if you meet me have some courtesy. oh yeah. Just as every cop is a criminal. but give the Devil his due: I bet a fiddle of gold against your soul. The devil opened up his case and he said: ‘I’ll start this show. oh yeah. But I’ll take your bet. have some sympathy. 169 . These two songs could have been written by a Christian monk during the Middle Ages.Pleased to meet you. but what’s puzzling you is just the nature of my game. And he pulled the bow across his strings and it made an evil hiss. They are from the Charlie Daniels Band’s 1979 hit. hope you guessed my name. but what’s confusing you is just the nature of my game. Cos hells broke loose in Georgia and the Devil deals it hard. And if you’d care to take a dare. ’cos I think I’m better than you. He was in a bind ’cos he was way behind: he was willin’ to make a deal. he was looking for a soul to steal. The boy said: My name’s Johnny and it might be a sin. and all the sinners saints. When he came across this young man sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot. ’cos I’m the best that’s ever been. Use all your well-learned politesse. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia:” “The Devil went down to Georgia. Johnny you rosin up your bow and play your fiddle hard. I’ll make a bet with you.

“One of the wonderful things about science is that it’s about evidence. Oz is a scientist but his views about life after death are totally unscientific. Oz discussed life after death. as well as Pastor Simpson. Oz Show. (Oz is a Muslim. I accept the opinion of the world’s most famous scientist. entitled. The Grahams and Simpson are not scientists. There is not one peer-reviewed medical study which supports Oz’s view about life after death. All evidence for life after death in anecdotal and anecdotal 170 . promotes nonsense along with Billy Graham Sr. As a scientist. Perhaps Oz should become a Christian and accept the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Anecdotes are not science. “is the wizard of [Mehmet] Oz a surgeon or a shaman?” Professor Oz you ought to take a moment to reflect on to the wisdom of Professor Johnson. Oz: Shaman and Charlatan. Instead of a pulpit. I did not get a reply. intelligent people. There is No scientific evidence. From: G.” There is no science of near-death experiences.. The real question is. it’s not about belief. and Jr. But there is not a shred of evidence that anyone has died and come back from the dead. In a September 2011 episode. Oz Show. And when it comes to heaven.Moving from the ridiculous to the absurd.) He is a cardiothoracic surgeon. just like Bill Graham. R. On his website he put up a video of the episode under the banner. partially included in my forthcoming book. I am appalled that Mehmet Oz. 2011 3:26 PM Subject: Please thank Mehmet Oz Please thank Mehmet Oz for today’s show featuring Joel Osteen. Oz the Evangelist: Surgeon or Shaman?” I can now update my essay and change the title to. scientifically speaking. senior and junior.” as the psychic medium John Edward likes to put it. Oz says he believes in the hereafter. He is also a professor of surgery at Columbia University. he would have undoubtedly told us about it. a scientist. If there was. “Dr. are you afraid of the dark? It seems so.” Mehmet.” A few weeks ago Oz did a show suggesting that there was scientific evidence for life after death. Oz should know the difference between matters of science versus matters of faith. In English this means Oz cuts out people’s hearts. As I expected. I would not want a surgeon cutting up my heart (in heart bypass surgery) who might believe that any patient lost on the operating table is in a “better place” because he has relocated to heaven.” Below is an email I sent to the Dr. I had written an essay. “The Science of Near Death. All of the evidence for life after death is anecdotal. Good for him. That is why Carl Sagan did not believe we have been visited by aliens or UFOs. or out-of-body experiences or visits to “the other side. “Dr. let’s me give another example of the foolishness being propagated by supposedly educated. Pafumi Sent: Thursday November 17. Mehmet Oz uses The Dr. “Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. Stephen Hawking.

by definition. A majority of spontaneous regressions from cancer occurred after a feverish infection.” Joel Osteen sells Jesus to ignorant people. he ought to become an imam and refrain from referring to himself as a doctor. a man of medical science. This leads to one. He should know better. Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Does god care only about people who are afflicted with cancer? Osteen’s mother was miraculously “cured” from liver cancer. There are no cases of spontaneous remission from muscular dystrophy or Parkinson’s disease. In a carefully designed 2008 study on mammography. Craig Smith. [Without any evidence of divine intervention. on his show. It seems Oz does something similar and it would appear that the audience of the Dr. one dollar at a time. The issue is. and only one. It is called spontaneous remission from cancer and one study shows spontaneous remissions in about one out of 100. violate the principles of science. is there a scientific explanation? And there is: the placebo mechanism. of how the body heals itself. among others. I did not get a reply to this note either. Chairman of the Department of Surgery. If he is going to talk about faith. Now he has Osteen identifying prayer with miracles. “miracles. Mehmet Oz is a shaman and a charlatan.evidence is Not science. As the biologist Richard Dawkins noted in The God Delusion. As I expected. Neither is the case. Oz Show is quite unsophisticated. as opposed to “miraculous” miracles. Below is a fax I sent to the Dr. Doesn’t Oz feel any social responsibility to educate the undereducated public with science instead of science fiction? Medicine is making great strides and Oz comes up with non-scientific explanations for miracles and suggests there is tangible evidence for life after death. according to two other studies. The triggering of the placebo mechanism is another scientific explanation. Almost all of the miracles documented by the Church have to do with remission from cancer. 2012 5:10 PM 171 . Pafumi Subject: Mehmet Oz Sent: Monday March 26. They were not. The Catholic Church identifies dozens of people every year who have been the recipients of miracles. conclusion. If nothing else. it was found that 22% of all breast cancer cases underwent spontaneous remission. From: G.000 patients. these scientific explanations should have been offered to your audience. There is plenty of evidence that miracles occur.] This phenomenon has been known for a century. Osteen’s belief in his mother’s miracle is either a fraud or a fairy story. OZ is a professor of medicine. R.

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.) As Columbia physicist Brian Greene wrote in his recent book. have some responsibility to the public. especially those who are uneducated and gullible? It appears not. the finest institution of higher learning in New York City. I am writing to you as the Chairman of the Department of Surgery. In March 2012.about the difficulty of interstellar travel. no one has any idea how to produce such sustained accelerations [to achieve near speed of light velocities]..” It seems Professor Weinberg thinks. ghosts and guardian angels. (Margolis was not the first psychic on Oz’s show. “I am not willing to criticize either Kaku or Hawking. Oz said there is scientific evidence for life after death. His show featured a guest psychic Char Margolis. All evidence for life after death in anecdotal.” (They are available on my website. Professor Weinberg said. Oz is a professor of medicine. Oz: Shaman and Charlatan. with the implication they are real. USC). if there is one. Smith. “Dr. Is Oz trying 172 . Oz: Shaman and Charlatan. And what kind of Columbia scientist associates himself with psychics.. based on modern physics and based on any conceivable technology. it’s not about belief. Oz failed to mention spontaneous remission. Oz (on his show) suggested there was scientific evidence for life after death. I was discussing with the Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg the possibility of human space travel near the speed of light. He should know better. As Carl Sagan put it. Their style is not my style. anecdotal evidence is Not evidence. I ask. ghosts and guardian angels.” (Clifford Johnson. but it is so difficult to interest the public in science that I can't say which style is more effective.. I am flabbergasted that a scientist from Colombia would discuss souls. Doesn’t Columbia. Professor of Physics.. There is No scientific evidence. Miracles by definition violate the principles of science. that human travel near the speed of light is not plausible. what kind of scientists teach at Columbia? He talked about the soul. I could not find your email address so I used your fax instead. I have written two essays about Oz. Oz had the evangelist Joel Osteen on his show describing how Osteen’s mother was miraculously “cured” from liver cancer.” “One of the wonderful things about science is that it’s about evidence. In November 2011.Dear Dr. “no one should be convinced..of anything not supported by hard data.. an idea advocated by Michio Kaku (CUNY) and Stephen Hawking (Cambridge). The Hidden Reality. it is that we get nowhere by labeling our ignorance 'God'" (Jerry Coyne-biologist at the University of Chicago).) In October 2011.” and “Dr. I am appalled that you allow Mehmet Oz to promote himself as a Professor of Surgery and Vice-Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Columbia University. Also I could not identify the Dean of Faculty. Is Oz suggesting that spontaneous remission is not a scientific explanation for a miracle? "If the history of science shows us anything.

Michael Behe. ignorant. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science.to interest the public in science through fairy stories? If the neuroscientist Eric Kandel said there was evidence of life after death. has not been tested experimentally. and should not be regarded as scientific. who latest book is about parallel universes. John Edward. After learning about cold readings from Penn Jillette.. have refused to take Randi’s test.” Life after death. are unequivocal in their support of evolutionary theory. The sole dissenter from this position. Behe’s right to express his views. they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. then. have not been tested experimentally. Oxford physicist Sir Roger Penrose thinks there is indirect evidence of a parallel universe in the cosmic microwave background radiation data. beliefs based solely on superstition. and should not be regarded as scientific. They know they can prove a damn thing about their psychic powers or their ability to “talk to the dead. souls. such as Silvia Browne. I know how the cold reading fraud is perpetrated. Dover Area School District case got intelligent design out of high school science classrooms. Behe is the scientist whose testimony in the Kitzmiller v. as well as other psychics.’ While we respect Prof. is a well-known proponent of ‘intelligent design.. This is nonsense. I would not send my children to a school which teaches nonsense or tolerates professors who do.. The department faculty. a psychic who appeared on Oz’s show. Professor Michael Behe rejects part of Darwinian evolution and replaces it with intelligent design based on his fictitious concept of irreducible complexity.” On the Dr. Oz show in March 2012. I would locate the scientific study upon which Professor Kandel based his beliefs and would also review the papers of other scientists who vetted the original document to get their views. (At least that was the intent of the Judge’s decision.” Where is your responsibility to the ignorant public to have a man who calls himself a scientist and a professor at Columbia to con gullible. the publicity might help ignorant people realize they were being misled.. But based Professor Kandel’s reputation. Shame on Columbia! At Lehigh University. and foolish people? If Columbia censured Oz. Columbia ought to put such a statement on its website and distance itself from Oz’s non-scientific beliefs. will tell you that not all physicists agree with Sir Penrose about the statistical validity of the “evidence. The magician James Rand has offered a million dollars to anyone who can prove paranormal ability. Prof. Everyone who has taken the test failed. I would not want a surgeon cutting up my heart (in heart bypass surgery) who might believe that any patient lost on the operating table is in a “better place” because he has relocated to 173 . I would be naturally skeptical. ghosts and guardian angels have no basis in science. Brian Greene. Oz actually had the psychic do a cold reading.) Lehigh University has this statement on its website: “The faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the highest standards of scientific integrity and academic function.

In a newsletter.. Does the Church now also teach that the devil is not to be taken literally as an anthropomorphic being? Billy Graham. teaches that the devil is real. I have sent it to you in case you would like to respond to my accusations and opinions..” Does the Catholic Church still teach that here is a literal devil? I believe that at least since Pope John Paul II. 2011 3:26 PM . Father Michal Heller. Getting back to the issue at hand and the topic of this chapter. Pafumi Subject: The devil Dear Father Rausch. Smith. I have included this memo in my forthcoming book. “Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. such as earthquakes and hurricanes. That is what my son was taught in Catholic school. It appears that Oz has a demographic of an undereducated audience. He is what he had to say about the Catholic Church’s position regarding the devil. From: G. recipient of the 2008 Templeton Prize. The Church rejects Adam and Eve.heaven. on the devil.Such views are theologically erroneous. I recently watched an evangelical minister say that hell is in the bowels of the Earth. good and evil] postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God 174 Sent: Saturday October 29. Billy Graham blamed natural disasters. On the Origin of Species.. I recognize that doctors cover each other’s butts. The Church wholly endorses Darwinian evolution and even had a conference celebrating the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s book. the Church teaches that hell is not fire and brimstone in the bowels of the Earth but a separation from God. It is a disgrace that these undereducated people are being deceived with non-scientific information under the guise of science based on Oz’s job and employer. I saw you being interviewed for the documentary. the “Sounds of Silence” can speak volumes. “Hell: The devil’s Domain. R. I am working on a book about the origin of the Judeo-Christian tradition. It is my belief that the Catholic Church no longer teaches such nonsense. said. Keep in mind Dr. They implicitly revive the old manicheistic error [conflict between forces of light and darkness. following is my correspondence with Father Thomas Rausch. among other evangelicals. There aren’t too many rocket scientists watching the Dr. Oz Show at 4 PM in the afternoon. a Roman Catholic priest and academic. in part due to the influence of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Pafumi. but turned from God and hostile to mankind. there is no principle of evil or creature equal to God. chance and intelligent design. the Church has never defined that the devil actually exists. the creator. To the best of my knowledge. the reality of the devil is . Rausch. who has made strengthening the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy. taken for granted as a spirit of malice. I was hoping you could set me straight. Recent popes have been working to overcome the accusation that the church was hostile to science– reputation grounded in the Galileo affair [who was persecuted 400 years ago as a heretic]. . nor is it of major concern except as an aspect of the theology of creation. S.” 175 . Since you appeared in the devil documentary as an expert in the Church’s past and current view of the devil.. In other words. Father Heller speaks like a scientist. only that the devil was originally created by God as a good angel. “Working with scientists to explore fundamental questions that are of interest to religion is in line with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI. . A 2009 Vatican press release stated. in this case. Richard Woods. Thank you for any guidance you can give me. but presupposing the traditional belief.J. in the New Dictionary of Catholic Theology says “From a scriptural and theological perspective.and an inert matter. Pafumi On 10/31/2011 11:45 AM. Sincerely. or that he is a metaphor for the evil committed by humans? Please correct me if I am wrong. Does the Church teach that the devil is real. G. is not a part of the Church’s defined teaching.” I think Father Heller’s remarks and opinion suggest that a literal devil is a relic of Dark and Middle Ages theology. What the devil is. Thomas P. wrote: Dear Mr. created good. He is an adjunct member of the Vatican Observatory staff and an ordinary member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.R. but I am quite certain the Church does not blame the devil for natural disasters.

The Bible is littered with references to the devil. Then the devil leaveth him. angels came and ministered unto him. and him only shalt thou serve. but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. he said. But he answered and said. 2011 2:18 PM 176 . S. Get thee hence. All these things will I give thee. if thou wilt fall down and worship me. in the Old Testament: Leviticus [17:7]. And saith unto him. R. And saith unto him. Again. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. It is written again. T. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Sent: Tuesday. and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. Satan: for it is written. I wrote to you because you are a priest. For example. Thomas P. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up. behold. And when the tempter came to him. CA 90045 310-338-2931 From: G. Suite 3700 Los Angeles. and the glory of them. and.J. in the New Testament: extensively in Matthew. Then saith Jesus unto him. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights. a professor and a person willing to speak about the Church’s dogma on the record (I saw you on TV). i. and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world.To see the devil as a metaphor for human evil makes sense. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city. Rausch. a theologian. I am not so sure any more. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology Loyola Marymount University One LMU Drive. Hope this is helpful. Deuteronomy [32:17]. November 01. he was afterward an hungred.e. Thank you so much for your timely reply. If thou be the Son of God. If thou be the Son of God. I thought I was a wellinformed Catholic about the Church’s teachings but after your reply. cast thyself down: for it is written. Jesus said unto him. but the Church has not defined that either. the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain. Matthew [4:1-11] “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. It is written. command that these stones be made bread. Man shall not live by bread alone. lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. Pafumi Dear Father/Professor.

such as Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels.” Who was Matthew referring to? The obvious implication of your statement is that the Gospel of Matthew is a fairy tale. socio-cultural or paranormal phenomena. Cardinal Carrera does not seem to agree with your view. as least with regards to the devil. 2009– The Archbishop of Mexico City. When I was in Catholic School in the early 1960s. July 16. as you can see. hell was taught as a real place of fire and suffering ruled by (Milton’s) devil (better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven).” This July 2010 article refers to Argentine Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio. “the Church had never defined that the devil actually exists. Chile. at least to Cardinal Carrera. although I have learned from experts. they should be fluent in the Church’s dogma and positions on things like the devil.’” Father.As you can see. JULY 30. there is quite a bit about the devil in Matthew. Cardinal Cottier: ‘The devil is without a doubt the great seducer because he tries to lead man to sin by presenting evil as good. This is from the Catholic News Agency. just like Billy Graham.” Cardinals are the highest level of management in the Church. Although Cardinals may not all be religious historians. The killing was linked to Satanism. I hope you can appreciate my confusion when you said. Your views would be quite helpful to 177 . Mexico. Combine that with exorcisms. said yesterday that the existence of the devil must be taken as fact. Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera. Cardinal Georges Cottier gave this interview in the wake of last Saturday’s murder of a priest in the cathedral of Santiago. without exaggerating or minimizing his actions out of skepticism or credulity taken to the extreme. During a conference for exorcists in Mexico. This is why I assumed the Church had redefined the devil when it redefined hell. VATICAN CITY. Satan was created by God as a good angel. says the theologian of the Pontifical Household. that little in the Bible is factual and historic. I thought exorcisms became passé with the movie. I never heard this in Church. What am I missing? I would like to cite you in my book but first I want to make sure I am getting the facts right and there does seem to be a discrepancy between three Catholic Cardinals and you and Richard Woods. I can give you more examples but these three. I think. the cardinal said skepticism leads many to deny the existence of the devil and dismiss his actions as psychological. “Mexico City. “Catholic cardinal says gay marriage is the work of the devil. because God does not create evil. and it seems the devil is quite real. 2004-“We should take the devil ‘very seriously. Here is another headline. Cardinals at the top of the Church’s hierarchy are advocating that the devil is real and are even involved in the medieval practice of exorcisms.’ but without losing confidence in the love of God. make my point that the Church does believe the devil is real.

nor is what one or another cardinal says the same thing as a magisterial pronouncement. Thomas P. specifically to monitor and test Human Beings. as Henry Ansgar Kelly shows.. I think you may have missed my point. Thomas P. The “Original Biography” must be reconstructed from the New Testament where Satan is the same sort of celestial functionary we see in the Book of Job– appointed to govern the World. who rebelled against Him out of pride and then caused Adam and Eve to sin.me. Here’s a description: Christians traditionally think of Satan as Lucifer. but Kelly urges a return to the ‘Original Biography of Satan. and punishment in Hell at his hands. This profile of Satan remains dominant.J. Thank again for your timely response and any help you can give me. Sincerely. What I said is that from a scriptural and theological perspective. the reality of the devil is…taken for granted as a spirit of malice. S. But. as I think that the devil or Satan was considered a real person by people in the New Testament.’”--BOOK JACKET I don’t agree with Kelly completely.J. If you’d like to research this further. created good. and Jesus predicts that his rule will soon come to an end. captivity by Satan. 178 . Pafumi. Rausch. wrote: Dear Mr. but he is correct about the origin of belief in the devil as the “tester” in the court of Yahweh. But he is brutal and deceitful in his methods. the existence of demons or of Satan has not been formally defined by the church. Best wishes. but turned from God and hostile to mankind. Rausch.R. I would also appreciate a resident expert in the devil if you have one at LMU in case you prefer that I speak with someone else about this topic. S. “Kelly traces the further developments of the ‘New Biography’: Humankind’s inherited guilt. I suggest you consult Henry Anscar Kelly’s Satan: A Biography. this portrayal is not Biblical but a scenario invented by the early Fathers of the Church which became the New Biography of Satan. Pafumi On 11/1/2011 6:21 PM. So again. God’s enemy. G. But presupposing what is popular belief is not the same as a magisterial definition.

the Evil One. is preserved from sin and the corruption of death (the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God. or any Cardinal. present. i.… a liar and the father of lies. wants or wishes him to be.” It touches each of us personally. Following is the complete Section VII of the Catechism: Section 2850: The last petition to our Father is also included in Jesus’ prayer: “I am not asking you to take them out of the world. but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. Section 2852: “A murderer from the beginning.” Through him sin and death entered the world and by his definitive defeat all creation will be “freed from the corruption of sin and death. evil is not an abstraction. We know that we are of God. I guess this means that the devil is whatever any individual. and the evil one does not touch him. may not surprise you.Let me pause and make a note here. its teaching authority. “full of grace” of the Holy Spirit. Our interdependence in the drama of sin and death is turned into solidarity in the Body of Christ.” Therefore the Spirit and the Church pray: “Come. past. so that the enemy.” “He pursued the woman” but had no hold on her: the new Eve. 179 . in communion with the whole Church. and future. the angel who opposes God. and the whole world is in the power of the evil one. the official text of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Father Rausch is saying that there is no formal definition for the devil in the Church’s magisterium. and the prince of this world is “cast out. “Then the dragon was angry with the woman. However there are many references to the devil in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Lord Jesus. who is against us?” Section 2853: Victory over the “prince of this world” was won once for all at the Hour when Jesus freely gave himself up to death to give us his life.” since his coming will deliver us from the Evil One. of which he is the author or instigator. The Lord who has taken away your sin and pardoned your faults also protects you and keeps you from the wiles of your adversary the devil. and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring. ever virgin). “If God is for us. but He who was born of God keeps him.” Section 2851: In this petition.” Satan is “the deceiver of the whole world. but refers to a person.e. This is the judgment of this world. The devil (dia-bolos) is the one who “throws himself across” God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ. The Lord’s Prayer continually opens us to the range of God’s economy of salvation. Mary. we pray as well to be freed from all evils. who is accustomed to leading into sin.” Now “we know that anyone born of God does not sin. for the deliverance of the whole human family. Satan. One who entrusts himself to God does not dread the devil. Section 2854: When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One. the “communion of saints. but it is always “we” who pray.

the teachings about the devil from some of the Church’s hierarchy are far more serious and perilous. although more appropriate for the Middle Ages. and probably all Central and South American Catholics.” However the Catechism of the Catholic Church has a lot to say about the devil.In this final petition. the Church has never defined that the devil actually exists. For example I heard Archbishop [now Cardinal] Dolan. the highest authority in the Church. of the Book of Genesis is allegorical. R. of the Church and the words which come out of the mouths of Cardinals. What does he want 180 Sent: Wednesday. Now I get it.” Father Rausch can say. Freedom of speech is not part of Church doctrine and all priests and nuns take a vow of obedience. “popular belief is not the same as a magisterial definition. You said. And what it says in the Catechism about the devil sounds an awful lot like Billy Graham’s version. I wanted to make sure I understood your points. Pafumi Dear Father Rausch. Father Roy Bourgeois. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity. “To the best of my knowledge. do not know the difference between the magisterium. However. or teaching authority. challenged the Church’s position with regard to the ordination of females as priests and was excommunicated in November 2009. she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in expectation of Christ’s return By praying in this way. November 02. the Almighty. of New York. but the point is moot in practical terms.” I assume this means there is no official Church magisterium which addresses the truth value of a real devil. I assumed that the position about the devil from the mouths of Cardinals was part of the Church’s magisterium. in not all.” or. “the existence of demons or of Satan has not been formally defined by the church. When Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio made the headline. But his sermon was benign. discuss Noah during Easter midnight mass while the Church has acknowledged that most. Thank you again for your guidance.” who “is and who was and who is to come. she anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has “the keys of Death and Hades [Greek mythology worked its way into the Catechism].” he is unquestionably taking the Church back to medieval times. the Church brings before the Father all the distress of the world. which I presume means advocating the Church’s official dogma. I know the difference between the two and frankly until our conversation. Back with Father Rausch: From: G. Most American Catholics. 2011 5:15 PM . a Maryknoll priest. “Catholic cardinal says gay marriage is the work of the devil. I recognize that metaphorically priests can say things which conflict with Church dogma.

“In his new book. “Pope Benedict XVI. though.’ he said. the Catholic News Service reported. Let me pause again and make a note here. In my haste to get out an email. it remains contrary to the essence of what God originally willed. sexuality has an intrinsic meaning and direction. I wrote Father Rausch a personal email and was incorrect about the Pope’s position on homosexuality.But this does not mean that homosexuality thereby becomes morally right.” In November 2010. to give humanity posterity.” I do not understand why the Pope has not silenced Cardinal Bergoglio as he did Father Bourgeois. has made strengthening the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy. Celibacy is required of all priests and homosexual priests are not given an exemption. in this way.He said it was still an open question whether homosexual inclinations are innate or arise early in life….. inquisition homosexuals? In my prior book. Pope Benedict XVI strongly reaffirmed church teaching that homosexual acts are ‘disordered’ and said homosexuality itself is ‘incompatible’ with the priesthood…. A 2009 Vatican press release stated. Recent popes have been working to overcome the accusation that the church was hostile to science. And is this god a talking tree like the one who told Moses to tell pharaoh to let his people go? He were are in the 21st century with medical and 181 . which is not homosexual. Rather. the modern leper in the eyes of many Christians. But surely the argument about the ordination of female priests is trivial when compared to the biblical argument that homosexuality is a perversion. I think. children.‘At the same time. I accept the bigotry of many Christian denominations. I cited two medical studies which detected physiological differences in the hypothalamus and the amygdala of the human brain between homo. but I believe Jesus says nothing in the New Testament about homosexuality. a future…. I did not thoroughly check all of my “facts. Under the presumption of papal infallibility. The Pope still has his head up his tookus.to do. Even Pope Benedict has acknowledged homosexual orientation and has said homosexuals can serve in the Church as long as they remain celibate.. befriend the homosexual. ‘The meaning and direction of sexuality is to bring about the union of man and woman and.and heterosexual men. it seems the Pope has not connected homosexuality with the work of the devil. one to which Jesus himself would be proud. but I hold the Roman Catholic Church to a much higher standard.’” I was wrong. How does the Pope know “what God originally willed?” I wonder if god talks to the Pope directly or in parables. Aren’t homosexuals God’s children? How much longer must they suffer persecution and stigma? Did not Jesus befriend the outcasts of biblical society. I choose not to believe that the Pope is a closet homophobe. the poor and overtaxed Jew and the leper? Please correct me if I am wrong. Homosexuality is an orientation and largely accepted as a scientific fact.’ he said. Jesus would.

the BBC (British Broadcasting Co. while the right side was bigger in lesbian women and heterosexual men. a “cord of nerve fibers that allows two halves of the brain to communicate with one another. Simon LeVay’s hypothalamus study (Science magazine August 1991) found that the hypothalamus. University of London. while heterosexual women and gay men had no difference between the size of the different halves of their brain. When these results were collected. at least. comparing the size of the brain halves in ninety adults. and gay women more like heterosexual men. In other words.” A second anatomical difference was subsequently discovered by Dr. said that he believed that these brain differences were laid down early in foetal development. The reverse. but needed another mechanism to set them. Roger A. What planet is he from? The Pope. is larger in homosexual men than it is in either heterosexual men or in women. was the case in homosexual men and heterosexual women. was smaller in homosexual men than in heterosexual men. In heterosexual men and gay women. it was found that lesbians and heterosexual men shared a particular ‘asymmetry’ in their hemisphere size.) covered a Swedish study. either before or after birth. the brains of gay men were more like heterosexual women. that is. when at least he could have had homosexuals burned at the stake. Gorski of the University of California at Los Angeles. “As far as I’m 182 . there were more nerve ‘connections’ in the right side of the amygdala.” Dr. the anterior commissure. “Gay men and heterosexual women had halves of a similar size. a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary.” In June 2008. A further experiment found that in one particular area of the brain. Physiological studies have demonstrated physically detectable differences between homosexuals and heterosexuals in humans. A [British] scientist said this was evidence sexual orientation was set in the womb. The [research] team said that these differences could not be mainly explained by ‘learned’ effects. compared with the left. the amygdala . and the Pope continues to assert that sex is for procreative purposes and that “homosexual acts are ‘disordered’” and “contrary to the essence of what God originally willed. can you at least take one step forward for every two steps you take backward? This Pope is an anachronism and would have better served the Church in the 15th century.scientific explanations for sexual orientation. I cannot believe the Pope believes that god almighty sees homosexuality as a greater sin or perversion than pedophilia. there were other significant differences. They discovered that another brain structure. it was equivalent to the dimensions seen in heterosexual women. Allen and Dr. structurally. with more neural connections in the left amygdala. Qazi Rahman. Laura S.”’ Your Holiness. published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal. “a part of the brain that helps regulate sexual behavior.

