Our New Home

We have a new home, come join us at WeAreSMRT (We Are Skeptical Minds & Rational Thinkers)

The Forum

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Questions for Christians: The Bible and Science

First, the usual disclaimer: the purpose of these posts is to pose questions to Christians who come here (or go anywhere, for that matter) with the intent of converting us to Christianity, but also with an open mind about their own faith. You may post your answers here, or answer them privately, at your discretion. My ultimate goal in asking these questions is to have you deconvert from Christianity. If you are not open to at least the possibility of that happening, then I suggest you not respond to these questions, as that will be a waste of your time (and possibly our bandwidth). At the same time, I am open to the possibility of learning a thing or two about Christianity along the way -- but if you answer these questions publicly, with the intention of being a teacher instead of a learner, then please don't bother doing so here. These questions are for your educational benefit.

This is the first in a series of "Questions..." posts that deal with the Bible, the scriptural compilation that constitutes the conceptual framework of the Christian faith. If you were ever a Christian, chances are you've read some of the Bible. If you are still a Christian today, chances are you haven't read all of it.

This set of questions deal with what the Bible has to say about scientific facts, facts which have been discovered in the intervening centuries since the Bible was written, and which one would not expect the author(s) to be aware of -- assuming they were merely human, and not divine or divinely inspired. The list itself is quite brief, but please see the notes at the bottom.

1. Why does the Bible state (Isaiah 11:12, 42:5, Job 28:24, Jeremiah 10:13, 31:37, Matthew 4:8, Revelation 1:7, 7:1) that the Earth is flat and/or that all of it can be seen from a particular vantage point, when we know for a fact that the Earth is spherical?

2. Why does the Bible state (1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, 96:10, 104:5) that the Earth does not move, when we know for a fact that it does?

3. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 1:16-17) that the Earth already existed when the Sun and stars were created, when we know for a fact that stars came into existence long before the Earth did?

4. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 1:11-19) that plants were created one day before the Sun, when we know for a fact that plans could not have survived before the Sun existed?

5. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 1) that life was created over a span of a few days, when we know for a fact that life developed over a period of hundreds of millions of years?

6. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 3:14, Isaiah 65:25) that snakes eat, or will eat dust, when we know for a fact that they don't?

7. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 7:19-20) that there was once a flood that covered the mountains of all the Earth, when we know for a fact there was no possible place for that much water (at least half a billion cubic miles!) to come from or go to?

8. Why does the Bible state (Genesis 11:6-9) that the languages of the world were all created at once, at the Tower of Babel, when we know for a fact that languages evolved over a great deal of time at many seperate locations on Earth?

9. Why do the figures given by the Bible (Exodus 12:37, Numbers 1:45-46, Deut. 7:1) place the total population of Palestine at the time as over 21 million, when we know for a fact that it was never anywhere near that figure?

10. Why does the Bible state (Leviticus 11:6) that hares chew their cud, when we know for a fact that they don't?

11. Why does the Bible state (Leviticus 11:13,19, Deut. 14:11,18) that the bat is a bird, when we know for a fact that it is not?

12. Why does the Bible state (Numbers 22:28-30) that a donkey spoke, when we know for a fact that donkeys can't speak?

13. Why does the Bible state (Joshua 10:12-13) that the Sun stood still in the sky, when we know for a fact that such an event is impossible?

14. Why does the Bible treat unicorns (Numbers 23:22, 24:8, Job 39:9-11, Psalm 22:21, 29:6, 92:10, Isaiah 34:7), cockatrices (Isaiah 11:8, 14:29, 59:5, Jeremiah 8:17), dragons (Deut. 32:33, Job 30:29, Psalm 74:13, Isaiah 13:22, 27:1, 43:20, Jeremiah 9:11, Micah 1:8), satyrs (Isaiah 13:21, 34:14) and flying serpents (Numbers 21:6, Deut. 8:15, Isaiah 14:39, 30:6) as real animals, when we know for a fact that they are mythical?

15. Why does the Bible state (Matthew 2:16) that Herod had every child under the age of three in the region killed, when we know for a fact that no such massacre ever happened?

16. Why does the Bible state (Matthew 27:52-53) that dead bodies emerged from graves and walked around in Jerusalem, when we know for a fact that "zombies" are impossible?

