In my last post, I explained in a general way why I lost my faith in Christianity and came to the conclusion that the God of the Bible does not exist. Beginning with this post, I will go into greater detail the reasons why I rejected Christianity and additional reasons that served to confirm that rejection afterwards.
Those who believe that the Bible represents the revealed truth of the Creator of the Universe believe that the Jewish people were the chosen people of the one true god. The difference between Jews and Christians is that religious Jews today still believe they are God’s chosen people, whereas Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah and that his coming into the world negated Jewish law. But before I proceed, I wish to point out that this post should not be interpreted in anyway as condoning anti-Semitism or rejecting the right of Israel to exist as a state in the Middle East. I simply reject the idea that the Creator of the Universe gave the land of Israel to the Jews.
Anyway, I would submit that if one is going to claim that a group of people represent the chosen people of the one and only Supreme Being who not only created the universe but is also omnipotent and omniscient, then there should be some criteria that these chosen people should be expected to meet. After all, it is not enough to say that the ancient Israelites are God’s chosen people simply because the Bible says so.
So what criteria can we reasonably expect from a nation that has the backing of the most powerful entity in the universe behind it? Let us start by looking at what the Bible itself say. In Genesis 12:2, God tells Abram (later Abraham) “I will make you into a great nation”. In Genesis 17:8, God tells the newly renamed Abraham “The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Engaging in a brief soliloquy in Genesis 18:18, God says to himself (who was writing this down by the way?) “Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.” In Isaiah 49:6, God tells the people of Israel “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” More boastfully in Isaiah 49:23, God tells the Israelites “Kings will be your foster fathers, and their queens will be your nursing mothers. They will bow down before you with their faces to the ground; they will lick the dust at your feet.”
Based on what the Bible tells us, as quoted above, it is an easy thing to examine the historical record to determine if what God tells to Abraham or says of Abraham came to pass. If so, we should reasonably expect the following:
1. The Israelites would be the strongest nation on Earth, unconquered by her neighbors and rarely, if ever, defeated in battle.
2. The Israelites would be more advanced than any other nation on Earth in terms of military technology, scientific and medical knowledge, engineering skills and so forth.
3. The Israelites would influence the culture of her neighbors in areas such as religion, literature, architecture and the arts.
If one’s knowledge of the history of the Middle East is based solely on reading the Bible, it might be understandable to think that everything that happened there several millennia ago revolved entirely around the Israelites. Israel’s neighbors, such as Egypt, Assyria, or Babylon, seem to exist only as external forces that God uses to punish the wayward Israelites rather than as complex and sophisticated civilizations that were superior to the Israelites by any measurable criteria. Christians who believe in every word of the Bible being the literal truth of God make the mistake of looking at ancient history through the lens of the Bible rather than looking at the Bible in its historical context. When one does this, it should become rather obvious that by just about any yardstick, Biblical Israel cannot be considered a great nation when compared with its neighbors. I will attempt to demonstrate this with one post for each of the three criteria in the next few days.