.” This is 21st century thinking. This makes sense given that gay men have a sexual preference which is like that of women in general. In other words.. You said. especially reception of the sacraments. had more wisdom than a Cardinal (i. Other actions. can drive out the devil as well.. 183 . that is. The Pope said. “The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven.’ Bishop Paprocki said. In the 16th century Cardinal Baronio said. while defending the works of Copernicus and Galileo..” I am not conversant with the complete difference between magisterium and canon law but I presume they are heavily intertwined. you know. preferring men. he added [another reference to the devil]. are signified in some imitation of the sacraments and are obtained through the intercession of the church.” answering a question about whether intelligent design should be taught in public schools as an alternative theory to Darwin [this was during the Kitzmiller v. Bishop Paprocki said. Back to Father Rausch: If you are familiar with Dan Brown’s book Angels and Demons.Scripture contains several examples of Jesus casting out evil spirits from people [such as Mary Magdalene]. The Church was responsible for Giordano Bruno (an Italian Dominican friar) being burned at the stake for heresy for telling us how the heavens go. There are those who acknowledge scientific discovery and those who want to take the Church back to the Middle Ages. especially spiritual effects. you know that one of his themes is the conflict between faith and science.e.” It is sad to think that Cardinal Baronio. Now there is a statue to him in Rome. the jury is still out on evolution.” That is almost as dumb as former George W. when superstition and ignorance ruled. and between gay women and straight men.’ The rite rarely is as dramatic as portrayed in movies and popular media. the Catholic New Service reported. the Pontifical Academy of Sciences has failed the Pope and the Church in matters of homosexuality. not how the heavens go. “U. Bush’s statement.. I get the distinct impression that such a conflict presently and actually exists in the Church.The rite is considered sacramental. the brain network which determines sexual orientation is similar between gay men and straight women.. which canon law describes as a sacred sign ‘by which effects. “Well. you are born gay. “To see the devil as a metaphor for human evil makes sense.. Bergoglio) of the 21st century. and vice versa for lesbian women.concerned there is no argument any more—if you are gay.” Sadly. with all of the ignorance of his day.S. In November last year. Dover Area School District case]. ‘We don’t think that’s poetic metaphor. bishops are looking for a few good men to become exorcists. I include you in the former. “It was still an open question whether homosexual inclinations are innate or arise early in life.

is the T. such as Cardinal Bergoglio. I see the Church on that trajectory. I think the Church teachings about the devil (magisterial or not) and exorcisms are taking the Church a huge step backward in the 21st century. Marie Chilton Professor of Catholic Theology and professor of theological studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Ph. I would not only appreciate your opinions. or the least informed members of society. if you will share them with me. Reverend Thomas P. These are the same idiots who believed pedophile priests could be “cured” and moved them from parish to parish with the expectation that they would no longer molest children. A person with a Ph. Thomas P. but the majority of modem physicists no longer believe the universe was created.D. They didn’t get that right either! Father Rausch’s lack of response to my last email has spoken volumes. in the Church. I wanted to share my thoughts with you and would welcome any comments you might have. “To see the devil as a metaphor for human evil 184 . are morons. But for all practical purposes Duke is a secular university.. Sometimes “The Sounds of Silence” can be deafening. I did not expect him to admit that some of these high-ranking clerics. G.J.R. has formally addressed the issues I have described.J. In Scientific American. Rausch.. having received his doctorate from Duke University.Father. As always. I knew it was highly unlikely that a sitting priest would criticize some of the Church’s highest ranking clerics. from one of America’s finest. S. unlike the Catholic universities of Notre Dame and Georgetown. Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt said that the Big Bang was not the beginning of all space and time. [never] wrote [back]. I think Father Rausch’s statement. In addition to the pedophile scandal. S. D. either on or off the record. Let me conclude by saying if the Church does not literally abandon angels and demons. Duke was founded by Methodists and Quakers and maintains a historic affiliation with the United Methodist Church. Rausch. but the beginning of space and time for our sub-universe. thanks again for your help. it will end up with a congregation of idiots.. non-faithbased universities is likely to be highly intelligent and a free thinker. Let me say that I never really expected a reply to my last email from Father Rausch. Not only do many scientists see exorcisms as relics of the past. but any suggestions of who. Pafumi On 11/X/2011 X:XX PM. This is part of the multiverse hypothesis. in my view. Oxford physicist Sir Roger Penrose believes he has found evidence of a prior universe which jump started ours.

not Catholic. The abortion took place and the mother survived. the abortion came to the attention of Bishop Thomas J. she had incurred a latae sententiae. the incident came to the attention of the Arizona Republic newspaper. In May 2010. the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. or automatic excommunication. in Phoenix. which asked the hospital and the bishop for comments. In December 2010.” McBride joined the ethics committee in approving the decision to terminate the pregnancy through an induced abortion.” Hence Father Rausch was probably taking the safe path by not responding to my last email. the position advocated by both Billy Graham and Cardinal Bergoglio.” This statement implies that the devil is not considered as real person today. Arizona. at least not to Father Rausch and other non-believers in a literal devil. Both the Bishop and the hospital provided answers to the newspaper’s request. 2009. McBride was an administrator and member of the ethics committee at St. Olmsted informed her that in allowing the abortion. A free-thinking priest like Father Rausch could easily get into hot water with his bishop. McBride was subsequently reassigned from her post as vice president of mission integration at the hospital. “Father Roy Bourgeois. the committee was consulted in the case of a 27-year-old woman who was eleven weeks pregnant with her fifth child and suffering from pulmonary hypertension. On November 27. 2010 the two statements were published online. challenged the Church’s position with regard to the ordination of females as priests and was excommunicated in November 2009.makes sense. Let me give example of the Church’s wrath against dissidents. a Maryknoll priest. Afterwards. and on May 15.” clearly implies that he does not believe that the devil is a real. universities in Germany. anthropomorphic being. I doubt that Pope Benedict XVI believes in a literal devil either. But Father Rausch has taken an oath of obedience when he was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest and obedience does not include publicly criticizing the Church or its most senior members. As I pointed out in my letter to Father Rausch. The Pope is a biblical scholar and was a professor of religious studies at five public. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Olmsted. Father Rausch adds. The Center is owned by Catholic Healthcare West. The fact that the doctors saved the life of the mother when it was expected both would die before childbirth made no difference. Olmsted announced that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was severing 185 . Her doctors stated that the woman’s chance of dying if the pregnancy was allowed to continue was “close to 100%. Olmsted spoke to McBride privately and she confirmed her participation in the procurement of the abortion. “I think that the devil or Satan was considered a real person by people in the New Testament. Sister Margaret Mary McBride is a Sister of Mercy.

according to Father Thomas Doyle. and legally. cooperation between individuals or tribes was necessary for human survival. “Morally. What’s wrong with this picture? What kind of a religion sees the near inevitable death of a mother and child at or prior to childbirth (god’s will) as preferable to saving the life of a mother? What kind of a religion requires a woman to die in childbirth (again god’s will) instead of terminating a lethal pregnancy? This is barbaric as well as primitive. Most sociologists accept the notion that non-theists act as morally as believers. By the way Adolph Hitler.” take the lives of a mother and fetus. non-believers like to point out that nearly the entire population of prison inmates (criminals) believe in god. save the life of the mother. “Religion is what keeps the poor man from murdering the rich. we will always save the life we can save. was never excommunicated either. “If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life. Bernard Ebbers is a perfect example. “god.” was the statement made by hospital president Linda Hunt. medical doctors.” While the devil and eternal punishment for evil behavior may have kept individuals in line throughout much of human history.its affiliation with the hospital.” The Church prefers to have an unknown entity. The devil was most likely conceived many moons ago by some psychological genius for the explicit purpose of coercing people to act morally toward each other. It is acceptable for Catholic clergy to molest children but not to save a mother when she and her child would likely die at or prior to childbirth. our first priority is to save both patients. no pedophile priests have been excommunicated as was the case with Sister McBride. and the new souls of the dead fetuses which acquired their “souls” at conception or some indeterminate point thereafter. In fact. can be quite capricious. If that is not possible. The Church. This is the real work of “the devil. a Dominican priest with a doctorate in canon law. the existing souls of dead mothers now in heaven for not having aborted their fetuses. Is it any wonder that Catholics are leaving the Church in droves? We will revisit this exiting Catholics problem in the next chapter. raised a Catholic. “god” can have more souls to worship him. He is the former Chairman of 186 .” And yet. and that is what we did in this case. ethically. after months of discussion had failed to obtain from the hospital management a promise not to perform abortions in the future. A “beggar thy neighbor” policy put humankind at risk. Convincing the ignorant that they would be punished in the afterlife for malevolent behavior towards their neighbors kept the masses in line. As Napoleon Bonaparte put it. he is no longer necessary. By eliminating the abortion option. instead of letting a known entity. In a time when human existence was far more exposed to the elements of nature than today. it seems. we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save.

then why did he engage in it? More than once! He committed adultery and then lied to his wife and his congregation about his infidelity. I guess he justified his behavior using the traditional excuse posited by the great 20th century philosopher Flip Wilson. Well. the defrocked American evangelical preacher. He was then was fired from the ministry he built when it was revealed that he paid for a relationship with a male prostitute. I was listening to a discussion about the brain on Charlie Rose. “I did not have a homosexual relationship with a man in Denver . he preaches. which is now the Department of Neuroscience at Columbia. When Ebbers was not actively engaged in defrauding his employees and the public. Haggard can’t blame the devil for his shortcomings. history.” He broke two of the Ten Commandments. We have no one to blame but ourselves. “The devil made me do it! Another great example of the devil’s handiwork is Ted Haggard. He was also the founding director of the Center for Neurobiology and Behavior. This is a really smart individual. The devil didn’t make him do it. who preached the sin of homosexuality in the pulpit.S. Haggard condemns “homosexual activity. Mississippi. or Hades. the devil is incongruous in the 21st century. Let’s give the devil a rest and give him a permanent vacation in Hell. Science tells me so.WorldCom and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for helping orchestrate the largest accounting fraud in U. co-hosted by Eric Kandel. He destroyed the financial resources of thousands of WorldCom employees and stockholders. . not exactly. It was the second round of the Brain Series. As a believer. What a hypocrite. He told a Denver television station. And let’s stop blaming the devil for the transgressions of our own making. However. he taught Sunday school at the Easthaven Baptist Church in Brookhaven. He is a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Kandel is an American neuropsychiatrist who received the 2000 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the physiological basis of memory storage in neurons. What a monster. I am steady with my wife. It’s written in the Bible. “We don’t have to debate about what we should think about homosexual activity. like the God of Abraham. or the island of lost souls. I’m faithful to my wife. . He made them feel that they were perverts and displeasing to god. But if Haggard taught children it was a sin.” Were Haggard’s sins the work of the devil? Doesn’t he need to own his “sin” of homosexual behavior and take responsibility for it? I don’t believe homosexuality is either a sin or a perversion.” In the documentary Jesus Camp. 187 . He psychologically assaulted children. And think of the harm to young homosexual children who were just beginning to understand their own sexuality.

free will is the “freedom of humans to make choices that are not determined by prior causes or by divine intervention. The idea that free will causes addiction or is the exclusive cause of sin is scientifically invalid. “felons” with severe mental illness or retardation. have brains which do not function like the brains of normal law-abiding citizens. what is free will? Let me begin by defining free will.The conversation in this Brain Series episode included a discussion about the brain and substance addiction with a panel of neuroscientists in addition to Professor Kandel. According to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Repeat offenders should 188 . Perhaps recent discoveries about the brain and the lack of a conscience in some individuals are the best reasons to eliminate the death penalty. This raises the question can anybody be held accountable for anything? Should Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy not have been executed as they were not culpable for the murders they committed? There is scientific research which demonstrates that people. We don’t execute the criminally insane. Even transgressors.” I am going to include the devil in the definition of divine intervention. relapses by recovering addicts. People who harm others deserve to be punished to make them. They learn it as children. Addiction was described as a malfunction of the brain. recognize that their behaviors are not acceptable in a civilized society. and others. The question then arose. there were physiological conditions and changes to the brain which led to addiction and. Thus “the devils made me do it” is not a valid excuse for addiction or any other transgression. Their brains cannot comprehend empathy. They have either a severely impaired conscience or no conscience whatsoever. A second point emphasized was that addiction is a sickness and not the result of depravity or moral turpitude. It is not that simple and the neuroscientists in the Brain Series explained that in the case of addiction. know the difference between right and wrong. that people use their free will to commit transgressions and that god sends them to hell to punish them for those transgressions. except possibly in extreme cases. Addiction is analogous to computer malfunction. I am not advocating that there be no punishment for transgressors. The first point made by the neuroscientists was that addiction was not based on free will. This research produces a potential conflict between the civil rights of an individual who is not totally responsible for his acts and the rights of a society at large to protect itself against predators. all too often. psychopaths such as Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. This idea challenges one of the most fundamental principles of Christianity. the prevalent belief until just a few decades ago. The hardware (think of brain) malfunctions and the software (think of human thought processes) no longer runs properly. Relapsed addicts are not persons consumed by moral turpitude. This ethic infers that people choose whether they wish to be good and please god or choose to be bad and please the devil.

including the person who is “at fault. for example. must be permanently kept away from children. and preachers. However to blame their “sins” on obedience to some evil entity. such as Mehmet Oz. But under no circumstances are their failures the fault of the devil. psychopathy must be viewed as a multifactorial process involving neurobiological. These juvenile beliefs are as absurd as believing in a devil with horns and a trident spear. is not only unscientific but a return to the ignorance of the Dark and Middle Ages. at least for those people who lack a physiological conscience or who are unable to control their desires and urges.” The point made was that psychopaths may not be completely responsible for their deviant actions. free will is not the source of every transgression in every situation. for a society to survive it has to protect itself against the dangerous. when superstition and other unscientific explanations were the norm. One the other hand.” Free will is an archaic oversimplification. i. even if they are not totally responsible for their actions. In Structural brain abnormalities in psychopaths–a review.lose their freedom.” Society can debate about what to do the Ted Bundy’s of this world. Free will is an overused term and completely misunderstood in theology. genetic. “Science makes religious explanations unnecessary.e. and Pastor Simpson. Let me conclude with the argument made by Steven Weinberg. published March 2008 in the journal Behavioral Sciences & the Law. However. Society often wants and searches for someone to blame when some unfortunate event occurs. the devil. Sometimes there is no one who is “ethically” responsible.. Individuals can either accept what the best of science teaches us about the universe which surrounds us. This is why pedophiles. shamans. The three strikes laws are statutes enacted by state governments in the United States which require that state courts impose a life sentence (usually with the possibility of parole) to persons who have been convicted of two or more serious criminal offenses. I enjoyed the devil Rod Serling presented in an episode of The Twilight Zone as this was a popular conception of the devil for many centuries. To gain a comprehensive understanding of this. They have no place in the 21st century. Perhaps their transgressions are not totally of their own “free” will. and Jr. Twenty-four states have some form of habitual offender laws. Billy Graham Sr. This chapter was supposed to be about the devil but I could not help bringing in tangential issues as they demonstrate what silly things some people believe. the authors note “the important role of biological brain abnormalities in psychopathy. epidemiological [presence of a pathogen] and sociobiographical factors. or we can listen to the likes of the charlatans. But when modern men of faith try to present the devil as an anthropomorphic being who resembles Rod 189 .

I say. and the next is to shake off old prejudices.” 190 . “The greatest and noblest pleasure which we have in this world is to discover new truths. “Wake up and smell the coffee!” How long will people continue to view Rod Serling’s devil in the way young children believe it is Santa Claus who delivers presents on Christmas Eve? Isn’t it time we put away archaic and antiquated ideas? To quote Frederick the Great.Serling’s made-for-television character.

‘Losing My Religion’ isn’t just a song: It’s life.’ •46% told a 2011 survey by Nashville-based evangelical research agency. Catholic priest and professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. thinking about ultimate questions. 48% of the French. is minimal. 2011.’ says Mark Silk. edition of USA Today. Researchers have begun asking the kind of nuanced questions that reveal just how big the ‘So What’ set might be. they never wonder whether they will go to heaven. professor of religion and public life at Trinity College. •44% told the 2011 Baylor University Religion Survey they spend no time seeking ‘eternal wisdom. Hartford. “More Americans tailoring religion to fit their needs. in 2008 those claiming no religion rose to 15% nationwide. “For many. Steven Weinberg P eople claiming no religious affiliation constitute the fastest growing religious minority in many countries throughout the world. In 2003 Father Andrew Greeley. nearly half the population is religiously unaffiliated. and 54% of Czechs claimed to not believe in god.’ and 19% said ‘it’s useless to search for meaning. with a maximum in Vermont at 34%. Americans without religious affiliation comprise the only religious group growing in all 50 states.Chapter 12 The Demise of Belief Science does not make it impossible to believe in God. found that that 41% of Norwegians. 9% of Americans do not believe in god. In the Netherlands. Conn…. According to a 2004 survey commissioned by the BBC.” In the text of the article it says.” Subtitle. “Their attitude could be summed up as ‘So what?’ The real dirty little secret of religiosity in America is that there are so many people for whom spiritual interest. The headline which caught my attention read. LifeWay Research. 191 . it just makes it possible to not believe in God. Following is an extract of a news story I found in the December 25. According to recent surveys.

) A 2008 study by the Pew Research Center of people between 18 and 29 showed that: only 64% of Americans in this group believe in God. was taken of 1.3% of Americans turned up on Pew Forum’s 2007 Religious Landscape Survey as totally secular–unconnected to God or a higher power or any religious identity and willing to say religion is not important in their lives.•28% told LifeWay ‘it’s not a major priority in my life to find my deeper purpose. the Australian Catholic University. The So Whats appear to be a growing secular subset. Those who say they are not affiliated with any faith equaled 16. [said]. also called Generation Y) and Generation Xers (ages 30 to 49) than for people 50 years and 192 .1% of the total American population.”…“The hot religion statistical trend of recent decades was the rise of the ‘Nones’– the people who checked ‘no religious identity’ on the American Religious Identification Surveys (ARIS). while 20% do not and 32% are unsure if any kind of god exists. •6. The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life’s Landscape Survey dug in to the Nones to discover that nearly half said they believed ‘nothing in particular. Note that those who are not affiliated with any religion are much higher in the “millennial” group (ages 18 to 29. “…David Kinnaman. ‘We can’t underestimate the power of the collapse of institutional religion in the first 10 years of this century. They don’t miss rituals or traditions they may never have had anyway.” a 2006 Australian study conducted by Monash University.’ And 18% scoffed at the idea that God has a purpose or plan for everyone. and the Christian Research Association. In the United States.’ Says Bass.619 people. The Nones numbers leapt from 8% in 1990 to 15% in 2008. It’s freed so many people to say they don’t really care. ‘Spiritual’ is the hipster way of saying they’re concerned with social injustice.’” “The Spirit of Generation Y. I’d estimate seven in 10 young adults would say they don’t see much influence of God or religion in their lives at all.’…When church historian Diana Butler Bass researched her upcoming book. Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. The results show 48% of Generation Y (ages 18 to 29) believe in one or more deities. Religiosity is lower amongst the younger generation (see table below). (Reboot is a Jewish group which is examining generational issues. [President of the Barna Group. But if you strip away the hipster factor. a 2005 Reboot study found that 23% of those interviewed did not identify themselves as belonging to a religious affiliation. she found the So Whats are ‘a growing category. a marketing research firm focused on the intersection of faith and culture] and author of You Lost Me. only 73% for those 30 to 45.

“A study released in 2008 by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life appears to support that common wisdom. The ex-Catholics would far outnumber the next largest denomination. the Roman Catholic Church in Germany disclosed that during the 20 years ending in 2010.” It said. the second-largest in the country behind Catholics. For instance. Some move to other faiths. left the church before reaching age 18. “has made 193 . Archbishop Timothy M.1 million members. However the increase in departures has been partially attributed to the child sex-abuse scandal in Germany. In January 2012. where was god when his so-called representatives on Earth [priests] were abusing children? The sex abuse scandal has probably more damage to the Catholic Church and its credibility than any other series of events. Dolan of the New York Archdiocese was elevated to the post of Cardinal. who list 68.1 million in 2008. The National Catholic Reporter featured a story. And the trend is accelerating. according to Pew. Southern Baptists. according to the National Council of Churches’ 2010 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches.older. Slightly more than 10 percent of American adults (10.” Not all people leaving their churches are leaving their faiths. they simply move to another sect of Christianity.1 percent) have left the Catholic church after having been raised Catholic… The adult population of the United States was 228. experiencing ‘the greatest net loss’ of any major religious group…. In 2010. I wonder when we will catch up to Europe! % Age Distribution of: Unaffiliated Atheist Agnostic Secular Unaffiliated 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+ Years Old 31 40 20 8 =100% 37 36 16 12 =100% 34 34 22 9 =100% 29 41 21 8 =100% In October 2010. that 22. the number of people leaving the Church rose almost 50% to 181.S.8 million would make ex-Catholics. It reported that while Americans in general ‘change religious affiliation early and often. The percentage of people who do not believe in god in America is rising.000 from 124. in reporting his promotion. Even though some parishioners leave the Catholic Church. But some of them abandon their faith in god altogether. So if one in 10 U.3 million to 24.2 million adherents…. said he. The New York Times. “The ‘had it’ Catholics. Those who have left Catholicism outnumber those who have joined the church by an almost four-to-one margin. Forty-eight percent of Catholics who are now unaffiliated.6 million. I am sure they ask themselves. church membership has fallen from 28. adults were former Catholics.000 in 2009. if one considered them a denomination. who claim 16.’ Catholicism has especially suffered from the trend.

I doubt the Church will ever bring back parishioners. Not only have abused persons gotten large cash settlements which have eaten into Church’s assets. (4) turn over pedophiles to the authorities. Although the document is aimed at the crime of solicitation for the most part. What is noteworthy about this document is that it included regulations that placed everyone dealing with a case falling under its norms under the Secret of the Holy Office which has the highest degree of Vatican secrecy.” Cardinal Dolan has his work cut out for him.” Needless to say. The “whistleblowers” are protecting our children and should not be persecuted. but parishioner contributions are declining. I have read most of the insane and moronic statements by bishops and others about AIDS. He has been one of the most outspoken of priestly critics regarding the Church policies on this issue. which would probably be just about everything. end of life care etc. who left because of the pedophile scandal. (2) stop covering up the crimes committed by priests and nuns. condoms. Father Doyle revealed a few of the Church’s buried secrets. as is the case with Father Doyle. (3) stop moving pedophile clergy from parish to parish where they can abuse again. And discussion about abuse is even coming from within the Church. and specifically the child sex-abuse scandal. I would think that a Church which believes in hell (separation from God) and the devil would: (1) stop the abuse of children by clergy. I think he is fighting a losing battle. Father Doyle is not popular at the Vatican and his career has suffered for it. Following is how Father Thomas Doyle replied when I asked him about Church dogma. and (5) STOP persecuting individuals who are doing the work of god. “In 1962 the Vatican issued a secret document outlining procedures to be followed in the canonical processing of cases of accusations of solicitation for sex by priests in the confessional. The Church seems to have a policy to “shoot the messenger” when overtly criticized about its policies regarding pedophile priests. They ought to be lauded for being the true disciples of Jesus Christ. They are from a different planet than you and I. among others. “I totally agree that religion has no business interfering in areas it has no knowledge about. Because of its particularly vile nature. [Here we go again: the Church will automatically 194 . Violation of the oath to keep knowledge of such a case secret resulted in an automatic ex-communication the absolution of which was reserved to the Pope. In Bishop Accountability (an affidavit). He wrote. title 5 specifically includes certain other clergy sex crimes such as sex with minors and bestiality under its over-all rubric. This constitutes an especially heinous crime by a clergyman. special procedural rules for prosecuting such a crime were enacted. or their children.it his mission to remind people that there is more to the church than scandal.

The modern Church has known about the risks of priest sexual abuse of children for over 1. generally between the 15th to 17th centuries. to effectively deal with clergy sexual abuse. dating back to the 4th century. to effectively deal with clergy sexual abuse. it was common for the church courts to try an offender.excommunicate whistleblowers but not dictators. If Father Doyle is right.] This document remained in force until 2001 and although it did not ‘invent’ the extreme secrecy with which the Catholic church has covered clergy sex cases.500 years. defrock him and then turn him over to the civil authorities for additional prosecution and punishment.” Jesus Christ. Mortal sins can send a person straight to hell. “In certain post-medieval periods. molestation by Christian. The church canon law records.Clergy sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon in the Catholic church. unless that person is absolved by a priest in the sacrament of penance 195 . reveal a consistent pattern of attempts by Church leadership. Catholics believes god rewards the good with heaven and the bad with hell. it is a clear indicator of the secrecy surrounding Catholic clergy sex abuse cases and the attitude behind this secrecy….It is clear by the cursory review described above that the modern Church’s claims that a priest’s sexual abuse of a child was not foreseeable are specious and disingenuous. “Clergy sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon in the Catholic church. dating back to the 4th century. usually bishops individually or gathered in councils. clergy goes back to the Church’s very inception. There is also clear evidence that in monasteries in the medieval period. monks and clerics who sexually abused boys or girls were inflicted with very severe physical punishments which usually amounted to imprisonment and life-long restriction and monitoring after a sentence of strict confinement had been served…. this is the time when the foundation of the modern Catholic Church was established by the Roman Emperor Constantine I. or pre-Roman Catholic. such as Hitler. This affidavit by Father Doyle brings up a really interesting question which goes to the essence of Catholic dogma. The church canon law records. at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE. In the era when regional meetings of bishops were the common way to enact legislation we find regular mention of laws and canons enacted to punish clerics who offended by sexually abusing youths. reveal a consistent pattern of attempts by Church leadership. At times the punishment inflicted by the secular arm was death. Little sins are referred to as venial sins and do not result in eternal damnation. usually bishops individually or gathered in councils. This problem has just been an incredibly well-guarded secret of the Roman Catholic church for that long.” Let me repeat what Father Doyle said.

where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said. for subsequent. even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone. Master. If we accept the position of Father Rausch as true (“I think that the devil or Satan was considered a real 196 . or anyone else for that matter. more commonly known as confession. But Jesus stooped down. Do priest molest boys and then confess to each other and obtain absolution? Let me quote from scripture.” I think even Jesus would get tired of continuously forgiving recalcitrant serial offenders. beginning at the eldest. Even if priests confessed after they molested their first child. Anyone who believed that at the time of death he would have to account to Jesus Christ or god for his sins on Earth would not molest children. deny the molestation. either by the Church itself or. So when they continued asking him. In John [8:4-11]. and said unto them. as though he heard them not. and the woman standing in the midst. Yes we all transgress. and sin no more. Covering up is legally called aiding and abetting. in the very act. hell or Judgment Day. And they which heard it. And Jesus said unto her. “Go. he lifted up himself. was that after one confesses his sins. and then try to hide behind their bishops to avoid prosecution. or a permanent separation from god. by the local authorities. It seems their game plan was to molest until caught.” The point of this story. repetitive offenses? The repeat offenders. A person never knows when he will die. he must make an honest attempt to sin no more. how could they confess. Jesus said. pedophile priests are non-believers in heaven. Why would a priest commit a mortal sin and risk dying in a state of un-grace? Why would he risk eternal damnation in the fires of hell.” But Jesus also said. as He is perceived in Christianity. He that is without sin among you. True believers are not serial mortal sinners. let him first cast a stone. and saw none but the woman. and with his finger wrote on the ground. Lord. Neither do I condemn thee: go. were neither sorry nor did they plan to stop molesting children. that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said. this woman was taken in adultery.and reconciliation. that they might have to accuse him. Woman. more importantly. if not most. let him first cast a stone at her. Now Moses in the law commanded us. and what I learned in Catholic School. or be absolved in confession. No man. and sin no more. tempting him. in my view. for a few moments pleasure gained from molesting a child? Why would bishops cover up pedophile subordinates? This makes them culpable in the eyes of the law as well as the eyes of god. went out one by one. I think it is far more likely that many. “He that is without sin among you. “They say unto him. When Jesus had lifted up himself. he said unto her. And again he stooped down. and wrote on the ground. being convicted by their own conscience.

led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. i. then it seems likely that three centuries after Jesus (when the Church was formed under Constantine I). It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.person by people in the New Testament”). the New York Times reported. There is no other way to explain their sinful acts or their lack of fear of divine retribution. as one lawsuit charges. even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church. instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal…. who seemed not to have been concerned at all about their own Judgment Days.” I can only conclude that many. Murphy. “Top Vatican officials– including the future Pope Benedict XVI–did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys. perhaps most. many people still believed in a literal devil and hell. Instead of being disciplined. In March 2010. who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes. The pedophiles among them probably don’t believe in a personal god either. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974. the future pope. the second in command at the doctrinal office. it is another fairy story. shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. a juvenile detention center. according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children. “The Wisconsin case involved an American priest. still a priest. The obvious exception had to have been pedophile Christian priests. In 1996. now the Vatican’s secretary of state. After eight months. of the Church’s senior hierarchy do not believe in the devil and hell. Stephen Hawking said “Heaven is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark. their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal…. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. the Rev. schools and. It seems there aren’t 197 .e. Lawrence C. Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop William E. Weakland. the documents show.” I would say the same is true about the devil and hell. The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger [now Pope Benedict XVI]. but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities. He died in 1998.

and bear a son. the Son and the Holy Ghost (or Spirit). the Father. the third person of the Holy Trinity.all the earlier strains of the Davidic tradition were powerfully merged in the person of Jesus. And if they are not. Lineage in 198 . his messianic legacy was much greater than that of Israel’s founding king. Christian belief holds that Immanuel is Jesus. Joseph. and Phares begat Esrom.. Enough about pedophiles and the Catholic Church. I was also taught that Jesus was sired by the Holy Ghost. They did it with a major distinction from contemporary Jewish tradition: they stressed that although Jesus was born of the earthly line of David. “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ. Matthew [1:1-3]. and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren. the Bible is under assault. why should the rest of us be? I think that the pedophile scandal only proves that the Church’s leaders do not believe their own dogma or the teachings of Jesus. And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar. to make him.. In popular books and television documentaries.” In Isaiah [7:14].” and so on until Matthew [1:16]. and shall call his name Immanuel [Hebrew for ‘god with us’]. I don’t know how to make sense out of these verses. I would like to spend the remainder of this chapter showing how the Bible’s fairy stories are credible to an increasing smaller audience. writing shortly after the fall of Jerusalem [circa 70 CE] went to great lengths to cement this identification.What is obvious is that the authors of the gospels and other early Christian literature. These media are demonstrating to a widening audience just how the Bible often does not make sense. Jesus perfectly fulfills contemporary Davidic expectations. In the gospel of Matthew.e. I was taught that Jesus was the Messiah. in my view..] Joseph the husband of Mary. The sin of the pedophile scandal and the lack of remorse by many of the Church’s most senior officials is. in the eyes of his followers. or so the Bible says. the ultimate inheritor of god’s promises to the Davidic dynasty and the longawaited savior for all the people of Israel. Neither should we. the son of David. i. Jesus is the Messiah descended from David and born of a virgin (the Virgin Mary). In David and Solomon. the Messiah (the anointed one) foretold in the prophecies of Isaiah.. of whom was born Jesus. the son of Abraham. Finkelstein and Silberman write. a significant contributory factor to the Catholic Church’s declining membership of the last few decades.” The Gospel of Matthew traces Jesus’ heritage from David to St. a virgin shall conceive.many in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy who are afraid of the dark. or Holy Spirit. “And Jacob begat [St. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. who is called Christ. and Esrom begat Aram. The Holy Spirit is not of Davidic lineage. I am confused. As a young Catholic who attended Catholic school. “Eventually.. Abraham begat Isaac. Behold. and Isaac begat Jacob.

I can’t see how Jesus could be considered the Messiah if he was not a biological son. not the biological son. if it were possible. Was he schizophrenic? Wasn’t he talking to himself if Jesus is god? Mark [14:32. and prayed that.” So it seems the writers of the New Testament created the story of Jesus to match the predictions of Micah and Isaiah. and fell on the ground. the Virgin Mary. not his biological one. And he didn’t show up during the Holocaust either. all things are possible unto thee. yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel. Women were not considered equal to men. The Jews did not reject Jesus. Jesus’ mother. “But thou. As a point of fact. And I don’t know how the gospels’ authors thought they could. Next let’s look at the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. of Joseph. if it be possible. In the Book of Micah [5:2] it says. then how can Jesus be god? He might be the son of god but not god himself. and prayed. saying. If he were god. Father. They just did not accept him as the Messiah. Jesus was not the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament. Jesus asked god to spare him from crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane.” Matthew [26:39. Jesus was not Immanuel. if this cup may not pass away from me. except I drink it. Sit ye here. and prayed. Abba. The Jews were right. Old Testament to Christians. Bethlehem Ephratah. O my Father. whose goings forth have been from of old. the Messiah did not show up to deliver the Jews from their destruction by the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War (66-73 CE). a blood descendent from the House of David. And he went forward a little. and fell on his face. the Messiah. So why is Jesus praying to God the Father. he could stop the crucifixion himself since he is god. 42] “And he went a little farther. from everlasting. if Jesus is god? I can’t make any sense out of this. but as thou wilt….biblical times was carried through the father. Joseph was Jesus’ stepfather. was not of Davidic lineage. let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will. but what thou wilt. a manifestation of himself. 199 . The tale of Jesus as the Messiah was apparently contrived to fulfill the prophecies of the Hebrew Bible. They apparently hoped no one would notice that Jesus was the stepson. And he said. thy will be done. Jesus did not deliver them from the Pontius Pilate and the Romans the way they believed Moses delivered the Hebrews from the Egyptians.” If Jesus is subject to his Father’s will. while I shall pray…. take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will. But even if they were. though thou be little among the thousands of Judah. He went away again the second time. the hour might pass from him. O my Father. saying. 35-36] “And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples.

and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple. It is written. The whole damn story sounds more like one gigantic. and the glory of them. And saith unto him. And saith unto him. In Gospel of John [10:30]. “I [Jesus] and my Father are one. why did he not shoo away the devil instead of debating him? And if Jesus is god. as god. But if Jesus worshiped the devil. Satan: for it is written. But he answered and said. a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of New York and a news contributor and analyst for the Fox News Channel. then God the Father is worshipping the devil since Jesus and God the Father are the same entity. Then the devil leaveth him. then how can the devil tempt god? Didn’t god throw the devil out of heaven in the first place? And isn’t god more powerful than the devil? Why doesn’t Jesus. If Jesus is god. Again. Get thee hence. throw the devil out of the desert? Matthew [4:1-11] “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights.” It seems to me that the devil did not see Jesus the same as he did God the Father and thought that there was an opportunity to tempt Jesus not to worship God the Father but instead to worship the devil himself. Jesus confronts the devil in the desert. but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. I don’t see how anyone who is conversant with the Bible would actually believe it. cast thyself down: for it is written. 200 . command that these stones be made bread. contrived fairy tale than a historical truth. the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain. Man shall not live by bread alone. [This could have been written by Milton!] Then saith Jesus unto him. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. All these things will I give thee. angels came and ministered unto him. Following is a letter I sent to Father Jonathan Morris. Jesus said unto him. He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up. he was afterward an hungred. Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city. And when the tempter came to him. If thou be the Son of God. The devil asks Jesus to worship him. behold.Here is another example of Gospel mumbo jumbo. I don’t get it. It is written again. lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.” It seems god as “The Father” can throw the devil out of heaven but god as “The Son” (Jesus) cannot throw the devil out of the desert. and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world. It is regarding more gospel mumbo jumbo I saw in a documentary broadcast on the History International channel. If thou be the Son of God. and. and him only shalt thou serve. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God. if thou wilt fall down and worship me. he said.

R. God Wants You Happy. Pope John Paul II declared the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin as factual and wholly compatible with the 201 . affable and well educated. October 6. or we ever make contact with an intelligent species in the vastness of space. I recently watched a rerun of “Jesus: The Lost 40 Days” on History International in which you appeared. The event snubbed proponents of alternative theories. This is the position supported by the consensus of expert philosophical opinion. chance and intelligent design. or supplemented. or life elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version.” It noted that. that ascribe the great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes.” Osteen sells Jesus to gullible people. They implicitly revive the old manicheistic error postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter. should be replaced. The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration. “the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church. but agnostics—the neglected step-children of religious controversy—who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case. a headline in the Associated Press ran. by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. They claim that scientific theories. Such views are theologically erroneous.” In 2009.” said the Reverend Funes.” Father Michal Heller is a professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow and an adjunct member of the Vatican Observatory staff. “Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life. which reminds me of Joel Osteen who preaches. the implications for our self-image will be profound. at least for the Old Testament. “In these popular debates about God’s existence.From: G. You wrote a book. 2011 1:12 PM Subject: Appearance on “Jesus: The Lost 40 Days” Dear Father Morris. like creationism and intelligent design. The Church is not supposed to be in the Jesus-for-dollars business. in this case. “The Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.” AP added. As a Catholic I hold the Church to a higher standard. an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory. You seem be quite intelligent. Pafumi Sent: Thursday. one dollar at a time.” In a 1996 speech delivered at the Vatican. He said. I was somewhat disappointed with your advocacy of the literal Ascension of Jesus. which see a higher being rather than the undirected process of natural selection behind the evolution of species.…“If biology is not unique to the Earth. the winners are neither theists nor atheists. “Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error. “God has a plan for you. Notre Dame philosophy professor Gary Gutting wrote in the NY Times. The Church has been slowly moving away from a literal translation of the Bible. Following are a few examples: Jesuit educated.

