History and the Bible: What People ‘Know’ That Ain’t So

BibleA wise man once said something like, “the problem isn’t what they don’t know, so much as what they ‘know’ that ain’t so.”
One thing that many people think they “know” things about is the Bible. As the word of God, it stands above every other work of literature; none other has been nearly as life-changing or as timelessly relevant. And none other has been has been the subject of such constant and vicious attacks – attacks that it has inevitably withstood unscathed.
But people think they “know” that the Bible is “fiction” and “mythology.” This belief doesn’t come from actual evidence, of course, but from the popular desire for the Bible not to be true. An honest inquirer, though, will find that the history in the Bible is far better supported than anything else from the ancient world – including everything from several centuries after the New Testament.
It’s common for people to believe that Christ wasn’t really who he said he was. But many will claim he wasn’t even a historical figure at all. Such a claim is right down there with UFO conspiracy theories and Bigfoot sightings, but people believe it because they want to, and aren’t willing to find out whether there’s actually any basis for it.
In short, if you haven’t found the refutation of any given anti-Biblical claim, it’s because you haven’t looked for it.
Besides the many falsehoods that are commonly believed about Bible history, there are many popular lies about the fruits of Christianity – and the fruits of opposition to it – through the years.
For example, it’s popular these days to believe that the founding fathers of America had no influence whatsoever from the Bible, and in fact utterly “rejected religion.” Of course, one just has to look at what the founding fathers actually said to realize that such a claim is total hogwash.
(Side note 1: As for those who claim that the founding fathers were “anti-religious,” I have yet to see one of them quote any of the founding fathers besides Thomas Jefferson. I guess they can’t find quotes from any others that they can fit into their false narrative. But even Jefferson said things that contradict their claims.)
(Side note 2: In 2015 I saw a news article about a Texas school that purportedly used fake quotes from George Washington and others to “promote Christianity.” Apparently the article tried to give the impression that no actual quote from any of the founding fathers could have been used similarly. This is a prime example of an old media trick: citing facts as if they prove something that they actually don’t.)
We’re supposed to believe that the most free and prosperous nation in all of history was built upon the same basic beliefs as, say, Soviet Russia, Communist China and North Korea. This is nonsense of the highest order.
To claim that freedom, learning and prosperity have sprung from the rejection of God is like claiming that apples have been produced by removing apple trees and replacing them with thorn bushes. To produce good fruit is not in the nature of thorn bushes, and it is not in the nature of godlessness. Show me an oppressive society in the modern age, and I’ll show you one where the first thing to be attacked has been Christianity. That’s because Christianity reliably, and uniquely, stands in the way of tyranny – and tyrants (or potential tyrants) know it.
At the same time, there is no basis in the Bible for oppression, ignorance, racism, or any of the other evils that people falsely try to blame it for.
Sure, there have historically been many examples of “Christians” who have brought harm and ignorance to the world. (My own grandparents were staunchly “religious” people, and by all accounts they dwelled in the thickest spiritual darkness imaginable.) But here’s the thing about “Christian” people who bear evil fruit: inevitably, they do so because they’re not living according to the Bible. Some have even tried to suppress the Bible.
In many cases, tales of the past evils of “religious” people have been distorted, if not outright fabricated. Remember being taught how Columbus refuted the “religious” people who thought the world was flat? False. Remember the “Dark Ages” when the “religious” people suppressed learning and progress for centuries? False. Remember Galileo refuting the “religious” people who thought the sun revolved around the earth? False. (The Church at the time had gotten the idea of geocentrism from current secular “science”; an accurate translation of the Bible doesn’t imply it at all.) Did the Scopes Trial involve ignorant “religious” people like Inherit the Wind portrays? False.
Historically, whenever people have lived by what’s actually in the Bible, the result has always been good fruit. Such people founded America, brought about the end of slavery, gave rise to modern science, and much more.
You may insist that this isn’t true. But if you do, then you’re just one of many who “know” things that “ain’t so.” If you are, it is my hope that you make the effort to learn what really is so. It’s a lot harder than just going along with what you’re supposed to “know,” but it’s worth it.

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David Mann is a Christian who lives in Florida.
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  • Skeptic NY

    “Historically, whenever people have lived by what’s actually in the Bible, the result has always been good fruit. Such people founded America, brought about the end of slavery, gave rise to modern science, and much more.”

    Actually people used the bible to justify slavery. They also used the bible to justify not giving women and blacks the right to vote. The bible is also used to justify child abuse and racism. The bible is nonsense from beginning to end and thanks to the internet – where almost anyone has access to what’s actually in it – is dying a slow death. Thank goodness for that.

    • People use all manner of things to justify all manner of things. What really matters is whether the thing being used to justify bad behavior actually does justify those bad behaviors.

      The fact that this happens reflects more on the character of the one attempting to justify bad behavior than it does the tool they misuse to justify the bad behavior.

      The fact of the matter is that the Bible endorses none of those things. The Bible actually set forth rules to ensure humane treatment of servants of all types (including those who were willing servants) in a time when most of the world saw servants and slaves as simple property that could be destroyed on a whim. The Bible also teaches that all human beings have a common ancestor and are all children of their Creator, endowed with a dignity that comes from being created in the image of their Creator.

      The Bible is true from beginning to end. Skeptics have been trying to dismiss it for thousands of years, yet not a single scientific or historical error has ever been proven. Not even the most modern science books can boast of such a record of veracity, with our science texts being continually updated to correct what we “knew” as “fact” yesterday.

      Many do scoff at the Bible today, but then, many have for years. The Bible will stand the test of time, because it IS truth.

    • DCM7

      With all respect, you demonstrate exactly the kind of ignorance that I try to address.

      “where almost anyone has access to what’s actually in it”
      You make the common, and sorely misinformed, assumption that “having access” to what’s actually in the Bible (as if that were difficult *before* the internet) will automatically lead someone to reject it. But when someone does “have access,” it makes a world of difference how and why they read it. Some (like many so-called “skeptics”) look superficially for things they can call “wrong”; some, like people you refer to, look for things to support their own flawed thinking. But some read it to honestly learn and understand.

  • DCM7

    Wanted to share this article that’s more or less along the same lines:
    Once again, the false belief that Christianity is “harmful” gets called out.