Some notes on the above questions:

  • Carl Sagan defined a "fact" as an idea which has been so well-established by the available evidence that to deny it would be intellectually perverse. All of the above facts do, by that definition, qualify as facts. None of them are in any serious dispute by the global community of scientists and/or historians. You may have been told otherwise by your fellow Christians -- especially with regard to evolution and the age of the Earth -- but if so, then I'm afraid you were simply misled.
  • If your response to any of the above is that the verse(s) in question is/are meant metaphorically, then first of all, how do you know this? Second, if you concede that those verses do not have the meaning of the literal reading of the words, then how do you know that the verses regarding salvation do have the meaning of the literal meaning of the words? What if they, too, are metaphors?
  • If your response to any of the above is that the verse(s) in question is/are taken out of context, then please explain how the context of the verse(s) changes the meaning.
  • If your response to any of the above is that the verse(s) in question is/are the result of a copying or translation error, and that the original verse(s) said something entirely different, then please tell us (a) what the original verse(s) said, and (b) how you know this.
  • If your response to any of the above is that the event described in the verse(s) was a one-time miracle, then please bear that response(s) in mind when you read my forthcoming "Questions..." post regarding miracles.
  • If your response to any of the above is that you have the personal experience of God and/or Jesus that the verse(s) in question is/are literally true, then please bear that response(s) in mind when you read my forthcoming "Questions..." post regarding personal experience.


  1. You will never get aq fundamentalist christin to reply to a post like this. It is too well thought out and too wel written, but their comprehension will never allow it.


  2. <crickets>


    It's not surprising that the theists are avoiding this post...way too many difficult questions.

    Come on, Raylians! We know you're lurking here...why can't you show the courage of your convictions and respond? Your magic sky daddy is ashamed of you!

  3. Tripmaster Monkey & Dale,

    These questions are mostly simple mistakes made by Silent Dave or whoever he got his references from, in that they read their objections into the text (a dangerous process called eisegesis). Many who post here are fond of accusing "Rayliens" of quote mining, yet you applaud Silent Dave for such tactics. In fact, some of these questions entail finding one particular translation that is not even necessarily that faithful to the original language (such as the KJV rendition of "unicorn" when pretty much every other English translation agrees that this is an allusion to the horns (plural) of an ox - and therefore an appeal to strength).

    As far as the scientific "fact" of evolution, there are scientists who disagree with this conclusion ... not just pastors and bible thumpers. However, you disqualify these scientists from the jump and say they are "stupid" (to borrow a nice ad hominem) or biased (to poison the well). Unfortunately, these are not good enough reasons unless you think that theists should accept fallacious reasoning when it comes from you and only deny it when it comes from others (like themselves).

    Third, we don't answer questions like these in detail because it is clear you are not open or interested in hearing the answer. I began to answer the first post in Silent Dave's series and he told me that he'd rather have me leave. So I did (although I did take the time to respond to one other person who directly addressed me before doing so). Why should we take the time to answer a question no one wants to hear and which won't make a difference because Silent Dave knows it all already?

    I won't be responding again to this post, so feel free to respond however you want knowing that I won't be taking the time to rebut your claims. That means you can revert to calling me Jerk83, Dale :)

    Take care.

  4. Well, let's see... An appeal to "context", an accusation of mistranslation (which accounts - poorly - for exactly one of SD's twenty points), a flat denial of the consensus of the scientific community regarding evolution, an excuse for not answering the questions because, allegedly, we're "not interested in the answers", and to top it off, a declaration of victory followed by a fleeing of the field.

    What a joke.

    Don't worry, jrk83...you won't need to return to rebut me, as you've provided nothing worth discussing in the first place.
    What a disappointment.

  5. I, too, am unimpressed with jrk83's performance. You could at least try, you know.

  6. Why does Dave use a 400 year-old translation of the text he seeks to discredit? If he was earnestly seeking truth he would use a modern translation.
    Who do Dave's questions about miracles (like the talking donkey and the sun standing still and the resurrection) question-beg naturalism? Can Dave prove naturalism is true? Is he just saying the bible is false because it contradicts his naturalistic worldview?
    How does Dave know the massacre never happened? I am going to need something more substantial than an argument from silence. Perhaps he interviewed all the poeple in the are and they said the massacre never happened (oh wait he couldn't do that because they were dead)?


Unlike Ray we don't censor our comments, so as long as it's on topic and not spam, fire away.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.