He would have had to deny substantial amounts of his faith and Catholic dogma to provide a reasoned response. Milton’s Paradise Lost and a Church which used fear as a way to maintain control and authority at a time when popes were bought and sold by the Medicis. I have been working on a book about the origin of the Judean-Christian tradition. more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical [referring to Humani Generis] some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. As you know.” Bruce Chilton. He did not disagree with Chilton. Even the Pope rejects a literal creation. Hell is no longer taught as a place of fire and torment but as a separation from God. Sometimes the “Sounds of Silence” can be deafening. the Zealots and the Essenes. “Today. Jesus was a rebel with a cause and many scholars accept the view that Jesus’ sacrifice would send a message to the Roman government to let god’s people go. In light of what I have just written. in philosophy from Columbia University. born Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici. Don’t you think it is time that people focus more on the message of Jesus and leave the mysticism of Jesus back in the Dark and Middle Ages where it belongs? Don’t you think that a literal Ascension of Jesus is incongruous in the 21st century? How can you have so much belief and faith in the literal Ascension of Jesus? I would be happy to hear your thoughts. McLaughlin is a former Jesuit priest with a Ph. Peter as the reason for an airline disaster?” Bart Ehrman describes Jesus as an apocalyptic who expected the end of the world. patron god the Shasu nomads of the Sinai Peninsula. which wiped out the Sadducees. As might be expected. The fires of hell in the bowels of the Earth are a combination of the Inferno in Dante’s Divine Comedy. “How come the National Transportation Safety Board has never identified an aircraft crashing into the pearly gates of St.teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. was a cardinal from 1513 to 1523 and Pope from 1523 to 1534. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers. Jesus correctly predicted an apocalypse but it was the Jews not the Romans who were nearly destroyed in The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE). 202 . He said. appeared on John McLaughlin’s One on One show and stated that the body of Jesus still lies in a tomb in Jerusalem.D. The convergence in the results of these independent studies—which was neither planned nor sought—constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. As I watched you describe Jesus’ ascension into heaven in the clouds I thought. Much of Catholic dogma has changed in the last half century. Pope Clement VII (1478–1534). presumably under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. I wonder how you can take such a literal approach to the Ascension. My book acknowledges the distinct possibility that the Hebrew god YHWH is little more than a new and improved version of the pagan. Father Morris did not reply. a religious scholar of note. following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines. I didn’t really expect an answer.

wrote the epic poem De rerum natura (On the Nature of Things) or On the Nature of the Universe. It was the Catholic Church which helped to keep the people ignorant of this reality: that the Earth revolves around the sun and that Copernicus was not the first to realize this. The heliocentric theory was successfully revived nearly 1. Democritus (circa 460–370 BCE) was a Greek philosopher born in Abdera. that between atoms lay empty space. In it he argues against fear of certain gods by demonstrating 203 .” which are physically. for example. either on purpose or by accident. inventor and astronomer. were lost when a monk erased a codex (manuscript book) and wrote hymns over the previous text. to be augmented by Johannes Kepler and Isaac Newton. and always will be. indivisible. They gave the theoretical explanations for planetary motion based on natural law. have always been. not vice versa. in motion. engineer. namely Kepler’s laws for the motion of planets and Newton’s laws of gravitational attraction and dynamics. Greece. a Roman poet and philosopher.The Church seems to never keep up with the times but continues to reside in the Middle Ages. and size. and kinds of atoms. and that there are an infinite number of atoms. He is regarded as one of the leading scientists in classical antiquity. including siege engines and the screw pump which bears his name. The theory of Democritus and Leucippus held that everything is composed of “atoms. Among his advances in physics are the foundations of hydro [fluid] statics. that atoms are indestructible. Archimedes is generally considered to be the greatest mathematician of antiquity and one of the greatest in history. He published his views in On the Sizes and Distances (of the Sun and Moon). indivisible elements called atoms– which was elaborated in greater detail by his pupil and successor.800 years later by Copernicus. Democritus. statics and an explanation of the principle of the lever. It was Aristarchus of Samos (circa 310–230 BCE) who first posited the heliocentric theory. which differ in shape. Archimedes of Syracuse (circa 287– 212 BCE) was a Greek mathematician. Copernicus was not the first person to realize that the Earth revolves around the sun. Some of the works of Archimedes. slow to accept new realities as they are uncovered. Titus Lucretius Carus (circa 99–55 BCE). For example. Thrace. principally by science. but not geometrically. the laws of physics. I can only imagine where the world would be today if the Church of the Dark and Middle Ages had not suppressed scientific discovery. physicist. He is credited with designing innovative machines. Leucippus or Leukippos (circa first half of 5th century BCE) was one of the earliest Greeks to develop the theory of atomism–the idea that everything is composed entirely of various imperishable.

) Again. Lucretius also put forward the “symmetry argument” against the fear of death. which mathematically describe the motions and interactions of tiny atoms in empty space. a dead person cannot miss being alive. According to Lucretius. un-frigging believable! This sounds like an idea which would be advocated by such well-know contemporary atheists as Christopher Hitchens or Richard Dawkins. the Columbia University physicist. Lucretius was not just a 204 . Lucretius uses the analogy of a vessel. In it he says that people who fear the prospect of eternal non-existence after death should think back to the eternity of non-existence before their birth.” He argued against the fear of death by stating that death is the dissipation of a being’s material mind. or fabric of the cosmos. there is still a fabric of “empty” space or spacetime continuum in that given area. spacetime (or spacetime continuum) is any mathematical model which combines space and time into a single continuum. It suggests that even if all of the atoms and subatomic particles are removed from a given area of space. Brian Greene. un-frigging believable! Parmenides conceived the fabric of the cosmos notion nearly two and a half millennia before modern physicists. Einstein called it spacetime. stating that the physical body is the vessel that holds both the mind (mens) and spirit (anima) of a human being. Democritus and Lucretius conceived the basics of atomic and nuclear physics centuries or decades before Jesus walked on the Earth. Neither the mind nor spirit can survive independent of the body. Thus Lucretius stated that once the vessel (the body) shatters (dies) its contents (mind and spirit) can no longer exist. as a simple ceasing-to-be. He argued against nothingness. One more time. a Greek city on the southern coast of present-day Italy. (Later I will discuss how universes are “created” out of the spacetime continuum. Nothingness cannot exist. fear of death is a projection of terrors experienced in life. were written! Parmenides of Elea (early 5th century BCE) was an ancient Greek philosopher born in Elea.through observations and argument that the operations of the world can be accounted for in terms of natural phenomena–the regular but purposeless motions and interactions of tiny atoms in empty space. It sounds quite “scientific. It wasn’t until nearly two and a half millennia later that the laws of quantum mechanics. of pain that only a living (intact) mind can feel. a vacuum in space. Lucretius also had a contemporary agnostic view of life and death. Being completely devoid of sensation and thought. Un-frigging believable! Leucippus. which they probably do not fear. In physics. So. calls it the fabric of the cosmos. essentially denying the possible existence of a void. Today all physicists agree there is no such thing as nothingness. death can be neither good nor bad for this being.

a research scientist and the Neuroscience Therapeutic Area Lead for the Covance Biomarker Center of Excellence. Professor of Psychology at the New School for Social Research. Neither Moses nor Jesus ever said anything as profound as Lucretius. 2011) by Robert L.” Let me start by comparing consciousness to computer software. and the stimulus-response loop may be entirely internal to the organism.” neurons. Consciousness is the software application which runs on the hardware and central processing unit of the human brain. Consciousness is comparable to a computer’s software manipulating binary strings of zeroes and ones and converting them into an application. and Emeritus Professor at the London School of Economics.” The person loses conscious track of such things as time as well as awareness of what is going on around him. delivering “god’s” message. He presaged modern quantum mechanics and acknowledged the irrationality of a soul which departs the body at the time of death. Martone. he was two thousand years ahead. the connections between the brain’s neurons are temporarily shut down. He has been Lecturer in Psychology at Oxford. In the most primitive state. with inspiration from [Douglas] Hofstadter’s ‘strange loops. while in the more advanced state. With such foresight. He postulates that consciousness emerged from the gradual internalization of stimulus-response circuits. why isn’t Lucretius worshipped as a prophet. “Humphrey defines consciousness in terms of the familiar model of the ‘Cartesian Theater’ wherein our experience of consciousness is merely an internal representation of the external world played out upon a mental stage. both the sensory and motor systems are internalized in the brain. Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness (Princeton University Press. The difference is that the ones and zeros which computer software manipulate use a process of having a capacitor store an electric charge (1) or not store a charge (0). I would like to offer the reader a scientific explanation for consciousness and argue why is has nothing to do with a “soul. Here again. Senior Research Fellow in Parapsychology at Cambridge.generation ahead of his time. Neuroscientists have shown that when a person is unconscious. New York. Consciousness can be thought of as opening or closing connections between the brain’s adjacent “capacitors. Humphrey treads familiar ground. As I approach the end this chapter.’ but he missed an opportunity to explore in this context ‘mirror neurons’– those motor neurons first described by [Giacomo] Rizzolatti that are activated in the brain of an animal 205 . or asleep. Following is a review of Humphrey’s book. Nicholas Humphrey is a theoretical psychologist. or “disconnected. Assistant Director of the Subdepartment of Animal Behaviour at Cambridge. these circuits consist of neuronal loops that direct responses at the site of stimulation.

religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina. Let me conclude this chapter with indispensable advice given by Bart Ehrman. We are made up of atoms and molecules and our consciousness is derived from those atoms and molecules. Studying the Bible can result in a reduced acceptance of its truth value. It cannot be demonstrated. The rhetoric went back and forth between the two speakers and Ehrman may have sensed he was not making much progress in getting his points across to the mostly. evangelical crowd. The alternate philosophy is dualism. non-physical. I hope I have convinced readers to study the Bible for themselves and come to their own conclusions about its truth value. It is consistent with the philosophy of physicalism.” There is an emerging scientific explanation for consciousness. inaccuracies and stories which make no logical sense. in some respects. a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter. It is a relic of the Dark and Middle Ages as well as antiquity. if not exclusively. He was debating an evangelical “scholar” on the historical accuracy of the New Testament. contradictions. from his “soul. It does not require a soul. I have provided the Bible’s inconsistencies. that is. if not exclusively. Physicalism is the philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties. are either the undisputed word of God or a reliable history of the Jews and the life of Jesus’ based on eye or near eye-witness accounts. It accommodates the idea that a person’s consciousness comes. that there are no kinds of things other than physical things. It has no place in the 21st century. at least in part. Dualism is totally unscientific.either when that animal performs an activity or when it observes that same activity performed by another animal. which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are. It is exactly what was expounded by Lucretius. People who are so sure that the Bible is true are not likely to pay much attention to professors who say it isn’t. But readers beware. He stressed that they take note of the inconsistencies and contradictions in the biblical text. 206 . People who advocate dualism demonstrate their lack of understanding of what consciousness is. evangelical. These folks believe that the Bible. I won’t say it was a hostile audience but Ehrman had his work cut out trying to convince its members that the Bible cannot be taken literally. He kept repeating. “Read your Bible. In this and previous chapters.” He repetitively pleaded with the members of the audience to read the Bible for themselves and then make up their own minds about how much of it is plausible. The audience was mostly.” There is no evidence to support the concept of dualism. both Old and New Testaments.

do not seem to make sense in the universe as it is presently observed and explained by contemporary science. especially of a personal god. Modern science and discovery. are major contributors to the decline and fall of the god known as Yahweh. Steven Weinberg The fabric of the cosmos seems to be the closest thing we have to a scientific explanation of a creator. The important thing is that we have not observed anything that seems to require supernatural intervention for its explanation. It is also contains the source material of a talk I have given on numerous occasions which covers the same subject matter. Pafumi T his chapter contains the unabridged essay which argues that Biblical perceptions of god seem out of place in the 21st century. including archaeology. including archaeology. nor will it ever be. but as the time of the last collision [creation of a sub-universe]. challenge the Bible’s version of historical events as well as the true nature of the universe.Chapter 13 God is Dead…and Carl Sagan Killed Him! The Principle of QED We interpret the Big Bang not as the beginning of space and time. Paul Steinhardt Not everything has been explained. G. This chapter tries to explain why conventional concepts of god. 207 . R. It may help the reader understand why so many scientists are non-theists. Modern science and discovery. The Bible’s view of the past and the universe seems incongruous and more compatible with the accepted wisdom of the Dark and Middle Ages.

professor of philosophy at the Roman Catholic University of Notre Dame. Is Our Vision of God Obsolete? Often What We Believe is Not What We Observe. The important thing is that we have not observed anything that seems to require supernatural intervention for its explanation.Intro: Good morning (or afternoon) ladies and gentlemen.” I concur with Professor Weinberg that the decline of religious belief is a good thing. 2010). “Science does not make it impossible 208 . Our Vision of God is Obsolete. do you believe in god? I don’t know. I just don’t know!” In an August 2010 New York Times op-ed piece. This is the position supported by the consensus of expert philosophical opinion. are explaining how the cosmos could have developed without supernatural intervention. Listeners of his old. He said. Professor Weinberg lives his life without god. But as time passes and more and more of these gaps are filled in. There are some today who cling to the remaining gaps in our understanding (such as our ignorance about the origin of life) as evidence for God. Weinberg reinforces and rationalizes his lack of belief (or faith) with his argument. included in his most recent book Lake Views: This World and the Universe (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. such as Steven Weinberg. I wanted to title it.” Just as Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace explained how the adaptations of living forms could arise without supernatural intervention. or to try to talk anyone out of their religion. I do not consider myself a devout atheist. Communications Director of Michigan Atheists wrote. I live my life in the way expressed by Dr. Gary Gutting. said essentially the same thing. “Larry. their position gives an impression of people desperately holding on to outmoded opinions. Weinberg in his essay Without God. the winners are neither theists nor atheists. “In these popular debates about God’s existence. late night radio show may remember his response to questions about his religious faith. “Those who do use supernatural explanations to fill the gaps in human knowledge do so by making the assumption that what is unknown today will be unknown forever. “It is not my purpose here to argue that the decline of religious belief is a good thing (although I think it is). nor will it ever be. But I am not a crusader for atheism. I have written a book with the reluctant title. physicists. “Not everything has been explained.” The Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg lectured.” Lee Helms. Human ignorance cannot support claims about supernatural beings because ignorance is not evidence. But it was written to persuade believers to consider the possibility that their theistic views may be out of touch with reality when considered within the current and expanding knowledge base provided by modern science and discovery. but agnostics–the neglected step-children of religious controversy–who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case. I subscribe to the philosophy of Larry King. as a statement and not a rhetorical question. I am a humanist.

“Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin’. but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth (it seems there were atheistic crusaders in Einstein’s time too. you gotta have something. if you wanna convince me. Although I accept Hawking’s view that matter can pop into existence and be created from pure energy which has no mass. Increasingly. the underlying energy has to be created from something. My book is targeted at a theistic audience. as described by Einstein in his most famous equation E=mc2. matter which can pop into existence is created from energy which was not created but always existed.” We all should endorse secularism and a society based on rational thought and reason. I ask. Under any circumstance. The laws of physics can explain the universe without the need for a creator. This law states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. Often What We Believe is Not What We Observe. but science makes god unnecessary. the principle of conservation of energy. It seems to violate the first law of thermodynamics.to believe in God. it just makes it possible to not believe in God. not nothing. once sang. “I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly…Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true…My position concerning God is that of an agnostic…It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously…I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists. not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings…I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one…You may call me an agnostic. Hence the subtitle of my book.” That’s not exactly what he sang but we will get to nothin’ from nothin’ in the latter part of this presentation. such as the one described in the Bible. Or the energy needs to have had always existed. Much of my current thinking about god and nature has been molded by Einstein’s successors. scientists believe that the universe was not created but always existed. Einstein said (not at one time). “What will be left for the god of the gaps to explain if science ever fills in all of the gaps though discovery?” As Stephen Hawking put it in his recent book The Grand Design (Bantam. Ergo. My initial views about a non-personal god were molded by Einstein.” I don’t necessarily agree with Hawking’s point about creation out of nothing. is obsolete. M-theory predicts that a great many universes were created out of nothing. Instead. As Billy Preston. only converted from one form to the other. the typical religious believer’s concept of god. 2010). Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens were not the first)…In view of such harmony in the cosmos 209 . “One can’t prove that God doesn’t exist. no substance. known as the fifth Beatle.

there are yet people who say there is no God. “I do not know of any compelling evidence for anthropomorphic [humanlike] patriarchs controlling human destiny from some hidden celestial vantage point. but it would be madness to deny the existence of physical laws. and is not “tallying the fall of every sparrow” sheer poetry? Robert Frost. if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist.” Einstein was not an ardent atheist and did not like to be seen as the atheists’ advocate. But speaking popularly. I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. He responded. “I’m agnostic. Ralph Waldo Emerson or Carl Sandburg could not have said it with more eloquence. I would say that I am an Agnostic. I should. and the rest of them did not exist. “As a philosopher. take exactly the same line. because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God. There is exactly the same degree of possibility and 210 . An atheist is someone who knows there is no God. then clearly there is such a God. Poseidon. philosopher and mathematician.” This sounds like pantheism. I think. Am I An Atheist Or An Agnostic?.which I. Hera. Therefore. By the way. two well respected non-believers. in regard to the Olympic gods. with my limited human mind. How juvenile it appears to believe in a god who “tallies the fall of every sparrow. In the 1947 essay. the view expressed by Einstein. I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. On the other hand. am able to recognize. the byline was neither Bernstein nor Woodward. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” Sagan clearly dismissed the biblical concept of god by stating. and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus. “The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard.” It really does make the belief in a personal god seem so childish. You could not get such proof. This God is emotionally unsatisfying–it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity. you would find it an awful job. who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. Sagan also asserted that. Sagan was asked if he was an atheist. An atheist has to know a lot more than I know. But if by ‘god’ one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe. By some definitions atheism is very stupid. Let’s now consider the religious positions of Carl Sagan and Bertrand Russell. speaking to a purely philosophical audience. if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic. None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of Homer really exist. had this to say about his religious beliefs. Bertrand Russell. In regard to the Christian God.” This quote comes from an April 2006 article appearing in the Washington Post. because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one proves that there is not a God.

“We are all atheists about most of the Gods that humanity has ever believed in. if it cannot be demonstrated. sexual orientation can be shown to have a significant 211 . he asserts. Almost half of the states. Hawking argues that in today’s world. as previously discussed. is not permitted in much of the United States. age or disability. based on sexual orientation. Quod Erat Demonstrandum. and I instead subscribe to “The Principle of QED. because it has not kept up with developments in modern science. have active laws which prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both private and public employment.” that is to deny belief in modern-day deities. morality and ethics. They cannot be proven. not reality and truth. In my view. Science makes philosophical explanations unnecessary. The only thing that matters is that which can be demonstrated with evidence. The same can be said about sexual orientation. Philosophy in the 21st century should limit its influence to sociology. that which can be demonstrated. it chips away at was once the realm of philosophical explanation.likelihood of the existence of the Christian God as there is of the existence of the Homeric God. at least some of them. Five additional states prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in public workplaces. what was once the realm of philosophy is now the task of science. are also obsolete. Philosophy is dead. science is beginning to understand human consciousness. These prohibitions have been primarily based on philosophical opinion that it is “unAmerican” to discriminate against any individual for just about any reason. The federal Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 has interpreted the prohibition of discrimination based on conduct to include discrimination based on sexual orientation. and that which will be demonstrated. all religions and philosophies are obsolete. I cannot prove that either the Christian God or the Homeric gods do not exist. The philosophies of Einstein.” Richard Dawkins expressed a similar view. Discrimination. Sagan and Russell. In my view. race. color. particularly physics. In The Grand Design. Some of us just go one god further. the views of some of the great thinkers of the 20th century.” QED. including sex. I think Hawking is on to something here. As discussed in the “Brain Series” on Charlie Rose. religion. the beginning of the third millennium after Jesus. national origin. But we are now in the 21st century. And there they are. His admiration of modern physics has to do with its ability to answer not just the “how” questions but also the “why” questions. including the District of Columbia. As science better understands the brain and related phenomena. then it does not matter. He said. in my view.” I have taken poetic license and expanded the definition of QED to mean that which was demonstrated. is Latin for “which was to be demonstrated. like the typical vision of god. However. but I do not think that their existence is an alternative that is sufficiently probable to be worth serious consideration.

“Why is there something rather than nothing? After all. “The more the universe seems comprehensible. Leibniz’ question as to why there is something rather than nothing could have been plausibly addressed by philosophers as recently as the 20th century. And in a universe which was not created but always existed.” Hawking then joked he was glad John Paul did not realize he had presented a paper at the gathering suggesting how the universe began. if they can be answered at all. “It’s ok to study the universe and where it began. are scientists such as Hawking. The German philosopher and mathematician Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (July 1646–November 1716) asked.” Both the Pope and Hawking agreed that the universe was created for reasons we cannot understand. the only people qualified to answer such questions. historic discipline which should be replaced with the principle of QED. concurs and points out that the Big Bang theory does not tell us what banged. that is. what is the point of philosophy? Isn’t it to answer why? Philosophy is.physiological element in the brain. we must be able to give a reason why they have to exist as they are and not otherwise.” This quote is from his work Principles of Nature and Grace Based on Reason. the question of why there is something seems to be no longer relevant. “Philosophy is dead. In the 21st century. or what caused it to bang. why it banged. One more point on “how. can we ever really answer all of the “why” questions? Steven Weinberg lamented.” For some things there is no fundamental explanation for “why. nothing is simpler and easier than something.” Science has answered a “why” question. Thus there is now a scientific basis for prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. He said. Alan Guth. only postulated. Science has triumphed philosophy. The late Pope John Paul II told scientists that they should not study the beginning of the universe because it was the work of God. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God. at least not yet. The difference between the Pope and 212 . But then. The Pope said.” In a June 2006 interview. Let’s stop asking the “why” and instead focus on the “how. He was asking scientists to stop doing fundamental research.” as asserted by Australian physicist Brandon Carter. However. given that things have to exist. the predominant current scientific view. an obsolete. in concurrence with Hawking’s views. because it has not kept up with developments in modern science. the more it also seems pointless. “I didn’t fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo.” I take this to mean there is little point in asking why in that the “why” questions can generally never be answered. published in 1714. in my opinion. he asserts. a theoretical physicist at MIT. why some people are gay. Stephen Hawking talked about a 1981 cosmology conference held at the Vatican. Also.

In fact. stated in a September 2010 op-ed piece for the New York Times. Bertrand Russell said he could not prove that the Greek or Homeric gods did not exist. whose English name comes from the Dutch Sinterklaas and is the basis for some of our Christmas traditions. and thrust my hand into his side. So what? There was a historic Saint Nicholas who lived in the 4th century and who had a reputation for secret gift-giving. and put my finger into the print of the nails. Thomas. For those who don’t believe. chimney-hopping Santa Claus who really knows if you have been naughty or nice..Hawking and Guth is that the Pope wanted Hawking and Guth to stop trying to find out the answer to a “how” question. “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails. Belief for belief’s sake is unnecessary when science can often replace belief with evidence and reasoned understanding. Like Bertrand Russell. no proof is necessary.’] If he meant by this that religion makes no factual claims which can be refuted by empirical investigations. I will not believe. I do not subscribe to the philosophy expressed by Stuart Chase.’” This reminds me of the apostle Thomas.of anything not supported by hard data. or that Rudolph doesn’t have a red nose. and yet have believed. Tim Crane. but you didn’t give us enough evidence. or that reindeer really don’t know how to fly to assert conclusively that there is no sled-flying. Bertrand Russell delivered a public lecture defending his non belief in god.” I don’t believe in things for which there is no evidence. In the Gospel of John [20:25] Thomas said.’ [Magisterium is usually defined as the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. “For those who believe. “Jesus saith unto him. I don’t need to prove that Santa does not live at the North Pole.” As Columbia University physicist Brian Greene wrote in his recent book. Many years ago. “Stephen Jay Gould [paleontologist and evolutionary biologist] once argued that religion and science are ‘non-overlapping magisteria. no proof is possible. ‘I’m terribly sorry.” I want evidence for how. in this case how the universe began. The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos (Knopf. because thou hast seen Me. He is the origin of Santa Claus. “And Lord Russell.” In John [20:29].” I agree. thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen. “I will say.. An irate woman stood up at the end of thelecture and asked. I only believe in things in which there is evidence. “no one should be convinced. There is no longer a reason to treat faith different from science. the Catholic Church has changed its dogma to acknowledge and to accommodate scientific discovery. professor of philosophy at University of Cambridge. Gould used poetic license when he suggested that all religions and science are ‘nonoverlapping magisteria. I don’t feel the need to prove that Casper is really a friendly ghost. then he was wrong. what will you say when you stand in front of the throne of God on judgment day?” Russell replied. 213 . 2011). the principle of QED.

Dirac advised four Popes from 1961 until his death in 1984. Not since Galileo has science had to alter its theories to accommodate religion. the Catholic Church has been willing to abandon the Bible to accommodate scientific discovery. a scientific institution of the Vatican. the Catholic Church and Christianity was the dominant religion and a dominant force in society. Dirac. In August 1950 Pope Pius XII. one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century. The Church calls the story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis a metaphor 214 . when we understand so many natural processes. such as the physicists Paul Dirac. It is quite understandable why primitive people. This was in direct contradiction to the Bible.” The Pope was talking about the convergence of the sciences of chemistry. more than a halfcentury after the appearance of that encyclical [referring to Humani Generis] some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than a hypothesis. John Paul II understood that there is plenty of evidence to support evolution. and wholly compatible with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. It doesn’t teach Adam and Eve in Catholic schools any more. with no basis in reality. He said. especially the Catholic/Christian religion. in Humani Generis. had this to say at the Solvay [Physics and Chemistry] Conference in Brussels in 1927.The Pontifical Academy of Sciences.) To paraphrase Steven Weinberg. should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. following a series of discoveries in different scholarly disciplines.” I believe that science can explain everything in the universe. the Book of Genesis. In an October 1996 speech delivered at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in the Vatican. was founded in 1936 by Pope Pius XI. we have no need for such solutions. anthropology. For more than half a century. DNA sequencing. “I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. religious preconceptions cannot decide any issues in science. Pope John Paul II declared the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin as factual. Adam and Eve who were created in God’s own image. Edward Witten and Steven Hawking. (For the last 1. at least not yet. “Today. acknowledged that evolution might accurately describe the biological origins of human life. who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today. you know. paleontology and biology. Its members include or have included nonbelievers. The convergence in the results of these independent studies– which was neither planned nor sought–constitutes in itself a significant argument in favor of the theory. A “god of the gaps” is not necessary to plug the isolated holes in evolutionary science. In fact it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on the spirit of researchers. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. But nowadays. even though scientists cannot. If we are honest–and scientists have to be–we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions.500 years throughout most of Europe.

and Other Signs of Alien Life.for the origin of mankind.’ Today top clergy. The science objectives for NASA’s proposed next generation Mars rover were: to search for signs of past and present life on Mars. an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory….) It seems that the Vatican was preparing for the possible results of the proposed (now cancelled) Mars Astrobiology Explorer–Cacher (MAX-C) rover.If biology is not unique to the Earth. ‘The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration. or we ever make contact with an intelligent species in the vastness of space. And when they do.T. Recent popes have been working to overcome the accusation that the church was hostile to science–a reputation grounded in the Galileo affair [Galileo was prosecuted by the Church 400 years ago for suspicion of heresy]. The event snubbed proponents of alternative theories. to 215 . who has made strengthening the relationship between faith and reason a key aspect of his papacy. “the Vatican has called in experts to study the possibility of extraterrestrial alien life and its implication for the Catholic Church. and I ask what revolutions of understanding they’ll bring about. openly endorse scientific ideas like the Big Bang theory as a reasonable explanation for the creation of the universe. said…that astronomy has had a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves. ‘It was astronomical observations that let us understand that Earth (and man) don’t have a privileged position or role in the universe…I ask myself what tools will we use in the next 400 years. “Vatican looks to heavens for signs of alien life.’” (There is more detail about the implications of this announcement on my “Vision of God” website in the essay titled Vatican Searches for E.Funes said the possibility of alien life raises ‘many philosophical and theological implications…. the Vatican also sponsored a conference on evolution to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.” It noted that. including Funes. or life elsewhere differs bio-chemically from our version. the implications for our selfimage will be profound. at least the Catholic Church defers to science. A metaphor? That’s such a nice word for bullshot [sic]! The magisteria of science and religion do indeed sometimes overlap. which see a higher being rather than the undirected process of natural selection behind the evolution of species…. On November 10. “Tommaso Maccacaro.Working with scientists to explore fundamental questions that are of interest to religion is in line with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI. like creationism and intelligent design. “Earlier this year. president of Italy’s national institute of astrophysics.‘ said the Rev. like resolving the mystery of our apparent cosmic solitude. the Associated Press ran a story with the headline. which was to be launched in 2018. Jose Gabriel Funes. 2009.

most nearly Earth-size. Moreover.” In December 2011. the Kepler team reported that they found 2.Traditional religious images of ourselves as God’s creatures.326 planetary candidates. and 55 which are larger than Jupiter. What would have happened to faith if MAX-C would have found evidence of past life on Mars? The Church seems to be willing to accept the fact that science may discover life elsewhere in the universe. They estimate that 5. or even of God.investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface. 203 which are Jupiter-sized. The Catholic Church has flatly rejected creationism and intelligent design as alternatives to Darwinism. In the search by the Kepler spacecraft for planets which may harbor alien life. making it more like Neptune in our solar system.4% of stars host Earth-size planet candidates.’’ Copernicus was right. including 207 which are similar in size to Earth. is one day discovered on Mars. Berkeley [my alma mater]. circling a star about 600 light years from Earth. or some other evidence that life exists in places other than the third rock from the sun. In January 2012.6 planets. and 17% of all stars contain multiple planets. scientists noted. Now the Vatican seeks E. dubbed Kepler 22a. at least 1. the Earth.. two adjacent planets in our own Solar System. past or present..4 times wider than Earth. 680 which are superEarth-size. Its size and distance from its own star put it in the “habitable zone” with a surface temperature estimated to be 72 degrees F. and our solar system aren’t all that special or unique. planet ever found in the lukewarm zone around another sun where life could thrive. could be in for a rough time if we ever discover pond scum living by completely alien chemical rules on some moon or planet. Kepler 22b “is the smallest. If life. an international team of astronomers reported that each star in the Milky Way Galaxy may host “on average . Marcy adds. 216 . they are solar systems. ‘this planet is probably rocky with a thick layer of water and gas. How silly it seems to believe that “god” created this vast universe just so that we could observe it and exist in it. about 2. and to investigate Martian atmosphere trace gases and their sources. It travels on a 290-day orbit around a sun-like star. nearly as bright and warm as our own. it will strongly infer that life is prevalent in the universe and that life is a natural biochemical process. “This is more than just an intellectual exercise..” according to Professor Geoff Marcy of the University of California.T. We. of which “at least 500 million” are in a “habitable zone..e.” One planet of great interest is named Kepler 22b. i.181 which are Neptune-sized.” suggesting that over 160 billion star-bound planets may exist in our galaxy alone. God would then become even less plausible as the reason for or cause of our existence. 1. 48 planet candidates were found in the habitable zones of surveyed stars.

