Month: July 2014

Psalm 104 is almost a duplicate of the Egyptian Hymn to Aten

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On the wall of a 14th century BCE tomb in Egypt archaeologists found a beautiful hymn to the god Aten. What is really strange is that the Pharaoh Akhenaten (1352-1336) who lived in an era when everyone believed in many gods, chose to believe in only one, Aten. In fact, many scholars have argued that Pharaoh Akhenaten is the earliest documented example of a monotheist in history, though others argue that he was a henotheist (thought many gods existed, but chose to worship only one.)

What’s really curious about the Great Hymn to the Aten is that it closely mirrors Psalm 104 in the Hebrew Bible as a song of praise to the creator, though written hundreds of years before. Biblical scholars and historians disagree as to whether these two hymns are actually related by way of influencing one another, or whether both were independently written. In any case, the similarities are fascinating.

 

Language changed over 1,000 years so as to make it incomprehensible for modern readers

Language changes. Alot. And this often makes it difficult, if not impossible in some cases, to understand the original meaning of certain phrases or words by an ancient author.

This Bible verse shows the evolution of English over one thousand years. Now imagine having to deal with Hebrew and Greek over a few thousand years. To this day there are passages in the Bible where no scholars are sure what the original text says or means.

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This is even worse for cases of ‘hapax legomenon‘ or words that only occur once in the Bible, in a fluid language that is constantly evolving.

 

Ancient Christian writings say traveling preachers who ask for money are false prophets

It’s very common for contemporary Christian preachers to travel around and ask for money. Yet such a practice was literally considered the sign of a “false prophet” by the early church.

The Didache says: “Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord… and when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet

(The Didache is an early Christian text from the 2nd century that was frequently quoted by the early church fathers. It was once considered by many to be a canonical book of the New Testament, for example the 4th century Church historian Eusebius in his Historia Ecclesiastica III, mentions this book as being part of an early canon, alongside The Revelation of John. As the canon grew and developed, the didache was later excluded from most “bibles” although the Ethiopian Coptic Church still accepts this book as part of their Bible.)

Chrsitianity destroyed some of the worlds greatest literary works

Did you know many important works of ancient history and science were lost because monks bleached the pages of these important documents in order to write biblical and liturgical texts on the paper?

In the 3rd century BC, a Greek philosopher, Archimedes, discovered some of the principles of integral calculus, however, as the Roman Empire underwent Christianization, many pagan works were burned and lost (except Plato, who was beloved by the early Christians). The only remaining copy of this work by Archimedes was later bleached by monks and prayers were written on the same paper. (1)

About 2,000 years after Archimedes, integral calculus was again developed, largely by Newton and Leibnitz. Then, in 1998 scholars used modern imaging techniques (ultraviolet, infrared, X-ray, etc) to find/read the calculus, hidden underneath the prayers. This document is called the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Creationists cannot agree how to classify transitional fossils

Are there really no transitional fossils that show the evolution of one species to another? Or is that just something creationist say?

Consider this chart of six hominid skulls that are often cited as intermediary fossils, from an early ape ancestor, to a modern human. Creationists are *very sure* (for reasons unknown) that these fossils simply cannot “fill the gap.” They argue these fossils *simply must* be either humans or ape, they simply cannot be something in between.

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Yes, these fossils appear so much in the middle of an ape/human transition, that all of the leading creationists books disagree with one another, and some creationists keep changing their minds, on which fossil is human and which is ape.

If the leading creationists have trouble telling which fossil is human and which is ape, is this not evidence that these fossils are exactly in the middle?