The five-fold challenge

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The five-fold challenge

Postby searchengineguy » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:47 am

The five-fold challenge

In 1995, Robby Berry issued a challenge to anyone who could provide contemporary, reliable, unambiguous, and independent evidence supporting the historical accuracy of five Bible miracles. He selected miracles that would have been observed by large numbers of person if not the entire world, such that they should have been documented in many and various ways. The following is taken from:

Fundamentalist Christians claim that the Bible is a historically accurate work in every detail. They delight in showing how “modern archaeology” has verified this little biblical detail or that minor biblical event. But something they don’t talk about much is the failure of modern archaeology to confirm some major events in the Bible.

Specifically, there are five major miraculous events in the Bible which are completely unconfirmed by modern archaeology. These miracles are:

The parting of the sea by Moses (Exodus 14:21-31)

The stopping of the sun by Joshua (Joshua 10:12-14)

The reversal of the sun’s course by Isaiah (Isaiah 38:7-8)

The feeding of thousands of people by Jesus using only five loaves of bread and two fishes (Mark 6:34-44; see also the parallel accounts in Matthew 14:14-21, Luke 9:12-17, and John 6:1-14)

The resurrection of the saints, and their subsequent appearance to many (Matthew 27:52-53)

The Argument From Silence

When skeptics point out that some event in the Bible is unconfirmed by non-biblical records, fundamentalists usually respond by claiming that this is an argument from silence, and that just because nobody else confirms it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Sometimes, this is a legitimate response– the argument from silence is not always valid. If the event is an ordinary event which attracted little attention, or a private event not witnessed by others, than the argument from silence cannot be used to show the event never happened.

But in the case of the above five miracles, the argument from silence is perfectly valid. All five of these miracles were allegedly witnessed by thousands of people– indeed, two of these miracles would have been visible worldwide. Hence, fundamentalists cannot claim that the events were simply not noticed by others. Furthermore, all five of these events were of an extraordinary nature. They are the most impressive miracles in the Bible, more impressive than even the resurrection of Jesus. It would be absurd to claim that other people could have witnessed a change in the sun’s course, or the resurrection of a large number of long dead people, without having been amazed by it. Such events would have attracted widespread attention and generated dozens of documents concerning them. Take the resurrection of the saints, for instance. Other first-century Christians would have used this event as further proof of Jesus’ divinity– Paul and the other gospels would certainly have mentioned it, for instance. Or how about the sun turning backwards? This would have been visible worldwide, and thus other cultures active at the time would have noticed the event and offered their own explanations, in keeping with their own cultural and religious beliefs. And so forth. Hence, the argument from silence is valid in the case of these miracles. If no other evidence can be found to support them, we are justified in concluding that they never happened, and thus that the Bible is wrong in at least five points.

No one has provided evidence for these alleged miracles. It is nearly certain that they never happened, and what this implies is that the Bible is full of fictional stories, most of which cannot be proven false because of their smaller scale. But the presence of any fiction evidenced as above by the ‘argument from silence’ destroys the idea that God wrote the Bible; rather it convincingly shows that it was written by ordinary humans.
Frisbeetarianism: is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck.
- George Carlin.
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