Our DNA is made up of long carbon chains. in my view. such as it is hypothesized in Of Pandas and People. the Church has rejected creationism and intelligent design as alternatives to Darwinism and evolution. the book promoted by the Discovery Institute.T. they might permit high-velocity movement of atomic particles. And now the Vatican seeks E. But wait. The Catholic Church is the only religion which is willing to use its resources to search for extraterrestrial life. Jesus as a man would have to comply with and operate within the laws of physics. flexible molecules just as carbon does. and travel throughout space at a velocity exceeding the speed of light? That would clearly violate Einstein’s law of special relativity. or some other evidence that life exists in places other than the third rock from the sun.T. The implications of finding it are profound. but not spacecraft and living beings. he sounds like an intergalactic avatar. The Catholic Church’s scientists have not written a manual explaining the theory (I use the word theory jokingly) of intelligent design. Or does Jesus move from galaxy to galaxy by traveling through a hypothetical. not the Christian one. And how does he get there? Does Jesus violate the laws of physics laid down by his Father. But that hand is undefined. even though it maintains that God had a hand in creation and evolution. But how would Jesus change the chemical composition of his body from one which is carbon based to one which is silicon 217 . and yet to be observed. They would not survive the journey as they transited from a black hole in one part of the universe to a black hole in another part of the universe via the wormhole. As I said. such as all life is on Earth? Silicon is an interesting atom because. when will he have time to return to Earth for his Second Coming? What if alien life is based on silicon and not carbon. People would be spagettified (longitudinally stretched) when they passed through a black hole’s inner horizon. like carbon. avatars are part of the Hindu tradition. “Does the Jesus man/god hypothesis really hold water anymore?” Does Jesus morph from human to alien? So much for a god who created man in his own image! Does he travel from planet to planet throughout the universe to provide salvation for the souls of aliens? If Jesus emerges in alien form on other planets. But even if wormholes really exist. a wormhole is a hypothetical topological feature of space-time that is fundamentally a “shortcut” through space and time. the Church’s alien (E. it has four open bonding slots in its outer orbital to create complex molecules. It might be possible for silicon to form long-chain. wormhole.The search for alien life is the beginning of the end of the Jesus movement. God the Father. It forces it to ask. In physics. Even if scientists do not find that evidence over the short term. Being fully human. Most churches preach that god has a hand in everything in the universe. And if Jesus is morphing into an alien to provide salvation to aliens.) search generates a whole new series of questions about its fundamental dogma. as asserted in the Apostles’ and the Nicene Creeds.

Silicon has more than twice as many protons and neutrons as carbon. When man learned that planets were not gods. It will be interesting to see how it responds if alien life.” He has published nearly 200 scientific papers. The discovery of alien life might prompt the Catholic Church to rethink the man/god concept of Jesus since a human cannot be a true god in a universe filled with other life forms. Subatomic particles decay and get smaller. “Our concept of god has changed over the millennium and there is no reason to expect that it will stop now. Following is the view of Father Michal Heller. Let me add one additional point about the Church.” His works have sought to reconcile the “known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God. will he become the basis of a major religion based on his teachings. His current research is concerned with the singularity problem in general relativity and the use of noncommutative geometry in seeking the unification of general relativity and quantum mechanics. He is the author of more than 20 books. It “weighs” over twice as much. Father Heller is professor of philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow. and an adjunct member of the Vatican Observatory staff. but also in the philosophy and history of science. be viewed as a messenger from god. He received the Templeton Prize for his extensive philosophical and scientific probing of “big questions. He also serves as a lecturer in the philosophy of science and logic at the Theological Institute in Tarnów. He is doing what the former Pope didn’t want Hawking and Guth to do. Poland. and not due to his divinity? The Catholic Church needs to rethink who Jesus really was. not bigger.based? What is the process which adds electrons. It has opened up a floodgate of new and provocative questions just by searching for E. unless Jesus is a master of morphing. I mean Jesus? Will he. and how we should treat our fellow man. in physics. as he is seen in Islam and Hinduism. In my book (Is Our Vision of God Obsolete?) I wrote. and our image of the world continuously changes under the influence of science and scientific discoveries. Heller is a cosmologist. or a prophet. is in fact discovered. a “how” question. not only in general relativity and relativistic cosmology.” This is not an original thought. he stopped worshiping them. with a Ph. Mother of mercy.” A comment like this made a half millennium ago would almost certainly have earned him an appearance before the Roman Inquisition. in the future. as well as science and theology.T.D. 218 . instead of being the Son of God? Like the Buddha. or microbic life in our own solar system. “Our image of God strongly depends on our image of the world. protons and neutrons to the carbon-based molecules in the body of Jesus to morph them into silicon-based molecules? This never happens in the real world. philosophy of life. is this the end of Rico.

biology professor at the University of Minnesota. Such views are theologically erroneous. UFOs. Within the all-comprising Mind of God. There is no opposition here. It was heard by the U. plain-vanilla angels with wings. Is it any wonder when they are taught science fiction instead of science in their science classes? It says in the Book of Proverbs [14:15]. Heller had this to say about intelligent design. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. according to a survey conducted by Penn State professors Michael Berkman and Eric Plutzer and published in a January 2011 issue of Science magazine. They claim that scientific theories. He said. devils. Dover Area School District. “Adherents of the so-called intelligent design ideology commit a grave theological error.S. what we call chance and random events is well composed into the symphony of creation. fallen angels. Aguillard. Heller is a man of god. that ascribe the great role to chance and random events in the evolutionary processes. zombies. In 2005. souls (I’m a soul man). witches (are you a good witch or a bad witch?). It is appalling that only 28% of biology teachers present evidence for evolution as recommended by the National Research Council.”Simpletons are everywhere. exorcists. ghosts. Do you believe in magic? The simple believe in astrology. Supreme Court in 1987.It is obvious that Father Heller often speaks more like a scientist than a priest. good versus evil) postulating the existence of two forces acting against each other: God and an inert matter. Then there would be no need for Edwards v. They implicitly revive the old manicheistic error (Manichaeism–the doctrine of a cosmic conflict between forces of light and darkness. But he contains his religious beliefs when they conflict with scientific evidence. Heller advises the Pope about matters of science and is a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Can we really be the descendents of Fred and Wilma. The evangelical Christian community which promotes such nonsense as intelligent design could use a few Father Hellers. including Russia. should be replaced. the legal case which ended the teaching of creationism in public schools. “At least 25% of high school teachers in Minnesota explicitly teach creationism. How can teachers thumb their noses at court rulings? Our children barely rank in the top 25 of developed countries in both math and science. goblins. demons. was unsurprised by the study’s conclusions. voodoo. Flintstone? Back here in the USA. while 13% “explicitly advocate” creationism or intelligent design. simpletons are influenced by evangelical faith as well as ignorance. a federal court ruled that intelligent design is not to be taught in public high-school biology. guardian angels. aliens.” Yes. ghouls. by theories acknowledging the thread of intelligent design in the universe. in this case. or supplemented. 219 . There would be no need for Kitzmiller v. Thirty two percent of Russians believe the sun revolves around the Earth while 29% believe that humans existed with dinosaurs. chance and intelligent design. Randy Moore.” Creationism as well as intelligent design is not permitted in public-school science.

alien abductions (close encounters of the third kind). prophets. “Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization. Kennedy dreamt of putting a man on the moon and safely returning him to Earth before the end of the decade. Extrapolating. He has helped to weaken the hold of obsolete Christian thought. Thomson Reuters concluded that China will become the world’s largest publisher of patents this very year (2011 at the time). ESP. A fact? This is all rubbish! Father Heller seems to share some common ground with Steven Weinberg’s in the science/religion debate. It is too bad that Father Heller doesn’t spend more time convincing Catholic cardinals and bishops that there ain’t no devil. 4% in Europe and 1% in Japan. It ain’t anymore. déjà vu. China’s overall patent filings grew by 26% a year between 2003 and 2009. 5% in South Korea. Bigfoot (sasquatch). According to a 2010 report from Thomson Reuters. fortune tellers. the afterlife of souls in heaven or hell (oops. the prophecies of Nostradamus. Moses’ parting of the Red Sea. past lives (reincarnation). the abominable snowman (Yeti). Roman Catholic Bishop Gerhard Wagner said that the death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in early 2005 was “divine retribution” for New Orleans’ tolerance of homosexuals. conspiracies. Kennedy said he would not pledge obedience to the Pope and firmly believed in a strict separation of church and state. and that god almighty will reward those who send money to televangelists! Billy Graham claims the devil is responsible for natural disasters. “Atheists have no doubt that religion–god–is a big hoax created by man for power having nothing to do with science. Steven Weinberg was on the money when he said. What this country needs is another John Kennedy. a former world superpower? The State Director of Michigan Atheists told me. President Kennedy also had a dream. The worship of a single god was promoted for 220 . America was fascinated with space and science in the 1960s. secrets at Area 51. luck.” I agree with the point about religion but belief in a god is a different issue. Will America become the next Great Britain. saints who have performed miracles. Pat Robertson said it was a FACT that God punished the people of Haiti with an earthquake for making a pact with the devil to free themselves from the French. the inerrancy of the Bible. He said he would not tell the Pope how to do his job and the Pope would not tell him how to be president. Growth was much slower elsewhere: 6% in America. fairy stories. at least for Roman Catholics. I almost forgot purgatory and limbo!).” Indeed. psychics. religion often impedes the progress of science and humanity Just ask Galileo! Thank god for Father Heller. and out-of-body (including near-death) experiences as well as Doomsday 2012. Noah’s Ark. such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Like Martin Luther King. In the 1960 presidential debates. First let me address religion.

In The Bible Unearthed. Huh! Some monotheist faith in Jesus did Constantine have! He promoted Jesus because of politics and the thirst for power. (Note that neither Hezekiah nor Josiah were successful in their endeavors. Sol day became Sunday. But without Constantine and the Jewish historian Josephus. Sol Invictus. the population of the northern Kingdom of Israel had been nine times larger than that of Judah. (Monolatrism or monolatry is the recognition of the existence of many gods. but with the consistent worship of only one deity. The nascent but growing Christian faith was employed by Constantine in his attempt to unite the Roman Empire after the loss of a strong central government in Rome. There is no evidence that Constantine ever truly accepted Jesus as his personal god and savior. Hezekiah’s eventual successor. Even so. and not only faith. Hezekiah. So. Finkelstein and Silberman argue that the priests of Jerusalem in Judah began to promote Yahweh-based monolatry. by the King of Judah. aligning themselves with King Hezekiah’s anti-Assyrian views. the priests of Jerusalem wanted to promote monolatry with Yahweh as the only god worshipped and the King of Judea made it happen as he prepared for possible conflict with Assyria.) 221 . to the south of Israel. we might never have heard of Jesus. Christians worship on Sunday. He would have been just one more Hebrew crucified by the Romans. Monotheism did not truly start until after the Babylonian exile. He is the reason for the modern Christian Church but only people of his time really believed Constantine actually had a “vision” which led to his conversion to Christianity. and by the Roman Emperor Constantine I. He changed the Sabbath from the Hebrew tradition of Saturday and named it after the Roman sun god. as well as other gods. banning the worship of deities other than Yahweh and destroying hilltop pagan shrines. A huge problem confronted King Hezekiah in Judah when the Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians in 722 BCE. so many small Judean villages suddenly became cities.) Hezekiah advanced the agenda of the Hebrew priests. power and politics.political as much as for religious reasons. was flooded with refugees. he continued to worship the Roman pagan god of the sun. before Constantine there was no crucifix). in the eighth century BCE. in the fourth Century CE. This are the historical. if indeed he ever did have any belief that Jesus was the Messiah. not faith-based acceptance in the singular god of Abraham. There is no evidence that Constantine ever had such a “vision. encouraged the exclusive worship of Yahweh and outlawed all other forms of worship. circa 538 BCE . actions which Finkelstein and Silberman view as preparations for dealing with Assyria and to unite the various Hebrew tribes.” This “vision” of a cross led to the Christian symbol of the crucifix (he created the symbol of the crucifix and attached an image of the cross to his shield as did his soldiers. King Josiah. He convened the First Council of Nicaea in 325 CE to combine the different Christian sects into a unified Church. The Kingdom of Judah. original roots of monotheism.

suggest that Neanderthals engaged in funeral ceremonies. while I see the belief in god by the masses as due to ignorance. To conclude. then neither do we. by the wise as false. Pharaohs were buried with jewelry. They are a testament to the strong belief by the Egyptians of an afterlife. “Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today.” As we know from archaeology. Some people just refuse to accept that we are made from the same atoms as monkeys. Some people refuse to accept the fact that we evolved from apes. Sometimes tools or animal remains that may have been intended for use in an afterlife were placed in the graves. dishes and games.” Napoleon Bonaparte agreed. Why? Probably for the same reason pharaohs were buried with servants. a source of energy. I agree with Seneca the Younger. as are all things living as well as non-living. the distinct separation of body and spirit. wine.As Seneca the Younger. and by rulers as useful. said. wrote.” However. Theists have just not gotten with the program yet (evolution). They would also be buried with any servants and pets they had. “All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few. Religion is what keeps the poor man from murdering the rich. clothes. knows as Stendhal. To reiterate Dirac. food. “It is quite understandable why primitive people. a philosopher who lived in the time of Jesus. Dualism seemed plausible for a human species which was created in god’s own image. It should not be confused with evolution. All religions have been made by men. which is the study of how groups of living things change over time. Abiogenesis is the proposition that life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. furniture. Most people of that time believed in dualism. should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. religion was created by the powerful to control the ignorant. were the first people to systematically bury their dead. “Religion is regarded by the common people as true. Abiogenesis theorizes that a requisite mix of elements. our closest human ancestor. The Egyptian pyramids were mostly built as tombs for the country’s pharaohs and their consorts. or chemicals. I will argue that the belief in god is not based on power but salvation and apprehension of death. It was Darwin and his discovery of evolution from lower life forms which made the dualism concept obsolete. which may have been the source of similar beliefs by the early Israelites. They did not realize that people are made up of atoms. The servants were thought to assist the ruler in the afterlife. and liquid water could produce 222 .” Marie-Henri Beyle. located in the Zagros Mountains of Kurdistan in Iraq. Neanderthals. Neanderthal remains at a cave site at Shanidar. I would next like to address the most perplexing problem in biology: the origin of life. If monkeys don’t have souls.

Sounds a bit like Frankenstein. I will get back to the relevance of glycine shortly. the experiment tested Alexander Oparin’s and J. The chemicals were all sealed inside a sterile array of glass tubes and flasks connected in a loop. methane (CH4). The liquid water was heated to induce evaporation. a Noble Prize winning chemistry professor at the University of Chicago. [and] one of the founding champions of the ‘RNA world’ hypothesis. expanding ten-fold in a few hours and continuing to replicate as long as they have space and raw material. sugars.organic chemistry from inorganic chemistry. Haldane’s hypothesis that conditions on the primitive Earth favored chemical reactions that synthesized organic compounds from inorganic precursors. from mostly inorganic matter and electricity.) In addition. Considered to be the classic experiment on the origin of life. The experiment used water (H2O). It tested for the occurrence of chemical evolution. This was the first experiment ever to produce amino acids. with one flask half-full of liquid water and another flask containing a pair of electrodes. liquids. Joyce is a molecular chemist. life spontaneously arises. and some of the building blocks for nucleic acids were also formed. (Remember glycine. an experiment which simulated hypothetical conditions thought at the time to be present on the early Earth. Two percent of the carbon had formed amino acids that are used to make proteins in living cells. In the April 2009 edition of Scientific American magazine it was reported that. rather than 11 which were created in the original experiment. S. Miller and Urey observed that as much as 10% to 15% of the carbon within the system was now in the form of organic compounds. “Gerald F. ammonia (NH3). with glycine as the most abundant. Joyce and his student Tracey Lincoln [have] finally found a couple of short but powerful RNA sequences that when mixed together along with a slurry of simpler RNA building blocks will double in number again and again. That is the notion that perhaps life as we know it [is] life based on DNA and enzymatic proteins. his doctoral graduate student. doesn’t it? In 2008. with RNA acting for the most part as a 223 . The first empirical support for this hypothesis was the Miller-Urey experiment. and Stanley Miller. and then the atmosphere was cooled again so that the water could condense and trickle back into the first flask in a continuous cycle. At the end of one week of continuous operation. God is unnecessary. and hydrogen (H2). the building blocks of proteins and life. In this case. sparks were fired between the electrodes to simulate lightning through the atmosphere and water vapor. it was conducted in 1952 and published in 1953 by Harold Urey. a re-analysis of Miller’s archived solutions from some additional experiments showed that 22 amino acids were produced. No heavenly intervention is required. Specifically. B. RNA and DNA are the two most common nucleic acids.

and planetoids. Bacteria may travel dormant for an extended amount of time before colliding randomly with other planets or intermingling with protoplanetary discs. rather than just optimizing the function we’ve designed into it. Panspermia is not meant to address how life began. that is to produce new and hopefully improved organic molecules.’ Joyce recalls. distributed by meteoroids. Panspermia proposes that life that can survive the effects of space. i. Our goal is to make life in the lab.e. ‘This is not alive.mere courier of genetic information…Of course. Their little test-tube system did indeed manifest nearly all the essential characteristics of Darwinian evolution. novel function can be invented out of whole cloth. however. minor planets. the ability to do something never done before.’ None of the recombinants. This sounds a bit like Proctor and Gamble’s new and improved soap suds. That crucial missing ingredient still separates artificial evolution from true Darwinian evolution. something that none of its ancestors could perform.’ The next big step toward the creation of life in the lab. 224 . The related but distinct idea of exogenesis is a more limited hypothesis which proposes that life on Earth was transferred from elsewhere in the universe but makes no prediction about how widespread it is. or the seed theory. as do extremophile bacteria. and small solar system bodies. Joyce says. so new mutants Joyce calls . It also requires mutations with novel functions. ‘In life. recombinants soon appeared and even thrived.’ Joyce emphasizes. but to get there we need to increase the complexity of the system so that it can start inventing new function. It also allows for natural selection where the most adaptive mutants reproduce while the least adaptive die out. is the hypothesis that life exists throughout the universe. the bacteria become active and the process of evolution begins. Each molecular species competed with the others for the common pool of building blocks. and the recombinants began to take over the population. will be to engineer (or evolve) a set of synthetic molecules that can perform metabolism as well as replication. And the reproduction process was imperfect. . ‘We let it run for one hundred hours. could do something new that is. just the method that may cause its sustenance. The starting twentyfour RNA variants reproduced. Panspermia. some faster than others depending on the environmental conditions. Pretty soon the original replicator types died out. We don’t have that. the idea is plausible only if RNA can support evolution on its own. which harbor life. asteroids.023. . They can become trapped in debris which is ejected into space after collisions between planets. If met with ideal conditions on the new planets’ surfaces. ‘during which we saw an overall amplification in the number of replicator molecules by 1.” It seems that the definition of life is somewhat arbitrary and life requires more than reproduction.

No extraterrestrial bacteria have been discovered but the building blocks of life have. the seed which started life on Earth may have come from outer space.” NASA reported that it “discovered that the Stardust-returned glycine has an extraterrestrial carbon isotope signature. providing new insights on how planets with abundant water could form throughout the universe. and this is the first time an amino acid has been found in a comet. although creating life in water vapor is believed to be possible. such as asteroid impacts. suggesting that water-covered planets like Earth may be common in the universe. For those planets which exist in a star’s habitable zone. The glycine retrieved by Comet Wild 2 suggests that the some of the building blocks of life are created in the environment and conditions of outer space. and other cosmic bodies. indicating that it originated on the comet. the building blocks of life can combine to create life. Astronomy News reported.) In October 2011.” Further confirmation came when scientists found that the isotopes in the Stardust amino acids were heavier than those found on Earth. As the new solar system evolves. in samples of the Comet Wild 2 returned to Earth by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft. Remember glycine? I said I would get back to it.. icy comets are likely to deposit much of the water they contain on freshly created worlds through impacts. The findings indicate that this disk. asteroids. a fundamental building block of life. which is poised to develop into a solar system. “Our discovery supports the theory that some of life’s ingredients formed in space [in a sort of incubator] and were delivered to Earth long ago by meteorite and comet impacts. giving rise to oceans. “‘Using data from the Herschel Space Observatory. astronomers believe matter within the disk will collide and grow into planets.. what is the source of the 225 . Dust and ice particles will assemble as comets.’ said Michiel Hogerheijde from the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands. contains great quantities of water. NASA scientists reported that they had discovered glycine..” noted Jamie Elsila of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “Glycine is an amino acid used by living organisms to make proteins. Astronomers believe [the star] and its icy disk may be representative of many other young star systems. astronomers have detected for the first time cold water vapor enveloping a dusty disk around a young star. This then begs the question. and there is a source of energy and readily available carbon. the bigger problem in creating life is finding a sustained source of energy and liquid water.. In August 2009. They are subsequently distributed to planets at random during cosmic collisions.’” So according to hypothesis of panspermia.. where there is liquid water such on the Earth.Our observations of this cold vapor indicate enough water exists in the disk to fill thousands of Earth oceans. As carbon is the fourth most abundant element in the universe. ‘Over the next few million years. (All the known forms of life on this planet are carbon based.

which leads to the question of what created the creator of the creator of that life. If their god is the force which created life. The idea that the building blocks of life (not life itself or the seeds of life) are formed in outer space and are then delivered to planets where life has the possibility to be created make a great deal of sense. meteorites and asteroids. I call this the panspermia/abiogenesis combo hypothesis. “Human beings do not stand outside nature. It is the only plausible explanation for how life can emerge unless some form of direct abiogenesis is identified. or life after death.seed’s life? The universe is three times older than the Earth.e. What does this mean for our understanding of consciousness. I personally prefer the abiogenesis hypothesis since it does not require a creator. October 2011). freeing us from outmoded ideas about what it means to be human. we are then left with the question. If life has originated more than once. how was that life created? If that life was not created by abiogenesis. Sean M. inorganic chemistry can morph into organic chemistry. then which god created their god who created life? And who created the god who created the god who created their god who created life? This question and reasoning is circular and never converges upon a solution. evolving and interacting according to the laws of physics. This understanding lets us draw strong conclusions about the milieu in which we live. we are a part of it. There is no telekinesis. In From particles to people: The Laws of Nature and the Meaning of Life (New Horizons in Science 2011 Program. Extraterrestrial objects from outside of our Solar System.” I take Carrol’s position to mean that life is a natural physical and chemical process and a “Creator” is not necessary to explain how it arose and why we exist. but instead that once started. have had more time to develop life. If we take the pure seed theory that life evolved elsewhere in the universe and was subsequently transported to Earth. And we know what those laws are–the progress of modern science has reached a point where the laws underlying everyday life are completely understood. Caltech physicist Dr. such as comets. Panspermia does not necessarily suggest that life originated only once and subsequently spread through the entire universe. There are well-understood ways to solve nonconvergent solutions to mathematical equations. free will. There are no known solutions in the question of life creation. which 226 . and because it reflects the principle of Occam’s Razor. god. astrology. Carroll said. Ultimately we are made of particles. It seems that not only is the theist’s vision of god obsolete. then abiogenesis seems to be a more likely cause because under the right conditions. and the meaning of life? Taking the laws of nature seriously opens a vista of possibility. but so also is the label they give Him. and so on. then what created that life? And what created the creator of that life. it may be able to spread to other environments suitable for replication. i. Northern Arizona University.

it is one of the commonest molecules in the universe. If life exists elsewhere. John Spencer. Because H2O is the simplest stable compound of the first and third most cosmically abundant elements.states that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. simplest meaning the theory with the fewest new assumptions. as suggested in the panspermia or panspermia/ abiogenesis hypotheses? Perhaps. It only requires that the appropriate assortment of energy and elements. the best places to look for it are those with liquid water. temperatures in the protosolar nebula were low enough that water ice could condense in most places beyond what is now the asteroid belt. The solid worlds of the outer solar system thus tend to be rich in water ice. the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute. life is found. Our solar system is no exception: During its formation. and the moons of the giant planets typically comprise roughly equal parts rock and ice. So it is relatively rare in the solar system. “From our parochial point of view as biological entities. But Jupiter’s large moon Europa has been a center of attention for planetary scientists since the late 1990s. life on the surface of the planet is different than life found at the bottom of the oceans. but just right. then there is a high probability that life as we know it exists on many of the planets which reside in the “goldilocks” zone. H2O is most interesting in its liquid form. Everywhere there is liquid water. a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute. However I also see possibilities in the more complicated panspermia/abiogenesis combo hypothesis. a zone that is not too hot. wrote. which is essential for the maintenance of life on Earth. liquid water is stable over a narrow range of temperature and pressure. is pointing its Allen Array of radio telescopes at those planets in the hope of detecting alien radio transmissions. but I am still more attracted to the simpler concept of abiogenesis. In the November 2011 edition of Physics Today journal. Life in the deep gets its energy from hydrothermal volcanic vents. “Finding liquid water is a fundamental quest of planetary science. however. not too cold. life can arise anywhere where there are the appropriate elements. Compared with ice and water vapor. as well as liquid water. There is no photosynthesis at the bottom of the ocean. exists on a planet which orbits its star in the “goldilocks” zone. But. did life at the bottom of the sea arise from the same seed as life at the surface of our planet. a source of energy. That is the experience right here on Earth. liquid water and a suitable environment. If abiogenesis is correct. The Kepler spacecraft is presently looking for “goldilocks zone” planets in our own galaxy and SETI. So the question arises. when the Galileo orbiter discovered evidence for a global water ocean 227 . Abiogenesis does not require a foreign object to hit the Earth or another planet at the right time and under the right conditions to create life.

exploit chemical energy sources directly and are truly independent of sunlight. But even liquid water and all the necessary chemicals don’t guarantee that an environment is habitable. That place is Enceladus–a moon of Saturn 500 km in diameter…liquid water possibly present on Enceladus. The environment must have sufficient chemical energy available. an understanding of how close Enceladus has come to being able to support life would tell us much about the potential development of habitable environments elsewhere in the solar system and beyond. however. For instance.beneath Europa’s icy surface. by oxidants produced by irradiation of surface ice by plasma in Saturn’s magnetosphere or by hydrogen derived from thermal decomposition of methane. Just how close that water is. A question of great interest to planetary scientists is whether liquid water exists beneath the icy surface of Enceladus…Chemical evidence for an ocean of some sort comes from the salty composition of ice grains [found] in the [erupting] plume [jets]….The salty ice grains provide compelling evidence that water is sufficiently close to the surface of Enceladus for particles flash-frozen from the water to actually make it to the surface. A few known terrestrial microorganisms. wet conditions that we suspect exist within Enceladus? A positive answer would have profound implications for the ubiquity of life throughout the cosmos and its ability to develop independently of solar or stellar energy input. could provide an environment where life might be possible if sufficient energy were available…. is open to debate. “A follow-up mission with improved instrumentation and a trajectory optimized for Enceladus science could provide definitive answers to many of our questions 228 . the ultimate energy source for almost all life on Earth–including the famous deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities that depend on seawater oxygen derived from near-surface photosynthesis. Certainly. Even if the answer is negative. the Cassini orbiter has revealed a place that not only probably hosts liquid water but also is obligingly launching fresh samples of that water into space for analysis by spacecraft instruments. powered. Whether suitable conditions have existed continuously on Enceladus long enough for life to develop and survive is another question–one that will remain unanswered until we better understand both how rapidly life developed on Earth and the stability of activity on Enceladus…. coupled with the rich chemistry hinted at by the mass-spectrometer data. Analogous ecosystems on Enceladus may be possible. some microorganisms found in the Columbia River basalts live on hydrogen derived from rock–water reactions. and we don’t know if that’s the case under the surface of Enceladus. however. More recently. the subsurface will be devoid of sunlight. The chemistry of the Enceladan plume indicates that the elements essential to the support of terrestrial life are probably present at the plume source. “Has life developed in the warm. for instance.

‘Though these processes make the surface inhospitable to life. produced when charged particles from Jupiter’s magnetosphere strike the moon’s icy surface. I think there are four things we need to look for. of course. in particular regarding physical and chemical conditions at the plume source and the habitability of the subsurface environment.’ McKay says. Enceladus and Europa…. organic material. Sunlight if you live near the surface.”  Europa: Water is abundant on Europa in the form of an ocean sloshing beneath the icy crust. an energy source. Scientists are now debating which might be best for a life-seeking mission.. others. Scientists don’t yet know whether nitrogen or organics 229 . Scientists don’t expect to find European plesiosaurs or Titanian redwoods.about that moon. It read. California]. It’s probably the most important atom after carbon. But not every one of these moons is an equal opportunity extraterrestrial petri dish.’ Second. ‘Something to eat. organic material is what it’s made of. such a mission could detect biological activity by spotting biochemical signatures in ejected plume materials. Some involve Enceladus orbiters. including some of the most promising hosts for extraterrestrial life in the solar system..’ says planetary scientist Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona in Tucson…. is liquid water. “Circling Jupiter and Saturn are more than a hundred moons. Alienlife hunters focus on moons in outer solar system. it’s that wherever you find water. because sulfur compounds appear to be abundant on Europa and microbial life can exist quite happily on sulfur-based fuel. First.’ Third is nitrogen. some would even fly through the plume and return samples to Earth.‘When we search for life beyond Earth. animated microbes–or at least their footprints. ‘So we follow the water. Conceivably.” The October 2011 edition of Science News included article with the eerie title. But some experts think these moons may be the best chance for turning up tiny. which means carbon-containing compounds. Several mission studies have been performed since the 2005 discovery of activity. Their attention is focused on a frozen trio: Titan.’ says Chris McKay of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View. Calif. You’ve got to add that to make the organic material biological. ‘You can think of it as the secret ingredient. ‘Water is what life lives in. and [Jupiter’s moon] Europa is where the water is. oxygen could now be saturating the Europan sea and powering life-forms swimming in the abyss.’” “‘If we’ve learned anything about life on Earth. landers. you find life on earth.’ says planetary scientist Kevin Hand [of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. he says.. Chemical energy if not. And last. ‘That’s always the starting point. scientists suspect that Europa has a tenuous oxygen atmosphere. [Kevin] Hand thinks simple life-forms are more probable.’ In addition to that salty ocean.

