the dance of the ink riddled fingers

archaelogy is the excavation of presumption

Posted in epiphany tiffany, thought spills by enisea on 09/04/2011

Exactly that: the analysis of archaeology is subjective to the interpreter.  My second college assignment (another juicy and dangerously late inquiry) beckons 1500 words addressing topic: “Does archaeology support the reliability of the Old Testament history of Israel?”.  There were a handful of other topics to choose from, but I found this one the most absent in my knowledge files – thus I chose the assignment that would require the most research (unwise for two days of assembling).  In my searchings for articles, I was confronted with the tiresome bias of politics, which were sometimes rude and usually unbalanced.  My hope to find an unbiased book or article, I’m sure, is impossible.  Therefore, I’m trying to find the least offensive accounts and their explanations from both sides and allow them civil fire.  Haha, like most things, wherever the line of sight is focused, there one will find themselves.  Most times we have already secured a conclusion and seek merely to fill the body of our outline of what really happened.  Unfortunately for the beautiful study of archaeology, it was biased from the start.

Whether uncovering dinosaur bones, or the ruins of the cities destroyed by the nation of Israel (according to biblical history), the finder’s imagination always constructs the story in which the little victories are not the excavation of more artifacts, but in proving a theory correct.  Who’s to say that just because ‘dinosaurs’ were the first to be extinct, that they were the first to exist – creation and nature does not apply itself to the FIFO (first in first out) rule of accounting.  And by whose authority can we put full faith in the correct dating of ancient artifacts pulled from the dirt however deep?  On the contrary, I could ask many Christians by what authority they believe the Bible is true and who told them so, and disheartening as is, they are often without clue.

Each extreme side has the same rebuttal to the other “you’re wrong, archaeology clearly proves/disproves the reliability of the bible”.  It’s exhausting!  And the two, passionately disposed against the other are closed to reason or valid argument, appearing unconvincingly stubborn and immaturely adulterated.  Honestly, (as I’m sure you’d agree) I believe there is such thing as a healthy scepticism and that believing without question is naive and dangerous.  But I find those ‘deaf to reason’ insufferable – the ones who will not even listen attentively to context and rebuttal but in return fire adamant and rude arguments, not injuring the opposing perspective, but the person who carried it!  I liken them to Leo, who, the other day I warned I would enforce discipline for his misbehaviours were they continued, and did – by holding firm his hand during outside play time, only wanting him to heed my words “You cannot push the other children or take their hats because they don’t like it and it’s not very nice”, but he never heard a word of it, for his screams were the only things in his ears and so distressed was he by my limitation of his freedom, my attempt to convince him was futile.  However, Leo is three years old, I know overgrown Leos who make conversation painful.

I totally understand that those apart from the faith of Christianity require greater evidence, because to be convinced requires a greater address than to know.  Teaching a child who has only learnt that purple is the colour that it is via rote memorisation is different from teaching a child who has only ever seen primary colours.  Teaching the latter child involves informing them that another colour can be created by mixing red and blue, and labeling it ‘purple’; this may need to be proved numerous times and pointed out in surroundings until finally the acceptance of this new colour is comfortably acknowledged.  For the child who only ever acknowledged purple as its own colour, the learning is reversed and they are taught that it is the product of the two more rudimentary colours, red and blue; this understanding enriches and supports what is already known.  The processes of acceptance are different depending how first you perceived.

But how can I, only ever having known Christianity, know whether it is true?  If I learn how to freestyle correctly from my first swimming lesson, need I test out the incorrect methods of moving my arms and kicking my legs to learn how inefficient it is? Probably not.  Haha, I am bold in saying that Christianity is the one right way; if I did not say that, I would not be truly Christian.  However, I have tested it, I have even considered renouncing it a couple of times, but failed to validate doing so – and just about collapsed at the thought of relinquishing my most intimate bond.  Not only do I believe in the morale, the principles, and the teachings of the Bible, the overarching reliance I have is in my relationship with God (call Him Father, Christ or Holy Spirit if you will).  Bizarre as is, it is the truth as played out in my life that reverberates the truth of the Bible.  Because there is no decisive and absolute in archaeology, I cannot stand upon it, it acknowledges itself as possibilities, and possibilities are not enough.  Saying this probably sounds like a cop-out from actually unfolding the two arguments, and appearing as if Christianity loses the archaeological proof battle.  But it does not, I’ve told you already, it is subjective, you can read up on it yourself, just google it, it’s futile.  (FYI: the Bible can be dated at least 2000 years before your year 10 science textbooks and were written much more meticulously (The Masoretes were very particular))

I am curious and incredibly awed by archaeology, as also about every other religion, and I will dip my fingers in them (next semester one of my subjects is “world religions and cults”).  But my lack of faith in archaeology is due to it being most parts intrigue and many question marks.  We set ourselves on finding an answer, when sometimes the absence of written, technical answer is answer enough for us.  It’s a strange thing.  We want what be right, but are willing do what is wrong.  Knowing is not enough.

Anyway, I thought I would provoke your thoughts via my procrastination…this assignment is due 8:30am 11th April, 2011. Brilliant! :P

I am on the same train of thought as Albert Mohler in page two of the two page article - the first page is a little blah.


Ps: the only archeaological proof that I find particularly rewarding to Christianity is the hundreds and thousands of copies of texts.  The Masoretic text, and Dea Sea Scrolls in particular really reiterate the consistency of the contents of the Bible, and to my greatest comfort, support the reliability and accuracy of the words in the bible (which I find of greatest importance), showing consistency over thousands of years! Yeah, everything else can only prove what your opinion wants it to, but you cannot deny the impressively accurate maintenance of the words in The Bible!  Oh, not to mention the confirmation of characters in the Bible in confirming them in history, dismissing rumours of ‘myth’.


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