Sometimes for the oddest of reasons we allow rumour, misinformation and plain junk to pass as 'proofs' of the faith. Here are some examples…
1. Dinosaur and human footprints
I was 12 years old when some students from the local university visited my school’s Christian Union. They showed me a picture of human and dinosaur footprints intersecting, preserved in the rock of the Paluxy River bed Glen Rose in California. I’ve since seen this same picture in loads of creationist books. If you are a young earth creationist, this type of 'evidence' is the holy grail of evidence. There’s only one problem....it’s been debunked. These are not dinosaur footprints.
2. The missing day recorded by NASA
In the 1970s and 80s a booklet printed by Moody Press in the US showed that the sun going backwards as recorded in Joshua 10 resulted in a 'missing day', which NASA since discovered. This was the 'shoot em dead' proof of the Bible’s reliability. But it’s not true. Snopes traced the origins of the story and confirms that NASA had sent out a press release stating this had never happened.
3. Jesus in the clouds
I once attended a large event in Wales where the internationally renowned speaker held up a picture of some clouds – which looked like an outline of the traditional Jesus. I was unconvinced. Whether it’s on a Tortilla chip, toasted bread or in the clouds, it is foolish to make an apologetic point about some approximate image of Jesus. This is not the way to provide evidence or 'give an answer' to doubters.
4. The Bible Code
The Bible Code (taking the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and selecting a sequence of letters e.g. every 24th apparently produces predictive messages) became a fashion some years ago. It developed into a series of books and films, documentaries and even PC software. The basic idea was invented by a Jewish mathematician Eli Rips and publicised by a reporter Michael Drosnin. Neither were Christians and Drosnin didn’t become one after the 'proofs' were revealed.
This ‘equidistant letter sequencing’ (ELS) has been tried on Moby Dick and other books, all with seeming amazing results. It will work on any text of the right length and you can find what you like if you try enough options. When I first heard about it I instantly knew it was junk. Both the Old Testament and New Testament are staggeringly and miraculously preserved - far above any other ancient texts - but there are small and usually unimportant variants in the Greek and Hebrew which make 'The Bible Code' a bit of a joke. I am shocked some Christians still fall for it.
5. Blood Moons
There’s a tetrad of Red moons last year and this year with an eclipse in the middle. It could herald the end or something significant regarding Israel. This is usually associated with dark mutterings of doom and calamity. Let’s cut to the chase...
1. It is never predicted in the Bible ( the moon turning to blood is mentioned, but nothing about a tetrad).
2. The blood moons are said to have coincided with significant dates in Israel’s history. But this is only true of approximate dates if a manipulated start date is chosen.
3. The blood moons in this series can be seen in the USA and not in Israel.
4. The supposed significance that blood moons occur during Jewish feasts isn’t that incredible as Jewish feasts go by the lunar calendar!
The whole scaremongering nonsense has been answered refuted and dismissed. Don’t waste any time on it!
And don't get me started on the rest. There’s so many I even managed to do an entire TV programme about some of them. Space does not allow to talk about The Harbinger, the recent Shemita stories or the so called 'discoveries' of Vendyl Jones and the drill hole that reached hell. All of these fall into the duff-apologetics category.
To read more on duff arguments (as well as many 'real' evidences), go to www.jtsblogspot.blogspot.co.uk
Unbelievable? presenter Justin Brierley blogs on all things theology, apologetics and ethics.