Whether a water ocean lurks deep underground is not yet known. organics. fulfilling all four of McKay’s criteria. Titan could host its own brand of surface inhabitants based on hydrocarbons. is soaked in it…. Still. nitrogen and an energy source – the only place in the solar system with all four boxes checked. organics and nitrogen pour into space from the satellite’s geysers [plumes]. nitrogen or a life-powering energy source. And Enceladus is superpowered. Of the chance of finding life on Titan. which require an energy source for fuel.’ says planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz of Johns Hopkins University…. but might not have organics. “Enceladus has water.’ [Kevin Hand] says….are present. organic material.  Enceladus: Water. McKay says. Titan. the first place I would fly is the plume of Enceladus. Still. the pictures will be blurry as long as assembly is from afar. So far. Whether the second criterion for life. Titan is saturated with organic material and shrouded by nitrogen. The landscape looks so similar that some researchers think Titan could be a gold mine for clues about Earth’s early history. ‘Titan is where you go if you’re looking for weird life.” 230 . researchers know that Europa is probably a water world. the team is working on identifying markers that would distinguish biological activity from mineral processes that could also produce the discolorations–and thinking about ways to remotely detect such differences. but some think hydrothermal vents might erupt from the sea floor and power life.’ he says…. ‘We can learn about the evolution of organic chemistry. which is presumably part of the process that led to life on Earth. which could serve as an energy source. in the form of streams and seas. Though scientists are putting together the pieces of these moony puzzles bit by bit. Titan is the only body in the solar system known to have stable liquids on its surface. but lacks liquid water on its surface. but its subsurface pocket of water might be too young for life to have evolved. since Europa’s harsh conditions mean a spacecraft couldn’t stick around there for long…. “Now.  Titan: The surface of Titan sits beneath a thick nitrogen-containing atmosphere and is soaked in organic hydrocarbons. ‘I would say it’s probably 50-50. ‘If I had a little scooter and could fly anywhere. scientists aren’t sure whether liquid water has been around long enough for life to evolve on the tiny moon. But another candidate moon. Aside from Earth.’ [according to astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University]. with biochemistries very different from those on Earth. exists on Europa is a big question mark.

that’s bad for biology. Now. said glaciologist Martin Siegert from the University of Edinburgh. From models of magnetic forces.’” 231 . in the novel Odyssey Two. The icy eddies could transfer nutrients between the surface water and the ocean’s depths. discovers aquatic life-forms in the deep Europan sea. ‘That could make Europa and its ocean more habitable. who. That might mean the surface isn’t communicating with the underlying ocean. ‘One opinion in the scientific community has been if the ice shell is thick. the lead author of the study that appears in the journal Nature. Clarke’s fictional character David Bowman. lies somewhere between 10-30 km beneath the ice crust. where we see similar [features]–glaciers. icy outer layers has always seemed untenable. roughly 160km (100 miles) deep. The results. the surface ice is thought to be tens of miles thick. who analysed images collect by the Galileo spacecraft launched in 1989…. But since the moon is so far from the sun. According to NASA. this could mean nutrients and energy are moving between the ocean and icy shell.’ Schmidt said in a statement. melting and fracturing the outer layers. “Analysis of [Europa’s] surface suggests plumes of warmer water well up beneath its icy shell. But punching holes through the moon’s thick. scientists have long thought that a huge ocean–. Any liquid water could represent a potential habitat for life. “New research that suggests Jupiter’s moon Europa has a body of water the size of the Great Lakes just two miles below its icy surface has brought scientists one step closer to determining whether or not the freezing satellite is suitable for the development of extraterrestrial life.” The Huffington Post reported the same story. Science & Environment reported.The presence of shallow lakes also means that surface waters are probably vigorously mixing with deeper water. ‘Now. and images of its surface.’ said lead author Britney Schmidt from the University of Texas at Austin. we see evidence that it’s a thick ice shell that can mix vigorously and new evidence for giant shallow lakes. US. The discovery of shallow liquid water by an American team makes a space mission to recover water from the moon much more plausible…. Many astrobiologists have dreamed of following in the footsteps of Arthur C. scientists analyzing data from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft have found ice blocks on Europa’s surface that suggest an interaction between the moon’s icy shell and a lake-like body of water under the surface…According to Britney Schmidt.A November 2011 edition of the BBC News.more voluminous than all of earth’s oceans combined–existed below Europa’s surface.By looking at Antarctica. scientists have long suspected that a giant ocean. published in the journal Nature. ice shelves–we can infer something about the processes that are happening on Europa. That could make Europa and its ocean more habitable. predict that small lakes exist only 3 km [2 miles] below the crust.

e. Ptolemy developed a model of the universe whereby the Sun.) On the other side of the dome were prodigious amounts of empty space. Galileo proved that not all astronomical bodies revolve about the Earth.The faithful need to come to grips with the fact that the possibility of finding life elsewhere in our own solar system increases every day. Evidence is increasing that we are most likely not alone in the universe. Peter in the clouds. the Inferno described in Dante’s Divine Comedy. burn baby burn?” When Galileo discovered four dark spots moving across the surface of Jupiter. and hell was deep in the bowels of the Earth. The then known universe consisted of the Earth. They did not form constellations as did the stars. He spent the last ten years of his life under house arrest. “Burn. and the discovery that we are not alone may not be all that far into the future. When Tommaso Maccacaro. baby burn. Moon and planets revolved around the Earth. Galileo might have been burned at the stake just like 232 . Galileo then had the audacity to reinterpret the Bible based on his new evidence. at its center. We live in the 21st century with a 15th century vision of god. said. the five planets which could be seen with the naked eye. even though he had no telescope like Galileo. “I ask myself what tools will we use in the next 400 years. president of Italy’s national institute of astrophysics. which states that the sun is the center of the solar system and not the third rock from the sun. They were just like our Moon which revolves around our Earth. Perhaps this was where heaven was located. The planets were thought to be wanderers in that they did not remain fixed in relation to the other lights. The word planet comes from Greek word for wanderer. (Actually it was a concentric sphere. the Sun. the Moon. like resolving the mystery of our apparent cosmic solitude. in the nighttime sky. and a dome which populated the night sky with stars. stars. Do you remember the tune. along with St. His predictions for the positions of the planets in the nighttime sky were more accurate than Galileo. the god hypothesis made some sense. Instead they moved in relation to the backdrop of the stars in the night sky.” he is preparing the Catholic Church and all of humanity for two sobering realities. i. and I ask what revolutions of understanding they’ll bring about. [Dante’s] Inferno. Were it not for the intervention of the Archbishop of Siena. he realized that they were moons revolving around Jupiter. A half millennium ago. Unfortunately his proclamations coincided with the onset of the Protestant Reformation. when almost nothing was known about the universe. Galileo had the first empirical evidence that Copernicus might be right about heliocentrism. And he predated Galileo by 15 centuries. The Catholic Church accepted Ptolemy’s model. The nighttime stars resided on a dome which covered the flat Earth. God lived in the sky.

There he proposed that the universe expanded from an initial point. The MAP satellite. Urban VIII. but it was thought to consist of only our own galaxy. now at MIT and Paul Steinhardt. By the time Einstein was a practicing scientist. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson accidentally discovered cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) while conducting diagnostic tests of the communications satellite Telstar. They conducted the tests with a new microwave receiver from Bell Laboratories. He just had to have more middle names than a Frenchman. Penzias and Wilson were awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery in 1978. the Milky Way. coveted the French. There’s even a TV show with that name now.Giordano Bruno. resisted all efforts to grant Galileo a pardon. in March 1949. In the early 1980s. In 1964. Alan Guth. which he called the “Primeval Atom. or WMAP. the Albert Einstein Professor of Science at Princeton University and a professor of theoretical physics. he discussed the relationship between the physical universe and spirituality. Edwin Hubble was the first to use the new 100-inch Hooker Telescope at Mount Wilson. or brightness) in several spiral nebulae. The Big Bang label stuck. the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe.” The astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle was a strong critic of the “Primeval Atom” hypothesis. (It seems Lemaître. During the early 1920s. along with several other physicists. He referred to the “Primeval Atom” as the theory of the “Big Bang” in a BBC radio broadcast. the physicist Lemaître was a Roman Catholic priest. played a 233 . another visionary.” Lemaître also described his theory as “the Cosmic Egg exploding at the moment of the creation.) His observations. entire galaxies outside of our own. a Belgian. the physicist Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître participated in a London conference of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. proved conclusively that these nebulae were much too distant to be part of the Milky Way and were. Hubble identified Cepheid variables (stars with varying luminosity.) And yes. in fact. made in 1922–1923. the Third Programme. The sitting pope and his former friend. telescopes were able to provide evidence that the known universe extended beyond our Solar System. At the conference. Their discovery provided substantial confirmation of the general CMB predictions–the radiation was found to be isotropic and consistent with a blackbody spectrum of about 3 Kelvin (roughly 5 degrees Fahrenheit above absolute zero)–and it pitched the balance of opinion in favor of the Big Bang hypothesis and not the steady state hypothesis endorsed by Hoyle. The Big Bang and cosmic inflation is the prevailing view at the moment about the origin of the universe. In 1931. developed the concept of cosmic inflation. including the Andromeda Nebula (spiral nebulae is an old term for spiral galaxies.

the former academic home of Einstein. Susskind rejects the concept that an intelligent designer. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going. god. Laplace. I would like to first cite the views of Leonard Susskind. String theory is a relatively new science. Yes. why the universe exists. Really? “Sometimes the greatest obstacle to truth is not ignorance. The fabric of the cosmos seems to be the closest thing we have to a scientific explanation of a creator. say it was god. The Grand Design. but the illusion of knowledge” (Daniel J. only four decades old. which is the inflationary model. i. and that the expansion is not slowing down. “Sire. the universe can and will create itself from nothing. they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe. “Mr. String theory is a 234 . that the anthropic fine tuning of the universe is evidence of its creation by a creator. stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy drew himself up and answered bluntly. Indeed if the universe was created.e.] Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing [citing Gottfried Leibnitz]. Isaac Newton said the same thing about our solar system. but speeding up. and have never even mentioned its Creator. He claims. according to Laplace. I had no need of that hypothesis.key role in establishing the current Standard Model of Cosmology. “Because there is a law such as gravity. Let me say that I am not totally convinced by Hawking’s assertions about a universe created from nothing. and is expanding. why we exist. as the MAP data shows. [Universes are hypothetically created out of the dark. such as John Charlton Polkinghorne of Cambridge University. along with Freeman Dyson of the Institute of Advanced Study. created the universe. the Felix Bloch Professor of Theoretical Physics at Stanford University and one of the founding fathers of string theory. as previously expected. inquired. He is best known in mathematics for the Laplace transforms.. Boorstin). In his book. Napoleon. 2005). marquis de Laplace. Brown & Co. the expansion is accelerating! If the universe began with a primeval atom. The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design (Little. The MAP data fits the inflation theory that the universe is dominated by dark energy. eternal energy which exists in the fabric of the cosmos. Napoleon learned that a book by Laplace contained no mention of the name of God. who was fond of asking embarrassing questions. then who or what created the universe? Some scientists. A creator was the one to make it appear to operate like a designed system. the academic home of Stephen Hawking. that the universe is expanding faster than the speed of light.” This sounds a bit like a point made by the French mathematician and astronomer Pierre-Simon.” Laplace. is not needed to understand the nature of the universe or its creation.” God. who or what created it? Steven Hawking acknowledges the fine tuning but writes in his recent book.

asked. “If one of those theories describes our universe.e. Mtheory also allows for parallel universes or worlds. with one end attached to a membrane. It can freely travel though all 10 spatial dimensions. strings). which is thought to explain why gravity is a trillion. a physics professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. String theories also require the existence of several extra. M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. All of the particles described by string theory are one dimensional stands of energy. Edward Witten. Because M-theory dimensionality exceeds the dimensionality of superstring theories in 10 dimensions. unobservable dimensions to the universe. including the one conceived by Susskind. comprehensive set of mathematical equations. Getting back to Susskind. or membrane theory. the theory of the very big. such as our known universe. that is as ordered and logically designed our universe seems to be. Kraus of Arizona State University shared Susskind’s view in a September 2010 Wall St. Today’s mathematics of quantum mechanics and general relativity (gravity) are incompatible. trillion. It’s the first candidate for the theory of everything. but rather 1-dimensional oscillating strands of energy (i. He concludes that our structured universe is not the work of a creator or intelligent designer but just due to the laws of chance. With an infinite number of universes. at the basis of essentially all the world’s religions. describing all of the known fundamental forces and matter in a single.developing theory originating in particle physics which attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics. who [or what] lives in the other four worlds?” The answer may be provided by M-theory. Every day beautiful and 235 . that creation requires a creator. he argues that an infinite number of universes exist. the laws of probability predict that a few would be as highly structured as ours is. perhaps an infinite number of parallel universes or worlds. mutations which occurred merely by chance. Our universe only gives the appearance of an intelligent designer in the same way that humans appeared to be intelligently designed before Darwin showed that we evolved into our current configuration through millions of random mutations. He said. it is believed that the 11-dimensional theory unites all five string theories (and supersedes them). Journal op-ed piece. There were originally five strings theories. But he believes only a small number of them have the structure. String theory posits that the electrons and quarks within an atom are not 0-dimensional objects. “As a scientist. the theory of the very small. in addition to the usual four space-time dimensions. He believes most universes are more chaotic and may not support life. The graviton is a closed loop string which is not attached to the membrane. The physicist Lawrence M. trillion times weaker than the strong nuclear force which hold protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. I have never quite understood the conviction. and general relativity or gravity.

miraculous objects suddenly appear. the title of a talk he gave at a Cambridge University symposium in September 2005. and the multiple universes. we revel in our ability to explain how snowflakes and rainbows can spontaneously appear based on the simple. an English cosmologist and astrophysicist at Trinity College. but rather that enough is observable and enough predictions are testable to give us confidence that the theory is right. he noticed the front page of Astronomy magazine highlighting the cover story. said that he was sufficiently confident about the multiverse to bet his dog’s life on it. from snowflakes on a cold winter morning to rainbows after a late afternoon summer shower.” William Jennings Bryan made a similar argument at the Scopes Monkey Trial defending creation and rejecting Darwinistic evolution.” Weinberg. I have just enough confidence about the multiverse to bet the lives of both Andrei Linde and Martin Rees’s dog!” Weinberg added. “What is more unwise than to mistake uncertainty for certainty. and the next is to shake off old prejudices. it adores everything it does not understand. They affirm these ideas as truth. At an airport on the way to the science meeting at Cambridge. “As for me. Cambridge University. “Religion is the idol of the mob. falsehood for truth?” Richard Dawkins put it. said he would bet his own life. The greatest and noblest pleasure which we have in this world is to discover new truths. “There is also a less creditable reason for hostility to the idea of a multiverse. Why You Live in Multiple Universes. a “Doubting Thomas” physicist. At the symposium Weinberg remarked. In fact. based on the fact that we will never be able to observe any sub universes except our own…The test of a physical theory is not that everything in it should be observable and every prediction it makes should be testable. Yet no one but the most ardent fundamentalists would suggest that every such object is painstakingly and purposefully created by divine intelligence.” Not all physicists blindly accept Susskind’s view. Steven Weinberg is not totally convinced about the existence of parallel universes and that we are Living in the Multiverse. elegant laws of physics. Inside he read the article about a Stanford University conference held to discuss the possibility of multiple universes. is correct about string theory. while Andrei Linde.” Frederick the Great said. Martin Rees. So did Ann Coulter in her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism (Crown Forum. Coulter characterized the theory of evolution as “bogus science. What do they know that we don’t? To quote Cicero.” Ardent fundamentalists assert with certainty that god is responsible for the design of snowflakes and rainbows. There is no evidence for any of these concepts as yet and biblical fundamentalists can and will use this as an excuse to dismiss these ideas as “atheistic science. a theoretical physicist and professor of physics at Stanford. 2006).” Bryan and Coulter were 236 . “One of the truly bad effects of religion is that it teaches us that it is a virtue to be satisfied with not understanding. M-theory.

Princeton professor of theoretical physics. colliding membranes. such as ice ages and global warming. electrons. like a wobbling top. and other subatomic particles which are confined to exist in the known three dimensions. Ekpyrosis is an all-engulfing cosmic fire which represents the contractive phase of eternally-recurring destruction and re-creation cycle. photons. The resulting temperature is finite. a singularity.000 years. then the Chair of Mathematical Physics at the University of Cambridge. The cosmos is recreated (palingenesis) only to be destroyed again at the end of the new cycle. It always existed! This is the theory of the ekpyrotic universe. Ekpyrosis is the Greek Stoic belief in the periodic destruction of the cosmos by a great conflagration every Great Year. and Neil Turok. proposed principally by Paul Steinhardt.” The kinetic energy in the collision is converted into the quarks. According to the Big Bang model of creation. when it had infinite temperature and density. The idea: the universe was not created. now the director of the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics. traces out a cone in a cycle of approximately 26.wrong. In the ekpyrotic model. 237 . A Great Year is the time required for one complete cycle of the precession of the equinoxes and refers to the gradual shift in the orientation of the Earth’s axis of rotation which. two three-dimensional worlds collide in the 11th dimension and “stick. not unlike the energy created by the collision between two three-dimensional worlds described in the alternative multiverse ekpyrotic model.” Now we get to the latest idea about our universe’s origins. the universe began in a very different state–-it was cold and nearly vacuous (empty). Instead of the universe beginning with the Big Bang of a singularity. The precession is one cause of climate change. Evolution has provided enough evidence “to give us confidence that the theory is right. It is only the very beginning that is different. The universe is homogeneous because the collision and initiation of the big bang phase occurs nearly simultaneously everywhere along the flat. In the Big Bang theory. The ekpyrotic model is based on the idea that our hot big bang universe was created from the collision of two three-dimensional worlds (membranes) moving along a hidden. The rest of the story in the ekpyrotic model is the same as the Big Bang model. so the hot big bang phase begins without a singularity. What the ekpyrotic model does is amend the earliest moments of the universe’s formation. It competes with the Big Bang theory and addresses fundamental problems with the Big Bang theory. the universe is created from a single point. The hot expanding universe we see came as a result of a collision which brought the universe up to a large but finite temperature and density. extra dimension. a single universe is created in a sudden burst of energy.

If the waves are not found. not yet discovered when the ekpyrotic model was originally conceived. or ripples in space. This is a radical change in his thinking.Newly discovered dark energy drives the expansion of each world. In 2010. the ekpyrotic/cyclic universe model will be dead and the Big Bang with cosmic inflation will be the sole surviving model of the universe’s creation. or universe. Gurzadyan published a preprint of a paper claiming that observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) made by the WMAP and the BOOMERanG experiment showed concentric anomalies which were consistent with the CCC hypothesis. cosmic inflation at the moment of the Big Bang should produce gravitational waves. In physical terms. the universe iterates through infinite cycles. and another big bang occurs. Then two run-down membranes collide. Each world ends in a heat death. LISA. The Planck Surveyor spacecraft. The cyclic model addresses Alan Guth’s point that the Big Bang theory does not tell us what banged or what caused it to bang. the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. In the cyclic model. The universe is an endless series of big bangs between two adjacent and colliding membranes. is a 2016 planned space mission to detect and accurately measure gravitational waves from astronomical sources. it has reached maximum entropy. Although the paper’s 238 . Then there will still remain room for a “creator” hypothesis. the cyclic view will gain momentum and the case for the Big Bang theory will weaken. in which it has “run down” to a state of no thermodynamic free energy to sustain motion or life. even a caveman can understand it! The ekpyrotic/cyclic universe concept could be dismissed in the near future. (In April 2011. what banged are two membranes. Penrose and V. launched in May 2009. G. In his Conformal Cyclic Cosmology (CCC) model. It will also measure the CMB more accurately than the WMAP. “floating” membranes. also known as the Big Freeze or the Big Chill. the gravity between two adjacent membranes immediately prior to their banging should not be sufficient to produce gravitational waves.) If these waves are found by either Planck or a European LISA-replacement spacecraft. It is worth pointing out that the eminent British physicist Sir Roger Penrose now believes in multiverses. is searching for gravitational waves from the Big Bang. NASA announced that LISA will likely not be funded. the new model is called the cyclic model of the universe and each cycle takes about a trillion years. With the additional of dark energy. What caused them to bang is the gravity between the two inert. However in the ekpyrotic model. The heat death is a suggested final thermodynamic state of the universe. We shall see. with the rapid expansion of a sub-universe in its death throes (called a Big Rip) being identified with the explosion of a singularity (Big Bang) of the next newly created sub-universe. It’s so simple. Much as a TNT explosion produces sound waves.

The LHC (Large Hadron Collider) may soon provide indirect evidence that string theory and M-theory may be more than hypotheses but instead bona fide theories with scientific evidence to make their cases. it nevertheless showed that the concept of multiverses is now taken seriously by a large segment of the scientific community.” does not fit well into the multiverse model either. or any other Catholic institution of higher learning? How will they fit a “creator” into the new multiverse Standard Model? Jesus. the University of Notre Dame. Professor of Physics at the University of Michigan. the 100th anniversary of the Scopes Monkey Trial? If the universe always existed. The law specifically provided. The God-the-Creator hypothesis is also not credible in a multiverse universe which had no beginning and has no end. The new Standard Model would then describe a multiverse with no beginning and no end. This brings up an interesting question. the largest of which is the uniformity of the cosmic background microwave radiation. There are known problems with the Big Bang theory. Guth and other physicists would stop trying to discover the “how” of the universe’s creation. Or the Conformal Cyclic Cosmology model might be adopted with additional CMB data from the Planck Surveyor spacecraft.” Let’s assume. for the moment. that this evidence is found. which means he is no longer the god who can determine the laws of the universe.conclusions were challenged by other physicists. The multiverse is rapidly emerging as the new and most widely-accepted view of the cosmos.” as they did when they attempted to have intelligent design taught as an alternative theory to Darwinian evolution? Will there be a new Butler Act? The Butler Act was a 1925 Tennessee law prohibiting public school teachers from denying the biblical account of man’s origin. 239 . “Although string theory is formulated in 10 or 11 dimensions. Now it doesn’t sound quite so unreasonable when the Pope hoped Hawking. “That it shall be unlawful for any teacher in any of the Universities. specific string theory solutions make unambiguous. as the Son of the “Creator. testable predictions about our four-dimensional universe. Let’s also assume that gravitational waves are not found by either the Planck Surveyor spacecraft or the LISA replacement. The greatest threat to Christianity is not Dan Brown and his The Da Vinci Code. What will they teach at The Catholic University of America. made this case in the November 2010 edition of Physics Today journal in an article titled String theory and the real world. Gordon Kane. Will it lead to the next faith versus science war in 2025. The ekpyrotic/cyclic universe model might replace the Big Bang theory as the Standard Model of Cosmology. Will the people who brought us intelligent design write new “science” textbooks or try to “teach the controversy. He said that. then god is subject to the physical laws of the universe. it is science itself.

Science gives us wisdom. A Brief History of Time (Bantam. then there is no need for a creator. God is dead.” If there is nothing for a creator to do.” The author of the law. It says in the Book of Genesis [1:1]. don’t we? Martin Luther. Stephen Hawking wrote in his book. He wrote that the Hawking model of the universe “with no edge in space. we could suppose it had a creator. and Carl Sagan killed him.) Carl Sagan went further in his introduction to Hawking’s book. with no beginning in time and no end. “Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt. having no boundaries or edge.” Not understanding. What place. 1988). not to shake off old prejudices are a way of thinking which have no place in the 21st century. or a belief in a creator. They violate the principle of QED.” If the multiverse model of the universe is right.” What is the point of believing in a “Creator” who does not create? As adults we give up the belief in Santa Claus. He later was reported to have said. It was Nietzsche’s way of saying that the conventional “God” of 19th century middle class Christianity was no longer a viable or believable source of any received wisdom. And science can conceive of a universe which was not created but always existed. “God is dead” is a widely-quoted statement by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche from his classic work Thus Spoke Zarathustra. it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. I’d read in the papers that boys and girls were coming home from school and telling their fathers and mothers that the Bible was all nonsense. and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals. to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible. I didn’t know anything about evolution when I introduced it. for a creator?” (Hawking believes that the universe is infinite in size. And there it is. “God is dead” never meant that Nietzsche believed in an actual God who first existed and then died in a literal sense. specifically intended that it would prohibit the teaching of evolution. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the Earth. the force behind the Protestant Reformation. “So long as the universe had a beginning.” then we have no reason to believe in an “in the beginninger. then. “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has. or beginning in time” left “nothing for a Creator to do. “No. and there is no “in the beginning.Normals [teachers’ colleges] and all other public schools of the State which are supported in whole or in part by the public school funds of the State. not to doubt. said. This is similar to a description of the universe given by the multiverse model.” What will happen if children come home from school and tell their parents that the Bible is all nonsense about creation and that the universe was not created but always existed? To cite Clarence Darrow. a Tennessee farmer named John Washington Butler. it never comes to 240 . But if the universe is really completely self-contained.

“Science makes religious explanations unnecessary (to cite Steven Weinberg one more time).the aid of spiritual things. For those who choose to believe and have faith. But this is not because of contempt. not speculation and conjecture. Science allows us to employ reason to challenge and confront ignorance. truth and reason are the first casualties.” In the war between faith against science. welcome and embrace science in the laboratory! Finale: Ladies and gentlemen. please leave your god in the pews… and acknowledge. but reason. To cite another great philosopher. no wise man has the power to reason away. treating with contempt all that emanates from God. thank you very much for your attention.” The search for truth can only be found in hard science. 241 . “What a fool believes he sees.” Science does challenge and confront the essence and beliefs of religion. but–more frequently than not–struggles against the divine Word. Michael McDonald of The Doobie Brothers. superstition and old prejudices.

242 .

Just about every culture had a patron god or gods. In the primitive understandings of societies of that era. it is often in the name of the same god (English Protestant versus Irish Catholic). Recall the “gates of hell” in Chapter 11. the quote which introduces this chapter expresses Rameses’ grief when his son dies as a victim of the last of the Ten Plagues of Egypt. Then wars are not necessary to convince the “infidels” to worship the “right” or “true” god. It should not be taken too seriously by the reader. But it also attempts to illustrate that in a vast universe. Rameses concluded that Moses’ god was more powerful than Rameses’ god. Could it be déjà vu all over again? Could it be that the polytheists of biblical times actually got it right? In The Ten Commandments (1956 film). Since there is absolutely not a shred of evidence that god or gods exist. Why Not Polytheism? I cannot fight the power of his God…. why is monotheism a better conception of god than polytheism? A reasonable argument can be made that the worship of only one god is good for humanity. hell was usually in the bowels of the earth.Chapter 14 In a Multiverse. This was a common belief in biblical times. Yahweh inflicted these plagues on the Egyptians because Rameses would not let Yahweh’s people go. The gods lived in the sky. polytheism just might make more sense than monotheism. It was written to show that polytheism is as rational as monotheism since gods or god cannot be proven to exist. or the same god with a different label (Yahweh versus Allah). and a possible multiverse. If there was a belief in hell. as it is currently understood and observed.His God is God. The more powerful god was responsible for wars or conflicts won. In reality. The Ten Commandments) T his chapter is a combination of conjecture and satire. Rameses II to Nefretiri (from the film. 243 . And sadly. Let’s consider the polytheism of antiquity. which could actually be out there just over the cosmological horizon (over the cosmological rainbow). wars and atrocities are still being committed in the name of god. where I discussed hell and the devil.

The observable universe is defined as the stars and galaxies which can. The same paper stated that the currently observable universe is home to 6 times 1022 stars. This is of the order of one trillion. a supernatural intelligence. We now know that the universe is far larger than anyone envisioned just a century ago. this was what the universe was thought to be. In the last 500 years.. Nearly a trillion. This means the average distance between intelligent civilizations is roughly a billion. trillion miles across. This means that if only one in a trillion planets is inhabited by life. in principle. This back of the envelope estimate suggests there are a trillion. So let’s speculate about what a modern pantheon of gods might be. trillion stars. trillion miles in every direction a person can look from the Earth.6 planets per star is the estimate in the Milky Way galaxy). We will never communicate with these aliens. then there could be 1. our Solar System and our galaxy. trillion planets in the observable universe. then there are one trillion life forms in the known universe. They are rarely that low.) If only one life form in a billion is intelligent. First let’s look at the universe as it is presently understood. the idea that there is only one god for our Earth. Less than 100 years ago. It would take 100 million years at the speed of light for a radio message to be intercepted by E. even as the secrets of the universe had been uncovered.000 intelligent civilizations span an observable universe of a trillion. These 1. trillion miles top to bottom. and one trillion. A rough estimate suggests that at least half of the stars in the universe have at least one planet revolving about them. 244 . was perhaps as plausible as it was in antiquity. Let’s take the odds of winning a lottery as one in a trillion. trillion miles. be observed today by humans residing on the Earth. the idea of a single god who controls everything no longer seems quite as plausible. the Milky Way. not to mention the possibility of a multiverse. Think of it. We are almost certainly not alone. There is of the order of 170 billion galaxies in the observable universe. trillion stars in an observable universe with a radius of nearly a one half trillion. according to a paper published in The Astrophysical Journal (May 2005). (The Kepler spacecraft has already discovered 48 planet candidates in the habitable zone of our own Milky Way galaxy. and then another 100 million years for his response to come back.T. This is close to a trillion.000 intelligent civilizations in the observable universe. This becomes especially true when considering the immense size of the universe as it is presently observed. Let’s assume the average is two planets per star (at least 1.these ideas of heaven and hell and god and gods did not really conflict with the world as it was understood at the time. If there is a higher power. The observable universe is about 93 billion light years in diameter. trillion miles.

And the eagle takes to flight. It’s the voice of hope. No hungry mouths to feed. If I was a terrorist and was about to dentate a bomb. lesser gods. Aren’t we all god’s children? Is this not the basis for all of the Abrahamic religions? If so. If HE is tending to the needs of our closest neighbor 100 million light years away. From a distance. Sinai. Perhaps polytheism is in need of a comeback. The known. It’s the voice of every man. playing songs of peace. 245 . Marching in a common band. no bombs. There are no guns. And the snow-capped mountains white. he would not see me push the detonator until eight minutes after the event. It takes over eight minutes at the speed of light for the light from the sun to reach the Earth. So where is god? Is He residing on Mt. observable universe has a radius more than 45 billion light years. then we must be the children of a lesser god. Polytheism just makes more sense than monotheism within the context of the size of the universe as it is presently observed. he would not see me push the detonator until more than 45 billion years into the future. From a distance the ocean meets the stream. From a Distance is a wonderful song with a wonderful message. and the sun god Ra was god. made popular in 1990 by both Bette Midler and a reunion of The Byrds: From a distance the world looks blue and green.Let’s assume god is somewhere in the universe. And it echoes through the land. Playing songs of home. reminiscent of the love and peace hippy generation of the 1960’s. of which I was a member. God is watching us from a distance. He will not receive our prayer requests for 100 million years. God is watching us. From a distance there is harmony. From a distance we all have enough. They’re the songs of every man. it’s the voice of peace. God is watching us. So to tend to the immediate needs of the various civilizations throughout the universe. how can god hear and answer our prayers. a supreme god would need helpers. God can only control events if he is physically near the Earth. But from where is god watching us? Billy Graham preaches that god monitors and determines events on this planet with his love and caring. Following are the words to the hit tune From a Distance by Julie Gold. From a distance we are instruments. or in the clouds? Perhaps a lesser god resides in the clouds. observable universe. no diseases. If the God of Abraham was sitting at the edge of the known. And no one is in need.

From win and lose. We now know that the kingdom of god does not reside within the domain of the clouds. I’ve looked at cloud that way. we have no need for such solutions. from up and down. a violation of the law in Tennessee at the time. Matthew Harrison Brady represented a William Jennings Bryan type character at the Scopes Monkey Trial. If “raindrops keep falling on my head. but one of the fundamental laws of science is that 246 .” Following are the words to her 1969 hit Both Sides Now: Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air. I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now.” And certainly weathermen don’t know clouds at all. they rain and snow on everyone. I’ve looked at life that way… I’ve looked at life from both sides now. We now know that clouds are nothing more than a collection of liquid droplets of water (just like fog) or frozen water crystals. clouds or the meaning of life? Joni Mitchell doesn’t seem to think so: “I really don’t know life at all. But nowadays. It was widely perceived that lighting bolts were emitted by an angry god or gods. humans really didn’t really “know clouds at all” either. Before Ben Franklin. who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today.Citing the Dirac quote once more. Citing the Weinberg quote once again. I stick my head out the window. And feather canyons everywhere. It’s cloud illusions I recall. So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way.” But can we ever really understand god. We now know that lighting is simply an atmospheric electrostatic discharge. If I want to know whether to take an umbrella with me. and still somehow It’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all. I’ve looked at love that way… Dreams and schemes and circus crowds. There was no other explanation. I really don’t know clouds at all… As every fairy tale comes real. one of our irate founding fathers told Ben Franklin to go fly a kite. When asked about the conflict between natural law and the Bible. It even took Joni Mitchell a while to figure out that she didn’t “know clouds at all.” I know to take my umbrella! In the movie and play Inherit the Wind. Brady said that god created the laws of nature and can change them at will. Perhaps. Fortunately. and still somehow.” It is not too surprising people once believed that god or gods lived in the sky. “It is quite understandable why primitive people. “Science makes religious explanations unnecessary. But now they only block the sun. when we understand so many natural processes. The trial had to do with the teaching of evolution in public schools. should have personified these forces in fear and trembling.

physical laws are exactly the same all over the universe. The apparatus. The “God Helmet” refers to an experimental apparatus originally called the “Koren helmet” after its inventor Stanley Koren. there is little he can do to monitor and determine events on this planet. The device has been used in Persinger’s research in the field of neurotheology. It appears that god is not watching us from a distance. our existence is all in our minds. such as brain activity. It would seem that a religion based on polytheism is necessary to believe that a patron god in close proximity.” It is called the “Simulated Universe. Persinger reports that many subjects have reported “mystical experiences and altered states” while wearing the “God Helmet. he does not control events in our lives. In his recent book The Hidden Reality. And if he is. one per galaxy or one per sub-universe. nothing that science demonstrates makes any sense. just as our brains perceive a dream as reality. I am intrigued by the idea of many gods. It was conceived by Koren and neuroscientist Michael Persinger to study creativity and to determine the effects of subtle stimulation of the temporal lobes. each describing a possible parallel or multiple universe. His distance from us is the vast expanse of our universe is too far for him to be of any use in solving our daily problems. (A correlate is a phenomenon. generates very weak fluctuating magnetic fields. which accompanies another phenomenon. Unless god lives in the clouds or on a mountain. Our brains “think” it is true reality. who exists among the pantheon of gods which traverse the universe. In much of the way that dreams can appear to be real to the human brain. There is one that might make sense within the context of a “higher power” or “higher intelligence. but far weaker than that of an ordinary fridge magnet and approximately a million times weaker than transcranial magnetic stimulation. Otherwise. Columbia University physicist Brian Greene presents nine scenarios. These fields are approximately as strong as those generated by a land-line telephone handset or an ordinary hair dryer. But let’s assume 247 . This concept presumes that human consciousness can be created through the stimulation of molecules in a brain’s neurons. the study of the neural correlates of religion and spirituality. And not even Billy Graham has provided evidence that god lives in the clouds or on an earthly mountain. such as behavior). So what is the point of praying to a god (assuming there is only one true god) for his help? He can’t help. placed on the head of an experimental subject. but we are really the subjects of a computer game/simulation. can actually hear and answer prayers on a timely basis.” Persinger’s findings are somewhat controversial and have not been replicated. always were and always will be.” In the simulated universe. future intelligences have designed computer games where we are the simulated reality.

energy and indeed our entire universe is quantised. To put in bluntly. not much. which means it’s computable. zoom in and the quality decreases. If these figures hold true. that shows an increase by a factor of 500 over the next decade. states [the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Caltech]. 2011. but some. The current fastest computers on the planet are comparable and even exceeding the computational power of the human brain. These pixels vary in colour intensity and by combining many pixels of varying intensities of colour an image is created. No matter how good a graphical representation is the pixel density will always unveil it’s authenticity. zoom in and on a quantum level it is clear that all matter is made up of pixels. Each pixel is a part of a larger image and it is given its coordinates on the display device by the computer system. a computer will be able to create a 100 percent photo-realistic recreation of human life and that is where the line between simulation and reality begins to blur. The theory that handles this far-beyond-microscopic world is called Quantum Mechanics and it applies to the whole universe. The main way we discern between what’s real and what isn’t in our world is pixel density. 248 . Many still believe that a computer will never possess the traits of a human or the ability to create self-aware programs and entire simulated worlds. can always be broke down into pixels. The greater the number of pixels in a fixed boundary the sharper the image will be. So following Moore’s law and taking into consideration the increased exponential rate of technological advancement. It’s all made up of tiny pixels. time. These are tiny fundamental particles. Following is an extract from an article posted on the suite101. a computer-based image. This is where the idea of a computer-simulated universe begins to hold some weight. As Rich Terrell.com website. To put that in perspective human brains can complete roughly 1 million billion operations per second. meaning that by 2020 computers will be 500 times faster than our brains. no matter how realistic or complex. billions of times smaller than an atom. The Computer-simulated Universe: Divinity or Reality? Part 2: As many will already know. October 17. Most would assume that things in our universe don’t break down into pixels but they would be wrong. Moore’s law states that computational power doubles every 18 months to two years but over the last two decades it’s been doubling roughly every 13 months.Persimger’s helmet works and that the “god experience” is simulated through electromagnetic stimulation of the brain. meaning that by 2012/2013 the fastest super computers on the planet will be twice as fast as the human brain. which means a finite number of states. which means the universe has a finite number of components. When you continue along the scale. These are the smallest addressable screen elements in a display device such as a computer screen or television. space. a JPL scientist. that number of operations per second could double in 13-18 months.

