Bornagainatheist- I appreciate your comments and I've checked out the links. I'm aware of Ron Wyatt's supposed discoveries and it is even claimed he has falsified some stuff, but I haven't checked out those claims. Unfortunately, the Caldwells seem to be tarnished with the same brush. I am going to email Penny Caldwell with the points you list and I'll let you know if she replies. I emailed her yesterday, incidentally, to see if they might be visiting the UK, and she replied quite quickly, so hopefully she'll address the points you've made. Did you watch the film? It's the combination of their experiences (e.g the star shaped snow flakes which you can see a film of on their web site, to which you provided a link) as they investigated the mountain, as well as their findings, that present a compelling case. When the Caldwell's visited the 'accepted' Mount Sinai, they could see clearly without needing any kind of professional training, that the traditional area cannot accommodate the millions of people that the biblical account claims. It would be interesting to find 'expert' opinions of the Caldwell's 'findings' (and previously Ron Wyatt's) and to establish if their understanding of the sites, are plausible.
I agree that all this has theological implications regarding the Genesis account but less so if parts of Genesis (and other parts of the Bible) are written in a 'parable-like' fashion, in order to convey an idea rather than a literal occurence. When I was a believer, I never really believed in demons. I think they are the misunderstandings of the people at that time, and recorded as such. They didn't know about certain mental conditions. It's also possible that the Bible is full of 'errors' and not this inerrant book that is claimed by Christendom.
Thanks again for your time and help in this matter.
Hello again BlackCat and thanks for your reply.
I'd like to respond to your message with two points.
Firstly, please understand that I wasn't trying to tar the Caldwells with Wyatt's brush.
My concern isn't about the genuineness and honesty of the people making the claims, but their lack of training and qualifications to do so. Let's suppose for a moment that the Caldwells are being totally honest about everything they've found. Does that mean they are therefore drawing the correct conclusions? Unfortunately not. It takes a trained eye, years of experience and the professional input of many experts to draw useful conclusions about archaeological matters. The history of archaeology itself is (sadly) littered with many examples of hasty and un-tested conclusions being drawn - either by people who didn't know better or by professionals should have. Here are just three.
Schliemann extracted a gold necklace from the dirt where he was excavating, called his wife to him and placed it around her neck, exclaiming in a loud voice, "You are wearing the necklace of Helen of Troy!" Now, I don't doubt Schliemann's enthusiasm and dedication BlackCat, but what I do question is the quality of his training, his procedures and his conclusions. His character is not in question - his objectivity and his professionalism are.
The same question applies to Bingham. He discovered a site in the Peruvian jungle (Espiritu Pampa) but didn't appreciate it's significance. Later on, when he found Machu Picchu, he drew the incorrect conclusion that this was Vilcabamba, the fabled lost city and final refuge of the Incas. http://en.wikipedia....ilcabamba,_Peru Bingham was wrong. Espiritu Pampa was Vilcabamba. He'd discovered it, excavated it, surveyed it and explored it, yet failed to correctly identify it. Once again, I'm not calling Bingham's honesty or dedication into question - only his judgement and abilities.
The inital translation of the text on this artefact was performed by Andre Lemaire, who went public with the claim that this ossuary contained the bones of.. "James, the son of Joseph and the brother of Jesus" Lemaire was a respected and trusted scholar who had also translated artefacts such as the Mesha Stele. http://en.wikipedia....iki/Mesha_Stele
Yet, he was caught out by a modern forgery. The lesson in this case is that he let his emotions get the better of his professional objectivity. What he should have done was to check with other experts in other fields of archaeology to see if they could confirm his findings. Now Lemaire has to live with his error of judgement.
So you see BlackCat, in the absence of a tried-and-tested, rigorous, professional and disciplined archaeological assessment of their findings, the Caldwell's case (imho) can only be considered 'compelling', from an untested, unverified non-archaeological p.o.v. I hope that you will heed my call for caution in this matter.
My second point is a theological one.
You might be prepared to see parts of the Book of Genesis in a 'parable-like' fashion, but there is a critical problem with this approach - if you are also prepared to accept that the Caldwell's claims relate to places, people and events that they deem to be REAL. In a nutshell, they are claiming that their discoveries confirm that the Bible gives a true and accurate report of real and historical events and places.
Not parables. Not allegories. Not symbolic stories. Not metaphors.
Real facts. Real people. Real places. Real events. Real miracles and therefore... a Real God.
Do you see the difference and the problem?
If we accept Exodus onwards as real and true and historical, then we must also accept Genesis to be just as real, true and historical. One demands the other. If we treat one differently from the other, then we are committing a grave error of context. We are mixing oil and water. We are giving ourselves leave to pick and choose which parts of Bible we want to accept as historical and which parts we don't.
As I mentioned in my earlier message, the events in Genesis (the Fall and the Flood) define the context in which Moses, Aaron and Joshua led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Genesis also defines the proper context for the incarnation of God in the shape of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul treats the Genesis characters that he lists in Hebrews 11 as real and historical too. What the Apostle John wrote in the Book of Revelation only makes proper contextual sense in the light of a real and historical Fall from grace.
Please take the time to look up Revelation 22 : 1-3 and take note that the Tree of Life, first seen in Genesis 2:9 and 3:22 is there, in the New Jerusalem. Please also note that the curses which God laid upon Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16-19 are lifted by God in Reveleation 22:3. None of these future events make any kind of sense unless the past events of Genesis 1-3 also happened.
So, the bottom line is this, BlackCat.
If you accept the Caldwell's claims about the mountain, the split rock, the petroglyphs, the cave, etc. as proofs of the historcity of scripture, then you must also accept that the Genesis events that preceded them are just as real and historical. Anything less is contextual chicanery. Anything else is just picking and choosing to suit ourselves.
Now, in the light of all the scientific evidence for a 13.72 billion year old universe, can you accept what the Bible says and believe that it's only about 6,000 years old and was spoken into existence over a period of 144 hours?
Do you accept that we are all descended from a dirt-formed Adam and his 'rib' wife Eve, or did we evolve from the primates over the past 2-3 million years?
Is all of the suffering in the world down to the words of a talking snake?
Did Methuselah really live to the age of 969?
Does Jesus really trace his ancestry back thru Methuselah and Noah to Adam?
Was the world population reduced down to just eight people by a global Flood, as the apostle Peter says?
If you can't accept these half-dozen questions as pertaining to real and historical events, then can you really accord any validity to what the Caldwells are claiming about the Exodus narrative?
To answer you question BlackCat, no, I haven't watched the film.
I may do in the future. However, I don't need to watch it to change my p.o.v. on the Bible and the existence of a Christian God. I don't need to watch it, other than to see what other people think is 'history'.
Instead, I apply to myself the same theological standard that I've outlined above. If Genesis isn't historical, then it doesn't matter if the Israelites thought it was. If Adam and Eve didn't exist, then it doesn't matter if the Israelites thought they did. All that matters is the historicity of that book.
And all the scientific evidence tells me that Genesis isn't historical, isn't true and isn't real. Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Palaeontology, Archaeology and many other branches of science agree that Genesis is NOT a true and reliable description of the origins of anything except the supernatural beliefs of a minor ancient Middle Eastern culture.
I do hope that the tone of this message doesn't come across as antagonistic or overly-challenging. It's simply my wish that you pause and carefully consider what the Caldwells are saying in the full context of history.
Edited by bornagainathiest, 14 December 2012 - 08:14 AM.