“I don’t think therefore I am not!” There is an element of Darwinism in faith. In ancient times countries. if we are nothing more than a future version of virtual reality game. as Arthur C. therefore I am. the “God of Abraham. Our ability to understand and to analyse is one we have built up over millions of years of evolution. Clarke put it.” it should be.e.” or “talking tree!” Of course. decades and centuries. there is not one god per country but one lesser god per planet which harbors life. billions of times smaller than an atom. and sometimes cities. In my polytheism scenario.” At least this “creator god” is based upon 249 . What we believe. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. one god per galaxy. The big question is. Instead of. had their own patron god.” “rock that whispers.” that is decides our fate and our life experience. Christians and Muslims. This whole concept of a computer simulated universe coupled with human desperation to discover the nature of our existence will no doubt lead to immense discoveries over the coming years. what we feel. My concept of a “Creator” is “fitter” and more likely to be accepted by agnostics than the patron god of Jews. If you then remove the element of physical appearance and begin to ask them questions and you can no longer differentiate between the human being answering and the computer answering then they are qualitatively equivalent. both will be a similar size and volume and use roughly the same amount of power. It is a far fetched idea. So in essence if you believe a human being to be conscious and self-aware then you must assume the same of the computer. it is not clear that human consciousness can be achieved through the manipulation of the molecules which make up our brains and that it can be replicated with a mathematical algorithm. This makes so much more sense than a god who lives on Mount Sinai. i. It is the fittest nations which get to dominate a region of the Earth. They get to dictate which gods are worshipped. one supergod per sub-universe. i.e. But perhaps not. and perhaps. did that evolution take place within a computer-simulated environment or within a truly organic planet and universe? The simulated universe is based on the concept that some future civilization of “gods” will have an incredible ability to simulate reality with computers which can manipulate pixels the size of tiny fundamental particles. not only by the members of their own society. Our brains gain “consciousness” through these computer simulations. but it’s important never to discount any theory without first understanding it’s fundamental laws. After all.Rich Terrell claims that if you take a human brain and a laptop computer built 50 years in the future. then René Descartes was wrong. survival of the fittest gods. But the “simulation god” concept sure makes a whole lot more sense to me than any mythical “god of a mountain. However. but often also by the denizens under their domination.” This implies that any sufficiently advanced civilization is indistinguishable from god or gods. “I think. is all in the mind of the computer programmer who “writes the songs.

About 96% of all marine species and an estimated 70% of land species. In a real computer software application. became extinct.600 feet in diameter. Life almost disappeared several times in the last half billion years. agnosticism will be increasingly accepted as the most valid argument in the god’s existence question. or groups of species. It resulted in a large-scale mass extinction of animal and plant species in a geologically short period of time. was a July 2009 impact on Jupiter which caused a black spot in the planet’s atmosphere. occurring 252 million years ago. There are many risks to living in our universe. agnosticism will become the dominant “religious” conviction of the next century. the code is integrated into a simulated universe whose residents (us) can survive to be fruitful and multiply. killing 57% of all families and 83% of all genera. The worst extinction event is called the Permian–Triassic extinction event. This is the event which most scientists believe is responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs. Jupiter is our solar system’s cosmic vacuum cleaner. The impacter was an asteroid. This god has lesser gods working for him. approximately the size of the Pacific Ocean. It resulted in Earth’s largest extinction. Jupiter experiences comet impacts 250 . These differences stem from the threshold chosen for describing an extinction event as “major. let’s consider a “creator god” from a future society which has complete control of our sub-universe. and there is no way to show that god does or does not exist. Now just for fun.” The most famous extinction event occurred 65. including insects. Its enormous gravitational field cleans the Solar System of asteroids and comets which might otherwise crash into the Earth. In the god scenario. I believe that with a Darwinistic approach to faith (survival of the fittest). The 2009 Jupiter impact event. estimated to have been about 700 to 1. The recovery of vertebrates took 30 million years. as Professor Gutting wrote in the New York Times.a plausible scenario in which we are the creations of some future society or computer programmer. the code of individual programmers is integrated into a final product. Naturally my comments should be considered mostly satirical. Estimates of the number of major mass extinctions in the last 540 million years range from as few as five to more than twenty. Think of god as a lead programmer in charge of a software project. The code is written to make sure that nothing destroys what the programmers created. Since there is no evidence that we are a creation of some future society. The spot was similar in area to the planet’s Little Red Spot.5 million years ago. occasionally referred to as the Wesley impact. Think of the lesser gods as the dozens of programmers who write the actual computer code (programs).

ultraviolet. Bursts can last from ten milliseconds to several minutes. So. infrared. or in the vast observable universe which exists. perhaps an infinite number of parallel universes or worlds. In the vast observable universe. The membrane “exists” in the 11th dimension. All of the particles described by string theory are one dimensional stands of energy. I discussed M-theory. Gamma-ray bursts are flashes of gamma rays associated with extremely energetic explosions. god must have lesser gods. optical. Future “god/programmers” write code to determine whether or not we get zapped by a supernova. in a simulated universe. pointing directly towards the Earth. observed in distant galaxies. with one end attached to a membrane. such as supernovas. M-theory allows for parallel universes or worlds. It is the foundation for each sub-universe. The 251 . high-mass star collapses to form a neutron star. We also need to fear gamma ray bursts (GRBs). or if they occur within our galaxy. or black hole. In a multiverse scenario. Most observed GRBs are believed to consist of a narrow beam of intense radiation released during a supernova event. M-theory is an extension of string theory in which 11 dimensions are identified. although a typical burst lasts 20-40 seconds. quark star. They are the brightest electromagnetic events known to occur in the universe. The initial burst is usually followed by a longerlived “afterglow” emitted at longer wavelengths (X-ray. Sinai? In Chapter 13. lesser gods have to be close (within earshot) so that they can hear and answer our prayers on a timely basis. we are not in the line of fire where we would get zapped. the chief god needs to keep track of comets and asteroids to keep them from crashing into the Earth.more frequently than any other planet in our Solar System. He would also have to make sure that gamma ray bursts occur outside of our galaxy. microwave and radio). Just to refresh. as a rapidly rotating. implying that the explosions are both extremely energetic (a typical burst releases as much energy in a few seconds as the Sun will release in its entire 10-billion-year lifetime) and extremely rare (a few per galaxy per million years). much like getting zapped in a computer game. Perhaps “god” put it there for our protection. How could the creator of the universe live on Mt. Were it not for the lesser gods to hear and answer prayers. there is a membrane for each sub-universe. could cause a mass extinction event. when would god have the time to take care of the rest of the universe and prevent supernovas from zapping us or asteroids and comets from crashing into us? There is one more scenario I would like to add to the litter. In the simulated universe. All observed GRBs have originated from outside the Milky Way galaxy. It has been hypothesized that a gamma-ray burst in the Milky Way. The sources of most GRBs are billions of light years away from Earth.

Let me begin with a definition of monism. immanent. I think the world will become increasingly agnostic. and transcendent reality. depending upon whether we are sinners or saints! And no. I would like to end this chapter with an observation about Hinduism and Christianity. I said previously that I would argue that these religions are actually polytheistic. maintenance. He is the Divine Ground of all matter.” These three deities have been called “the Hindu triad” or the “Great Trinity. infinite. In Hindu monism. This concept of Brahman explains the prevalence of monism in Hinduism. time. is the Trimurti three gods sharing one neck and body. Perhaps polytheism is due for a comeback. and everything beyond in the Universe. in the 21st century. Since in my polytheistic scenarios I claim that there are many gods. personal and impersonal by different philosophical schools and the Brahman religious belief is just seen as different paths to the one god. energy. The nature of Brahman is described as transpersonal. space. Brahman is the eternal.” One type of depiction for the Trimurti shows three heads on one neck. and often even three faces on one head. polytheism might be a more valid concept of god than monotheism. each looking in a different direction. each sub-universe. unchanging. each with a specific responsibility or function. And who knows. Is one god with three heads just one god? Does he have three brains? Or. Some letters have more than a dozen gods listed. with the lesser gods residing in. this is not what the Bible’s authors had in mind when they wrote about heaven and hell. This polytheistic scenario makes at least as much sense as a monotheistic “talking tree” god if you really think about it. They thought heaven was in the clouds and hell in the bowels of the earth. because Brahman is considered to be all that exists and thus everything in the universe including the universe itself is considered a manifestation of Brahman. I didn’t add 252 . Maybe there really is one supergod who is the boss of all the lesser gods. being. God did not provide them with that insight. Perhaps the master god lives in the 11th dimension of M-theory. Vishnu the maintainer or preserver. perhaps heaven and hell exist in the 11th dimension too! When we die.” the Hindu gods are arranged in alphabetical order. we all transcend to a special place in the 11th dimension. The Trimurti is the belief in Hinduism “in which the cosmic functions of creation. Monism is the theoretical explanation of everything in terms of one principle. “List of Hindu deities. such as conjoined (Siamese) twins? On the Wiki page titled. This chapter makes the case that. and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahmā the creator. then I think I can say that Hinduism and Christianity are really polytheistic with each of their gods having a specific role.membranes might be separated by less than a millimeter. and Shiva the destroyer or transformer. I don’t actually believe that. not in the 11th dimension. and responsible for.

especially when considered in context to our current understanding of the universe. I do not believe that polytheism is due for a comeback. Maa Samaleswari is the presiding deity and a strong religious force in western part of the Indian state of Orissa and also in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. People in general are better educated than in generations past. a euphemism for. and Mauritius. holy mysteries without rational explanations will become decreasingly acceptable to parishioners. This is probably true even though polytheism seems to be more compatible with multiverse cosmology than does the monotheism of a personal and all-subsuming god. They are called holy or sacred mysteries.” The Holy Spirit (nee Holy Ghost) sounds like a biblical version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. Singapore. Thank the internet and social media. I learned this in Catholic school when I was about 12 years old. the Son of God. he was either schizophrenic (talking to himself if there is only one god) or acknowledging that God the Father is the supreme god who controls events. In fact. It is the Holy Sprit who impregnated the Virgin Mary. Murugan is a popular Hindu deity especially among Tamil Hindus. we will almost certainly not return to polytheism as a fundamental tenet of religious belief. A holy mystery is doublespeak. Traditional concepts of god don’t seem to make a lot of sense in the 21st century. “this doesn’t make any sense to me either!” As time passes. the Son of God (Jesus). In Christianity there is supposedly only one god. Abba in Aramaic. For instance. I have already argued that when Jesus asked God the Father to spare him the pain of crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. Malaysia. and God the Holy Spirit.them up but Wiki has identified over 100 Hindu gods. or sub-gods. not God the Father. But it cannot be denied that two of the world’s 253 . especially South India. is equal to God the Father. Sri Lanka. the language Jesus spoke. Jesus did not pray to the Holy Spirit. I bought it then but I don’t buy it now. And there is so much more which is understood today by the average Joe than in the days gone by. He is the patron deity of the Tamil Hindus. Even as the multiverse model becomes more widely accepted. The world is moving toward agnosticism. But there is also God the Father. Murugan and Maa Samaleswari are de-facto patron gods. I ask the reader. worshipped primarily in areas with Tamil influences. is translated as daddy. Jesus called God the Father Abba. So why didn’t Jesus call the Holy Spirit Abba? No one in any Christian faith can answer these questions. is Hinduism polytheistic or monotheistic? I vote for polytheistic. I don’t see how Jesus’ calling of God the Father “Daddy” supports the concept that Jesus. The different Hindu gods have different functions or are not universally worshipped by Hindu’s but often by specific sects of Hindus. “Daddy. Hindu’s can claim each of these gods are manifestations of the same god but I say this is doublespeak. similar to the patron gods of antiquity in Egypt and the Levant.

We are rapidly approaching a time when religious dogma will be subjected to the same scrutiny as scientific data if it is going to be accepted as truth. One day the same will be true for monotheistic contemporary religions. We no longer believe in the myths of the polytheistic Greeks and Romans. polytheistic. 254 . by just about any measure. They always have been.major religions (Hinduism and Christianity) are.

To believe the Bible is truth takes a great leap of faith. no evolution). Henry Drummond (from the film Inherit the Wind) The Bible is a source of inspiration. G. Is it rational to believe that this vast universe was created just so a primitive people living on the third rock from the sun could observe it and worship its creator? Can god really be that narcissistic? Can it be that “God” created this vast universe and only put creatures who could worship “Him” on the planet Earth? How simple must a person be. It’s a good book. Pafumi I began the first chapter of this book with the biblical version of how Israel and the Israelites came to be. It doesn’t make sense anymore. Back then. or how ignorant must a people be. 255 .e.” Following is my oversimplified schematic of the evolution and reformations of the Abrahamic religions in Western civilization. I spent the rest of the book showing that not a word of the biblical story of Israel’s birth is true. R. It is an abridged vertical timeline of religious history in the West.Chapter 15 What Do You Believe Now? The Bible is a book. There is just too much credible information available now for any educated person to have the “faith of our fathers. Modern science has and continues to contribute to the decline and fall of faith. but it is not the only book. it made some sense to believe that we were created in god’s own image and in our present configuration (i. to the decline and fall of a god known as Yahweh. not history. to believe in this tenet of faith? It was far more rational during the Dark and Middle Ages. as well as a healthy dose of ignorance. when it really did appear that we were god’s creation and the center of everything in the entire universe.

all fueled by an irrational impulse to prove the historical authenticity of the biblical narrative. 1992). Surely the substance of a tale such as that of Sodom and Gomorrah lies in the punishment of the wicked. Amnon Ben-Tor. Yahu is introduced to the Hyksos by the Shasu and becomes YHWH Judaism → Christianity 30 CE (probable year of the crucifixion) → Islam 610 CE (year of Mohammed’s first revelation) The East–West Schism of 1054 CE. Pharaoh’s hordes in the Sea of Reeds. and Abraham’s negotiation with God to prevent the punishment of the just with the wicked. also known as the Great Schism: Original Christian Church → Roman Catholic Church → Eastern Orthodox Churches Reformations of the 16th Century: Roman Catholic Church → English Reformation (origin of the Anglican Church) → Protestant Reformation (origin of Protestantism) Evolution of influential scientists: (1564–1642) (1642–1727) (1879–1955) (born 1931) (born 1951) Galileo→→→Isaac Newton→Albert Einstein→Roger Penrose→Edward Witten theist →deist →pantheist →atheist →atheist Science led most of these great thinkers to truth.Evolution of the Hebrew/Christian/Muslim traditions: Worship of Yahu→ Worship of YHWH (proto-Judaism) circa 15th century BCE.” much less a personal god who calculates and then tracks our every step. In The Archaeology of Ancient Israel (The Open University of Israel. reality and a lack of faith. Certainly science forced them to question many previously held beliefs which were subsequently discovered to have no basis in fact or evidence. Can it be in any way 256 . “It would be nigh impossible to estimate the amounts of money and human energy wasted in futile efforts such as the searches for Noah’s Ark on Mt. the tomb of Moses at Mount Nebo. the reward of the righteous. Ararat. or the remains of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Dead Sea. did not fit into their understanding of the cosmos. Conceptions of a “creator. the Yigael Yadin Professor in the Archaeology of Eratz Israel at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem said. the Bible uses the tale of Sodom and Gomorrah to transmit this eternal message.

. It is so sad that a person who had the privilege to walk on the moon. Turkey. and you have deprived it of its soul. Ararat. spent the last third of his life searching for something (Noah’s Ark) which does not exist.C. I proved my point using nothing more than 10th grade solid geometry. Irwin led several expeditions to Mount Ararat.It is…unreasonable…to demand that classical archaeology be separated from Homer [author of the Iliad and the Odyssey] and other writings of antiquity. alternatively.” Ben-Tor makes a similar argument to the one Finkelstein makes.. “Jesus walking on the earth is more important than man walking on the moon. or even just Mt. not one major British or Israeli archaeological figure has been a member of the religious establishment.E. in aeronautical engineering and instrumentation engineering from the University of Michigan in 1957. He spending his remaining years (he died in 1991) as a “Goodwill Ambassador for the Prince of Peace.In contrast. In my book. Is Our Vision of God Obsolete. Ararat. Naval Academy in 1951 and a M. which is that to understand biblical times.” Ben-Tor added. one needs to start with the archaeology of the past and try to reconstruct history. would the message be clearer and of greater import if those cities were to be found and proof discovered of Abraham’s physical existence?. and founded the High Flight [with god] Foundation. He left NASA in 1972.” He frequently commented about how his experiences in space had made the presence of god even more real to him than before. He was the eighth person to walk on the Moon. Irwin was injured during a descent from Mt.impaired should it transpire that Sodom and Gomorrah never existed but were invented as a parable. Or he could have just spoken to Professor Ben-Tor. 257 . (In 1982. Beginning in 1973. does not exist on this planet. Irwin had more than enough math education to do the exercise himself. Eliminate the Bible from the archaeology of the Land of Israel in the second and first millennia B. in search of the remains of Noah’s Ark. degree in naval science from the U. retired from the Air Force with the rank of colonel. and was constantly surrounded by highly-educated scientists and engineers. James Irwin is a perfect example. His expeditions failed to find any sign of the Ark.S. He could have then saved a trip to the hospital during his last visit to Mt.. With a Master’s degree in engineering. “[William] Dever has estimated that over 80% of researchers affiliated with the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem since its foundation in 1900 came from within the religious establishment….” He famously said. not to read history from the Bible and then look for relics to prove the Bible’s historicity. He received a B. It is truly amazing how even highly educated and intelligent people can take the Bible too literally. Ararat.S. or even that Abraham himself is not a historical figure? Or.S. I went through an exercise to show that the amount of water needed to cover the Earth.

with profound moral implications. (Biblical Archaeology Review. homily and didactic material. but they can hardly be read in the literal or modern sense as history.’ which deal with the creation. nationalist propaganda. historical novellas. or indeed of an Israelite presence in Egypt. apocalyptic and on and on. the flood and the distant origins of the family of man. Dever says. . The tradition is made up of legends that still may be regarded as containing moral truths. of the patriarchal or Mosaic eras. I do not know why Irwin did not contact at least a few biblical scholars before wasting time. The Pope would have told him that he was on a wild goose chase. prose and poetic narratives. legal corpora. “neither Biblical scholars nor archaeologists have been able to document as historical any of the events. They inform us about the thought-world of ancient Israel. the Israeli excavations at Kadesh-Barnea “have revealed an extensive settlement. belles lettres. It is a composite of diverse genres–myths.) It is one thing to believe in god. money and energy seeking something which never existed in the first place. but not so much as a potsherd earlier than the 10th century B. “The Bible has its limitations as a historical document. indeed.C. but until now they must be regarded as of uncertain historical provenance. that he migrated from Mesopotamia to Canaan or that there was a Joseph who found his way to Egypt and rose to power there.C. Dever cites “recent Israeli excavations at Kadesh-Barnea. has ever turned up. court annals. He could even have stopped off in Rome on his way to Turkey. comprising the ‘primeval history. songs and psalms. somewhere during or prior to 1200 B.. . liturgical formulas. we have no evidence whatsoever. epics. To what extent is history embedded in these diverse genres? The myths of Genesis [1-11].He had to be transported down the mountain on a horse and then taken to the nearest hospital.” And the situation is not improved for the later chapters of Genesis and the Pentateuch. folktales. No one who is literate in how the Bible’s was written and assimilated believes that the parables in the Book of Genesis are history. much less the personalities. Of the Exodus and the wandering in the wilderness . can be read today as deeply moving literature. .” Archaeology. genealogies. the Sinai oasis where the Israelites are said to have encamped for 38 years. May-June 1990). private prayers.” Surely such a lengthy stay by such a large group.” As an example. “After a century of modern research. “has not brought to light any direct evidence to substantiate the story that an Abraham lived. And.” And what about Moses and the spectacular events of the Exodus from Egypt? According to Dever. . would leave considerable evidence. According to William Dever in Archaeology and the Bible: Understanding Their Special Relationship.” 258 . cult legends. . but quite another to read the Bible as literal truth and look for biblical relics such as Noah’s Ark. erotic poetry. “Absolutely no trace of Moses. oracles and prophecy.” Dever notes.

Langton (circa 1150–July 1228) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1207 until his death. the ‘conquest model. The adoption of the Christian chapter divisions of the Old Testament were adopted by Jews in the late Middle Ages.” The Bible is a compilation of many shorter books written at different times and later assembled into the Biblical canon. It was not structured into its current form by either god or the Bible’s original authors. In particular.000 years. miraculous or otherwise. Robert Estienne created an alternate numbering in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament which was also used in his 1553 publication of the Bible in French. Verses of the Hebrew Bible. But archeology has not shown that the settlement followed a series of destructions. were at one time individual.” He also points out that “Joshua and Judges give differing accounts of the so-called conquest and settlement of Canaan–accounts that cannot be readily reconciled. independent books. Thus it 259 .’ derived principally from the Book of Joshua. written at various points in time. generally a page or so in length. That Israel did emerge in Canaan in the early Iron Age is beyond doubt. All but the shortest of these books have been divided into chapters. The books of the Bible. “The Bible cannot simply be read at face value as history. and have since been used in nearly all English Bibles and the vast majority of those in other languages. It is the system of Archbishop Stephen Langton on which the modern chapter divisions are based. They are a later addition. or Old Testament. such as the Book of Genesis.Moving forward in history to the settlement of the Israelites in Palestine.” Dever’s conclusion is clear-cut. have existed for over 1. The point is that the modern Bible was not originally written as chapter and verse. has been largely discredited. His message. The first person to divide New Testament chapters into verses was Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541). Chapters have no special significance in the Hebrew tradition. Estienne (1503–1559) was a 16th century printer and classical scholar in Paris. since the early 13th century. The first Bible in English to use both chapters and verses was the Geneva Bible published shortly afterwards in 1560. The first English New Testament to use the verse divisions was a 1557 translation by William Whittingham (circa 1524-1579). especially when newer archaeological evidence is considered. each chapter has been further divided into “verses” of a few short lines or sentences. Dever notes once again that “the evidence is largely negative. The chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original texts. but his system was never widely adopted. He was a Catholic who became a Protestant late in his life and the first to print the Bible divided into standard numbered verses. These verse divisions soon gained acceptance as a standard way to notate verses. by a variety of unknown authors. The Bible is an assembly of differing stories and myths. Since the mid-16th century.

I am not saying Father Rausch accepts every word of the Bible as truth. How can Rausch believe in god.. can still believe in a traditional higher power. A Reflection on the Apostles’ Creed (Liturgical Press. Rausch has published 17 books and over 230 articles and reviews. I learned about the widespread non-belief among scientists when I researched my prior book.” Ehrman has written extensively on issues regarding the New Testament and early Christianity. Book. such as Finkelstein. chapter and verse are merely a way to organize a hodgepodge of biblical stories and traditions. Rausch received his doctorate from Duke University and is an ordained Roman Catholic priest. unchanging word of God.D. when Ehrman and many religious scholars do not? Most scientists do not believe. “Can the Bible’s theology be true if the historical events on which the theology is based are false?. After three decades of research into divine revelation. most do not accept the Bible as inerrant. He probably does not since he does not believe in a literal devil.should not be too surprising that the Bible contradicts itself from time to time. Familiarity of the Bible does not necessarily breed contempt of the Bible.If science trumps Scripture. Recall what Pastor Phillips said. It does not fit into their fundamental understanding of the world around us or the universe at large. 2008). Is Our Vision of God Obsolete. I do not understand how any contemporary biblical scholar. or his miracles. I Believe in God. One of his books goes by the title. reject the Bible as literal truth. I will get back to this point in a moment). or his resurrection? [Rejection of the Bible 260 . what does this mean for the virgin birth of Jesus. But the title of his book I Believe in God speaks for itself. Familiarity breeds contempt. so it is said. from Princeton Theological Seminary. And even for those religious scholars who have some level of faith. which gradually led to the questioning of his faith in the Bible as the inerrant. or that the chronology of its chapters does not always exhibit the flow of a modern history book. Often What We Believe is Not What We Observe.. Ehrman became an evangelical Christian as a teen. But when so many biblical scholars. but certainly it can breed a lack of awe.Div. Ehrman calls himself a “happy agnostic. god was not the master editor. who has read the Bible and rejects at least part of it as truth. Most importantly. Let’s take a look at the widely different philosophies of professors Bart Ehrman versus Father Rausch. Ehrman received his Ph. with over 20 books published including three New York Times bestsellers. and M. It seems there was no master editor at all. Ehrman became an agnostic. I can understand why many scientists do not believe in god. This is the root of Ehrman’s exploration into the basis of his own religious beliefs. His desire to understand the original words of the Bible led him to the study of ancient languages and textual criticism. or personal god.” while Rausch is called “Father. (The Bible does not need awe to produce inspiration.

or whether I will have to park in some remote lot and walk? What kind of god bothers himself with such petty details? I would rather god make sure that the Earth doesn’t get hit by an asteroid which leads to a major extinction event.” I think Pastor Phillips makes a good point. minute by minute. why are there so many poor. to have plenty of money. When you understand everything in your life is divinely orchestrated. then you will begin to view adversity and unanswered prayers in a different way. “God knows how to get you where you need to be. I can’t count the number of times I have heard Joel Osteen say. do the job.” Osteen.” This is from Osteen’s website.” I just quoted Osteen saying. “God wants us to prosper financially. Then at least we could believe that god has a handle on running the universe instead of letting chaos. And I believe the “fortress of Christian belief” will eventually fall.com website. while Rausch and others like him are mired in the 20th. whether I will get a parking space near the front entrance to the mall. I hope he makes sure we don’t experience a minor extinction event either! Many of the incidents which we daily encounter are due to the second law of thermodynamics. to fulfill the destiny He has laid out for us.” and “God controls the whole universe. Frankly. Does god have nothing better to do with his time than to decide. which states that entropy (chaos) increases over time. You will begin to see that things don’t happen to you. and He has wonderful plans for your life. I think Osteen is self delusional and says silly things for his own net benefit. they happen for you.” In another podcast Osteen said. and God controls the whole universe. “God has a plan for you” This quote is from an Osteen podcast. “God has laid out an exact plan for our lives down to the smallest details. Maybe god should consider engaging Maxwell Smart to counter chaos. God has a reason for everything happening in your life and has a plan to prosper you in all things. Osteen said.” No bona scientist on this planet believes that the random events which occur on a daily basis in our lives have anything to do with god’s intervention.” In an ABC News interview. must cause the entire fortress of Christian belief to fall. “God has laid out an exact plan for our lives down to the smallest details. “God is for me. He’s got a plan for my life.as fact is] a Trojan horse that. I see Ehrman as a biblical scholar living in the 21st century. “God loves you. starving people on this planet? Why have so many Americans had to file personal bankruptcy in the last couple of years? “I don’t think that a same-sex marriage is 261 . Following are some quotes attributed to Joel Osteen on the BrainyQuote. Does god plan more chaos? How can Osteen’s god control the whole universe if he cannot control the increasing chaos of the universe? Why doesn’t the second law of thermodynamics state that entropy decreases over time. or entropy. once inside our gates. or KAOS.

A time to dance. he wouldn’t be riding around on a donkey. not history. you have to sow financially. “To me. A time of love. animals act out of instinct.” How does Osteen know what god intended it to be? Does god speak to Osteen? If so. A time to laugh. Turn. or perhaps Norman Bates? “If Jesus were here today. A time you may embrace A time to refrain from embracing. A time to cast away stones. a time to weep. turn. starving people in the world. turn. To everything. turn. still applies. with or without awe. a time to break down. he’d be using the media. a time of hate. It was written by the legendary folk singer and songwriter Pete Seeger and was used quite often as an anthem to protest the war in Vietnam. a big business. or should I say the pocketbooks of Osteen’s flock? “If you give. made internationally famous in 1965 by The Byrds. A time to kill. Turn. Is Osteen a schizophrenic who hears voices. Osteen wants me to send him even more money. Joel? As I wrote in the intro quote to this chapter. And I can be happy at Yankee Stadium. like Abraham. And a time for every purpose under heaven. “You can be happy where you are.” The next quote is a real peach. A time to be born. What’s your point. collecting large sums of money and living off of the fat of the land. the Bible is a source of inspiration. (One of the great things about being an author is that you get to quote yourself!) It provides inspiration.500 species of animals have been observed engaging in homosexual behavior? Is that part of god’s plan too? After all. 262 . a time of peace.” Du huh! I can also be sad where I am. A time to plant.” Does this mean god will bless me if I send Osteen money? “If you want to rear financial blessings. And I own one the most profitable franchises. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt.” This is just another way of saying. A time to build up. Following are the lyrics to the folk song Turn. you will be blessed. a time to mourn. “It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. a time to heal. especially when Derek Jeter is enjoying a hitting streak. A time to gather stones together. turn.” I take this to mean. a time to die.” I wonder if Jesus would fly first class like Joel and his wife do. A time of war. And Jesus Christ is the most profitable franchise in the god business. “We’re selling Jesus Christ to idiots and morons. turn. There is a season. turn.the way God intended it to be. one dollar at a time. God is a business. Jesus Christ is the McDonald’s of evangelism. can Osteen explain to us why 1.” My comments about all of the poor. He’d be taking a plane. as well as those who have had to file for personal bankruptcy. we’re marketing hope. a time to reap.

I say. most people thought god planned our daily lives. you use the brains God gave you. a time of hate. A time to cast away stones. A time of peace. A time to weep. Pete Seeger is not a theist. you look to the left.” Seeger’s religious beliefs mirror those of an increasing percentage of our society. “God has laid out an exact plan for our lives down to the smallest details. nor do I think God is an old black woman with white hair and no navel. But he is not an atheist either. and a time to speak. and a time to gather stones together. a time to keep silence. When Seeger was a lad. “I tell people I don’t think God is an old white man with a long white beard and no navel. This would be my argument with most religious people. A time of love. Joel Osteen tells us. But I think God is literally everything. a time to sew.” No. Following are the verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes [3:1-8]: To every thing there is a season. and a time to refrain from embracing.A time to gain. a time to keep. you cross.’” Seeger clearly does not believe in a personal god who answers prayers. even though he was a member of the Communist Party USA (aka American Communist Party) at a time when the words Communist and atheist were often used interchangeably. a time to lose. and a time to dance. and a time to hate. I swear it’s not too late. and a time to laugh. those who 263 . and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born. A time to rend. It’s dangerous crossing the street. They think of God as being mainly concerned with what goes on in our Earth. I swear it’s not too late. In an interview with Beliefnet’s Wendy Schuman. a time to mourn. The lyrics “A time of peace. “God please save me. ‘When you come to a curb at the edge of a street and do you look up in the sky and say. A time to get. his source of inspiration. a time to break down. And so there’s always been something. and still alive and kicking. A time to love. A time to rend. and a time to sew. A time to kill.” from Ecclesiastes. Seeger believes that the universe had no beginning and that it is monitored by god. Pete Seeger got the words from the Bible. you don’t do that. and a time to build up. I trust that you’ll save me. God has got many things to think about…. Seeger said. and a time to pluck up that which is planted. a time to plant. and a time of peace. a time of war. I would argue that Seeger is cross between a deist and a pantheist. you look to the right. Pete Seeger is a wise old man of 93 years. a time to embrace. and a time to heal. and a time to die. and if there’s no car coming. Always is a long time. and a time to lose. And I talk to religious people whenever I can. Yet he can find inspiration in the Bible without seeing it as god’s written word.” were obviously inspired by “a time of war. because I don’t believe that something can come out of nothing. and a time of peace. and a time to cast away.

coauthored with Karen L.” This may be true. and Peter. And the discovery of nature’s.” They do not pray. Consider them a tribute to the late Andy Rooney. and On The Passion of the Christ: Exploring the Issues Raised by the Controversial Movie (University of California Press. why does he allow us to discover his. King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity (Vintage Press. or nature’s. Maybe Mel can take some of the money he earned from the movie. Next I would like to posit a few things I wonder about. 2006). 2005). and take it on his ultimate journey to hell. they cross. produced by Mel Gibson. The Origin of Satan (Vintage Books. pack it into a suitcase filled with his anti-Semitism. Paul. “What I just don’t understand is…. Bart D. sell more books than most biblical scholars? Anyone truly interested in the Bible should read the works of Elaine Pagels. as best as modern scholarship can attest to it. Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don’t Know About Them) (HarperCollins. but she does give them up. Fredriksen describes the historical inaccuracies of the film. eventually. Jesus. the “Nones. such as Joel Osteen. if we were put us on earth to worship god. 2000). Ehrman’s books include: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Harper SanFrancisco. an interested believer should consider reading Fredriksen’s book to learn the truth about the crucifixion of Jesus. Her works include: Jesus of Nazareth. Instead of watching the film. which made a ton of money for Gibson ($600 million). and Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity. Why? God is not listening! But they do look left and right before crossing the street.neither practice nor are affiliated with an organized religion. Paula Fredriksen is a historian and a scholar of religious studies. She held the position of the William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of the Appreciation of Scripture at Boston University through 2010 (she is now emeritus). Why doesn’t god just leave us in the dark? What I just don’t understand is. 2006). In her book. 2000). why do people read the Bible and not books by biblical scholars? Why do evangelists.” What I just don’t understand is. secrets? Arthur C. 2nd edition. 264 . 1995). 1979). King (Viking Press. And if and if there’s no car coming. and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend (Oxford University Press. The Passion of the Christ. or god’s. He was famous for his commentaries which frequently began with the phrase. Clarke said. the Harrington Spear Paine Professor of Religion at Princeton University: The Gnostic Gospels (Vintage Books. “Nature does not give up her secrets easily. They are not concerned with the smallest details god has planned for them. secrets leads to non-belief amongst god’s flock. This last title is about the 2004 movie. 2009). From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (Yale University Press. 2007).

By the way. is the site of a battle at which the end of the world is supposed to occur? (Armageddon is Hebrew for Mount Megiddo. Zalmoxis (Getae). and Odin (Norse). Adonis. known as the Millennial Age. Armageddon at Megiddo may have its origin in the real Battles of Megiddo. Female examples include Inanna (Sumerian). a number of men and women were made physically immortal as they were resurrected from the dead. was snatched from his funeral pyre by his divine mother Thetis and resurrected. after being killed. Then Satan will be put into the “bottomless pit” or abyss for 1. Asclepius. whose cult dates to 4000 BCE. She was the unnamed goddess worshiped in Crete. according to Bart Ehrman. Other examples of resurrected gods include: Krishna (Hindu). or the end of the Earth. “Did you know?” Did you know that resurrections are not unique to Jesus Christ and Christianity? The concept of resurrection is found in the writings of some ancient non-Abrahamic religions in the Middle East. There are three explicit examples in the Hebrew Bible of people being resurrected from the dead:  The prophet Elijah prays and God raises a young boy from death–1 Kings [17:17-24]  Elisha raises the son of the Shunammite woman–2 Kings [4:32-37]. Jesus 265 . Achilles. who is either resurrected or reborn. Melqart. Attis. In ancient Greek religion.000 years. whose cult may date to 1700 BCE. A few extant Egyptian and Canaanite writings allude to dying and rising gods such as Osiris and Ba’al. Eshmun.Now I would like to offer a few commentaries which begin with the phrase. and Persephone. according to the Bible. Male examples of resurrected ancient Near Eastern and Greek deities are Ba’al. I really can’t explain how Armageddon could actually be the end of days. Nevertheless. Osiris (Egyptian). Tammuz. the central figure of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Asclepius was killed by Zeus only to be resurrected and transformed into a major deity. The faithful believe it is only the end for those people who are not Christians and are not in a state of grace when the world ends and Jesus returns to banish the devil. Dionysus.) The Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist (or the “beast”) and Satan (the devil) in the Battle of Armageddon. this was the very same child whose birth he previously foretold–2 Kings [4:816]  A dead man’s body which was thrown into the dead Elisha’s tomb is resurrected when the body touches Elisha’s bones–2 Kings [13:21] Other instances of a dying god. Ra (Egyptian). and Orpheus. in either a literal or symbolic sense. Did you know that Armageddon. also known as Ishtar. include both male and female examples.

He expected that the end of days was imminent. Peter and St.was an apocalyptic. For unknown reasons this permission was not granted and a battle took place in which King Josiah was killed. This required passing through territory controlled by the Kingdom of Judah and Necho requested permission from its king. By reestablishing Egyptian dominance in the Levant. by the military scribe Tjaneni. against the Babylonians at Carchemish. which fled to safety in the city of Megiddo. “In his days Pharaohnechoh king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against 266 . The second Battle of Megiddo is recorded as having taken place in 609 BCE. And so we face the final curtain. The world isn’t going to end on December 21. St. Thebes (now Luxor). Pharaoh Thutmose III began a reign in which the Egyptian Empire reached its greatest expanse as an empire. The Second Coming will have to wait. Here are a few verses from his mega-classic American Pie. 1457 BCE according to one source. the Assyrians. Pharaoh Necho II of Egypt led his army in conjunction with his allies. although other sources place the battle in 1482 or 1479 BCE. I got it from a reliable source.” Pope John Paul II didn’t believe in the imminence of Armageddon and sent out two press releases in mid 1998 to tell Catholics that the world was not going to end on New Year’s Day. They caught the last train for the coast. Megiddo is also the first recorded use of the composite bow and the first body count of the dead. 2 Chronicles [35:20-24]. Their action resulted in the subsequent lengthy Siege of Megiddo. Y2K is the year 2000. 2012 either! Doomsday 2012 is supposed to occur on 12/21/12. 2 Kings [23:29-30]. Y2K. Apocalyptics seem to prefer dates which contain apparent symbolism. Perhaps we should consult Robert Langdon. Son and the Holy Ghost. Jesus missed the bus! Even the folk singer Don McLean figured that out. The Battle of Megiddo was an Egyptian victory and resulted in a rout of the Canaanite forces. The ancient Egyptian account gives the date of the battle as the 21st day of the first month of the third season of Year 23 of Thutmose III’s reign. but Jesus isn’t returning any time soon. “And the three men I admire most: The Father. and the writings of Josephus. In 2 Kings. I hate to tell you Billy. All details of the battle come from Egyptian sources–primarily the hieroglyphic writings on the Hall of Annals in the Temple of Amun-Re at Karnak. The first Battle of Megiddo was fought between Egyptian forces under the command of Pharaoh Thutmose III and a large Canaanite coalition under the king of Kadesh. in northern Syria. Today only Billy Graham and other evangelicals claim the end is near. It is believed that this was April 16. Paul preached the end of the world was imminent. It is the first battle to have been recorded in what is accepted as relatively reliable detail. Josiah. The battle is recorded in the Bible.

and appointed his older brother Eliakim as king. who is with me. or Mount Megiddo. Suffice it to say. What have I to do with thee. “After all this. that he destroy thee not. Armageddon is just one more Bible myth which will never come to pass. when he had seen him.” In 2 Chronicles. and buried him in his own sepulchre. a better quality of life. The pharaoh enforced a tribute of 100 talents of silver and one talent of gold upon the kingdom. Necho king of Egypt came up to fight against Charchemish by Euphrates: and Josiah went out against him.him. And the archers shot at king Josiah. On his return from Syria and Mesopotamia. and made him king in his father’s stead. saying. People of faith seem to have peace. Necho II captured and deposed Jehoahaz. and he slew him at Megiddo. that he might fight with him. AA meetings usually begin with the Serenity Prayer: 267 . and brought him to Jerusalem.” In the aftermath of the second Battle of Megiddo. the end of days have yet to occur at Megiddo. and the king said to his servants. and put him in the second chariot that he had. His servants therefore took him out of that chariot. and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God. And I don’t think they ever will.” Armageddon. It seems the authors of the New Testament somehow expected the end-of-days scenario to play out at Megiddo as it had twice before. but disguised himself. Six of the twelve steps of the 12-Step Program of Alcoholics Anonymous involve asking for god’s help. and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. for I am sore wounded. And all Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah. and was buried in one of the sepulchres of his fathers. And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo. is a place of major defeat for the Canaanites to the Egyptians (circa 1480 BCE) and then the subsequent killing of King Josiah (609 BCE). but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God. and live longer. he was taken captive to Egypt. But he sent ambassadors to him. where he became the first king of Judah to die in exile. “And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him. Have me away. and they brought him to Jerusalem. and anointed him. In Revelation [16:16]. when Josiah had prepared the temple. After Jehoahaz was deposed. and he died. The power of faith is hope. Necho also changed the name of this new king into Jehoiakim. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah. Judah fell under Egyptian control and influence. which put southern Hebrew Kingdom of Judah under Egyptian control. thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day. do better after major surgery. the son of Josiah who had just succeeded his father on the throne. I do agree with Osteen on this point.

said. what will the detection of life in our own Solar System do to faith? Tommaso Maccacaro. or acidic–which would be completely inhospitable to complex organisms. like resolving the mystery of our apparent cosmic solitude.’” The discovery of methanogenic microbial life will put in an end 268 . They are classified as archaea. Science cannot explain the Cambrian exponential explosion of new species. What are the implications of the discovery that there is methane on Mars? The presence of methanogenic microbial life forms is one possible source of the methane. Stress is the greatest threat to our well being. Life became far more complex after the Cambrian explosion had begun. where they are responsible for marsh gas. Faith works just like a placebo. Study after study comes to that conclusion. ‘It was astronomical observations that let us understand that Earth (and man) don’t have a privileged position or role in the universe…I ask myself what tools will we use in the next 400 years. Science also cannot identify the most recent common ancestor which branched in one direction to become the common chimp and in the other to become man. They are common in wetlands. Methanogens are microorganisms which produce methane as a metabolic byproduct. Before about 580 million years ago. courage to change the things I can. where they are responsible for the methane content of belching in ruminants and flatulence in humans. Species became widely diverse. They are things I think about every now and then. Faith is a stress reducer. Most importantly. “god” was the explanation. composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. For the time being. most organisms were simple.“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. We will eventually have to replace faith with a new and improved sugar pill. and wisdom to know the difference. An extremophile is an organism which thrives in physically or geochemically extreme conditions that are detrimental to most life on Earth.” We will need to find a substitute for faith as the belief in a higher power dissipates. Biologists found that microbial life has an amazing flexibility for surviving in extreme environments–niches that are extraordinarily hot. found in environments such as hot springs and submarine hydrothermal vents as well as in the “solid” rock of the Earth’s crust. science cannot explain the origin of life. “astronomy has had a major impact on the way we perceive ourselves. Stress is either responsible for or exacerbates just about every malady known to mankind. a group quite distinct from bacteria. Let me posit a few unanswered questions which puzzle me. and…what revolutions of understanding they’ll bring about. and in the guts of animals such as ruminants and humans. president of Italy’s national institute of astrophysics. and throughout most of history. There is no scientifically agreed upon reason for this event. kilometers below the surface. If methanogenic microbial life forms turn out to be the source of methane on Mars. Other methanogens are extremophiles.

” But it must always be remembered that the Bible has nothing to do with the “creator” (if one exists) of the known. Yahweh. “He that is without sin among you. the Bible does not teach us “how the heavens go. That is. Perhaps it is. In any event. That is. as in the Scopes trial. The Bible did the same thing for the Israelites. and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals. The evidence for evolution made the biblical story of Adam and Eve no longer credible. Sometimes science can show that an aspect of scripture doesn’t match with scientific evidence.” How does a person fit the biblical version of god. or reject all of it. “bogus science. let him first cast a stone at her. despite a law in Tennessee which made the teaching of evolution unlawful. As Henry Drummond put it. universe or universes. In John [8:7]. the job of science. the Law of Moses. and gave them a foundation for their civilization.” 269 . That was point of the Scopes Monkey Trial. No successful civilization can survive without an established rule of law. “God” complies with all of the laws of nature. that ye be not judged. The Bible tells us little to nothing about the universe in which we exist. for a moment. and always will be. It gave them a sense of history and a reason to obey Mosaic Law. or discredit science with adjectives such as “bogus.” In Matthew [7:1]. A person can accept all of it. such as in the simulated universe hypothesis. that there is a god. It’s a good book. the faithful try to rebut science. a group we now call Jews. i.to “our apparent cosmic solitude.” the adjective Ann Coulter used to describe Darwinian biology. whatever “god” is. into a scenario like this? George Washington and the mythical chopped cherry tree story gave one sense of history to Americans through the exaltation of our first president. “god” is super but he is also natural. The Bible did have an important purpose in antiquity. Let’s assume. a code by which people agree to honor so that they can peacefully co-exist together. as well as the unknown. as Pete Seeger has done). This sounds a lot like the “god” of pantheism. “It shall be unlawful…to teach any theory that denies the Story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible. “Judge not. but it is not the only book.” When science triumphs faith.” The Bible does indeed offer great advice on how to live. as Pastor Phillips does. even if there is a “real” god.” Drummond’s quote exemplifies the all too frequent debate between science and faith. two words. Perhaps “god” is supernatural.e. The Bible cannot be trusted as a source of history. believe it has some historical truth and accept some of the wisdom it offers (proverbs and such. “The Bible is a book. It united a people. the god of the Bible is no longer plausible. Nor does it tell us how it came to be. As the sagacious Cardinal Baronio affirmed a long time ago. It no longer serves that purpose and needs to be recognized as such. Even “god” is not immune to natural laws of science.

even though science has no idea of what it is or how it works.” God is dead.If god is pervasive in the universe. and a rich [cosmic] Landscape together with the laws of large numbers are all that’s needed to explain the friendliness of our patch of the universe. The Bible is under attack from biblical scholars. In The Cosmic Landscape. There are some today who cling to the remaining gaps in our understanding (such as our ignorance about the origin of life) as evidence for God. The world oldest known religion of the San people has a creation story. Leonard Susskind wrote. None of the explanations include god or gods. which is the basis of most religions (both contemporary and archaic). such as Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels. quantum mechanics. God makes no sense in a universe that always was.] The laws of gravity.” Professor Gutting said. for example. Armageddon makes no sense in a universe that always will be. All universes would appear to arise from it. “god. The fabric of the cosmos seems to be the closest thing we have to a scientific explanation of a creator (I quote myself again!). Another way to say it is. “Not everything has been explained. But this does not rule the possibility that some sort of extraordinary higher form of intelligence is out there. [The anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical universe must be compatible with the conscious life which observes it. “Not everything has been explained. But as time passes and more and more of these gaps are filled in. god designed the universe just so we could exist to be around to observe it. 270 . there and everywhere) while dark energy shows its effect through the accelerating expansion of the universe. Science is making great strides to explain the fundamental nature of the cosmos. The important thing is that we have not observed anything that seems to require supernatural intervention for its explanation. how do we know god exists? God does not give us a clue that he is out there (here. To cite Steven Weinberg again. their position gives an impression of people desperately holding on to outmoded opinions. the winners are neither theists nor atheists.” Einstein had expressed similar sentiments.e. nor will it ever be. nor will it ever be. God made more sense when science believed that the universe had a beginning. Those who would look to the Anthropic Principle as a sign of a benevolent creator have found no comfort in these pages. “In these popular debates about God’s existence. but agnostics–the neglected stepchildren of religious controversy–who rightly point out that neither side in the debate has made its case. “And what about the biggest questions of all: who or what made the universe and for what reason? Is there a purpose to it all? I don’t pretend to know the answers. Science and Carl Sagan killed him. These are culprits responsible for the decline and fall of the god known as Yahweh. Dark energy gives us evidence of its existence.” Professor Weinberg said. just as dark energy is. i.

Professor Strominger observed. His opinions are highly respected. it is obscured from our eyes and our telescopes by the veil of explosive Inflation that took place during the prehistory of the Big Bang.“But on the other hand. published four epochal papers within the space of seven months in the German journal Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics). Stanford Institute for Theoretical Physics. a little more than a century after Einstein’s magical year. But even as a non-theist he said. the 26-year-old Albert Einstein. As long as humanity cannot comprehensively understand the cosmos which surrounds us. ‘Why is there Something rather than Nothing?’ has no more or less of an answer than before anyone had ever heard of String [or 11-dimensional M] Theory. He is widely regarded as one of the fathers of string theory. Look at where we are now. neither Professors Susskind nor Weinberg know whether god exists. To anyone who uses faith to fill in the gaps in his understanding of the 271 . All they can say for sure is that they do not believe in god because there is no evidence of his existence. one of the pre-eminent scientific journals of his time. He is also Director. While reflecting on the many scientific questions which physicists have yet to answer. Einstein. If there was a moment of creation. “we have not observed anything that seems to require supernatural intervention for its explanation. Andrew Strominger is an American theoretical physicist whose area of concentration is string theory.” Of this there can be no doubt.” This does not conflict with Weinberg’s statement. without a formal academic position and sustained by employment in the Swiss Federal Patent Office. I argue that modern physics began in 1905. The ultimate existential question.” To put it bluntly. or supernatural intelligence. neither does anything in this book diminish the likelihood that an intelligent agent created the universe for some purpose. and the physicists who have followed him. Our understanding of the universe has exploded beyond anyone’s comprehension just a short century ago. Professor Susskind is considered one of the most influential of living physicists and he is a non-believer. “neither does anything in this book [The Cosmic Landscape] diminish the likelihood that an intelligent agent created the universe for some purpose. In 1905. Physics would no longer be the same after 1905. there will always be people who believe in some form of higher power.” Leonard Susskind is the Felix Bloch Professor of Physics at Stanford University. He is currently a professor of physics at Harvard University. including the authors of the Bible. Einstein’s magical year. have provided us with an understanding of the cosmos which is well beyond the grasp of the best minds of antiquity. “I think it is amazing we understand as much as we do. she has taken great pains to make herself irrelevant. If there is a God.

please have patience. Our apparent cosmic solitude will disappear. 272 . I would say please wait. If we ever discover an intelligent radio signal emanating from outer space. I would tell him. if you cannot understand the world which surrounds us. And so will belief in the god of the Bible. Imagine how much further we will have gone in the next 100 years. Look how far we have come in 100 years. we will have proof that biology is as much a part of the cosmos as galaxies.universe. stars and planets. Yahweh.

96. 45. 178. 134. 166. 250. 81. 221. 185. 65. 39. 174. 72. 37. 118. 150. 19. Albrecht 142 Amarna letters 99 Amaterasu 22 Amenemhat III. 249. 62. 77.Index 1 1 Kings 11th dimension 2 Chronicles 2 Kings 126. 214. 109. 174. 63 Albright. 51. 38. 210 Antichrist 265 antilegomena 148 Antiquities of the Jews 90 anti-Semitism 63. 178. 37. 76. 166. 59. 222 agnosticism 31. 253 agnostics 7. 266 A Aaron 80. 109. 154. 70. King 79. 71. 258. 77. 227 Abraham 5. 136 Akkadian 56. 162. 198. 82. 66. William Foxwell 120. 156 Amorites 63. 71 amygdala 181. 262 Abram 9. 82. 44. 58. 94. 186. 164 Ain Dara 126 Akhenaten 35. 57. 132. 62. 183 Anthropic Principle 270 anthropomorphic 48. 271 2 266 117. 220. 245. 37. 127. 154. 65. 58. 8. 16. 269 Aesop 56 afterlife 27. 41. 189. 128. 58. 265. 182 Anatolia 33 Andromeda 233 Angels and Demons 19. 18. 43. 103. 38. 103. 57. 97. 249. See also Akhenaten American Pie 266 American Religious Identification Survey 192 American School of Oriental Research 257 Amon. 138. 133. 269 Adam and Eve 11. 93. 103. 265 149. 57 Amenhotep IV 39. 77. 208. 6. 235. 226. 76. 264 Apis 95. 48. 256. 66. 121 Alcoholics Anonymous 267 All in the Family 161 Allah 243 Alt. 253 abiogenesis 222. 111. 35. 187. 68. 154. 31. 99. 98 apocrypha 148 Apophis 106 . 133 Achilles 265 Acts of God 151 Adam 11. 77. Pharaoh 106 Amenhotep III 52. 201. 38. 81 Abba 199. 108 273 Ahura Mazda 46. 102. 174. 42. 38. 251. 214. 7. 270 Ahaziah 117 Ahhotep I 107 Ahmose I 107. 128. 137. 76. 160. 9. 150. 76.

168. 72 Aram 117. 221 Babylonians 39. 9. 78. 156. 64. 231. 131 Assyria 79. 184. 202 Asherah 94. 209. 116. 59. 208. 62. 39. 99. 137. 41. The 3. 63. 129. 128. 50. 46. 68. 131. 132. 44. 39. 239. 131. 127. 129. 96. 126 Armageddon 147. Amnon 122. 221. 155. 102. 257 Bergoglio. 133. 59. 238. 198 Aramaic 9. 221. 131. 79. 107 avatar 217 B Ba’al 6. 78. 201. 137 Beelzebub 155. 133. 156 Beer Sheva 109. 134. 94 Bethlehem 199 Betty Boop 159 Bible Unearthed. 131. 137 behavioral modernity 47. 105. 67. 263 atomism 203 aurochs 95 Avaris 104. 72. 74. 269 Bates. 143. 104. 14. 233 Bedouin 52. 45. 79. 148. Peter 156 274 . 121. 44. Michael 12. 130. 128. See also Babylonian exile Babylonian empire 136 Babylonian exile 45. 183. 233. 266 astrology 21. 62 Arabic 62. See also Beersheba Beersheba 65. 45. 155 Arabs 62. 78. 63. 13. 117. 84. 82. 103. 267. 266 Baronio. 56. 68. 133. Cardinal Cesare 183. 101. 79. 135. 113. 212. 92 Battle of Megiddo 265. 81. 63. 136. 130. 215. 132. 136 Atenism 39. 265. 253 Aram-Damascus 117 Arameans 63. 42 atheism 208. 31 Aten 38. 81. 125. 63. 148. 267 BBC 182. 90. 42. 258 Big Bang 136. 81. 210. 117. 260 Apu 24 Arab League 64 Arabah 59. 64. 210 atheist 153. 180. 17. 63. 41. 256. 207. 45. 146 Bedouins 19. 141. 87. 6. 130. 45. 48 Behe. 89. 106. 137 Biblical Archaeology Review 42. 173 Ben-Tor. 132. 221 Bible’s Buried Secrets. 46. 65. 116. 149. Cardinal Tarcisio 197 Bethel 80. 132. 165 Babylonian captivity 125. 123. 78. 219. 49. 237. 109. 70. 165 Babylonia 109. 55. 191. 265 Babylon 38. 95. 184. 270 Armenian Stonehenge See Qarahunge Ascension 118. 79. 226 Atapuerca 27. 81. 271 Binsfield. The 54. 181. 131. 145. 256. 116. 266 Assyrian 56. 185 Bertone. 111. 39. 130. 266. 137. Cardinal Jorge 177. 15. 44. 155 Archimedes 203 Aristarchus of Samos 203 Ark of the Covenant 111. 117. 166 Babylonian 3. Norman 262 Battle of Jericho 6. 128.Apostles’ Creed 217. 135.

58. 121. 213. 106. 199 Book of Jeremiah 128 Book of Job 155. 237 Camerlengo 19 Canaan 5. 265. 258. 83. 234 Both Sides Now 246 Botswana 23. 75. 149. 133. 69. 90. Giordano 183. 72. 51. 176 Book of Micah 199 Book of Numbers 53. 251 Black’s Law Dictionary 151 Blenkinsopp. The 245. 79. 62. 135. 185 Brady. 259 Book of Kings 78. 109. 94.Biran. 150. 181. 236. 205. 133. 76. 130. 165. 186. 117. 38. 90. Joan 126. 189 Bunker. 55. Father Roy 180. 104. 82. 74. 142. 43. 77. 53. 259 Book of Isaiah 156. 233 Bryan. 133. 55. Dan 19. 172. 44. 116. 80. 90. 57. 93. 142 Book of Judges 57. 96. Avraham 116 Birkat Hachammah 22 black hole 217. 65. 109. 99. 111. 91. Daniel J. 57. 77. 240. 267 canon law 183. 128. 127 Brief History of Time. 100. 246 Buddha 218 Buddhism 163 Bundy. 258 Canaanite 39. 43. 6. 155. 16. 82. 183. 101. 91. A 240 Bronze Age 3. 133 Brown. 92. 15. 180 Catholic Encyclopedia 10 275 . 66. 63. 11. 92. 62. 72. 142. 80. 131. 48 Bourgeois. 12. University of 11. 126 Book of Leviticus 77. 156. 78. 89. 236. 132. 178 Book of Joshua 89. 62. 79 Book of Ecclesiastes 263 Book of Exodus 77. Cardinal Norberto Rivera 177 Carroll. 44. 164 Book of Revelation 267 Books of Chronicles 77 Boorstin. 269 Book of Deuteronomy 73. Ted 188. 266 Canaanites 6. 226 Carter. 113. 111. 239 Bruno. 103. 37. 68. 93. 93. William Jennings 236. 82. 67. 127. 54. 125. 72. 252 Branham. 78. 110. 106. 109. 58. Thomas 130 Cain 76 Cambrian explosion 268 Cambridge. 141. 45. 110. 88. Archie 161 burning bush 24. 103. 146 Book of Genesis 9. 77 Butler Act 239 Byrds. 133. 110. Joseph 59. 154 Book of Proverbs 219 Book of Psalms 154. 133. 94. 78. 80. 99. 78. 103. 81. 138. 104. 262 C Cahill. 198. 82. 109. 71. 147 bogus science 11. 87. 144. 95. 89. 80. 57. 38. Brandon 212 Carthaginians 63 Catechism of the Catholic Church 179. 54. 214. Matthew Harrison 246 Brahman 164. 55. 180. 166. 55. 146. 234. 8. 65. 91. Sean M. 195 Carrera. 99. 54. 20. 56. 110.

132. 22. 270. 249 David and Solomon 57. 38. 202. 132. 167. 250. 135. 116. 254. 234. 162. Arthur C. 193. 234. 179. 236. 171. 128. 269. 228. 214. 216. 224. 129. 17. 250. 221. 17. 135 Copernicus 183. 95. 204. 149. 134. 173. 14. See also Morning Star Dead Sea 59. 201. 240. 252. 151. 14. 134. 202. The 234. 236 Day Star 165. 16. 233. 226. Michael 54. 154. Richard 7. 209. 270 Creator 94. General George Armstrong 147 D D 6. 9. 142. 269 covenant 37. 17. 146. 148. 175. 171. 255. 231. Emporer 141. 49 Chemosh 58. 79. 24. 232 Cosmic Landscape. 209. 214. 240. 68. 256 Dead Sea Scrolls 8. 18. 172. 100. Cardinal Georges 177 Coulson. Sheila 23. Bruce 16. 264 Cohen. 132 City of David 119 Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 211 Clarke. 82. 201. 29. 45. 255. 33. 114. 15. 132. 18. See also Deuteronomist Damascus 116. 48. 130. 232 Dante’s Inferno 162 dark energy 234. 78. 166. 215. 188. 208. 127. 48 Coulter. 15. 195. 204. 219 creator 18. 235 Darwinism 216. 249 crucifix 221 cuneiform 33 Custer. 217. 256. 238. 113. 240. 237. 235. 39. 251. 196. 18. 264. 133. 235. 73. 217. 221 Coogan. 136. 271 Cottier. 151. 78. 19. 118. 132. 80. 49. 19. 74. 212. 135. 213. 238. 150. Jerry 172 creation 11. 44. 164. 129. 256. 39. 70. 23. 215. 99 Chilton. 270 Darrow. 164. 197. 236. 258 creationism 12. See also Kemosh Child of Israel 64 Children of Israel 71. 134 Columbia University 16. 207. 239. 187. 148 . 134.Charlemagne 68 Charlie Daniels Band 169 Chauvet cave 28. 76. 249. 222. 77. 155. 234. 130. 247 Comet Wild 2 225 Conformal Cyclic Cosmology 238. 239. 151. 39. 46. 239 consciousness 205 Constantine I. 24. 260. 12. 174. 129. 252. 202. 51. Charles 13. 136. 217. 192. 252. 226. 209. 175. 239. 249. 131. 238. 265 Church of England 29 Cicero 236 circumcision 80. 111. 18. 216. Shaye 125. 219. 226. 165. 77. 117 Dante 154. 166. Ann 11. 170. 198 Dawkins. 253. Clarence 240 Darwin. 80. 100. 18. 16. 15. 215. 82. 240. 141. 202 Chitragupta 163 Christianity 8. 94. 211. 136 276 Coyne. 239. 207. 119. 203. 19.

269 .deist 256. 133. 206. 68. 97. 131. 217. 257. 110. Freeman 234 E E 73. Robin 47 Dyson. 19. 201. 271 Eisenhower. 239. Archbishop Timothy M. 77. 105. 259 devil 4. 99. 55. 144. 154. 209. 180. 41. 73. 168. 266 Doyle. 94. 214. 215. 223 documentary hypothesis 25. 54. 106. 220. 79. 94. 15. 184. 113. 118 Elohist 25. 217. 260. 217. 218. 160. 180. 88. 144. 89. 64. 77. 35. 186. 238. 202.T. 138 Elisha 265 Elohim 77. 224. 270. 77. 122. 76. Canaan. 34. 127. 74. 222. 133 Egyptians 21 Ehrman. 82. Henry 255. 62. 164. 113. 204 Descartes. Father Thomas 186. 183. 29. 108. 138 Enceladus 152. 53. 210. 107. 128. 103. 52. 44. 155. 193 Doomsday 2012 150. 174. 178. 223. 214. 256 Edwards v. 153. 159. 99. 94. 258. 214. 67. 231 evangelism 21 evolution11. 16. 66. 176. 265. 230 Enûma Eliš 39 Erta Ale 162 Essenes 202 Establishment Clause 12 Estienne. 266 Europa 227. 266. 184. 17. 170. 144. Robert 259 Euphrates 33. 47. 138 Dolan. 145 Edward. 258. 93. and Israel in Ancient Times 43. 118. 9. Bart D. 211. 91. 230. Aguillard 219 Egypt 5. 101. Paul 7. 80. 217. 267 Egypt. 57. 116. 204. 74. 18. 152. 195 Drummond. 134. Albert 12. John 164. 158. René 249 Deuteronomist 25. Dwight 6. 269 dualism 206. 53. 79. 66. 164. 244 Ebbers. 236. 131. 138. 125. 129. 237. 143. 216. 55. 44. 45. 189. 114. 123. 233. 246. 45. 74. 100. 92. 222. Bernard 186. 151. 214. 135. 188. 154. 83. 175. 202 DNA 17. See also Elohist E. 16. 78 Deuteronomy 79. 129. 260 Dunbar. 145 Edomite 53. 215. 229. 174. Jared 29 dietary laws 80 Dirac. 36. 166. 253. 37. 130. 23 ekpyrotic model of the universe 237. 68. 249. 228. 255. 187 277 Edom 53. 246 Discovery Institute 217 Divine Comedy 154. 89. 167. 257. 114. 74. 265 Diamond. 135. 239 El 77. 155. 129. 176 Dever. William51. 183. 9. 202. 145. 260. 37. 51. 130. 81. 12. 156. 165. 132. 81. 57. 39. 73. 235. 161. 194. 102. 263 Democritus 203. 57. 118. 29. 17. 177. 256. 73. 220. 230. 243. 93. 222 Duke University 55. 23. 71. 264. 104. 179. 219. 229. 109. 187. 194. 256. 261. 78 Deuteronomists 74. 22. 162. 177. 62. 200. 197. 48. 103. 270 Einstein. 25. 169. 111. 43. 87. 234. 52. 10. 110. 90. 76.

Austin Marsden 84 Faust. 231. 8. 132. 108. Elmer 153 Garden of Eden 23. 136. 129. 142. 113. 35. 134. 270 God is watching us 245 God of Abraham 6. 56. 114. 220. 227. 101. 116. 226 Freud. 165. 167. 130. Avraham 55 Fertile Crescent 92 fertility goddess 28. 270 Fall of Man 154. 31. 55. 268 Ezekiel 102. 46. 54. 214 . 79. 6. 118. 103. 148. 69 From a Distance 245 Funes. 100. 111. 19. 257. 87. 66. the 259 Gezer 121. 102. Father Jose Gabriel 17. 76. 89. 65. 72. 118. Jeff 26 fragmentary hypotheses 74 Frankenstein 223 Franklin. John Wayne 188 Galileo 175. 215 G Gacy. 20. 183. 6. 117 glycine 223. 72 god of the gaps 11. 188. 128 Ezra 133. 74. 135. 122.excommunicated 180.W. 221 First Jewish-Roman War 199 First Jewish–Roman War 90. 78. 92. See also Babylonian Exile Exodus 5. 9. 68. 8. 59 Gibson. 212. 91. 82. 76. 256 gamma ray bursts 251 gamma rays 149 Gantry. 43. 38. 103. 144. 97. 43. 215. 183. 246 Frederick the Great 190. 53. 70. 57. 133. 105. 44. F. 142. 123 Ghillany. Mel 264 Gilead 67. See also Torah 278 Flintstones 219 Four-Source Hypothesis 84 Foxworthy. 154. 123. 142. 145. 111. 240. 83. 109. 198. 214. 186 excommunication 185 exile 46. 137 F fabric of the cosmos 204. 136. 258 exorcism 167. 58. 185. 125. Richard 22 Finkelstein. 68. 55. 264 Göbekli Tepe 33. Ben 168. 253 gates of hell 243 Gath 117 Generation X 192 Generation Y 192 Geneva Bible. Paula 264 free will 166. 45. 81. 78. 166 fallen angel 154. 88. 24. 184 exorcist 167. 201. 225 Gnostic Gospels 148. 58. Sigmund 41 Fried. 219 extinction event 250. 93. 135 Five Books of Moses 44. 77. 127. 10. 177. 189. 99. 44. 56 God Helmet 247 God is dead 131. 207. 62. 221. 141. 177. 209. 260 First Council of Nicaea 195. 251. 267. 166 Garden of Gethsemane 199. 232. 202 First Temple 80. Israel 3. 166 false prophets 153 Farrer. 8. 67. 77. 132. 104. 128. 137. 110. 261 extremophile 224. Stephen D. 234. 146. 143. 236 Fredriksen. 128 Feynman. 102. 109. 129. 25. 104. 109.

109. 199 Gospel of Matthew 83. 174. 102. 201. 245. 95. 74. 122. 164. Gary 7. Billy 37. 117. Stephen Jay 18 Gould. 78. 225. 137. 113. 247. Ted 216. 92. 250. Jacquetta 107 Hawking. 234. 45. 118. 16. 160. 211. 105. 19. 58. 85. 73. 67 Gunkel. 38. 177. 64. 89. 125. 31. 218. 167. 62. 68. 64. 134. 24 god particle 19 Golden Calf 76. 57. 146 Heston. 49 Great Hymn to the Aten 39 Great Leap Forward 47 Great Pyramid of Giza 34 Great Year 237 Greeley. 51 Hawkes. 209. 168. 131. 97. 39. 127. 196. 91. 155 160. 201. 24. 94. 88. 109. 90.god of the mountain 5. 156. 121. 202 Heller. 208. 137. 77. 91. 145. 199 Hebron 137 heliocentrism 232 Helios 22 Hell 155. 170. 220 Helms. 118. 154. 116. The 209. 127. 218. 180. 164. 143. 202. 221. 189. 105. 200. 84. 67. 65. 62 Herrmann. 208. 213 Graham. Father Andrew 191 Greene. 211. 55. Charlton 87. 100. 117. 163. 63. 146. 138. 187 65. 62. 62. 151. 10. 84. 266 Grand Design. 202. 27. 65. 44. 6. 59. Hermann 11 Gospel of John 9. 113. 166. 148. 199. 213. 122 Hebrew 5. 200. 267 Hebrew Bible 44. 240 Hazael 117 Hazor 89. 166. 233. 212. 54. 218. 180. 137. 170. 129.B. 45. 74. 174. 271 Ha-Satan 154 Hasel. 172. 269 Gould. 66. 220. 48. 198. 234 Grant. J. 60. 154. 59. 256. 141. 21. 213. 88. 214. 58. 134. 45. 78. Michael G. Brian 204. 63. Hermann 59. 52. 167. 144. 178. 126. 239. Alan 212. 69. 90. 74. 76. 132. 85. 197. 154. 247 Gulf of Aqaba 54. Lee 208 henotheism 38 Hermann 59. 167. 269 Gospel of Luke 83. 104. 135. 265 Hebrew University of Jerusalem 10. 24. 73. 174. 66 Guth. 36. 41. 51. 72. 266. 66 187 279 Haldane. 147 Göring. 65. 99 goldilocks zone 227. 199. 62. 185. 70. 138. 131. 213. 93. 238. 167 Gospel of Mark 83. Stephen Jay 14. 35. 244 95. 95. 213. 65. 239 Gutting. 219. 81. 265. 65. Stephen 16. 44. King 39 Harvard University 30. 69. 270 H habitable zone Hadad Hades Hagar Haggard. 6. 109. 165. 52. 161. 201. 54. 175. 155. 256 Hebrews 5. 170. 132. 133. 19. 167. Father Michal 174. 142. 133. 169. 141 grave goods 26. 188. Michael 94. 176. 114. 12. 135.S. 84. See also habitable zone Goliath 113. 101. 78. 118. 137. Siegfried 142. 187. 85. 153. 111 . 17. 223 Hammurabi. 177.

13. 258. 47 homosexual 181. 209 Hitler. Thomas Henry 12 Hyksos 43. 104. 72. 68. 179. 118. 187 hoplite 114 Horeb 25. 127. 15. 187. 31. 136. 111. 90. 66. James 257. 79. 92. 255. 59. 114. 118. 59. 141. 265 Hinduism 33. 143. 59. 182. 58. 17. 103. 53. 195 Hittites 71 Holocaust 11. 266. 126. 130. 63. 68. 64. 212. 259 irreducible complexity 14. 35. 148. 122. 198. 70. 28. 77. 108. 163. 57. 12. 217. 27. 144. 12. 234. 256 Ishmael 19. 8. 77. 215. 253. 68. 137. 77. 31 Homo sapiens 23. 198. 105. 25. 219. 55. 235 Iron Age 3. 56. 105. 72. 253 Homer 210. 271 intelligent design 11. 259 Israelite 6. 111. 92. See also God Particle Hindu 163. 217. 62. 218. 8. 138. 65. 182. 165. 31. 55. 90. 111. 218 intelligent agent 11. 53. 46. 62. 116. 117. 113. 64. 17. 5. 256 Hymn to the Sun Disk 44 hypothalamus 181. 63. 47 Homo heidelbergensis 25. 14. 117. 13. 137. 134. 6. 94. 163. 46. The 213. 18. 47. 110. 102. 73. 72. 239 intelligent designer 234. 121. 54. 218. 252. 91. 67. 216. 247 Higgs boson 19. 137 Ishmaelites 62. 154. 67. 110. 113. 100. 52. 94. 218. 109. 78. 142. 62. 82. 257. 143 House of Omri 58 Hubble. 183. 199 Holy Ghost 198. 82. 208. 57. 101. 104. 87. 254 Hitchens. 133. 106. 70. 182 I ID 11. 109. 129. 76.Hezekiah 221 Hidden Reality. 37. 51. 27. 58. 256 Israel 3. 14. 117. 252. 87. 43. 131. 62. 132. 145. 66. 69. 253. 65. 70. See also Holy Spirit Holy Spirit 127. Adolph 186. 120. 183. 232 Inherit the Wind 246. 65. Edwin 126. 201. 198. 72. 65. 102. Nicholas 205 Huxley. 10. 71. 101. 64. 37. 27. 255 Inquisition 11. 67. 160. 256. 105. 262 homosexuality 181. 214 Humphrey. 74. 233 Humani Generis 16. 260. 105. 15 Irwin. 18 Iliad 167 Iliad and the Odyssey 257 immaculate conception 16 280 Immaculate Conception. 7. 59. . 63. 38. 69 Ishtar 265 Isis 155 Islam 8. 88. 284 Isaac 5. 76. Christopher 204. 199. 14. 144. 78. 19. 125. 71. The 179 Immanuel 198. 202. 44. 257 hominids 26. 102. 220. 41. 123. 14. 83. 173. 199 In God We Trust 22 Inca 24 Inferno 164. 95. 166. 70. 66. 258 Is Our Vision of God Obsolete 7. 107. 93. 221. 56. 80. 77 Horus 155 House of David 116. 174. 202. 81. 15. 16. 94. 127.

143. 82. 144. 77. 258 Josephus. 10. 130. 137. 127. 133. 134. 78. 266 Kamose 106. 62. 135. 80. 122. Mick 168 Jahwist source 25. 110. 136. See also Jahwist source. 130. 164. 125. 72. 76. 99. 93. 131. 64. 114. 84. 187. 269 Itjtawy 107 J J 73. 7. 128. 67. 101. 83. 146. 8. 102. 128. 81. 102. 178. 200. 266 Joshua 6. 135. 46. 142. 266. 232. 260. 18. 91. 92. 77. 143. 16. 221. 227. 136. 134. 131. 76. 137. Yahwist Jacob 5. 137. 39. 94. 78. 170. 83. 172 Jordan 54. 142. 70. 218. 267 Jesus 7. 59. 148. 126. 58. 119. 211. 59. 113. 111. 41. 90. 19. 72. 221. 223. 93. 137. 118. 66. 67. 110. 68. 126. 125. 131. 202. 103. 217. 120. 106. 206. 201. 196. 168. 248 Jethro of Midian 19. 188 Kane. 138. 259 Josiah 79. 106. 129. 224 Judah 59. 266 Kemosh 58 Kenite 59. 16. 88. 51. 144. 143. 74. 125. 19. 68. 9. 92 Jeroboam I 143 Jerusalem 9. 113. 59. 78. 257. 167. 35. 80. 146. 133. 58. 198 Jagger. 89. 64. 239. 198. 229. 54. 129. 213. 53. 65. Gordon 239 Karnak 43. 111. 184. 256. 264. 141. 129. Clifford 12. 181. 90. 227. 132. 117 Jordan River 100. 179. 87. Kathleen Mary 92 Kepler spacecraft 216. 265 Jesus Camp 187 Jet Propulsion Laboratory 229. 94. 77. 111. 65 Kennedy. 119. 38. 69. 187. 114. 80. 117. 66. 78. 253. 147. 118. 109. 204. 117. 127. 103. 250 K Kadesh 53. 176. 129. 68. 134. 127. 221. 131. 145. 80. 44. 72. 205. 100. 59. 255. 183. Gerald F. 135. 145 Joseph 5. 267 Joyce. 222. 116. 78. 99. 77. 24. 202. 108 Kandel. 220 Kenyon. 171. 231. 62. 79. 128. 221. 123. 194. 262. 94. 199. 93. 91. 130. 62. 70. 74. 57. Titus Flavius 90. John F. 144. 92. 89. 82. 154. 130. 154. 65. 258 Israelites 6. 221. 54. 138. 122. 221 Judenhass (“Jew-hatred”) 63 Judgment Day 196 Julius Caesar 21 Jupiter 8. 101. 83. 222. 79. 256 Judea 9. 133. 128. 58.123. 71. 81. 110. 100. 42. 244 281 . 267 Judaism 6. 258. 129. 258. 137. 129. 199. 133. 132. 146 Kenites 60. 107. 76. 73 Jebusites 71 Jehoahaz 267 Jehoram 117 Jeremiah 78 Jericho 89. 52. 198. 56. 195. 74. 101. 72 JFK Act 69 Johnson. 69. 76. 134. 116. 121. 133. 216. 81. 95. 114. Eric 173. 55. 170. 63. 127.

183. 121 McBride. Robert 117. 127 Mazar. 206 Luther. Peter 93. 125. Lawrence M. 235 Krishna 33. 253. 81. 169. 232. 265 L L source 84 Land of Goshen 5 Langdon. 265. 123. 117. 82 Levy. 125. 178 Lucretius 203. 122. 120. 19 Medici 202 Megiddo 8. 153 282 limbo 165. 91 King Arthur 6. 104. 156 Levites 80. 144. 215 magisterium 179. 198. 121. 125. 220 Linde. 90. 117. 69. 73. 119. 150. 135.S. 52. 166. 72. 173. Michael 141. 119. 230 McLean. 120. 78. 119. 117. 48 Lehigh University 12. 14. 147. 145. Thomas 144. 131. 267 Kitzmiller v. 266. 204.Kepler. 45. 142. Andre 116 Lemaître. 130. 264 Mayan 162 Mazar. 57. 77. 129. 221 Kingdom of Judah 41. Larry 208 Kingdom of Israel 10. 114 King David 10. 129. 104. 233 Leucippus 203. Sister Margaret Mary 185 McDonald. Geoffrey 216 Marduk 38. Archbishop Stephen 259 Laplace. Amihai 44. 76. 122. 215. Thomas 215. 13. 10. E. 180. 105. 51 Lower Egypt 105 Lucifer 154. 76. 104. 204 Levant 41. 57. 120. 266 Langton. 116. 58. Robert L. Don 266 McLeroy. 239 Large Stone Structure 10 Late Stone Age 28. 48. Andrei 236 lion man 29. 110. 39. 15. 183. 221. 79. 81. 114. Gottfried Wilhelm 212. 103. Martin 220. 121. 111. 62. 41. 173 Leibniz. Don 18. 46 Mars 152. 135 MacLaurin. 56. 267 Memphis 34. Eilat 9. 268 Machinist. Johannes 203. 240 M M source 84 Maa Samaleswari 253 Maccacaro.B. 266. Chris 229. 146 Lewis. 160. 118. 241 McKay. 119. 109. 183. 165. 266 Leviathan 155. 56. 143.C. 199 King. 138. 113. 213 Maimonides 141 Manetho 106 Marcy. 97. 106. Pierre-Simon 234 Large Hadron Collider 19. 107 Mendes 43 Mercury 152 . 145. 87 magisteria 213. 77. Father Georges 148. 216 Khirbat en-Nahas 144 Killebrew. 74. C. 234 Lemaire. 219 Koine Greek 9 Kraus. Ann E. 156. 205 Mary Magdalene 167. 268 Martone. 129. Dover Area School District 12.

104. Horeb 25. 146. 186. 256 Mount Sinai 6. 56. 136 Meyers. 65. 45. 238. 76. 101. 144. Roy 65. 258. 127. 162. 113. 252 monolatrism 35. 94. 54. 68. Carol 55. Eric M. 196. 256. 222 naraka 163 NASA 215. 72 Midianite 59. 267 Mesopotamian 39. 245. 80. 7.Merneptah Stele or Stela 51. 78. 99. 156. 245. 35. 89. Dominic 41. 268 Middle Paleolithic See Middle Stone Age Middle Pleistocene 27 Middle Stone Age 23. 158. 83. 249. 70. Pharaoh 52. 70. 233. 257 Mt. 219 Moors 109 Morning Star 165 Morris. 48. 62. 134. 94. 70. 251 multiverse 136. 54. 251 Miller. 62. 41. 99. See also Mt. 136. 221. 52. 113 Merneptah. 55. 128 Moabite 58 Moabites 63. 57. 66. 251. 260 Mitchell. Randy 15. 239. 110. 24. 25. 118. 19. 38. 220. 143 Mohammed 62. 111. 67. 27. 171. 166. Sinai Mt. Stanley 223 Miller-Urey experiment 223 Milton. 24. 221. 58. 243. 79. 184. 77. 138. 269 Moses 5. 236. 146. 56. 268 methanogens 268 Meyers. 92 Mesha 58. 103. 129. 130 messiah 198. 177. 164. 146 Midianite-Kenite 59. 231. 134. 202 miracles 18. 238. 67 milk and honey 71. 95. 258. 181. 46. Father Jonathan 200. 229. 199. 42. 257 283 . 6. 52. Meru 163 Mt. 116 Mesha Stele 58. 87. 253 Murugan 253 mythology 22. 143. 269 Mottahedeh. 162. 130. 116. 244. 59. 199. 253 Montserrat. 251 M-theory 209. 59. 164. 128. 116 Mesopotamia 29. 38. 99 Milky Way 149. 102 Midianites 60. 131. 87. 71. 256 Moloch 95 monism 46.Sinai Mountains of the Gods 23 Mt. 235. 25. See also Mt. 243. 236. 24. 46 Moore. 69 Mount Megiddo 267 Mount Nebo 6. 243. 50. 35. 202 Mosaic Law 78. 44. 68. 81. 237. 228. 167. 58. 120. 130. 111 Moab 55. 45. 234 Napoleon Bonaparte 186. 72. 201. 111. 28 Midian 19. 216. 135. 167 N Nag Hammadi library 148 Napoleon 152. 44. 68. 8. 67. 137 microbial life 229. 221 monotheism 6. 43. 164. 65. 103. Ararat 256. 67. John 154. 38 monolatry 41. 41. 56. 93. 37. 39. 56. 240. Sinai 8. 225. 132. 239. Joni 246 mixed multitude 55. 69. 90. 53. 39. 244. 93. 88. 205. 220. 265 methane 223. 88. 46. 252. 103.

68. 78. 92 Neolithic Age 3. 75. 257 Nobel Prize 7. 26. 266. University of 7. 216 neurons 187. See also Torah. 166 Paradise Lost 154. 236. 90. 78 Notre Dame. 226. 32. 5. 185 Omri 58. George S. 58. 239 nucleic acids 223 Nuremberg Trials 11 O observable universe 244. 85. 56. 81. 154. 174. 259 Pan 156. 118. 202. 256 Nicene Creed 217 Nietzsche. 171. 259. 184. 44. 72. 66. 184. Isaac 203. 22. 83. 174. 208. 164. 79. 68. 215 Oppenhiemer. 249 Patton. 68. 137. 146. 173. 162. 205. 132. 256 Pentateuch 62. 27. 201 284 Olmsted. 187. 44. 134. 29. 199. J. 225. 7. 261. 137. 74. 74. 155. 243. 181. 141. 184. 264 non-overlapping magisteria 213 Nostradamus 220 Noth. 100. 258. 135. 142. 76. 80. Blaise 153 patron god 6. Friedrich 240 Noah 34. 267 Newgrange 33 Newton. 157. 162. 194. 221 Pagels. 54. 202 parallel universes 235. 148. 73. 83. 263 Paradise 163. 50. 184. 201. 251 Occam’s Razor 226 Odin 8. 31. 227 pantheism 46. 166. 32. See also Priestly source pagan 6. Robert 22 organized religion 29 Osiris 155. 180. 176. 267 Oxford. Persia 79 . 106. 196. 133. 222 Necho II. 85. 93 pedophile 184. 90. 256. 69. 260. 198 pedophilia 182 Penrose. 145. 220. 247 Nevalı Çori 33 New Testament 9. 22. 205. Joel 170. 165. 269 pantheist 256. 76. 238. 58. 189 P P 66. Bishop Thomas J. 82. 18. 59. 103. 23. 81. 265 Of Pandas and People 217 Old Testament 59. 210. 108 Neanderthals 25. 251 Parmenides of Elea 204 Pascal. 56 Neolithic Revolution 29 Neptune 158. 69. 132. 264. 33. 178. 82. 62. 201. 270 Palestine 64. 68. 172. 74. 208. 73. Joseph 116 Nazis 89. 233 Nones 192.National Geographic 144 Naveh. 264. 53. 265 Osteen. 133. Mehmet 170. 133 Neolithic 3. 148. University of 47. 199. 121 On the Origin of Species 14. 185. 264. 6. 50 Negeb 109. 186. 159 panentheism 46 panspermia 224. 176. Elaine 177. Pharaoh 110. 256. 127. 28. Martin 77. 62. 118. 201. 118. 145. 267 necropolis 34. 126. 68. 171. 257 Noah’s Ark 34. 82. Sir Roger 173. 234. 262. 38. 206. 263. 264 Oz. 202. 245.

114. 120. 243. 266 Pope Pius XI 16. 175. 106. 145. See also Pope Benedict XVI Rausch. Pastor Richard 18. Billy 209 Priestly source 25. 113 Polkinghorne. 210 Preston. 39. 220 . 113. 155 Persians 79. 175. 181. 80. 48 23. 164 34. 114. 88. 174. 233. 62. 135. Father Thomas 174. 35. 261. 131. 185. 81. 158. 17. 176. 76. 247. 40. 196. 121. 24 Q source 83. 52 52. 211. 205. 197. 192. 74. 183. 45. 88. 136 Persinger. 243 Planck Surveyor 238. 214 Pope Pius XII 16. 178. 117. 215 Pope John Paul II 17. Michael 247 Pew Forum. 258 232 163. 111. 245. 155. 193 Pew Research Center. 79. 89. 147 Phillips. 269 Phoenicians 63 physicalism 206 placebo 171. 184. 184. 104 Ramesses the Great 54. 219 Pope Benedict XVI 18. 135 Princeton University 23. 144. 90. 243. 212. 32. 76. 214 Poseidon 8. 253 pond scum 12. 88. 201. 146. 220 162. 133. John 234 polytheism 38. 19. 183. 264 Promised Land 6. 83. 92. 73.Persian 3. 237. See also Ramesses II Rameses II See Ramesses II Ramesses II 8. The 51. 24. 260. 239 Plato 167 Pledge of Allegiance 22. 46. 66. 148. 67. 256 285 Psalm 104 psalms Ptolemy purgatory Purgatory Pyramid Texts pyramids python Python Cave Q 44 45. 185. 82. 118. The 192 Philistine 113. 87. 252. 155 Persian Empire 80. 68 R Ra 21. 240 Quasimodo 12 Qur’an 65. 49 Red Sea 8. 214. 213. 261 rebirth 50. 214. 43. 181. 216 Pontifical Academy of Sciences 16. 46. 28. 268 Plagues of Egypt. 62. 245. The Ten 5. 51. 67. 163 red ochre 27. 31 Qarahunge 50 QED 207. 45. Cardinal Joseph 197. 84 Qafzeh 27. 240. 180. 131. See also Ramesses II Ratzinger. 92. 179. 93. 249. 133 Protestant Reformation 232. 260. 54. 39. 260. 174. 265 Rabbinical Judaism 88 radiocarbon dating 49. 145 Rameses 88. 212. 222 23. 155 Philistines 90. 80. 82.

236 Rehoboam 76. 48 Robertson. 102. 114. 62 Semite 63. 109. 43. 223 Scopes Monkey Trial 236. 222 Shanks. 185. 25. 177. 122. 270 Samaria 101 Samaritans 63. 128. 110. Lawrence H. 144 286 Schmidt. 190 Set 155 SETI 227 Seti the First 54 Seven Gates of Hell 162 sexual orientation 182. 45. See also Khirbat en-Nahas Russell. 69. 102. 66. 265 Saturn 152. 171 Shanidar Cave 28. 144 Shiva 252 Shosu 57. 179. 220 rock that whispers 24. 211. 64 Schiffman. 246. 141. 42. 24. 57. 123. Pat 152. 38. 211 Ruffin. 58. 202. 176. 111. 265 ritual burial 27. 144. 57. Bertrand 210. 62. 59. 220 resurrection 16. 125. 56 Scientific American 23. 62. 240. 178. 170. William 21. 240 Saqqara 34. 145. 145. 99 Sarai 9. 198. 143 reincarnation 7. Pharaoh 122. 143. 11. 155. See also Shasu Silberman. 126 San 23. 66. Klaus 33. 263. Britney 231 Schmidt. Carl 170. 145 Shishaq Relief 143. 269 Seir 57. 94 Shakespeare. 25. 53. 109. Pete 262. 9. 57. 72. 58. 101. Jimmy 10 Ruins of Copper 144. 84. 70 Serenity Prayer 267 Serling. 137 Shiite 63 Shinto 22 Shishak. 222 Sephora 5. 221 Rooney. Sir Martin 10. 256 Shechem 109. 228. 160. 68. 210. 260. 163. 56. 249 Rock that Whispers 23 Roman Empire 141. 102. 18. 180. 184. 81. Charlie 187. 108. 29. 143. 58. 48 RNA 223 Robbins. 100. 264. 48 Santa Claus 190. 213. 144. Brian 56 Schmidt. 65. 207. 189. 211. 221 . 133 Rees. Rod 159. 156. 111. Neil Asher 3. 133. 146. 211 Shaddai 79. 269 Sea of Reeds 8. 142. 65 Satan 151. 104. 50 shaman 28. 24. 54. Donald B. 55. 54. 52 Sarah 9. 213 S Sadducees 202 Sagan. Andy 264 Rose. 239. 154. 64 Seneca the Younger 46.Redford. 55. 60. 148. 69. 37. 153. 256 Second Coming 217. 52. 6. 45. 200. Hershel 101 Shasu 52. 229 Saudi Arabia 54. 53. Lawrence H. 266 Second Temple 83 Seeger. 166. 146. 44. 87. 116. 165. 43. 111. 170. 122.

58. 123. 143. 146 Sodom and Gomorrah 256 Sojourn 44. 118 Temple Mount 9. 76. 271 Svarga 163 Sympathy for the Devil 168 synagogue 134 Synoptic Gospels 83 Syria 64. 170. 117. 269 Sinai 25. 121. Leonard 234. 56. 205. 142. 174. 70. Peter 202. 50 Streeter. 58. 126. Andrew 271 Sudan 64 Sumer 52. 249. Robert F. 102. 49 Sunni 63 supplementary hypothesis 74 Susskind. 60. 100. 267 T Tabernacle 82 Table of Nations 44. 218 Ten Commandments. 243 Terrell. Sinai Sinai desert 36. 145 soul 50. 146. 83 Templeton Prize 11. 10. 125. 266 Stager. 104. 174. 118. 119. Maxwell 261 Smith. 265 Tao II 107. 266. John 227 Spinoza. Rich 248. The 6. 236. 187. 218. 186. 221 Sol Invictusg 22 Soleb temple 52 Solomon 10. 58. 54. 89. 128. 70. 82. 114. 134. 52. 104. Burnett Hillman 84 string theory 234. 237. 219. 143. 68. 104. 77. 113. 239 Steele. 251. 117. 116. 117. Paul 266 St. 71 Texas State Board of Education 18 . Pit of the Bones 27 Simpson. 103. 145. 164. 235. 232. 53. 265 Sun Disk Hymn 44 Sungir 29. 143 Tel Dan Stele 116. 93 Tel Dan 116. 34. 129. 111. 95. See Mt. 130. 144. 36. 60. 249. 59. 233. 162 St. 118. 6. 108 Tartarus 167 Tel Aviv University 8. 184. 248. 80. 35. Benedict de 209 spontaneous remission 171 St.Sima de los Huesos. 189 simulated universe 247. Ephraim 135 Stone. 169. 207. 143. 34. 202 singularity 149. 58 Sumerian 33. 252 Tammuz 128. 150. 144. 109 Sojourn into Egypt 44 Sol 22. 76. 270. 206. 48. Philip 160 Steinhardt. Pastor Chris 163. 238 Smart. 237 287 Stendhal 222 Stern. 146 Standard Model of Cosmology 234. 202 spacetime 204 spandrel 48 Spencer. 146 Sinai Peninsula 54. 69. 100. 181. 105. 235. 128. Lawrence 126. Oliver 69 Stonehenge 33. 168. 249 Tetragrammaton 5. Paul 184. 88. 82 talking tree 25. 68. 165. 122. 19. 96. 142. 239 Strominger. Patrick 39. 102. 126. 257 Sounds of Silence 15. 258. 111. 88.

102. William 259 Wilson. 208 Washington. Herbert E. 72. 69. 109. 163 Ventura. 142 United Monarchy 10. 54. 114. 201. 103 V Van Seters. 133 Urey. 94. John 74 Vatican Observatory 17. 129. 57. 144. 55. 256 Yahu 47. 53. 212. 197 Weber. 199. 48. 32. 80. 240. 235. 78. 236 Trojan horse 6. 18. 152. 118. 191. 62. Spencer 23 Whittingham. 96 Ugarites 63 united monarchy 111. 131. 230. 253 252 11. 45. 229. Steven 7. 32. 55. 17. 198. 256 wormhole 217 X Xibalbá Y Yadin. 175. 58. 162 288 . 59. 143 Upper Egypt 105 Upper Paleolithic 28. 137. Yigal 122. 24. 165 Venus figurines 28. Harry 22. 51. 256 Yahweh 20. 215. 24 Turok. James 34. 236. 30. 125. 125. 74. 270. 12. 48. 18. Harold 223 Uruk 33 Ussher. 36. 29. 220. 135. 119 Wells. 191. 106. 241. 230 Torah 25. 143. 146. 214. 44. 77. 246. 269 Weakland. 142. 54. 105. 47. See Late Stone Age Ur 5. 208. 53. 38. 100. Edward 214. Bishop Gerhard 220 Wallace. Alfred Russel 14. 58. 47. 137 Trimurti 252 Trinity College 11. 127. 49 Virgil virgin birth Virgin Mary Vishnu Voltaire Vulgate W 164 16. 106 Witten. 83. 77. 56. 14. Jesse 69 Venus 28. 134. 31 Wilson. 66. Max 59 Weinberg. 133. 189. 81. 19. Archbishop Rembert G. 129. 70. 144 Winlock.O.The Devil Went Down to Georgia 169 Thebes 44. 152 165 Wagner. E. 103. The 159. 136. 49. 18. 218 Vedic 46. 113. 113. 141. 137. 172. 107. 133. 260 16. 266 theistic evolution 18 Thor 8 Thutmose III 266 Titan 152. Neil 237 Twilight Zone. Keven A. 136. 160. 29. 74. 73. 132. 23 Tsodilo Hills 23. 102. 261 Truman. 130. 271 Wellhausen. 135. 44. 65. George 210. Julius 73. 111. Flip 187 Wilson. 48. 207. 142. 189 Two-Source Hypothesis 84 U Ugarit 94. 79. 21. 152.

82. 80. 128. 167. 119 Yamarāja 163 Yehud 83. 256 Z Zadok Zadokite Zealots Zedekiah Zeno of Elea Zeus Zorats Karer Zoroaster Zoroastrianism 79. 51. 76. 178. 207. 221. 122. 210. 202. 243. 81 202 130 149 8. 270. 81 79. 131 YHW 52. 54. 255. 53. 38. 121. 59.146. 77. 53 YHWH 5. 164. 110. 126. 72. 76. 77. See also YHWH Yahwist 73. 265 See Qarahunge 164 46. 146. 58. 20. 52. 269. 62. 71. 164 289 .

He has been cited in a variety of financial newspapers and investor magazines and has appeared on the CNBC. Is Our Vision of God Obsolete. NBC and PBS television networks.S.R. Joseph’s Catholic School. He developed risk analysis products for hedge funds and was chief investment strategist and co-portfolio manager of a São Paulo based hedge fund.S. international equities and derivatives (listed equity and index options). Berkeley. in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University. as articulated in the Bible. Mr. Morgan Stanley and HSBC Bank. compares the universe and our place in it. Pafumi is a financial engineer and consultant specializing in investment and financial accounting analysis. His first book. Pafumi has 40 years experience as a securities analyst and portfolio manager in domestic equities.B. with the evidence available from contemporary science and discovery. degree in finance and engineering from the University of California.A. Pafumi received his B. 290 . He was previously associated with Merrill Lynch. He also has an M. CNN. Often What We Believe We Do Not Observe.About the Author G. Mr. His only formal education in religion came from nearly five years of rigorous study at St. in Quantitative Analysis as well as an M.

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